For the past couple of months, we have been working on making our platform compatible with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format.  If you’re not familiar with AMP, I think it’s fair to summarize it thusly:  The practice of offering your website in a special format that Google invented, so that your Google SERP’s (search engine result page) have a small gray lightning bolt next to them, which leads the viewer to the AMP-formatted version of your page, which is hosted by google, and is definitely faster and more user-friendly than the default version of your page.

An AMP-enabled page in a SERP.

AMP carries a fair amount of controversy.  Many thought leaders worry about the rabbit hole of proprietary formats, and also the eyebrow-raising prospect of allowing google to serve your website. It’s worth getting acquainted with both sides of this argument if you are interested in AMP.  This podcast between web pioneer Jeffrey Zeldman and WordPress co-creator Matt Mullenweg is by far the best discussion I have found on the debate.

For me there is one simple fact that cuts through the entire argument like a laser beam: If a Google search result has a little gray lightning bolt next to it, I’m far more likely to click on it because I know it’s going to be much faster, and I know the next page I see will be content-focused, simple, and legible. In that suspenseful moment where thumbs are hovering over search results, I want LexBlog to fall among the have’s, rather than the have-nots.

How, Generally?

Several years ago I met with former LexBlog CTO, current LexBlog Fairy GodFather, and google employee Robert McFrazier.  I was delighted to pester him with questions as usual, and when I asked him an open-ended question about the best thing we could do for our platform, he told it would be to introduce AMP.  Furthermore, he noted that in the WordPress space, developers were handling AMP as a plugin concept, rather than a theme concept, which he felt was a shortcut not always worth taking.  Although taking a plugin approach allows for faster adoption, it’s very heavy-handed and leaves the AMP page with very little of the design and branding that appears on the non-AMP version.  Given the time and ability, he believed it would be much better to adopt AMP from within a theme, so as to more easily carry the theme concepts (color scheme, layout, logos, fonts, icons) into the AMP version.

Robert was right.  Even today, years after our talk, the WordPress community is approaching AMP almost entirely via the “official” WordPress AMP plugin, with virtually no theme frameworks doing anything interesting with AMP.  I’m very proud to say that at LexBlog we’ve broken that trend!  We have developed a one-click solution to enable an AMP version on any site using our modern platform, and that version carries all of the important design and branding concepts included in the non-AMP version.  As this project has matured, I’ve often had trouble telling the difference between our normal front-end and our AMP front-end.

How, Specifically?

There were three categories of things that we needed to import to our AMP version: Design, layout, and content.

Design

Because we approached this from within our theme, rather than taking the shortcut of approaching via a plugin, it was very convenient to grab design elements such as:

  • Typekit fonts.
  • FontAwesome icons.
  • Firm logos and blog logos.
  • Color schemes.

Layout

Layout was more difficult.  By layout, I mean things like white space, alignment, and a grid system.  Unfortunately, I was not able to simply load our normal CSS in its entirety, because it would have exceeded AMP’s size limit of 55kb.  I could potentially have just imported only the elements I needed, but I didn’t design that system to be served a la carte and I didn’t want to increase our bug surface area by forcing the issue.

What I did instead, was grab a subset of the Bootstrap front end framework — just their grid and white space stuff — and then modify it to be compatible with AMP’s formatting rules.  I like this solution, largely because I really like Bootstrap, and also because it was fast to implement and left me with many thousands of kb left over for adding custom styles on top of it.

Content

By content I mean the act of converting html into the format that AMP requires.  A simple example is instead of the normal <img> tag, AMP uses an <amp-img> tag.  It gets far more complex from there, as everything from animated gifs to twitter embeds require special massage therapy.  This is where I was happy enough to stand on the shoulders of giants and grab some formatting code from the official WordPress AMP plugin, noted above.  It was fun to reverse engineer all the code into a state that was maintainable for our project, and I’m happy enough to avoid re-inventing that wheel.

What Next?

