Lessons learned while deleting 274 blog posts

deleting blog posts

I’m in the process of creating a new website (soon to be revealed with the help of Joel Hughes and his Glass Mountains Digital Agency) and decided it was time to clean house.

After more than seven years of blogging I had a lot of clutter. Irrelevant posts. Broken links. Out-dated information. Silly stuff. So I started at the beginning of the {grow} timeline and began deleting blog posts. Hundreds of them.

When the dust had cleared, I had trashed 274 blog posts.

In most cases, I had not seen these old posts for six or seven years. Re-living those early days of my social media journey — and the re-invention of a career — was an emotional and illuminating experience. Here are a few observations and lessons I learned.

The firsts

It was fun to go back and figure out who left the first of 65,000 comments on this blog. Somebody named Houston. Have no idea who that is. Michele Linn was the first guest blogger. There was a group of us who guest blogged for each other at the beginning to help our communities get started.

Since those early days I have had more than 65,000 comments on the blog. I have deleted nine for being over the top. Nine. This is an exceptional audience and I never, ever take you for granted. Thank you!

It’s funny that nearly all of the “top bloggers” I wrote about seven years ago have moved on to other things. Some have moved off the grid completely. I wonder what will happen to me in the next five years? I’m still having fun.

How I’ve changed

I was struck by what has changed on the blog and what hasn’t. The early blog posts were not as bad as I expected them to be. Between 2009 and mid-2011 I could see a definite shift toward a more confident and authoritative voice. So it took me two and a half years to firmly find my footing. That’s about the same time frame I hear from a lot of other bloggers, so the lesson is, be persistent!

Even from the beginning, many of my themes have been consistent — a practical, rational, measurable, and human approach to marketing. But at that 2.5 year mark, the quality and depth of my writing spiked up dramatically.

Here’s what has changed the most. Expressing my sense of humor. In the early years I wrote absolutely wacky blog posts like

… and I don’t do any of that crazy stuff any more.

I think one reason might be that I have more of the world watching now. I’m more self-conscience when thousands of people from all over the world are looking for something thought-provoking every day. I can never, ever break that promise. If you spend time on this blog, it will be INTERESTING! I’m not sure how “wacky” fits into the plan any more.

Another reason is that there is so much to write about. I have a backlog of hundreds of marketing ideas. Maybe there is not so much room these days for funny.

But there is probably a deeper reason. Years ago, when I had just 20 readers, I had nothing to lose. I wrote with reckless abandon. I do miss that and it’s something to think about.

Engagement is dramatically down

There has been a significant shift in the engagement level here. Back in 2011-2013 it would not be unusual to get 60-80 comments on a single post. Today I probably average 10-20 comments. This is a phenomenon being witnessed all over the web right now.

Some of the engagement is moving to other places like Facebook and LinkedIn, some of the decline is because people are busy (people had more time to comment if they were looking for work in the recession) and part of it is the fact that most of you read this on a mobile device and it is damn hard leaving a comment on a smartphone.

Smartphones have really worked against bloggers.

Rapid adoption versus today

I was amazed to see that within the first three months some of my blog posts were making “best of” lists. Three months! I’m not sure it would be that easy to get that kind of attention today.

There used to be this “blog power ranking” created by AdAge magazine. Oh my how bloggers swooned over that thing. Within a year I had made the top 25 in the world and by year two I was usually ranked in the Top 10. So looking back, I’m surprised I was able to make so much progress that rapidly and I’m not sure I could achieve that today from a standing start. It’s a much more competitive world.

The tipping point

In Joe Pulizzi’s fine book Content Inc., he talks about a “tipping point” that finally sends your blog over the top. I have been thinking a lot about this point. What made my blog finally “tip?”

From the beginning, my blog audience grew steadily but after about 2.5 years it really shot up to a new level.

For me, I believe the change came because I was tuned in to audience feedback. As I plowed through hundreds of posts I wrote through the years, I could see my “voice” solidify, and my topics became more focused. I attribute this to the tremendous feedback I received through reader comments. Each week you gently nudged me into becoming the writer I am today.

There was another subtle strategy that helped me break through. I made a decision at the beginning of my blogging career to write for readers and NOT write for SEO. This was a risky decision because it was squarely against the conventional wisdom of that time, and maybe even today.

By definition, if you constantly optimize for “popular” words, you’re not distinct. To stand out you have to be original, and you’re not going to be original if you write the same keyword-laden posts as everybody else. SEO works against viral.

