Although I started publicly blogging at TheWayoftheWeb on a blogspot account back in 2006, it was only in 2008 that I switched to WordPress and installed my current Google Analytics account, so May 1 is kind of an anniversary. Technically I really started blogging back in about 1999 with a Homestead website, but that didn’t progress further than some horrific design decisions and a couple of extremely half-hearted business ideas, such as a database of pub reviews (I still occasionally wonder how much revenue the likes of FancyAPint make!)
Either way I’ve constantly veered between writing about marketing and journalism, with the occasional posts about blogging and more personal topics. I’ve invested about $300 in the site over the years, including domains, hosting and themes, and I’ve apparently published 1,299 posts, so an average of 20 per month.
And in the last 4 years, that’s brought me over 113,000 visits, almost 100,000 visitors (Should happen in May), and 157,041 pageviews.
It’s also resulted in about $30 in advertising revenue during the period I experimented with ads on here, and about 3 times as much in affiliate revenue.
So you may think reaching 100,000 for around $180 and a lot of time wasn’t the best way to spend my time?
The real value of this site:
But that’s ignoring the real value that this site has given me and continues to deliver:
- Leads for my digital content and marketing business – I don’t need to reach a million people, if I reach 20 or 30 that want to hire TheWayoftheWeb to provide content, marketing or training.
- It keeps me writing – If there’s a time when I’m focused on other work, this place is the one where I can write whatever I like, whenever I like, although as it’s the only form of marketing for my business, I’m probably doing that slightly less now!
- It’s entirely mine – All the content is mine, all the data is mine, and I set the rules regarding privacy. 2 minutes of tweaking domain settings and I can move it wherever I want, whenever I want.
- It’s helped meetings – Surprisingly often I’ve been in meetings where clients or agencies etc have seen my blog and have even occasionally mentioned a post or brought a printed copy along to discuss a particular point.
- It gets me referenced – Not only does it provide proof of my identity to the likes of Google+, but it’s also been linked to from the likes of The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal.
In the time I’ve been blogging, it’s been pronounced dead at least 3 or 4 times, and the latest eulogies are probably the strongest yet with numerous studies suggesting corporate blogging in particular is fading fast.
And personally I think that’s great – because the more my competitors and my client’s competitors ignore the benefits of regularly publishing fresh and quality content on their own domains, the easier it is for me to succeed.
I’ve seen client sites grow massively over the last 12 months. And I’ve seen some of my own sites which are more focused and targeted on mass audiences go from a couple of thousand readers per month to 70 or 80,000 per month.
So although I share some of the fears that others have written about regarding the future of the open web ( For example, see John Naughton and Brendan Cooper in the last couple of days), there’s still a lot of success to be had before the opportunities may start to close.
Oh, and in case you’re interested, here are the 10 most popular posts so far:
- The best webcam-based augmented reality application
- 2012 – The year of 3d printing?
- Has Microsoft made a major marketing mistake?
- The best G1 application, augmented reality and Moore’s Law
- Solving Feedburner Feedsmith problems with WordPress 2.9
- The best social games on any platform
- Problems embedding Youtube videos in WordPress
- Augmented Reality needs to jump the shark
- Breaking the habit of broadcast media
- How the traditional world punishes social media