It’s My Birthday!

Actually, it’s my blog’s birthday.  That’s right, I’ve been blogging one full year now here at wordpress.  My first post, “Are You A Coffee (Flavor) Acheiver”, was published August 10, 2008.

Time flies when you’re having fun!  So 50+ posts  and 7,500+ visits later, what’s my take on it all….?

I remember that when I announced my departure from blogging, under the screen name “Anarchist” (which my blogging buddies from that time still call me), at Tallahassee Democrat Online (TDO), my local newspaper’s website,  one of their staff suggested that I’d lose readership.  Since I never really knew what my readership there was because I had no stats screen, I interpreted the comment to mean that I’d lose a captive audience pool.

And while that was true, I looked at that aspect from this perspective: I was freeing myself from a limited audience for a much larger pool.  The 2007 combined population estimate for the tri-county area served by the newspaper is 320,000.  I doubt they were all reading TDO.

WordPress has over 200,000 bloggers and we can easily search all wordpress blogs for topics of mutual interest.  And, after we post, wordpress automatically generates links between related blog topics. WordPress is also searched by other sites (including Google) and I’m alerted when a non-wordpress site links back to me.

So from a readership perspective, I believe I have a much larger audience now than I ever had, or could have, at TDO.  I have nine subscribers who receive my posts either by e-mail or RSS feed.  In the year I’ve been here, my blog has been visited over 7,500 times.  That’s an average visitor count of about 145 per weekly post.  And I only post once a week.  Yes, some of that total is folks returning to check on comments, replies, etc. but hey… a visit is a visit is a visit. Besides, who’s counting…?  😉

It wasn’t readership that precipitated my decision to leave TDO.  It was the… anarchy  😉 … there from serial posters and trolls that convinced me there had to be a better place to blog.

The fact is, what was (is?) happening at TDO is quite  normal for newspaper sites. The same nastiness happens on other newspaper sites, including national sites like USAToday.  That’s probably par for a “public square” website; I prefer a homey “salon” experience of genteel folks.  Yes, I’m an elitist and proud of it!  (Although Fakename says I’m an oligarchist, and there’s probably truth to that too….  😉  )

Even without the trolls and serial posters, I think eventually I’d have left TDO for a “full fledged” blogging site anyway.  Blogging sites have all sorts of custom options to enhance the blogging experience.  From “bling” features such as my own photo header of a scenic Philippine location at the top of my blog; to surveys I can create and insert “on the fly” as I write a post; and detailed statistical information about my readers and posts, such as what search terms they used to find me, what sites they arrived from if from a link, etc.  (I’ll provide an interesting update on that next week.)

The statistics confirmed what I always suspected: that the most popular posts are non-political ones.  My most popular post to date is a compilation of links to my favorite 60s and 70’s music videos at YouTube, although the links often go bad as lawyers threaten copyright infringement.  Followed by a post on Philippine cuisine and then two posts about coffee.

I’ve noticed how different topics bring in readers from sites that link back to me.  Two posts about poker were linked to by two poker / casino sites.  A post about how I had completed all my Christmas activities the first week in December was linked to by a site containing a post about Christmas stress.  A post about the importance of laughter was linked to by a site which I‘m still confused about.

And then, of course, there was that coffee post which led to an influx of searchers looking for Guatemalan porn.  When I wrote about those searchers, it only made my site even more attractive for those with that niche interest.  Maybe when I retire, I can make some extra income with a  website for those folks….   😉

(When you finish reading this post, do a search here at wordpress for “Guatemalan porn”;  my post on that is the first link you’ll see.  And once this post is indexed, it will probably be the second link for that search term.  Then all I need to do is link back to that website I may create and ka-ching!  When I flee the country ahead of the feds, y’all can say you knew me before I became the king of Guatemalan porn …lol!)

Perhaps I’ve gained some new permanent readers from these posts. Even if not, I’m at least getting a mix of readers depending on the post.  Just as in life, variety is the spice of blogging.

My biggest concern was whether I could find a topic to write about once a week, every week, month after month.  To my surprise, that never became an issue.  Now my concern is scheduling posts so they are still “fresh” since I often have two or three topics in development in any one week.

In reviewing my posts over the last year according to category, travel topics came in at #1 with 12 posts.  Followed by “uncategorized” at 11, politics at 9 and food at 8.  Usually, it’s not the topic du jour often overdramatized by  the talking heads and their print brothers in the op ed portion of the newspaper that draws my attention.  Most folks don’t’ really care about those topics.

No, it’s the little things that catch my interest as I surf CNN or USAToday.  (Like a survey about what folks think about while taking a shower, a post I have yet to fit in.)  Some posts are based on personal experiences; others on personal interests.

After I left TDO, some blogging buddies (Fakename, eehard, and, soon after that, PTFan1) from there followed me here within a few weeks.  Their blogs are quite healthy, although it seems PT is so busy in his new status as a retiree that his postings are not as prolific as when he was at TDO.  And, he’s posting more about baseball, jazz and tea than politics.  When Nick (a/k/a/ eehard) broke his leg, PT sent him some exotic tea, which Nick, Fakename and I sampled when I invited them to my home for dinner on the occasion of Nick’s birthday.)

Later, two other TDO bloggers that I had interacted with there joined wordpress:  Intimidator and FloridaCat.  I’ve linked to all of them on my blogroll at the right.

And I’ve discovered some bloggers I’d otherwise not have learned about had I not come to wordpress.  Such as Terri Terri Quite Contrary, who’s actually…well, I’d better not say it.  She’s a bit sensitive about that…  😉  And then there’s Helen and Margaret, two old ( in both senses of that word) friends from way back who share a blog that receives hundreds of comments each post.  They are unbelievable!  I’ve linked to them as well.

