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Thoughts on Blogging, Social Media and Other Stuff

Window Seat Bookcase Mock-Up

First, I have made a little progress with the full-size mock-up of my daughter’s bookcase. I was hoping the mock-up would be finished by now, but some excellent things happened this week which caused me to lower the mock-up’s priority rating.

What I really want to talk about is blogging and social media. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t understand social media. Just when I had all but given up on Facebook, I got a big boost in blog traffic. This past week I published what is basically a SketchUp tutorial – it was one of those blog posts which I almost did not publish. I am not a SketchUp expert by any means, so I did not feel like I was in any position to tell others how to work in SketchUp.

SketchUp FB

The SketchUp people thought otherwise. They shared my blog post on all the major social media platforms. In the image above, their Facebook wall status shows 171 likes. They put a very similar message on twitter and Google+. There were tons of retweets and “+” and this activity lasted for the better part of two days. As you can imagine, I had a some pretty awesome traffic stats. I got the WordPress “Your stats are booming” alert on my smartphone twice. πŸ™‚ Remember how I almost did not even publish this blog post? And I almost did not put it on Facebook, which is where SketchUp saw it in the first place.

So, just as my Facebook frustration builds, something really good happens. Go figure (scratches his head).

I have read a couple of times how a blogger should pick the social media platform which is a good fit and then be there regularly. For me, this is Facebook and Google+. I don’t really do twitter, although for woodworkers, there is a very good woodworking community there. I have only recently started using Instagram – my daughter keeps telling me how great it is. I find Instagram to be super simple, so I’ll continue to mess around with it.

But I am most disappointed with Facebook. After all, Facebook is where all my high school buddies are. And my college friends and most of my family for that matter. I can promote a blog post on Facebook and get virtually no inbound traffic to my blog. I think the problem is that Facebook is too scannable, especially when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. As these devices have grown in use, I have seen a decline for inbound traffic at my blog.

With Facebook, I have all but decided to forget linking back to my blog posts – just duplicate on Facebook the project updates I feature at my blog. I’ll still link back to my blog; and I need to be more active in the conversations which happen on Facebook. Get more involved with my school friends, etc. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post and tell of my progress with FB.

The Other Stuff
The SketchUp blog post led to an invitation to do a guest blog post at another website which I have submitted. Through my SketchUp blog post, I made contact with a nice guy in SketchUp’s marketing department who gave me a promotional copy of SketchUp Pro. For me, this is HUGE!

Also, I have been building a database of interesting woodworking tips, blog posts and videos. I have been setting up separate web pages with links to the items I like. Most of them are too good to keep to myself (like this one and this one), so I decided to make them available to anyone visiting. I have a whole page devoted to SketchUp tips too.

I added a banner in my sidebar which will take you to a woodworking tips contents page. There is so much cool woodworking stuff on the internet and some of the links you will find are real gems.

And lastly, this morning my blog got its 1000th follower which is amazing since I had less than 100 followers at the beginning of the year. Explosive growth. So to everyone who has clicked the follow link or registered your email address, I want to say thank you!

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During the week, I sell carpet and rugs for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.

18 Comments

  1. I have a hard figuring some parts of social media. Not as much how to do it, but how to do it more effectively, but it sounds like you hit jackpot!

    • Tami – I did hit the jackpot for sure, I just need to find a way to get my buddies who I think would be interested in woodworking to click the link at FB and visit me here. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Miriam Kearney says

    Jeff – I love your blog. I appreciate the honesty of what you share and the details of your projects. I too don’t ‘get’ facebook – have recently just closed my account. When I had an account I got deluged with emails from facebook and people I’d never heard of wanting to ‘friend’ me. I think it’s great for keeping in touch with a group – like a large extended family or school friends. But as a place for a serious conversation I prefer blogs with comments and forums that are searchable.

    • Miriam – thanks for your thoughts. I am going to hang in there with FB. I have thought about a dedicated page there for woodworking, but it would be just another thing to keep up with. I might give it a try though.

  3. I’m not a fan of Facebook for “blogging” either. I honestly don’t pay much attention to the stat sheets but I know that Facebook does nothing for me personally. I may have a dozen visitors a month from that page.

    • Hey Bill, I know what you mean about Facebook. I see FB as a challenge, so I am going to experiment a little. πŸ™‚

  4. I wouldn’t write off Facebook just yet. In my semi-retirement, I do kitchen renovations (custom cabinetry). I have never officially advertised anywhere, but I always post photos of completed projects on Facebook (and links to photos on Twitter). From that exposure alone, I have far more work than I need.

    I also use Facebook and Twitter to link to my blog, which is totally unrelated to woodworking, and get a moderate amount of traffic from each, but mostly from Facebook. I would say that for the time it takes to throw up a link on social media, any traffic that’s generated is probably worth the investment.

    Also keep in mind that there is more than one way to follow someone in this day and age, so keeping track of followers is a tough task. I follow most blogs through my RSS reader. I’m not sure if that kind of connection shows up in your WordPress stats. You may indeed have more followers than you know.

    • Cal – thanks for your comment. I am not going to write off FB, rather I need to figure out how to better benefit from it, but also not see it as simply a way to get more traffic at my blog. I will always view FB as a way to stay in touch with my friends.

      Concerning the followers I get, they either click the follow link or enter their email address, so you are right, I likely have more people who read posts just through a RSS reader. I use Feedly and there are many webpages I read through it.

  5. Congratulations on your beautiful blog! I keep hoping my social media will take off – but I don’t seem to have that golden touch πŸ™‚ How wonderful it must be to be able to make something by hand – a wonderful talent!

  6. Wow, I’m glad you did publish that post because those stats are phenomenal!!

    I only started getting better results through Facebook after creating a dedicated page for my blog… But then, I also find that the majority of my ‘followers’ on Facebook are already subscribed to my blog! I share my posts (simultaneously) through various social media sites and it’s always Twitter and Facebook at the top.

    I think Google works best within itself… ie. for promoting and sharing videos on YouTube.

    • Olly, my daughter has a dedicated page for her blog on FB and she says she gets good traffic from it. I just don’t think I can post content there enough to make it meaningful. Just another thing to keep up with. But, for the sounds of it, your page works for you. Maybe something to try…

  7. Nicholas D says

    I am enamoured by your sketchup line style settings, is this purely from tweaking the default styles within sketchup, or have you done some rendering over the image?

    • Nicholas, I am glad you like the line style. It is the default style as far as I know. No rendering. Now that I have SketchUp Pro, I hope to begin doing some new things in Style Builder.

  8. Jane Branch Bell says

    Way to go bro! I am so impressed with what you are doing these days. Keep pushing the boundaries. πŸ™‚

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