Experimenting with a New Year

As it’s now the New Year I’m going to do a little experiment. I’ve heard on the grapevine that things are going to change for the better for bloggers, allowing them to write how they feel rather than how they think they ought to.

So I’m going to put this to the test. I’ve created another little blog using WordPress.com to write about nature and what I find in the countryside.

I know this probably belies my age, but it is something I have been thinking about for some time. I regularly go for walks in the country, trudging up and down muddy lanes noticing how the seasons change as the days go by. I remember my grandmother receiving a book one Christmas about an Edwardian Lady’s Diary, in which the author had written and drawn about the flowers and animals in her immediate surroundings 100 years ago. I was an enchanting present to give an old lady, but I found it fascinating, and somehow the idea has stuck with me all this time.

So now I’m going to create a 21st century version using a blog. The aim is to try and post something as regularly as possible (ie every day if I can) and see what effect that has, such as consistency and frequency, combined with free speech and relaxation of writing, as well as using a WordPress hosted blog with all the trimmings available, and in a non-American environment (believe me this is important, as European attitudes to blogs have yet to catch up).

I want to monitor what response I get and whether I generate any interest and what kind it is. This experiment will also evaluate whether a simple blog using WordPress.com can compete with a fancy, full-blown WordPress.org blog with all the plugins that are available for it. I will be relying totally on what WordPress give me regarding statistics, search engine compatibility, exposure to other bloggers and feeds to social media. The result will be simple, but I want to see if it is effective.

I still advocate that all blogging beginners should start with a WordPress.com blog to get used to blogging before they progress further. There is no easier way than this, as you can’t go wrong and everything is totally set up for you. It is regularly updated with lots of volunteer geeks striving to make it as simple and easy as possible (though recently I think they have overdone it and it is starting to get a bit too complicated again).

I definitely still want to see if regular posting does make a difference, regarding what subject you blog about. Certainly talking about what I see and find in the British countryside will only appeal to a selection of readers, but isn’t that what many bloggers start with? And I also want to occasionally inform you about my progress and what I have learned along the way, especially the concept of ‘free writing’ once more.

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Alice Elliott and her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog provide simple, jargon-free, highly visual, level-focused WordPress training for beginner and post-beginner bloggers. She specialises in before-and-after screen-shot e-courses that make no assumption of prior knowledge, constructively beginning at Blogging Level 0 to ensure a good foundational training. She is well known for her ability to “explain things really simply”, relating her teaching to each learner according to their lifestyle and ability.

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2 Responses to Experimenting with a New Year

  1. Interesting experiment. I’ve already conducted it! I created a wordpress.com site in February 2011 for the sole purpose of experimenting and seeing what works. I wanted to learn the ropes.

    2x2virtualchurch.com grows every month. A tiny church reaches 2000 readers each month as of this writing with a following in several countries.

    I used our little church as a topic — to see if in part if there was a benefit to faith communities to using the web as more than a bulletin board. I wanted to see if it would grow community and how much work it would be.

    I experimented with editorial mix to see what attracts readers. I created tons of helpful content and also engaged in church politics, trying to keep the mix heavy on the help, but exercising the voice that lay people have never really had before. The ratio is about 75/25, help/commentary.

    Helpful content draws the consistent readership. Commentary widens the audience.

    Easter content that I posted last year began attracting a significant and steady spike since Christmas Day as church leaders begin planning. That shows that church web sites have to work a couple months ahead!

    My answers: posting daily boosts traffic enormously. There is both local and worldwide impact. It is a job for someone or several people in a church, but it is definitely worth pursuing.

    I agree. Starting with a wordpress.com site is the easiest way to go. What I need to learn next is how to make it productive or create a reliable revenue stream. I know it works in getting the message out but organized churches want to see revenue.

    Faith is pretty personal and often fragile, so I have welcomed comments but not really tried to draw interaction for the sake of statistics. It’s a forum of people want to use it. If they don’t, they don’t. I’ve found that most of readers comment by email—without posting on line.

  2. I love your blog Judith, it is a most exciting experiment! Keep going at it, as I’m sure it will make a lot of people very happy and content with their lives. Certainly recruiting ‘help’ was the answer, and I hope you get lots more. Many thanks for such an enthusiastic and positive comment!

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