I was in Google Trends the other day, doing some research for a client. On a whim, I decided to also see the search trend for “recession”. What an interesting find! Here is Google’s Trend graph:
At first glance, it’s shocking to see how much the search volume and news references have grown. It’s shocking, but not a huge surprise: the recession is bad but the badness is stoked like a fire by the media.
But there’s something I find even more fascinating: Look at the first quarter of 2007. Recession searching spiked there. By today’s standards it wasn’t much, but compared to the amount that it was searched prior to that, it was huge. If someone had been paying attention, they would have had almost an entire year of warning before the through-the-roof spike in the beginning of 2008. Time to sell stocks, short stocks, lock in customers, and reduce inventory.
I ran that blog for a couple of years… probably until 2007 or so. And as much as I love Blogger as a blogging platform and will continue to recommend them to entrepreneurs as long as it makes sense, my Blogger.com blog was haunted: It never indexed properly. I used various website analyzing resources to help me figure out what the problem was and discovered that the code of the site was rife with errors. I love blogger.com’s ease of use but not the messiness of the code. I did my best to clean up the code (added bonus: I learned a lot about code!) but to no avail.
At the same time, my business started to become more successful so I moved off a free blogging solution and invested in a domain (AaronHoos.com) and hosting from GoDaddy. I used a very simple drag-and-drop website design structure to create a more corporate-feeling website (no blog).
(Sidenote: A lot of people harsh on GoDaddy, and certainly they’re not without their faults, but I’ve always been very happy with the products I’ve purchased and the service I get from them).
This static website approach worked okay for a while but after a while I realized that it wasn’t meeting my needs (my business was growing faster than I could create and change onsite content), plus I just missed blogging. I missed writing regular (and sometimes irregular) content.
(There’s a lesson here: Be flexible in business because things change and sometimes you need to try different approaches to see what works).
So I upgraded my hosting and turned a static website back into a blog. And this is it. I can cross it off my list. Welcome to AaronHoos.com!
Most people know what a blog is — it’s (typically) a reverse-dated online journal. But what’s the purpose of a blog? This is perhaps the more important question because it points to the reasons I’m blogging.
As I mentioned, there was a time when I used my blog to grow my business by posting content that was directly related to getting hired as a freelance copywriter. However, that’s eased up for me now, since most of my work comes through other websites like RealEstateInvestingCopywriter.com.
So today I use my blog as a personal hub of my thinking, ideas, strategies, projects, and any other content I produce or interact with online. If I create a personal challenge (such as what I do with my 5:00 AM challenge) or an experiment, I want a place to capture the information.
The best example of what I want my website to be like is Tim Ferriss’ FourHourWorkWeek blog. He’s always sharing great ideas and strategies as a hub for his many other projects. Obviously our topics differ but I love his depth of research on any given topic and how he freely links to other content as he explores his subject matter.
Here are the blogs that inform my thinking on what blogs are useful for (this also serves as a “here’s what I love reading” list:
Tim Ferriss’ is one I already mentioned. He shares his thinking, he links all over, and he provides great research and value.
Derek Sivers has short, pithy blog posts that straddle the line between what he’s thinking about and a key lesson to learn from it.
Pat Flynn tests and shares his best strategies for what is working right now in business.
Those are my favorite go-to blogs at the moment. There are others I read but if I had to make a shortlist of blogs that I wish my blog was like, this list would be it.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT ON THIS BLOG
If this is the first blog post you’re reading, here’s what you can expect on this blog:
First, this blog is going to be ME, online. That will be my rule about what I’ll blog about, how I’ll blog, and when I’ll blog. If you want to know about me and my businesses and what I think about, you can read this blog. My business continues to grow — often in ways I wasn’t expecting — so this blog is ultimately going to be a central “hub” from which my other businesses, investments, and projects will spring. (For that reason, I also don’t accept guest posts because this blog is by me and about me).
(Update: Indeed, AaronHoos.com is no longer the site that drives my income. Rather, it’s just a place to share my thoughts and ideas and strategies and best practices… it’s exactly what I described earlier: a hub. If you want to know about me and what’s on my mind, read this blog).
To that end, I’ll be talking about the following things:
At a high level, I’ll be talking about business, finance, and real estate, which are the three big topics I spend most of my time thinking about.
I’ll also share some of my portfolio here — like success stories and things I’m working on right now.
And I’ll talk about life and lifestyle and how to improve your life with strategies like habits and productivity.
I’ll share my best ideas and strategies, some musings and theories, ideas and projects I want to test, things I’m reading, interviews I’ve done, and more. Whatever I find interesting and helpful to me… hopefully you will too. (Here’s a long list about why I blog).
Second, you should be aware that my blog is going to be fluid, not static. By that I mean: I have no problem going back to change old blog posts. There’s an interesting debate over whether this is something you should do or not but I think you should be able to. I evolve. My ideas evolve. My clients evolve. And there are times, admittedly, when I write a blog post that I later think was wrong, or maybe there was a spelling mistake or an incorrect fact, or a link is no longer linking to something, or sometimes I’ll even ashamedly admit that I phoned in a blog post.
I want to give people great, helpful content, so I’m reserving the right to return to old blog posts to change them. I’ll try to only add value to my blog posts when I go back and revisit them (unlike George Lucas who may have ruined the Star Wars fantasies of many of my peers when he revisited his movies).
Some posts will be evergreen, others will be time sensitive. I don’t really hide this on my blog (there was a time when I did) and you can see the dates in URL of the post.
Case in point: When I first published this blog post it was 200 words long. Now I’ve updated it in 2015 and it’s 2000 words long. I didn’t aim to become wordier, I realized that I wanted to serve my readers at a higher level so I’m going back through my blog posts to ramp up the value as much as I can.
Third, I’m going to blog as much as I want to blog and not pressure myself to blog more than that. There was a time when the thinking was “blog every week” or “blog every day” but I think that era is over. As Google changes its algorithms to prefer quality over quantity, and as my business grows and evolves in new ways, it’s simply not going to be practical to blog daily. I love blogging and will blog as much as I can but I don’t rely on this website for my income — it’s a place for me to share what’s on my mind.
Fourth, here’s how my links work: Links that link internally to other pages in my site will open in the same tab. Links that link offsite will open in a new tab. Your browser settings may override that functionality but that’s the way I’ve set it up here. Shamelessly, it’s a way to keep you on my site even if my content points you elsewhere.
I don’t have affiliate links and I try to keep all salesy stuff to a minimum. I write books and sell them (check out The Sales Funnel Bible), and I’m a copywriter, so there will be some selling that goes on from time to time, but nothing blatant or distracting I hope.
Fifth (and this is an update from later): I’m not running comments on this blog. I don’t have a problem with the idea of comments (to see how some blog communities are built up via comments, check out Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome blog — he does an amazing job of building a community inside his blog comments). But in general I’ve found that comments attract spam and trolls, which creates a massive amount of administration. And zero comments perpetuates the myth that a blog is not worth reading.
Confession: I fall into this trap all the time. It’s exactly like judging someone based on the number of Twitter followers they have. We tend to think that the more comments a blog post has, the more valuable it is to read. But that’s entirely NOT true. And there are a lot of changes on this front that support my thinking: Chris Brogan killed the comments on ChrisBrogan.com. Besides, I like using platforms like Twitter or Facebook to build an interactive community while websites and blogs remain the voice of the brand. Of course there are exceptions but this has been a rule of thumb that I’ve enjoyed and has tremendously freed up my bandwidth.