Friday, January 4

Three years

3 years. That's how long I've been blogging. What have I learned in that time?

1.  If you have interesting content people will keep coming back.
When I first started this blog, I did it for the hell of it, not for income or anything like that (and still don't.  I can't live off the 4 dollars a month I get).  I just starting writing random thoughts.  At the beginning it was mostly links to stupid stories that I read about celebrities and other news articles, but it was too random, it was all over the place, the blog had no focus.  I corrected that.  Now the blog has a focus.  Mostly about OSX and Windows, but also about security and the state of the internet currently.  When I first started writing, I had about 20 people that read my stuff on a daily basis.  Hey, you have to start somewhere.  I now have over 600 subscribers to my rss feeds, and a daily hit count of around 5000.

2.  Three years goes by really fast.
I remember starting the blog.  At my desk at work back then.  I just signed up and started a blog.  Left it hosted on blogspot, eventually transferring it my own servers here at the house.  The blog went from being hosted on a 286 (literally, the box is right here next to me still), to a 1.7 Ghz Machine with 96 mgs of RAM, (which is now my IDS),  to it now being hosted on a dual processor hyper-threaded server machine with 2 gigs of RAM in the basement.  Sitting on top of a cardboard box.  (Which reminds me, I should really do something about that.)
The two lower machines were running Fedora, now the server is running on FreeBSD.

3.  Getting linked from can drive your server into the floor and max out your bandwidth.
I had just so happened to upgrade my server the weekend before I was blogged on FSJ.  My bandwidth maxed out and stayed pegged for 3 days.  Tracking about 5000 concurrent connections at a time.  (5000 people going to my website all at the same time).  Check out the post here.  It was crazy.  It's calmed down now as that post has moved off of FSJ's front page, but I still get about 200 hits a day from that post.  That's kinda funny.

4.  Sometimes you feel as if you need to post in order to keep it interesting.
Very true.  I sometimes feel, "oh crap, let me get home right quick and blog something about "x"."  Then, when I get home, I forget to blog it.  I need to make notes on my iPhone to do it.

5. mod_security rules.
I've had mod_security on the blog since day and just on this server (the freebsd one) I've had 2780 denies.  Most denies are blocking people coming from open proxies (I've since removed this restriction, I don't really care where people are coming from, I just care that you use a valid browser that identifies itself correctly.  You know who you are.

6.  People like rss.
At least people that read my blog.  I would say that 90% of the people that come to my blog read my rss feed.  The other 10% come from Google.  I have a ton of rss subscribers.  It's hard to count, but right around 600 (it changes daily).

7.  I hate top ten lists.

8.  Quantity != Quality
It does not matter how many times you post, it matters WHAT you post.  People like to READ what you have to say, not how often you have to say it.  It you have alot of quality posts, then that's fine, but very rarely do people have ALOT of GOOD posts.  The only blog I've ever seen that is able to do this is Zenhabits.  The only problem with ZenHabits is, she does alot of top "x"# lists.  That, and the website looks like one big panhandling advertisement on the right hand side.  But I like the website don't get me wrong.

9.  Advertisements on blogs suck, no one wants them.
When I first started this blog I used to have a Google Adsense Banner right at the top all the way across.  I don't know if people liked it, or disliked it.  But I sure didn't.  (Which is key, you have to LIKE what you post.)  Now I have two banners, one at the very bottom of the page which most people will never see, and one on the right hand column under all of MY links.  Hopefully that conveys a sense of priority.  Obviously I'm not blogging for the money.  I'm just doing it for the fun of it.

10.  Don't obsess.
People can get obsessed with their blogs, lack of posts, or too many posts.  Constantly improving it, constantly tweaking it.  Don't do this.  You will drive yourself mad.  I was doing this for awhile, and found myself actually stressing over it (which I don't do much of anymore--stress that is),  I owe alot to GTD for that. 

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