What I Learned After Taking a Month Off From Blogging

Notice the lack of posts, lately? Yep - I took a couple weeks off, just to see what would happen (oh, and handle one hell of a busy holiday season with my mustard company). Not much changed, but I did make a couple observations:

1. One third of my blog's traffic goes to one blog post

And it's a blog post that I don't even want to known for: I Give Up! 7 Reasons I'm Done With Online Dating. It has over 70 comments from people, both male and female, who have been through similar experiences. These are random people writing multiple paragraphs - literally spilling their feelings onto the web. I get 1-2 new comments a week. It blows my mind. But, it's the only post that really drives traffic to this blog. You can see my other top posts in the sidebar. Basically, for a blog that is meant to be about continuous improvement, happiness, and an honest look at an entrepreneur's life, the last thing I wanted was a post about online dating to make my blog "famous". Oh well - what can you do?

2. I'm writing for myself

I totaled up my writing for 2013. I've written over 300,000 words across every marketing channel. From blogs to e-books, white papers to sales page copy. And it's all helping me become a better writer. After all, that is the goal, right? Practice makes perfect. If you do something every day for a prolonged period of time logic says you'll get better at it. That's my take. And it's my new outlook for this blog: I'm writing for myself. Want to read my writing? That's cool.

3. Make time for activities that generate a return

I have a lot going on: contract work, software company, mustard company, three blogs, family, friends, gym, etc. I know I'm just like every other person out there with a "busy" life, but something has got to go. First on the chopping block are activities where I'm not seeing a return. This blog is tops on the list. While it's great to have a professional presence on the web, other activities, like my companies, require more attention now. My shift in focus is necessary to be successful in 2014.

4. I have 11 people on my email list (ha-ha?)

And I know 3 of them. On the plus side, one of them isn't my Mom, either (although she does read this because my posts go directly to Facebook). Back to those 11 people. You read online about "how to grow your email list" and "get 10,000 subscribers in three months!" After realizing number two on this list, it shouldn't matter how many people are signed up to get my blog posts delivered to their inbox each morning. And I know the number will grow if people find value in what I'm writing. So, I'm letting it grow organically. If you want to sign up, throw your email in that little grey box on the right side of your screen. Thanks!

With that being said, here's what's changing moving forward into 2014:

  • I'm writing on my own schedule, when I have something, I feel, needs to be said. Maybe that's once a month or three times a week. Whatever.
  • I want to encourage conversation on my blog with less emphasis on "building a list" (I have my other blogs for that)
  • And I want my blog to rank for more than just my post about online dating. (But, it is hilarious that its gotten 73 comments.)

Have you learned anything when you stopped doing something you routinely did? Let me know in the comments below -- start the discussion off!