6 years ago today, I pushed the “Publish” button on my very first post here at Running with Miles. Now, 6 years and almost 4,000 posts later, it is still going on and has come a long way – with many people to thank for that! Here is a little look at how I started and the direction it took.
6 Year Blog Anniversary
I have been running marathons for about 11 years (so about 5 years at the time of the blog’s birth) and had actually never even run my hometown marathon but had been able to run marathons all over. On one of those marathon trips, I was in Fargo, North Dakota for the fantastic Fargo Marathon and was sitting at a table for the pasta dinner with other runners.
When they heard where I was from, they were surprised and asked if it wasn’t expensive to travel from New York to Fargo. Truthfully, it is expensive to travel from almost anywhere to Fargo! 🙂 But, they were shocked when I told them it only cost $10 and 25K miles for a ticket that was around $500. They had no idea what was possible with miles and points!
Fast forward a bit more and I had started planning a marathon tour package with a friend. I loved the marathons I had run in Israel and wanted to bring over more runners. We had a nice package put together but the tough selling part was the airfare. That is when I thought I should marry my knowledge of miles and points with this running crowd to show them how they could travel like I had been able to for not much at all. So, that is when I decided to start writing Running with Miles at the end of December in 2011.
It Was So Easy! 🙂
I remember I had told my wife that I could not believe I had not thought of doing this before because it was so easy! I said that I could sit down each Sunday night for about an hour and knock out 7 posts for the week – which I did the first week or two. 🙂 Anyone can write a couple of dozen posts about something they are familiar with but then the drive to add new content and fill more holes ends up taking more time! Which the blog has! It is no longer 1 hour writing session on Sunday night for a week’s worth of posts anymore!
Shifting Focus a Bit
I would say that probably a vast majority of the readers here are actually not runners so how did that happen? Since I was “the guy” in our circle of people that knew about travel and miles and points, I was always getting asked at any gathering of people a bunch of questions. In fact, there were many times that the questions I was being asked were the same ones – 10 different times on the same day.
It was at that point that I started writing posts that were the answers to those questions and more and just referring everyone to my blog for the answers. 🙂 As I started doing that, more traffic began coming in from those posts than the running-centric ones so I began to write more towards the direction that brought visitors!
Even though I was getting more traffic, it was not anything like I see on the site today. In fact, I was probably getting in a whole day what I get in less than an hour now! I enjoyed writing and seeing the occasional “spike” of traffic but it can be hard to write and put your heart into it when that writing is not seeing the readership on those posts that you would like.
I kept at it because I enjoyed it (not because I was making money because I think I had made a total of $4 from Google over 80 days!) but also knew that I wanted to expand it a bit more to reach more people.
Enter Randy Petersen and BoardingArea!
In April of 2013, I e-mailed through the contact form on the BoardingArea homepage for bloggers. I was surprised to actually get an e-mail response from Randy Petersen about setting up a phone call. I still remember most of the parts of that phone call and what a gentleman and help Randy had been. He thought my blog might fit a spot on the BoardingArea page with other blogs and offered a ton of helpful insights to be an encouragement.
It took a while to port everything over and my first day on the BoardingArea home page was in October of 2013. I couldn’t believe the numbers that came in with my first posts on BoardingArea! I was really shocked and it gave me a huge boost to keep writing more and more content.
Now, I have been on BoardingArea for 4 years and really, really am happy to be here. Randy and the whole BoardingArea home team (both current and past) have been an incredible help to me and the site and have freed me up to write. I remember many late nights before BA when I was pulling what little was left of my hair because of technical problems.
I never have to worry about that anymore or about ads and things like that since the BA team handles all of that. Between e-mail updates, resource posts, conferences, and help sessions, the BA team is really way more than a host and they are actually friends that want their bloggers to succeed and I am thankful for all of them!
The Next 6 Years
Who really knows what the next 6 years will bring? But, I would hope that the blog will still be here – in some form or another – and that I am able to still write about the things that I enjoy. I also hope the blog continues its trend of growth each year as it means that I am (hopefully!) able to help, entertain, or give deals that are able to benefit more people.
I do have a few ideas of where things will go in 2018 and I am excited about them. I also have plans to expand a bit on how the content on the blog is viewed for 2018 as well as media consumption is changing. Finally, thanks to this blog, I have another project in mind for 2018 – but I am not ready to share that here just yet. 🙂
In any event, thank you to all of you readers for your support and readership over the past 6 years! I have had the opportunity to meet many people through the blog and I always enjoy seeing people in person! I also want to thank my wife for putting up with hearing about all the blog posts and ideas before they ever come out here (and some that never do as I rehash ideas to her!) and also a little shout out to her as her new blog has actually given mine a run and she has just started this year! 🙂
Thank you also to Dustin. Dustin started writing weekly posts here over a year ago and I always love his thought process, his posts, and his interaction with readers. We have actually never met in person but I really liked his blog style on his own blog, Waller’s Wallet, and had asked him if he would like to contribute here as well. He really writes for the love of it and that is rare to find (I often get e-mails from people that want to write and the first thing they ask is how much I will pay them!).
I will have a post later today on the 6 things I have learned over the 6 years and there are some interesting thoughts in that one. 🙂 I do know this – I have a lot of room to grow as a blogger, miles and points collector, runner, and traveler and I hope to be able to chronicle all of that as the blog continues.