This is the first blog ever written from our brand new home addition!
This was formerly a patch of dirt next to our house. The house which we lovingly referred to as "Our Little Brick Box."
The room I am sitting in has had many names. After the first sketch I dubbed this room as "My Architectural Man Cave." Realizing that this was a bit selfish, it was later renamed to "the office", and then later "the study." Now that construction is complete and we have moved in furniture, the name is pretty evident. It is "The Ramos Library."
Still waiting on that Chaise lounge. Waiting.......
Oh yeah........Happy New Year!
Hope you have enjoyed the holidays with your friends and family. The Ramos Family has enjoyed a great holiday break and are recharged for 2016!
I started BUILDINGS ARE COOL in 2015 and posted the first blogs on January 14th. So with one year of blog experience under my belt plus the beginning of a new calendar year, it is the perfect time for a little reflection. In this article I will share:
- The Blog Highlights of 2015
- My Blog Goals for 2016
- And I end with a call to action for the BUILDINGS ARE COOL TRIBE.
Blog Highlights of 2015
I started a blog!
For real. That is no small feat. I had no previous blog experience and was not active on social media. I also was not particularly fond of writing.
I dove in head first and have managed to stay afloat. Congratulations, me!
94 Blog Posts
I know right? 100 would have been way cooler! But hey...gimme a few more weeks. One of the toughest things about starting a blog and growing an audience is building content. Unless you are a celebrity, starting your website from scratch is not easy.
Now that I have some real 'meat' on the site it is a much better resource. It makes sharing content much easier and I can keep my audience more engaged.
This has been my favorite part. It turns out that a blog can be a great networking tool. I have met some incredible people, strengthened existing relationships and even got re-acquainted with some old pals. A great example of this was when I wrote about the Ghost Lab in Nova Scotia. After that post multiple friends from the Ghost Lab discovered my blog after seeing it on the Life of An Architect.
My Most Popular Blog
Overall, the traffic to the website has been a very slow increase. There was a small decline in the fall when I wasn't posting as frequently. The typical month had on average 2,800 page views or just under 100 per day. The one exception would be in March when the website had 11,032 page views. What was the difference? One article grew wings. That article was The Week of Duany. In that article I reported about the week in which Andrés Duany shook up the Charleston Design scene with his observations and recommendations for the Charleston BAR.
That blog has blown every other post out of the water. I almost feel like a one hit wonder. So why was that blog so popular? A couple theories:
- It was a current event that everyone in Charleston was talking about.
- Andrés Duany is an internationally known architect and planner therefore the reach extended beyond Charleston.
- The article was ginormous. It was definitely my longest blog making it a big resource.
- It involved real stories involving real people and was humorous.
- All of this contributed to the blog being shared. That's the real secret. This blog was shared like crazy.
Here were some of the other popular blogs:
Blog Goals for 2016
I often refer to the blog as an experiment. I started with no real goals other than to write and have some fun. Now that I have a year under my belt, I would like to have a more focused approach to the blog. Here are my blog goals for 2016:
Become a Better Resource
The overall goal of BUILDINGS ARE COOL is to be a resource to architects, students of architecture, and people with an interest in the profession. This year I will make a more focused effort to ensure that each post has a positive message and provides exceptional content.
I am going to make a switch from 2 blogs a week to 1. By switching to 1 blog per week I will be able to elevate the quality of each post and maintain a more consistent schedule. Although the quantity of articles will be reduced, it is my intention to improve the quality of each article as a result. Longer blogs = more content = more engagement.
Improve the Website
There are some simple features that I would like to add to improve the website.
- Add a search function for finding old blogs.
- Add a categorized blog archive.
- Add a resources page to the header.
- Add a start page for first-time visitors. It can be hard to navigate blog sites.
- Incorporate the Architecture Book Club on the blog. Already did this: Architecture Book Club
Streamline the Brand
The BUILDINGS ARE COOL brand is all over the place. If you check out my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram you will see a variety of different images and text representing the brand. This needs to be fixed. By March 1st, I will develop a logo and message for BUILDINGS ARE COOL that will be applied to all of my social media accounts.
Stick to a Routine
In 2015, I dove head first into social media. Starting the blog, joining Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and for the first time becoming active on Facebook. The only social media I had been previously involved with was LinkedIn. That shows you what a dork I am.
Managing all of these accounts can be overwhelming at times and can be a huge time hog. In an effort to focus my time and not lose my mind I am going to commit to the following schedule:
Blog Publishing: Monday's at 12:00 AM
Blog Promotion: Mondays at 7 AM and 7 PM. This includes sending an email to the subscribers and sharing the blog on Social Media Outlets.
Blog Writing: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-7 AM; Saturday Mornings 9-11 AM. I am a morning person. This is essentially the schedule I follow now except that switching to 1 blog per week will allow me to spend more time on each post, ensuring higher quality content.
Social Media Engagement: Sunday, Monday and Wednesday Evenings, 8-9 PM. This includes responding to messages and sharing other friends' content.
Double My Audience
All of the above goals should contribute to better content and a larger audience. Since I really didn't know what I was doing in year 1, I don't think it is crazy for me to double the traffic by the end of year 2. My goal will be to average 6,000 page views per month during 2016.
I need your help.
If you have actually read this far into what is a rather boring blog then you are clearly a true fan! Thank you!
And because you are a true fan, then I know that you will have no qualms about helping ol' Stevie out. All that I am looking for is a little feedback. Providing a response to any or all of these questions would be a huge help. Please respond in the comment section below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If any, which blogs made you say: "Dang! This is great stuff!"
- If any, which blogs made you want to punch me in the head?
- Fill in the blank. I wish Steve would talk more about _________.
- What question(s) do you have for a 34-year-old architect practicing in Charleston, South Carolina?
That's All Folks!
It has been a great year. I have no regrets and am looking forward to what 2016 has in store. I have share with you the highlights of the year, my goals for 2016 and have asked for a little help.
Throughout the year I have gotten a ton of great feedback, which has made this experiment very rewarding.