MY TYPEPAD CONTROL PANEL says I've notched up 5000 blog posts on InsideView.ie, a count that represents about half of the total posts I've blogged since 2001. I've been with Six Apart for most of my blogging, losing several thousand posts along the way to now-dormant or dead blog hosts. I wish I had archived those original posts because they're part of my personal history stretching back to a week after 9/11. Through the six years I've been with Typepad, I believe 10 significant factors stand out when looking at why I've blogged thousands of times.
The Mobile Factor. Thanks to how easy it is to blog from a mobile phone, I've been able to incorporate blogging into my daily life. I like using mobile phones from Nokia that have a full QWERTY keyboard because that means I can type from my lap on public transportation. I can blog while taking care of a young toddler. I can fill otherwise unproductive moments by sharing thoughts online. I can also bring my muted mobile phone into conferences and meetings, blogging in real-time. I'm sure that more than 1000 of my blog posts were sent to Typepad using O2-Ireland Nokia phone service. More than any other factor, this mobile dimension has kept me blogging. I'm grateful for this easy functionality and have promised to incorporate the same kind of service on my MovableType blog (bern.ie) and to engineer InsideView.ie so that it has a mobile-friendly display.
The Six Apart Factor. A lot of customer service things happen behind the scenes at Six Apart. The competent staff in Six Apart keep my blog running without a whole lot of work on my part. I'm happy to get five nines of reliability from Six Apart's servers. I'm delighted with Six Apart's comment spam controls. I'm happy paying less than $150 annually for hosting of text, images, audio and video. I get a basic stats package for that price and I can point URLs at different blogs and photo albums. The reliable Six Apart servers have provided my blog with more than 2.1 million page views on my main blog and more than 1.1 million pages served on smaller blogs and photo albums that are attached to my hosting package. During a normal workday in Ireland, and assuming I make a blog post on that work day, one person visits my blog or one of my Typepad photo albums every 75 seconds. Another 1200 people read my blog posts via RSS and they rarely come to see the stuff on the website. Reliable web hosting means I can serve up pages and RSS feeds to more than 3500 different people every day.
The Photo Factor. I upload and share a lot of images from my Flickr photostream, often using Flickr images as part of my blog posts. That often causes my images to break inside some offices using censorware to block social networking sites but I depend on ALT tags to inform people who cannot see the images. Flickr is one of the most consistent sources of visitors to my weblog. My blog also works as a referrer to Flickr. Good imagery overcomes language barriers and relevant photos can entertain as well as inform. During the past 5000 blog posts, I've also noticed that nearly 35% of all the search engine queries coming to my blog originate as image searches on Google or Yahoo. That's a lot of traffic, from six different continents.
The Member Factor. Statcounter tells me I have a core audience of 44 people who return to the front page of my blog at least twice a week. I have a 44R kinda blog--a blog that reflects my coat size and a blog that talks about stuff that would interest 44 people who probably share my concerns in the workplace. Those 44 people are probably past the mid-point of their working lives. They might be interested in technology because I write a lot about tech stuff but they're more interested in my take on things about gadgets, Ireland, and information technology policy. A few of them have signed up to show their avatars on my blog's sidebar. I thought I might attract more people by staying "on topic" as a tech blog and after I won "Best Technology Blogger" at the 2007 Irish Blog Awards, I started focusing on mainly tech stuff. Doing that caused me to shed around 25 regular readers, probably people who would rather get their tech diet filled at Silicon Republic or through a news aggregator like Google Reader. (I also stopped writing for the Irish Examiner around the same time and I imagine that reduced my online readership when my byline disappeared from the national press.) At this moment in time, the most popular tech topics on my blog deal with the Nokia N97, getting a serial number for Soundforge 9, and using the Sony digital voice recorder. I have hands-on expertise with each of those items and that cultivates a member factor here.
The Twitter Factor. When I finish this blog post and tick a box on the Typead authoring window, a small headline goes to Twitter. If it's during daylight hours anywhere in the world, a minimum of 15 people visit my blog. The Twitter factor intrigues me because it shows there are at least 15 people on Twitter who want to converse in longer than 140 character strings of text. Another interesting facet about Twitter is that one in five of my Typepad-to-Twitter items get retweeted and the Twitter factor begins all over again. The most dramatic Twitter effects happen when either Pat Phelan or Damien Mulley retweet something I've written or recorded. Both of those guys appear to influence 45 people to click on nearly every link that they tweet. On the flip side of these easy referrers comes the side effect that Twitter has actually reduced my blogging. I rarely blog more than once a day now. Before I became Topgold on Twitter, I was blogging three to five times a day.
The Video Factor. Doing video takes time to shoot, time to produce and time to upload. I've made 557 Qik videos in the time I've started writing on Typepad. Those Qik videos have been viewed more than 20,600 times and the Sunday newspaper reviews I like to produce happen to fit well into my weekend routine here on my blog. I can see 1000 views landing on my content at Blip.tv and a handful of others at 12Seconds.tv and Bambuser.com. I've got content on Seesmic and a few other places too but I favour the mobile-friendly products and the ones I'm using work best on my Nokia E90. Friends tell me that my video content is ready for YouTube and I suspect that I'll try to add something new to my YouTube channel every week because I can get paid more for producing video content than I can earn writing for hire.
The Audio Factor. My audio output has collapsed because I failed to update a Wordpress installation and it was hacked, diced, and destroyed. I'm patching together the remnants at podcasting.ie, using a more robust MovableType architecture. I like how Typepad incorporates a media player as part of its code library and I think I'm going to make a short audio to accompany this post so readers can see how that appears on the page.
The Facebook Factor. There's a plug-in that causes my browser to tell Facebook when I've made a blog post from Typepad. That's helpful because some of my college friends just want to read my long-form blog entries, not my superficial status updates on Facebook. I'm Facebook.com/topgold over there. Because Facebook frames all links clicked from its site, I cannot tell the number of readers I get from blog updates pushed to my Facebook newsfeed.
The LinkedIn Factor. The most intriguing audience I get could be those arriving from LinkedIn, often after checking my public profile. I occasionally drip feed some of my blog content into LinkedIn groups or into the company network on LinkedIn. When I push my blog content onto LinkedIn, I count on getting direct mail from someone I know. Those same people could read my blog through their browser or through RSS but they get no more than 10% of my content via LinkedIn and show a remarkable interest in contacting me about items. It's fascinating to observe this LinkedIn factor at work.
The Archive Factor. Having 5000 posts is a big deal. Losing 5000 blog posts is heartbreaking. I'm actively producing archived copies of my posts, using Adobe Acrobat for soft copies (linking the blog posts to the citations and links accompanying the original posts) and also printing from Acrobat. I want to begin printing paper copies of each month on my blog because some of the topics are repetitive since they revolve around events I attend or subjects I teach in our third level creative multimedia programme at Tipperary Institute. Portions of my blog are indexed on del.icio.us as curriculum items for the modules I teach. I also want to ensure that my blog displays well in a Sony e-reader and on an iPhone's screen because electronic versions of blog posts are often the most portable.
I'll revisit each of these 10 factors behind my blog sometime in July 2009 when I observe the six anniversary of Irish.Typepad.com, the first version of my work on Six Apart's servers.