At the moment we are deploying AMP on internal blogs and employee blogs, and the results have been fantastic.  We’re in the process of generating automated test results against all of the blogs on our entire network, which we’ll use to further refine the product, before eventually opening it up for widespread use in some form later this year.

I have no doubt that this product will be a massive success on a technical level.  More interesting will be the debate of, is AMP good for websites; is it good for the web?  My prediction is that the current stated fears about centralization will take on the look of John Henry’s hammer or William Jennings Bryan’s soapbox — it’s time to let the machines win something they’re going to win anyways.  If I’m being completely honest, I hope AMP eats the web.  I hope that in five years from now, we’re all making a single AMP-compatible website, rather than bolting on an AMP-compatible version.  Will that happen?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that in order for it to happen, websites will need to preserve design and branding in their AMP offering, which is what our project is really about.

Every job has its benefits. I don’t mean 401k or paid sick leave. No, I’m talking about the unforeseen side effects of working in various industries. I remember getting free pizza at my first job as a dishwasher and I felt exceedingly blessed. I also remember getting free books from my time working at Eastern Washington Univ., but again I digress. So the question, what is the side benefits for working at a company filled with successful bloggers? Since I started working for LexBlog, I’ve wanted to try my hand at a serious blog.

At LexBlog, I will be attempting to use the LexBlog platform to launch my new blog. Unlike my failed attempt at a food blog years ago on google blogger: Grim’s Gratitudes, or my “never-was” blog Tech Comm Corner last year, my hope with this blog is to gain access to a community of scholars. Currently, I have two blogs on WordPress, my nerdy friendship club Currently Undecided and my courtship with my significant other, Intentional Vulnerability. I also write from time to time here on donuts. While blogger was meh and I haven’t had any issues with WordPress, when offered to use LexBlog to launch my new blog, I couldn’t help but think of all that I could learn.

So far, I reach out to a multitude of bloggers to add them to LexBlog for free, but I don’t ask them to switch platforms or even use LexBlog in any capacity though many of them have started subscribing to different channels. However, I never thought to ask what the process looked like to make a blog on LexBlog. I’m curious to see the result. So far, there has been mention of a checklist and I’ll be reaching out to the Success Team for more info. In any case, I’m excited.

My day is filled with looking at blog after blog, some good and some, well, not-so-much. I even follow several law blogs now. My day is filled with people collectively thinking, writing, and sharing about experiences, thoughts, ideas, and innovations. They are doing this at no-cost. Sure, many of these people want to advance their careers, but otherwise, the motivation seems to be more valuable. They want to share and explore the world. I use to have a professor that talked about the “power of thirty people in the room all knowledgeable about a singular subject”. The room has now expanded to incorporate the entire world. Blogs, allow you to step into that room. I hope to take that first step.

Between process and motivation, I feel as though I’ve stacked the deck in my favor. In a few weeks I’ll write another donuts post about all the things I’ve learned. Maybe my motivation will take on a new form different from the “collective experience”, but we’ll see. Right now, I’m in the planning stages. I want to give the serious effort of 2 posts a week and have a good idea on the tone I would like the blog to take. I have images already set for the first several posts. I even have a logo. With all the ingredients for a good blog, I hope to bake me a delicious multi-layered blog. The process will be the most interesting.

In the meantime, I will continue to reach out and learn what good blogging looks like. I’ll sift and sort as many law blogs as I can learning what good blogging looks like. I won’t go into details about what my new blog will entail. I will only say that it involves something that lawyers know all too well. So, stay tuned. We’ll see what we learn.

Lately, I’ve been think a ton about lead theory and how it concerns all of our jobs. In manufacturing, lead time is the amount of time between initiation and action. For example, you press a button on your coffee maker and 10 minutes later you have a full pot of coffee. For a full moving process like making a car, there can be hundreds of initiations within one major one. Look at Rube Goldberg machines if you want to know what I am talking about. Lead theory, in my mind, is the missing “verb” in the sea of adjectives that make up gestalt design principles, but now I’m just diving into the nerdom of information design. What I’m terribly getting at is this: you change 1 small part of a process, it can change the whole process.

