Playing with my Site Design

I’m guessing that most of you reading this are subscribed to my blog in one of many ways, and don’t really visit my actual website much, which is cool.

But if you DO visit this blog by going to davidleeking.com, you’ll notice it looks really different! That’s because I’m in the middle of pfutzing with a new look for the site, and will be tweaking it over the next few weeks.

I’m switching from using a Thesis framework to a Genesis framework/theme. So – same content as always, just a different look for 2015. Enjoy!

Keeping up with my blog – how do I do it?

Awhile back, Ned Potter, who writes the fabulous blog at ned-potter.com (you ARE reading his blog, right?) posted What does an online identity REALLY need? (Or, Growing Up Online). I left a comment, because I could relate.

Then Ned commented back and asked me a couple of questions. Here’s my answer!

But first, here’s Ned’s comment (swiped from his post):

David what a great comment!

The thing that strikes me with you is the consistency – I don’t know how many subscribers your blog has now but last time I heard a figure it was huge, thousands, and dwarfed mine… And the main reason (if you don’t mind my analyzing your blog!) to my mind is that you consistently post really helpful things that we can all act on (plus other reasons too, to do with your reputation and books etc). There were a lot of bloggers when I hit my blogging stride who would write 1 or 2 posts per week every week, myself included, but we’ve almost all gradually fallen away to fewer than that…

But you manage to keep it up, and it doesn’t feel like you’re casting around for things to blog about – all the posts have a reason for being. So how do you keep that up? I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?

First of all – aww, shucks. Thanks! I’m glad people like reading my blog!

And now, on to the questions:

Question #1: How many blog subscribers? (Ned didn’t really ask this, but did mention it in passing, so I thought I’d answer):

That’s a hard one to figure out these days, since Feedburner stats have gone a bit wonky. For Feedburner, I have anywhere between 1800-5800 RSS subscribers, depending on the day (so I’d guess the actual number is a bit higher than the larger number). And a pretty consistent 2000 or so email subscribers. Last month, Google Analytics says I had 5600 sessions/4600 Users at the site.

Plus, there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe, but might watch my blog via Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin. Either way, that’s a lot of people! You guys – thanks for reading! Tell everyone you know to read :-)

Question #2: So how do you keep that up?

A few years ago, I slowly transitioned how I thought about my blog. Before then, it was simply a place I posted to whenever I felt like it. But I eventually realized that instead of a personal blog, I was running:

  1. a publication with more subscribers than some rural newspapers and academic journals (ok, the really boring ones, but you get my point).
  2. my blog was the “hub” for my fledgling part-time consulting/speaking/writing business.

And if it’s a business … well then, I need to treat it like one. So I do three things to help me focus on my “business:”

  1. I schedule blog posts. My goal is to post every Tuesday and Thursday. Do I always hit that? Nope. But it’s a goal.
  2. I created a tagline – “social web, emerging trends, and libraries.” It’s on my blog, and helps me stay focused. If you read something I wrote or if you hear me speak, the content will most likely fall somewhere within that tagline.
  3. I try to write and speak about things in a very practical way. My goal after you read one of my blog posts or hear me speak is for you to be able to say “hey – I can use that next week at work!” When I achieve that, I think it’s pretty darn awesome.

I also get a lot of ideas from work. Part of my job is scanning the library/techie horizon, and bringing new cool things to the library. Guess what? That often serves double-duty on my blog (and vice versa). More often than not, when I write about something, it’s because I was thinking about it at work.

For example, my recent social media measurement series of blog posts originated from me trying to eek some meaning out of my library’s social media stats. At some point, I thought “hey! I should share this stuff!” And voila! A series of blog posts.

Question #3: I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?

Yep. Sometimes it does! Burnout happens. I get busy at my “real job,” I get busy at home (three teenagers – how the heck did that happen?). Instead of writing about library stuff, I want to write music (which I’m working on!). Or I just procrastinate – I’m a pro at that.

But honestly? I really like to write. I like sharing, and it helps me think. My goal of two posts a week? That was actually a way to limit myself, so I wasn’t posting 4-5 times a week. My reasoning was that too much davidleeking can be a bad thing :-)

So there you go – three questions, three answers. How do you keep up something you enjoy doing when it gains some attention? Anyone else have some good tips to share?

Pic of Ned – from Ned’s Twitter account!

 

It’s Been 10 Years!

