February 2021 State of the blog

Truth be told, I am writing this in the middle of January. We have a lot to cover this year and I’m excited to tackle what will hopefully be the best year of the blog yet.

The Month of January

With January I tried something new; I took my New Year’s resolution post and tried to make it a hybrid of my goals and the status update posts I did throughout 2020. In the future, I will leave the two separate. The formats I’ve come to realize are completely different even if in theory it could “work”. It’s better to take the time to do both as January is the month I have the most to say and really sets the tone for the year. So with that said, what’s in store?

Poetry and Short Stories

Last year, I took time to evaluate stock and see what I valued as a writer. I played with business articles on Linkedin and even considered a second blog on Medium. I also, had an informational for writing roles and ultimately decided not to mess with the formula. Poetry I’ve always loved and short stories are great writing practice. I’m obsessed with dystopian fantasies and realized I could write my own stories to further my own writing abilities and entertain. In fact, October I’ve dedicated to the pursuit. A spooky month to write and this upcoming year will be combining horror with various genres rather than strictly horror.

I’ve found my strength in writing Sci-Fi stories and thus I’ll primarily be sticking to this genre until my writing improves. Poetry will cover any topic that comes to mind as I’ve been doing it the longest and there are few barriers when I sit down to write.

Articles

I’ve been meaning to write more, however, articles take a while and do not always have the intended payoff. In the past, I just wrote whatever was on my mind as I navigated the world. As I’ve become more articulate, there has been less of a need to write about such topics. As such, I’ll be reassessing how I approach articles and see if I can’t find ways to innovate my process. The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health and will essentially be my “article” month but ideally I would like to do more if I can find a nice flow.

April, May, and October

This will be the first year where certain months are focused around a theme. April will be Poetry Month with a new poem every week. May will be Mental Health Awareness Month and will be an article every week covering various Mental Health topics, and October will be Horror Month with a focus on writing Short Stories. No more guessing when I’ll be writing, I spent a year figuring that part out!

Status Updates

Overall, status updates have added a cohesiveness to the blog that has been much needed. It gives me a chance to keep everyone in the loop and helps to organize my monthly thoughts. I’ve played around with a couple ideas and have decided 9 status updates a year works for my needs. I thought about doing a seasonal update (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer) but realized 4 a year might be too little and my initial concern of my status updates getting in the way of writing other posts has all but disappeared. I also thought of a bi-annual update in an update mega post but have opted for gradual updates even if I feel I don’t have much to say in a given month. Short or long it matters not as I can shift the focus of what I cover in each update.

Marketing and other Goals

I’ve had limited success with Twitter and Facebook. Without a dedicated marketing team, that leaves success up to the fates. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to expand inorganic growth and learned quite a lot about social media along the way. This year, I’m taking a step back. I now have a Facebook page and Twitter is still around. Social Media I find to be exhausting and not where the majority of my readers come from. Organic growth through the WordPress reader is how most find my blog and I’m ok with that; this is a hobby blog and I’m not a company, so growth will come naturally.

Asking for Follows: The Stats

While it doesn’t hurt to ask for a follow or a like, I found that asking for support only made a real difference in the first months of 2020. After that, it was more or less the same as it has always been. For the last quarter of 2020, I stopped asking for follows at the end of each post and didn’t notice any changes. As such, I’m making the change for 2021 to make a mention on my update posts and thus free my other posts from the clutter. I also may draft a default statement rather than write out a new statement each time; this change should be cleaner and I expect to see positive results for 2021.

Patreon and Ko-Fi

The ultimate goal is to have the blog pay for itself, the dream is to make a little extra spending money on the side. To do this, I will need to invest more time and energy into both sites, which is easier said than done. 2020 was a successful year for Patreon and was happy to receive some support during the year. Unlike asking for a follow, I may simply keep adding a link to my support page after each post or I may simply ask here. While there is a tab on the website, I’ve found more engagement when I’ve taken the time to mention it should you feel inclined to help out this one man blog. All in all, 2021 is looking to be the best year of my blog and my hope is that it dwarfs 2020, which is now officially the best year the blog has had.


Follow, share, and like if you enjoy my content. If you want to support me as a creator, below is a link to my payment page:

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As always, thanks for reading!

