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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

31 Days In A Row; What I’ve Learned…

Today is the final day of 31 straight blog posts in Syracuse Wiki. This time around it’s been a bigger challenge for me than it’s been when I’ve done it on other blogs, and I decided to talk about the process and things I’ve learned overall on the journey.

1. Real life can get in the way… if you let it

January blogging challenge

Real life tried to get in the way as of the 23rd of the month when my mother fell in her house. This led to doing a lot of thinking and changing of options and, eventually, we moved Mom into our house… and she’ll be here as long as we can take care of her properly. I began on the 21st by talking about meeting a social worker who showed me the light and set me on the path just before Mom fell, then a few days later talked about situations and processes which eventually led to our deciding to move her here.

It was during this time that I could have dropped out of this writing challenge, since I was the only one doing it, but I got lucky in that I’d written some posts ahead of time and had evenings when I could find the time to write some posts when they were needed. Not every post I put together will be considered for the NY Times 100, but at least I was able to fulfill my own challenge to myself.

2. Writing a local blog is tough when you don’t get out much

One of the reasons I decided a few years ago to branch out into other topics here is because, even though I’ve lived here a long time and like going out to restaurants often, I really don’t leave the house all that much, especially in winter. I also tend to keep going back to the places I like, whether it’s restaurants or entertainment. The only entertainment I allowed myself during the month of January was when I went to see the movie La La Land, and I did a video about it instead of writing about it. In case you’re interested…

Not counting this wrap up article, 15 articles were specifically about central New York, and 3 others were personal stories of mine, all related to my time in the area. That equates to 60% being about local events and such, and I’m going to consider that a success. Still, it also tells me that I really do need to get our more… which I’ve just made a much harder chore since Mom pretty much needs 24/7 care; I’ll have to see how I can work around that.

3. Traffic increased dramatically, but…

Doing this experiment showed me a couple of different things. One, per Google Analytics, my traffic numbers jumped over 300% from the previous two months, which was pretty exciting. I promoted the posts mainly on Twitter, but many of them I also got to promote on Facebook and one of them on LinkedIn because the content fit pretty well.

At the same time, I saw my Alexa ranking drop to the point of nonexistence… which didn’t make any sense, knowing that my traffic increased. It made me do a quick audit of all my sites and I realized that all of them had been dropping in Alexa rank for about 2 months while traffic had either increased or stayed the same. Thus, I was able to conclude that, as my friend Chuck says, Alexa is worthless as a ranking tool and Google Analytics is definitely the way to go.

4. More traffic means more comments

I hadn’t gotten a comment on this blog since September, but I got quite a few, by comparison, in January. The funny thing is that only two people who commented were from the area, and only one of them I didn’t know. The other comments came from people outside central New York, and I knew one of those people (friends are valuable, aren’t they lol).

Comments aren’t necessary but they’re always nice to have. They offer their own type of validation and encourages you to keep writing. People can also be very nice, as I’ve gotten a lot of positive support for making the decision I did with my mother.

5. Niche has its place but content has its place also

As I look back on all the articles I’ve done this month, realizing that the most recent articles won’t fare well at this juncture, I can tell you that out of the top 6 articles I wrote, 3 of them were totally about central New York things, with the article getting the most traffic being the interview I did with Dr. Emad Rahim.

However, the next highest article regarding traffic was about blogging, and that one only came out 5 days ago. It might end up having more legs in the long run because blogging is a pretty intriguing topic, and if that proves to be true then it shows that overall reach is better when you’re trying to reach the masses than only people in your local area… for what that’s worth.

I’m going to stop there because one other thing I’ve learned over the past 5 days is that I’m never sure when Mom is going to show up; she tends to wander, but at least I know she’s not wandering outside of the house anymore. 🙂 This has been a fun journey, and it did inspire one other person to decide to give it a shot. I’ve always said that if I could get one person to do something positive based on something I say or do that I’m ahead of the game… and I am! :-_)  

5 Great Things About Syracuse Blogging Meetups

I ended the last post with the line “maybe it’s time for another local blogging meetup…” and then realized that I never wrote about the last Syracuse blogging meetup we had; ugh! I’m usually better than that, but no sense in crying over spilt milk, right?

blogging get together 01

I love going to things like this, even though in some ways it’s against my nature. I’m not the best networking person in the world. One might not believe it by seeing how much I write but in person I easily withdraw from what might be considered social events… even if they’re related to business.

Yet, I’ve found that there are two types of networking events where I’ve been pretty good at talking to people. One revolves around “tweetups” and the other around blogging.

It’s probably because those are two areas I engage with people most often. Obviously I love blogging, but I also love when I have the time to hang out on Twitter. I even love it more when it involves local people because from my perspective I don’t know a lot of local folks. One would think that after more than 40 years in this area my address book would be filled; nope!

