One year of ‘Cross The Breeze

This is it: I’m blogging for one year now, as from today. A year ago, I figured that if I really wanted to understand the blogosphere reading blogs wasn’t enough. I had to try this out for myself. So on November 24th 2005 I started this blog on WordPress.com. I was looking for a free & easy to use service and I had just read about Scoble switching to WP and it seemed like the right choice for my test. And I should stress the word ‘test’ really since initially the idea was to blog for 3 or 4 months under the “crossthebreeze” alias and then call it a day. Boy did I get that one wrong :-)

For me there are 2 ways to look at the results, first of all the pure stats and second I want say something about what else I got out of it. Get ready for a long post.

The first few months I really didn’t get that much traffic at all. Only a few people knew of my test and it takes a while before you get any traffic through search engines as well. Today I get on average about 100 people per day, which is not huge or anything, but I’m happy with it. It’s a bit more than 100 during the week & a bit less over the weekend. Since I signed up for Shinystat 3 months ago, I also have a view on the monthly visitors which is about 2.500 a month. These visitors come out of 70-80 different countries with the US on the first spot with 30% of all visitors, Belgium with 20% and the UK with 13%. This month I had one from Kazakhstan, so welcome Borat! The best day ever was in August with “Not enough drama” on the altered images from Reuters which got linked to by Jeff Jarvis on Buzzmachine and Comment is free. The link said “You can see the before-and-after most clearly here” so that was a pretty good call to action bringing more than 8.000 visits that day getting on my blog on the n°1 spot on WordPress.com.

But honestly the real results don’t have anything to do with statistics. So don’t I want to have more visitors then? Sure. And didn’t I like the n°1 spot on WP? Of course I did. But they don’t compare to some of the experiences I had that are a direct result from blogging. I got to know a lot of new people from all over the world that all share the same passion. I got in touch with Shel Israel and Rick Segal and was able to set up some meetings in Brussels with them. I started blogging at Molblog (although I’m doing a lousy job for the moment), I was invited to the Corporate Blogging workshop at Customer First, … All things that I guess wouldn’t have happened without blogging. Not to mention all the things I learned doing this. CK asked a good question on her blog a while ago: what’s the single greatest point of value you receive from blogging? She pulled together all the answers in a funky PDF you can download here. I only commented recently, but my answer for her question is: mindgame. It tickles your brain. People share their thoughts, ideas and it makes you thinking about your own. It’s great experience.

Has it always been easy? Absolutely not! When I started I thought that one post a day was necessary and I felt bad when I didn’t make it some days. That’s something I’ve given up on a long time ago now. It doesn’t matter anymore that I don’t write on the weekends. Working for Microsoft doesn’t make it easier either. And don’t get me wrong, I like working for Microsoft, but you just have to be extra careful what you write. At least that’s how I feel it, and I’m not alone, Mike Torres (Lead Program Manager) has a good post about it (look at the end of the post).

It’s still good fun though. And I’m glad I started doing this and hopefully I can continue for a while. Please feel free to let me know what you think of this blog, what you think is good, or what need changes, … anything. Thanks again for reading!

Off we go for another year…

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