One reader recently told me that she starts every day with a cup of coffee and my blog. I have become part of the fabric of her life. You’re not going to build that kind of emotional connection with an audience by tweaking keywords every day. I write for you, period.

Where is everybody? 

It’s amazing how blog readers seem to come and go in waves. Sure, I have a few people who have read the blog for many years but it made me sad to see how many regulars (who became friends) have gone silent.

Time passes so quickly. It was stunning to see how many people I’ve lost track of. Are you out there?

So those are a few things that went through my mind during the blog post purge. If you’re reading this … well, it just makes me appreciate you even more. I feed off of your support and comments and I thank you. Thank you so much for being here. It will be fascinating to see how {grow} continues to unfold.

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  • Yes, I am still here Mark, and still reading/sharing/loving your insights that inform my own writing and consulting.
    The single reason I consume the stuff you and others write, then distil it through my lens, and onto my blog, (plus 1400 posts now, crap is probably 400) is that it makes me better at what I do, delivering insights and value to my clients and readers.
    Keep up the great work
    Allen

  • Yes, I am still here Mark, and still reading/sharing/loving your insights that inform my own writing and consulting.
    The single reason I consume the stuff you and others write, then distil it through my lens, and onto my blog, (plus 1400 posts now, crap is probably 400) is that it makes me better at what I do, delivering insights and value to my clients and readers.
    Keep up the great work
    Allen

  • Steve Woodruff

    You’re mentioned one of the reasons I’ve valued your blog over the years – a unique, thoughtful perspective. A lot of trendy bloggers simply lived to jump on the next new shiny object, and that’s when blog posts began to deteriorate into exercises of click-counts and “followers” (how quickly all that evaporates). When you can look back over the years and see long-standing principles joined to a slow and thoughtful evolution, you’ve got what matters most – substance.

  • Steve Woodruff

    You’re mentioned one of the reasons I’ve valued your blog over the years – a unique, thoughtful perspective. A lot of trendy bloggers simply lived to jump on the next new shiny object, and that’s when blog posts began to deteriorate into exercises of click-counts and “followers” (how quickly all that evaporates). When you can look back over the years and see long-standing principles joined to a slow and thoughtful evolution, you’ve got what matters most – substance.

  • Claudia Licher

    Hi Mark, still here. Still reading. Still forwarding your posts into the ‘dark web’ (mostly my other half, who is more into marketing than I am – it says so on the resume, anyway – but less into reading loads of blog posts). Sometimes too busy to take time for a comment, and just saying ‘Hi’ is not for the comments section…is it?. Hi anyway, now that I’m here 🙂
    I think mostly, what with all the content everywhere, people really need to be triggered to respond, not just because commenting takes time but because… maybe because a comment is going to be out there online so it has to be good, right? Have we all gone Facebook/Instagram in a manner of speaking? We don’t comment unless we have something worthwhile to share? Do comments sections suffer from the inner editor that plagues bloggers? I know I deleted a comment on at least one of your posts because I thought at one point “this isn’t really going anywhere is it?” So you never got to see that one. How many more deleted comments are there (or not, as it happens)?

  • Claudia Licher

    Hi Mark, still here. Still reading. Still forwarding your posts into the ‘dark web’ (mostly my other half, who is more into marketing than I am – it says so on the resume, anyway – but less into reading loads of blog posts). Sometimes too busy to take time for a comment, and just saying ‘Hi’ is not for the comments section…is it?. Hi anyway, now that I’m here 🙂
    I think mostly, what with all the content everywhere, people really need to be triggered to respond, not just because commenting takes time but because… maybe because a comment is going to be out there online so it has to be good, right? Have we all gone Facebook/Instagram in a manner of speaking? We don’t comment unless we have something worthwhile to share? Do comments sections suffer from the inner editor that plagues bloggers? I know I deleted a comment on at least one of your posts because I thought at one point “this isn’t really going anywhere is it?” So you never got to see that one. How many more deleted comments are there (or not, as it happens)?

  • Merav Chen

    I just loved reading this one, Mark! It’s true, there’s less time and less screen-size to comment, but I make the time to read, here and on Social – it is always interesting and always fun. Speaking of fun, if I had thought you had any time to spare at all, I’d suggest you start an alias blog where you help businesses glow (why not?) by writing with all your reckless abandon there.

  • Merav Chen

    I just loved reading this one, Mark! It’s true, there’s less time and less screen-size to comment, but I make the time to read, here and on Social – it is always interesting and always fun. Speaking of fun, if I had thought you had any time to spare at all, I’d suggest you start an alias blog where you help businesses glow (why not?) by writing with all your reckless abandon there.

