Sunday, October 25, 2009

Creative Gene's 4 Yr Anniversary

I've been blogging now for four years. It's become so much a part of my life that it's hard to remember what I used to do with my free time before blogging. I've made some great friends in the process and learned so much about their personal histories that I sometimes forget that I've never actually met most of them in person. "Rich" is a word that comes to mind. My life is so much richer these days and it's all thanks to the Creative Gene blog.

I'd like to take you back, if I may, to the posts I wrote on previous CG blog anniversaries. In my 1st yr anniversary post I wrote about the lessons learned in my first year of blogging. If anyone reading this now is a newbie blogger or contemplating starting a blog, I encourage you to read that post. When I went back to read it I realized it is the very same advice I would give to anyone today with the exception of my regret for not choosing WordPress instead of Blogger. The frustrating things about Blogger I was referring to have been corrected and are no longer a concern of mine. I'm happy enough with using Blogger now. Go ahead... go read about my struggle to "find my voice".

In my 2nd yr anniversary post I wrote about the many achievements I realized in my second year of blogging and what I tried and failed at. It was quite a good year for CG, even if it was a difficult year for me personally. I felt a great deal of pride when I went back and reread that post. I'd like to have that many accomplishments to point to every year I spend blogging!

My 3rd yr anniversary post was dedicated to all the many friends I'd made in the time I'd been blogging. I created a scrapbook page with many of the faces I'd come to know and love. I didn't write much besides my thanks but do check out the comments. I was blown away by the number of people who took the time to stop by and leave a comment. I am truly blessed.

So that brings us to this post marking my 4th year of authoring the Creative Gene blog. What great insights do I have to share this time around? Let's start with the highlights, shall we?

I had the opportunity to meet two blogging friends face-to-face this year, Kathryn and Becky, and one last year, Apple. These are great women who I would never have met if not for my Creative Gene blog.

I received the Proximidade Award and the Kreativ Blogger award and CG came in #4 in the ProGenealogists' 25 Most Popular Genealogy Blogs for 2009 List. Just call me proud :-) . Along the same lines, the Creative Gene blog has been nominated for Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs contest (don't forget to vote for your favorite blog!). I'm pleased as punch to be a nominee along with the other very talented bloggers.

Other things to note in this last year of blogging... Creative Gene blog had fewer posts in my 4th year of blogging than it did in the three previous years. I reached 500 blog posts on my 2nd year anniversary (1st yr=166, 2nd yr=333). And I wrote 279 posts in my 3rd year. My 4th year of blogging saw only 141 posts added to CG for a couple of reasons. 1) I had less "hobby time" for blogging (deaths of 2 family members in Dec. 2008, purchasing a fixer-upper condo in January 2009, and Facebook/Twitter... all of which were big distractions for me). 2) Like many other bloggers, I now do my "socializing" on Facebook. In my first 3 years of blogging I often included "off topic" blog posts on CG where I shared something I found interesting or funny but not necessarily genealogy related (personal memes, etc). That's all been moved to Facebook now. So CG had less posts but is more genealogy focused than ever.

Another change in Creative Gene over the last year was the Carnival of Genealogy. Roughly half of the past year's COG editions were hosted on CG while the other half were hosted by guest bloggers. The format of the COG changed somewhat too. I stopped writing intros and comments for each blog post which saved me a lot of time but hasn't gone over too well with the readers or participants. And the COG has a lot of competition these days for well written articles. The COG more or less moved in a direction I'm not happy with.

According to Google Analytics, my web site traffic was down some 24% in the last year over the previous year. I attribute that to only hosting the COG half the time, over all posting less than I used to, and putting full posts in my feeds (so now people don't have to visit my site to read my posts).

I want to be a better writer. I want what appears on the Creative Gene blog to be better quality. I want to strive for excellence! With that in mind, there will be changes coming to the COG in the near future. I'm not going to go into those changes right now because I haven't worked all the details out yet. But they will all be for the better.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the readers of my blog. I appreciate you "tuning in" and I especially appreciate you leaving comments! I always enjoy hearing from my readers!!!

And a big huge thank you goes out to all who have contributed to the Carnival of Genealogy and those who have guest hosted the COG! You guys are the best!!!

I've had a great 4 years of blogging :-D (This is post #919)