Finding my Footing

Back in February I decided to make a change to this website. It had gone from being a professional showcase to a blog. Part of the change was inspired by my seeing blogs out there where people made money. The formula is a common one:
“Hey! I can write stuff, and people will visit my site and I’ll get advertisers, and they’ll pay me!”

I don’t know if we’re still in the golden age of the paid blogger, but over the past 4 months I think I’ve realized something:

  • It’s not as easy as I thought it would be
  • It’s not as fun as I thought it would be
  • It’s not necessarily what I want to do.

See, I started paying attention to blogs like TUAW and They’re both great sites and they both report things in a way that’s fun to read. I wanted to do that, and it became clear that everyone else did too. What is my site offering that isn’t already available in a million other places on the web? My commentary isn’t incredibly different from any other Tech-Nerd Apple-fanboy online, so why would people be reading that? It turns out that people really aren’t. A skimming of my analytics data shows that people are mostly interested in the cool stuff that I’ve made. My DIY-NAS far outweighing anything else, but even the Atomic Cube and my Birthday Wishlist have gotten far more attention than any of the opinion pieces. I think this is probably because people are more interested in stuff that I’ve done than my opinions about the world. It makes sense too. Everybody’s got opinions, but not everyone does the cool stuff I do.

I think when I started this, I wanted a site like Paul’s. I would write reviews, guides, and opinion pieces about tech, and people would flock to me, and tell me how awesome I am. While I still hope for that last part (I think right now my only fan is Hykel), I think that running a website probably needs to first be an exercise in willingness. You probably shouldn’t run a website if it’s not rewarding to you. To me, for this site, that means more than money. I want to post because I want to show off cool stuff that I’ve done.

So I think I’m going to change direction a bit on the site here. I’m going to back away from opinion pieces, and stuff that’s already been covered a million times in a million places. Instead, I’m going to focus on me! Yeah, hopefully it won’t come off as a weird Me-Monster type thing, but then again, the website is

Anyway, Look for more Aaron-related content in the future.

  1. I’ve been through the same struggles with my blog. I wanted to be a witty tech news writer, and when I started it years ago, that’s what I tried to do. I go back and read those posts now and laugh. How come no one told me it was so apparent that I was trying too hard? 🙂

    I switched to the “my blog is about me, and what I’m doing/thinking” a long time ago, and it’s been great. I still have Google ads on the site, but I only check them once every few weeks, and they don’t make more than about a buck a day (mostly from some older posts I wrote that have incredibly high Google juice and still bring in a lot of traffic).

    As a very wise person once told me, don’t try to make money *with* your blog, try to make money *because* of your blog. It’s where you show off what you know and how awesome you are. Blogs are the new resumes. So have fun with it.

    And you have more than just one fan, for the record. 🙂

    • Yeah, I had a couple of flags that popped up early on that ought to have let me know a little sooner. The first was that I didn’t actually like writing most of what I was writing. It was a struggle and I would push myself through it arguing that I needed to have more content to get indexed info to get readers… and it turns out almost none of my readers come from search engines, they come from places where what I’m doing is interesting, and linked.

      The other flag is that I would avoid posting about a lot of things I care about because I was afraid of branding myself or not catering to a particular crowd. There’s a time and a place for some things, and I admit that I still will probably stay away from my strong opinions about economics and politics in my blog, but now I don’t have to worry about scaring away readership. If they want to read my stuff, cool. If they don’t, cool. The pressure isn’t there to be popular… just to be me. 🙂

      “And you have more than just one fan, for the record.”

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