Wait. What? I just hit my 10 year blogging anniversary! Yessirree, 10 solid years of writing blog posts!

What has happened in 10 years? Well … social media happened. Web 2.0 (and library 2.0) came and went (I think we’re on 4.7 now :-) ). Easy online video happened. Making physical and digital connections happened, for me anyway – I certainly have more librarian friends, colleagues, and acquaintances than I did 10 years ago!

How about 10 years in numbers?

  • I have written 1289 posts (counting this one)
  • … and received 7379 comments
  • Google Analytics goes back to Jan 1 2005 for me (missing the first couple of years). But since 2005, I’ve had 831,614 visits to my website
  • … and 1,274,517 page views! Amazing.

Looking at the map in this post (from Google Analytics), I have readers in most countries (Not so much in Greenland or the middle of Africa. What’s up with that?).

In social media, I have 8767 Twitter friends and 1331 Facebook friends. Also bunches of friends in places like Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Youtube, and Flickr.

So why did I start blogging? Well … I like to write. Weird, I know. I also like testing things out, pushing myself, and thinking “out loud.” I also wanted a way to remember stuff, like links to good tools, or a repository of “stuff in David’s head.” Then I discovered blogs, and putting those things in a blog format, and letting people read if they wanted, made sense.

Then people actually started subscribing and reading and commenting. I very distinctly remember hitting a whopping 30  subscribers, and thinking “no way!” That was thrilling to me! Before Feedburner wigged out their subscriber counts six or so months ago, I was running 7-8000 subscribers. That’s HUGE (to me, anyway).

What has all this gotten me? A management job where I get to do cool stuff. I actually get to DO the things I write about here. And actually, they make me do it. I have heard “David, we read about this on your blog. Why isn’t it happening here?” more than once!

Also, lots of speaking gigs. Some international travel, even (more of that, please!). A part time speaking/writing/consulting gig. Two books – I’m an author!

And lots of time to think, process, and expand on how websites and social media and other digital do-dads are used to connect with libraries and customers.

Best of all, I’ve gotten … you guys! People who read my blog posts. You guys are awesome!

And … what do you get out of this? Hopefully something that makes you think, something that helps you next week at your job, or something that helps you successfully argue for an expanded digital presence. Maybe a stepping stone to a better idea that works for you.

Thank you So MUCH for reading, for interacting, for listening to me speak. You guys ROCK, and I’m truly honored that you spend even a small amount of your busy day reading my ramblings at davidleeking.com. 

10 more years, here we come!

Salem Library Blog Awards – Honorable Mention!

Cool – I received an honorable mention in the Salem Press Library Blog Awards for 2012! They put me in the “Public Libraries” category, which works fine (since I work at one, after all). Apparently Bobbi Newman and I were neck and neck in that category (just between you and me, I’d probably vote for her too, ’cause she rocks the blog!).

Thank you to Salem Press, to the judges, and to anyone who voted. It’s pretty cool to be mentioned in such good company, I have to say!

It’s cool to be recognized for good work. But you know what? There are a LOT of amazingly great blogs listed on the blog awards page, and I think ALL of them are winners. You guys – you other library blog writers. You put in a huge amount of work, some of you multiple times a week. And here’s the thing – your blog isn’t part of your job. It’s something you do on the side. For kicks (yep – we’re weird that way).

You might do it for fun, or to be “published,” or to share thoughts with others. Some of you might think of it as a second job. I’d guess that some of you really haven’t thought much about your blog at all, other than getting that nagging … “wow. This is cool. I must share it!” feeling that comes right before hitting the publish button.

In my book, you guys ALL get awards. If you’re listed on the Salem Press Blog Awards site, you get an award. If you just started a blog and you’re pumping out great content – you get an award too! So here’s the DLK You Rock the Blog Award (link is here) – Take it. Use it. You deserve it. Be proud of what you do!

And make sure to check out all the Salem Press list of award winners. Every one of those blogs is worth reading. Thanks, Salem Press!

 

All my Notes from BlogWorld Expo #bweny #BEA #beabloggercon

New York CityFor those interested, here’s a list of all my notes from Blogworld Expo, BookExpo America, and the BEA Bloggers conference in one handy place.

There’s some really good stuff here – but it’s a LOT to go through, too. I know I will be going through these, sharing some at work, and pondering others for my own blog. Enjoy!

Blogworld sessions:

BEA Sessions:

BEA Blogger’s Conference sessions: