Two Years In Blogging: Skate Guard's Second Anniversary

At the end of last February, I celebrated the blog's first anniversary with you by talking a bit about why I decided to take on this massive project. That's what it's been... a project. Putting out two to three new interviews, researched historical stories or event recaps a week takes time and like everyone else, I work a full time job. I make the time because I'm honestly as passionate about the art of figure skating as it gets and there are just so many fascinating, untold stories that aren't getting told that I feel are begging to be. A lot has changed in the last year... the blog underwent a name change to simply 'Skate Guard', I made connections that have continued to allow me to do some pretty amazing interviews and Skate Guard even got featured in U.S. Figure Skating's magazine "Skating" and Open Kwong Dore Podcast. The blog has grown to almost two thousand readers on both Facebook and Twitter, hundreds more on RSS feeds and the content has been shared from Manhattan to Manila to Manchester. And guess what? I love it.

The biggest thing I learned about blogging this year came from (of all things) podcasts. I listen to a variety of podcasts every day - mostly history - and two things I noticed the most organized podcasters were doing was creating content ahead of time and consistently putting out two to three podcasts a week. I got organized and starting intelligently finding a way of putting out content that didn't monopolize my time or put pressure on me to "come up with something" and it was the smartest thing I've done. It's also allowed me the time also to begin the early stages of compiling materials for something I'd ultimately love to do more than anything... a book about skating history in my own province. As always, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and sharing and supporting what I'm trying to do here. I try to respond to every e-mail that I get and appreciate the kind words, photos and stories shared connected to every interview and blog and all of you period just so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One thing that I've got asked several times is about which posts are the most popular and where the blog is most read. In the last year, the blog had 301,886 unique visitors from Canada, 52,555 from the U.S., 45,868 from Japan (owing largely to two wonderful bloggers in Japan who I've given permission to translate material into Japanese), 11,811 in Great Britain and 11,740 in Germany. Rounding out the top ten in terms of visitors were France, Russia, South Korea, the Ukraine and Australia.

Some of the most read blogs in the last year were the interviews with Trixi Schuba, Brian Orser and Fabian Bourzat, my editorial piece on bullying from the Sochi 2014 Olympics, "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Cinquanta?", "I Can Do Better..." and several of the historical blogs I've written, in particular "Anne Frank and Bernd Elias: Skaters In A Dangerous Time". Most recently, the tribute I wrote to Toller Cranston was extremely well read.

I'd love to do more interviews! One of my favourites will always be my interview with the first rate two time Olympic Gold Medallist Dick Button and my wish list overflows with people I haven't interviewed yet that I'd love to... people like Robin Cousins, Katarina Witt, Stéphane Lambiel, Jeffrey Buttle, Kurt Browning... believe me, the bucket list is huge and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Interviews are here to stay. One of the reasons I don't spend more time doing event recaps is that even though they are widely read, I simply hate writing them. It's common sense that if you want skaters to be receptive to talking to you, you don't bash them at every turn and it's just so difficult to be diplomatic or find just the right balance when you're talking about the "good, bad and #NoSheBetterDont" of figure skating competitions. The final event recap of this season will of course be the World Championships and I'll kind of see how I feel about continuing to do them from there...

What I will be continuing to do is write like crazy for you! I kind of draw my inspiration from the model of one of my favourite podcasts, Stuff You Missed In History Class, and what I've learned the most from blogging in the last year is that being yourself and writing about what you want to write about is the most important thing anyone can do. Rather than have life narrated to you, narrate it yourself. That's why skating history has been and will continue to be the main focus of the blog.

Here's to another year of loving and learning about figure skating! Keep reading and I'll keep writing.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":