I recently changed my email process. Instead of treating attorneys like I’m Oliver Twist asking for scraps of attention, I cut-to-the-chase and just tell them, “I want your blog”. In my new process, of which I have cut down dramatically, I can get through more than 20 emails in an hour. In the past, my record was 18 in an entire day’s worth of work. Match this with sorting 100+ websites a day, I can get through a ton of blogs. Honestly, it makes me feel like I’m sorting legos sometimes and I really like sorting. This whole change was not just, “fix your email”, but a whole series of small changes. Now we can dive into nerdom together.

The process, in its entirety, is fairly complicated with many small moving parts. Here is only some of the major steps: I look at the master list of contacted blogs. I pick one that is blank. I look over the website. I try to find author, size of the firm, contact info, style, and about 15+ other small things. If I get the sense that the website is already on LexBlog, I look for our logo, search on our contributors list, check hubspot, and look in our blog dashboard. Most of the time, I don’t have to dive that deep, but only every so often. If a blog does not meet our standard, I click the “r” button that highlights the row red and click from a dropdown as to why I chose to mark it red. If the blog is from a larger firm, has 5+ authors, multiple blogs, etc., I mark the row yellow for “let’s come back to this”.  If the blog is not red or yellow, I mark it blue meaning, “I call dibs!”. The blue blogs are mine. I’m going to email them and they will be my responsibility. I then get to finally email them.

You  can imagine why I’m able to max out sorting at 100/hour. This is of course assuming that I don’t have anything else going on. That is only one small part to the whole system. Emailing is its own process, responding to calls/emails, adding the memberships (seriously takes the longest time), checking hubspot, double checking other’s sheet work, and the extra work that I add for myself is really a ton. I would like to get through the master list as soon as possible and that’s why I keep trying to improve the process. At the 1st of December, I was happy to get through 10-20 blogs a day with emailing 5 bloggers. I was happy to get anyone responding. Now, the process is still a bit of a clunky Volkswagen beetle, but is able to keep pace at the Indy 500. I know the process can be faster.

This whole thought of “lead theory” and the correlation to the LexBlog method, as I am coining it now, was spurred by a documentary I watched multiple times every year in high school. I was a runner and my coach was none other than Pat Tyson. If you’ve worn Nikes, he is one of the guys to thank. In cross country, Tyson would show documentaries and movies all the time. Billy Mills was one of my favorite. When Billy talked about going just “snap his fingers” faster, I would be filled with a drive to do better. By the way: Billy Mills interview can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfLLNksZmoY. If you watched it, you could understand why focusing on just one small instant can change the outcome of an entire race. It also makes sense why this interview reminded me of manufacturing theories. In the case of my work at LexBlog, small instances define everything that I do.

So, if you made it this far into the post, I hope that you glean one thing: change one small thing at a time. Find the small things that work. For the things that don’t, see if you can’t make them just a snap faster. The picture is the first bite of a well deserved donut.

Recently, I broke the passenger side mirror on my inherited luxury car. As frustrating as that is, I should have known better. Seattle loves to define their parking spaces. They love to put signs that say “Electric Cars Only”, “Expecting Mother’s Only”, “Compact”, “Reserved for customers of…”, “Reserved for monthly customers”, and of course “Handicap”. I’ve learned that my full-size sedan just doesn’t belong and I’m constantly aware of its size. So, after living here for almost a year, it was about time that I ran into something. That something was my garage door. My garage should have a sign that reads, “You’re seriously going to try and park that?”. The situation was more complicated than a simple oopsie-daisy, but whatever. The point I want to make with this post is simple. We love defining our parking spaces. Sometimes we try to fit cars into spaces where the car just doesn’t belong. Other times, our car seems to fit perfectly, but in reality that spot is reserved for someone else.

