Looking Back At Me In 2006

Darren from ProBlogger is having another Group Writing Project and, of course, I’m submitting a post. This time, the subject is Reviews of 2006 and Predictions for 2007. The deadline for entering is midnight Thursday, December 21 and Darren is kind enough to accept submissions according to your time zone.

2006 has been a big year for me in a lot of ways. I learned a great deal about blogging, internet marketing, search engine optimization, traffic generation, link building, and life in general. With the solid foundation of 2006, I expect that 2007 will be even bigger, too. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during the year:

1. The best time to start blogging is now. I had thought about starting a blog for a long time, but never got around to it until January of 2006 when I started a blog on Blogger.com. It took me several months of blogging and getting very little traffic as well as dealing with crashes and slowness on Blogger to decide to get my own domain and hosting. If you have any interest in blogging, start right now and don’t be afraid to try out the free services of Blogger, WordPress, or any of the others at first. Later on you can move to your own domain after you’ve gotten your feet wet.

2. Think more about your niche at the beginning. This is kind of a tough one. In the first point I said to go ahead and jump in and I did mean it. However, when you get started, it’s a good idea to think about where you want to go with your blog and what exactly you’d like to write about. If you’re just interested in having a personal blog, niche isn’t that important, but if you’d like to generate lots of traffic and make significant money from it, your niche is vitally important. Have a goal in mind so that you know what you’re shooting for.

3. Monetize your blog right off the bat. This is important if your goal is to make money and even if it’s not, a little advertising to help pay for hosting can’t hurt. I waited a bit before I did anything with AdSense or any other advertising, but I could have started sooner. Make sure to put your ads in the best places and also to make them relevant to the content of your blog. Also, remember not to overdo it; this can really turn off new visitors and even loyal readers.

4. Research pays off, but know when to switch your focus to action. I’ve spent a lot of time during the last year researching all of the different aspects of blogging and ways to increase traffic and make money on the web. At some point, though, I realized I had quite a bit of information compiled, but that I’d made use of very little of it. Because of the almost infinite amount of information that’s out there on the web, this is an easy trap to fall into. You may feel that you never know enough since there is so much more to read. Don’t worry, though. Take what you’ve learned from authoritative sources and begin to put it into use. Don’t wait until you’re an expert. That could take forever.

5. Accept things you can’t change and then make the best of it. This has been a year of great turmoil for me in my blogging life, my professional life, and my personal life. There have been a lot of things that were hard for me to deal with. It took me a bit to realize that there are some things you just can’t change or control in any way. You can’t force a million visitors to come to your blog, you can’t undo mistakes, and you can’t change a person’s mind. Once you really get the fact that you have a limited sphere of influence, you can begin to focus on those things you can change and begin to deal successfully with those you can’t.

Good luck to everyone in the new year. Here’s to a bigger, better, brighter 2007!

Note: If you’d like to read my previous submissions to ProBlogger’s Group Writing Projects, you can find them here:

How To Participate In The Blogging Community
Top 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self

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38 Responses to Looking Back At Me In 2006

  1. LearningNerd says:

    Hey, nice tips! I’ve been learning a lot about blogging this year too, and I completely agree with all your advice. Good luck to you in 2007!

  2. ray says:

    Thanks, Liz. Good luck to you, too. How’s that year off coming along? Do you have solid plans yet? I’m going to have to take a deeper look at your new blog(s), too. I’m really impressed by what you’ve done!

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  4. Ashish Mohta says:

    Researches rally pay off.I had been doing analysis the core concept of my blog.Its really pays . I dont earn but i do get traffic.Name is important than money.

    I also got entry in darrens project.

    And i am feeding your blog.There wont be another chance to meet so many bloggers

  5. Brad Shorr says:

    Excellent advice. I like the way your blog features plenty of ads yet retains a clean, professional look. Maybe it’s time to take another stab at monetization.

  6. Nice article ray ..and great blog ..m subscribing to it . i also participated in Darren’s group writing project . Drop by if you have time


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  8. LearningNerd says:

    Nope, no real plans yet. 😉 We’ll see what happens. And thanks!

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  10. tigerfish says:

    I tried out Blogger and now, find it hard to switch over to WordPress because have already built up so many posts in Blogger.
    One of my predictions (or wish) is that there will be some code or “drag-drop” function that enables bloggers like me who made a mistake on trying out blogger.com, to easy “migrate” all the old post/comments to WordPress!

