I first read about the concept of the 30-Day Challenge a few months ago while watching this TED Talk by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team. Matt has been trying (and blogging about) his regular 30-day challenges since 2009 — and the concept really intrigued me.
As such, last month, I decided to launch my challenge on July 1st — 30 days of daily blogging. This post is actually my 30th blog post of the month, and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the results. In addition to garnering almost 3,000 visits and more than 4,000 pageviews of my blog, I’ve also managed to pick up almost 800 fans of a Facebook page I launched to share my blog posts. But, aside from the traffic, I learned some valuable lessons along the way:
1) Once Habits are Ingrained, It’s Hard to Break Them.
For the first few days of my challenge, I really had to remind myself to sit down and write my daily posts. After the first week, however, the habit had set in — and an internal feeling of “guilt” would reside in my gut until I wrote my post. My habit was tested over several work travel trips, and even a trip to Las Vegas with my wife (yes, I even returned back to the hotel room late one night to draft a post, which I barely got posted before the midnight deadline).
2) Consistency is Key.
Let’s face it, I didn’t hit a home run with every blog post I wrote. But, overall, I’m proud of the body of work I created. I used to be a long-distance runner, and one thing I learned is that consistency is more important than going out and running a personal best every time. The difference between a good blogger and a great blogger is consistency — putting up posts every day (or several times per day) and keeping the content flowing.
3) Blogging is Therapeutic.
I’ve never had a journal or a diary. I’ve certainly posted my share of tweets (over 13,000 strong here on my Twitter account), but it’s not the same as writing full-length blog posts. While I hoped to help my readers by sharing things that have worked for me — productivity tips, technology reviews, etc. — putting these tips and tricks in writing were a daily reminder that I needed to follow the advice that I was giving to other people. Sometimes it’s easier to say than do — but putting it in writing helped keep me on track.
4) Some People Like to Debate Anything.
I’ve worked for my share of political campaigns over the years, so I know all about online trolls and hostile commenters. But I’m amazed by how worked up some people get in disagreeing me about topics like time management and productivity. My post on entrepreneurs working from an office instead of the home garnered the most controversy, followed by my post on lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Detroit’s bankruptcy. In truth, I love controversial posts, because it means greater readership.
5) LinkedIn and Google + are Underrated Traffic Sources.
Facebook and Twitter grab all the headlines, but LinkedIn and Google+ are awesome, too. Most people simply don’t know how to use them. Read this post at my company’s blog about how to turn LinkedIn into a traffic engine for your site. Follow Guy Kawasaki to learn how to kick ass on Google+.
6) I Can’t Wait to Try my Next 30-Day Challenge
First, I’m going to continue my daily blogging — and have plans to actually increase my posts to more than one time per day (on most days, at least). Second, I’m already looking for future 30-day challenges to tackle. I have some personal and spiritual challenges I’m planning to do — but I’m always open to suggestions! How about you? Have you tried a 30-day challenge? Does it sound like something you’d do? Please let us know in the comments! Here is the video of Matt Cutt’s TED Talk on the 30-Day Challenge: