A behind-the-scenes look at the history of my blog

I thought it would be fun to share some stats about my blog and how I got here. It has been almost seven years since I started this blog. When I started I this blog my life was very different then it is now:

  • I was newly married (March 2010)
  • Had no children
  • Was not a home owner
  • Had NO technical certifications
  • My only experience with writing was in high school and college
  • Had never done any public speaking
  • I had minimal experience in the corporate I.T. industry

While it’s by no means the oldest virtualization / IT blog on the web, I still would say that stats and the reader following it has is pretty impressive for the amount of work I have put into it. After all, I’m not a full-time blogger (I have a full-time job too), and more than once it has taken a back-seat to everything else in my life.

The First Post

I posted the first article May 1st, 2010. It was a post about VMware SMB infrastructure design. The first month I didn’t even have Google Analytics turned on, but I’m sure the page view count was less than impressive even for a new blog. I didn’t know how to leverage social media to promote my blog and the search engines hadn’t even indexed anything yet.

By the end of June 2010, my blog was up to 231 page views for the month. It’s been a while since 2010, but I’m pretty sure I was ecstatic to see even 100 people viewing my site!

(Click any image for the full-size version)

 

First Month of Google Tracking
First Month of Google Tracking

Fast forward one year, to May 31st, 2011, and things are starting to take off. I had begun to develop a decent Twitter following because of interaction with the community. Plus I’m sure that my content had improved in both quality and subject matter too.

My tip to new bloggers is to be engaging, both on your site as well as in the community that you’re focused on. Provide value to the community and you will earn their respect.
Year 1 stats
Year 1 stats – May 1 2010 – May 31, 2011

As you can see above, month page views were up to 13,591 by the end of May 2011! What excited me the most is that almost every month the site grew. For me that was rewarding… to see that people were actually looking at what I wrote.

There are two big take pointers that I can give to a new blogger:

  1. Stick with it, you won’t have a million page views overnight
  2. Develop content that helps your readers, it will bring them back

History by the Numbers

Over the last six years the number of visitors coming to my site has risen and receded again and again. The first lesson I have learned is that the number of visitors to a site is a reflection of the quality and quantity of content on the site.

Makes sense right?

This means that the more you post, the more likely visitors will come to your site.

The second lesson I will share is that useful content has staying power. What I mean here is that a post about a product release or a news event will be irrelevant in a week. It may generate some page views over the life of your site, but it isn’t going to draw a crowd after the initial hype. On the other hand, a post that provides value to a reader will continue to get a bunch of traffic for years.

What I’m saying is if you start getting emails from the 1000’s of marketing people out there who want you to post a “press release” make sure it will provide value to your readers. Personally, I don’t see much value in press releases on my site. But I also don’t consider my site a “news” site, other bloggers have more time and can post them.

If I post a how-to article, something that makes a task easier or answers questions for a reader, chances are it will draw people in forever. There is always a few people who have questions about how something works, even if it is a year or two old. No one searches for a two-year-old press release.

So here is the full-page view timeline, literally from early 2010 when I started using Google Analytics until just recently when I pulled the screenshots for this post.

holistic
Pageviews from 2010-2016 (Monthly)

Detailed monthly stats

Here are the more detailed page views graphs, they show the total monthly views for each year. Besides the total page views’ve beenthere are also some other interesting statistics here too. If you look at the “Pages / Session” number you will see that it has steadily increased over the years.

The higher the Pages / Session the better. It that means that the site is friendly enough that people want to keep reading. It also means that there is enough useful content that another article has caught the reader’s interest.

In conjunction with that, the “Bounce Rate” is also going down, but this just another way to measure if a person views more than one article before leaving.

Click any of the images to enlarge them.

2011-2012 stats
2011-2012 stats

2012-2013
2012-2013

2013-2014
2013-2014

2014-2015
2014-2015

Beginning of 2016
Beginning of 2016

Opportunities and Rewards

Blogging as done more for me personally then it has for all of the people who read it, in my opinion.

I have been invited to so many events, and participated in things like Hp Discover, TechFieldDay, Interop, and many other things because of my blog.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I boarded a flight to Denver for my first blogger related (and paid for) trip. HP invited me to come to their Fort Collins research facility to participate in a show and tell with their super smart people. It’s hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment and humbleness I had as the plane was taking off. I mean because of some silly website, I was being flown half way across the country and people who are super busy were going to take time out of their schedule to come talk to us and tell us the geeky details about whatever we asked. So a HUGE thank you to Calvin for that!

Tech Field Day is another opportunity that I would not have gotten without my blog. There isn’t a huge group of people who get the level of access to as many products as what Stephen can deliver to a blogger. I learned a lot from those trips, and really got a completely new perspective on the I.T. industry because of it. So a HUGE thank you to Stephen and his team for those opportunities as well!

Overall I also think that this blog has played a huge role in career advancement. I highly doubt I would have been able to accelerate my career to what it is now, without my blog.

I saved the best for last. The friends I’ve made along the way.

I can say that I know more people from parts of the country (and the world really), that I would have NEVER met if it hadn’t been for my blog and the I.T. social media community as a whole. Honestly, there is no way that I could list all of the people, but thank you to everyone who has answered a late night tweet or email or provided some guidance in whatever nerd endeavor I was undertaking.

2017 and the future

Chances are you will see a bit of a slow down in posts at the beginning of 2017. My wife and I are expecting our third (and last!) child, so parenting and helping get our oldest daughter Elizabeth off to kindergarten and Katie off to pre-school will take top priority.

However with that said I already have a bunch of ideas for stuff that I hope to get completed.

  • Product reviews will continue to happen as much as possible, after all I’m still tinkering with all sorts of stuff so I might as well write about it.
  • I also hope that I can start doing more video how to posts. One of which will be (hopefully) about the Ubiquiti‘s SunMax solar power line, as I would like to replace the current panels at my house with their product. And typing from a roof seems much more dangerous than just recording the process. 🙂
  • Hopefully, I can also give more back to the community. Maybe through speaking engagements or some other type of event where I can share what I know.
  • Along with posts here on jpaul.me I also want to learn how to utilize other social media platforms, and maybe even do some guest blogging (as well as have some guest bloggers post here. Let me know if you’re interested).
  • And as a side project, I also have a new blog that I’m been working on for my dad called RedPowered.Farm. He doesn’t know it yet, though 🙂 But I hope that it can be a place where he can share the wealth of knowledge that he has about his antique tractor collection and mechanical and restoration type stuff.

What would you like to see?

With all that said please let me know if you have any questions about blogging, my articles, or whatever, remember I’m here to help.

If you have a topic that you would like to see written about by all means, send me an email and I will see what I can do to work it in.

Again, thanks for reading my blog, I hope it has saved you time or money or at least provided some value.

 

 

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