My biggest blogging victory (and you’d never guess it)

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This month marks the fifth anniversary of {grow}. No navel gazing ahead, I promise!

But I would like to discuss what I consider to be my greatest blogging achievement because I think it will take you by surprise, and perhaps create an interesting discussion.

First, let’s look at {grow} by the numbers at Year Five:

  • I have published about 1,500 posts, not all of them mine of course.
  • These posts have generated more than 30,000 comments, most of them mine … as it should be.
  • Of those 30,000 comments, I have only deleted 10 legitimate comments because they were threatening somebody or were otherwise hurtful/unprofessional.
  • In terms of community engagement, comment provider Disqus reports {grow} would be in the top 1 percent in the world.
  • My blog has had more than 6 million page views. The number of page views I get in less than a month exceeds what I received in the first two years in TOTAL. See? Have patience. Have faith!
  • Nearly every business opportunity I receive these days comes directly or indirectly from {grow}. Hurray for the home team.

Blogging is also the most fun part of my job. If I could figure out a way to do this full-time and make money I would probably do it. Connecting with readers from all over the world is challenging, educational and inspiring.

So I have come a long way and yet none of these represents my biggest blogging victory. Here it is:

I have never published a post that I regret.

Does that sound weird?

The {grow} community is awesome, kind, and supportive. But it is also super smart, vocal and discerning. It takes some courage to take a stand on important ideas and issues every day.

I have not always been right, and no post has ever been “perfect,” but I can confidently say that I have never published a post that was such a total screw-up that I wish I could take it back.

The closest I ever came to blogging disaster was when I published a “draft” by mistake. It was late at night and I was tired and I pushed “publish” instead of “save.” Boy was I surprised when I woke up the next day and the thing had already been tweeted 50 times! But even that worked out OK.

Maybe you think that is a weird achievement but I am proud that I can say “Five years of blog posts and not a stinker in the bunch.” I am happy with the body of work so far. I would not change one thing.

If I can keep that track record intact for another five years, I think that will be very satisfying indeed.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. 1) Have you ever published a post you regret? 2) What are you most proud of about your blog so far?

Illustration: My family at the beach

All posts

  • Great article Mark, and not weird 🙂

    1) Have you ever published a post you regret? There are early posts which include photos I took that I now don’t like. As I’ve improved in photography I’ve become much more critical of my own work. I wouldn’t remove them though as they show the journey I’ve been on since starting the blog 🙂

    2) What are you most proud of about your blog so far? It’s one of the only things that I’ve done that I am truly proud of and can say I did on my own.
    It’s also been responsible for new friendships and ventures which have changed my life (for the better).
    Finally, I’ve always tried to help people without expecting anything in return (photographer interviews etc).

  • With my blog my BEST post so ever was “when I chopped my finger off” – which told the story of, er, chopping my finger off and finished with the line “and as I lay there staring at the operating theatre ceiling I thought ‘you know what? There is a blog in this!” – it was fun and easy to write and from the heart. Unlike some of the drab I have written since 😉 Thanks for all the books, tweets and podcasts and here is to the next five years!

  • Charles

    I only started reading this blog about 1/2 year ago. Wish I had the time to read the archives. I do go back and read a few posts every once in a while. Thanks for the value and honesty you bring to the blogosphere.

  • Todd Lyden

    Good philosophy for life and blogging…

  • I had a similar experience when I broke my wrist! 🙂 Funny old world!

  • Happy anniversary! And I can see why “no regrets” is your top choice. With the internet the way it is, you can’t call anything back. I have not published a post I regret, though I wish I’d stuck with it when I first started blogging. I’ll be hitting my 400 posts mark in May and I’m excited about that. I’m still building traffic and because of the personal nature of my blog, it is slow going, but I’m happy with how it is shaping up. It is doing what I need it to do. 🙂

  • phresh I + D®

    Congrats! I definitely believe in being patient when it comes to blogging. I’ve seen how my views have improved annually. This year I’m on target to 3,500 views. Pales in comparison to your numbers, but I’ll get there someday! haha

  • I am glad to hear you say that you regret nothing. I am still in the first year of my blog, and I worry that I will look back and just be totally embarrassed by how I started. I hope when I hit five years I can look back and see those posts as progress and not regret them.

