I started this blog almost 8 years ago because I was starting to forget all the blessed days afield - they were all starting to run together. I can't imagine what I'd think of the last several years of fishing and hunting (and my evolving thoughts on conservation policy and science) if I hadn't started writing it down.
This blog enjoyed great success between roughly 2009 and 2012, which was great. I was being paid to write, being provided great outdoor gear to review at little or no cost, it was just great. But it really didn't pay ENOUGH, and gear reviews can be brutal to write. "Underwear....yaaaaaaay."
In 2012-2013, a few things happened. One, the market was flooded with outdoor bloggers, which was cool, then annoying, then cool, then annoying. I found out that a lot of people take better pictures than me, write better than I do, and get to have funner adventures because they are rich, or they are driving themselves into massive debt (Easter Island fly fishing for sharks, bro!).
Second, Google adjusted its search algorithm to de-prioritize free URLs like blogspot, the platform on which rivermudoutdoors.com runs. The "blogging for money" thing, which was always a losing proposition, became nearly impossible, as my monthly readership went from roughly 17,000 to 2,500. Sporting goods manufacturers also moved away from the "gear review" model because many writers would accept items and never write about them, and also because they noted the lower traffic on blogs.
Now, I occasionally write on this domain, but generally write for (very small) fee, which I find to be fun and full of challenges. What would I do differently with this blog, if I could start over?
- Would have started this site sooner (2004 instead of 2007)
- I would seriously consider some other platforms
- I would remind myself to de-emphasize quantity for quality
Very few outdoor bloggers from 2007 are still active, which is a shame. Some were only looking for easy income, which is a shame, but a lot of others moved on, either to more serious writing jobs, or to more rewarding and challenging things in life.
But I'll stay here. Thanks for your 792,000 visits. Let's get a few more miles out of this old jalopy.
-Kirk @ River Mud