The Blogging Life: My Journey So Far

Humble Beginnings

Technically I have been blogging since 2008 which is when I opened up my first WordPress.com account and posted a blog titled Crohn’s Attack. I then didn’t post anything until February of 2010 with a post on body size, training, and other stuff which was titled simply enough Body Size, Training and Other Stuff. In fact, the first six years of this blog were the least prolific and, not surprisingly, the least read years of it’s existence. I didn’t start posting regularly until 2014 when I reached 720 views with 427 visitors. Things kept progressing slowly after that point. I wrote more often and got more viewers ready 2,177 in 2019.

Then in 2020 something both interesting and amazing happened. I posted only once that entire year – you read that correctly – one post in all of 2020 (it was called Fitness Quest: 2019 A Year in Review if you are interested), but my viewership soared. Not by a little, but by a lot. I went from 2,177 views in 2019 to 19,879 views in 2020! All without writing more than one measly post. What happened? I can tell you in one word: Google.

Google to the Rescue

After a little research I discovered that one of my post from a couple of years earlier, When is a Man’s Arm Considered Big?, made the Google front page. All of a sudden it seemed that my little blog was getting noticed and getting noticed a lot or so I thought at the time. So like any good blogger I thought – there must be a way I can capitalize on this attention. If people like that article they’ll surely like everything else I have to say.

The Best Intentions and Well Laid Plans

So I decided to dive more seriously into the blog. I rebranded what I had been calling Dave’s World into Journeys With Dave. I had the thought at the time that I would be posting more travel related content like some other bloggers who’s work I enjoyed and admired. Most notably Jon Miksis over at My Global Viewpoint who I also wrote a travel article on little known things to do around Lake Erie for this past year. In addition to rebranding I started a Facebook page for the blog to reach a wider audience beyond my friends. I also changed my mind set. If I was going to make this work as a little “side hustle” to pay for vacations which I could then write about I needed to get serious about posting. I committed myself to posting at least one new blog a week.

Results So Far

So everything was in place and I started writing weekly. I’m pleased to say that so far I’m managing to stick to my goal of something new each week. Sometimes I’d write more than once a week, like my series on the Grumpy Old Man Tour of Walt Disney World, and once or twice I did miss my self-imposed deadline. But this year is clearly my most prolific.

So far this year I’ve posted 32 times and I’ve written 43,876 words. This is more than twice my previous best of 15,973 in 2015 with 32 posts total that year as well.

Visits are on track to beat last year’s total easily as I’m over 18,000 views as of August 21, 2021 with 4 and a half months to go. So exceeding 20,000 vies and 17,301 visitors should not be an issue. My best month for viewing was January 2021 where I reached about 3,300 views. However, this is the month that I rebranded and switched from the free WordPress.com site to a paid WordPress.com site. The main reason for this was so that I could get ad revenue. As a result I saw a big drop in views in February but my readership is climbing again and I’m over 2,200 per month currently and trending back up.

Other interesting stats (at least interesting to me):

  • Most popular viewership time: Tuesdays at 10:00 PM
  • Most viewed day: January 17, 2021 with 138 views.
  • Average Words Per Post: 1,371

The Plan Forward

My main issue now though is frankly one of content. That post about When is a Man’s Arm Considered Big is still far and away my most popular blog. I’m not complaining about this, but I am trying to find a topic that will also hit that front page of Google – the holy grail of blogging – and so far I’m not having a lot of luck. I am finding that similar subjects seem to have some staying power, but when I try other topics I’ll get an immediate bump in readership but that’s it. I have noticed that other bodybuilding/fitness/workout type blog entries are moving up in viewership. This may be because my primary audience, at least according to Google Analytics, are men aged 20 – 24 who are not surprisingly interested in fitness and sports. So my plan is to keep giving this audience more of what it wants, like How do Your Arms Stack up to Other Gym Bros?, and even stories of my own fitness experiences over the years. By the way, the last blog was picked up by a website that promotes scientific research articles – so that was cool.

So my plan going forward is more of the same that I’m doing now. Post on a regular basis, see if I can build a new audience to compliment the one I have, and keep having fun exploring the world of blogging. I am also slowly working into other media as well such as YouTube and Podcasting. However, there are only so many hours in a day and as fun as all the social media stuff is it doesn’t pay the bills (so far at least).

