I’ve always been a relatively prolific writer and have managed to publish on my blog regularly over the years. At times the consistency of my writing would suffer for a couple of weeks (where I wouldn’t publish anything), but this generally normalized again pretty soon thereafter.
The thing about my blog is that it is a major part of my brand and personal reputation today. Way back in 2007, it had an ever more important role to play though: it was the start of WooThemes.
If you haven’t heard the story yet, I’ll do a quick recap… In 2007, I was writing a lot and I was enjoying a ton of traffic on my blog (about 10x more than I do today). In the latter part of 2007, I started teasing this product that I was working on and on 2 November 2007, I released The Original Premium News Theme. That product lead to the first revenues, to me meeting my eventual co-founders and in the following year, the creation of WooThemes.
Without that initial audience (on my blog), all of those firsts would’ve been a helluva a lot more difficult to achieve and I don’t know whether WooThemes would’ve ever seen the light without it.
I had this insanely powerful marketing tool: my blog. But then I started neglected it and I made two major mistakes.
I fucked up badly.
1. I Deleted My Archive
WTF, right? Why would I do something like that?
Late-2010 or early-2011, I decided that I wanted a blank canvas and clean slate on my blog. So I moved it away from my old domain (adii.co.za) to a brand new domain (adiirockstar.com). In the move though, I wasn’t fussed about importing all of my old content into my new blog; I felt that my writing style had evolved too much and that it would detract from my new writing. I was ashamed of the archives.
So I didn’t import the old content and eventually killed the server of my old blog. What I didn’t even think of doing was backing up the old archives for in case I ever wanted it (like I do now).
Today I have huge regrets about this, because I’d love to be able to reflect on how my writing has evolved over time. The fact is that nobody starts out being a great writer and I didn’t have to be ashamed of my older articles.
Furthermore, just imagine the amount of SEO-love that my blog would’ve received if I still had those archives here?
2. I Never Built A Mailing List
In the last year, I’ve learnt about and experienced the power of having an e-mail list. I now totally believe (and have data to proof it) that nothing drives interaction (and builds an audience) quite like e-mail.
I’m massively jealous of my friends like Brennan Dunn and Nathan Barry, who have built up incredible audiences / communities and captured that with their mailing lists. Just read Nathan’s latest post to get an idea of how valuable that has been to them.
The thing that makes me really regret not doing this, is that I’ve essentially “lost” 5 / 6 years’ worth of traffic (on my blog), which I could’ve converted into a sizeable mailing list by now. Yes, I’ve amassed 15 000-odd followers on Twitter over the years and that’s definitely valuable too… But an e-mail list of that size would be 10x as valuable purely due to the increased engagement and interaction that it would drive.
From Svbtle to WordPress
About a year ago, I migrated my blog away from WordPress to join the cool kids over at Svbtle. That move did a lot for my self confidence and writing; I’m a much, much better writer today as a result.
Today I made the decision to flip back that switch and I’m back on WordPress. This time around I had the benefit that I had kept my previous WordPress blog in tact and I thus came back to almost 400 articles in the archive.
You’ll also see that there’s a bright pink box just below this article, where you can now subscribe to my mailing list. There’s already 2000+ subscribers on there (I had a headstart from PublicBeta) and I’m really looking forward to sharing my mistakes and learnings with all of you.