I have been going through blog after blog and website after website. For a while in this process I would quickly read a blog post or two and determine the quality. Now, I scan a website looking for certain markers. Are they already on LexBlog? Is this is larger law firm? Do they have multiple authors? Do they have an email somewhere? The entire time I am looking at the quality and rhetoric of the design. At this point, I can tell the difference between Squarespace, Justia, Wix, and LexBlog designs. These designs offer a nice little space for content to park. Just by the design, most of the time, I can determine the quality of a blog before I even start reading. It’s like looking at a compact parking sign and guessing that a compact car will park there.

I have seen a multitude of unnamed author posts, all with the same font, color schemes, no date, SEO scripted, and ends with “If you or a loved one needs (fill in type of law) then call (Law firm) for your Free Consultation and one of our expert attorneys will assist you.. Blah.. blah”. Side note, “Free Consultation” is a buzz term that most people have become wise to the real meaning. I digress. My point is that these posts were most likely written by someone other than an attorney to drive some form of traffic. These types of posts will almost certainly have the exact same design. In fact, last week I found exactly that. I found two websites by two different lawyers in the exact same design, same homepage image, and the same style of blog posts. I have considered emailing each of them to let them know they have a doppelganger. It’s like seeing two identical pickups with the same gun rack and camo cover at Cabela’s. No one is surprised to see them and no one cares to give them more attention than they deserve.

The process continues. I filter through the websites and have been holding a list off to the side of bloggers I intend to email. I don’t waste my time reading blogs that I can’t email and in return, the last hour of my day is stacked with great reads. If a pulled website turns out to be terrible, I throw it back. Otherwise, I email the ones I have. I enjoy it.

Every so often I get a surprise. I get a surprise so shocking, I feel that I need to email the blogger right there on the spot. Like seeing a Lamborghini and wanting to take your picture with it. I’m not that kind of guy by the way. However, when I come across a blog of that quality and calibre that I feel compelled to let them know, I feel genuine excitement. I came across a blog exactly like that last week. A DUI attorney in Arizona posted in December about the death of a pregnant woman and the pictures her widower took of her. The blogger was upset and rightly so, but the post added one thing that many posts seem to forget: humanity. The attorney, also known as the blogger, became real. Their content fit into the parking spot reserved for quality blogs even though their website used some parking spot reserved for terrible blogging.

I have felt exceedingly lucky since I read that post. That’s what good writing does, it moves the reader. Sometimes it moves the reader to feel, think, or act, but in any case, there is an effect on the reader. I feel lucky that it was only my mirror and not a life.

Before I publish this post I wanted to make one last point for the bloggers out there. Don’t park your content in a reserved space. Your great blog deserves to be on a great design. You might have to park it a way away from the front door, but trust me, more people will notice the Ferrari sitting out by itself than Geo at the front.

At LexBlog we manage over 1,000 sites across nearly 30 multisite installations of WordPress. Some of these sites have been publishing unique content for over a decade while some are in their first days of writing, slowly building an audience with each post. These sites share something in common, however, regardless of the subject matter, length of time on the web, or size of the publisher: Visitors are coming to their site on mobile devices at a rate that I’ve never seen before. 

When LexBlog gave me the opportunity to join the team in the summer of 2013 as an Account Manager, one of the first things I tried to understand was the audience of each site that was under my purview. It was my job to provide advice, guide, and suggest opportunities to the publishers and managers of these sites. At the time, LexBlog was just dipping its toes into the world of responsive design and was utilizing WP Touch to serve up a mobile version of our WordPress sites for those sites that weren’t responsively developed right out of the gate. 

Some of the first conversations I had with clients was around the subject of responsive redesigns of existing properties, or trying out a responsive design project on a new publication. At the time, it was a harder sell. Apple had released the iPhone 5 the year before, and was still moving at a relatively slow pace in pushing out new models, and the Android marketplace was relatively anemic. While it was clear there was a new game in town it wasn’t entirely clear what that game was to many internet neophytes.