Quick Lessons Learned

Here are a few things that I think I’ve learned which I hope might help you if you decided to start at blog or are working on a blog of your own currently:

  • Be consistent. Writing on a regular basis keeps your followers engaged and keeps your skills fresh and sharp, too.
  • Don’t expect to get rich quick. Or get rich slowly for that matter. If you do great and please let me know your secret. However, the odds are against this happening. So remember you are in this for the long haul. As long as you enjoy what you are doing I think that success will come but it will likely take years not days, weeks, or even months.
  • Experiment. Don’t be afraid of tackling a new subject. Your audience is looking for information. If you provide what they want, they will come back.
  • Check your stats. I pay attention to how each post does and try to learn from that. If you look at my first post and my posts today you’ll see a fair amount of change – for the better I hope!
  • Don’t be afraid to self promote. I’ve gotten better about suggesting to people that they check out my blog. I don’t know how many actually do, but my viewer counts continue to climb and I’ll get the occasional “attaboy” and “great blog” from friends and acquaintances.

So that’s it. I’ll check back in on the blogging effort at the end of this year just to let you all know how things are going. Good luck with your blog in the meantime!

All photos by David P. Wahr unless otherwise noted.
Photos and words @copyright David P. Wahr

#oldguyslifttoo – Consarn It!

Those of you who follow me on other social media (yeah, both of you) may have noticed that I usually tag any remotely fitness related post first with #oldguyslifttoo. Though it clearly hasn’t caught on I’m trying to make a point with that hashtag.

Youth and Fitness

It doesn’t take much observation to realize that in our culture and society fitness and athletic activities are the province of the young. In mo and t pro sports you’re finished before 40. A quick look through Instagram and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of posts, pictures, selfies, swolfies, and not so random flexing poses of young men (and a few women) in front of bathroom mirrors. Each who seems fully dedicated to their particular workout, diet and intent on spreading their knowledge and enthusiasm to the world. Or at least get a date. Maybe both, I’m not sure, and I’m not criticizing this in the least. If it motivates anyone towards physical fitness I’m for it. Heck, if I had the abs and biceps of some of these guys I’d be right there in front of my mirror with my phone snapping a picture too.

Old = Inactive?

But, you don’t see so much from older people. Go to a gym, again filled with folks under 40. Now I’m sure that there are a lot of reasons for this. The usual being other priorities. Career, family, etc. But, these reasons don’t explain all the middle-age men and women out there who have just stopped moving. The kids are out of the house, but instead of using the time gained from no longer running mom’s transit service they have doubled down on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and the like. Then complain that they hurt all the time or don’t have energy.

Time for a Change

It’s time to change this folks. The benefits of daily exercise are well documented. Both men and women at any age can increase strength and improve quality of life with a moderate program of walking and weightlifting. Barring an underlying medical condition (and hey, I’m pooping into a plastic bag as I type this so I know about underlying conditions) you can stall father time. You may never have 20 inch arms or buns of steel again but you can keep your bones strong and muscles firm well into old age.

Which, for all you teens out there, doesn’t start at 30.

So, I’m proud to be an old guy who lifts, too. I hope you’ll join me.

And whoknows, maybe senior citizen swolfies will catch on too!

Onward!

Dave

Things I Learned from the Internet

Facebook and Twitter have taught me many useful things in life. For example:

1. President Obama was the root of all evil.

2. The best way to express my views is to blindly copy everything I see on the internet which I agree with and share with all my “friends” before fact checking.

3. All comments made on any subject supported by someone else should be negative.

4. Donald Trump is the root of all evil.

5. The only opinions which matter are mine.

6. Cats are amazingly cute and fascinating. We should bow to them as our masters.

7. Hillary Clinton is the root of all evil.

8. All problems in the world would cease if we had more guns.

9. Sasquatch is real.

10. All problems in the world would cease if we got rid of all guns.

11. Bernie Sanders is the root of all evil.

12. Socialized medicine is the root of all evil. Unless it’s medicare or medicaid, then it’s a pretty good deal and hands off!