Thus, I decided to write about 5 things I love about blogging get togethers, with a twist. I’m putting the name Syracuse in it for two reasons. One, it’s kind of clickbait; I’m not ashamed. lol The second is that I’ve been to a few of them and written about them (though I missed the last one), so it not only gives me the chance to link back to the others but to share a couple of pictures from the last one. 🙂

1. You meet new people

Our last get together was at Spaghetti Warehouse, and I’m the guy who selected it. My thinking is that its bar area is expansive and it’s a great place to eat dinner afterwards if one is so inclined.

I feel like I got lucky because, though only 10 people showed up, 3 of them were new to the initial group, and it’s always great meeting new people. One had been blogging for a while, whereas the other was thinking about starting up. All of us had a good time interacting with each other and got to share our blog links. Whether anyone other than me checked everyone out I’m not sure, but in my opinion it’s always great meeting other people who either love blogging or are looking to see what others like myself have to say about it.

2. You get to go to new places

blogging get together 2

I have to admit that I’d been to all the places we’ve had the blogging get together’s to this point but not everyone had. The place we went to before Spaghetti Warehouse was at the Syracuse CoWorks location, which most of the people in the room had never even heard of. In my opinion there’s no better way of learning more about Syracuse than in working hard to creatively find new places to meet and hopefully talk about in one’s blog.

As far as I can remember, we’ve also been to Al’s Wine & Spirits and…ugh; I can’t remember the name of the other place near Armory Square. There were a couple while I was in Memphis that I missed but I’m sure those places were new to someone at the time.

3. You get to learn about a lot of new things

At one of the blogging events I met a guy who likes cooking gourmet foods I won’t eat and desserts I might eat but that he doesn’t. At another I met someone who’s beginning to become quite popular across the country by talking about ways to save money and maximize personal finances but was just getting started at that time. There were also a couple of people who were designers which I thought was pretty cool.

Photographers, writers, health nuts… it’s all pretty cool stuff!

4. You get to talk about blogging!

I have to admit that this is one of my favorite things. I write about blogging all the time but it’s not often that I get to talk to people in person about it, and have other people who actually blog to talk back. It’s fun to compare notes about the writing process, the making money process, the research process and the images process… heck, it’s all fun, unless we discover someone is stealing other’s content… luckily we haven’t had to go there yet. lol

5. It’s free!

Well, at least it can be. If you don’t drink it’s definitely free. At our CoWorks tweetup someone brought subs that were cut in many smaller pieces so food was free. All it takes it a bit of initiative to hop in the car, go to the location, get out of the car, go inside, introduce yourself and start talking. In this case, for once, no matter what anyone does everyone in the room has a shared interest. What can be easier and more fun than that?  

Blogging Is A Labor Of Love

This is day 26 of my blogging journey here on Syracuse Wiki, and I have to admit that I almost gave up this challenge after I had to deal with mother issues, which you might have seen in this post about taking responsibility for your parents. It would have been as easy “out” and pretty legitimate also.

blogging get together

Why have I continued writing then?

First, because 10 days ago I talked about this writing a post a day thing on one of my other blogs and most of the people who commented were, dare I say, sissies about it? lol If I’d given up I would have felt like one of them; that wasn’t happening.

Second, I actually got someone else to take on the challenge, which she started yesterday. If she actually writes 7 days a week I’m going to share a link here so others can see it and hopefully be inspired.

Third… Because blogging is a labor love… you’ve got to love blogging while realizing that it’s also laborious. Just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I think blogging is easy. Blogging is hard for many reasons, which is why so many people are reluctant to do it on a consistent basis.

Yet, there are a lot of hard things people do that others say are tough. Running and jogging; man, that’s physically tough, yet there are a lot of people who do it.

Creating and building things, painting, learning how to play piano… all of those things are hard to learn, even for prodigies. Those people spend hours on it, and sometimes they’re not sure when they’re done or at their peak.

From my perspective, if you don’t love blogging then please don’t do it.

Don’t do it only to make money because you’re going to fail.

Don’t do it because you’re trying to enhance your business presence because you’re going to quit.

Don’t do it because someone like me told you how blogging can help you in so many ways.

Do it because you love it. Pick a topic or multiple topics, or just write because you love writing, and enjoy yourself. Do it for your business because you love what you do and can always think of great topics to write about. Make money from your blog because you encourage people to love the same things you do by writing about them.

Just don’t think it’s easy… because it’s not. I say that as someone who’s about to hit year #12 of blogging in February, when I switched from daily personal blogging which I started in 1999.

Hmmm… maybe it’s time for another local blogging meetup…  

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