When I first started blogging, I wrote a lot. Everything I saw in my day-to-day VC world called out for a blog entry. Great competitive landscape slide -- blog about it. Exciting presentation at the TED conference -- blog about it. Liquidation preference distribution -- blog about it. I viewed my world through blog-colored glasses. Part time VC. Part time journalist.
For years, my every thought became a VentureBlog post. But I have to admit, over time, my focus turned elsewhere. I spoke at events, podcast, taught, started The Lobby conference, and worked hard to help my portfolio companies thrive. And, along the way, my blog suffered. Fewer things in my daily life called out for commentary. And VentureBlog began to languish.
Well, last week the repercussions of that inactivity came home to roost. Larry Cheng has been tracking VC bloggers over the last couple years. Each year he pulls together a list of the "top" VC bloggers. His past lists have been based upon RSS subscribers. And by that measure I have always fared very well. Last year VentureBlog ranked as high as 3rd on the list. After all, as long as you occasionally write something of interest, there's little reason to unsubscribe from an RSS feed. So my relative inactivity had minimal impact on the number of people who followed me.
This year, however, Larry used a new methodology. This year he ranked VC blogs by unique visitors to their blogs (as measured by Compete.com). As you can imagine, the number of unique visitors to one's blog is much more driven by the frequency of your blogging. The more you blog, the more likely visitors will find their way to your blog. And so, in this year's rankings, I fell precipitously.
This year VentureBlog ranked 28th among VC blogs. Ouch. From 3rd to 28th. That's a free fall. But it serves me right. The last time I blogged was November 17th, 2009. That's a long time ago. What is interesting is that despite my temporary retirement from the blogging world, I still receive thousands of daily visitors to VentureBlog courtesy of search engines and historical links. Apparently the long tail of Venture Capital topics are my wheelhouse. Search for "VCitis" or "venture loans" or "David Hornik" and you are bound to come upon a link to VentureBlog. Same is true of "VC Bloggers" or "The Lobby" or "Howard Hartenbaum."
The set of search terms that lead to VentureBlog on a daily basis are wildly varied and surprisingly large. And VentureBlog is not unique in this respect. There's little question that a huge amount of Fred Wilson's and Brad Feld's traffic comes from the long tail of search terms. They've been at this as long as I have. And they've managed to maintain the intensity of their blogging over the years. It is quite clear that the longer you blog, the greater your blogging frequency, and the more that others point to your blog, the more likely that a plethora of search term will lead to traffic to your blog. So despite my recent lack of blogging, VentureBlog has been able to continue to be useful to thousands of visitors a month.
Don't get me wrong. I take little comfort in the fact that VentureBlog remains the 28th "best" VC blog without posting. If there is one lesson that I have learned over the years of blogging, it is that there are no shortcuts. I should have remembered that. If you want people to care what you have to say, you better write well, think clearly, and make a habit of posting a lot. Larry's list was an excellent reminder of that -- a wakeup call. Time to show VentureBlog a little love. And hopefully by the time Larry creates his next ranking, I will have reentered the panoply of VC Blog Heros. Because, frankly, being #28 sucks. So, as they say, no rest for the wicked -- get on with the writing, already. I guess this blog post is a step in the right direction.