– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

One year of blogging

One year and one day ago I wrote the first post to this blog.

… and then what?

When starting this blog I felt that I had opinions and experience about outdoor travelling that I’d like to share and I hoped that someone would also be interested in reading about it. I planned to blog two, three times a week concentrating on lightweight backpacking, winter and arctic travelling and outdoor photography. I soon found out that writing two or three posts every week would take way too much time so the amount of posts soon settled down to about 1,5 posts per week. And the topics of the posts didn’t seem to focus on the three topics I first planned to write about but followed the more general subtitle of my blog: “my personal views on all walks of outdoor life”.

The three-week skiing expedition to Svalbard, the Ultima Thule 2011, was probably the highlight of my outdoor year and I wrote many posts related to it though some are still waiting as to-be-finished-at-some-point drafts. The expedition and preparations also took quite a lot of my time but it was definitely worth it and if I have to choose between sitting behind the screen or going out skiing, the choise is quite obvious. Another big think was buying a packraft and taking it to Lapland to run some cool wilderness rivers. Unfortunately I haven’t been writing as much about packrafting as I would have wished but maybe that’ll come later. And a third big thing was starting the wilderness guide course that I’ve been also blogging about every month.

Some statistics

During the first year I’ve published 75 posts, I’ve received 239 comments and I now have about 100 readers a day and around 300 readers on good days when I put up new content. The most popular posts (not counting pages) have been Wood smoke and breeze under a tarp, Plans for the summer: The Finnish packrafting epic? and  Arctic expedition gear and a free meal! I published first gear review on this blog at the end of October and as it usually is, that one and other gear reviews are gaining views with fast pace. The most commented posts include also the surprisingly popular Should I buy a windshirt? and Some pictures from the last trip. Generally all the comments have been great and the interaction between readers is the main reason why I blog so all comments are welcome also in the future!

Many thanks for gaining the readership I now have belong to Hendrik Morkel and his Hiking in Finland blog that is probably one of the most influential hiking blogs in Europe if not in the whole world. Thanks, Hendrik!

The future?

I still feel that I have a lot opinions, insight and experience that might interest many readers and I am going to continue blogging.

I’d also like to make my blog better but writing the long posts I typically do takes a lot of time (especially with English not being my native language) and one of the things that I like even more than blogging is going outdoors and most of my free time is dedicated to that. One thing that might help getting more time for blogging would be getting some income from the blog. It seems that the only realistic way to get a dime or two from blogging are advertisements. Actually, I’ve already been offered some money in exchange for advertisements in my blog but I’ve turned down from it for now. Now I’m wondering whether I should agree. I’m also thinking about using my blog to get myself free gear for future trips but that typically involves agreeing on reviewing the gear and that’s not entirely trouble-free.

Content-wise I’m planning to keep on blogging about winter and arctic stuff as there is not much quality blogging/information about it. Hopefully I get to do more packrafting and blog about it too. And the lightweight side hasn’t seen much time on the blog so maybe I should really try to focus on that too, though that might be thing less related to blogging and more related to the trips I do. I have a huge pile of ideas for posts but unfortunately only limited time to write about them. One way to get more topics and ideas covered would be writing shorter posts but I like long and very thorough posts so that’s a hard choise for me…

If I find extra free time (which seem to be on short supply for us all) I’m planning also to change some things on the blog and maybe move away from the WordPress.com to gain more freedom and control over things. Getting tech stuff and the user experience better would be very nice but that is not a top priority for me at the moment.

I need your help!

I’m blogging for you and because of you, dear readers. And you can also help to make this blog better by telling what you like and what you’d like to see. Here are few questions to act as guidelines but feel free to leave all kind of (constructive) feedback:

The past content:
– What has been good: What post/posts you have enjoyed the most?
– What hasn’t been good: Is there something pointless and uninteresting coming up repeatedly?

Length and frequency:
– How is the length of the posts: I tend to write long posts which take time to write and read. Many posts have over 2000 words. Are the long posts good or bad in your opinion?
– How is the frequency of the posts: I’m not quite happy with the 1,5 posts per week but how do you feel about it? Would more but shorter posts be better?

