I hear people say all the time that blogging is dead. But I disagree.
In fact, I think blogging and personal websites are about to make a serious comeback, especially as people abandon social media in search of more privacy and authenticity.
The benefit that most social media sites provide for the average user is the ability to post and share information with a large audience with little to no technical knowhow. Over the last decade, that was a novelty because of the skills gap most people encounter when they seek to stand up and maintain their own website. But those hurdles are fading fast and the value of owning and maintaining your online presence outside of social media has never been more apparent.
If you ask me, building and managing a relevant personal blog can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career, especially if your goal is to participate in the online economy that is being born all around us. You need to understand how it works, and more importantly, learn how to make it work for you.
Five years ago, if you Googled my name, you’d be redirected and asked if you really meant to search for something else.
According to Google, I was not a real person.
It’s not the only reason I started blogging, but it did piss me off at the time.
It also served as a reality check. Because no matter how highly I thought of myself or my services at the time, the truth is I was invisible online.
I was a walking cliche.
Just another “marketing consultant” talking about things I did not fully understand. Because, fake it till you make it right?
But that was not good enough for me.
I mean... It was good enough to land my first few clients, but it probably shouldn’t have been.
As an artist I wanted my work to speak for itself. After 10 years of corporate sales work (see also Manipulation) I had no interest in convincing people that they needed to buy what I was selling. Instead I wanted people to seek me out because of the value I brought to the table.
Idealistic? Maybe. But why not strive to be the best.
So I did what every entrepreneur does when they first get into the online marketing game. Built a website and started a blog.
My first year blogging was an exercise in what seemed like futility.
I remember getting excited when a post got 103 page views in one day, which at-the-time, was rather exciting news. I got even more excited when I broke 1,200 unique visits in a single month. I thought it was a major milestone, but looking back now, it all seems insignificant.
Today I have more than twelve thousand email subscribers who have signed up to hear from me directly (although I rarely send emails) and I reach more than 100,000 people a month organically across a distributed network of websites and social profiles I control.
I’ve had my stories featured by a number of nationally recognized websites, and you’d have to dig deep into Google search results to find an entry about me which I don’t have some level of influence.
But don’t let the stats fool you. Most of that traffic comes from a handful of high performing legacy articles. Articles that people like to read and then forget without ever caring a bit about who wrote it. And while some of that traffic spills off into my current work, the truth is that very little of that traffic is useful or relevant to much of what I do now.
The fact of the matter is that I quit blogging with any regularity a couple years ago and have all but abandoned that audience along the way.
Just as quickly as it began, it ended.
I never made a conscious decision to stop, it just happened.
One week without a post… Then a month… Then six… Next thing you know, a year had passed.
And it wasn’t like I stopped working on my website entirely, I just quit publishing original articles with any type of consistency because my mind was tied up with another project. I stopped focusing on building my personal brand because I wanted to find a way to use my new skills to make a bigger impact online than just another bullshit blog.
At the time my website was driving half a million views a month and I thought I had done something special, but the truth is that all I did was make a bunch of noise and drive a lot of meaningless traffic.
I had achieved the thing I thought I wanted (public exposure), but it was producing the opposite result of what I was looking for. The blog was actually scaring clients away, as some of my early videos and blog articles were provocative and designed to spark controversy. They were me trying to stand out amongst a sea of noise, but again, none of that noise paid the bills.
In fact, I created so much noise that it was hurting my ability to earn income as a marketing consultant in Sarasota.
Which is when this new quest began to take shape.
At first inside my head, now as an early digital tool that we hope will one day fundamentally change the way we communicate as small communities online.
But back then I was scared. And I guess I am still a little scared.
Scared that one of my off-the-cuff blog articles will blow everything up.
So I sit silent.
But over the last couple years I have felt like part of me was missing.
The part that had only just started to experience life by letting it all hang out in the form of free expression online.
So I know I’ll never make everybody happy, and maybe I won’t land a small minded client or two, but I’m finally starting to understand my own path to happiness can never account for the happiness or taste of others. Instead it has to focus on bringing the things I see inside of my head to life in the real world. It has to be based on my ability to feel, act, and live freely.
I’m not a comedian, I’m not a journalist, and I’m not a celebrity with a cause. I am however funny, tell great stories, and happen to have a platform. So as we move forward, you can expect that I will once again start sharing my thoughts openly and unabashedly.
Because I am tired of waiting for permission.
And there is no more time to sit silent.