My blog traffic was through the floor.
My website had a shiny new look. But the insides were in tatters.
Changes in templates and domain names, and the plain old passage of time, had left my blog a shipwreck of broken links, wrongly-sized text and out-of-date information. Even the most basic SEO such as image alt-tags was missing.
I finally decided to take the bull by the horns and methodically work my way through all the problems. (That's why my blog-writing has been subdued lately.)
Over the summer I’ve reformatted (and in some cases, re-written) somewhere in the region of 240 blogposts.
It has taken me many, many hours.
But - as with all mammoth undertakings - I’ve emerged out the other side stronger and wiser.
(And, inevitably with a new “Next To Do” list!)
What I learned from several months of grunt work
During this gruelling process I have learned some very important stuff:
1. If you're going to run a marathon, training is vitally important.
My training for this particular marathon was updating the links, logos and back-matter in all my eBooks earlier in the year.
Doing that taught me how to approach this task - both mentally and organisationally. I learned how to pace myself and to sustain myself over the long haul.
2. The value of dogged persistence.
This is not a trait that comes naturally to one born under the sign of fishes swimming in opposite directions.
To learn this level of persistence I had to emulate the most tenacious of all astrological signs: The Crab.
Fortunately I have a living, breathing, tenacious one working at the desk alongside.
3. Work has its seasons.
If you have to do grunt work you don’t want it interfering with the work that pays your bills.
Coaching is generally more quiet in the summer so I chose a good time to focus on this project.
4. Grunt work is meditative.
I know that rote activities have their place but I’ve never had to chip away at such a big rock for so long before.
It sent me into a very introverted and meditative state of mind. A state that’s very conducive to thinking about important stuff.
I made some BIG decisions during this time.
5. Five years of showing up is a big step towards mastery.
My writing has tightened up a ton in the five years I’ve had this blog. And that’s not to mention the 3? 4? blogs I had before this one.
I tidied up more than one post along the way. So should a reader be led back to an old post via a series of links, s/he can expect something approaching the same quality of the work s/he’s read before.
6. Mastery is only achieved when we review, evolve and adapt our practice.
My writing really started to move when I conceived my 7 day blogpost workflow.
This system allows for me to review and edit my posts multiple times before pressing publish.
While this won’t ever turn me into a gifted writer, it gives my writing much greater coherency than it had before.
(Hence why I felt drawn to editing some of the older posts.)
7. A good system makes even the most daunting task a lot easier.
A robust organisational process helps us keep tabs on every aspect of what’s being done, so nothing slips through the cracks. Ok, maybe not nothing. But 90% less than without the system.
I now have a complete spreadsheet of every post on the blog along with title, URL, tags, cross-posts, and even the main image that goes with it.
This is a fabulous resource for all sorts of purposes from cross-linking posts to creating collated content. (See 8)
I’ve also implemented a faster and more efficient system for creating blog graphics.
8. Our most important ideas will come back to us over and over.
I’ve witnessed myself come back to certain subjects repeatedly, from different angles.
I now recognise this as my core content.
I can collate this valuable content into eBooks which will accurately represent my voice and brand.
9. Training in one area has a positive knock-on effect for other areas.
This patient process has taught me something useful for my creative practice: I feel less emotional but much more purposeful in my work.
I jump around less.
I’m hyper-aware that the whole thing will get done if I just keep tackling the parts.
10. Hard work eventually pays off
Despite our increasing fixation on quick-fixes, some things are worth taking time over because they yield long-term benefits.
My traffic is slowly picking up and I’m noticing a gradual increase in newsletter sign-up’s.
Full steam ahead!
My blog is now ship-shape and prepared to carry new passengers. Ready to embark on journeys to new and exciting shores!
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