  • Here from the beginning and still highly regard this site and the community you’ve built.The market has certainly changed over the past 7 years but you have kept this very relevant. We’ve discussed many topics over the years. And this post, actually has introduced some of the most interesting based on your observations and real experience, not just some trending theory.

    1. Many who we once regarded as “experts” have moved on. So, have they found something else (maybe just “cashed” out from success), or perhaps their disappearance is showing they weren’t all that “expert” in the first place.
    2. “SEO works against viral”……. the core of social media “success” from any perspective (and no matter how you define “success”) has always been developing communities of common interest through integrity and hard work. Tools like SEO help but longevity is only developed if the core value continues to exist. If the tools dictate the purpose, eventually the community moves on to more relevant places.

    Businesses Grow would be a tremendous case study to show the ebb and flow of the social media industry given its content and community activity. And, most importantly, the reality of social media in general.

    I’m looking forward to your next “evolution”!

  • Here from the beginning and still highly regard this site and the community you’ve built.The market has certainly changed over the past 7 years but you have kept this very relevant. We’ve discussed many topics over the years. And this post, actually has introduced some of the most interesting based on your observations and real experience, not just some trending theory.

    1. Many who we once regarded as “experts” have moved on. So, have they found something else (maybe just “cashed” out from success), or perhaps their disappearance is showing they weren’t all that “expert” in the first place.
    2. “SEO works against viral”……. the core of social media “success” from any perspective (and no matter how you define “success”) has always been developing communities of common interest through integrity and hard work. Tools like SEO help but longevity is only developed if the core value continues to exist. If the tools dictate the purpose, eventually the community moves on to more relevant places.

    Businesses Grow would be a tremendous case study to show the ebb and flow of the social media industry given its content and community activity. And, most importantly, the reality of social media in general.

    I’m looking forward to your next “evolution”!

  • Wonderful comment Allen. Thanks for sticking with me all these years!

  • Wonderful comment Allen. Thanks for sticking with me all these years!

  • Thanks for noticing Steve! My strategy is do good work, be kind, help where I can. It’s sad to say but that is still an unconventional and risky strategy in the digital space. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you!

  • Thanks for noticing Steve! My strategy is do good work, be kind, help where I can. It’s sad to say but that is still an unconventional and risky strategy in the digital space. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you!

  • That is such an insightful and brilliant point Claudia. I do agree with you. Some people have told me that they are afraid to leave a comment. I look at as a much more casual exchange. I just like hearing from people and maybe even becoming friends. How do I build a community and relationships without ever know people are out there? But I do believe you’re right and it’s something to think about. Thank you for being here (and commenting!) for many years!

  • That is such an insightful and brilliant point Claudia. I do agree with you. Some people have told me that they are afraid to leave a comment. I look at as a much more casual exchange. I just like hearing from people and maybe even becoming friends. How do I build a community and relationships without ever know people are out there? But I do believe you’re right and it’s something to think about. Thank you for being here (and commenting!) for many years!

  • Ha! That is something to think about (key being TIME!) : ) I have actually thought about that. A lot on my mind doesn’t fit on {grow}.

  • Ha! That is something to think about (key being TIME!) : ) I have actually thought about that. A lot on my mind doesn’t fit on {grow}.

  • You are the MAN. I cherish your support and friendship. It is truly humbling that you and a few others have really been here since Day One. Amazing. Thank you !

  • You are the MAN. I cherish your support and friendship. It is truly humbling that you and a few others have really been here since Day One. Amazing. Thank you !

  • Jennifer Porter

    Mark, Your blog changed how I view social media marketing. It came to me accidentally, as a referred quote on another piece of content. I followed the link, and I was hooked. Your blog is full of humanity, humor and insight that is not often found in the blogosphere. Looking forward to following the rest of your journey.

  • Jennifer Porter

    Mark, Your blog changed how I view social media marketing. It came to me accidentally, as a referred quote on another piece of content. I followed the link, and I was hooked. Your blog is full of humanity, humor and insight that is not often found in the blogosphere. Looking forward to following the rest of your journey.

  • I’m still here, too. I’m guilty of reading you in my email and not coming over to say, good job or that helped. Life has been so crazy I bought a clown nose to remind me to keep laughing. I hope you didn’t delete the funny Twitter bios! Those posts changed my Twitter-verse! When I have friends struggling there, I recommend those posts to them. Even if they can’t think of a funny Twitter bio, the laugh helps. Thank you for showing up, for teaching me so many things!