To our development team, it was obvious that new game was responsive design. The flexibility of this approach was attractive, especially in a world where each pixel was highly scrutinized by marketing and business development teams. 

To our clients, the chief question was why would they spend an arm and a leg on a new technology when only 10-15% of their traffic was from mobile devices. 

Fast forward to today when I got it in my head that I would take a look at our network wide traffic to see what the current trends were. Some of the key stats for 2018 include:

  • Just over 1 in 3 people (34-35% of total traffic to be more exact with that number rising to 40% on some installations) visited a LexBlog managed site on a mobile device
  • Apple devices lead the way with about 60% of mobile device visits coming from an iPhone or iPad
  • Samsung is next in line with about 8-10% of the mobile device share on our network (the S7 through S9+ are the best represented Samsung devices)
  • Google’s devices are still lagging way behind much to the chagrin of our COO and CTO, the two Pixel advocates at LexBlog

Some of this ascent is no doubt due to our emphasis on responsive designs over the years. If a site looks good on a mobile device the first time you see it, you’re more apt to return on a phone or tablet when you’re not at your desk.

Beyond that, however, Google and other search engines continue to push usability as a component of their search results algorithms, and mobile friendliness is a key part of this. If your site does not render well on a phone or tablet, you’re likely to loose a key demographic, especially considering the rise of searches conducted on a mobile phone. 

Today, the conversation has changed from, “This is why you should consider a responsive design,” to “Here is your responsively designed site” without an option for anything else. Why would we suggest a subpar product and reading experience when we know the truth? The internet is expanding to more devices, more screens, more interfaces than we ever thought possible and consumers of content are keeping up with this breakneck pace; shouldn’t your site?

A lot of people I follow on Twitter, also have what I assume are quality Instagram accounts.  I wouldn’t know. After a few days of them cross-posting their Instagram activity on Twitter, I either stopped following them or muted them.

This mindless posting of activity from one social account to another is very pronounced on Twitter.  Where instead of a visually compelling social card, which would make sense from Instagram, we get a simple link.

What does this do for you as a blogger or social media community member?  Nothing. 

It contributes noise, and noise is the enemy of any community.  Sometimes the noise takes the form of repetitive posts or humorous memes, but in its worst form, it is beyond useless.  Plus, these noise posts that are combined with attempts at self-promotion, ruin your credibility and reduce your reach.

So just stop doing it.

Instead tailor your content to your audience.  Sure you can use a bridge service, companies like Tweet Photo will act as a bridge between accounts, taking your photo from Instagram and including it.  But that type of automation is still robotic and for the most part careless.

If you have to use a service, try something like Buffer.  It will connect your various social media accounts and you can write custom posts for each one and schedule them.  

If you are going to use social media, use it.  Don’t think of it as a shortcut to perceived success.  All of these services are a community.  So be a good member of that community and stop contributing to the noise post pollution.  

In the end, you and your followers will have a much better experience.

I have 2 jobs that are vastly different, but quickly becoming quite similar. My main job, as many of you may guess, is at LexBlog as a Publishing Team Member. My other job is a Lead Outreach Specialist for an after-school program (aka the “Academy”)  that tailors to “enhancement”, not tutoring. I took both so I could explore what I want out of a career even though I could have a full-time job somewhere else. I really love working at LexBlog and enjoy the Academy as well. I have begun to see real changes in both. While they are vastly different jobs, they are becoming very similar as time goes on.

At LexBlog, my job started off pretty straightforward where I would try to find all the law blogs and make a sizable contact list. At my outreach position my job started by talking to potential students and their parents. Both in my mind were vastly different and required a different set of skills to perform each. After a few months at both, they are becoming the same job, but with different clients and different targets.

I want to clarify a point. I believe heavily in transparency and discuss openly my jobs to both of my employers. I find that we all have more to learn with an open dialogue; especially considering that both companies are experimenting.

