Everyone has failures in our lives and only by learning from them do we improve ourselves and succeed in our goals.

The quote above is from the the site of Ian Hedges who was the winner of the blog review in my recent Pimp My Blog contest. His blog title is “Failure is the Key to Success“, and he has been blogging for just over 2 years, most regularly for the last 6 months, posting several times a week. He uses a blog system I had never heard of called Thingamablog. I asked Ian if he was pleased with it:

I quite like Thingamablog. My hosting package didn’t have a database, so I was unable to use WordPress. I found Thingamablog, which uses a local database and then publishes the changed pages. I have been able to adjust the html and style sheets of the templates to get the current layout and look. It is a straight forward program with a Java frontend to the database. Unfortunately, things like Technorati tags have to added manually to the post as the post entry template cannot be changed from the default. The disadvantage of a local database is that I can only blog from home where I have access to the database. Also, I miss out on all the varied WordPress plugins, so maybe one day I’ll upgrade my package to one that includes a database and migrate to WordPress.

Ian’s blog posts are mostly personal, and he isn’t concerned with monetizing his blog. He is interested in growing his readership, however, and while his posts are interesting, his site could do with more “focus” if he is to grow his readership in any substantial way. It is a rare blogger who can increase their traffic much with posts that are mostly of a day to day personal nature. Readers will return and subscribe if they are helped, amused, inspired, etc., but you’ll end up with very little growth without providing regular benefit to your readers. I know this because I have a site where I just post personal things, and it’s really only ever interested friends and family for the most part. This is not to say that Ian never provides benefit and even amusement to his readers- he certainly does. (I particularly appreciated the post he wrote about anti-virus software. I had not heard of the free program he’s using – sounds very good.) My observation is simply that focusing on whatever Ian is an expert at that others might be interested in learning would be good for growth, for example, self-improvement and motivational type posts, as the blog title hints at might be a good choice. You can read more about why Ian titled his blog as he did here.

Some design improvements could certainly be made, but Ian may be somewhat limited with the system he’s on, so I hesitate to say much on that subject. Migrating to WordPress and choosing a sharp theme would be a good step. Stop over and get to know him when you get a chance!  Thanks again to Ian for participating in my little contest.