State of the Blog- February 2012

When I finally started getting serious about blogging around April of last year, I kept seeing the phrase “Content is King” repeated over and over again in posts from successful bloggers I admired. For me, this has never been more true over this last month. I went into January with the intention of writing more posts, only to have work complications derail that plan a little bit.

A toast to all my readers!

So when February 1st rolled around, I recommitted myself to increasing the amount of new content here. Well, it really worked. I had my best month yet, topping 4,000 page views for the first time, finishing with 4,056 for the month. Usually I measure success in the number of days over 100 views, the biggest success this month is that I only had 2 days with less than 100 views (both Sundays). It was also gratifying that the views came consistently. In my previous two most successful months, the numbers were skewed by a couple of huge days (one in the 600s, one over 500). This month my highest day was 223, meaning if I averaged 139 views a day, 223 isn’t that much out of the ordinary. The thing I love most about these number is it means people are coming back daily to see what’s on the blog, which I can’t thank those people enough for this huge compliment. One other number milestone was crossed this month, that of passing the 30,000 view mark. It was even more appropriate that my 30,000th view was someone who has been so supportive, Christy of the wonderful blog, Technosyncratic

Milford Sound- Thanks to Amanda Williams of A Dangerous Business for the pic

Back to the whole “Content is King” theme. This month I posted 15 articles, 2 photo essays and 3 video posts. That’s quite a bit more than I have ever posted in a month. The post that did the best was the post announcing my upcoming trip to New Zealand in May (So, Yeah, I’m Going to New Zealand) which was aided by some awesome photography from New Zealand lover Amanda Williams of the fantastic blog A Dangerous Business. This post has been so popular, that it is my 4th most popular post ever in less than a month. I guess travel bloggers and readers of travel blogs like to hear about upcoming trips. While I’ll talk about comments in a little bit, this had also been my most commented on post ever. A had a couple other posts that did really well, including the post about A Non-camper Camping at Yosemite and Ode to Detroit: My Hometown. I was really glad to see the Detroit post get some run, in it I announced my new venture- a website called Detroit on the Rise, which is still at least 6 months away from debuting, but has me excited over the possibilities. I have already received much encouragement and offers of help from people who feel, like me, that it is time to start focusing on Detroit’s positives, and not the negatives. The final two posts that did well this month were especially gratifying, since I felt quite proud of both (which doesn’t happen all that often when it comes to my writing). They were my Valentine’s Day Special on 21 Unromantic Places and the story of my 26th Birthday in A Parisian Moment of Bliss.

My Valentine 🙂

The number of comments were up this month to 59, not a record, but not a bad amount at all. I made sure I replied to every comment made this month, and I am really enjoying the new commenting format called Disqus. The most exciting thing about this month’s comments is the range of people who commented, some of them being very successful bloggers in the field. It’s quite frankly an honor to know that they are occasionally reading my stuff. Honestly, though, I’m flattered by all the people who have been visiting. 

Blown away by Ashley’s selection of Belgian Beers

One of the most exciting developments this month happened because of a post I mentioned I was going to write in January’s State of the Blog post. My wife and I attended a Belgian Trappist Beer Dinner at my favorite restaurant, Ashley’s, where I took my first shot at a “foodie” post, that is, photographing food. I was pretty pleased with the pictures (and especially pleased with the amazing beers we tried) and I wrote a post that night about the evening, then posted a link on the Facebook Page of Ashley’s Belgian Beer Week, the largest Belgian Beer Festival in the Midwest that Ashley’s was hosting. A few days later, I was contacted by Roy, one of Ashley’s owners, and invited to attend more of the festival’s event in exchange for taking photos and writing some posts. This was a sort-of milestone for me, since it was the first time I had been offered this. I readily accepted, and easy decision since I have been an unabashed fan of Ashley’s for years and knew the events would be top notch. I have written 2 more posts about event’s from the festival- The U.S. release of Popperings Hommelbier, a top quality beer from the festival’s featured brewer, Van Eecke, and a post about the Friday night dinner hosted by Van Eecke, with more delicious, authentically Belgian food and amazing beers. Besides being able to sample Belgian beers from smaller or boutique breweries, it was a great opportunity to meet and network with some fascinating people. I have a couple more posts left to finish about the festival, and I am looking forward to hopefully working with Ashley’s in the future.