  • I’m still here, too. I’m guilty of reading you in my email and not coming over to say, good job or that helped. Life has been so crazy I bought a clown nose to remind me to keep laughing. I hope you didn’t delete the funny Twitter bios! Those posts changed my Twitter-verse! When I have friends struggling there, I recommend those posts to them. Even if they can’t think of a funny Twitter bio, the laugh helps. Thank you for showing up, for teaching me so many things!

  • What I love most about this post, Mark, is the reminder to every reader that we all started at the beginning and grew from there. It’s so easy to start a blog but then be completely overwhelmed with the success that so many others obviously have.

    I’m reminded of my alma mater, Ohio State, and how the football program was ENTIRELY overwhelmed by Michigan in the early days. We’re talking about decades of beat-downs! It got to the point where the players just assumed they were going to be beaten by the boys in blue and gold from up north… that is, until Coach Schmidt came along. He told his players how the Michigan players are no different from them, how they put their pants on, one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

    Thus was born the Gold Pants pins, distributed to every OSU player after a victory over the wolverines.

  • What I love most about this post, Mark, is the reminder to every reader that we all started at the beginning and grew from there. It’s so easy to start a blog but then be completely overwhelmed with the success that so many others obviously have.

    I’m reminded of my alma mater, Ohio State, and how the football program was ENTIRELY overwhelmed by Michigan in the early days. We’re talking about decades of beat-downs! It got to the point where the players just assumed they were going to be beaten by the boys in blue and gold from up north… that is, until Coach Schmidt came along. He told his players how the Michigan players are no different from them, how they put their pants on, one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

    Thus was born the Gold Pants pins, distributed to every OSU player after a victory over the wolverines.

  • I really enjoyed this post. I have been going through and deleting posts as well. Some of my blog posts are really, really old. It is hard at times for me to knock out those posts. When no one is reading them and they haven’t for awhile, it’s time to make way for more. My blog has been around since 1995, I know, we didn’t call them blogs back then either.

    You are right, things seem to happen in waves. Engagement is down on our blogs, but it is up on Facebook, if you are there, and you can work the Facebook algorithm in your favor. I find it a little painful that now part of my time has shifted to marketing what I just wrote.

    I too have had some people write comments for years, and others come and go.

    I really enjoyed your perspective, I love reading works from long time bloggers. It is an ever changing area, and we need to either keep up get swept aside. Thank you for sharing.

  • I really enjoyed this post. I have been going through and deleting posts as well. Some of my blog posts are really, really old. It is hard at times for me to knock out those posts. When no one is reading them and they haven’t for awhile, it’s time to make way for more. My blog has been around since 1995, I know, we didn’t call them blogs back then either.

    You are right, things seem to happen in waves. Engagement is down on our blogs, but it is up on Facebook, if you are there, and you can work the Facebook algorithm in your favor. I find it a little painful that now part of my time has shifted to marketing what I just wrote.

    I too have had some people write comments for years, and others come and go.

    I really enjoyed your perspective, I love reading works from long time bloggers. It is an ever changing area, and we need to either keep up get swept aside. Thank you for sharing.

  • Wow you made my day. Thanks for that very generous comment Jennifer!

  • Wow you made my day. Thanks for that very generous comment Jennifer!

  • Thanks for being here so many years Pauline. The Twitter bios are still there and always will be : )

  • Thanks for being here so many years Pauline. The Twitter bios are still there and always will be : )

  • What a great story sir. Maybe I should create some Google Pants pins : )

  • What a great story sir. Maybe I should create some Google Pants pins : )

  • Well said, and you’re welcome!

  • Well said, and you’re welcome!

  • Fabulous post Mark,.. You continue to be my inspiration! ~Rae

  • Fabulous post Mark,.. You continue to be my inspiration! ~Rae

  • thanks!

  • thanks!

  • Sandra Hamilton

    This has been so much fun today – and heartwarming too. No poor me/us attitude reflected by “out with the old, in with the new” – it’s just better called “GROW”! Monday as Funday? And an extra hour of daylight too!

  • Sandra Hamilton

    This has been so much fun today – and heartwarming too. No poor me/us attitude reflected by “out with the old, in with the new” – it’s just better called “GROW”! Monday as Funday? And an extra hour of daylight too!

