It would be a cool story if I were to tell you that I’m just a random schmo who opened up his first blog one year ago and found an instant niche. That all the knowledge that comes with writing for a yuppie audience was suddenly learned and tapped in this short amount of time. No, the real story is much more boring and nerdy.
Back in 1999 I was an undergrad in college and decided to make a web site where I could make “posts” about random things that interested me. Within a year there was a group of about 20 guys who had an “everything/nothing” page, as we called it. We had our own little corner on the internet with an entirely male readership. Eventually I got bored with it so I tried to hire writers and start an entertainment news network. I failed.
In 2001 I graduated from college and had one month to kill until I’d start my career as a wage-slave. During that time I reopened my site under a new name. It turned into something breezy where me and my friends would write about dates or nights out at the club. It received 300 visitors (all male) a day at its peak when I shut it down in August 2004. About 75 fans followed me into a private blog.
It was at about this time that my friend Kelly Ann Collins exploded onto the scene with her Washington Socialites blog. I contributed on her blog for a month and got hooked again. There is just something about writing for an audience I find very fulfilling. She understood my need to go solo and helped me promote the new ‘DC Bachelor’ when I opened it one year ago today.
I started off getting about 250 visitors a day. Recently, the blog has been averaging 1,000 visitors a day, with about 60% of those visitors local to the area. I have a strong feeling that most of my readers are women. The number of sites that link to me has remained the same over the past several months, so the traffic increase is almost completely because of word-of-mouth. You are telling your friends, your co-workers, etc.
The number one question I get asked is, “Why do you blog?” I don’t really have a good answer. It’s my art project, my contribution to the world. It gives me a reason to piece together my random experiences and fit them in the big picture. It lets me dissect life in a fun way that can be understood by my peers. Sure I often exaggerate and write things for the sole purpose to pick at your insecurities of loneliness, vanity, and identity, but beneath every outrageous idea is a truth of how things are. Life isn’t that complicated, and the patterns are there for you to discover and play with, for those who “get it” and those who don’t.
I’m still waiting to peak. I have notepads filled with ideas that I haven’t gotten to yet. I have a month’s worth of writing already in draft form online that is begging to be edited. First Date DC is off to a great start and I just started work on another project I hope to open in the Spring. I’m looking forward to the next year.