So, the changes this last month is what is making these positions interesting. In December, LexBlog altered my position a bit and, instead of compiling a comprehensive list, I would reach out to quality blogs personally. I told my other job about the fun I’m having and some of the interesting topics covered. In response, my secondary job gave me a small promotion. Instead of reaching out constantly, the afterschool program wants me to compile a list of potential events the could set-up a booth. However, this is position created just for me. None of the other regions in the country are attempting this change.

This is oddly creating a scenario where what is good for one company is becoming good for the other with me at the center of both. I have taken my varied background and have applied it to both jobs. I’m good at finding things and can be very good at communication. However, I’ve never had a job that required me to do both. The data design and use from LexBlog is coming in handy for the Academy. I also see similarities in the questions being asked by lawyers and parents. Lawyers want to protect/grow their firms like parents want to protect/grow their kids. I’m learning to respond to attorneys with the experience I’m getting from the Academy. They are not the same company, but learning is learning.

I’m not sure what to call this interstitial space between data compiling and outreach. However, I get the same feeling, this same striving for something different, from both. While companies are pushing to take humans out of the equation, like self checkout lines or drone delivery, the general populace has become wise to robot sales. I don’t mean the buying and selling of robots, but the automation of one-size-fits-all marketing approaches. I’ve written about this before on this blog. The position reflects a non-pressure sales approach that reflects the current climate.

Statements from both companies that make me believe there is something going on in our world:

“This is not for everyone. We are not making an email blast or writing a script”

“Give a more personal approach”

“Focus on one thing at a time”

“Tell us if there are any issues or improvements” (This one is huge)

“What do you think?”

“We look good when you look good”

Really, as I think more about it, I’ve never been treated like a human this much at a job, let alone two jobs. It is a bit jarring. However, I’m going to continue to try my best at both and learn to appreciate this type of treatment. Both companies, I want to see flourish. So, I will continue to keep an open dialogue. Maybe we will all benefit from this unique exchange.

The Great LinkedIn Challenge has come to a close. The competition was fierce. The challenges were tough. The competitors were tireless in their pursuit of the long-awaited donut cake prize. 

All of that being said, I am happy to announce our winner (at last!). 

Congratulations, Melissa!

Melissa is our Associate Editor here at LexBlog with a passion for storytelling, journalism, and helping others. As I was reviewing her completed LinkedIn profile, I noticed a comprehensive theme that truly spoke to her interests and passion for what she does. She also fulfilled all of the challenges – not an easy feat! 

Because LexBloggers put a tremendous effort into making their profiles shine, I chose two runners up who also did a great job getting their profiles to all-star level. 

Well done, Jaime and Josh!

They will also receive a donut prize (a bit smaller than the cake, of course) for their dedication to completing the challenge. 

I hope you enjoyed following along on this fun competition with me. It’s great to see LexBloggers work hard to make a name for themselves online! 

If you’re wondering, Melissa’s infamous donut cake will arrive at the LexBlog office for celebration in mid-January when we’ll have some of our remote LexBloggers in Seattle for the week. Pictures will follow!

Send your congratulations to Melissa, Jaime, and Josh with a connection on LinkedIn!  

I had a moment of déjà vu yesterday. I went to a law blog and read through the first post wishing their readers “Happy Veterans Day”. Right now it’s a week before Christmas. I thought “meh, I’ll come back to this one in a bit”. I opened the next blog on my list and started reading the first post wishing me another “Happy Veterans Day”. Honestly, I thought I was in a time loop like Bill Murray. Okay, well maybe there was a mistake, and I moved on. I opened the next blog on my list and started reading the first post wishing me, in fact, another “Happy Veterans Day”. At this point, I realized what was going on. Each blog was connected to a single firm, was named similarly, and was designed exactly the same.

I’m new to SEO practices. I will admit that fact outright. However, I know sales. I know sales enough to know I’m a terrible salesman, but still better than most people. I wasn’t hired to be a salesman, even though my emails to people sometimes sound that way. I’m grateful for that, but my point I want to make is simple. Numbers don’t lie, but people do.

