Summary of Blogging Year One – Numbers Lie

I started working on this blog about a year ago. Thus, my analytics provider emailed me an annual report of my blog’s performance.

In short, I stink as a blogger. Well, that’s what the numbers might say at first glance. The report says that I’ve declined on almost all metrics during the year.

However, I pretty much laughed this off because I’m quite sure I know what is going on underneath the numbers. Early on I began getting hit with a fair number of spam comments to my posts. Readers didn’t see that because from the beginning I’ve required approval for a comment to show up. Also, with the increasing appearance of vulgarities in spam comments, I enabled word filters… as a sidenote, I learned some new words 🙂

Still, I kept getting hammered with spam comments, which meant my pending comment queue and email notification folder was getting flooded. How bad? It finally surpassed 200 comments an hour and seemed to be increasing. When that happened I was in the middle of a busy workday, and I’d had enough, so I executed the nuclear option and completely disabled comments. Naturally, that shut the problem down immediately. I re-enabled comments several weeks later and put some pretty firm restrictions in place.

Spam comments slowed to less than a trickle. Traffic to my blog slowed as well. The sad reality dug in that much of my blog’s traffic was from spammers.

So was my first year’s blogging effort unsuccessful? Good grief, no way! It’s been a smashing success as far as I’m concerned. It was never my intention to drive big traffic numbers here, promote myself (well, maybe a little), etc.

So what did I hope to accomplish by starting this blog. I’m probably leaving out some goals, but I wanted to do the following…

  • Provide a venue for writing and expressing my thoughts.
  • Extend my physical self so that, for example, the first time I meet someone at an event they might know something about me. Twitter accomplishes this as well (I recently passed my two year anniversary on Twitter), but I think blogging took things to a whole new level.
  • Connect with the SQL Server community in a deeper manner. Yes, there are other communities of interest to me, but the SQL Server folks are a really special bunch!
  • Record database and technology lessons learned so that I can refer back to my blog rather than turning to search engines, as well as share/discuss my solutions with others.

I think I’ve succeeded with all of these except the last one. Other than my T-SQL Tuesday contributions, I’m not doing a very good job of blogging about issues as I encounter and address them. Just last week I had to do a web search to address a problem I had tackled a few months ago. It felt like reinventing the wheel, and to make things worse I still haven’t written up a post about it while still fresh in my mind.

I’ll close up this post with a Thank You to those who have helped me most with blogging over the last year or so. They are responsible for the good things here, and anything not-so-good is all mine.

The first person I want to thank is Brent Ozar (Blog|Twitter). As far as I’m concerned, Brent has the starting point and ongoing reference for all things blog-related here. While I haven’t followed every single bit of advice he provides, I have gone with a lot of it, even the parts that I was hesitant about at first (the hesitation disappeared when I started experiencing the positive results). A lot of good has come from my jumping into the blog pond, and I have Brent to thank for that.

Second, I’d like to thank my best friend and wife Tamara (Twitter) for setting up this blog so that all I had to do was start writing. It’s awesome to have a tech guru in-house who can jump right into WordPress installation, hosting, etc. within minutes of when I expressed an interest in blogging. Tamara also reviews many of my posts here (those are the better ones), has great ideas for improvements, and puts up with my heavy sighs when I initially object to her well-informed suggestions.

Third, thank you to my fellow SQLCruisers and participants in last March’s super-secret Chicago FreeCon experience (you know who you are… shhhhhh). You’ve done much more to enhance my professional and personal life than improving my blog. I feel so fortunate to know you and it’s amazing to witness your continuing achievements.

Finally, thank you dear reader for visiting and thanks for all the non-spam comments!

About Noel McKinney

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6 Responses to Summary of Blogging Year One – Numbers Lie

  1. Claire says:

    Hi Noel,
    Just wanted to say–I think the quality of your posts is really high. If you post more frequently, traffic will go up, because google will have more high quality pages to crawl. But if you don’t care about hits, just keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Hi Claire, thanks for the continuing encouragement, your comments this year have been really helpful. For right now (and probably the next year or two) hits are not going to be a goal for me. If or when my goals change, I will start posting more than the three or so times a month that I’ve been doing. I’ll also go re-visit Brent’s blog series and implement some of the things he recommends but that I’m not doing. I know I could pick up traffic that way!

  2. David Howard says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary Noel! I always enjoy reading your posts, and look forward to another year.
    A non-spammer who reads your blog 🙂

    • Hey, and I’m a non-spammer who reads your blog as well! 🙂 And speaking of that, unless I’m mistaken, you started blogging as a New Year’s resolution, congratulations for keeping up with that. It seems like most of your posts are more technical in nature, those are a lot of work (or at least they are for me).

  3. Brent Ozar says:

    Congrats on keeping it up! You should be really proud of getting where you’re at already. It took me years before I even got to where you’re at. I’m glad you’re here!

    • Thanks Brent! I’m most proud of the way our database community’s members have utilized their blogs to help others by sharing knowledge and experience. Just getting to be a small part of that has been thrilling and encourages me to keep the momentum going here. Also, I have to credit your series on how to start a blog for saving me from the years that you spent getting to this point. It gave me a proven plan to execute against from day one.

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