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What Would You Do Different If You Started Your Blog Over?

ProBlogger’s “What Would I Do Different If I had To Start My Blog Over by Merlin Mann” is a splendid response to the question, as answered by Merlin Mann and published on ProBlogger.

Maybe most importantly for the primary “blog” portion of the site, I wish I’d realized that the date and time of a “post” were usually its least important attributes. Unlike a news site or typical “funny thing my kittycat did” blog, the content is evergreen — it’s not wedded to “now” or “then” for its context and relevance — so I wish I’d better planned how to make it easy for people to navigate around their interests, rather than having to undertake a backwards death march through time. It’s like having arranged your library of books by cover color.

…I think it really pays to watch stats and search traffic, listen to comments, and then try to evolve around the way fans and strangers are trying to use your site. Visitors are unconsciously teaching you lessons every day, and it’s wise to make sure you glean those fields as often as possible, and then turn it into smart site changes.

Finally, be picky about the shortcuts and cheese that you choose to quickly get “popular.” Link begging, black hat SEO, and other games tend not to help much in the long run if you truly want to grow a site that’s about content and voice…

Excellent. So what would be your answer to the question:

What Would I Do Different If I had To Start My Blog Over?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network


  1. Posted September 21, 2006 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    If I were starting again I would include a “tag” for each author and for each title of every article that I use as a reference in my posts.
    I would also begin each post with a predetermined keyword from the Libarary of Congress subject headings followed by my own unique subtitle.
    Having done this I could have established easy cross-referencing for accessing the articles referred to in my posts by both authors and by titles of the originating references.
    I’d like to expand and explain why I am bringing these ideas forward now. There have been times when readers and even I myself have recalled the name of an author or of a partial article title that was used as a refernce in one of my posts. And although we know the categories (subject tags) we do not recall the title that I gave the post in question wherein the information we want to locate is embedded.
    Granted that this is not a location problem when you only have to look through a couple of dozen posts by categories. However, it certainly becomes a time consumptive undertaking when there are hundreds of posts because the references are embedded in the posts.

  2. Posted September 23, 2006 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    i feel last part is true for those blogs focused on business and making money type things … for my personal blog i never need to change any thing ( other than theme if i get bored of current one )

  3. Posted September 26, 2006 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I can answer this more as a, “what DID I do different when I started my blog over?” I blogged for a year and a half or so, taking it far too seriously. I stressed myself, burnt myself out, and then killed the blog.

    I just recently started my new blog, System 13. What I’ve done differently is to sit back and really enjoy writing on my blog. Before I was obsessed with the traffic and numbers. Now I’m happy with 10 or 15 folks dropping by a day.

    I guess before, I wasn’t passionate about blogging, I was passionate about traffic. Now, I don’t care about traffic much, but I’m passionate about the blogging. I’m trying to really think about what I’m writing this time around, instead of just posting whatever I can think of in the hopes of getting more traffic.

    Kind of embarrassing to bring up my blogging past like this, but it’s true. At least I’ve turned over the proverbial leaf. 🙂

  4. Posted October 10, 2006 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Great, Josh. Having fun and making friends is so much more important than being top-visited blogger, IMHO. Others might disagree with that, though.

  5. Posted April 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I am on my second website and things are different. The site is less consumed with gadgets (Tag Clouds, Recent Tweets, etc.) I am much more focussed on the content and have developed a social network that compliments the site — better for the end-user.

    Sorry, just noticed your Twitter Feed… oops 😉

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