I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but the internet has changed dramatically in the past eight years. I’ve been working on it (the internet) since 2005 and from what I’ve seen since early 2012, is its future is anyone’s guess. What used to work, in the way of ranking, marketing and advertising simply doesn’t work anymore. Those of us who choose to stick around must adapt to an environment that’s ever changing.
Unless you live under a rock somewhere, you know what Facebook is. If you don’t, I’ll tell you. It’s a large online community of friends. Well, many people use it for marketing as well, but I’d venture to guess that the wide majority of folks out there simply use Facebook to upload and share photos of family and vacations. I’m not in the majority, as I primarily use the site to connect with fellow Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. I also like to share some of my blog posts here and there. Not all of them – just those I think others will find useful.
Early this year, I realized that Facebook had taken away much of my blog’s market share. I think it’s easier for people to visit one huge site where they think everyone’s hanging out, as opposed to reading the rants of an individual. I guess limited time and patience drives many towards the one stop shop that Facebook is. While I tend to believe that what I write is interesting, anecdotal evidence suggests that unless I share something that includes a picture, a video or a topic having to do with the individual who may be reading at the moment, the interest isn’t there. It used to be, but it isn’t anymore. Not for general topic blogs, anyway.
I like to joke about it. I say things like, “People just don’t get it. They’d rather read one liners by people they don’t even know that go like this – scratched my belly today – feel fat.” But you know what? Those jokes are getting old and while they’re funny and while I find it entertaining to tease those among us who think it’s interesting for someone to scratch their belly, I think it’s in my best interest to work around how things have changed. There are still many, many wildly successful people using the internet daily to turn concept into creation.
After I thought about it a bit, I decided to set up a blog dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu. I did this a few months ago and early indications are that it’s going to grow to be the hub of activity that I’d hoped for. With this blog, I’ve been working diligently to build relationships in the Jiu-Jitsu community. I’ve also set up a few pages that I think will become valuable resources for those who’re just starting out or for those who’ve been practicing for a while. I’ve already garnered many links and endorsements from a few of the bigger players in the field. I’ll be honest with you here when I say that I’m surprised.
During the process of all my diligent work, I’ve continually asked myself why one blog seems to be working, while another doesn’t. The one you’re reading gets very little search engine traffic, while my BJJ blog is quite active. And during the process of my diligent work, I’ve answered the question over and over – it’s because my other blog is themed. It’s about one topic and if I simply wrote a Jiu-Jitsu related post on the blog you’re currently on, not very many other Jiu-Jitsu sites would want to link to it. Also, when new white belts and blue belts venture out online, looking for answers, they’re looking for sites they trust. Sites that offer many pages that are connected to one another along similar lines. Let’s just say that if I happened to get lucky enough for a white belt to visit JayGaulard.com, because I wrote a post about BJJ, they’d most likely get turned off by my gardening posts. They’d see this site as more of a personal family blog, as opposed to the specialized hub they were searching for. Page views per visitor would be lower than they should be and they’d hesitate to bookmark the page they’d visited. This is why themed and topical websites work much more successfully than generic ones.
Because of the success of my other blog, I’ve decided to set up another themed site. This time, it’s going to be more commercial in nature, but will follow the same strategy of my BJJ blog. It’s going to be about photography and will cover all aspects -tutorials, travel, photo contests, gear, etc…And if I can manage to write a daily post, like I’ve been doing for my other site, in one year’s time, I think I’ll be sitting on something of value. As I said to Laura last night, “What I’m good at is research and content creation. I’m also decent at photography and telling people what I think.” And the best part of the whole endeavor is, this is nothing new in my life. I’ve been working at this since 2005 – I’ve just recently found a better way to get things done.
When I get the site set up, I update you here. Laura came up with and I purchased a magically appropriate domain name this morning. That, coupled with the new blog theme you’re currently looking at, should provide a nice launch pad.