If your domain name is down, there’s no fireworks for you
Embarrassing. Frustrating. Helpless. Dear reader, these were but some of my emotions over the past 3 days as I was powerless to prevent my blog site going down (yes, the very one you are reading right now) due to the simple fact my domain name (web address) charliegunningham.com had expired.
For 15 years now I’ve been berating clients for not having proper processes in place to know when their domain name would expire, and how to renew it in a timely manner. The number of times we thought something was up at our end when in fact it was the dear client’s fault for being so disorganised. Whoops… ahem… it can happen to the best of us (!)
I only started blogging away at this domain 2 years ago, and the account I bought the domain on points to an email that I no longer have access to, and no longer exists. Hence I did not receive the reminders to renew my domain, and was blissfully unaware of its expiration (about a month ago). Hence, once my grace period was up, down went my site. Well, it was not down really – being a WordPress blog all the details were there, but not at charliegunningham.com. The more embarrassing thing was a well informed and impressive online Canadian entrepreneur pointed it out to me mid week (I had been on the site earlier that day, but in the interim it had been disconnected.)
All good now though – thanks to the fine folks at Aplus.net – who I had to ring in California this morning (7pm last night their time) where a very cool guy sorted it out for me in minutes. I did not have records of my login or password (so password reset was of no use), but I knew what my password was at least – that was enough to verify who I was, so I could pay the $12 to renew the domain, and within a few hours, the site was back live. Phew.
Let this be a lesson to you my fine blogsters and bloggerinis – do you know when your company/personal website address expires, and how to renew it? No? Because not knowing can take your site down, turn your emails off and provoke a plague of locusts. Well, two of those three are accurate.
Happy New Year dear reader. It’s 2014 – amazing! I remember the turn of the century as it was just a year or so ago. In fact, I remember NY 1989 as I’d just arrived in Singapore, and 10 years earlier, aged 16 a great NY party in 1979 (as ABBA sang “it’s the start of a decade, where will we be, down the line at the end of ’89?” – agh, they don’t write lyrics like that anymore)…
Anyway. In my 2nd year of blogging I settled in somewhat – 46 posts as against the even 100 I did in 2012. Still, it’s quality not quantity right? About once a week – I’ll be looking to do that again in 2014 – anything on internet, technology, management and life generally. Probably the odd rant about cricket… depending how the English team goes.
Last year I had 5,800 visitors to my blog – the year before 5,200. 82 have signed up to receive my posts in their InBox (I love you all!) – up from 36 this time last year. My busiest day was March 23rd when I announced I was leaving online real estate (after 13 happy years) and moving to online media. My most viewed post though was a nostalgic look at ‘lost technology’ and the old banda machine – remember those? As a teacher, I became quite adept at using the things. Visitors to my blog came from 86 countries (holy moley!), whereas in 2012 they had come from 76.
2013 was a momentous one for me – I turned 50, changed jobs/industries, did a major reno to the house (adding a whole floor) and had holidays in Langkawi, Singapore, Mandurah, Paris, London and Halifax. I enjoyed being Chair of the Board of our local primary school, and returned to coaching cricket (my son’s U-10 team) after a 14 coaching break.
I’m looking forward to 2014 – it’s going to be a great year.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.
Click here to see the complete report.
A year ago I set myself a challenge. After talking about social media, blogging et al, for many years and telling others to get on board, I had never done much blogging myself. I had written some guest blogs and blogged a bit for my company, but not really grasped the nettle.
So 2012 rolled around, and my New Year’s resolution was to set up my blog (originally 48yo.wordpress.com – ‘musings from a 48 year old‘). I started blogging anonymously about anything in particular. I set off like a bull at a gate, posting 26 times in January and 17 in February. I had a few pent up topics, but settled down a bit as I got into the rhythm of posting 1 or 2 times a week. I then decided to ‘go public’ and name the blog CharlieGunningham.com. And so, here I am typing away at my 100th (and last) post for 2012. 100 posts. A nice round number.
