What a difference a blog makes

I started blogging in 2001 at blogger.com. When I got my first web host, I moved my blog to Movable Type and forced myself to learn the basics of perl so that I can design my first custom theme. I was there when WordPress first came out, and I remember not liking it one bit. Compared to the elegant layout of MT’s admin, I thought WP looked clunky. Besides, I was just not ready to learn another language (php). I was hellbent on becoming a designer not a programmer!

Blogging was an on-and-off thing for me, with my most productive blogging period being during my stay in Kuala Lumpur (fueled by homesickness, I guess). By the time I purchased the domain jasperespejo.com, it seemed every Tom-Dick-and-Harry was ranting about something online via personal blogs while I, on the other hand, lost interest. I decided to use my new website to feature only web projects using (then) snazzy jquery effects and my blog faded into oblivion, or rather into a backup sql file.

31 Days to buil a better blog

But sometime last year, I started toying with the idea to resurrect my blog. In the intervening years since I closed my blog, the main reason that stopped me from having one in jasperespejo.com has disappeared–the notion that a blog is a personal journal and not a professional tool.

So I remodeled my site around a new WordPress… yes WordPress, the one I rejected years back for being ugly but which I have eventually grown to love and master (including learning php) after discovering its many good points (not least the fact the people will pay me to make their WP sites)… a new WordPress platform that caught my interest, PlatformPro from Pageline, and put a blog on the frontpage.

The effect of this addition on my website has been very positive.

  1. Surge in web traffic. Unlike before where I was getting only a handful of hits per day, my Google Analytics chart peaked like a sharp mountain cliff since I opened my blog and never hit 0 again.
  2. Increased inquiries about my freelance services. Not all of which I can accommodate, unfortunately.
  3. Sales from affiliate links (finally!). I’ve tried a few affiliate links displayed here-and-there among my social network sites but I never really made a single sale until recently. And those sales all came from my re-designed website. Now I know that the formula traffic + targeted content = sales does work and I am thinking of other ways to leverage this.

I have to thank social networks for the good outcome. The first thing I did after completing the re-design and before posting my first blog was to setup dlvr.it to forward my posts to all my social networking sites. And believe me I’ve signed up to plenty. Sometimes, I think too many for my own good.

And also, I seemed to have hit a jackpot when I blogged my reaction about a Lonely Planet article mentioning the Philippines. That post got me the most search referral from Google. Now I’m thinking I should do more stories about my travels around the PH. I’m beginning understand why a lot of people seem to want to be travel bloggers.

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

So now I’m stoked to blog more. One of my immediate to-do is to find the sql backup file of my old blog and rescue some of the noteworthy travel posts I made in the past and import them over to their new home.

I will also write about my freelancing job which is going into its 4th year by June 2011. A fact which surprises even myself, because when I quit my day job in a US-owned company four years ago, I had so many fears about working outside the traditional office setting and I thought I would not last a few months working from home.

And, of course, I will blog about my other interests in life: photography, keeping fit, transitioning into my 40s, personal projects. Now and then, I might try to sell some stuff via promotional posts ;-).

So here it is. My new blog-life.

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