I blogged every weekday for 6 months (150 posts). I got lots of advice and didn’t listen to it. I did popular posts on writing, politics, social media, and corporate doubletalk. And damned if I didn’t create an identity for myself.
My friends told me that I shouldn’t use bad words. They said daily blogging was too much and the posts were too long. And they told me to put my blog on Facebook, where the action is.
I ignored this advice. Here’s why:
- “Without Bullshit,” love it or not, is my brand. I know it pisses some people off, but it accurately reflects what I do.
- I need the discipline of posting something useful or interesting every weekday. I’ve had 14 posts with at least 3,000 views, which only happened because of my daily discipline.
- My posts are long enough that they’re really easy to adapt into short book chapters.
- Posting daily gives me search juice. Try searching anything I write about along with the word “bullshit” — you’ll probably find me.
I’ve written about 100,000 words so far, about half of which will end up in my book. I’ve had 417,000 visits, and traffic will soon surpass 50,000 visits a month.
I never know when a post will catch fire. Here are my top ten posts by volume. Note the variety.
- 10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them (379K views). First or second search result on writing tips. Generates 300 new views every day.
- If you demonize Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, you lose the argument (21K views). A great example of newsjacking. Made lots of people think and others angry. This confirmed my view, not always popular, that we should criticize actions, not people.
- Augie Ray, can we admit now that social media marketing is dead? (9K views) Principled public arguing about a popular topic. Augie and I helped each other to get much more visible. Still generating views a month later.
- 10 tips on how to write shorter (7K views). Another very useful post that people loved to share. Number two on a search for “write shorter.”
- Jeff Bezos’ non-denial denial of the New York Times Amazon takedown (6K views). Caught the tailwind of a very controversial Times article and revealed that Jeff Bezos doesn’t really care.
- How to disagree with people (5K views). Readers liked to share this proposed solution to the nastiness of online discourse. Negativity isn’t the only way to get popular.
- Can we save academia from bullshit? (5K views) Bad writing runs rampant in academia. Became popular off the surge from the original writing tips post.
- Post-debate, my radical prediction about Donald Trump (5K views). Sucked up along with the rest of Trump-mania; good title.
- How to write a book proposal that makes publishers drool (4K views). A lot of would-be authors found this useful.
- You should write like Larry Page in his Google-Alphabet announcement (4K views). Another case of newsjacking.
I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. You folks seem to like it.
Note: search results here reflect what I see in an incognito window, which ignores my search history. Your results may vary.
Photo: ASAE via Flickr
4 responses to “Top posts and reflections on 6 months of daily blogging”
Your posts are considered too long? How about: people’s minds are too soft? I only like long posts. The way I see it…if it needs to be kept short and “relevant”, the blogger is bullshitting you because they don’t actually know what they’re writing about. If it’s considered “too long”, the reader is either lazy or once again the writer didn’t do their job. Because relevant information needs more than 140 characters.
And I LOVE getting my early morning dose of your blog posts. I’m curtailing the social media use down to nothing and avoiding most news sites exs use they’re toxic. You keep me in the loop of what’s most relevant. So keep it up and I shall be spreading the word about your awesome blog site.
What an incredibly nice note, John!
Too long is bad when it’s rambling. I try to eliminate as much as possible of that. If it’s all solid content, I hope it’s worth reading even at 600, 800, or 1100 words.
At the risk of lumping you together with politicians and CEOs, this post was very transparent, Josh. In your case, I actually believe you! I’ve ghost blogged for clients for 6-month periods using a different format, but yours is definitely better. Short posts are mobile-friendly and have SEO value, but you are engaging real humans (thank you very much) and we like to read what you write because we are interested in what you think. It would be interesting to know how many posts are read on phones and tablets, compared to larger screens.
Hi Josh, I love your blogs. it’s great reading this one as I’m new to blogging and am hearing so much nonsense from people in the ‘industry.’ What you say makes sense, and as I’ve successfully broken the rules most of career, I will follow your lead and advice on this one and continue to be true to who I am and what I have to say in the amount of time it takes me to say it! How’s that for a bad sentence!! Thank you
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