What I did not expect when I began blogging was how much time it would involve.  I thought it’d be maybe two hours a week to write a weekly post.  But when I include reading and commenting on other blogs, it’s more than I want to think about.  Fortunately, I don’t have many other commitments on my time, or I’d probably not be able to do it.

I’ve found a wonderful home at wordpress.  I never have to wonder about the “life” of my posts. They are on my front page for seven days; at TDO, seven hours was a  long life.  And in the past year, I’ve not had a single – not one – nasty comment.

I have no problem with vigorous intellectual debate, which folks like PT can provide.  What I will not tolerate are the ad hominem comments (e.g., “you idiot”) from folks who lack the intellect to provide intelligent repartee.  But, I tend to stay away from the “controversial” topics anyway because they often involve values and those are not debatable.

So what’s in my blogging future?  Y’all just have to come back each Sunday and find out!

That’s enough speech for this birthday….help yourself to some virtual celebratory cheese, Spanish fino sherry and olives.

Then help yourself to something more substantial:  how about a $25 restaurant coupon for $2?  Hopefully, this deal is still valid, because Ted’s Montana Grill in my area was “sold out”…

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19 responses to “It’s My Birthday!

  1. A very nice summary of our lives here at WordPress! I had to go back and look–my first two blogs here were on August 8th of last year. One about the death of my air conditioner and another about John McCain!

  2. Wow! Fakename and I were talking about this the other day. I was going to blog about it but there’s no way I can hang with you.

    My first two post on WordPress were on August 7th and in that first month I had 55 posts. No doubt, some were cut and paste jobs.

    I hope that our second year on WordPress will strengthen the bonds of friendship.

    • Well then it’s you birthday too Nick! How about that… the three of us have the same birthday.

      And Nick, you very well can always hang with me!

      When the weather’s cooler and drier, we’ll do a cookout!

      And has Fakename freed your tea yet? 😉

  3. That’s very strange to me that we posted before you did, Anarchist, since you are the one who did all the research and introduced us to it. But I think maybe you had your “Sunday only” blog idea in place. Are you sure that you didn’t post before we did? Because my recollection is the same as yours….that you started, and we followed some time later.
    And enough about the tea! You have no idea! My car is filling up with stuff to give to Nick…

    • Technically, there was a post before either of you.

      On Aug 2, I posted about why I was leaving TDO but it was meant for the TDO readers. I linked from my TDO space to here so I didn’t have to worry about TDO censoring it, etc.

      I officially opened the blog to the “public” with that Aug. 10 post. So I guess after you both saw on Aug 2 that I was moving here, you both moved too. And those first posts of yours came out just before the “inaugural” post.”

      So yes, my absolute very first post here was before both of you.

  4. Happy Birthday! Looking back over the past months, I can’t quite remember when it was we connected, but I’m glad we did. I’ve enjoyed your blog very much and look forward to reading many more posts to come.

  5. I am overdue to go back to TDO and annoy them. When I first started here I kept advertising and they were like Go away! How can we miss you if you won’t leave! I have zero readers from TDO. Do you? Nick has at least one…
    And also, the tea is now officially freed! I drove a hard bargain: I held a gun to its leaves and threatened to shoot, and Nick finally paid the ransom.

  6. Lol. Actually, I don’t think Nick was in all that big of a hurry to get the tea back 🙂 No offense, ptfan1! But he asked me to check a book out of the library for him and he was anxious to get that…the deal was, he had to take the tea too lol.

  7. I’ll post a link from my TDO account to here when I think the topic is of some interest to the locals. Your stats page will track who comes from that link.

  8. Happy Birthday. A birthday toast: “May all your lychee nuts be lychee nuts, and all your macademias be macademias.” All the best, Rocky

    • When it comes to fish, I’m either eating mullet or salmon. When available, trout is acceptable.

      And Rocky, sorry for the delay in publishing your comment. “First timers” need comment review, and for some reason I missed your comment as pending. Your future comments will not need approval.

  9. And while we are on that subject, may all your Grouper be Grouper instead of Catfish or Tilapia. NPR had a very interesting story about that on Friday. Harry’s Seafood Restaurant on Kleman Plaza doesn’t even have Grouper on its menu. Not sure if it ever did, but not claiming to serve Grouper saves it the trouble of defrauding you, or of being defrauded itself by the wholesalers. Too bad, too, because Grouper is my favorite fish.

  10. Spencercourt:
    Thanks for adding me to to your “Approved List” for posting. Now I can try to abuse the privilege!

    As a canned tuna man myself (water, not oil), I thought that mullets were something that my biker pals wore, not eat.

    (You can tell that I just got back from a week at the beach.)

    Rocky

    • I prefer tuna in water too but have cut back drastically because of the mercury….

      As for “abuse”…I am confident that a blogger of your repute is beyond reproach. Must trolls are lazy, ne’er do wells who haven’t the aptitude to blog, only fire off malformed opinions and ad hominems in a feeble attempt to bolster their delusions of adequacy.

  11. As far as I’m concerned, mullets should stick to being hairstyles and stay away from being fish. I can gag being in the same room with a fried mullet…I’d rather eat a Muscovy than a mullet. Hey! Alliteration!

    • So I guess you won’t be at next month’s annual “all you can eat” Mullet Fry held by the Methodist Church on St. Augustine just north of Blair Stone?

      I’ve been going the last few years. Fixing’s too, and sweet tea. It’s about the only time I get mullet.

  12. Um. No offense, but eating mullet to me is like eating a fried cockroach. Smells bad, tastes bad, and the very idea of it makes you gag 🙂 So no, I will not be there. Free or not. It is a trash fish. I do like seeing them jump.

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