In October of 2011, I switched my blog that I had been sporadically writing (post every week for a month or two, then get busy and not post for 6 months) from a free blog to a self-hosted blog. I knew I had a spot coming up on the DB2Night show in January, and I wanted to get serious about this blogging thing. I committed that I was going to post at least one blog entry a week. No, it wasn’t a new year’s resolution, it was just a decision. I averaged that this year. In fact, I was so committed that through about May, it was two or three per week. In fact, with 99 posts published this year including this one, I came darn close to averaging two posts a week.
Wow, what success and opportunities blogging has brought me! I’ve done the full hour-long DB2Night Show twice now. I participated in the DB2′s Got Talent competition, though I lost, placing somewhere between 7th and 10th. I went to the 2013 IDUG North American Tech Conference on my very own full-admission – something I had not managed to convince an employer to pay for before. At that conference, I met all kinds of great people in the DB2 world, and attached myself to Susan Visser several times, following her around like a lost puppy while she introduced me around. My DB2 Idol, Melanie Stopfer, mentioned my blog multiple times in sessions. I spent pretty much the whole conference jumping up and down on the inside (and my colleagues may attest doing a bit of actual jumping up and down when no one else was looking).
Then in November I got my very first article published on developerWorks. If you think blogging and writing for developerWorks are about the same thing, you’re wrong – it is one thing to write things that only you proof read and decide what works, and quite another to learn how a real publishing process works. My blogging experience was great though, in getting the formatting set up for the article. And my mentor for that whole process, Roger Sanders, was beyond helpful – I would have been lost without him – in getting my proposal to the right people, in even knowing you do a proposal before writing the article, in editing my work, in formatting it, and in knowing what response time was reasonable to expect. It was a great experience, and I hope to write more for them in 2013.
I haven’t done the best job with monetizing the blog. But then I haven’t tried as hard as I could and know of several different things I could do if I really cared to get some money out of the blog. I’m just not sure I really want to seriously monetize the blog. I should finally hit the $100 minimum for Google’s ads in January or February. That more than covers my monthly hosting fees, which are pretty small. It won’t cover things like most of my wordpress add-ins, custom theme, or certainly not my time. But I get so much out of the blog other than money. All of the accomplishments I listed above, and I learn something writing almost every post and learn even more from commenters and colleagues.
As far as traffic, I went into the year looking at 50 hits on a weekday as pretty good. I go out of it disappointed if I have a weekday with less than 200 hits, and have recently had a day or two each week over 400 hits. Personally, I think this is great. This is a niche blog, and it’s never going to be one that gets 30,000 hits a day.
How to Blog
Perhaps the area where I’ve learned the most this year is in simply how to blog. The book “Technical Blogging” was invaluable to me on this front. So many good thoughts on the technical side of blogging, and also on how to think about blogging. Content is King, Consistency is Queen, I frequently say to myself and others. In fact, that’s my mantra when I’m trying to find the time to write a post for a particular week.
I have no idea why I rank so high in search engine results. At least 25% of the time when I Google something, I get my own blog in the results. I attribute it mostly to good content and my custom theme. I happen to work for a company that has a whole department dedicated to Search Engine Optimization(SEO). They sent out a multiple choice quiz on SEO topics, with 4 answers for each question. I scored 20%. It sure isn’t my own skill in SEO.
Still, the significant majority of my hits are from search engines and specifically from Google. I do have some RSS subscribers and regular readers, but only 20 to 25% of my page views come from them.
I’ve learned how to track all this stuff this year, and that has been an interesting experience for me.
Top Posts of the Year
Here’s the list of the top 10 in order of the number of page views this year:
So what is next? I plan to have another year where I average a blog post every week. I’ll be presenting at IDUG NA 2013 – my very first conference presentation, so come see me speak in Orlando. I hope to write another developerWorks article. I’m working on improving my writing – having my work edited taught me that I can be more clear and concise and that I need to learn how. Beyond that, I don’t know. I wouldn’t have guessed last December that I would see so much success in 2012.
What do you want in 2013?
What do you want to see in this blog in 2013? Is there some resource that you feel is missing? Are you looking to go down the db2 guru road too? I love talking to my readers, so comment, e-mail me, let me know what you hope to see from this blog and in your own career in 2013.