Today was like Christmas part two for me... or even Christmas part one, because I don't really celebrate Christmas normally. What was I so excited about? Well, Doctor of Credit (one of my 5 favorite blogs of 2016, you might remember) had a post at the beginning of 2016 asking people with fledgling blogs to post in the comments in a bid to get them some more attention and readership (what a mensch!). I almost posted about Windbag Miles back then, but I felt like my blog wasn't quite ready for the additional eyes at that point. Most of my posts back then were full of really obvious newbie stuff - which was by design, since I've always intended for the blog to reflect my growing knowledge of the points/miles word. However, I thought it best to wait until I had more content, more understanding, and a better sense of my blog's own identity before I started trying to get more readers. I sat patiently and waited, hoping that DoC would post a similar entry in 2017. Much to my excitement, he posted about it this morning, and I even saw it quickly enough to be the first commenter on the article. The resulting flood of views (around 1200 at this writing) constitutes the second best day I've ever had, behind the Hyatt mistake rate day (which was around 1400 views). I was emboldened enough after that Hyatt thing (and the incoming link from View from the Wing) that I decided to post more regularly, and I saw my traffic go from around 0-5 views a week (seriously, it was that low) up to around 40. That's still small potatoes - or not even really the potatoes themselves, but maybe the skins of those small potatoes that you throw away while you're cooking the small potatoes. Any time I get linked on a bigger blog, the traffic spikes, but it mostly dies down after a few days. However, in the past couple weeks, I've been seeing around 30-40 hits per day, and most of the traffic seems organic, since Wordpress isn't showing me any incoming referrals.
Then, today, I got a massive response from the DoC post (which only goes to show how many views that blog must get in a day), and I felt like it was time to make some minor changes. My goals from the blog are really modest, but I did want to class up the joint a tad. To that end, I upgraded my Wordpress plan to get rid of the ads and also to give me my own domain: www.windbagmiles.com. All the old links will still come here, but now they redirect to the primary domain, which is kind of exciting (it's the small victories, you know?).
Here's what I'm hoping for in 2017 from this blog... First, I'd like to make 125 posts this year. That's a few per week, and hopefully I can stick to that. I have around 60 posts so far, going back to August of 2015, but I've been trying to post more regularly the past couple weeks, and so far I haven't run out of things to say. I'm terrible about dropping my hobby projects for long stretches of time, but with a concrete goal, maybe I can keep at it. Second, since regular readers aren't going to stick with a blogger who only posts every couple weeks, as long as I can keep the first goal, I'm hoping to average 50 hits per day by the end of the year. If I can hit both of those benchmarks, it will be time to consider ways to build from there with an end goal of monetizing the blog in a year or two. That being said, earning money from this was never my goal - I just thought it would be fun to write about points and miles and hopefully interact with some readers in a forum that was more personal than on FlyerTalk or Reddit.
That's where I'm at for now, and whether you're a brand new reader or one of the select "Windbag Platinum Plus" members who've been reading for a long time, I'm grateful that you took a few minutes out of your day to see what I'm up to over here. Hopefully I'm putting something unique out into the world rather than just rehashing the travel hacking news of the day, or at least something more profane.