The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

June 7, 2012

The Sledgehammer Version 2.0: Bringing You Quality Drivel For Five Years

Filed under: Site Stuff — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 1:48 am

On June 6th 2007,  a random Blog appeared on WordPress, presumably one of hundreds to have been created on that particular day.  At the time, I was mostly looking for a place to write a few things here and there, and had a few specific topics in mind that I would like to discuss.  I had envisioned this Blog acting mostly as a revival of some of my earlier efforts at writing things on the Internet.  In retrospect, trying to emulate my earlier works proved not to be such a great idea, given the fact that the vast majority of my older stuff just happens to be pretty horrible.  Somewhere out there in the Ether, all my old stuff is floating around somewhere, but to be honest, I think I’m, better off just letting it remain obscure.  Ultimately, it was a good thing that the content of this particular Blog quickly departed from my earlier works, since I suspect that if I still wrote now like I wrote back then the contents of this Blog would consist mostly of unreadable drivel.  That’s not to say it doesn’t consist of drivel now, but at least I’d like to think that it’s quality drivel.  For example, unlike my previous efforts, I do actually manage to spellcheck my posts most of the time before I post them (and then I usually catch something I missed anyway, which I then have to go back and hastily edit before someone sees it.)  This means that instead of my former combination of cynicism and frequent typos, now I usually stick to just the cynicism.  Actually, over the years I’ve tried to become less cynical as well, mostly because it doesn’t really do anything but annoy people.  So without (most of) the typos and the cynicism, that leaves…  Well, something anyway.

Fast forward five years, and somehow I’m still at it.  Admittedly, I tend not to write nearly as much as I used to these days, but I do make an effort to try to write as often as time (and the occasionally meager flow of ideas in my head) permit.   If you told me five years ago that I would still be at it now, I probably would have doubted it, given the fact that my previous efforts at creating and maintaining a website and Blogging had fizzled out right around the two-year mark.  Not long after I started this one a number of family members and other relatives started Blogs of their own, but most of those have fallen by the wayside too (although a couple of my sisters do still update theirs every once in a while, mostly with family stuff.)  When I started this one, I did have some vague idea that I may try to make money off of Blogging someday, and perhaps if I had been more diligent with pursuing that path I could have eventually made it, but ultimately I think I’ve decided that it’s best to just keep this as a hobby for now.  That way, I don’t have to worry about deadlines (although I do try to keep some rough guidelines with regards to post frequency and post length) and since I’m already making a pretty decent living off of my regular employment. I just haven’t seen the need to bother with trying to monetize anything here. 

Besides, when it all boils down, even though I do like to have an audience to write for, ultimately the stuff I post here is intended as much to serve as a personal history for myself and my future descendants as it is to be read by the general public.  I’ve never been all that good at keeping a personal journal (the fact that my handwriting was generally pretty horrible back when I did keep  a physical journal probably doesn’t help matters much, I can barely read any of the things these days,) but I do find that if I write for an audience I generally do a better job of it.  Nonetheless, the biggest challenge I have with my writing is finding enough interesting content to keep the Blog updated on a (mostly) regular basis.  I have a tendency to come up with a lot of ideas for things, but the difference between having an idea and being able to get enough out of that idea to write a 1,000-word Blog post out of it can be difficult to deal with at times, especially given my frequent tendencies toward distractibility.  On the other hand, if I can come up with something that just clicks, I find that the material can just flow.  Those times are rare, but some of my best posts come from those situations.  I also find that some of my favorite posts here are the ones that are well researched, and dig into things that may not be well documented on the Internet.  In fact, I’ve found that those types of posts have generally been the most successful ones here in terms of generating page views and comments.  To be honest, most of the popular posts on this Blog were things that I almost stumbled onto by accident.  So if you’re looking for some advice on how to write a successful Blog, the first thing I would recommend (besides finding a successful Blog somewhere and asking them) is to find a topic that isn’t covered well on the Internet, and write about that.  There’s a good chance that in your day-to-day web surfing, at some point you’ll come across something that you’re looking for, but can’t find much good info on.  If you can write a reasonable post on the topic and get it into the search engines, there’s a good chance you can get steady traffic for quite a long time out of that.  Then again, it can be trickier to do this than it sounds.  For example, in the over 550 posts I’ve written on this Blog, I’d say I’ve only managed to have this work about 4 or 5 times, and at least two of those were completely by accident. 

Anyway, as you might know if you’ve been reading this Blog for a while,  I use the Blog’s anniversary as something of a checkpoint, being something I do twice a year at the beginning and at roughly the midpoint of the year (not quite, but close enough.)  To be honest, I’ve found I don’t care as much about my Blog’s statistics as I used to, but I find it’s still a useful thing to keep for reference.  So, without further ado, here’s a few statistics since the beginning of the year: 

  • Total Posts(all time, including this one):  553
  • Total Posts (So far in 2012): 19
  • Total Comments (all time):  866
  • Total  Page Views (all time):  230,732
  • Total Page Views (So far in 2012): 19,137
  • Total Page Views in 2011: 42, 742
  • Total Page Views in 2010:  52,228
  • Total Page Views in 2009:  60, 939
  • Total Page Views in 2008: 50, 219
  • Average Visitors Per Day (So far in 2012):  121

Top Posts (Last 365 days:)

Sampling the Whitman’s Sampler: A Guide to America’s Favorite Box of Enigmatic Chocolates   6,206
Retail Wasteland – A Tour of the Totem Lake Mall   2,793
Classical Gas – Abandoned Route 66 Gas Stations   1,426
Malls of the Seattle Area: A Tour of the Factoria Mall   1,351
The Redmond Costco Moves Forward (Updated 9/9/09)   1,213
A Brief Tour of the Bellevue Galleria, Bungie’s Future Home   1,142
My Very Nearly Award-Winning Chili Recipe, and Other Deep Dark Secrets   1,095
A Tour of Crossroads Bellevue – Part 1: The Mall   899
Off the Beaten Path: The World’s First KFC in Murray Utah   764
Malls of the Seattle Area: A Tour of The Everett Mall   691

Top Posts (All Time):

Retail Wasteland – A Tour of the Totem Lake Mall   26,248
Sampling the Whitman’s Sampler: A Guide to America’s Favorite Box of Enigmatic Chocolates   14,037
Classical Gas – Abandoned Route 66 Gas Stations   10,395
Malls of the Seattle Area: A Tour of the Factoria Mall   10,072
A Tour of Crossroads Bellevue – Part 1: The Mall   6,911
The Redmond Costco Moves Forward (Updated 9/9/09)   6,682
My Very Nearly Award-Winning Chili Recipe, and Other Deep Dark Secrets   5,613
Malls of the Seattle Area: A Tour of The Everett Mall   4,711
A Brief Tour of the Bellevue Galleria, Bungie’s Future Home   3,929
The Beginning and the End of the Old Bellevue Safeway   3,164

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has been reading, and hope you’ll stick around.  Will this Blog still be around in another five years?  It’s a bit too soon to tell, but I suspect that in one form or another it will be.  I get the sneaking some interesting things might even happen between now and then.  Stay tuned…

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