Home | Miscellany

Archives For Miscellany

Many of you don’t know this, but I’ve burnt myself out a few times. I hustle really hard for a long amount of time, then I hit a point where I cannot go any further. I’ve recently come across some awesome quotes that I want to share to encourage you to take time and space as you need it, and your work will be better for it. Personally, I plan to do this more in San Francisco by riding my bike, going skiing in Tahoe and climbing in Yosemite, and being outside as much as possible and off the Internet on weekends. Continue Reading…

In 2011, I created a playlist called “Brooklyn” in Spotify. This was because I had just moved to Brooklyn to join Distilled and songs like “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, “Brooklyn Bound” by The Black Keys, and “Brooklyn Go Hard” by Jay Z felt like they defined my life. On my first day of work at Distilled, I listened to “Empire State of Mind” as I walked into the building. And yesterday, September 3rd, I created a playlist called “SF”.

You see, I didn’t think I’d be writing this post for quite a while. Since I moved to New York two years ago and joined Distilled, I’ve been very vocal about my love for Distilled, for New York, and for the life that I’ve been able to have here. It’s been an amazing adventure, but at some point all great things come to an end and we realize that it’s time to let some things go in order to embrace the future. Therefore, I have to announce that:

I’m leaving Distilled in New York City at the end of September and have accepted the position of Online Marketing Manager for HotPads, the fully owned rentals subsidiary of Zillow based in San Francisco, California.

This is a big announcement, and let me tell you that no one is more surprised than myself. Let me explain why I’ve made this decision. Continue Reading…

If you’re reading this post, you should know the following ways to tag <a href=””></a> links on your website:

  • _blank – opens in new tab
  • _self – opens in same frame (default, can also just be left out)
  • _parent – opens link in new parent frame
  • _top – opens link in the full body of the window

One of the features (or lack thereof) that has irked me about HackerNews is that when I click on a link, it opens in the same window thus taking me away from HackerNews, which is where I went in the first place. Let’s say I click on the first link:


It takes me directly to the page (watch the tab at the top):


But then I have to hit the Back button. Who hits the back button on the Internet anymore, especially techies like myself who live off of keyboard shortcuts? Why make me go from using my keyboard to using my mouse or trackpad just to go back? No one uses the Delete key to go back, let’s be honest.

What HackerNews should do, though, is take you to a new tab, like so (notice the tabs at the top):



I propose a test. Dear admins of HackerNews, I would like you to implement a test for 24 hours.

Implement target=”_blank” on HackerNews
Track the time on site and number of votes over the course of that day
Report on it, and then make an informed decision.

It won’t be that hard to implement:

<a href=”http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/post/42994773187/maria-popova-have-you-made-1m-on-affiliate-ads-while“>Making $1 million from affiliate links on “Ad-Free” blog</a>


<a href=”http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/post/42994773187/maria-popova-have-you-made-1m-on-affiliate-ads-whiletarget=”_blank”>Making $1 million from affiliate links on “Ad-Free” blog</a>

This is how Inbound.org works:

<a href=”http://contentharmony.com/inbound-2012/” target=”_blank” id=”click-30712″>Inbound.org: 2012 By The Numbers</a>

Well HackerNews, what say you? I dare you to increase your traffic and engagement.

How’s The Ebook Coming?

John Doherty —  January 4, 2013

TL;dr – As many of you know, I announced a few months ago that I am working on an ebook about blog marketing. If you didn’t know, you should sign up to hear about when it launches after you’ve finished reading this post.

I’m also looking for 10 people to provide me feedback on what I’ve written so far. If interested, sign up now (and for more details about what’s involved, read the bottom of the post) – Continue Reading…

Find Balance

John Doherty —  December 21, 2012

Before you read this post (which is publishing as I am on the plane to Costa Rica), let me suggest that you read two other posts:

Rand’s post – http://moz.com/rand/there-is-no-worklife-balance/
Jerry Colonna’s post (language not mom-friendly) – http://www.themonsterinyourhead.com/2011/05/05/work-life-balance-is-bullshit/

These words especially resonate:

“I’m scared,” I’d told my Buddhist teacher on Monday. “I find myself doing more and more…the calls and inquires for coaching are so much more than I can handle.” He smiled in that way that says, “I’m not going to say anything. You have to keep going.”
“I’m afraid I’ll lose myself…again. I’ll find myself overweight, sickly, disconnected from my body, my family, and back at the point where the subway tracks seem like the right answer.”
“It is different now,” he said. I waited for more and then realized I wasn’t getting any more.

