A blogiversary, and lessons learned

It dawned on me this weekend that as of Dec. 1, this blog has been around for four years.

That’s hardly a milestone occasion like a five-year or 10-year anniversary would be. But in the here-today-gone-tomorrow world of blogging, a blog that’s been around for four years is… well, relatively ancient.

I did a quickie Google search some research and came up with this tidbit about blog longevity: Worldwide, 60 to 80 percent of blogs are either abandoned or updated infrequently within a month of being created. According to the folks at Squawkbox, “This means that the average lifespan of a blog is equal to that of the common fruitfly.”

So a fourth birthday is a pretty good deal, I guess.

Four musings on the occasion, one for each year, in no particular order of importance:

Health is universal. It affects people’s lives in many ways every single day, from how they communicate with their doctor and whether they take their pills to what they eat, how well they sleep and how they cope with stress. Health is often scholarly and academic but it also intersects with popular culture. There’s never a shortage of topics to blog about, and it’s always interesting to see how the issues resonate with readers.

Blogging is demanding. Fresh content is what drives traffic to a blog and keeps readers coming back, but it’s a constant challenge to feed the beast. Most bloggers will tell you that sustaining the mental and creative energy for it, along with the time commitment, isn’t easy. I used to blog an average of three times a week; now I’m down to twice a week which seems somewhat more manageable.

Audience reach is surprising. In the beginning, most of the readers here were local. Now they come from all over, and local readers are a minority. (Hello out there, everyone!) Belonging to the Forum Communications Co.’s Area Voices online community has been a tremendous help with visibility. Most bloggers like some reassurance they’re not just talking to themselves. Area Voices has increased this blog’s exposure in ways I could never have accomplished alone.

Blogging is rewarding. When you have a passion for a topic, such as health, blogging about it isn’t work; it’s satisfying and often fun. It’s especially rewarding when readers leave comments sharing their own thoughts and insight and experiences. The conversation becomes better, both for readers and for me.

Now let’s blow out the candles and have some cake!

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