Looking back

I started 2006 with a massive traffic spike when Lifehacker linked to two of my posts: how to color-code tasks in Backpackit using The Printable CEO as guide, and how to get things done faster on your phone by using Float’s Mobile Agent. Since then, my site’s traffic has tripled and certain posts have been to the front pages of Digg once and del.icio.us thrice.

I blog because I want to improve my writing. Instead of the notebook writing coaches tell you to keep for regular jottings, I keep a blog. My measure for success is simple: once in a while I’d go over old posts and see how I would have written it better. I’d spot passages that could be sharpened, details that could be clarified and grammatical errors that could be corrected.

But blogging, being the medium that it is, provides a lot of bonuses. I’ve gotten feedback, through this blog, that helped me improve my writing and technical skills. Comments have pointed me to scripts and programs related to my field of interest: content management systems. Blogging has also brought me into contact with people whom I share an interest with.

The most important blogging lesson for me this year is the viability of the medium’s tools in being used for independent media. Notwithstanding the fact that I work for a mainstream metro newspaper, Sun.Star Cebu, I am passionate about independent media.

I spent some of my best years working for what can be described in hindsight as a quixotic venture: a cooperative newspaper. In 1998, we were already talking about some form of user-generated content and had programs for people to be involved in the shaping of the news agenda. Sadly, the venture ran out of money. To describe my stint at the now defunct The Independent Post as a financial disaster would be to grossly understate it (but that’s for a still pending blog post).

But not a month passes by when I don’t think about how things may have turned out had the group decided to start the venture now and, instead of putting out a print product, publish an online-only edition on a niche topic.

It’s cheaper to publish online. It’s also relatively easier to build an audience on the web. It warms my heart to see this blog’s traffic rocket beyond my expectations. Last year, I averaged 200 readers a day and I was beside myself with joy at that figure. Now, my daily visitor count hovers between 650 to 730. And this came when I started blogging less–after I gave up link blogging and posting asides.

Here are my top posts for 2006 and their page views. Indulge me in this navel gazing, an act too common offline and online by this time of the year:

My top three posts have never been saved in social bookmarking sites and aggregators as often as some of my other posts. A note to those who have been saying that those I featured in my round-up of great Sony Ericsson themes are crap: as weeks pass, I tend to agree with you more and more. I might update that listing.

For several months now, I’ve been experimenting with using WordPress to running an online news magazine. My articles on this have been among the most visited posts in this blog. The posts have landed me in the front page of del.icio.us, and with it came traffic spikes.

But the heaviest traffic spike I experienced was when my post on how to convert videos from YouTube, Google Video and other social video sites for playing in your phone made it to the front page of Digg. It was the first time I had thousands of visitors an hour and it was a good thing my shared hosting at A Small Orange weathered the deluge of expensive traffic–Digg users are apparently blind to ads.

Here are my top traffic referrers for the year:

It was a good year. Basang Panaginip links to three of my posts as among the year’s most popular Pinoy blog posts. The honor is enough to give any blogger wet dreams. I also made it to the magazine on Cebu journalists, an issue that comes out every Press Freedom Week in Cebu. But the best part of it was my offline linkbait, I managed to sneak a link to my blog in that magazine.

Have a great holidays everyone. I’m on vacation and it’s a bit pathetic to be still up at this time of the night (or day). But that’s blogging for you.

Support this blog and independent reporting on Cebu

2 responses

  1. I got introduced into blogging upon reading an article you wrote in sunstar. My motivation to get into it really was merely to find a different venue to write something more creative. Writing legal pleadings would soon get to you.

    Your work is really an inspiration, and a revelation as well. Initially I just content myself with maintaining some sort of personal journal. I realize now that it could become better and I could possibly reach to a larger audience.

    Unfortunately I do not personally know any blogger even here in Cebu. Many of my friends do not even know what it means. I tried experimenting on many things i dont really have knowledge about.

    I hope one of these days we could sit down over a couple of beers 🙂 and perhaps share some points.

    Congrats on a job well done!! and happy new year!!

  2. Hi Alan,
    Sorry for the very late reply. Internet connection these days is so bad I seldom go online. There are plans for a blogger meetup here in Cebu. I’ll notify you once these have been finalized so we can meet 🙂

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