    May the Force be with you, the Blo-gedi way

  11. 45n5 says:

    “Research pays off, but know when to switch your focus to action.”

    Action can also become research when it comes to traffic and earning on the web, you get log files from writing actions, for instance.

    Good list and good luck in 07!

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  13. Ellen says:

    Great post. I started blogging this year too. My blog has been evolving a bit trying to find my voice and focus. I jumped in without knowing a lot and 2007 will be focused on streamlining my site but also having some fun. I’m part of Darren’s project too, see my post – 12 Ways The Internet Has Helped Me In 2006 – http://infomaniaworld.com/modules/wordpress/archives/276.

  14. ray says:

    Ashish – I agree on the research. It’s something many people don’t do enough of. You’re right about this being a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, too. Every time Darren has one of these Group Writing Projects, I meet a whole lot of new people.

    Brad – Thanks! It’s been a little bit of a struggle to balance things out. I’m leaning toward getting rid of some of the advertising again to streamline things a bit more even. I also worry about too much stuff on the page affecting loading times. I try to tweak it a little bit every couple of weeks. That’s the only way to see what works.

    Madhur – Thanks and I’ll definitely check out your post.

    Liz – From a guy who’s spent way too much time in college, I have to say it looks like you’re learning a lot more useful stuff than I did for much of that time. I’ve learned a lot from your blog. Keep up the great work!

    tigerfish – WordPress has a built in ability to copy posts from your blogger blog. Then all you have to do is set up a redirect from blogger to your new wordpress blog. I went through the exact same worries about losing my traffic, but traffic was much higher on the new blog from the very start. Here’s a post that points to instructions for .

    45n5 – That’s so true. Trial and error is still the only way to prove what really works. Thanks and good luck to you.

    Ellen – I think that’s a normal part of blogging (and all writing). When we’re first starting out especially, we all have to find that voice that works for us. As we progress that voice matures a bit, too, and often develops into something new. This is actually something I’ve been thinking about again, lately. I wonder if my voice is coming through enough on this blog. Most of this information is available in a thousand other places, but how can I make my take unique? Good luck with your blog!

    To everyone: I’ll be checking out all of your blogs as I get time. I’ve seen some of them already and I’m impressed by the quality and the real people behind them. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and I hope to be hearing from you again soon.

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  16. Mama Duck says:

    I think these are all excellent suggestions and a great post, of course!! We also participated in this project, stop on by if you get a chance!

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  23. ray says:

    Hi Mama Duck! It’s good to hear from you again. I’ve read your post and it’s a great one as usual. Thanks for dropping by again and don’t be a stranger!

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  26. Deb says:

    I’m at that same point…I have a large blog on blogger, and started anew on my own domain, but the other is still in tact. I thought a clean slate might be nice as well. It took me awhile to realize…switch, switch, switch and get my own domain! Glad I did.

    Nice post, enjoyed reading it. Cheers!

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  28. ray says:

    Thanks, Deb. I like what you’ve done on your new blog, too. I’ll be sure and stop by more often in 2007. Good luck!

  29. I think you did good by recognizing #4 .. that’s always the hardest .. identifying what the difference is between “research” and, just having some fun reading some of the great blogs out there! It’s easy to get lost in the links, and also off tangent. One of the best tips I read somewhere (can’t remember where though) when you are ready to blog .. do it in the morning, before you check your email and bloglines .. and it’s true – before you get lost catching up on the posts and email comments etc. Because, as we all know – by the time you reach the bottom of the list – it has already refreshed at the top of the list, and there’s more links to waste time reading!

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  31. ray says:

    Hey Hart. That’s a great tip. I’ve noticed that if I don’t get started on my blog post first thing in the morning, I get totally sidetracked by everything else. It gets way too hard to focus on what I wanted to write about with all those other distractions. Sometimes, though, if I need an idea to write about, I’ll browse around for a little bit to get some ideas and maybe find something to link to.

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  33. Ken says:

    Related to #4 is having so much info that you file away everything, but never actually using any of the info.

  34. ray says:

    That’s very true, Ken. Out of all the bookmarks/favorites in your browser, how many have you ever gone back to check out? Or, how many books on your bookshelves have you read? I have a stack of magazines on my nightstand that I intended to read at one time or another. I think it’s time to start throwing stuff out. Thanks for the comment!

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  36. it was a great year and I wish you the best in the upcoming 2007! blog away

  37. ray says:

    Hi James. Thanks!

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