Lessons from an arbitrary length of time running a blog

24 Mar 2024

I've been running this blog for soon to be 3 years and in comparison to other blogs I've ran, that is a long time.

Throughout those years, I've figured out what my objective for this blog is (write about my personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings, as well as document my knowledge) but I've also changed how I write, and when I consider something "blog worthy".

In terms of writing style as well, I don't really add "Additional notes" or "Footnotes" sections anymore. This was mainly due to just including that information in line anyway, it's easier that way and it gives more context to the extra information I'm writing.

A lot of my older posts in 2021 and 2022 were "filler posts" that, in retrospect, don't really have a point to them, like that stupid lunch meals post in September 2021. Nobody wanted that and that was when I kinda treated this blog as many people treat their social media feeds. I had this philosophy of "I have to post a lot otherwise people will get bored waiting and leave" which is something I realised was utter crap when my VPS had to go down for a bit in 2023.

Sticking with it also matters though. Not every blog ever has updates at least once a year but I think it's worth it to try and write once every month or two. I thought that with the VPS going down, I'd drop the blog forever and it'd die but apparently that wasn't true and I think I have hosting a website myself and ewfm to thank for that since I can make the website look however I want and updates are quick and stupid easy, plus no account logins needed with an SSH key makes the process of updating my blog and website faster than write.as or Wordpress could ever dream.

That brings me onto my next point which is just have fun with it. Metrics and statistics are all well and good if you're running a multi million pound company with a dedicated SEO department but if you're reading this, you probably aren't. Honestly, don't bother with the numbers. A successful blog is really just one where the author enjoys what they're writing because it gives soul and meaning to the posts, that's why I like my posts from late 2022 onwards, I started writing for me and my fun instead of focusing on how many people engaged with my posts and read them. This is also the reason why a lot of my older blogs crashed and burned, they weren't fun to write, I was just writing for the sake of writing which sucked all of the fun and enjoyment that you're meant to have when you're running a blog and adding to it.

I think my final point is going to be use a blog software that works for you and don't be afraid to change and switch around. There's a lot of options out there, ranging from full CMS software like WordPress and Drupal, hosted services like write.as and Blogger, static site generators tailored for blogs like Pelican, or just general static site generators like 11ty or ewfm. Find something that works for you because you'll be using it.

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