  • There are many things I feel – joy, proud, sad but I must say that it is all part of life. Lot of things have changed now and the traffic provider, the Google has changed a lot in itself and the hard truth is that everyone is now trying to work per the Google standards or requirements to get their chunk of traffic.

    It is astonishing how people are with you when you are doing awesome and they go when you are doing not so great.

    You can build the reputation again and I am sure you will find much more engagement than now. I am sure it is not very difficult for someone like you who has already done a great job here.

    Cheers
    Pankaj

  • There are many things I feel – joy, proud, sad but I must say that it is all part of life. Lot of things have changed now and the traffic provider, the Google has changed a lot in itself and the hard truth is that everyone is now trying to work per the Google standards or requirements to get their chunk of traffic.

    It is astonishing how people are with you when you are doing awesome and they go when you are doing not so great.

    You can build the reputation again and I am sure you will find much more engagement than now. I am sure it is not very difficult for someone like you who has already done a great job here.

    Cheers
    Pankaj

  • Ha! Love that. Thanks Sandra.

  • Ha! Love that. Thanks Sandra.

  • It is what it is. I don’t dwell on it. My content is better than ever : )

  • It is what it is. I don’t dwell on it. My content is better than ever : )

  • Hi Mark,

    I apologize if I was rude, I didn’t intend to disrespect you or the content. It’s just that I follow few people like Neil and they suggest a lot on content. You having a blog like this are already doing fab job. I just meant to boost your confidence to get more out of your efforts.

    Good content needs good marketing as well but you probably are expert on all of the stuff I am talking about so you know, I better shut up here 🙂

  • Hi Mark,

    I apologize if I was rude, I didn’t intend to disrespect you or the content. It’s just that I follow few people like Neil and they suggest a lot on content. You having a blog like this are already doing fab job. I just meant to boost your confidence to get more out of your efforts.

    Good content needs good marketing as well but you probably are expert on all of the stuff I am talking about so you know, I better shut up here 🙂

  • Abby Vige

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and im not even in
    marketing, I work in public sector procurement. Your posts are applicable
    beyond the marketing sector. I follow your blog because you challenge me and make me think about how I am engaging my stakeholders, you’re a barometer to keep me in check and in touch. Much love from NZ!

  • Abby Vige

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and im not even in
    marketing, I work in public sector procurement. Your posts are applicable
    beyond the marketing sector. I follow your blog because you challenge me and make me think about how I am engaging my stakeholders, you’re a barometer to keep me in check and in touch. Much love from NZ!

  • A late adopter, I only discovered your blog (and books and podcasts) six months ago. I have found your insights, opinions and advice to be the soundest of all the social gurus around (and there are thousands). There is so much relentlessly ridiculous white noise and self-serving nonsense. Thank goodness there’s one voice I can count on for guidance. Yours.

  • A late adopter, I only discovered your blog (and books and podcasts) six months ago. I have found your insights, opinions and advice to be the soundest of all the social gurus around (and there are thousands). There is so much relentlessly ridiculous white noise and self-serving nonsense. Thank goodness there’s one voice I can count on for guidance. Yours.

  • Oh no I wasn’t offended at all. Thanks clarifying and many thanks for your kindness I appreciate you Pankaj.

  • Oh no I wasn’t offended at all. Thanks clarifying and many thanks for your kindness I appreciate you Pankaj.

  • That is SO cool. Thanks for letting me know about that and much love back!

  • That is SO cool. Thanks for letting me know about that and much love back!

  • That means a lot sir. I’m in a great position in my career to help people in an honest way that connects the dots.

  • That means a lot sir. I’m in a great position in my career to help people in an honest way that connects the dots.

  • Ana Isabel Canhoto

    Just to say that I am still here… I am still reading, and still finding immense value in your writing. And, yes, the main reason I do not comment (here or elsewhere) is that I am often reading on my phone. I do sometimes flag a post, or e-mail it to myself, as a reminder to comment at a later date (e.g., I flagged your snapchat post)… but, I rarely do, as I feel that the conversation has moved on, in the meantime.

    On a different note, I thought about deleting some old posts from my own blog, because I feel that they are very poorly written, or not related to its present focus. But, then… I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What made you delete some of those posts?

  • Ana Isabel Canhoto

    Just to say that I am still here… I am still reading, and still finding immense value in your writing. And, yes, the main reason I do not comment (here or elsewhere) is that I am often reading on my phone. I do sometimes flag a post, or e-mail it to myself, as a reminder to comment at a later date (e.g., I flagged your snapchat post)… but, I rarely do, as I feel that the conversation has moved on, in the meantime.

