3 Key Lessons I Learned from Publishing 3,248 Blog Posts in 2010

I wore out more than a few keyboards this past year!

This year has been the most published year in my entire life, without question. I’ve spent the last week diving deep into my metrics, analytics, and financial systems to learn what worked, what didn’t, and what can definitely be improved and repeated.

One of the core areas of study has been around publishing and the impact that volume has made in terms of traffic and financial returns – there have been some very interesting finds, many of which I hope to share here during the next few weeks as I unpack them (and perhaps make some pretty graphs).

But the most staggering raw statistic is the fact that I published 3,248 blog posts in 2010.

That’s a lot.

Essentially that’s nearly 9 blog posts per day, on average! The honest values really hit home in regards to what it takes for someone to be a Professional Blogger.

With zero context whatsoever you could both praise this level of productivity as well as criticize me for not being more “effective” with fewer posts – again, I hope to clarify both how this was accomplished, why it worked in the context of my market and niche channels, and what was ultimately accomplished long-term, but before that I’d like to distill a few lessons-learned here:

  1. If you seriously love what you write about then sustainability and effort become less of a struggle. “Less” is not to be interpreted as anything close to “easy” but the nuance is there. But it’s not just passion that drives a person to write a lot, it’s an undying sense of curiosity that fuels me. I typically counsel and suggest people that a sustainable topic is one that makes you eternally-curious, so to speak, especially if you want to earn a living through it. I’ll talk more about this later.
  2. Volume is directly related to focus. You would naturally think the opposite as a more broad content focus would let you blog about more but I have found it to be the exact opposite. We naturally desire boundaries and limitations as true creative writing and freedom is actually chaos.
  3. The foundation of a good blog is content. For the most part the sheer volume game plays well at the genesis of a new blog and can be metered long-term. Most of the blogs that I published were in this “new” category and thus was necessary as a part of the larger strategy. This has been proven time and time again as the second largest traffic generating blog that I have only posted 321 times (but was more established) and the others had nearly double this amount of posting (if not triple) but didn’t see the traffic since they were nascent.

There is much more to share and I can’t wait to do so, but I’m honestly exhausted right now so I’ll close this post. I hope to expand on these three points and share with you all the secret sauce you’d like to know about (and didn’t know that you wanted to know!).

Any questions? I’ll try to answer them in the comments! Cheers to a productive 2010 and an even more productive 2011!

  • http://www.kellycroy.wordpress.com Kelly

    That is amazing. I was wondering if I would be able to write a 100 posts this year. You’ve got me fired up!

    • Marc Millan

      Always great learning your tips. Thanks for sharing them. How do you get those sneak peaks on your blog? They show a preview of your whole post like that then say “continue reading”…?

      • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren @ Life of a Steward

        The summary and then “Continue Reading” come from using the “more” tag in WordPress. You just insert the tag in the middle of your story, and WordPress will show only what’s before it on your home page.

        • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

          Yes…I learned this recently. You just go to the html for your post and insert this…

          • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

            Haha…I forgot it won’t show up in the comments. I’ll try it this way…

            Inside the quotes.

            • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

              Oh well…see the help forum for WordPress. That’s how I figured it out. :-)

              • John Saddington

                ;)

      • John Saddington

        loren has the answer below!

      • John Saddington
        • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

          Ha…I didn’t realize that is much easier. LOL…oh well. :-}

          • John Saddington

            ;) easy!

        • http://missionsuntold.com/ Jordan Monson

          I tried this in a post and just previewed it to see if it would work in the preview. It didn’t there, but maybe in the real post it would work? I didn’t have a post to put up so I didn’t want to try it. Thanks

          • http://john.do John Saddington

            you can’t preview it since it shows you the actual single post. :)

    • John Saddington

      great! i’m glad I could inspire!

  • http://thatguykc.wordpress.com ThatGuyKC

    Thank you for sharing these lessons. The sheer volume (and quality) of content you published is astounding! Congratulations!!

    It isn’t even Jan 3rd yet (on the West coast anyway) and I’m already beginning to experience doubt and resistance to my blogging goals for 2011.

    Really appreciate your example and the solid source of blogging best practices.

    Happy New Year.
    Godspeed on the pending new arrival.

    • John Saddington

      it’s ok to have doubt, that’s completely natural!

      work through it!

  • http://davemiers.com dave miers

    you are a blogging ninja. that’s all.

    • John Saddington

      thanks dave!

      • http://davemiers.com dave miers

        you’re welcome.

  • Eric Dye

    Thank you, oh wise one!

    • John Saddington

      ;) sure thing eric!

  • http://synapticlight.com/ Phillip Gibb

    wow, you’re a blogger on fire.
    Do you have a checklist to make sure that you are giving focus in specific areas of each blog? To make sure you don’t write too much on one subject and leave others to flounder.

    • http://benrwoodard.com Ben

      Yea, what outside elements keep you focused on the content topic that you have decided to pursue?

      • John Saddington

        the outside elements are my team! but I have a lot of internal motivation as well.

    • John Saddington

      i look at the parent categories and attempt to write toward those equally or at least strategically to the ones that bring traffic the most on a sliding scale.

  • Brian Notess

    There’s definitely a takeaway here for content misers like me.

    I tend to over-scrutinize what I’m putting on my site. Instead I just need to be publishing.

    3,248 is an impressive number- kudos.

    • John Saddington

      thanks brian! i’m not sure it’s repeatable…!

  • alvin weiss

    Wow! 3,248 – now that is an impressive number. Thanks for what you have contributed this year.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing alvin! how is your blog coming?

  • Dan Smith

    First of all, I love the idea of producing that much, especially in opening a new blog to do so. Secondly, I have a question: Do you publicize all of your posts over FB, Twitter, etc, or only key posts? That many seems like a lot to be pushing over FB to all of your friends. Thoughts?

    • John Saddington

      key posts since i write for so many! but for tentblogger i tweet nearly all of them.

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Was that just on one blog or a number of blogs?

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren @ Life of a Steward

    I’m curious about how I could specifically implement your #3 strategy. I’m currently choosing to go the quality over quantity route (posting 3 – 5 times a week). So do you think that I’d be better off turning the quality down slightly and ramping up the quantity?

    • John Saddington

      never turn down quality! i’ve started this blog only 3 months ago and the quality (i hope) is the highest possible!

  • Rodlie Ortiz

    Wow!

    • John Saddington

      :) cheese!

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    One professional person said to blog no more than once a
    day. Is it about organization, then?

    • John Saddington

      who said that? perhaps this person meant per blog?

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    That’s it? I think you could do more. :)

    • John Saddington

      hah. ;)

  • http://www.pjlincoln.blogspot.com PJ Lincoln

    John,

    Have yo ever considered doing a “best of” kindle book of your blog? Sell it for 2.99 and you’ll make 2.00 per download. Could be a good supplemental income.

    • John Saddington

      that’s an interesting idea. i’d rather spend time building great content right now for this blog and then thinking about sales later. i’m in no rush!

  • http://www.tourdegrace.blogspot.com Andy Coticchio

    Now you are going to make me feel bad about not blogging fo rthe past two months. And maybe inspire me to start it up again. Good word.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      guilt is a powerful motivator. ;)