  • I’m not sure if you’re still there, but I find it interesting that you might have been in Australia when posting this. It’s sometimes exhausting just to keep up with where you’ve traveled around the world as a result of starting your blog five years ago. Thanks for sharing these inspiring and encouraging metrics. I just wanted to add an example of your travels and adventures to your list because it’s another amazing result of your great work. You not only are the top 1% of engaging bloggers online, you have actually extended that contact to real life friendships and business relationships all over the world.

  • Yep, I’ve posted things I regret. And for me personally, *that* is a victory. Because if I can look back and cringe at some of the stuff I’ve written, I feel like my world view is dynamic and changing and always open to new directions, and that’s why I started blogging in the first place (and still my number one reason for writing, as Joan Didion would say, “I write to discover what I think).

    Congrats on five years, Mark, and hope to see you writing for many more.

  • Gordon Diver

    Congrats Mark. I’d have to say that I’ve not published anything I’m not proud of (but my wife Joan is also my muse and editor and sees everything before it goes). The thing that I’m most pleased with is that they all feel authentic, Looking forward to reading the next five years of your work.

  • MrTonyDowling

    Many congratulations Mark! Ive never published anything I recall having a major problem with, but I did once attract some pretty harsh feedback. I’d posted about women making good sales people and was accused of being a male basher amongst other things. It was pretty hurtful
    I left it on the post and tried my best to answer the poster and argue my point. They didn’t respond funnily enough 🙂
    This thing I’m most proud of is the post I did today – its really picked up some steam and is a new record for me with just over 500 page views and counting!
    That and the fact Im still plugging away at it 😉

  • J Vomkrieg

    “My blog has had more than 6 million page views. The number of page views I get in less than a month exceeds what I received in the first two years in TOTAL. See? Have patience. Have faith!”

    This is so true. My blog has followed the same path, the first year I got 9000 views, now thats a month. I love watching the view graph go up and up. Its a rewarding process. (although, mine is a hobby blog)

  • Jenny Brennan

    Hey Mark, well done this is quite an acheivement. The only regret I have is not being true to myself. I have been trying to be something Im not and so my posts lacked my personality. I wrote a post on Sunday and it got over 55 flares, big for me! Your presentation atb#smmw was inspiring and the one thing that stood out for me.. be human. I am going to be human and proud to be myself thanks to the support of you and others last week who showed me its ok to believe in yourself. Thank you so much your continued support, amazing content and friendship. Jenny

  • awesome, thanks!

  • Thanks for commenting and letting me know you’re out there! : )

  • Oh, I’m not saying my first blog posts were any good! I’m just saying I don;t regret them : )

  • … and that is the BEST part of the journey. Yes, I am in Australia. I have scheduled three weeks of blog posts in advance!

  • Thank you. Always an honor to have you stop by Amber!

  • Wow, that is awesome! Love to hear about that traction!

  • Awesome. Glad I could offer some encouragement and support!

  • Ten years of blogging has changed my life. That is not an exaggeration. It has led to two different full time jobs and served as a valuable course correction career wise.

    It probably took about six before I realized the changes were happening and another two before I really began to embrace them, but I will forever be grateful for what I gained from blogging.

  • I’ve published a few things on forums that I wrote when I was short on time/sleep/patience and wouldn’t mind revising – I don’t necessarily regret them, however. Back in the day on some public forums once you hit publish -that was it- final. There was no way to go back and edit or delete your post. It was somebody else’s sandbox and the admin controlled what got deleted or not. The total lack of a safety net made me a better writer. Forced me to be present and to take publish buttons seriously. Very seriously.

    It’s impressive you’ve not deleted many comments. That’s one thing I prefer about forums over blogs. Bloggers can “curate” their comments so it’s 100% fandom.

  • Love the Didion quote. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Mark and {grow} community!

    First things first: congratulations on the 5th anniversary of your blog!

    It’s amazing all the achievements you have made with {grow}.

    I wish I could comment here more often, but unluckily my life now is far from having spare time to do anything…

    But I read you almost daily, and I am updated via social media about all your work and efforts 🙂

    I have read your first 3 books, and I have just bought (1 minute ago) your “Social Media Explained” book, because it’s been a while to have it on Kindle format here in Amazon Spain.