    On a different note, I thought about deleting some old posts from my own blog, because I feel that they are very poorly written, or not related to its present focus. But, then… I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What made you delete some of those posts?

  • MaureenMonte

    Hi Mark! I echo the comments of others – find your work immensely valuable, and feel guilty that I wasn’t commenting as much as I used to. Remember your post about your grandfather who built relationships in his old store on main street? I have a question for you and would love your guidance. One reason I comment less on other people’s blogs and other social media platforms is that it felt like I was investing a lot of time and energy in other people’s work, which didn’t come back to me. It felt one way, which lacks the humanity promoted by your grandfather’s biz. I began to invest more in my own platform (plus I was working fulltime and starting my own biz) and finding places where I went out to play and someone’s post/platform, and they came back to play on mine. From your standpoint as a marketing pro, what are your thoughts on how we spend our resources (time/energy, mostly) so that there is a two way conversation/engagement for all parties? Do I sound selfish? (that is my concern). I don’t mean to, I am trying to focus on my own success as well as investing in relationships with friends, partners, and customers. Thoughts? Forgive me if this is poorly articulated.

  • MaureenMonte

    Hi Mark! I echo the comments of others – find your work immensely valuable, and feel guilty that I wasn’t commenting as much as I used to. Remember your post about your grandfather who built relationships in his old store on main street? I have a question for you and would love your guidance. One reason I comment less on other people’s blogs and other social media platforms is that it felt like I was investing a lot of time and energy in other people’s work, which didn’t come back to me. It felt one way, which lacks the humanity promoted by your grandfather’s biz. I began to invest more in my own platform (plus I was working fulltime and starting my own biz) and finding places where I went out to play and someone’s post/platform, and they came back to play on mine. From your standpoint as a marketing pro, what are your thoughts on how we spend our resources (time/energy, mostly) so that there is a two way conversation/engagement for all parties? Do I sound selfish? (that is my concern). I don’t mean to, I am trying to focus on my own success as well as investing in relationships with friends, partners, and customers. Thoughts? Forgive me if this is poorly articulated.

  • Hi Mark,

    I’m just now approaching year 2 in my blog and I’m amazed at how much I already identify with your experience even though it has been such a short period of time.

    My blog started out really strong and I was blessed to get 80 to 120 comments per article in the first six months.

    Today, I average around 30. However, the quality of the comments have gone up significantly as well as by looking at the comments here I can see you get amazing comments as well.

    I think that may also pay into the comment numbers in addition to social media and other explanations you provided. I think many readers are intimidated when they see comments that are loaded with value and are deeply relational in nature.

    I’m getting close to a tipping point myself and it’s extremely exciting and I’m grateful to have found you and your blog. Being able to see where you’ve come from and where you are at is deeply encouraging to me personally.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, experiences and wisdom Mark!

    ~ Don Purdum

  • Hi Mark,

    I’m just now approaching year 2 in my blog and I’m amazed at how much I already identify with your experience even though it has been such a short period of time.

    My blog started out really strong and I was blessed to get 80 to 120 comments per article in the first six months.

    Today, I average around 30. However, the quality of the comments have gone up significantly as well as by looking at the comments here I can see you get amazing comments as well.

    I think that may also pay into the comment numbers in addition to social media and other explanations you provided. I think many readers are intimidated when they see comments that are loaded with value and are deeply relational in nature.

    I’m getting close to a tipping point myself and it’s extremely exciting and I’m grateful to have found you and your blog. Being able to see where you’ve come from and where you are at is deeply encouraging to me personally.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, experiences and wisdom Mark!

    ~ Don Purdum

  • I felt like they were little more than clutter. They just were adding no value to anything and may even be hurting SEO. They didn’t represent me or my business any more. Thanks for being a loyal reader Ana!

  • I felt like they were little more than clutter. They just were adding no value to anything and may even be hurting SEO. They didn’t represent me or my business any more. Thanks for being a loyal reader Ana!

  • There is no cookie cutter answer to this but when I was starting out, I found connecting with bloggers was critically important to building my own brand. Not only are you building a relationship with somebody who can help, but you are being noticed by a community who might migrate to your own work.

  • There is no cookie cutter answer to this but when I was starting out, I found connecting with bloggers was critically important to building my own brand. Not only are you building a relationship with somebody who can help, but you are being noticed by a community who might migrate to your own work.