– What would you like to see in the future: What kind of posts? On what topics? Is there something missing that should be added?
– What about trying to get some income: Would getting sponsored gear for reviews or having advertisements or affiliate links on this blog affect on your attitude towards it?

Tech stuff:
– How are the technical things: I’m not a guru in social media and tech things so feel free to give tips about improvements related to technical things!

Thank you!

And as a closing, I’d like to thank all my readers and visitors and especially those who have commented! You are the reason why I keep doing this.

PS. The pictures are random outdoor shots from the year before I started blogging. There are more pics in my gallery if you are interested in miscellaneous outdoor pics from trips in Finland.


5 responses to “One year of blogging

  1. markswalkingblog 22/01/2012 at 01:02

    Jaakko, congrats on your first year of blogging. I must say that I have enjoyed your blog over the last 12 months and I feel that it is one of the best that I read on a regular basis. I would say that 1 or 2 posts a week is about the right amount. Many of your readers ( like me ) will be reading many blogs a week and it is difficult to devote enough time. I always say that people should” walk their own walk” and “blog your own blog” I think it is important to develop your own style and do what you find is most comfortable. Good luck for year 2 and I look forward to loads more posts.

  2. Martin Rye 22/01/2012 at 18:11

    Well done on year one.

    What to do:

    Keep being yourself and writing as you have.

    Keep sharing your passion for the outdoors.

    Keep comments on as I think they add depth, insight and build community.

    Keep blogging when you have something to share and not as you feel you need to.

    Keep healthy and enjoy the outdoors. The rest will just happen.

    Looking forward to more.

  3. DJS 23/01/2012 at 12:20

    The past content:
    – What has been good:
    I like that you write long posts, I’d say that’s your nich in the blogging world. I see no reason to venture into shorter posts, others might do that better. Small updates, philosophies etc is good though.
    – What hasn’t been good:
    Not that I can think of, everybody has ups and downs. However I dislike when bloggers whine about not having the time to write, and even worse, then writing nonsense as a quick fix.

    Length and frequency:
    – How is the length of the posts: I tend to write long posts which take time to write and read. Many posts have over 2000 words. Are the long posts good or bad in your opinion?
    As I mentionesd I think your long posts are central in this blog. Keep writing, blisters will heal, make you stronger.
    – How is the frequency of the posts:
    “Minimum” one per week, two in a good week. If you’re gone for a week we expect an interesting explanation – trip report.

    – What would you like to see in the future: What kind of posts? On what topics? Is there something missing that should be added?
    Definately more on winter camping as that’s one of our strong cards here in Finland. Techniques. Gear used in Finland might be interesting for folks on the other side of the globe – still surprised they talk about Karhu skis on BLP. 😀 Finland still have some geographical diversity, archipelago, lapland, Karjala etc. Might want to explain the differences, if someone’s interested in paying us a visit.
    – What about trying to get some income:
    You decide.

    Tech stuff:
    – How are the technical things:
    In my opinion, the tech isn’t a problem. Keep It Simple Stupid?!

    Some I come to think of at the moment.
    Enjoy your writings.

  4. Hendrik Morkel (@hendrikmorkel) 24/01/2012 at 08:26

    Congratulations Jaakko!

    I’d say just continue as you have till now – why change a winning formula? It makes it unique and that’s a good thing 🙂

    Trip Reports are always good; can’t recall anything which would have not been good. I’ll agree with Daniel on the “whining” part though I don’t think you’ve been doing that a lot.

    Length & Minimum is good – one a week is probably a good goal, though I admit it isn’t easy.

    Future: Write what YOU are interested about. Ads and testing gear gets a thumbs up from me – quality content deserves to be rewarded.

    Tech Stuff: Lot of work, even more time indoors in front of the screen, though might be worth it if you want to “grow”? I’d suggest Disqus for comments but they aren’t available on WordPress.com 🙂

    Well done!

  5. Peter Nylund 24/01/2012 at 21:04

    Congratulations to the first year! I’ve enjoyed reading the blog since I stumbled upon it pretty soon after it was started. I would agree with Mark and Hendrik, just continue as you have and let it evolve naturally.

    Good trip reports are always enjoyable to read as well as other general observations and contemplations on outdoor stuff. Gear tests are fine if they provide an added value over the ordinary gear presentations.

    Ads are fine by me.

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