I don’t really remember how I first started the whole blogging thing. Erm, I don’t mean 3 years ago – what I meant was like maybe 15 years ago when I was still enlisted in the army? Yes, that’s right. That’s before WordPress was even around!
Back then, I remembered it being a fight between Blogger and Movable Type – if you’ve been around for that long and you had fiddled with the earlier technical platforms, you would have had fun hosting Movable Type.
Self-learnt all the basics back then since internet made everything available.
I’ve dabbled with blogging on various stuff mostly as a hobby, and it has been soooooo long that when people ask me how to get started, I give a confused look. I .. don’t really know – like maybe start a new Blogger and WordPress blog and start writing?
Not a significant request but nevertheless, I drafted out a couple of posts just to satisfy the curiosity of you guys who are interested in
making money from blogging what I do for my blog and what are some of the tools that I use etc.
Part One of Behind The Scenes Series will focus on writing and posting.
For me, I use three devices to write with. Here is my current setup :
- desktop computer (24″)
- Macbook Air (11″)
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (5.5″)
Contrary to what many people think, most of my writing don’t take place on my desktop computer. If I have to put a number to it, I would say that 70% of my writing gets done on my mobile phone – yikes! Amazing huh? I try to make good use of my morning commute and breakfast time to write. Getting a good writing app will help tremendously.
I have blogged on how I saved hundreds of dollars by making use of Travel Smart Rewards scheme, which coincidentally has been extended to 9 Aug, 2016 in their terms and conditions page. By travelling for free during off-peak hours, I get a cushy seat to sleep on and have a leisurely breakfast before I start work.
I carry an ultra portable, 5-year-old, first generation 11″ Macbook Air (it is really difficult to spoil this thing) with me and I do a little bit of writing at McDonald’s by making use of the free Wireless@SG network.
Jotterpad – Android Writing App
My preferred writing app is Jotterpad which is really nice to use with some nifty tools included (word count, day/night mode, word/paragraph/count stats, etc). Considering that most of my writing is done on my mobile phone, I searched high and low before deciding on this.
I cannot stress this enough, I depend a lot on my mobile phone. Whenever something pops into my head, I make an entry into my phone. If I feel that there is a topic that I want to work on, I start listing down on the key items in point forms to create a brief outline. Then, I start writing.
The final touching up is then done on my desktop computer.
If you’re the type who is really anal about your writing, technology is here to rescue you again. Use the Hemingway Editor to improve and refine your writing.
Blog Ideas – Getting Inspired
My primary source is The Finance. However, instead of visiting the website itself, I use a news aggregator app called Feedly on my Android phone. Basically, what it does is that whenever a new post is published (ironically The Finance is a web aggregator), I get it pushed to my Feedly app. Because Singapore Investment Bloggers itself is not a blog, I visit it occasionally and add interesting blogs to my Feedly app.
By using the app, I don’t have to keep visiting and reloading (data costs!) these individual websites but instead, when they publish a new post, I’ll get to know it via my Feedly app.
For international news, I only follow Bloomberg. I find it good enough to keep my mind occupied. There is too much information out there and you can never consume it all. Once in a awhile, I’ll come across articles that I don’t have time to read so I’ll save it to my Pocket app so that I can read it in future.
Stock Photos & Image Editing
All words with no pictures is rather drab. I usually browse through the stash of stock photos that I have stockpiled and see if there is one that I can use. I love Death To Stock Photos for this. Sign up and they will send you a monthly photo pack.
See the one right at the top of this post? Yup, got it from them.
If you don’t have Photoshop, which is really overkill for the typical image editing needs of a blog, you can rely on alternatives such as PIXLR, an online photo editing app. We all love free stuff right? I use PIXLR on my Macbook Air since Photoshop is only my desktop computer.
Pre-Written & Scheduled Post
When I’m feeling productive (which is
never awesome), I tend to pre-write blog posts and just leave them in my WordPress as a scheduled post. This is a really great function for a variety of reasons.
I write here because I enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m always able to write regularly. I may have only two posts written last month because I’m busy with a project at work or holidaying in Maldives, but a whooping six posts for next month! By pre-writing and scheduling posts, I try to achieve some sort of regularity to my blog posts from the perspective of readers.
Instead of hitting the publish button immediately, I can set my blog posts to be posted say, every Sunday at 9:00am. I like to read blog updates on Sunday morning, because that is when I’m feeling really relaxed and stress-free. I can enjoy a nice breakfast and leisurely browse through topics that interests me. I imagine that to be the same for my readers too.
Phew – You Did It
Well, I imagine that this is perhaps slightly more intensive than the “just write” advice. You don’t have to do all this! This is simply a system that has worked for me, and one that I have refined over the years. It may seem like too much trouble to you with image editing and all, but to me it’s just a couple of seconds to select a photo or do a printscreen, do a quick crop and image upload to WordPress. I’ve done it thousands of times.
Plus, this is only the tip of the iceberg. In subsequent parts of the series, I will talk a little bit on the technical aspects like blogging platform, social media & sharing, interaction with readers, extra-cirricular activitites and
the only thing you want to know lastly, on monetization.
But hey, always remember – you can simply, just write.
P.S. If you’re reading this at 9:37am, I didn’t just hit the publish button at 9am. I am, in all likelihood, still sleeping in bed. Good morning to you!