10 Things I Learned In 2011

This was quite an intriguing year for me. There were some changes I made, some changes I will be making, some things I won’t be changing, some things I wrote about here that worked and some that didn’t. In essence, it was an incredible year, and unfortunately I can’t say it was all good or bad. But it was honest, and on this Christmas day I’d like to share some thoughts, feelings, and ideas with you to see what you think, what you’ll do as well, and what you think might just be nuts.

by Don O’Brien via Flickr

1. I learned that I am better live than on video. This was the year of video for me as I got my first camera and made my first 11 videos ever. I even learned that I had a YouTube channel that I knew nothing about. I gave 3 live presentations this year and got better feedback from all of those than I did for at least 9 of my 11 videos, but that’s okay. Live I get to move around and laugh with people; on video, I have to sit at my desk and just talk. Yes, I’ll be making more videos this year as I endeavor to get better and to just create more content; think about subscribing to my page, although I expect I’ll be embedding those videos on my blogs as well. Oh yeah, a major lesson; if you’re making videos to drive people to your website or blog be sure to tell them what the link is; ugh!

2. You never know what’s going to catch on with people or how it’ll manifest itself. Would it surprise anyone that the top 5 visited posts of mine in 2011 were written before 2011? Well, that’s not totally true; post #5 was written this year, which is pretty cool. My number one post is that tongue in cheek post about “cleavage” that I wrote in January 2010, and it’s so far ahead of all the other posts that I’ve decided it’s time to remove it from being viewed anymore.

You might ask why, or maybe you don’t care, but I’ll tell you why. It’s been viewed 4 times more than the next closest post, and that’s just ridiculous. At the same time, I think it throws off anything else this blog might be about. The number one search term for this blog is “cleavage” with “cleavages” coming in at #8; I didn’t even know that was a word. So it’s gone. I expect my traffic to drop a bunch over the next few months but as my friend John Dilbeck recently wrote, it’s about ethics and integrity sometimes.

3. That post at #5 that I mentioned above proves that there’s not only a lack of attention for some groups of people in social media, but that some people are ready and willing to help make inclusion of others a part of their mission. That of course was my post on 21 of the top Black Social Media Influencers. That one touched a nerve and sparked a lot of interest, and I saw where there were posts from others having lists of folks that weren’t the same as what big media lists all the time, which is often devoid of persons of color. Of course, it also got quickly forgotten, which pretty much helped to lead to my post about feeling like an old black radical, which was one of my most commented works of the year.

4. People love to hate what you love to hate. That’s a strange thing to say but it seems to be pretty true. When you don’t like something it seems to touch a nerve for a lot of other people who have hated the same thing but either couldn’t figure out how to say it or didn’t want to say it first. My post on the Top 21 was my most commented on post of the year, but the next 5 were all from some kind of rant I wrote about concerning either blogging or social media. The top commented on post was when I avowed that I wasn’t registering to comment on other blogs and a few other things I didn’t like, with 60 comments. Yeah, that may seem pitiful when many other bloggers have hundreds of comments on their posts but so be it. Maybe this does mean that being controversial does work; still, you’d best be ready for it.

5. Sometimes your worst isn’t so bad while other times it really is. I had 15 posts in 2011 that didn’t even get 10 comments, and since I respond to most comments, that’s pretty bad. Actually, it’s less than 5%, but I still don’t like it. The post that tanked the worst for the year was when I wrote about AffinityClick, an affiliate program that everyone else must have already knew was pretty bad before I wrote about it since not even the 2 people that commented on it referenced it. Now that’s a real shame, as it ended up with only 5 comments. The next one surprised me, that being when I asked people what makes you smile and included the cutest video of a penguin being tickled that just made me smile a lot. This last one didn’t surprise me all that much as I gave a CPAP followup; if you don’t have sleep issues why would you care?

Having said that, some posts that seemed like they didn’t do well did okay in other ways. For instance, I wrote an Easter post where I shared some Peanuts videos, and though it only go 10 comments my bounce rate was only 46%; that’s not bad, though I wonder where people went. Also, the second part of my better blogging series only got 9 comments, yet it averaged 6 minutes and 18 seconds per visit, which means people actually read it.

6. You can get people to stick around to read a post when you’ve got their attention. This year I had 3 posts that people stayed for longer than 10 minutes reading, and even commenting on here and there. One was motivational: Only Concern Yourself With What You Can Control, 10 minutes 14 second. One was controversial: Penn State & Joe Paterno – My Take, 10 minutes 25 seconds. One was a rant: WordPress 3.3; It’s On My Nerves Right Now.

