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Water Reflection With Ripples

Reflecting On The Third Quarter Of This Weekday Blogging Challenge

This post concludes three months of week-day blogging. Since I started on August 1st, I've written sixty-six blog posts over the three months. While I've had a few close calls I've successfully published without fail. At the same time, I definitely feel like it's the end of "the third quarter" as I enter my final month of the year with this blogging challenge (I'll be taking a break in the month of December).
Before I jump into my lessons learned and upcoming changes, I'm first reflecting on a few of the aspirations I had for my October blogging challenge.

Contributing To My Next Project

When I began the month, I intended for my writing to move my next book along. During the course of the month, there were three blog posts I wrote that will likely end up in my next book, Path Of The Founder (A Roadmap For How To Succeed At Business). The most important step to take was writing about the book's premise.
While I moved the most important step forward, I didn't make as much progress as I hoped. But, I've got numerous seeds planted and I'm starting to grow future posts for this future book. My mind is crafting and exploring different parts of the book and ideas now that I've made it a priority. 

Writing Something Different

I wanted to explore writing on topics in and in ways differently than the first two months of the blogging challenge. One example was writing part five of The Cellar Journey, a fictional story. Others included technical blogs on Joomla. I also had the unique opportunity to partner with Addison Williams and write an article together about Star Wars and business. I'm confident in the diversity of my writing this month and look forward to exploring new ways and ideas for writing in the future. 

Have I Stumbled Across Any Tipping Points?

The slow and steady growth continues in this blogging challenge with October accruing the largest amount of organic traffic thus far (See graphic above). The increased traffic from the search engines has continued since I launched this blogging challenge, and it is encouraging to watch it grow. 

Currently, search traffic makes up a third of visitors to the website so I plan to continue fueling other channels as well. To help keep my social media sharing of evergreen articles active, I've begun experimenting with recurpost. It'll share an article in perpetuity automatically until I tell it to stop. With a large library of great content, I'm excited to see how this keeps my content alive and active. I've been using Buffer to schedule sharing of blog posts, but their tool requires I schedule every time I want to reshare.

Going forward, I'll use Buffer to share new content and recurpost to reshare in an ongoing basis. 

A Blogging Pivot

This blogging challenge has required a lot of time and energy and through it, I've explored how I can make blogging a more active habit in my life for 2018. While this four-month week-day blogging challenge has been an awesome personal project, it's not currently sustainable with my full freelancing workload, marriage, family, and community. While I hope one day it becomes that, I've got to slowly work my way there. This challenge has pushed me forward, but now I need to figure out how far back I need to pull it.
So, what have I learned so far that I can test in November and implement in 2018?
One of my goals is to inject my blogging habits from outside my work schedule to inside it. For me to make it sustainable, and still have time for the entirety of my personal and professional responsibilities, I need to maintain stricter days to make it work. For parts of October, I've structured my days to tackle my weekday freelancing goal and after completing it, shift gears towards writing my blog before my day closes out. This is a great approach, but sometimes I fail to discipline myself to follow it and end up writing before working on paid freelancing work. Bad Jason!
So realistically, how many blog posts can I write within my allocated working time? I also want to continue maintaining activity on the Path Of The Freelancer blog in the new year, so my efforts will now be split between the two. Do I end up posting twice per week here and once per week on Path Of The Freelancer for a total of three articles per month? Or, do I simply ensure one of my three articles per week is geared towards freelancers and I syndicate it from my blog to that one? I'm not yet sure. But, what I have learned is that whatever I commit to is going to be what I make happen. If I keep it open-ended and just try and post as often as I can without specifically stating the number of times I'll publish, I suspect blogging will quickly fade into the background at once per month or less. I don't want this to happen, so I'll end up committing to a number after the new year begins. 

A Larger Goal To Target

My research indicates that the true organic traffic tipping points are around 400 blog posts. I've currently got 263 pages on my website including blog posts and static pages. I'm not sure how static pages account into the tipping point, but I'll include them in my count as part of this goal. To hit 400, I need to create 137 more blog posts. This means I need to be blogging 2-3 times per week over the course of 2018. To accelerate the process and give me some margin, I'm leaning towards three articles per week. This is still a lot to write, but it'll be more realistic for my workload. 
I also like to make small improvements to the website that sits outside of writing and publishing new content. I think of it like a Nascar car race with pit stops when maintenance is needed. Currently, the weekends have mostly acted as my pits stop since I've used them to make improvements to the website and user experience. If I pull back from five to three times per week, I can pull in these pit stop changes into the weekdays. If I'm blogging Tuesday through Thursday, Monday and Friday can be my improvement days or time to work on longer blog posts.

How Much Time I've Spent Blogging These Three Months

To help me get clarity and answers to my blogging habit in 2018, a good place to start is by reflecting on my activity so far. Here's how much time I've spent blogging since August, as part of this challenge.
  • August = 33 hours
  • September = 40 hours
  • October = 43 hours 
  • Total = 116 hours over three months

Unexpectedly, my volume of time has consistently gone up each month. I didn't expect to see that trend. I expected a higher number of hours in August and the least amount in October. Interesting.

Also, if I were paying myself an hourly rate of ninety dollars per hour (or working extra on client projects instead), it would have totaled over ten thousand dollars. This is interesting to reflect on. The question that comes to my mind is, have I planted seeds that will grow a harvest beyond ten-thousand dollars with these sixty-six blog posts? Or, has the process been worth it regardless of any future success? These are questions for me to ponder further.

If I translate this data into my new proposed habit for 2018, I'll get a picture of what it will take to accomplish my goals. On average, I've spent thirty-nine hours per month blogging. Breaking this down, I've spent an average of 105 minutes writing and publishing each blog post. At this rate, if I pull back to three blog posts per week, I'm looking at about twenty-two hours per month to sustain this blogging habit. This would require I spend one hour each weekday writing and publishing posts.

I think this is realistic to accomplish. With one last month of blogging weekdays, I'll have a better grasp if I this new approach will realistically work for me.

A List Of My October Blog Posts

Enjoy the following list of all blog posts written and published during the month of October!

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash 

Weekday Blogging Challenge

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