- a third have been on “management” topics (things I have seen at work, or previous workplaces, how to improve management, advice, learnings along the way)
- a quarter have been on “life” generally (being a Dad, attitude, behaviour)
- a fifth have been on “technology” topics and a further fifth on “internet” – my day job I suppose, and what I am passionate about
Along the way, some generous souls have deigned to read my posts – some of them have had over 100 views each – and some even decided to make a comment (118 comments in all spread over 99 posts) and even sign up and follow my blog (38 of these people get every post I sent out in their InBox directly – God Bless You!).
What have I learned by blogging?
- Blogs are like catnip to Google. My various posts occupy 80% of the results of the first ten pages of Google results for “Charlie Gunningham” – I ‘own’ my name on Google, and more importantly, am in control of my online reputation.
- It’s not hard to start. 5 minutes to set it up on WordPress, and then 5 minutes to hook up my domain name charliegunningham.com
- It is not expensive. Sum total cost of my blog has been $20/year (the cost of hosting my own domain name on WordPress)
- You don’t need to write a lot. 15 minutes to write and complete and post including adding an image.
- It’s cathartic. You can get down some thoughts which also help organise your ideas in a constructive manner. You feel better for having ‘got it out’. You sometimes solve your own problems in so doing.
- I did not blog at work or about work (directly). I tended to post at weekends, in evenings, spare time. When the moment took me, I suppose you could say.
- A short post is a good one. 3 or 4 paragraphs is plenty.
- Always have a main image. I put one at the top, 590 pixels wide so it fitted across the page. Neat and consistent.
- Tagging your posts is a great way to organise your whole blog, and it creates sub-domain links (charliegunningham/internet) in Google results
- The wonderful WordPress apps on iPad or iPhone make it easy to blog from anywhere. I once blogged by speaking Siri-style into my iPhone and the thing just wrote it out for me. Incredible.
So I made it. 100 posts in 2012. If the Mayan calendar is wrong and we are all back in 2013, I will do some more. I wonder what 2013 will bring, blogging or otherwise.
Everytime I enter a meeting where someone says ‘a good meeting is a short meeting’, I know I am in for a long one.
Short form blogging is twitter, and facebook updates and basically very short, txt message like posting. It takes a certain skill to keep things short, but with so much faff around in the world, it’s a good skill to acquire. Plus you can get creative and be inventive when under the strictures of keeping it short. The Japanese haiku is a great example of that. An ex strategic management professor of mine made us only hand in 250 words assignments. We got suspicious when even 35 page case studies had to be analysed in 250 words (every assignment), and later he got fired, so maybe that was just because he did not want to mark much work? Yeah probably.
Long form blogging is two to four paragraphs (that seems short to me). So I have tried to keep this blog to no more than 4 paras, and with that I will sign off, as I am already at three.
I almost set up a blog 5 years ago. My company was contemplating an IPO at the time and a fellow CEO urged me to blog about the whole dang process. “When will you ever get the chance again?” Good point. I got as far as setting one up, but never did anything. Like so many blogs, it was abandoned (at birth in my case) … it just did not stand a chance, poor thing.
So why now? Well, in the past 5 years, a lot has happened. My company did not IPO, but I did sell it 2 years ago, and we have all moved on to work for our new masters. I have set up and encouraged clients to blog as part of their promotional work. I have delivered seminars & keynote speeches on blogging and social media, and have been posting on various blogs over the past five years. I suppose with the dawn of a new year, maybe it’s time to commit to something. It’s 2012, and that in itself sounds like a sci fi movie title.
Some say you should never be as unoriginal and amateurish as to name a blog ‘musings of…’. But I will.
It’s just musings from a 48 year old. Amateurish? Probably. But ‘blogs’ were always meant to be nothing more than “web logs” (where the word ‘blog’ comes from). It’ll be a diary of sorts. I don’t expect anyone to read it necessarily, but if you do, fine. I’ll not promote it, and I’ll not name myself in it. I aim to post every day, so I wonder what 2012 will hold? It’ll all unfold in 365 steps…