In this post I will mainly talk about this blog for the benefit of people who are interested in kickstarting their own blog or just interested. If you want to read about something topical, have a post about Facebook facial recognition I wrote in December. (You see, I’ll get to that point below).
‘The Anphicle Review‘ started in April 2010 as a personal blog where I would post anything related to my interests. As I started posting proper (as in: thought out) articles about web sites I decided to delete the off topic posts and be serious about providing reading for people interested in the Internet. I knew it was a crowded area and I knew I would probably give up within a month or two, because every project I have ever started got shelved. But I promised to do it for a year whatever and see what happens. Amazingly I kept it up for a year and have written nearly 100 posts.
Links, Likes & Appreciation
Not really happened though cannot argue. Readers I will group as ‘social media’ in general haven’t really embraced my stuff. There have been a few retweets and comments but not what I would have expected in say, 2006, when blogs were more popular. I bet if I had kept my Facebook account people may have clicked through out of being nosy. Nobody I know away from the keyboard knows I do this. Are you crazy?
Apart from links on Huffington Post and DuckDuckGo I can’t remember any other memorable ones, though I must make clear, I wouldn’t share my stuff either. That’s just what people don’t tend to do anymore. I remember the Reddit comments that absolutely slammed me on my post about the lack of Internet successes in Britain. I read all the time about bloggers getting critisicm so f*ck ‘em.
A few other bloggers have mentioned me which is nice. Having any sort of acknowledgement your stuff is being read makes it all worthwhile. Being invited to parties and focus groups was nice too, although also heartbreaking because they were always in London or the US and my full-time job keeps me here in the grim North of England.
Particular highlights for me are being asked to write for other blogs full-time, one of which is bloooody massive. The reason I turned them down is because they wanted X amount of posts a day and I can’t do this. Firstly, if there is nothing for me to write about, I can’t write. Secondly I need to finish a post before publishing because I have to be sure it is publishable, some of these posts take days to write. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go around calling myself a tech-writer but I’d have to do it on my terms. I don’t enjoy my current job but I really don’t want to do something I should enjoy but really don’t because I can’t. Maybe that isn’t clear; if you dream of flying to the moon but have to do it by flapping your arms it wouldn’t be all that enjoyable.
I wrote about Quora’s name policy, DuckDuckGo, Fiverr, Flattr, StolenCameraFinder (the list goes on) and not a shat was given. Some other person writes about them (months after, cough Scoble), and world goes apeshit. Proof that in 2011 it’s not what you write but who you are.
Could I Make Money Blogging
I have a full-time job and this is just an extra time thing. If I was unemployed this would be 10x the blog it is today and no doubt be plastered in affiliate links and ads. But I wrote with respect for the reader, and to my beliefs, in the hope it would gain readers but I can’t say that has really happened. I’ve not made a single penny out of doing this.
Further to me saying I can’t knock out X posts a day, sadly this is needed in making a blog pay. Google bloody loves you if you post often and a certain amount of words. That’s why up until recently I had written fewer words and tried to write twice a week and it worked. That’s why big blogs, (anything AOL owned), write lots and lots and lots of posts. That’s why Techcrunch write the same post two or three times by different authors. I hate this. Hate, hate, hate. It made being a reader so hard for me I unsubscribed. Anyway…
To make money out of a blog these days you can’t just stick Google Ads on and retire. I won’t get into the methods of making money but there isn’t much hope for this blog. Even though I have decent levels of traffic, ads are irrelevant and aren’t being clicked on. Because each post can range from ‘Ship Tracking’ to ‘Finding Friends‘ there isn’t a consistent theme like a blog about Woodworking Tips constantly has. That’s also why the recurring audience isn’t there and that’s why there isn’t money to be made. If you want to make money blogging don’t do reviews, write about whatever ability you have and stick to the theme.
99.9% of traffic comes to me from search engines. Mainly Google referrals but because of auto-translation I get a lot of foreign search engine traffic, biggest of which being Yandex (Russia). In this image Google look like they have world domination (OK yes they do) but bear in mind my blog is optimised for them and the Bings and stuff tend not to like blogs so much. BTW who the f* is using AOL search? These numbers are from March.
Visitors to anphicle.com have grown every month and this has kept me posting. The June daily visitor average is about 160 people looking at 250 pages.
For some nerdy reason the map is why I like blogging. Not for the money or even the traffic numbers but all about turning the map blue. Sometimes I think these are proxies or spam because there’s no way somebody from the Ivory Coast is visiting my blog but you look into it and sure enough find a referral from google.ci. The only countries I haven’t been able to verify because of no referer or provider name (IE they have a sense of privacy) are Sudan and Albania. This map shows the heaviest traffic states as the darkest blue. USA is heaviest, which I believe, but the analytics software has a habit of placing unknowns there too.
I guess I like the map because it gives me hope that people are on the web and if they have the ability and time to find my blog for what ever reason, say by searching ‘Fiverr review’, then they must have most freedoms of the web. Is China’s firewall blocking free speech when they can get a blog at Anphicle.com? Is life in Iraq so hard somebody couldn’t find a few minutes to read about a search engine called Blekko? Why does somebody in Uruguay want to know how much I made with Flattr? The map makes me realise how much I bloody love the Internet and it’s people, I bloody love you. Now how do I paint North Korea blue?
Improvements to Anphicle & Year 2
If I could be bothered to improve Anphicle, I would (have done it ages ago and) sort the design and content structure out once and for all, go on a link-building mission. I think some aspects of the tech side don’t work properly (email alerts), I would set aside time to write a post on certain days of the week and be a better blogger all round. If only I could be bothered. I have some other projects I’ve started which will probably become my main effort takers. I will definitely keep this site alive but post less frequently. I guess it all depends on you! Let me know if you have anything you would like to say about this very blog either here or Twitter.
Thanks again for making me do this shit.