Which new technology should you invest your time in? Which of these self-titled experts and gurus should you follow? My simple approach to these questions has been to try before I buy. Even with free internet tools, it takes a lot of time to get set up and going.
My first blog was an experiment for a volunteer group. It did not touch my work or my career, so I was free to experiment. The result was that within a month I felt confident enough to create this blog. With every experiment, the key is to have some way to measure success. In my case, it was Google Analytics. I watched the number of unique visits to my experimental blog go up and up, while the number of visits to my “serious” blog stayed at a disappointing 8 per day (which I figured was just the internet search bots).
Being able to compare the two blogs gave me some hints. The experimental blog showed me that I can write well enough to attract readers. I read the advice blogs from others who had gone before, and I thought that I was covering all the bases. Still, the lack of readers forced me to question my assumptions. After several months I came to the conclusion that my approach was fundamentally wrong. I thought that if I could just build it, they (i.e. readers) would come. The reality is that just having good content is not enough. You really have to promote it.
I searched the web for the words “blog” and “accounting”. That’s how I found AccountingWeb.com. When I approached them about adding my blog to their web site, they were very enthusiastic. Since then they have been supportive, suggesting topics, promoting my blog and checking in with me if I haven’t posted for a while. Rob Nance and his team are good to work with.
Meanwhile, a friend told me about Twitter.com. Like blogging, I first set up a personal account and tried it out. I followed a few people and saw how viral it can be. You see someone make an interesting response to a third person, so you follow the link to that third person and perhaps decide to follow them directly. As your network grows, others see you following them. so they in turn follow you.
When I saw articles coming to Twitter via Tweetfeed.com, I realized that I could alert people to my blog entries. Once that was working, I started talking to AccountingWeb about using Twitter for their news items and blog entries. The result is history: you can find AccountingWeb at http://twitter.com/AccountingWeb.