  • Awesome Don. I also hear this often that some people are intimidated about leaving comments, although I try to make this a “safe place!” : )

  • Awesome Don. I also hear this often that some people are intimidated about leaving comments, although I try to make this a “safe place!” : )

  • Pingback: Natural Gratitude Imbues Blogging Helpfulness @AdrienneSmith40()

  • MaureenMonte

    That’s excellent analysis and feedback.I will follow it to a T! Thanks again!

  • MaureenMonte

    That’s excellent analysis and feedback.I will follow it to a T! Thanks again!

  • I’m still here. And like so many others in the {grow} community, better because of it. Like most communities these days, everyone is busier and engaging more on mobile. So I think you are correctly attributing the drop in comments activity to that. Your comments section has been one of my favorite things about {grow} but I’m certainly guilty of not contributing. This blog post was a wonderful read and it’s so interesting to see your perspective on the progression of {grow} and your evolving mindset over time. I can only ask that Portland and Austin stay weird and that you stay wacky. At least every once in a while. And please don’t let the podcast lose its wacky side. Thanks Mark!

  • I’m still here. And like so many others in the {grow} community, better because of it. Like most communities these days, everyone is busier and engaging more on mobile. So I think you are correctly attributing the drop in comments activity to that. Your comments section has been one of my favorite things about {grow} but I’m certainly guilty of not contributing. This blog post was a wonderful read and it’s so interesting to see your perspective on the progression of {grow} and your evolving mindset over time. I can only ask that Portland and Austin stay weird and that you stay wacky. At least every once in a while. And please don’t let the podcast lose its wacky side. Thanks Mark!

  • Hey Mark,

    Great post and ideas: as always.

    Getting fewer comments is something that has happened to a lot of us, and yes, it is a bit sad.

    I am writing from my mobile… and it’s so f*€%&# difficult to write!

    I have been writing for 5 minutes and I have already forgotten the brilliant ideas I was going to say here 🙁

    Anyway, always remember that you made a huge impact in the life of a Spanish teacher some years ago.

    Because of that impact, this Spanish guy today has a 3 year old blog that is well considered both in Spain and Latin America, and tomorrow this crazy man is going to give a Keynote about Periscope and live streaming.

    Yes, I am still here.

    Sorry for not telling you that very often.

    Blessings from Spain.

  • Hey Mark,

    Great post and ideas: as always.

    Getting fewer comments is something that has happened to a lot of us, and yes, it is a bit sad.

    I am writing from my mobile… and it’s so f*€%&# difficult to write!

    I have been writing for 5 minutes and I have already forgotten the brilliant ideas I was going to say here 🙁

    Anyway, always remember that you made a huge impact in the life of a Spanish teacher some years ago.

    Because of that impact, this Spanish guy today has a 3 year old blog that is well considered both in Spain and Latin America, and tomorrow this crazy man is going to give a Keynote about Periscope and live streaming.

    Yes, I am still here.

    Sorry for not telling you that very often.

    Blessings from Spain.

  • Thank you sir. Always an honor to have you comment!

  • Thank you sir. Always an honor to have you comment!

  • Whoa. I’m speechless. Thanks for letting me know. You made my day.

  • Whoa. I’m speechless. Thanks for letting me know. You made my day.

  • If you sanitized and polished out all the “wacky” stuff that brought those early readers in, and wonder where you lost them, maybe re-read that paragraph. I think blogging lost its sense of fun somewhere between 2009 and now, but I’m sensing a definite shift back. I’m convinced that if that shift doesn’t happen, blogging will, finally, have been flogged to death.

    The only times I’ve written with SEO in mind have been experiments FOR readers. I’ve never blogged for money (though it would be nice if people followed my links to my books on Amazon, they’re fiction – not “how to make money blogging in your sleep”). I can take risks. I told Darren Rowse, in 2009, that I was out to dominate the No-Niche Niche. So far, I think I’ve stayed pretty true to that goal.

    Really good point you make about smartphones. I hate typing on mine, and it’s true – if I’d read this on my phone, I’d have lost the breadcrumbs by nightfall, and never got around to commenting. How sad is that? I wonder if my voice to text program would work well on comments? (Note to self – if memory lasts longer than a gnat’s, after coffee, test the idea.) I used to be the queen of meaty comments – and as my grandma used to say, “You’ve got to write letters to get letters.” After averaging around 300 comments on any given post in 2012 or so, I got burnt out for a while. Engagement went down. But I’ve blamed that, and Facebook, far too long. I think you’re right. It’s the smart(a**) phones! 😀

    My big take-away from old blog post cleanup is usually something like, “Well, that wasn’t half as brilliant as it sounded when you wrote it, was it?” Or, “Nice post, but time-bound, and it’s run its course, now, hasn’t it?” So for a while, at least, I try to write more “evergreen” posts, so the blog requires less pruning in the spring. For the more temporal stuff, there’s Facebook and Twitter, neither of which can hold a thought longer than 3 days, anyway.