July 2020 update: Oh my God, we made it

2020, what a start to a new decade. As I edge closer to the twilight of my twenties this year went from an exciting start to a bizarre limbo and an uncertain end. I run on the side of hope, that all will eventually balance out.

The Coming Month

Part of the goal with these start-of-the-month updates is a chance to better connect with the community and lay long term infrastructure for the blog. If I ever need to take a break from writing, I can update in this post rather than just randomly go off the grid, like I’ve done in the past. A lot of my posts I add the occasional life update but with a monthly update I can do life updates all in one place, without tacking it onto an article; this will help articles keep their focus. This month for our two articles we’re looking at a poem and the third chapter of New Horizon, which has not been seen since 2018. I want to do the third chapter right, so expect this post to be the last week of the month. As for the poem, that’ll be next week.

Other Updates

This year I’m focused on growth but more importantly, sustainable growth. What I like about WordPress is the sense of community. Before I was a writer, I was a reader and nowhere else have I felt more at home. In the past, I’ve shied away from active promotion and have preferred organic growth; however, I’ve come to realize these two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Simply put, I want more people to see my content and enjoy what I have to share with the world. Instead of simply waiting for more people to come, it helps to simply say “hey, by the way, it’d be great if you joined the community.” Simple, yet effective.

No more weekend posts

Sometimes I get excited and want to post right away. As I’ve found over my years of writing, while the time of a post typically doesn’t matter, the day does. Weekend posts have historically gotten no traffic, regardless of topic. Fridays and Mondays are also fairly slow. So as I organize the blog and look at reach, you can expect to see posts on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. All this really means for you is more consistency, which is good.

Updated Contact and About page

Long overdue, I finally got around to updating my About and Contact page. I gave both pages an updated look, making it easier to find information about me and to reach out. Links are above if you’re curious what the pages look like.

Looking Ahead

I am currently researching podcasts and already have a draft of a first season planned. If I do create podcasts, I’ll post the content on my Patreon for everyone’s viewing pleasure. My first book is nearing completion and you should hear more within the coming months.


That’s it! Like, share, and follow if you enjoy my content. I’m excited for the coming weeks as I delve back into poetry and short stories. As always, feel free to comment below!

May Update 2020

Hello Everyone! It has been a crazy last month! From quitting my job to being locked inside, a lot has happened. As of now, my main priority has been to publish my first book. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, this will be nothing new. It’s a compilation of the poetry I’ve written over the years and should total 22 poems in all. I’ve finally gotten all the poems transferred to a google doc and am currently figuring out whether or not I need to go ahead and purchase Microsoft word. Kindle Direct Publishing seems easiest for my first book and from there I will begin to look at other options. I do have plans for a second book and this will be a true to form title. Written not on the blog, but rather entirely new material. It’ll stem from my practice of writing short stories and will either be a compilation of short stories or a novel written from beginning to end. As such, once my first book is published, expect to see some more short stories on this site.

In addition to getting a book published, I have started expanding my social media strategies. I’ve built a good base for content on the site but marketing and promotion have always been a bit of a struggle. I’ve started employing some of my college of business knowledge to help push my content further. Part of that strategy has been to start publishing original content on LinkedIn. If you remember years ago, I used to publish business articles on this site. That eventually turned into self-help and then eventually the content you see today. It’s much more relaxed on this site and I like keeping it that way. That doesn’t mean I don’t cover more serious topics like mental health (I’ll try to get an article out soon for mental health awareness month) but as far as business articles go, I stopped posting them on this site for a reason! LinkedIn over the last couple weeks has been fruitful and has helped promote my writing talent on a professional platform. I’ve fiddled around with the idea of doing a third website such as medium and a long time ago I thought about a sub website (“Mike Cole Gaming” or whatever I was going to call it) but ultimately decided against those alternatives. WordPress has been my home for the last 5 years and it’s been great building this website for over half a decade.

After five years, I finally have an official facebook business page. This has allowed me to promote to my friends and family without me having to use my own personal timeline. If my friends like my content, then they can like the page. Eventually, it’ll house photography commissions and hopefully painting, but for now the Facebook page is just to promote my writing. Why I didn’t have one before, God only knows. My blog took the back burner a bit while the call center sucked out my soul. As of now, I’ll be treating writing as more of a full time job. That is why I’m pushing content on LinkedIn, writing a book, and promoting myself as a freelance writer. I enjoy writing and during a Pandemic is the perfect time to see what it’d be like if I only did this. If I can generate enough revenue, I think I would enjoy doing this every day more than any job I could apply for. Creative hobbies are fun and where my company has failed me, blogging never has.

