Well, we’ve reached a new milestone.
100 posts would have seemed impossible only a year ago. I can’t believe I’ve come this far.
It’s fitting that this should come right as the year begins, since it gives us the perfect opportunity to look backwards and review all the things that have happened at Mr. Horne’s Book of Secrets.
Now, I know that I’m supposed to say that it’s been a great year for us. Because it’s always been a great year for the guy who’s giving a speech, am I right? But honestly, a lot of things happened this year—things I wasn’t expecting. I can honestly say that I have never been busier or more productive.
So let’s reexamine all the things that have happened to this blog since January 1, 2016, to give you a perspective of where we’ve come from.
I Started Blogging Every Week
This was the biggest change. In past years, I’ve only blogged whenever the mood has struck me. It’s not a great way to get things done. And the blog languished because of it.
Issuing weekly updates took a lot of man-hours, but the result has been awesome. The Book of Secrets has become a garden of information, presented as easily digestible edutainment. I’ve been blown away by how much of an influence I have been able to have, and have been graced by a lot of great comments from visitors.
The experience has been humbling and made me happy in ways that encourage me to continue.
I Switched Web Hosts
My old web host started to have problems with WordPress, so I switched to SiteGround (which specializes in WordPress sites) and have never looked back. I had to rebuild the blog almost from scratch (and with a lot of diligent cache-diving), but when it was all over, the site was better than ever.
I Started a Co-Blog on Steemit
2016 was a huge year for the cryptocurrency space, as new and experimental technologies came to the fore. One bold and experimental use case perhaps outshines all the other innovations of 2016, and that has to be Steemit.
It’s a blogging platform where people get paid to create content. It’s had its ups and downs since launch. I joined right before the July 4th event where they started issuing the first payments, and it’s been anything but boring since. I haven’t made nearly as much money as I would have liked, but I made a lot more money than I deserved. And the community has been very supportive.
At the end of the day, I profited off this platform.
Mr. Devil’s Advocate Came out of His Shell
The blog was joined by a longtime friend and ally, Mr. Devil’s Advocate.
Mr. Devil’s Advocate: “I can’t believe I’m doing this pro bono.”
He helped me through some dark times…by making them even darker.
Mr. DA: “It’s already getting easier to believe.”
Nevertheless, his doggedness in opposition has given me the chance to fully state my position on a number of subjects. His contributions cannot be understated.
Someone Threatened to Sue Me for Defamation
It’s a long story.
Suffice it to say that a certain reader was not happy with my observations about what did and did not constitute the definition of publication. He was so incensed by my position that he demanded a retraction, using the threat of litigation as leverage.
Unfortunately for him, my lawyer is the toughest in the biz.
Mr. DA: “I taught him the true meaning of the word ‘Damages’, and he headed for the hills.”
The matter was resolved amicably.
Mr. DA: “It was resolved by my legal kung fu prowess.”
Alright, Bruce Lee, turn it down a notch.
I Started a Miniseries
Hooked on a Feeling became my first miniseries, and I finished it before the end of the year.
The series explored the techniques for evoking certain emotions in the reader, and then exploiting those emotions to benefit you, the writer. The series was such a success that it has become part of the site’s canon. And it has helped my own writing as much as anyone else’s.
I Started Another Miniseries
While working out my niche for the co-blog at Steemit.com, I became something of a Netflix critic. My Netflixing series earned me my keep on the site and achieved popularity there, so it was only natural that I would start publishing the backlog of entries on my main website, as well.
The buzz has all been positive. People seem to love my observations about the shows and movies on Netflix, and have even taken my recommendations, from time to time. It may be the most fun I have ever had while blogging.
Honestly, the site has grown more in the past twelve months than in all the years before that. But the real question has to be “Where do I go from here?”
What the Future Holds
This past year, I succeeded in creating quality content that was informative and helpful. But it also became obvious to me that just creating stunning content would never be enough. Everyone who gets a hold of my material seems to enjoy or be helped by it, but I’m still not reaching enough people.
So this year, I’m going to expand the blog’s reach. I’ve got plans in motion to boost the site’s SEO and overall traffic. I’m only a few days into the project and am already seeing results. I’m so blessed to have a platform to be able to do these kinds of things.
I’m still looking at ways to monetize the blog, as well. I want to have plenty of excuses to keep the thing running. But I promise you, my readers, that I will not result to invasive methods. I will not stoop to allowing pop-ups or full-page ads, or anything else that tries to take control of your browser. I will strive to keep this site annoyance-free.
I may also install a few other features, or even start a whole new miniseries, as the mood strikes me. But in any case I will keep producing content that invites and entertains as it educates. I hope you will continue to experiment with me.
Thank you for all your support. Here’s to a brilliant 2017.
[This week’s tagline: “Where people come…back each day.”]