Danny from van Eecke Brewery

I mentioned the upcoming trip to New Zealand earlier in this post. I keep getting the same question about that “How is your trip planning going?” Well, the simplest answer is, it’s not. Since I was so focused on providing new content for this blog, I have been neglecting my planning. I am not at all worried, I still have 10 weeks to round out my planning, and, truth is, I had already done a ton of reading and research before I even booked the flight. The one thing I did do this month was book My Campervan for 26 of the days. Something I am hoping to do over upcoming weeks is make some Kiwi connections- that is finding bloggers or friends of readers or other bloggers who I can meet and have a cup of coffee or a beer with. I have, in the past, focused all my energy on sightseeing and let the ‘people’ part of a destination take a place of secondary importance. Sightseeing will always be most important to me, since I am kind of a loner when I travel, but I’m trying to become a better well-rounded traveller in the future. So, if anyone knows anyone in New Zealand that I should meet, please e-mail me and let me know.

Friends I’ve known 30 years and spouses (had a little February get together)

I don’t have a lot planned in advance for this month. I am going to keep focusing on publishing as much new content as I can, but I’ll never be one of those post-a-day bloggers (other than my Photo of the Day feature, which may be going away shortly…) since I have a job that I enjoy, but on that does occupy quite a bit of my time. I will finish the posts on Ashley’s Belgian Beer Week, and I am also hoping to do some more local stuff and write some posts on those things. I’m sure a planning post or two about New Zealand will make it into the lineup as well. 

I announced this week on my Facebook page that I have had the posts of my first year of On My Feet or In My Mind published in the form of an e-book. I am sending out CDs with a PDF copy to anyone that would like one for free- just send me an e-mail with your address if you are interested. 

If you are one of the people reading and have a blog of your own, please let me know, whether via e-mail (, Facebook, or Twitter, so that I can give you a follow back. To my friends and family, thanks so much for all of your support.  I’ve said it in previous State of the Blog posts, I do this blog for me as a way to fill the gap between my own travels, but knowing I have loyal readers out there pushes me harder every day to find the best, most entertaining content I can post. Thanks for help motivating me and thanks so much for reading. 

Erik Smith
March 1st, 2012

13 Responses to “State of the Blog- February 2012”

  1. eriksmithdotcom says:

    Thanks for the cheers and all the help preparing for NZ. Love your blog, too!

  2. eriksmithdotcom says:

    Thanks Jen- I am also loving your blog, keeps me smiling!

  3. Ali says:

    Awesome Erik! Congrats on the great month, and again, so excited for you about NZ!

  4. one day sir, one day

  5. Jen says:

    Sounds like things are giong well Erik – very impressed 🙂 keep it up! x

  6.  Done deal…I'll be there!

  7. eriksmithdotcom says:

    Thank you sir. I am so glad I have been reading your great blog, too. I appreciate all of your help and support. Will be in the Orlando area in September– close enough for us to grab a beer?

  8. eriksmithdotcom says:

    Thanks so much. It's the quality side I always wonder about. I did publish a lot of quantity this month, I was striving for quality, too. Hope I was able to match it- (much like your amazing Antarctica photos!)

  9. eriksmithdotcom says:

    Thanks Justin- I appreciate all of your support. Getting to know you and your awesome wife has been the best thing about joining Twitter! Hope we can meet in person sometime in the future!

  10. Kris Koeller says:

    Congrats on a huge February! Keep up the momentum. Looking forward to reading more about New Zealand. Cheers!

  11. Glad to hear things are rolling Erik!

  12. You've been doing a great job–I know that it is sometimes hard to keep quality and quantity up at the same time!  

  13. Congrats on a successful month Erik, and many more to come. Not sure how I missed you're going to New Zealand, but that is incredibly exciting. Yes, travel bloggers love reading about upcoming trips:)

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