Adventures Of A One Year Old Blogger – StokedSEO 12 Months On

Wow, they say time flies when you’re having fun but has it really been 12 whole content laden months since I set up this little ol’ blog?

Why, yes it has.

A little over 12 months ago I decided to get on this blogging thing for a number of reasons, the main reason, to just get better. I knocked out my first post to get the ball rolling (don’t read it, it’s horrible) and have had a great time getting from there to here. Blogging, or writing in general has never been my greatest skill, it’s not something I hugely enjoy, or I didn’t think it was and I didn’t even leave high school with a reasonable level of competence  (I had to retake English to get on my College IT course)

In the interest of openness,  sharing and as a sort of self evaluation I wanted to put down a few thoughts about what I’ve learned in the past year, also what I’ve not achieved, some general stats and where I may be taking this in 2013.

Some interesting (maybe?) stats:

Posts:

  • Total post published: 31
  • Interviews: 7
  • Guest posts: 2
  • Approved comments: 167

Attractions

Visitors:

  • Total visits: 20,635
  • Most visits in a day: 1,103
  • Average visitors per day (2012):  48

Social Shares:

  • Total shares: 1471
  • Highest shares for one post : 388
  • Average shares per post: 47
  • Most shared by: Twitter (1059)

Traffic sources:

  • Inbound.org 3,227 (Thanks!)
  • Twitter.com 3,209
  • Facebook.com 521
  • Hootsuite.com 223
  • MicroBusinessHub.co.uk 144

how

5 things I’ve learned

1. I suck at knowing good content

There have been a couple of times where I’ve spent a few hours writing a post, read it back, hated it and then debated whether or not I should publish. More often than not I’ve published anyway, mainly because I don’t want to have nothing to show for the 3 – 6 hours I’ve spent cobbling together 1,000 or so words. Of the handful of posts I’ve felt like this about there’s certainly one sitting in the top 5 most viewed/shared on the blog with the rest not a million miles behind. On the other hand some of the posts I was really pleased with are sitting at the bottom of the pile getting no love at all.

2. Having a solid network  is critically important

I can’t stress this one enough. If you’re going to get anywhere as a blogger having a network of like minded people around you just helps enormousnesly. I am very fortunate to have built a great network of internet buddies (you know who you are) over the 12 months and they come in very handy for 3 main reasons:

  1. They’ll read your stuff (even if nobody else does)
  2. They’ll share your stuff
  3. They’ll feedback on your stuff

who

I wrote a piece on the first point a little while back entitled “Why I share my drafts” and I can’t thank the people enough who took the time to read my half baked posts and gave me some fantastic feedback on where I could improve, suggestions on further resources or in some cases rewriting whole sections!

3. People are better than you, accept it

There was a very bitter/sweet period for me back in August 2012. Sweat because I published 2 posts which quickly became the most read on the blog. Bitter because I didn’t write either of them.

joel-peter

(Quite the handsome couple eh?)

I was extremely fortunate to host Joel Klettke and Peter Attia in the space of just a few days of each other, both of whom I have the utmost respect for and I was very excitted to get them on board. Peter’s Article raced to 550 views by the end of August with Joel’s doing pretty much the same.

I think at that point my most popular post had gotten a little less than 500 views in total and I was pretty dissappointed that my most popular posts after 6 months or more of blogging had been blown out of the water within a few days.

I actually didn’t write another post for over a month.

After a month of moping around and feeling sorry for myself I realised that actually these guys had given me a huge lesson. I needed to up my game!

4. Guest posting for others can (sometimes) bring incredible results

I managed to get a few guest posting gigs on other people’s blogs without really trying too hard, in fact people very kindly ask me to do all of them rather than the other way around which was very flattering. Mostly these went well, without causing any major waves on the blogosphrere, however one which I wrote for the Micro Business Hub completely caught me by surprise and not only received something like 250 shares on Twitter alone but also got a link from the New York Times no less!

That exact same piece of content would have never done as well had I posted it here on my own blog and it really drove home the potential of guest posting to me.

5. The more you put in, the more you get out (sometimes)

This seems like a pretty obvious statement right? but I’ve actually both proved and disproved it over the course of the last 12 months.

On average a blog post probably takes me 3 – 6 hours, that accounts for 90% of the posts I’ve written to date. However two posts have taken me WELL in excess of this figure, something probably more like 1o – 15 hours from start to finish. The posts in question are “SEO in 2013” (which ironically I wrote about 200 words for!) and “Free inbound marketing ebooks“, both took a huge amount of time to put together even if that time wasn’t spent writing a whole lot of copy. However, that time paid off as they are 2 of the 3 most read posts on the blog to date with over 6,000 views between them. That proves the theory.

I said I disproved the theory too?

Oh yeah, so the guest post I wrote for Micro Business Hub which received hundreds of shares, thousands of views, was translated into German and got a link from the NYT (did I mention that?) took less than 2 hours to write.

Go figure :)

What will 2013 bring?

One of the main things I wanted to do in 2013 was to start a series of posts which I could publish at regular intervals to keep content fresh. I can’t always post every week or even every month so I see this as moving as close to a content schedule as I’m ever likely to get.

What I came up with was “The SEO’s Toolbox” post which are interviews with people behind some of my favourite SEO tools. So far so good, 3 have been published with another one in the can and whilst traffic hasn’t been mind blowing I’m on target to meet the fortnightly time frame, we’ll see how that goes..

The second thing I want to do in 2013 and I’ve already made some moves towards is abandon my current wordpress.com hosts and move to a fully fledged WP self hosted site. I have to say that I actually think WP.com is a really great thing an it’s served me well for 12 months but I think the time is right to move on and get a little more serious.


