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The Story of Colblindor – Blog Case Study

Color-BlindThe following post was submitted by Daniel Fluck as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series.

I am reading some blogs about programming for quite a while now but never ever thought about starting my own blog. Until two month ago where I stumbled across a talk of Robert Scoble at the LIFT06 conference in Geneva. His talk was about what blogging really is and what you can achieve through it. This fascinated me immediately. Deciding in this very moment that I have to join the blog community I didn’t have a clue on its implications.

As being a retired programmer I was keen on setting up my own blog site, which turned out to be the first hurdle to take. My first post was on February 15th 2006 on a programming topic. The second one the day after on some completely different topic. After a few days of “blogging what comes to me mind” I came across ProBlogger.net which taught me differently.

As a first conclusion I deleted all my posts and started from scratch. It took me quite a while to figure out on which area I want to settle my blog. The niche topic “Color Blindness viewed through Colorblind Eyes” made the race. In the beginning I asked myself: Is there really enough to write about and will I still be writing on this topic in one year? But this thoughts were gone after a few days of daily posting and browsing the internet.

The first days were quite difficult to manage because I still had to learn so much, adjust my blog site to my needs and in the meantime try to post some good stuff. Technorati, statistic services, the blogger community, blogs to keep track of and browsing the web for new ideas and maybe even some news. I am still struggling with this. It takes so much time and usually I am not done with my post in only fifteen minutes. And as I want to post every day this is still a big effort to me.

Right now I am redesigning my page. Up to now I used one of the standard themes but my ambitions grew. And as the design has to look “great” and reflect my topic this takes some more days of work.

After a bit more than one month of blogging I am addicted. At the moment my investment is around four to six hours a day. In return I count between ten and twenty visits each day. Some readers are coming back once in a while. Others just end up at my page through a google search and are not always satisfied with what they find.

As being a blogging-greenhorn I have these two questions:

Where do I find readers? I am searching the blogosphere for a few keywords and started commenting here and there. But how can I find good blogs from others and readers who might be interested in my topic? The top 100 are just to busy. I would prefer some blogs on niche topics with good content, but it’s hard to find them. Usually they are writing just about everything and that’s not what I am interested in. Is there maybe a niche top blog site or something like that?

Do you write in advance? As described above it takes me everyday quite some time to get my article posted. Is there a good technique about writing? Let’s say: I try to write a pillar article early in the week and some small ones ahead as well. Then everyday I can decide which one of those to post or get some news up on my blog. Or is writing every day a must?

For me this blogging experience already payed off. I learned so much the last weeks. And as I am not a native english speaker (I suppose you could tell) it pushes my language and writing skills a lot.

Robert Scoble’s talk – it started blogging experience.
Colblindor – my blog, if you like to visit.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. karli says:

    Kinda indirectly related this one, but is it just me, or is anyone else a bit frustrated by being force-fed having to use the incorrect spelling of the word ‘colour’? I remember a time when we used to laugh at Americans for not being able to spell such a simple word. Now it’s us British, who are left using the proper spelling. Is this the start of something larger perhaps?

  2. IC says:

    Karli,

    There is maybe half of Canada on the ‘colour’ side while some of us have followed the Americans. It seems like more publications are choosing American spelling. I have not. Any neighbours in favour?

  3. henning says:

    Speaking of spelling, I found Colbindor a little hard to read because of all the spelling and grammar mistakes. To keep people coming back, you might want to work on that a bit. A mistake here or there is human, but I found that Colbinder was particularly bad. If English isn’t your first language, then the mistakes are totally understandable. But that doesn’t make it any easier to read! :)

    Also, I didn’t see an About page, which I always check out when looking at a blog for the first time.

    I like the design, BTW. I just wish I could click on “Protanope” and the other words in the header, to find out what they mean.

  4. henning says:

    I forgot to say: I blog in advance all the time. Do whatever works for you. Readers enjoy seeing something on a regular basis, but it doesn’t matter when you do the actual writing.

  5. Neat idea for a blog. I happen to be colorblind myself and blogged about it last year:
    http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/colorblindness/

    I often wonder what people would look like if I suddenly had normal vision. It would be freakish to find that people are different colors than I’m used to seeing.

    So far no one has been able to explain to me what the color red really looks like.

  6. I agree with Henning; if it works to post in advance, go for it.

    I have had over a week of advance posts going out recently because I moved and have no internet access at this point. Very conveniant; I didn’t miss any days of new content showing up, and I didn’t have to actually get on there every day. Of course, I still have no internet access at home and only have through tomorrow set up ahead of time…

  7. Ricemutt says:

    Hi: I’m also a blogging greenhorn, but like you, I also started writing in order to practice my writing skills (in my case, in Spanish and Chinese), so I wanted to say that I admire your blogging in another language because I know how hard that can be.