7. You can write posts that drive people to other posts. Bounce rate refers to whether a person will visit another page of your blog or website after reading the one that got them there in the first place. My average bounce rate on this site is 73.13%, which is probably normal for most bloggers, even though some will try to tell you they have phenomenally bounce rates; yeah, right. Anyway, I had 16 posts this year with bounce rates under 50%; these 5 were phenomenal though:

Some Blogs To Share 33.33%

Affiliate Programs I’m Connected With – Part Two 33.33%

An Important Blog Page If You’re Looking To Do Business 27.27%

Twitter Mix Of Sociability And Business 22.22%

Check Your Blog Commenting System 12.5%

8. I’ve learned how to handle grief way better than I ever thought I could when I was younger. I lost my grandmother this year and a great friend from college, and as tough as each was, I realized that none of us are getting out of this existence alive and thus we need to make sure to live for the moment. When some bad things happened I didn’t feel the crush of any of it, from what I mentioned above to having to sue someone for payment to having my first bouts ever of not wanting to do anything at all, even though I pushed on. There are fears we all have and the ability to push through them and learn that, for the most part, none of them are close to being as bad as we thought they’d be is a great lesson to learn.

9. I learned that I’ve become one of the great survivors. I celebrated my 10th year anniversary in business on my own, and when you consider that more than 90% of small businesses fold within 5 years I’d say that’s not a bad accomplishment. Of course I’m still learning great lessons almost daily and I’m not close to being Bill Gates rich, so I have a long way to go. I’m hoping for a great start to 2012; actually, I already have, but I’m not talking about it. πŸ™‚

10. I learned that others value loyalty as much as I do, whether they’ve thought about it or not. β€œIf loyalty is to mean anything, there must be a risk attachedβ€œ. – Frank DeFord

Loyalty is at the top of my morality and ethics list, and I believe that loyalty deserves to be rewarded if it hasn’t been abused. There are some people who were commenting and participating on this blog at the beginning of the year that are still commenting and participating. I’d like to give them some love as my final act on Christmas day, although the first person I’m going to mention doesn’t have her blog anymore, or will be transitioning to a new blog, or something. lol Anyway, here we go; I thank y’all with a big thumbs up (from a tiny baby) and wish you and everyone else a great Christmas and great success as we move towards the new year:

Val from Absurd Old Bird

Beverly Mahone from Beverly Mahone

Sire from Wassup Blog

Rummuser from Ramana’s Musings

Allan Douglas from Simple Life Prattle

DeAnna Troupe from Learn Small Business

Melinda from Finding The Humor

Mitchell Allen from Morpho Designs

Charles Gulotta from Mostly Bright Ideas

Carl from Webmaister Pro

Ajith Edassery from Dollar Shower

Scott Thomas from Views Infinitum

Gebriele Maidecchi fro Esimple Studios

John Dilbeck from 21st Century Affiliate Marketing

Vernessa Taylor from Local Business Coach Online

Ileane from Basic Blog Tips

Evelyn Parham from Evelyn Parham

24 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned In 2011”

  1. Thank you for sharing this list. I find it a pleasure to read your blogs. It’s one of the best written blogs that I follow.

  2. Merry Christmas, Mitch!

    2011 was interesting year, I think I have read all of your blog posts at all your blogs, personally not surprised that older blog posts are getting more traffic than new one. Honestly, for me this was a year and a point where I’ve learned a lot of this about myself and other people which I think was the biggest thing for me, as well realize some facts that I didn’t want to admit for very long time. The other part was the my father met his grandson for first time in person this year, wow.

    Well, I think everything was fine and I would like to be optimist for the next year. Thanks for mentioning me and my social networking, Mitch. I really appreciate that and I wish next year to be very productive for you and I am sure that you will achieve your goals.

  3. Hey Mitch, ain’t it great feeling to know you actually learned something before the years end? πŸ˜€

    I’ve always admired the way you commit yourself to your blog and the way you’re able to publish so many great posts. Anyway, I hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you and yours the best new year.

    1. Thanks Sire, and I think I learn something every day, good or bad. I’m glad to have you as the longest participant on this blog, and I expect us to continue on this way for a long time.

  4. Thank you for adding me in the list Mitch. It is a pleasure reading your blog posts though I don’t comment in all of them for the simple reason that you write about many things about which I know little.

    It has been nice making your acquaintance via the blogworld and I am glad that I found you.

    My best wishes to you and your family too.

    1. Thanks Rummuser; I read your blog all the time as well and only comment when something really strikes me to do so. Of course I go back and forth, Rummuser, Ramana… I know you don’t mind. πŸ™‚

  5. 2011 was interesting year for us all i think, I have read all of your 2011 posts and look foreward to many more in 2012, lucky me

  6. Mitch,

    Alot of what I’ve learned about the technical side of blogging, I’ve learned from YOU. You’re always mentioning something I didn’t have a clue about—which made me go do some research to see if it would enhance what I do or not. For that, I thank you.

    I also learned about some really interesting people thru you. Sire seems like a really cool dude.

    I met Jessica Inglehart from your blog(I believe is her name)and discovered we shared more than blogs in common. We were both the mothers of teenage mothers and I have enjoyed following her blogs and reading about her new grandson.

