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What Would You Do Over If You Could Blog Over?

Articles about blogging tipsI recently ran across an article from 2008 by my friend, Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today called “If I Could Start My Blog Over Again….” It made me think about what I would do if I could start over again.

In August of 2005 I sat down to write my first few posts for a new blog, Plagiarism Today. It was my first attempt at a blog and at the time, it was viewed more as a side project than anything big.

Yet, with time it grew, not just in terms of readership, but also in terms of the amount of time I spent on it. First becoming my primary site and then a full-time business. Currently, I spent about 60 hours a week on PT-related issues and am very stunned by what the site has become.

However, with this experience came a lot of lessons, many of them hard. Some things I did well from day one, many things I did not. Though I’ve been able to go back and fix many of my mistakes there are some I haven’t and probably never will.

Still, if I could do it all over again, there are many things I would change. Here’s a list of five of the more important decisions that, if given a second chance, I would not repeat.

My mind went back over the past almost 25 years of websites and blogging and I started to think about all the things that went wrong, and what I wish I knew before I started blogging.

I’m working on a series of blog writing and how to blog articles for and this article made me really think back over the years.

I’ve done a lot of things right, luckily, floundering away as the industry grew around me. I also screwed many things up and misjudged things that became unexpectedly successful.

If you’ve been doing this a while, I’m sure you’ve similar thoughts. If you’re new to blogging and online publishing, there are plenty of things you wish you should know now, before you get yourself into hotter water.

What would you do if you could really do it over again?


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25 Comments

  1. Posted January 22, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle
    I wouldn’t change much.
    I thought about my domain name before I bought it and made sure that it would be good for the search engines. That’s a must.
    I found a theme that I loved and bought that. My theme has a good support forum so that’s OK. No point having a free theme if you don’t know how to configure it.

    I’m fairly happy with my setup.

    I’m struggling to think of anything that I regret and wish that I could change.
    It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.

  2. Ueritom
    Posted January 22, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Hello..

    If I could come back, I’d change a looot of thing. The main one is that I’d have began directly with WordPress. That would save me a lot of work..hehe

    By the way, I saw in Alexa you’re the WordPress’ most accessed blog. How did you get that? Congratulations!!

    Ueritom

    • Posted January 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      @Ueritom: A lot of people think that way, clearly from the comments as well as from my own experiences. Wish WordPress was around when I started. Would have saved me the months of agony converting a 2000+ page static HTML site to WordPress in 2003. :D

      Alexa? Is that useless thing still going? I never trusted it, and still don’t, so don’t believe everything you read and see on the web.

  3. Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Well this is interesting. I dont think i’ve been around long enough to say “what i would do if i could do it over again”. just started my site in September, 2010 and all i had was an idea to “get the word out” and a name i could call the site. didnt know what hosting really was; i had to search “top 10 hosting companies” and compared that to 3 other sites on “top ten hosting companies” my hosting came in 1st on 2 of the sites and 3rd once. they were very supportive and someone there pointed me to wordpress. never heard of a wordpress it was an applicaion provided by my hosting, like joomla, and weebly drag and drop….lol.

    i started with the weebly and thought it was great till i saw all the cool themes wordpress had. i switch to wordpress in like 2days. never hear of a plugin or anything. Nothing about HTML, PHP etc. Saw the word blogging here and there. didnt know what that was either….but it’s all been a great experience to this very day and ive been enthralled by everything web since. got about 6 books (big books)on HTML and CSS and some books on wordpress. gave up sleeping and bought a bigger coffee cup….studied studied studied….

    Yes so im still learning and i read everyone post here regularly. i learn today from my mistakes but moreover from the mistakes you guys put up on post like this…lol. I love blogginf now and web design and again everything about creating a site”. show my kids what i learn and they love it now. So, basically i have a few more mistakes to make before i can consider taking it all back. However, im sure with great blogs like this my mistakes will be limited. Thanks for all the great post you’ve put up and you. You couldnt imagin how beneficial it is to me and new bloggers/site owners in general…i’ve learned a lot and hope to continue learning…..

  4. Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I would only do a photo blog. I now have 1 real estate blog that I post at multiple sites and two photo blogs. If I had it to do all over again, I’d focus on one photo blog! For whatever it’s worth.

    • Posted January 23, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Hi Betty
      Three blogs sounds like hard work to me.
      One is more than enough for me.

  5. Posted January 23, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I had absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to generate traffic doing a niche blog – in my case, it’s wine. And also the time commitment involved in order to make your blog stand out.

    So, maybe choosing a theme that casts a wider net and also finding out how much time the average blogger invests in their website per day / per week…

    • Posted January 23, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      @Mark: You are right and wrong. Choosing a topic that is wider can open up the possibilities, but also overwhelm them. While I cover blogging and WordPress and its related fields, it used to be a very narrow niche. Now, I can barely choose from all the things I could write about. It’s overwhelming. Wine is a HUGE topic, and it happens to be a saturated market in many ways. You have to explore the full range of the market and competition to figure out the possibilities for you do to, as well as keep in line with your passions, right? That’s a hard one.

      The time commitment to make your site stand out is a good one. But it begs the question, does it take THAT much time or just the right usage of your time and the quality and uniqueness of content that makes the difference?

