Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blogging...the first six months, part 4

As I wrap up this series on some discoveries I have made over the past six months of blogging, I thought I would address a couple of things - time and measurement.

First, since I started blogging six months ago, I am amazed to discover how much time it all takes.

There is the obvious time commitment of posting regularly. There is time involved with finding things to post about and then time to actually put the words together into an article.

There is also the time spent reading other blogs. Before I started blogging, there were a couple of blogs that I would stop by at every few days. Now, I stop by closer to twenty blogs and I seem to do it multiple times a day. Some of this is through Google Reader, but others I just have in my Favorites and go directly to (some I get in Google Reader, but still go directly to). Reading other blogs has helped me find additional deals and freebies that I sign up for and share, that I might not have otherwise known about.

There is also the time it takes to plan a shopping trip. It takes time to plan my menu and grocery trip. Figuring out if I should just go to one store or more. It also takes me a while to plan my CVS trips. I review the ad. I find the deals that are of most interest to me. I write them down. I organize them to match the coupons and ECBs I have, in hopes of minimizing my OOP. This frequently involves me checking out the coupon matches that others have listed on their sites - this helps me know what coupon I am looking for in my organizer and helps me find Internet printable coupons. Then, because I like the challenge, I generally will put together a $5 set of scenarios to participate in the $5 CVS Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First. This doesn't take as much time since I have already found the coupons that I will use for each of the deals.

Then there is Twitter. I don't always say a lot, but I spend a good amount of time following others on Twitter. It is a little addicting and since I don't have any sort of IM (and never have), it is a lot like what I would imagine IM-ing to be, only more so, since the conversations are more open (like a chat room, maybe).

The other thing that I spend some time on is measuring how I am doing. I love FeedBurner and Google Analytics. It amazes me the amount of information that is available through these two services. I like seeing what brings people to my blog - whether it be another blog or a search. It is fun to look at the statistics on the number of visitors and page views. I can remember how exciting it was to have my first day where I had 100 hits, and then 500. I enjoy looking at the trends and seeing the patterns of visits to my blog - Thursdays seem to be a slow day of the week, every week. I enjoy reading the comments that readers leave - it provides that validation that someone is reading what I write and is taking something from it. I also tend to click through and check out the blog, if there is one, of the commenter. I have found a few sites I read regularly in this way.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would be a blogger, I might have laughed and said, I don't know a thing about blogging. But, here I am, having a great time.