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Lessons To Be Learned And Future Best Practices

January 1, 2014

I thought I’d use this “last of 2013/first of 2014” post to talk about what I’ve learned from writing this blog over the past year and what I hope to accomplish next year.

Looking Back
First a few stats

– I wrote 217 blog entries in 2013
– Starting on March 28th I updated daily M-F
– On my most popular day I garnered 813 views
– For the year, I garnered 19,008 views. (And I REALLY want to thank those last nine people who put me over the 19K mark.)
– My most popular blog entry was “Sometimes You Just Get Lucky” with 664 views
– I wrote every blog entry except two on my iPad

And some Lessons Learned
– People read my blog during work days. Weekends and holidays they are busy doing other things.
– Book Reviews, which I publish on holidays are amazingly popular
– The more personal I make an entry, the more it resonates with readers
Signal boosting is often a random event that strikes from nowhere. And it’s very cool
– Consistency is sometimes more important than brilliance. Simply showing up is MORE than half the battle
– Keeping a topic list is critical to being able to be consistently interesting
– Pictures are valuable. . .sourcing them is a necessary pain
– The same story can be told multiple times if each time reveals a new lesson or provides a new perspective
– I often am surprised when the end of a blog entry is different than what I intended before writing
– Not every blog entry appeals to every reader, and it shouldn’t. Readers will stick with you if you consistently write well and occasionally address their favorite topic
– A good headline is critical
– Each post needs a hook, even if it’s a small one
– I really miss having an editor

Looking Forward
– I need a buffer. I was incredibly lucky to not get sick or otherwise be unable to update one day last year
GOAL: a two week buffer
– I want to improve my reach
GOAL: Update the interface and make sharing easier
– I want to connect more with other writers
GOAL: Involve guest bloggers
– I want to write even more
GOALS: publish at least two books. Continue to update this blog. Launch “One Million Words in 2014” blog

Future Lessons Learned
I started this blog with a few goals. I wanted to see if I could consistently write and be consistently interesting. I wanted to improve my Google search ranking. I felt I needed to raise my visibility in my field. Interestingly, one of the goals was to use this blog to help get a job back in corporate IT. Instead, it turned into a chance to be a writer and an independent consultant. I continue to look at corporate positions, but that goal morphed.

To you, the readers who have made the journey possible, I say thank you and wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous 2014.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children. His middle initial is M, but not like Mary.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

  1. Chris Stafford permalink

    Rodney, as someone who follows your blog daily via your RSS feed, I have to ask – does reading your column through my reader count towards your daily views? I’ve wondered about this off and on over the years, and my curiosity finally intersected with an opportunity to ask the question.

    • First Chris, thanks for reading along. Hopefully it’s at least entertaining and occasionally useful.

      As for your question, I don’t think people who read it through an RSS reader count toward the view counts. I know that email subscribers don’t count toward the total. There are some days, especially holidays, where the total view count is less than the total number of email subscribers. So, I’m certain those don’t count.

      Anyone who comes to the blog via a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook reference counts, but I don’t think RSS readers count.

      However, I’m okay with that. The daily stats are interesting but not something that I worry about too much. A social media expert reminded me that people use tools like WordPress to create content, but most content gets consumed in other ways.

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