  6. Posted January 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    For folks like me who do a couple of very simple narrow-niche blogs I would say:
    Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

    Chasing the craziest new theme or fancy widget —>not only will be a distraction from actually putting content to your blog, but you’re likely to get yourself in techno trouble and that doesn’t help your blog or your temperment.

    I’ve learned (often the hard way) to follow rather than lead when it comes to going for that bleeding edge new look or functionality. And the truth is your readers could care less.

  7. Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I’ve write shorter posts. Nobody reads those 1000 word pieces anyway and they often used up four or five good ideas.

  8. Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Hello again, i was wondering about the 500, 800 to 1000 words for a blog….man thats a lot. i was just adding a new post last night and found it rough getting to 200. Also i want to know how bad is it to respond to your own post….lol. not a comment on the post just like you had another thought and wanted to add to it.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Research has shown that it doesn’t matter how many words you write, if it is interesting to read – and worth it – people will read to the end. Write until you are done, then stop. Edit. Then save and refresh. Edit again. Publish. :D

      For the answer to the last question, see 10 Really Rad Righteous Blogging Tips, and enjoy.

  9. Posted January 26, 2011 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    If I could start blogging all over again, I would still be using a free wordpress.com blog to write on the same subjects that I do (wordpress.com tips and free useful web tools). But I would have created a better navigation system in my blog. I would also have preferred to create a memorable, unique and uniform look that I wouldn’t change.

  10. Posted January 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been on google blogspot. Why do people prefer WordPress? I am thinking blogger (blogspot) is so easy to use for a non-techie, non-geek.

    • Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      @Pat Crosby: There are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com and the self-hosted version. There are many reasons why people switch from Blogspot to WordPress. A search of the web will give you plenty of them, but in general, until recently, it was the better interactivity method of commenting and the beauty and flexibility of the WordPress Theme designs and WordPress Plugins. WordPress.com is an SEO trusted network so a blog on that site carries a little bit of weight in the SEO scorecard as they crack down heavily on spam blogs. Blogspot, while now owned by Google, cannot say the same. Many found Blogspot complex and liming, and WordPress not. From there, the reasons go in many directions. If you haven’t tried it yourself, it’s hard to compare.

    • Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I’m slightly bemused by this question.

      Blogspot is way easier to use than the self-hosted WordPress which can be daunting for beginners. WordPress.com is a relatively gentle introduction for non-geeks – certainly no harder to grasp than Blogspot.

      The real difference comes with the community support – there are many more resources to help new bloggers get up to speed with a WordPress.com site than with a Blogspot site.

    • Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you have experience with both. And yes, I believe there is a lot more support for WordPress, from too many sources. :D

      WordPress and WordPress.com interface is the same for both. What is different is how much you want to dig into other, trouble-causing features. :D WordPress.com stops trouble before it can get started. LOL!

  11. Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle
    You blog on wordpress.com and are tremendously successful but “real” bloggers generally use wordpress.org.

    How come you are so successful?
    Is it that “Google SEO trust” that you mention?

    BTW – is there any reason that you only use one level of threaded comments on your blog?
    This comment would make much more sense under your reply to @Pat Crosby.

    • Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      @Keith: There are no “real” bloggers. There are those who blog, there are those who use blogging publishing platforms (NY Times, CNN, etc.), and those who do not blog. I don’t know what “real” means. Google is using TrustRank as part of their SEO secret sauce. I’m trusted because I have a long time history on the web, a volume of quality (not spam nor scraper content) content, and the links I put into my content are to legitimate sources. Like everyone else on the web who follows some moral conscious in web publishing, they get the same kind of scores. It’s not anything special and everyone is judged by search engines, but in a new way of thinking. The games don’t work any more. Google knows them before you do. Trust me on that.

      As for the threading, I just turned this on, and I don’t think it is available for this Theme.

  12. Posted January 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    My first thought was “I wish I had started sooner.” I just never got around to doing it, but after thinking about it, I think I started at a good place for me because WordPress had evolved, I learned about OpenCamp DFW, attended and knew I had to really dig in. In the beginning, I did use Blogger (briefly) and the nightmare that followed when I wanted to move it was enough to erase the thought of ever using it again. I realized right away that I didn’t really care for the bar that you couldn’t get rid of at the top.

  13. Posted February 1, 2011 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I would have like to start sooner. I posted my first article last Sunday.

  14. Posted February 15, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t know enough about blogging, to know what I’m doing wrong?

    From my blog-hopping I’m really glad I started with WordPress, it seems to be the best blogging platform. Otherwise I’m quite happy the way my blog has grown like topsy, organic not planned growth.

    John
    Happy blogger in Leamington Spa, England

  15. maggy simony
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    How about (for a newcomer since Jan 1) 5 (or 10) blog promotion things I’d do first six months IF I were starting over.

  16. Edward Tomilloso
    Posted June 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    i would have bought the domain from wordpress instead of godaddy. :))) There has been one upside to forwarding my domain name to a WordPress.com site. That has been that I have been able to show that anyone can do what I have done, Therefore cutting the edge out of anyone getting started. Another thing that I found is that, if any one was searching google especially for a wordpress blog on a subject that I did, They can see the .wordpress.com in the link.

    I learned , so, in essence, I wouldn’t have changed a thing :)

  17. Praveen Rajarao
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Personally I feel even if I start-over fresh again, I would again come back to the same old topics and articles of interest. I feel, blogging is related to one’s thinkings and that will never change.


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