Happy Birthday to us!!! Marine Madness turns one year old today and what a year it has been.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the very first blog post on Marine Madness. 365 days, 71 posts and 85,642 words later, and it is still going strong. When I created and started writing the blog last November it was only really to give it a go and see if it was something I was any good at. Initially I wasn’t even interested in people reading it and if you told me how many people read it now or that I was even still doing it, I would have probably laughed in your face. But I am so glad that I chose to give it a go and extremely proud of what I have achieved so far. In this special post I take a look back at some of the best bits of year one and a brief look forward at year two. But before I get into that I just want to give a quick shout out to everyone who has followed the site, shared the posts and continued to make this a worthwhile endeavour over the last year. THANK YOU!!!
The best bits
Picking just a few of the highlights from the first year of Marine Madness has proved to be a much more difficult task than I first envisioned. That is because in truth I have loved almost every single second of it. But I think that for me easily the most rewarding thing is that people are actually reading it! In our first year we have had well over 4,000 visitors from an amazing 125 different countries around the world. Not bad considering the first post only had about five original readers who were all related to me. If you follow the blog on twitter (@Marine_Madness) then you also know that the number of people following what we do has increased in recent months and grown into what I consider to be a small community of like-minded people and groups.
Speaking of community another highlight for me has been the fantastic guest contributors that have given up their own time to write for us. A big thank you to Amy Barker, Nuri Steinmann, Hannah Schartmann and George Brett who have all contributed excellent pieces of work for us to appreciate. Opening up the blog to other people with a passion for the ocean and a story to tell was always a goal and to have established that so quickly has been a great experience. I would also strongly encourage anyone else who wants to contribute to do so. Guidelines for guest submissions can be found here and I am always willing to help people out as much as I can.
In terms of standout accomplishments this year there are two that jump to mind. The first was becoming an officially affiliated Science Seeker blog. They are fantastic at collecting and sharing academically accurate and informative science blogs, and I have been lucky enough to be included in their ‘picks of the week’ on several occasions. Secondly was being included in the feedspot list for the top 40 marine blogs in the world. This was a particularly proud moment for me as a new blog not only for being included, but also ranking higher than some big names in the industry.
Looking back on the actual posts there are some articles I am particularly proud of, such as noise pollution in the sonic seas, a rare glimpse at the rainbow octopus and microfragmentation: how smashing up corals helps them grow faster. I have also enjoyed reviewing events like Bluedot Festivaland the Falmouth Underwater Film Festival, as well as interviewing experts such as Dr Nathan Robinson. Every post is different and presents new challenges and as a result I have learned so much this year about things I had never previously even considered. It is what has made continuing to write new posts so enjoyable for me.
The worst bits
If picking the best bits was hard then selecting the experiences I haven’t enjoyed is a whole next level of challenging. I’m not saying this is because everything has been smooth sailing and everything I have written has been perfect, because it definitely hasn’t. But because each new failure or disappointment has provided an opportunity to learn something new and improve an aspect of the site. I initially struggled to reach new audiences and build up a following, to find the time to write enough stuff and to come up with enough varied content to keep things interesting. But these are all things that became easier with time and practise, like all things. In the end the good has majorly outweighed the bad and I genuinely believe starting Marine Madness has been the best thing I have ever done.
Having had such a successful first year and really finding our feet as a site and community, I want year two for Marine Madness to take us to the next level. As well as continuing to do what we have already been doing I want to add more varied content next year. This means more guest contributors, more interviews, more events and potentially new platforms. But to do this we need the continued support of all you lovely people reading and keeping up with what we are doing. If you enjoy what we are doing then make sure to like the posts, share with your friends and shout in from the rooftops. In return I can promise some exciting new stuff coming this year. Watch this space!