There have been a few of these reflective posts over the last few months, I guess the recent turn of the year brings them out in force. He’re are a few I particularly enjoyed and were in some ways a source of inspiration for this post:

Annual Evaluation 2012 – Dan Shure

2012 was awesome, it’s time for 2013 – Moosa Hemani

100 lessons learned from 10 years of SEO – Sujan Patel

Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, thoughts or suggestions for the blog either now or in the future please drop them in below, much appreciated.

Post by Gaz Copeland

Comments

  1. Happy Birthday Stoked SEO!!

  2. Congrats man!

    happy birthday to Gaz’s blog! happy birthday to Gaz’s blog! Happy birthday , dear Gaz’s blog! happy birthday to Gaz’s blog (you have to imagine the music here, otherwise there is no sense at all apparently).

    keep the awesome stuff up!

  3. Happy birthday Gaz – you are as transparent as SEOMoz!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff (clearly haven’t commented enough – rectifying now. Good gamification BTW).

    Although I would have to disagree with point 3, which isn’t necessarily true. Getting other people to guest blog on your site has the advantage of exposing your site to their audience. Plus you end up with 2 people banging the drum to read your stuff!

    So stop beating yourself up about it already.

    • Thanks for commenting Patrick.

      I think it absolutely is true that those two (and plenty of others also) are much better writers than me but that’s not a bad thing. I really enjoyed having Peter and Joel on the blog and would have them back any time. I’m definitely not beating myself up about it now, it bothered me a little for a short while but actually I’m extremely grateful to them both for giving me a kick up the backside!

    • By the way, don’t forget to check out my next SEOMoz inspired post “How I failed to secure 1 billion dollar VC funding for Stoked SEO”….

  4. Congrats Gaz. Happy Birthday :)

  5. Happy Birthday Stokedseo!

    I loved the lessons! I guess this is the best way to analyze your performance as a professional. Blogging really teaches us a lot and as I am few months behind you… April Mid in my Blog’s 1’st Birthday so probably I am going to hack your post idea (will call it an inspiration) and do similar analysis to see what I have achieved over the past 12 months…

    btw.. Thanks for mentioning my post on New Year! :)

  6. Great to read a succes story like this, and happy birthday! I guess I need to start blogging as well…

  7. Hey Gaz –

    Thanks for sharing your first year’s history and congrats on making it to the 1 year mark! I really am glad you put this together because it’s a perfect example of the dedication it takes (30 posts over 12 months) and what the returns and results can look like; it’s encouraging.

    Successful blogging is freaking hard. I feel your pain when it comes to pouring time and energy into a post that doesn’t get the results you’d hoped for. I’ve only been actively blogging since July of 2012 (so just over 6 months now) and there has been a handful of times where a 20+ hour post just flopped…

    I think it’s really tough to figure out exactly what resonates most with your audience and the industry, and sometimes it’s not the same content. But your guest post results are very encouraging and are making me consider whether or not I should host some as well.

    I’ve been pushing some of my smart friends to start writing and they’re dragging their feet because they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I will be sending them this post.

    Thanks again.

    • Hey Nick,

      Thanks for the comment, I really love your posts and am a frequent reader (need to check out the latest one tonight) I’m amazed you’ve only been blogging for 6 months, seems like you’ve been around for ages!

      You’re right though it can be tough to know what’s going to do well, I’m still figuring that out :)

  8. Anthony Pensabene says:

    I dig this a lot, Gaz. Good retrospective and means to think toward the future. Dude, I don’t think it’s a matter of someone being better; maybe like mma fighters, some days shine light on particular peoples’ muses more so.

    actually, i believe people like collaboration, so if i were to discuss the same thing on your blog with you also involved, rather than content muse, it would fare better imo. it’s cooler to have more people involved. i know ‘cooler’ is not a quantitative observation, but I’d be curious to see data measuring reception as more people get involved.

    on it’s face, it would be easy to assume more people, more traffic. I think Biggie said that, not sure..

    • Hey Anthony,

      Is that a pitch for a guest post over here on Stoked? Sure sounds that way to me ;)

      I agree collaborative posts, or crowd sourced ones are often ones which are super interesting to read. It’s great to get more than one person’s view on any given subject, especially SEO! I had a load of fun putting together the “SEO in 2013″ post with all those great people involved. Also one of the enjoyable posts was my interview with Alessio, turning the tables on him like that was cool :)

  9. Good post Gaz, its encouraging!

  10. Happy birthday to the Stoked blog! Some nice stats Gaz. 30+ posts is great.

  11. Hey Gaz

    Congrats on the first year! And when you’re looking for WP themes, I recommend okaythemes.com – nice and clean design and responsive!

    Not sure if I missed this – but did you mention where/how you did the mini infographics?

    -Dan

    • Hey Dan,

      Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out when the time comes to move over. The infographics are actually taken from a larger one produced by WP.com after the new year, pretty cool right?

      Gaz

  12. Wow, it has an interesting flavor to it. The post, that is. The stats can be very helpful, as a benchmark, to new bloggers. Hearing about the SEO Toolbox is also very exciting. There appears to be some good value coming through and I can’t wait to read it.

    The post really felt like it was very internal, which is useful! It’s useful because people are feeling the same things and helps them relate. However, there is an awesome opportunity to build on it. I’d suggest really plugging into other needs that new bloggers or marketers are having. Maybe ones that aren’t thoroughly explored. Could be gold!

    Thanks!

  13. I have been here a few times and loved what you’ve shared..One thing that stands out is the phone number citation post, even though I had used it earlier it was a quite a refresh.

    I have taken the bold step of entering in to the blogging world recently and hope it goes well, as just like you mentioned, I too have a few problems when it comes to writing.

    Wish you the best Gaz :) I have been Stoked! till now and expect it continues :)

    Cheers.

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