  • If you sanitized and polished out all the “wacky” stuff that brought those early readers in, and wonder where you lost them, maybe re-read that paragraph. I think blogging lost its sense of fun somewhere between 2009 and now, but I’m sensing a definite shift back. I’m convinced that if that shift doesn’t happen, blogging will, finally, have been flogged to death.

    The only times I’ve written with SEO in mind have been experiments FOR readers. I’ve never blogged for money (though it would be nice if people followed my links to my books on Amazon, they’re fiction – not “how to make money blogging in your sleep”). I can take risks. I told Darren Rowse, in 2009, that I was out to dominate the No-Niche Niche. So far, I think I’ve stayed pretty true to that goal.

    Really good point you make about smartphones. I hate typing on mine, and it’s true – if I’d read this on my phone, I’d have lost the breadcrumbs by nightfall, and never got around to commenting. How sad is that? I wonder if my voice to text program would work well on comments? (Note to self – if memory lasts longer than a gnat’s, after coffee, test the idea.) I used to be the queen of meaty comments – and as my grandma used to say, “You’ve got to write letters to get letters.” After averaging around 300 comments on any given post in 2012 or so, I got burnt out for a while. Engagement went down. But I’ve blamed that, and Facebook, far too long. I think you’re right. It’s the smart(a**) phones! 😀

    My big take-away from old blog post cleanup is usually something like, “Well, that wasn’t half as brilliant as it sounded when you wrote it, was it?” Or, “Nice post, but time-bound, and it’s run its course, now, hasn’t it?” So for a while, at least, I try to write more “evergreen” posts, so the blog requires less pruning in the spring. For the more temporal stuff, there’s Facebook and Twitter, neither of which can hold a thought longer than 3 days, anyway.

  • I’ve been meaning to start my own blog and I’ve been so scared. This is the push and inspiration I needed. Thanks Mark!

  • I’ve been meaning to start my own blog and I’ve been so scared. This is the push and inspiration I needed. Thanks Mark!

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  • Thanks for the comment Holly. I would say my content is better than ever. I have more ideas than I would ever have time to write. I have not lost readers overall, I have gained readers every year. The readers I lost … I doubt it was because I am deleting the crap. : )

  • Thanks for the comment Holly. I would say my content is better than ever. I have more ideas than I would ever have time to write. I have not lost readers overall, I have gained readers every year. The readers I lost … I doubt it was because I am deleting the crap. : )

  • Look at the comments you got on this post, Mark! And to answer your question: yes, we’re out here.

    Two of the primary factors to the lower engagement (everywhere, not just on {grow}…) are a combination, as you said, of engaging in other platforms and significantly increased mobile usage. I also think with more automation at our disposal, we’re using it. Even with the best of intentions (e.g. to curate content from people you trust more rapidly) that can mean while we’re reading, more often than not we’re skimming. And if we’re skimming, we’re not often responding.

    I do remember some of your earlier, “whacky” posts. I particularly remember the one your daughter wrote about a toilet… that was AWESOME. I personally would love to see some more of those, but not because your content isn’t awesome. It always, always is. I just really love it when you take that tone, because you’re a very funny person.

    Also: you’re a very VERY nice person. And I really appreciate the kindness and tolerance you bring to the space. If only all the other A-listers would take heed.

  • Look at the comments you got on this post, Mark! And to answer your question: yes, we’re out here.

    Two of the primary factors to the lower engagement (everywhere, not just on {grow}…) are a combination, as you said, of engaging in other platforms and significantly increased mobile usage. I also think with more automation at our disposal, we’re using it. Even with the best of intentions (e.g. to curate content from people you trust more rapidly) that can mean while we’re reading, more often than not we’re skimming. And if we’re skimming, we’re not often responding.

    I do remember some of your earlier, “whacky” posts. I particularly remember the one your daughter wrote about a toilet… that was AWESOME. I personally would love to see some more of those, but not because your content isn’t awesome. It always, always is. I just really love it when you take that tone, because you’re a very funny person.

    Also: you’re a very VERY nice person. And I really appreciate the kindness and tolerance you bring to the space. If only all the other A-listers would take heed.

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