Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Amazingly enough, I started this blog exactly one year ago today. I'm not sure I realized at the time the auspiciousness of its birth date (07/07/07), but here we are a year later and a year wiser. What have I learned in a year of blogging? Here's a few things:

1. Consistency is key. Posting every day is a challenge, but it keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps me disciplined. And it makes for a blog that readers will keep coming back to.

2. Mistakes can be corrected, but a typo in your headline lasts forever. I try to make sure my posts have correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. On occasion, I'll notice a typo after the fact and go back and edit the post to correct it. But once you hit publish, Blogger creates a URL for the post based on your headline. And if you misspell or have a typo in your headline, it's forever captured in the URL. Yuck!

3. Google indexes based on your feeds and not the actual website. I found this out when, in an attempt to thwart the wretched content scrapers, I switched my feed settings from full to excerpted. My traffic was cut in half! I changed it back, but I'm still struggling to regain the momentum that I had a couple of months ago.

4. Being part of a blog network is a great way to increase traffic. My friends Stevie and Tami are part of the Glam Network and have TEN TIMES the traffic I do! But their stats are nothing compared to blogger Joey deVilla's stats which are TEN TIMES Stevie and Tami's! Of course, Joey's been blogging since the end of 2001. Perhaps seven years from now, I'll be able to boast hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. Right now, it's more like just thousands...

5. You can never predict what will generate traffic. The more obscure and offbeat something is, the more likely it will generate search hits for my blog. Sometimes a random rant generates more hits than a thoughtful review. For example, my diatribe against Speedos and Crocs has generated far more traffic than I ever expected it to. But if I've saved even one person from committing the heinous offense of sporting an ill-advised Speedo, I feel that my blogging has all been worthwhile!

6. You meet the coolest people by blogging! Elisabeth and I share a love of words and The Office. Rae has an awesome blog devoted to TV, another shared passion. Tami blogs about the sensual pleasures of life: food, wine, music, luxury products. Her blog always makes me hungry!

7. Speaking of people I've met blogging, there's a whole list of people I'd like to meet: my regular readers! Thanks to statistical applications, I get information about where people are logging on from, how they found me, etc. Some people come directly to the blog without using Google search. When it's a someone in Hampton, VA (formerly Hartford, CT), I know that someone is my sister, Laurie. When the location reads "Berkeley, CA," I know my brother David has checked in. When the OS says Linux, I'm pretty sure that's a visit from my friend John. And when the visit comes from Anchorage, AK, I know that's my OTHER friend John checking up on me. My blogging buddy Elisabeth checks in from Minneapolis (formerly College Station, TX), Rae from Orlando, FL and Hollie from Pacific Palisades.

But there are some direct hits that I've no idea who they are. So, who are you people? If you stop by here regularly (Hello Tokyo, New Zealand, Boston and New York!), I'd like to say welcome and hello and thanks. Perhaps you could post a comment and introduce yourself. I'd really like to get to know you better!


  1. I'm a little late, but happy blogoversary!

    I found your blog by clicking on your profile from a comment you made on another blog. (One thing I've learned is that leaving comments on other people's blog is a way to get yourself known in the blogosphere).

    I definitely agree with the things you've learned. I try to post something every day, which is hard because sometimes work and life interfere.

    And you're right about being part of a network. I write quite a bit about the theater and there's a group of about a dozen theater bloggers who all link to each other. We've even had a couple of bloggers brunches in New York, which have been lots of fun.

    And yeah, you never know what will generate traffic. I get lots of hits about violins, which I guess I should have expected. It's unfortunate because I'm not musically inclined at all, except as a listener. I got a bounce the day after the Tony awards, which, stupidly, I didn't expect. I'll be better prepared next year!

    Ok, I'm going to check my feed setting right now!

  2. I love your blog name. Gratuitous Violins--that's great! I added you to my list of links.