    I’m not as good as you or others about posting frequently, as my personal philosophy is to write only when I think I have interesting and unique content, especially in my “main” English site. To me, when writing in another language, it helps to write ahead of time as it takes me a while to check my grammar and spelling.

    As far as readership goes, like someone else mentioned, sometimes the thing that brings readers is what you least expect. One of my posts, a tiny one on CAGR with a corresponding excel attachment that I did on a whim, generates the bulk of my readership from search engine queries. I’ve found that a good source of readership is to find a forum on the topic you’ve written about and post there (assuming you follow forum rules — sometimes they forbid posting links if you profit from it, etc.) For example, there must be support forums out there for colorblind people or their families, etc. that you might want to try.

  8. Paul Mernon says:

    It is an important question indeed, how a blog on a quite narrow niche topic can get more readers. Actually, if you look at alexa.com top 500, or look at most popular tags on social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, Furl or Digg, you will notice that majority of pages being bookmarked, as well as pages bookmarked by most people will be about web, computers, programming, web design, etc.

    How do you think, does 80/20 rule applies here? If it applies, then we’ve got a narrow subset of topics people like to talk and read about, and 80 percent of pages people read (and search, and share) will be somehow related to this topics.

    So in a narrow niche blogger can expect his traffic to come mainly from search engines. For example, it is still true for my first 3-month old blog (so note that I’m not an expert) which is focused on a very narrow niche. Yes, this traffic converts well for advertising, but I think it is also hard to convert it to regular readers. Just because when person looks for something specific, he is more in a ‘find, read, get question answered and forget’ attitude than in a ‘find, enjoy and wait for more’.

    Your thoughts?

  9. Daniel Fluck says:

    Thanks a lot for all your advices so far.

    @karli: color or colour: I know about this different spellings. That’s why I checked some keyword analaysis tools and they showed me that many many more people are looking for color than for colour. That’s why I decided to stick to the american english version – most of the time.

    @henning: Thanks a lot for pointing out my spelling. I’ll try to improve it. As I mentioned is english not my first language and I hope I can improve it through blogging. – I already thought about linking the words Protanope, Deuteranope and so on. And I will definitely put up an “About” and a “Contact” page very soon. The new design was just released yesterday. So there is a lot of room for improvement.

    @Steve: Thanks for the link. I already wrote about it at http://colblindor.whitesands.ch/2006/03/21/color-blindness-at-the-blogoshpere/

    Posting in advance. Hmm. At the moment it is still quite an effort for me to post daily and there is no time left to post in advance. But as soon as there is some more time I’ll try to start and get a better posting rhythm.

  10. Helena says:

    I am in much the same boat as you are: I recently started a blog on a niche topic (vegan health and weight loss), English is a foreign language to me as well, and I also get about 20 visitors a day. I thought my English was not that bad, but I find it is really hard to write an original article in a foreign language. But, like you, I hope that regular writing will help improve my English.

    If you have MS Word or another word processor with grammar checking, I recommend using it. I know grammar checkers are still very bad, but it often catches a stupid error that I would otherwise have missed (it also catches error that really aren’t errors, so you do have to be careful). Just copy the text from your blog editor to Word and run the spell/grammar check.

    I saw you experimented with digg and reddit, and concluded that reddit worked better. I would consider if that post worked better because of the title. Those list type posts are often successful on social sites (or so I have heard).

    All in all, I think you are doing really well: you have a great niche topic and a good design. If I were into colorblindness I would definitely subscribe to your site.

  11. Dave Starr says:

    I can only imagine what it is to be colo(u)r blind and what it is to write for the public in general in a second language. I do admire the effort and I really think the subject is good and useful. The very last thing we need is more of the ‘same old, same old’.

    I can’t help pointing out one issue, though, that I frequently see from native English speakers as well. For some reason the Net seems to have perverted the word advice. Advice is a noun … it is something you give to someone. It is both singular and plural (like aircraft, another one that US college graduates seem to have trouble with). No matter how many pieces of advice you get you never add an ‘s’. To give advice is to advise. Advice – the noun, advise – the verb.

    I love this site, it’s both very informative and entertaining to browse through:
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/

  12. Eric Scalf says:
  13. Smart says:

    Have you ever heard ‘Sorry’ of Madona … hot song. I love C# :)