On reaching 2 million views and other milestones
Thank you. All I ever wanted to do was write. You have rewarded me by reading, responding, challenging me, and in a few cases, hiring me. As my blog hits 2 million views today, I’d like to reflect on what’s happened so far and what’s in the future.
A few key milestones
I launched this blog on March 26, 2015. I have blogged every weekday since then, a total of 705 posts. At least 95% of those posts have been substantive, rather than promotional. I write for you.
As I look back on two and half years, here’s the tale of the tape:
- The blog has logged 1.3 million visits and 2 million views. The blog has close to 3,000 subscribers. The subscriber number would be much higher if I used more aggressive tactics to get people to sign up, which I refuse to do.
- I try to mix up the topics with tips, observations, and various kinds of critiques. The top post categories are Media (194 posts), Politics (177), Corporate (174), Tips (126), and Marketing/PR (123).
- One year after my book launched, it has 53 reviews on Amazon. I cherish them all, and 90% are positive. Based on what people tell me, the book continues to spread through word of mouth.
- Twitter and Facebook are the two places where I promote my content. My Twitter profile @jbernoff is up to 25,000 followers from 19,000 when I started this journey. My Facebook page reached 6,000 people last month. Every week I meet new people in these social networks who are believers in what I have to say about writing — or want to tell me how wrong I am.
What you read most
Here are the top posts on the blog since its inception. It’s a healthy mix of useful tips, analysis of corporate writing, and topical political analysis.
- 10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them. (828,000 views) This single post is what what put this blog on the map and still accounts for 17% of its traffic, mostly due to ranking on Google searches for “writing tips.” One short post encapsulates most of what I want to say about writing.
- Donald Trump, memes, and the dangers of post-factual politics. (99,000 views) This false meme — about Donald Trump saying he’d run as a Republican because Republicans are dumb and he could lie to them — continues to draw traffic, because people really want to believe it. This post regularly gets comments from people who imagine that they saw this nonexistent interview.
- Apple’s Tim Cook shows how to communicate in a crisis. (36,000 views) Of the many topical posts I’ve made, this one got the most traffic, probably because of the raging controversy over Apple’s actions. It’s far less popular now than it was in 2016 when I wrote it.
- “What’s really wrong with millennials?” asks Simon Sinek. (26,000 views) Simon Sinek is an incredible thinker, but I think he went too far in this interview in lumping all millennials into one psychological diagnosis. A lot of millennials agree with me; when I mention this post in my speeches, it gets applause.
- If you demonize Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, you lose the argument. (21,000 views) Another topical post that drew a lot of traffic at the time it went live, which was in September 2015. Along with the Donald Trump meme and my post about the death of social media, this is one of the posts that drew the most comments.
- Strange potential consequences of a Donald Trump presidency. (19,000 views) Just after the election, I harbored hopes that as an unconventional politician, Donald Trump could reach across party lines to get things done. A lot of you also thought (or hoped) this was worth considering. This is happening — a little — but I now feel my optimism was misguided. Out of 700+ posts, this is the only one I regret.
- 10 tips on how to write shorter. (14,000 views) In addition to being useful, this post gets a lot of traffic because of the links from the “10 top writing tips” post.
- Can we save academia from bullshit? (14,000 views) Popular because it’s also linked in the writing tips post, and because it’s regularly posted by my friends at Academia Obscura.
- Augie Ray, can we admit now that social media marketing is dead? (12,000 views) Augie threw a grenade, I threw another one. Given both of our profiles in the social media world, this drew a crowd.
- Jack Dorsey’s Twitter layoff email shows the value of honesty. (11,000 views) Another topical post that caught fire in 2015.
- Gary Vaynerchuk, the paradox of hindsight, and the corruption of the self-help industry. (11,000 views) This was my top new post of 2017. I think it got popular because I stepped into the middle of a feud about a beloved and controversial figure. In addition to the thoughtful comments and sharing, I got my share of haters on this one.
I’d also like to mention Deathly euphemisms: “rest in peace” and “thoughts and prayers” which gets a surge of traffic every time there’s a mass shooting. A lot more people are now protesting politicians’ empty words in the wake of these tragedies.
I’ve just begun working on another book. I’ll say more when there is more to say.
I blog every day, not just for you, but for me — it creates structure in my work life and the streak of weekday posts keeps me sharp, engaged, and thinking. Not everything I post is going to be on target, but unless I’m trying with a regular cadence, I won’t get to the next key insight. Thanks for being my audience and my foils and for continuing to challenge me.
And if you need help with thinking about a business book or with a company that needs a kick in the pants about writing better, let’s talk.
Congratulations on reaching a very significant milestone, Josh.
I note with interest that there’s one post you regret. Yet you never took it down, and you never (to my knowledge) made significant edits in it. I applaud you for that, and — as a blogger who’s posted a few things I now regret — I wonder if you’d comment. Would taking that post down have somehow been dishonest? Are you simply a don’t-dwell-on-past-mistakes guy? Something else? Thanks.
I wrote it. It would be dishonest to delete it. It is part of what I honestly thought at the time
This is not a universally held perspective but I feel it is necessary for a no Bullshit blogger. No whitewashing.
I correct typos and factual errors, not opinions that I changed my mind on.
Thanks, Josh. I’ve vacillated on this, but from now on I’m adopting the same policy.
Congratulations on this accomplishment. Your father is impressed. To bad that your grandfather, the printer, is not here to see this. He would be proud, amazed, and astonished.
Congratulations! Having read your blog for a while now, I’m not surprised by your success in this. I discovered you through the editing and plain language courses I’m taking, and I’m so glad I did. You have helped me become a clearer communicator and have helped me to cut through the bullshit. Thanks!
I start my workday with your blog, so don’t stop! It’s refreshingly honest.