It’s different now, said my teacher, because right livelihood. What I’m working towards now is less about my own ego aggrandizement (although that temptation is always there) and more about helping.

Both of those posts express well the thoughts that come when you are overworking and stressed out.

Continue Reading…

I’m Not Leaving SEO

John Doherty —  August 28, 2012

A bit of a personal post today folks.

Let’s be honest. The last few months have been ROUGH on SEO. We’ve had Penguin to deal with, the iAcquire deal seemed to polarize the industry in unforeseen ways, and there’s been some seeming ill-will around the industry blogs. There’s been a shift towards content marketing and of course we’ve had the “SEO is dead” posts that won’t seem to…die. Pardon me, I couldn’t resist.

Through all of this, I’ve had some good friends who have declared that they are leaving SEO. First it was my (now old) boss Tom Critchlow, who left Distilled in favor of greener pastures at the Google Creative Lab. I’m happy for him, but his departure leaves a void in the SEO thought leadership space. Continue Reading…

I live in New York City, the greatest city in the world. And because it’s the greatest city in the world, it’s the place that people of all types flock to. And many of these people are absolutely amazing at what they do, and get snapped up quickly. But guess what? Not only do they get snapped up quickly, but they get recruited heavily as well. And New York recruiters are fierce and devious. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been duped by a recruiter who has posed as someone in my industry and added me on LinkedIn, only to message me right after I accept and try to get me to talk about a job! I’ve also had them call me at work (AT WORK) numerous times and try to have a chat with me. Really? You think I’m going to chat with you while I’m at MY JOB??

You might not be able to pay what the big agencies can pay, and you’re most likely not Apple or Google that pay an INSANE amount of money to their employees (and especially developers). So, you have to beat this big guys at their own game.

How? By making your employees rockstars, whatever that means to them. Continue Reading…

Some people in the marketing community complain that Google has no right to police the web, that the Internet is an open place where anything goes. People complain that Google is ruining their lives when an algorithm change goes live that wipes out their network of spam blogs. But that’s not the topic of this post.

I want to highlight something I saw today that angered me, and make a bid for all of us to be good Internet citizens and police the places that we see that deserve to be kept clean. Just like it is – I think – our responsibility to pick up trash around our neighborhoods and not put gum underneath chairs for others to put their fingers in, it is also our responsibility to clear out spam when we see it so that the Internet stays, for the most part, an inviting place to be.

Let me show you an example. Continue Reading…

Do you cringe when someone says “I could have done that”? Whether it is a blog post, a new startup, or a piece of modern art, people say it all the time.

I have come to realize that there are two kinds of people – those who do and those who say they could. Those who win are the doers and those who don’t never move into the realm of the unknown and thus keep saying “I could have done that.”

The point is, you didn’t.

What separates the doers from the could-have-dones? There are a few key characteristics, which funny enough are the same characteristics that I often see being written about as characterisitcs of entrepreneurs. Continue Reading…

I finally get to write the “How I built a 10,000 visits/month site” post. This is that post. In February, I finally crossed the 10k visits mark, which was a goal I had set for myself. For some reason, 10,000 visits is the number that a lot of people choose to measure success by, whether it’s subscribers, money made, or visits.

This is actually a difficult post for me to write. Often these posts say “I did [this] and I tripled my traffic and built a huge following”. These posts frustrate me and others because they are such rare occurrences that they are not repeatable, or they give people false hope.

What I hope this post will show you, from my experience over the past year of writing on this site, is that blogging takes hard work. Add on a day job (in my case, switching jobs AND cities), a social life, hobbies, other sites, speaking engagements, and family (if you have one), or even traveling, and blogging gets REALLY difficult to do consistently. Then add on the fears of not doing well and combine that with perfectionism, and blogging becomes even tougher.

What I want to do is show you real numbers. I want to show you the events that have been paramount to my blogging success (if I can even call it that). I’ll show you how the traffic numbers going up is pretty even with the number of Twitter followers I have.

I also want to tell you both the things I have done, as well as the things that I have not done, to build the traffic to my site. What you read may surprise you.

Continue Reading…