I come across tons of law blogs that are terrible SEO driven monsters that, if a real person spent 10 seconds reading, would agree wholeheartedly. I wondered if these types of blogs were worth it and began to do some research. Come to find out, I work at a great company. I’m not trying to brown-nose; honestly, I don’t care enough. What I did find was that LexBlog believes what I believe and that’s the power of human connection.

My parents were Realtors and I lived very comfy in my country club lifestyle that they provided me. Neither had a college education. Heck, my mother didn’t get her GED until her 30’s. They taught me that people made business and that human connection was more important than anything. They would take clients out to lunch, drive all over to meet people, and send cards/gifts for holidays. They took care of people and didn’t ask for anything in return. There was even a case where my mother made a woman dinners for several weeks, after which, the woman sold her house through a different realtor (I believe because they were family). My mother wasn’t upset by this at all. She didn’t help the woman for a potential sale. They were in the business of helping people and in return people sent them business.

I used this mentality of human connection to sell watches years ago. Traditional watches are still around and people wear them for all sorts of reasons. In the few years I fixed and sold them, I never cared to be a salesman and I wasn’t. However, dawning that attitude of wanting to help people and make connections, real connections, made me one of the top salesman of that old watch company. I even remember several instances of customers breaking down emotionally. Those customers were grateful for being treated like human beings.

SEO takes the human out of sales and attempts to put humanity into an algorithm. Businesses that rely purely on SEO practices tend to measure success linearly in order to fit into the self profitizing formula. Humanity is not a formula. Now, I’m not saying that data isn’t important. Ignoring data is just plain silly, but when it comes down to relying on quantitative, qualitative, and anecdotal evidences for success, don’t think that quantitative is everything. Quantitative is all numbers. From my understanding, SEO is all numbers. SEO practices ask how many clicks can I get to my website? How many users have visited today? I know that roughly 80% of the internet is robots. So my question, why would I care how many visitors are generating hits on my website? I guess I would care if they were buying whatever it was I was selling.

To reiterate my point: human connection is something very powerful. If you as a blogger or as a business owner rely purely on numbers, you’ll miss the bigger picture of what success really means. You’ll find yourself just doing donuts in the parking lot. You feel yourself moving, but you’re not going anywhere.

In just a few months I will have been podcasting for ten years.  I went into podcasting reluctantly.  I had a blog and everyone around me encouraged me to start releasing audio versions of the stuff I talk about on my blog.

When I started, I was terrible.  Audio quality was low.  Talent was even lower.  But I was committed and that first year I released a show every week.  I was doing it, yet I never stopped to really consider if I should be doing it.

So that is what I would like for you to consider before podcasting.  Why?

Since you will get better and through hard work might even get a following, how you answer that question is more important than anything else.  

Podcasting is time-consuming, not just from a production standpoint. Jut like blogging, it is the stuff you need to do after the show has been released that makes the difference.  That means getting out their and hustling, doing anything to get heard in the extremely crowded podcasting world.

If you are already at the top of your game, as an expert of something, podcasting will be a lot easier.  People will already want to hear from you. It will most likely enhance your reputation, if done right, and open more doors for you.

If you are unknown, it is going to be a slog.  You will be working against large podcasting networks and hundred of thousands of shows all competing for ears.

An article published April 25, 2018, by FastCompany states there are:

Over 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million episodes

Is it worth your time?  Unless the journey is fun and you do not expect to become “famous” or make money. The answer is probably not.  

Here is a simple test for you.  This also applies to blogging.

Ask yourself, how long am I willing to do this without asking for money to do it?  That money could be in the form of solicitation of services or an advertisement.

If you need to have an advertisement in your first few dozen episodes.   You are probably doing this for the wrong reason and podcasting is not worth your time.

I didn’t write this to dissuade future podcasters, but to level-set your expectations.  Podcasting is just like blogging.  It works best when it is an expression of your expertise and personality and not just a vehicle for advertising.  So think long and hard before you decide to sit down to record and make sure you are realistic about your goals before getting started.