Blogging

Can You Believe I’m Celebrating This Blog’s 17th Anniversary?

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It seems difficult it doesn’t feel that long ago that I marked the blog’s last birthday. But this week, it’s time for the 17th anniversary!

When I started this blog in 2004, no one could’ve persuaded me to bet money that I’d one day celebrate its 17th anniversary. After all, who would imagine that most enterprises they begin will go that long?

Several years back, when the blog turned 10, I did a two part post on 10 things I’d learned about blogging for a decade. Here’s part 1 and here’s part 2, in case you want to revisit those topics.

Five years later — two years back, if you do the math — I did a five-part piece for the blog’s 15th anniversary. I listed 15 blogging truths I’d learned. You can catch all five parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Suppose I answer a few questions this time around!

For my 17th anniversary, I thought I’d answer a trio of questions people most often ask when they find out how long I’ve been at this.

So let’s jump in!

Why do you still blog after this long?

I could give you two answers to this question. The answer I consider more simple is that blogging provides me a nice creative outlet. It’s not intrusive. People come here because they want to visit or they’re looking for information. No one must pay to be here. You don’t even have to register to read. But all the same, it gives me an outlet to express myself whether anyone else actually reads what I have to say or not.

But that last point brings me to a more complicated answer. I mentioned it at this blog’s 10th anniversary. We blog because we want to know if anyone else is out there.

I think the pandemic made this even more important. Many of us spent a good part of last year — and may still be spending it this year — working from home. Many social activities suddenly shut down and disappeared amid safety warnings.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams took the place of actual in-person meetings.

That gives us some interaction, of course, but not a great deal of it. Blogging can provide some interaction, too.

Even when someone reads and doesn’t comment or share, on the back end of things, we see that they’ve been there. We don’t know who they are or where they are (for the most part). But we know the general area — the state or town — where they visited from. We know somebody else stopped by.

I find satisfaction in that, particularly when I manage to attract more visitors one year than the year before. It demonstrates that there is indeed someone else “out there.”

How do you come up with things to talk about after this much time?

Years ago, a fellow blogger shut down her blog, claiming she’d covered “everything” within her niche. She spent lots of time during a popular web chat reminding people of her many qualifications in her niche. She promoted her site. And she loved saying she’d said all there was to say.

This particular blogger was often not kind to others who dared question anything she said. So I never bothered to call out such an outrageous notion.

I don’t think it’s ever possible to cover “everything” there is to cover, even when you have a far more narrow niche than I do here. Even dictionaries are constantly adding new listings just when you think every word that exists already appears within their pages.

I keep notes on topics that interest me. When I see a news story or another blog’s post about a topic that jumps out at me, I’ll make a note of it. Sometimes things I see in the real job end up as blog fodder. Sometimes, all it takes is a personal experience.

But in 17 years, I guess I’ve learned how to mine for what I always hope will be blogging “gold.”

Do you make money at blogging?

Well, I must answer this with a yes and no. I make a little money. Through Google Analytics, over the course of the past few years, I imagine I’ve made a total of maybe $300 or so. (Maybe it’s more than that, but if it is, I don’t think it could be much more.) That covers the “yes” part of the answer. But when you add up hosting and domain costs and the various stock photos, themes and premium plugins I’ve purchased, you find your “no.” I’ve shelled out far more than that in 17 years than I could have possibly brought in.

So yes, for me, blogging is a money-losing proposition. I figured that would be the case when I began.

I realize I could have made lots of money by now if I had followed “blogging guru” advice on things like sponsored posts and brand ambassadorships. But these things read like paid posts. And I find it hard to separate a blogger’s impartiality when they’re posting something they’re paid to post.

Maybe that’s just me. But with a blog with a title like mine, I feel like what I write should be what’s on my mind, not what I’m paid to have on my mind.


So thanks one and all for dropping by. You’re the ones who’ve helped make this 17th anniversary possible!

2 Comments

  1. Patrick, congrats on your perseverance in blogging for 17 years…so far. I am an early fan and you were part of what inspired me to launch my effort about 15 years ago.

    Way back then I opted to use Blogger.com for its easy 1-2-3 approach to getting started and have enjoyed almost blogging 1100 postings over the years. Recently though, that entity seemed to forget its loyal users and scrubbed the way it had been operating and introduced a completely new approach.

    I am 81 and not nearly as computer savvy as needed to adjust easily to change. I am tempted to stop a passing teenager and have that person bring me up to speed!

    In the last 2 months, I have succeeded in making only a few posts and it involved losing pieces, re-writing them only to see them disappear, and finally get one almost where I want it and then have difficulties adding and placing photos where I want them. Sigh.

    Patrich, if you have any suggestions on how I can get my groove back with Blogger.com, it would be very much appreciated.

    I stuck with Blogspot.com not only out of loyalty but because ALL of my postings are easily found on its site and I can revisit and share these past entries, pulling them up by topics.

    My other underlying fear was having all that 15-years of work suddenly disappearing through an online glitch or by me hitting the wrong keys!

    But I found BLOG2PRINT and now have 6 volumes of beautifully bound, hardcover books that will be willed to my children!

    BLOG2PRINT even used me in a testimonial ad!

    “Chuck Boyd began his photography career as a Marine combat photographer in the 1960s. He leveraged that experience to earn a scholarship to the University of San Diego and became a staff photographer for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper after graduation.

    “Chuck’s love of photography has carried on into his retirement, as he has pointed his lens at musicians performing on stages around the country. He’s been blogging for eight years, updating it 10 or 12 times per month. More than 135,000 visitors from 140+ countries have visited his blog to view his stories and photos that span his 50+ years of fantastic photos.

    “Chuck has printed three blog books so far (with a 4th blog book coming soon) and brings them with him to blogging and photography meetups near his home in Charleston, South Carolina. He also shares them with his children and knows they’ll be a great source of memories even after he’s gone.”

    1. Chuck, you’re entirely too kind and I appreciate that.

      I’m sorry to hear Blogger has changed its approach in a way that makes blogging a much more challenging endeavor. No business should ever make changes of that type to alienate a long-time user base without giving detailed instructions to explain the new experience and the changes it brings.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t touched Blogger (or its Blogspot interface) in many, many years. While the version I knew was easy enough and intuitive enough that I never had a major problem with it, it’d still take me a bit of time to re-acclimate to it. And that’s without having any idea of what the new changes might be.

      WordPress looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. But I completely understand the fear behind trying to change platforms after 15 years. When I made the jump, it had only been about three for me, and I didn’t publish as often then as I do now.

      One thing I’d suggest right away: Write your post in a different platform. I’ve used Evernote, Microsoft Word, and even Notepad (or Apple’s TextEdit equivalent) to craft a post. For a brief while, there was a glitch in WordPress that lost me a couple of posts, so I found writing elsewhere and then copying and pasting the finished product into WordPress at least solved that problem until the glitch went away.

      If you can make Blogger still work for you, there’s no shame at all in staying put.

      But if they’re making it difficult to stay, I might suggest that you look for a WordPress community group in your area. Once this pandemic is over, there may be regular meetings again. Those groups are made up of people with different levels of experience. You might well find someone there with enough knowledge to help you safely backup your content and then migrate it over if you decide you’re ready to move.

      (Again, if you can get used to the Blogger changes and are willing to live with them, stay where you are. There’s no need to add to your stress by worrying about losing your content. It’s probably only a tiny chance, at this point, that a WordPress migration would go awry, but when you’re talking about 15 years of memories, that’s definitely a consideration.)

      And thanks for making me aware of BLOG2PRINT. I’ve never heard of that, but I’ll definitely look into it.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.