Since I started blogging on July 26, 2010, I've written 1006 Daily Golden Nuggets. This is my 1007th. I'm sure an accomplishment like this is child's play for a daily journalist who is paid to write several news articles in a single day, but I'm not a trained journalist and I don't have an English or Communications degree. I started as a lowly tech geek who suffered from a mild case of dyslexia with degrees in Computer Engineering and Applied Mathematics.
I somehow found the motivation to light my own blogging torch and have not let it burn out in more than 4 years. After writing my 1000th post, about two weeks ago, I started reminiscing everything I've done and wondered if I could refer back and share my experiences so you too could ignite your own blogging torch.
Way back on July 9, 2012, shortly after writing my 500th Nugget I shared some important blogging tips for jewelers
to follow to begin their own blogging journey.More than Just Writing
Blogging is a type of marketing, but unlike other types of easily measured marketing; you don't see the effects of blogging for a long time. A small business with a specific audience might take more than a year before it has enough readers to see a worthwhile return on the work that goes into it.
When thinking about blogging, most people assume that you have to simply write. Maybe I shouldn't use the word "simply" to describe the process of writing 500 or more cohesive words in a blog post, because that isn't easy for beginners. But there's a lot more that goes into the creative process of blogging, and making it look nice on a website.
Because my blogging topics focus around business improvement and marketing, I have to do a lot of research. As I sat down to write this Nugget, I couldn't stop the scientist in me from going back through my "nugget" directory on my hard drive to see what was in there.
This is what I found:
- 1260 Different images types that were collected for the Nuggets
- 159 PDFs of marketing research that I've gathered from reputable sources
- 89 Excel files with statistical information that I created
- 76 Word documents that I wrote
- 66 CSV files downloaded during different research
- 21 Video recordings I made to study different online trends
- 8 Text files of raw data that I collected during testing
- 2 Access databases to help process the statistics
Perhaps the first number is the most interesting. I've collected 1260 different images that were used, or intended to be used with the nuggets. Some of the images got scrapped before the Nuggets were posted, but time was still spent collecting them.
Of the 76 Word documents, 61 of them are my actual Nugget files. To date, I've written 782,577 words which translates into 1,783 pages in Microsoft Word. That's equivalent to 12 novels if you use the average 64,500 word count reported by Amazon.com!My Writing Setup
As I said, I use Microsoft Word to write my nuggets in. When an idea comes to me while I'm away from my computer, I will use my iPad or iPhone to send myself an email with the full idea written out. I'll transfer those starter notes into Word next time I get back to my computer.
Inside Word, I find it's easiest on my eyes to write in Calibri, single line spacing, 11pts with a 140% zoom. I also prefer to write with all the paragraph marks and spaces turned on. Showing invisible characters like that is an unusual way to work, and most people find it distracting, but I find that it makes the editing process much faster because I can tell the difference between paragraph indents and tabs. This also lets me see when there are multiple space characters typed that might misalign what I'm working on.
I also rely heavily on Word's spelling and grammar checking, and the auto-correct of misspelled words. I've deactivated all the other auto-correcting features except spelling corrections. Uppercase, apostrophe, auto bullets, auto numbering, and symbol formatting have all been turned off. Although the uppercase and apostrophe corrections are handy tools for the everyday user, turning these off forced me to become a better typist. As for turning off the auto-symbols, well they don't translate to the internet anyway, so there's no use having those auto-appear only to have to go back and delete them all.
After 782,577 words I know my grammar has improved, and believe I'm a better speller, although I'm still bad because of that mild dyslexia I have.Keeping Organized
My organization skills in the beginning were horrible.
I had no idea that my blogging would last this long and I didn't consider longterm organization. During those first few months, I didn't number the posts online, or in my Word document. I didn't even track what date they were published. I relied on one of my employees to track that stuff.
In the beginning I only wrote the headline, then the blog, then I passed it to an employee to edit and post online. Compare that to this procedure I use today:
1. I come up with an idea
2. I research it
3. Write about it
4. Write the title
5. Write the blurb that will be used in the image
6. Send it to the editor
7. Review what the editor sends back
8. Send the final copy to my employee to upload into the email system, blogging system, and to socially post.Socially Posting
The internet and social media are ever evolving. You can't simply come up with a best practices method of posting socially and expect it will be the same forever. The Daily Golden Nuggets are shared socially to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Based on algorithmic changes in each of those networks, I've had to change the sharing strategy 7 times since December 2012. Each change was based upon the ongoing research and tracking I write about. Ideas Coinciding with Life and World Events
I've learned never to let a good Nugget idea get away from me. The ideas come to me during my daily work, while reading, while walking, and even while driving. If I'm away from my desk, I usually grab my iPhone and voice dictate an email to myself with the idea.
I now preplan my blog posts far in advance. In fact, I have them planned out through July 18, 2014 even though the date on this one is June 2, 2014. Much of the time, the "planning" is just a summary of an idea or a website I remind myself to look at. However, I carefully weigh the ideas and the future dates I might fit them into.
I have to consider things like holidays, trade events, and world news. Because my readers are worldwide I have to consider as many holidays as possible for the various English speaking countries, not just the USA.
Sometimes I mention those events in the Nuggets, other times I simply let them pass. It all depends if I feel the need to tell my daily readers that I am in tune with life's events. For example, Memorial Day was celebrated lat week in the US on Monday, but I didn't mention it at all even though I did in 2011
. I probably won't mention US Independence day on July 4th next month either.
I've decided to leave these country based celebrations out of the Nuggets because mentioning them would only appeal to a microscopic percentage of people who read the Nugget on that actual day, compared to how many will read that post in the future.Visitor Counts
So how many people will read every blog post in the future? That's a tough one to answer. I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon and I can see that 205 people visited the Nugget from this past Friday, and 504 read the Nugget from Thursday.
My 1000th Nugget
already has 2095 visitors.
Nuggets from a month ago have 4000+ visitors, from two months ago have 10,000+ visitors and most of the Nuggets from 2013 and earlier have visitor counts in the 40,000 range. I'm tracking a few that have reached more than 50,000 and others in the 70,000 range.
These are all decent numbers for a longterm blog, but these visitor counts didn't even start climbing until after March 2011; that's 8 months after I started. They didn't really start to climb until July 2011, a full 12 months after I began the blogging journey.Begin Your Journey
Blogging is a necessity in internet marketing today. Google's need for continual discovery of new content means you have to create that content. I write a B2B blog to help you improve your jewelry business and my blogging process is exhaustive because my topic is research laden and sometimes it's not very creative.
On the other hand, the average jewelry store deals with works of art, beauty, and emotion. The products you sell are tangible and much easier to write about.
Internet marketing is not going away; in fact it's only getting more complicated. Much of that marketing needs an underlying library of information to draw upon. That could be your blog.
Over the next few days, I'm going to recount additional things I've learned about blogging in hopes that I can quicken your learning process and get you on the right creative writing track.
There's more to come...