The Evolution of a BlogBy
As part of my blogging birthday celebration I thought I would share with you where this blog started and how it got to be what it is today! If nothing else, I hope this can serve as inspiration for bloggers who are starting out or more experienced bloggers who want to take their blogs to the next level.
Essential Keystrokes, Version 1.0 – the Blogger Days
We all have to start somewhere! Google’s Blogger platform was initially my choice because it was FREE, easy to get started, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. It was also a fairly good way to get comfortable with tweaking themes, and trying out different monetization options.
During that first version, I logged 50 posts between June 22 and September 29. Other stats include a whopping 31 comments, 11 inbound links and less than 200 uniques per month.
As I got my blogging bearing, it was evident that Blogger was not the way for me. I was limited by its constraints and no one even had a chance of remembering my URL. Around this time I had also started reading blogs like Easton’s Business Blogwire and Liz Strauss’ Successful Blog. The more blogs I read, the more I realized it was time to get my own domain name and try the WordPress platform.
Essential Keystrokes, Version 2.0 – Learning WordPress on the Fly
In September I purchased two new domain names – essentialkeystrokes.com and casualkeystrokes.com (realizing I needed an outlet for non-web design topics) and jumped into WordPress head first. I posted my first distress call less than a week later! Lorelle of Lorelle on WordPress came to my rescue – how is that for help???
Not one to go with the crowd, I searched high and low for a WordPress theme that was different from all the others I had seen. I found BoxyBlue from Geeks Make Me Hot and knew it was the one. I went to work tweaking the theme to make it my very own. Within the first month on my own domain my traffic more than TRIPLED, I learned how to get out there and be social, and Brian Clark of Copyblogger chose one of my headlines to remix (I still say WOW).
I also joined the MomGadget forum where I met Gayla and the rest of the crew. This is an inspiring group of bloggers and I can honestly say that their enthusiasm and willingness to share ideas, tips, and secrets for success really helped me gain a new insight into blogging.
By March my average monthly uniques was around 3,000 with page views above 45,000 and I broke the top 50,000 for Technorati (that’s a huge improvement from the bottom of the barrel.)
And then I started feeling “boxed” in.
Essential Keystrokes, Version 3.0 – I’m Starting to Hit My Stride
By late March I was beginning to feel boxed in by the two-column design of my theme and was on a hunt for something new. I looked high and low, and suddenly it hit me! My design was right in front of me. Since Essential Keystrokes is my “business” blog – an extension of my web design business, Keystrokes Design & Marketing, shouldn’t the two look something alike?
The three column layout of dkret was a good fit for the design. I designed the new look “live” and got some really awesome reader feedback in the process – something I would have totally missed had I not invited participation (thanks Kevin). Three cheers for collaboration!
I added some great plugins to help my blog with SEO, highlight popular posts, and encourage reader participation. As a result, May was fabulous! My uniques are now above 4,000, page views are topping 56,000 and Technorati has me at 17,000 now. I’d like to thank my 200 RSS subscribers, too. This blog has a LONG way to go, but it is clearly making progress.
There you have it! All you ever wanted to know about this blog – whether you wanted to know or not! Seriously, I really hope that this can help give some perspective on the evolution of an average blog. It’s not easy (but it’s not rocket science either), it takes a lot of patience, and you have to be willing to enter each day ready to learn.
It will be a lot of fun to look back on this post a year from now and see where the blogging world has taken Essential Keystrokes.
PS – Don’t forget about the great giveaways this week!