Therapy for When You’ve Learned Something “the Hard Way”
Learning lessons in the school of hard knocks hurts. But there's something you can do to ease the pain and maximize the benefit you get from it: share your experience.
Over at ProBlogger, Sanjeev wrote about a time when his blog got hacked:
Once my blog was clean, I dug into it further, to check the source of the attack, and what scripts had been run on my blog. I shared details on the WordPress support forum.
Inspired, I decided to help other people like me. I created a guide explaining the process for removing the malware on my blog. Then I went back to WordPress support forum to help people.
As it happened, that guide ended up ranking number three on Google for some crucial keywords, right after the WordPress support forum threads. It brought a lot of new people to my blog. That guide is still a good source of traffic for me, and varies between third and eighth rank on Google.
I just checked the recent stats on one of my other blogs, and it turns out the article that's pulling in the second highest amount of traffic is one I wrote back in 2004 explaining how to set up SPF records for your email server.
It's over 7 years old, and it's still a top traffic producer! Similar posts I've written over the years aren't at the top of the charts today, but have pulled in a lot of traffic in their times.
The lessons I shared there weren't from an experience as difficult as Sanjeev's. But they were the product of a lot of work to understand the SPF system. And I'm sure that article has saved a lot of people a lot of the pain of deciphering the SPF specs.
The lesson: once you've completed the hard work of figuring out how to solve a complex problem, don't neglect to do the relatively easy work of sharing what you've learned on your blog. If you can provide a clear explanation -- even if it only covers specific use-cases -- you'll provide a lot of value to others who are in the same situation as you.
You can reap benefits from that little extra effort for many years to come.
Plus, if you've learned the lesson by "hard" experience, talking about it can be great therapy.