    I would let you know my thoughts about your 4th book.

    Anyway, regarding your questions, I have a very modest blog, and I don’t publish very often, so I don’t regret of any of my posts 🙂

    I have worked very hard in any of my posts. I should write faster, publish more posts and maybe regret of some of them 😉

    The thing that I am most proud of (regarding my blog) is that, even with zero free time (I work as an IT high school teacher & social media consultant, and I have two daughters of 2 years and 3 months), I have been able to launch my blog http://www.desdealicante.com , both in Spanish and English.

    Even I don’t publish very often, I have received highly positive feedback, both from non-bloggers and from top-bloggers.

    And because of my blog (I think) I have been able to connect with some of the most important social media professionals here in Spain.

    Thanks, Mark, for all the knowledge you share: here in your {grow} blog and in your amazing books.

    Best!

    Jorge.

    P. S.- Maybe you will receive an email from me in the following days 🙂 Don’t be scared, I will not ask you for any free consultation 😉

  • There once was an author quite humble
    Who nary a post did he fumble.
    Near his proudest acclaim
    Was the sounding refrain
    Of a roar he did {grow} from a mumble.
    Mark – may the next 5 years be way funner than the first. Cheers,
    Bill

  • That’s nice to know!

  • beyond awesome

  • I look forward to your email and the email of any loyal reader! : )

  • Good for you sir. An interesting journey to be sure!

  • I’m coming up on 10… thanks for making me feel old.

  • Look how you’ve {grow}n! Huge Congrats, Mark on your blog’s 5th Anniversary. Here’s to the next 5. Best Wishes! My answers, (1) No regrets on any post. (2) Dunno about proud but I’d say I’m fortunate I blogged. For me, it’s a learning journey (skills and knowledge). Also, blogging has given me a forum (directly or indirectly) to meet and/or interact with some of the world’s most interesting, creative and talented people – as yourself.

  • Jenn Herman

    Congrats on your milestone, Mark! I love that your biggest victory is no regrettable posts. You give many of us bloggers inspiration and to achieve that success of appreciating every post you wrote says a lot about you as a blogger. For me personally, I am most proud of being listed as a top 10 social media blog in 2014. But I’m not proud of it because of the title or prestige many associate with it. I am proud of it because after just over a year of blogging, I created a blog full of engagement (even with a small readership) and an audience so passionate about it, that they took the steps to make my blog grow through that publicity. It’s the readers and the relationships we’ve formed that make me so glad I started and continued my blog.

  • Jenn Herman

    Congrats on your milestone, Mark! I love that your biggest victory is no regrettable posts. You give many of us bloggers inspiration and to achieve that success of appreciating every post you wrote says a lot about you as a blogger. For me personally, I am most proud of being listed as a top 10 social media blog in 2014. But I’m not proud of it because of the title or prestige many associate with it. I am proud of it because after just over a year of blogging, I created a blog full of engagement (even with a small readership) and an audience so passionate about it, that they took the steps to make my blog grow through that publicity. It’s the readers and the relationships we’ve formed that make me so glad I started and continued my blog.

  • In five years to this kind of success is truelly something to celebrate. Congratulations! I’ve been following {grow} for a while now, and what makes you stand out for me is that you manage to stay very close to yourself. It’s personal, human, authentic – all very popular traits these days, and with good reason. Likeable and still sharp en thought provoking. Super stuff.

    Did I ever publish posts I did regret? Yes, I did – I have a tendency to become (just a tad) condescending, and I’ve had it happen that someone kindly asked me to ‘get off my high horse’ – and reading it back, I immediately saw what he meant. So it was not as much my message as it was the way I brought it. I still struggle with that sometimes, since I’m usually very much convinced that I am right. 🙂

    What made and still makes me proud is when people let me know that I’ve managed to change their way of thinking about some subject. That’s when I know I not only delivered the message, but managed to do it in such a way that it was accepted by people that did not necessarily started out on the same page. And, with a slight twist: is has happened that, after a lengthy and interesting discussion, people managed to change MY mind. It makes me happy to think they actually took the time to try and do that.

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