Lessons From Two Years of Blogging

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This blog is now more than two years old.

That’s a weird sentence to write because it feels like I started it just six months ago.

In truth, those two years have passed by in a blink.

And that, more than anything else, is what I’ve learned most from this journey so far.

Time is short, and a year can feel like a month.

So:

Whatever your endeavor, your passion, or long-term desire – there’s no reason not to start today.

With that, here are the other lessons I’ve learned over the last two years.

1. I’m satisfied with my start.

In two years, I’ve drafted 144 blog posts, had more than 18,000 visits to this site, and received an average of one comment per post.

I’ve built a foundation – a digital beachhead on this little corner of the World Wide Web that is mine and mine alone.

When someone Googles me, this site is the first result returned – strangers are greeted with my words, thoughts and insights into marketing, movies, social media and more.

2. The portfolio economy matters.

When I was ready to switch jobs ~10 months ago, several of the executives who interviewed me commented on my writing, which they’d encountered via this blog when Googling me.

That I had taken the time to draft more than 100 posts at that point entirely above-and-beyond my 55-hour-a-week job at a public relations agency was a key positive differentiator that I’m sure played a part in my landing interviews and eventually choosing to join MSL Group.

3. Success compounds.

It’s been interesting to review last year’s version of this post – Reflections on One Year of Blogging.

My core takeaway then essentially remains the same today. On Dec. 31, 2016 I wrote:

“Whatever your goals for 2017, I urge you to pursue them via concrete action.

Live each day this year so that on January 1, 2018, you can look back with pride on all you’ve accomplished, and have tangible proof of your efforts.”

I certainly did that in 2017, but my primary goals lay outside the scope of this blog.

Still, this website’s comparative metrics from 2016 to 2017 paint an interesting picture.

In 2016, I published 50% more blog posts, but in 2017 I received 50% more unique page visits.

Put another way, the posts I wrote in year two were viewed 4x more than those I wrote in year one.

The lesson?

Having a solid foundation (built on work put in at the beginning) allows you to maintain momentum even if you coast a bit.

The Metrics

After year one, I had:

  • 93 blog posts
  • 7,200 pageviews
  • Nearly 100 comments
  • 4,500 followers on Twitter
  • 750,000 views on Quora

By comparison, this year I had:

  • 49 blog posts
  • 11,000+ additional pageviews
  • 45 more comments

To be fair, I concentrated far more on social media this year, building up my presence on Quora and Twitter. Today I have:

  • 13,000+ followers on Twitter (a net gain of 200% or ~8,500)
  • 710 followers on Quora, with 2.8 million views there

As I stated above, I grew my blog views by only 50% year-over-year, but I did so with only ½ as many posts.

Meanwhile, I quadrupled my views on Quora and am well on my way to reaching the tipping point of 1,000 followers there.

Dashed 2017 Goals

Notably, I failed in all five of my stated 2017 goals for this blog. They were:

  1. Publish 100 new posts. (I published just 49)
  2. Write and publish at least one ebook. (Nope – did neither)
  3. Establish a solid presence on Medium. (Nope – published just 7 posts there and have languished at a mere ~450 followers)
  4. Establish a solid presence on Instagram. (Nope)
  5. Reach 15,000 pageviews (an increase of 115% over last year). (Just 11,000+)

As I wrote previously in my 2016 post NaNoWriMo Results – Why You Should Always Shoot for the Moon, the process matters just as much as the result.

In that month, I pushed hard to publish a total of 16 posts in 30 days.

And I fell short, publishing just 13.

However, that was still a victory, as it was my monthly record at the time (both by word count and total published pieces).

2018 Goals

As I enter Year Three, my goals for this blog are far more modest this year than last.

Ideally, I’d publish 100 new articles by year’s end (an average of two per week) and continue to contribute to a broader range of publications as an occasional guest author.

But, now two years into this journey, I’m content to simply keep writing as the mood strikes me – to keep this side project fun rather than feeling like an obligation.

Partly this is because priorities shift as time marches on – your passions of one year may not burn as brightly the next.

But I still love writing and will continue to post here frequently.

The reality is in 2017 I published nearly one new blog post per week.

And I did that while switching jobs, enjoying a social life, performing on stage several times (for the first time in decades) and training for (and completing) seven 5k races and one 4-miler.

It is the totality of those achievements, my friends, that made 2017 a roaring success.

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