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?
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!