Reviewing the blog’s first full year

2013 wraps up my first full year running my own blog. Overall, I’d say I’m pretty pleased. Here are a few of the statistics from the blog and a couple of lessons learned.

Posts

This will be the 71st post of the year once it goes live. Here’s the breakdown by month:

January 7
February 5
March 2
April 3
May 2
June 3
July 8
August 9
September 6
October 4
November 7
December 15

I definitely caught my stride toward the end of the year. One reason was getting a little more comfortable writing, but the second was having a goal. I wanted to catch up on all of my books read before the end of the year, so I was motivated to get a lot of posts out in December.

Most popular content

Here is a list of the most popular pages from the blog:

  1. UCSB ECE 189 Capstone Senior Project Day
  2. Will ELOPe become a reality?
  3. Charting oil and gasoline prices since 1991
  4. Book review: Atlantis Gene
  5. Book review(s): Avogadro Corp. and A.I. Apocalypse
  6. Why?
  7. Book review: Cyberstorm
  8. Hi, my name’s Gregg, and I’m a Google Reader addict
  9. PRISM – Why I care, and you should too
  10. Book review: Terms of Enlistment

What have I learned from my most popular content? Well, nothing. There doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason as to why a post becomes more popular than another. My only takeaway is to just keep writing and not to try and force “popularity”. If it happens, great! If not, oh well….

Traffic

2013 blog traffic

 

For the year, up through today, I have just over 300 visits to the blog. Obviously, December is going to be the best month with over 100 visits. The other big months were June (58 visits) and November (25 visits).

I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by the past year. I hope that I was able to provide some useful information. In the future, don’t be afraid to leave a comment or two. It gets lonely when the conversation is one-sided!

Random lessons learned

Here’s a few of the other things I’ve learned from writing for a year:

  1. Just do it
    The hardest part of doing a blog is getting started. If you’ve been thinking about it, my advice is to just do it. You have to get started in order to find the topics that interest you and that you like to write about.
  2. Writing takes practice
    Like anything else, writing takes practice. Sure, certain people have a natural skill and talent for writing, but that doesn’t mean you or I can’t do it. It just takes practice to learn how to get better at it. I’ve definitely found that it has gotten easier to write, at least compared to my first few blog posts earlier this year.
  3. Find some topics to motivate you, and keep a list
    I tend to jump all over the place, but I like to write about the books I’ve read. Having a topic I could come back to regularly helped me generate content for the site. I also make sure to keep a list of interesting topics that I can add to whenever and wherever I am (Evernote is my tool of choice for this).
  4. Persistence is key
    You have to stay at it to get ranked in Google and start generating traffic. My highest traffic months are at the end of the year, which isn’t a surprise to me since that is when I have generated the most content.
  5. Write for your own purpose, not to get famous
    If you’re goal is to be famous, don’t try by writing a blog. If it happens, then embrace it, but don’t force it. Keyword stuffing, manipulating SEO, and other nefarious tricks aren’t going to generate good traffic to your blog. Write because there are subjects you’re passionate about. Write for a purpose. You’ll naturally generate traffic and connect with other like-minded individuals if you do it right.

It’s been a good year, and I’ve enjoyed writing in 2013. I’m looking forward to 2014 and continuing to share my thoughts and to create a life journal that I’ll be able to look back upon. As I pointed out in Why?, it’s one the key reasons why I started doing this in the first place.

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