Yesterday, I wrote about my entry into the world of blogging via my first blog, The Marty Wombacher Show. As I noted yesterday, that blog was an abysmal failure. But after a few months, I took a step back and tried to see why it was a flop. I thought about the one constant criticism: It was too hard to find the new updated posts. I also realized there was no real focus to it. The one section that people liked was the “Photoblog” section, where I went somewhere and took a bunch of photos and put that up. I decided to do a more focused blog in that style and that’s how my second blog, “A Guy Walks Into 365 Bars” was born.
A Guy Walks Into 365 Bars
Time it was active: January 11, 2010 to January 10, 2011
A short synopsis of what the blog was all about: I went to 365 bars in 365 nights (and a few days) and documented the whole thing with pictures from the bars. I had rules for the journey that I posted on the blog. I had to drink at least three drinks at every bar and I had to stay for at least an hour. Most nights I drank more than that and stayed longer than an hour.
The New York Daily News did a feature story on the blog and then the U.P.I. wire service picked the story up and it went world-wide. For a couple weeks it was kind of overwhelming. I was interviewed on the Australian version of the Today Show, The Morning Show, I did hundreds of radio interviews and the blog was written about on lots of blogs and newspapers from all over the world. Here’s some links to a few of the articles: NBC News 4 New York, The Australian, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Guest Of A Guest.
That publicity coupled with the pressure of doing the daily blog really got to me a couple of times and I almost quit halfway into it. I toughed it out though and finished here in Peoria at Mike’s Tavern on January 10th, 2011. My parents took me to the tavern that day and we joked that it would be funny if it was empty. Well, it was packed and it was a great way to end the blog. Lots of friends showed up and a lot of people I had never met showed up as well and I think it’s the biggest crowd that has ever been at Mike’s Tavern.
I was so relieved when it was over, but after I got back to New York I felt really restless and missed the pressure and the adrenalin rush of having a daily deadline, so I quickly started thinking about a new blog to start.
Marty After Dark
A short synopsis of what the blog was all about: Basically this blog was about going out after the sun went down. In New York there’s an unlimited amount of things to do after dark. I figured this would allow me to still go to bars, but I wasn’t limited to that one topic. While this was a daily blog, if I missed a day there also was no penalty to pay, which took some of the pressure off.
The numbers weren’t as big as the 365 Bars audience, but I was still getting hundreds and sometimes thousands of unique daily hits, so it was satisfying and it was a relief to be able to go to destinations that weren’t always bars.
One big mistake I made was I started it out as a black and white blog. All the photos were black and white and “Boris" designed a great looking black and white banner. I thought this would give the blog a unique look and it would give the blog a little bit of a hook. Right off the bat I got some criticisms via email telling me that they didn’t like the black and white photos. My first reaction was to get pissed and I ignored the criticism. About a month into doing the blog, I realized the criticism was valid and went back to using color photos.
The year I started Marty After Dark was also the year that it was announced that the graphics company I had worked for in New York was moving to Carlstadt, New Jersey. It would’ve been a long commute and I didn’t go. They moved my department last and by the time Marty After Dark ended, I was ready to start a new blog and a new adventure.
Tripping With Marty
Time it was active: Feburary 1, 2012 to December 3, 2012
A short synopsis of what the blog was all about: It started out as a “live” blog and that worked for the first day, but then people complained that it was too much to keep checking back and I started to lose my audience. I quickly changed it back to the once a day, string of photos format and people really started liking the blog.
About a month into it, I decided to ask for donations as I wasn’t working and I was getting between 500 to 2,000 unique hits a day. I put up a post asking people that if they could spare donating just five dollars a month, I could do the blog full time. I found out one thing, people don’t like you asking for money, even if it’s just five bucks. I got some donations from friends, but the next day the hits were cut in half. I decided to ditch the donation idea and had to start just putting up one post a week, because I had to look for work and I was living on unemployment, which didn’t begin to cover my rent and bills in New York.
I couldn’t find work, got pretty depressed and decided that I’d make a big change in my life and move back to Peoria. I started checking around on the internet and didn’t see anyone doing the type of interactive blog that I had been doing in New York. I decided to roll the dice and see how this act would play in Peoria.
Meanwhile, Back In Peoria...
Time it was active: December 10, 2012 to the present with no end in sight!
A short synopsis of what the blog is all about: I was really nervous about leaving New York, because once I left there was no going back. My idea for the MBIP blog was to celebrate fun things, places and people in and around Peoria. I had done this for three years with my magazine, POP, and hoped I could recreate the success and good times that that magazine generated.
Well, everything I had hoped for came true and if you’re reading this, you have my sincere thanks and appreciation for reading this blog. I’ve had a blast doing this and I’ve met so many cool and interesting people. I’ve made some really great friends because of this blog and I’m really grateful that everything has worked out the way it has.
Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired,
And you can have anyone that you have ever desired,
All you gotta tell me now is why, why, why, why?
Welcome to the working week.
Oh, I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you,
Welcome to the working week.
Bonus 365 Art by Jaws the Cabbie
Jaws the Cabbie made a piece of art to celebrate the ending of the 365 Bar Crawl and he sent it in again. Ha! Great work, Jaws! Thanks!