13. Ted Cruz is the root of all evil.

14.  (Insert the name of a recently deceased celebrity here) was the greatest person who ever lived.

15. Sasquatch is fake – but UFOs, those are real!

16. All movies are horrible pieces of trash and a waste of time and money.

17. Despite number 16 most movies that are “horrible pieces of trash” break box office records.

18. When in doubt about items 4, 7, 11, and 13 see item 1.

19. (Insert the name of a recently deceased celebrity here) was a fraud and should not be honored just because s/he passed away.

20. All major “mainstream” news outlets produce fake news and push a liberal, leftist agenda.

21. The exception to item 20 is Fox News. Which despite having higher ratings than most mainstream news outlets is agenda free and not part of “mainstream.”

22. The only facts which are facts are those that I say are facts – regardless of the scientific methodology used to determine other facts.

23. Lists of opinions are as good as facts.

24. Sasquatch and UFOs are fake – but roads can be fixed by cutting taxes!

25. Seriously, people really like cats.

26. No one knows whose picture is on any given piece of U.S. currency but by God don’t change it!

27. It is a confirmed fact that this list is the best list of its kind. There is no better list so you can stop looking now. Really, I mean it, this is the best list and not fake in anyway.

Onward!

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Year of Blogging

WordPress has told me that I’ve now been posting this blog for a year (since November 19, 2015). So I thought maybe I should reflect just a little on what’s been going on with the blog.

First and foremost, I enjoy keeping the blog. For me it is a little bit of a journal of my life and a way to occasionally vent and/or muse about things. I started out focusing only on my fitness journey but soon changed things up to cover a wide variety of topics including my life with Crohn’s disease, comic books, leadership and management, and whatever else strikes my fancy at the moment.

Here are a few stats I find interesting:

I’ve made 68 posts so far.  33 in 2014, 28 in 2015 and the rest are dated 2013 or earlier and were imported from another site.

Over 1,000 visitors (I’m sure many are repeat) have been to the site and looked at things 1,680 times.

The most views on one day occurred on December 2, 2014 with 49. The blog entry was “Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Crohn’s Courage” from the day before.

The most popular time to read my blog is on Sundays at midnight.

I have 35 regular followers (thank you).

I’m read from all over the world now (sort of). With most views coming from the USA.  Followed by Italy (where I have a friend), then Ireland (another friend), Italy (yep, I know a guy there too), Germany, the UK, Russia, India, Switzerland, Portugal, Singapore, Pakistan, France, Croatia, Denmark, Bangladesh, Australia, Netherlands, Greece and Argentina.

In 2014 the top 5 blogs where:  “Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – a New Wrinkle (115 views),” “Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Crohn’s Courage (58),” “Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – Step One Completed (45),” “The Day After…Thanksgiving (39),” and “A Day in the Life of a Crohn’s Flare Up (39).”

So far in 2015 they are: “A Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes (56),” “Early Inspirations (43),” “Crohn’s Update: Humira (31),” “January 25, 2015 Update (30),” and “When is an Arm Considered Big? (23).”

Overall Top 5 Posts:

Peter K. Vaughn – Profile in Courage (59 tie)
Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – A New Wrinkle (59 tie)
A Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes (56)
Reflections on A Visit With a Doctor (47)
Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – Step One Completed (45)

Not surprisingly, most of the most read posts have been in regards to my Crohn’s disease. Not the direction that I had intended for this blog, but it seems to be the one that people are interested in.  After Crohn’s fitness/bodybuilding has the most reads, social issues, and then coming in last my thoughts on management and leadership. To be fair, all the stats are not kept in WordPress as my blog is cross posted to other social media sites. So, for example, my posts on management do much better over on LinkedIn than on the site here.

So, as interesting as this all is what will I do? I’ll keep posting things as I like and hope some folks have enough interest to follow along and even comment on occasion. Watch for more about Crohn’s and fitness and I’ll be talking more about roller coasters and my play writing pretty soon.

If you’d like to see me post on a particular topic just let me know. Chances are I’ll be glad to share my thoughts and opinions (of which I have many).

Onward!

2014 in Review By the Numbers

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Just some interesting information on the short life of this blog. Thanks to all who have followed along so far, there’s more to come in 2015!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 660 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.