Eventually, I might open up my Instagram to be public as opposed to private. I’m still mulling over the logistics but for now I’m going to see how it goes with Twitter. I’ll be on Twitter more often, figuring out how to tweet and gain traction. I’ll also be monitoring the audience I attract as the blog continues to expand but all in all I see no issue when we make the jump from one hundred and fifty followers (3 away!) to a couple hundred and then hit the one thousand mark. While I don’t think we’ll hit the one thousand mark by the end of the year, I am optimistic that the site will grow by at least a couple hundred. I check the stats consistently and we’re already on track to surpass last years numbers; for the entirety of 2019. The number of views for April jumped four fold from 2019 to 2020 to illustrate an idea how well the blog is doing. I am truly excited to see what May has in store. If there is any content you’ve been missing, feel free to reach out and let me know. I love writing and if there is content you want, I’d be happy to take it into consideration!


And that’s it! Just wanted to do a quick update on what I’ve been working on. It’s a crazy time but the blog has never been better. I am starting to see growth on the website and we’re set up for a strong year. Every like, follow, and share helps drive traffic to the site as well as bring in ad revenue so I can support myself. As we start to get more and more people joining my Patreon, I’d also like to emphasize that joining Patreon should come with an invitation to join my discord community page. If you don’t receive an invite, let me know. Below is the link to my Ko-Fi and Patreon, so if you feel like supporting me, you can do so!

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As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to this year!

Most Likes

So on April 20th, on the day after my 5th anniversary with WordPress, I also received the most likes on a single post in a single day. 14 likes. It’s crazy. Likes can vary from post to post but to put that in perspective, my posts typically receive 14 likes in their lifetime. If you go through my blog, posts that have been there months or even years have typically 13 to 14 likes. My posts from 5 years ago? Most have zero likes, the best typically had one. What was I writing at the time? Back then, I had word of the days and poetry commentary (if I even chose to comment on it). It was around May that I started to expand my writing and try to have some semblance of my own thoughts and it is around this time I started getting more than a couple likes on my posts. A like back then feels just as good as it does now and with my blog growing, it is satisfying to take a look back every once in a while. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning and I do notice, I see your likes pop up time and time again and I appreciate the support; I may not call anyone out individually, but as a blogger it’s gratifying to know that whatever I post, you are following me for me and not a persona I would like people to believe I am. There is a reason my domain is my name.

On the back-end, I do enjoy combing over the stats. Typically after a post, I check each day to see the views and the comments left. I see what content people prefer and do my best to meet demand (I actually have no idea what demand is). Another favorite of mine as far as data is concerned is looking at the map to see where the views are coming from. While the majority of views come from the US, at this point my blog has been seen by many nations throughout the world. And that’s what I love about blogging. Is, for every barrier we put up, we often find we have more in common than we do not.

My most popular posts seem to be my update posts. Clunky at first, like a fine wine they have only gotten better over time. And they’re fun to write. As I sit in my room, sipping my cup of coffee, I’m in a state of pure bliss.

Each like helps support the blog, each follow helps grow the community. Part of my content restructuring involves ideas for long term growth. What happens when the blog surpasses 150 followers? 200? 500? And then finally, 1000? Honestly, I don’t expect much to change. The benefit of having more followers is a larger community. I’ve been talking primarily about likes but another aspect I’ve enjoyed is comments. At the moment, very few comment on my posts but when I started, no one commented on my post. As the blog grows, I expect an influx in comments and I’m looking forward to it. All in all, it’s an exciting time for this blog.


And that’s it! Remember, if you like my content, share it with your friends or give it a shout out on social media! The more traffic the site can get, the better. And remember to check out my Patreon and Ko-fi! I’m steadily improving both, so please take a look and provide your feedback! I can add tiers for Patreon and set goals for Ko-fi, so let me know what you’d like! Below is the link:

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Looking to contact me via email? Click below:

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Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!