So… I’m back! (Or… why my other blog didn’t work)

I surrender to the blog-devourer!

After a really short-lived stint trying my hand at a new blog, and another period of completely ignoring it, I’ve made the decision to start blogging here again.

studentnomore began with some altruistic motives (and plenty financial ones). The blog was an attempt to address a problem I faced as a fresh grad – a lack of mentorship and direction in my first job. But in the end, I stopped. Some reasons why it didn’t work out:

No money came in

No, really. Most experienced bloggers will rightly tell you that monetisation takes time, but until you go through it, the gravity of that statement never really hits you.

When I first learnt about WordAds, I thought, “Wow, I can actually make money without having to build and host my own website!” You can only sign up for WordAds with a registered domain, so I did, and once the domain was up, I sent in a request. A month or two went by (which is apparently how long they may take to review sites), and I decided to drop them a note. I was told my blog had just too few views – the minimum is somewhere around 1,000 a month. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but after 5 months of blogging and sharing, I was still hitting less than half that amount. Even if I hit the minimum, I’d probably only make a few bucks a month. That tempered the enthusiasm somewhat.

Sure, I knew it was going to take time. But head knowledge doesn’t always convert to action, and that rejection from WordAds hammered the first nail into studentnomore’s coffin. It just added to the frustration of writing, which I’ll talk about next.

Writing is hard

I’d be one of the first to admit that blogging sounds like a cushy job. The illusion was that you get cash or lots of free stuff for sitting around and typing a few words a day.

Sure, blogging is a very flexible profession, but writing is hard. It’s not just about getting the grammar or humour right, because some successful bloggers aren’t the best in either (my humble opinion). My stumbling block was translating ideas for posts into actual posts. I had some grand ideas, but they actually required quite a lot of research to imbue some sense of credibility – my experience was limited for the kind of advice I wanted to dish out. And the subject matter was already sorta fluffy.

Turns out, graphic design was comparatively mindless.

I probably picked the wrong market

Was my blog targeting a genuine problem? I still think so. Was it the best medium or channel to reach out to the target audience? Probably not.

My personal observation is that the bulk of traffic is irregular, mostly the occasional find from search engines results. Some blogs do reach top of mind, or are very successful with followers on channels like Twitter, but my market (Singaporean fresh grads) is generally less Twitter-crazed, and my subject matter was not exactly search-friendly material. Heck, I struggled myself to put questions into words when speaking with a boss or mentor. Similarly, experience/observation doesn’t always transfer to the pen/keyboard very well. The only way this would work would have to be something a little more… integrated into the life of the fresh grad. (Something which I have been thinking about, and you may hear about that someday)

So, I kinda failed…

…but hey, you gotta have some grit. I gave it a shot and took away some lessons on blogging:

  1. Find something you’re passionate about – it’s not all about the money. Be prepared to go without money for a while!
  2. Writing well requires dedication – sacrificing your precious after-work rest for racking your brains on blog posts is not for the faint-of-mind
  3. If possible, have some thought about your target market – do they fit the channel and likely method of discovery?

I may have closed down one blog, but the idea for it lives on. I’m also going to attempt keeping this blog – more as a personal sharing outlet, but also because my life is undergoing some transition. But, more on that in another post 🙂

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