You are reading my 366th blog in the last 365 days (also my 439th blog in the last 540 days).
After starting to blog consistently on 7/7/17, I decided heading into 2018 that I wanted my New Year's Resolution to be to blog every day for a year. For some reason, I decided to post twice on 1/12/18 (I got ambitions early on apparently). 🙂
In a year that featured massive change, thus dozens of potential excuses to stop or miss a day, the blogging stayed consistent. It was pretty much the only thing all year that didn't change.
I began the year talking about data, challenging all of you to use Google Analytics in 2018, and I ended the year talking about more data and everything in between.
Before I get into why I did it, how I did it and what's next, here are some "Fun Things That Happened Along The Way."
At the beginning of the year, I lived in Spring Hill, TN and had a mortgage and two car payments. Now I live in Valencia, Spain and have no mortgage and zero car payments.
We had 2k square feet with three full bathrooms; now we have 800 square feet with one full bathroom.
My kids attended a huge elementary school in the suburbs with 1k kids. Now they each attend two different elementary schools in the city with a couple hundred kids each that speak three languages.
I spoke one language, and now I speak one language and about 9-15% of another language. 🙂
My daily routine last year at this time dictated that I spent 3 hours per day in the car, and now I spend my time walking from point A to point B every day. With those extra hours I've been able to enjoy more family time, more efficient work time, and some extra "Paul time."
In the same distance that it took me to walk from my front door to my mailbox last year, I can now see 15 different businesses on my current walk.
This time last year there were three of us at Data Driven Design, now there are nine of us.
This time last year we focused on selling our services to agencies and primarily had digital strategy and WordPress Web Design. Since, we've added Shopify, Custom Software applications in including Mobile Apps and Alexa Skills.
In the past four months I've worked from Spain, France, Portugal and the U.S.
While we miss our friends and family in the States, we've met so many new awesome people here in Spain, and feel super thankful for all of our life experiences.
Oh, and I almost forgot, we shot an American TV Show called House Hunters International that will come out sometime in 2019.
While there were plenty of reasons to stop blogging, there were even more things to blog about, and not just from a personal standpoint, but from a professional standpoint.
And my sports analogies changed from Basketball to Soccer. I mean, 20 days into the year I was referencing my son's basketball games in Tennessee. In August / September I was referencing Futbol. 🙂
I even ran two marathons (my first since 2006), and our company got a new logo!
Why I Blogged Every Day In 2018
1. To walk the talk.
I believe in creating content EVERY DAY, so strongly, and I believe it should be the #1 priority of even the busiest businesspeople. Not many are busier than I, so I feel like if I tell everyone to do it, I need to do it myself.
2. To get the data to prove my point.
You all know how much I love data. It's in the name for crying out loud. I knew that it would help my own business if I created and published content every day that would help educate, entertain or touch my audience personally - no matter how big or small said audience was/is.
See for yourself how blogging every day has grown our web traffic and improved our SEO.
From a Web Traffic Standpoint:
1. We increased total users by more than 1,027%
2. We increased new users by more than 1,034%
3. We increased sessions by nearly 800%
4. We increased page views by nearly 800%
5. We lowered bounce rate (increased engagement) by 28.67%
From an SEO Standpoint:
The impact on SEO has been absolutely tremendous. The graph and stats above show growth over the year of blogging every day. I now have more than 2k pages indexed by Google, which will only continue to increase the chances that we rank high for the keywords desirable to us that will generate us business. Many already have.
How I Blogged Every Day In 2018
Generally, I take a piece of "pillar content," such as a previous public speaking appearance, a recorded phone call with a co-worker or client (with their identity protected of course), or a video from a business meeting. All of these scenarios feature the following:
1. Me talking about our business and value proposition
2. Me getting asked relevant questions and answering them
3. Me showing a bit of personality that you wouldn't otherwise see
I then take this content and repurpose it for the following platforms:
1. Long form and short form videos for YouTube, Instagram and IGTV
2. Audio for Podcast and Alexa Flash Briefing Skill
3. Written transcription for Blog, Medium, LinkedIn and Facebook
4. And I of course post the links to the YouTube videos embedded into Facebook and LinkedIn Posts (and blogs).
5. Posting top "pull quotes" or "punchlines" into Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook.
Many of my blog posts were inspired by real questions from real clients or prospective clients. I'd simply answer their question within one of my Data Driven Daily Tips, then send them the link to the blog post as an answer.
What I Blogged About In 2018
Let's make the assumption that at some level all 365 blogs are about Web Design and Digital Strategy, but there are several other micro topics covered, like Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google My Business, Google Search Console, Facebook Ads, Instagram Content Strategy, LinkedIn Ads and Yoast SEO covered as part of the staple Data Driven Daily Tip, and then of course personal stories and professional development / business building / entrepreneurship related content as part of my memoir-esque pieces. So let's break this down Data Driven Style.
What would a good "recap blog" be without a solid Data Driven infographic? Check out the topics I covered in 2018.
How many times did I duplicate the same topic? 🙂
on accident once. 🙂
How many times did I "repost" or "refurbish" an older post to freshen it up and save time?
I know you're all dying to know the real impact these efforts actually had not only on Web Traffic and SEO (shown above), but also on Social Media Following and Business Development.
The Social Stats
YouTube - from 0 subscribers to 177 subscribers
LinkedIn - from less than 1k connections to 10,616 connections
Facebook - from less than 400 likes/followers to 3,461 likes/3,477 followers
Instagram - from less than 100 followers to 756 followers
Medium - from 0 followers to 42 followers and 7,808 views (remind me to show you how views compounded / went up month over month simply from blogging every day)
Podcast - Increased from 1-2 plays per episode in 2017 to 77 plays per episode in 2018 (7,712 plays in 2018).
Alexa Flash Briefing - Published on July 23, 2018, 56 unique listeners, with 582 Plays.
The thing I've been super excited about in the last 3-4 months of blogging every day for a year has been the increased amount of:
1. Comments on YouTube videos
2. LinkedIn engagement
3. Direct emails from people referencing a specific piece of my content, then having a follow up question or two that begins to build a relationship.
All of these things are building momentum and building a community of advocates for myself and the Data Driven Design brand.
This community will result in positive collateral effects for our business. We will continue to be seen as helpful, approachable experts in the field. We will become the "go-to" place for all of our digital strategy related content and super detailed niche topics, including Alexa Skill Development, Google Analytics, WordPress Plug-ins and Facebook Ads - just a few examples.
Well, I'm not going to literally carve out time to blog every day in 2019 like I did in 2018, but I'm certainly going to have the same or a similar volume and frequency of content creation and publishing. It just works, and I love it and it's fun. But my schedule will likely like something more like what I describe here. This way, I can continue to do what I love doing most - running a successful small business, for small businesses. 🙂
And if you're wondering how much business I've generated from this effort, I can tell you it's directly resulted in 3-5 new large clients, more than enough to not only "justify" the efforts from an ROI standpoint, but when you factor in the value of a lifetime customer, and the continued momentum this will create, it's almost priceless.
On top of that, even if I did decide to cool off or stop these efforts, the blogs that I've already logged have been like aggressively stashing away money into a compounding interest account, in that they will continue to rise up the Google Rankings and generate business.
Of all of my recent New Year's Resolutions (getting healthy in 2016, running 1,000 miles total in 2017), 2018's may "pay off" the most in the long run.
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Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!
Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.