Over a year ago I decided to tackle this blog with all my might. Let me give you a little background on how it came to pass.
(scene blurs out in a totally cliched flashback sequence/sentimental music begins)
FloridaSurvivalGardening.com started as a site designed on Apple’s iWeb.
After being encouraged to jump further into garden writing and teaching by my friend rycamor (who posted the awesome guest post on pumpkins earlier this week), I bought the domain in March of 2011, started posting via their blog post template, then quickly got frustrated with the lack of flexibility or web tools available. I also had endless problems with the comment engine, couldn’t measure my traffic, found posting a pain in the neck thanks to the whole “upload to server” stuff… then finally got ticked off and basically quit.
I’m not a great tech guy or an html whiz.
At some point in 2012, I shared my frustrations with my friend and fellow writer/musician/creative nut Kevan Chandler.
“Why don’t you make it run through Blogger or WordPress with a redirect setup?”
“Can I do that easily?”
Kevan assured me it was simple, then sent me a weird piece of music he’d just recorded, along with a story about gangster zombies in space, the sheet music for an opera he’d composed while riding on The Orient Express, which was further followed by a picture of him lying on the ground covered in ketchup and awkwardly sprawled out as if he’d been run over by a car (this sequence may be an exaggeration… but not by much). After I reassembled my skull, I got to work getting the site ported.
I knew I wanted to share my gardening knowledge and my ongoing experiments with a broad audience; yet my success rate on maintaining any project long-term was only so-so.
Basically, if it didn’t pay me anything and if it didn’t have a deadline, I was likely to drop it. I shared this with my wife and during the conversation I made a decision.
ME: “I’ll post daily. This will just be my life. For a year. Think I can do it?”
RACHEL: “I don’t know.”
ME: “Just say yes. And encourage me to keep it going.”
RACHEL: “Yes!” (big cheesy smile) You can do it!”
ME: “Do you really mean it?”
RACHEL: “If I say ‘no’ it will break the spell!”
ME: “I think I’ll just post on weekdays. That gives me a little flexibility.”
RACHEL: “Can I stop grinning in an encouraging manner now?”
That interchange was almost completely fabricated, but you get the point.
My friend rycamor provided a little tinder… I lit a match… then burned out until Kevan relit the fire… and Rachel pushed me over the edge into a full-on challenge.
Once I had the first month of posts in the bag, I settled into a rhythm that carried me all the way here.
And where is here?
Take a look at this pageviews chart:
See that? During my first month I got 800 pageviews.
This month, I’ll get around 14,000. Nice growth trend.
Of course, pageviews do not necessarily equal readers. Some of them are from spiders and weird sites overseas that have nothing to do with gardening. However, I know my traffic from real people is pretty good. I’ve made friends with a lot of you over the last year and have been interacting regularly with cool folks from Florida and beyond. Thanks to readers on this blog I’ve been sent seeds and cuttings in the mail, met some of you in person (Jean and her husband visited this week), took a great position with ThePrepperProject.com and even get to write for Mother Earth News.
Beyond that, I started my own plant nursery and have made a little bit of change by selling cassava cuttings through the mail.
So… hard work does pay off. And this has been a lot of hard work. But it’s also been one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever taken on.
You’re the reason it’s a success. I want to start naming names, but I would hate to miss anyone. Look at my blogroll… many of my encouragers are located there.
Thank you for joining me. I’m in this thing for the long haul. People need to know how to grow their own food. My goal is to teach, encourage, make friends, share knowledge, test crops, warn people of danger and grow tons and tons of food.
It’s going pretty darn well so far.