    I met Ileane and Vernessa because of you and they have become of my biggest re-tweeters on Twitter. Thanks to Ileane’s interview I got a HUGE SPIKE in website views and some product sales.

    I learned that when I don’t have a guest for my radio show–you’re an awesome standby!

    I learned that you don’t have to follow thousands of people–just a special few can accomplish all you need and MORE.

    Thanks my friend!

    1. Thank you Bev; definitely touched by your words. I think you mean Jessica Sieghart. lol She’s not blogging as much now but I’ve seen her articles that she does for her local newspaper and she’s still very entertaining. I learn stuff from your blog as well; now if I’ll just do some of it I might increase my presence both online and off. πŸ˜‰

  7. Hi Mitch,

    Great post! Wow I learn from what you learn. If I could summarized what I learned this year it would be running and not stopping. lol!

  8. Hi mitch,
    Its very interesting to read your 2011 life history…im very pleasure to read your story….
    I hope 2012 will be more colorful and enjoy the life:)
    keepon share your thoughts.

  9. Love your lessons! My favorite was lesson #6 about getting people to stick around. I find that controversy helps people to stay. If you get a lively debate going in the comments, people will stay and comment.

  10. Hey Mitch, in reference to your #5. Don’t feel so bad. I had more activity on my community site during my hiatus in this month than my blogging activity all year. And congrats on your 10th year. I wish you many more blessings in 2012

  11. What a great list Mitch and I have to laugh because I’ve actually been on your post for over two hours now. Yep, my Mom called me right in the middle of reading it and two hours later I finally hung up the phone. So, mark that one down in the history books! πŸ™‚

    Good reflection over all the work you’ve done here at I’m Just Sharing. I know it’s hard for me to visit more often but just glad I’m able to swing by every now and then because I do enjoy reading what you share. I appreciate your honesty and your “tell it like it is” attitude. If people can’t appreciate it being your opinion then they need to visit some other blog.

    Congratulations on making it ten years in business for yourself so that’s the accomplishment so many people are striving for so I applaud you for that Mitch.

    I hope you have a wonderful celebration tonight and here is wishing you a Very Happy New Year! Thank you for all your continued support.


    1. Thanks Adrienne; I think we treat each other’s blogs the same, so it must be a Texas thing. lol I’ll take that 2 hours and see if I can get someone else to stick around for a long time as well. You know, I do write a lot and I’ve had some nice success, but maybe I need to figure out if there’s a revenue stream for a blog like this one in 2012. After all, I have so much fun blogging that if I could do it and get paid for it on more than just one blog, life would be pretty sweet. I wish you more success than you already have had in 2012.

  12. Hi Mitch,

    I enjoyed reading your list here, my friend. I must say what caught my attention the most is #2. Not so much for the cleavage, but for what you mentioned in the last sentence, and I quote, “it’s about ethics and integrity sometimes.”

    I think that sometime as bloggers we have to ask that question. Am I writing this to get more readers or am I writing this because it’s something that I believe in? I personally don’t think a lot of bloggers do think about ethics or their integrity being questioned. Not saying that I’ve always done it myself, but I do believe that it’s something that we should consider. With that being said, I commend you for taking a stance on what you believe to be a question of both.

    Not saying that I agree or disagree, because being honest with you, I probably would’ve read it for the title alone. That goes to show me that the title of our post are significant in whether or not an individual will even click the link. It also allows to think a lot more about my titles. I don’t believe I actually have had bad decisions in picking my previous titles, but it rings true to me that it should be a deciding factor when writing a post.

    I have read many blogs that have said wrote about the importance of titles, but none have given that type of example. I don’t know if that’s the point you were going for or not, but that’s what stood out to me. For that, I thank you.

    I enjoyed the read though. All in all, it sounds like you had a pretty good year in 2011.

    Here’s to wishing you an even better one in 2012. Continual blessings to you my friend. Enjoy your points covered and the lessons learned. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Deeone, welcome to this blog.

      The post I removed talked about marketing and images of women showing a lot of cleavage and how it garners more attention than the products themselves. It was in the title, but it was used often throughout the post as well. Thing is, I had all this content on this blog for just over 2 years, and that post basically took over and killed a lot of everything else this blog was about and would be about. Yet, because it garnered lots of traffic, I kept it around for a long time. I thought my traffic would drop but it seems, at least to date, that it’s held its own; shows what I knew. lol

      I’m glad you enjoyed all the other listed items as well. I did learn a lot of things; then again, I’m always learning something. πŸ™‚

  13. Hi Mitch,

    It’s well after Christmas and even though I’m just getting back to this post, I actually read it a few days after the holiday.

    You had a fine year! Though I know you miss your wonderful grandma, I appreciated how you let us in to share the time with you.

    Congrats on the many achievements and lessons learned. Whenever I come around, I usually click over and read something else — just because. Thanks for mentioning me as one of your loyal readers. I can say the same of you. πŸ™‚ Here’s to many more lessons and great interactions during 2012!

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