1,000 Lessons Learned From My First 1,000 Blog Posts


arkansas cattle
One of the first photos shared on agricultureproud.com in 2010.

Back in 2009, I started blogging before a move to Wyoming where’d I’d be working on a ranch, out of my natural environment, 24 hours away from home, and of course my family and friends wanted to see and hear about my adventures. Considering there wouldn’t be much phone service in the mountains, I figured documenting my work in blog form would be fun. 1,000 posts later, here I sit with a blog that has developed and grown with my education and maturity. I am grateful for an audience that reaches around the globe that has afforded me several amazing opportunities.

The suggestion was made that I mark the occasion by sharing the 1,000 lessons learned with my first 1,000 blog posts, but I decline. I don’t have that much time to write, and you don’t want to read them. But I can wrap up that list in ten. Below are the Top 10 blog posts from my writing experience. Consider this the Top 1%.

10. California Activists Torch Cattle Trucks (Jan. 2012)
9. Chipotle takes on Big Food with animated Scarecrow (Sept. 2013)
8. Dodge RAM pays Super Bowl tribute with “So God made a Farmer” (Feb. 2013)
7. Characteristics of a Farmer – The Farmer’s Creed (Feb. 2013)
6. GMO Activists March Against Monsanto – Farmers’ Perspective (May 2013)
5. Why Castrate Cattle? (May 2011)
4. South Dakota Blizzard leaves devastation for ranchers (Oct. 2013)
3. Updated: Muck Boots Sleeps While Social Media Lights Up Over HSUS Fundraiser (Aug. 2014)
2. Agriculture – Top 20 Most Useless Degrees? (May 2011)
1. Ask A Farmer: Does feeding corn harm cattle? (Sept. 2012)

There are a few things that standout to me in this list. I’m not that great at self promotion, so I’m sure some friends can offer better conclusions.

  1. Write about timely events. All but 3 of these posts are based on an event or news story when I had a response to share. I did it in a timely manner and included key terms/phrases in the title and content of the post that would relate to others interesting in the event.
  2. Follow up on a good post. Several of these posts have updates which provided more information at a later time or added more context to my perspective on the event. Linking back to that original post, adds longevity and increases its SEO (search engine optimization)
  3. Continue writing on the topics that work. The number 1 post on this list is 2 years old and receives more traffic than it ever has (avg. 45 views per day (69/day this month) in 2014 from search engine traffic). Because that topic works, I’ve revisited the subject from several angles and it continues to be a resource for post ideas to this day.
  4. Stick with your experience. Several of these stories were national headlines, but my blog posts were from my perspectives and shared information and resources I saw as important for others to know about the subject. Trying to defend everyone or defending a subject outside of your experience is risky and doesn’t add to your credibility or respect.
  5. Don’t forget the basics. If a question arises in conversations, tweet streams, or comment sections, and you have an answer and unique perspective on it, chances are several others are asking those questions too. Evidenced by the fact that these posts continue to receive search engine traffic.
  6. Enthusiasm and Personality sells. Chances are, you get excited about your passions and opportunities to share those experiences with others. We love to read about passionate people and live vicariously through their experiences. Utilize that and your blogging efforts will be more fun and attractive.
  7. At the same time, sleep on it. Rants are great, but they shouldn’t be posted in the heat of the moment. Write with passion, put it away, come back and review it later before you publish.
  8. Include and label photos. We’re a fast paced society with short attention spans. The use of photos adds life to your blog entries and gives us something to visualize. Label your photos with context. You’d be surprised how many searches on Google Images leads to my blog each day.
  9. Promote your posts. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Maybe so, but no one notices. Utilize your other social media networks to share your posts and engage in conversations surrounding your blog topics. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit are the most popular for my blog posts.
  10. There’s no set pace for blogging. I’ve written five posts a week for several months. And I’ve written less than five posts in a month. Do what is comfortable for you, but at the same time challenge yourself. You don’t have to put up a new blog post just because your neighbor does so, but you do need to have a regular presence to keep your audience around.
I feel like this is Throwback Thursday. One of the first images created for a blog header
I feel like this is Throwback Thursday. One of the first images created for a blog header

Have fun. Don’t write just for the sake of SEO tactics. Don’t feel like you have to touch on the latest news every time you have a rant to share.

Don’t think your blog set up has to be perfect before you start. This blog has been a constantly evolving process over the years. It looks nothing like it did in 2009 and it’ll look completely different in just a few years.

And I can’t stress it enough. Blogging should be fun. Don’t make it a burden. Sometimes it can be set aside for more important things in life, family and work.

1000 blog posts celebration

(I better stop before I make it to 1,000…)

Oh and, it’s kinda fun that this milestone lands on my golden birthday. I’ll be celebrating with a week in France, so be sure to keep an eye out for that fun! @DairyCarrie and Mr. Dairy Carrie are coming along too, so who knows how much bailout money we’ll be in need of!

It’s been a fun ride getting to 1,000 posts. A big thanks to all of my Ag Ninjas who answer questions, back me up when I need a hand, those who have guest blogged for me, like the Banditas, and to all of those who have shared my blog posts in the past! I hope to see what the next 5 years bring and maybe well beyond that. Thank you for following along for the ride.

Why are you proud to be a part of Agriculture?

Facebook group: I am Agriculture Proud
Facebook page: I am Agriculture Proud
Twitter: @AgProudRyan
Instagram: @AgProudRyan

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10 Comments

  1. “audience that reaches around the globe” – that is a fascinating development that is only about 20 years old. When I was your age I always thought, that all my life to reach a large audience you’d have to buy a network like e.g. Ted Turner. Nowadays any good bloggers can “out-SEO” a big network, and in fact a lot of the incumbent media are struggling because in the old model a journalist would write, day in, day out, mostly about subjects of mostly little interest to him or her and with little knowledge. Now, the opposite happens: those that make sense can write as much as they like, space costs nothing and distribution is virtually free. And people (q.v. you 70 page views a day for an “old” post) can find the stuff they want to read instead of being stuck with what the chief journalist thought newsworthy at the time.

    Like

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