It has been an entire year since I started my original blog Tips For Improving Your Tips.  Over that time I have posted over 250 times with an average word count of around 1000 words.  That is roughly five posts a week and approximately a quarter of a million words.  If these posts were a novel, they would be as long as Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Picture of Dorian Gray combined.  They also would not be anywhere near as well written.

So I decided this week to take some time to focus on the best of each of the blogs in the network.  I am going to address this is two separate ways.  I will first post a list of the top ten most viewed posts on each of the blogs.  There are a handful of posts that receive a large percentage of my search engine traffic on each of the blogs.  This list should be an interesting behind the scenes look at the blogs.  I will also be naming my favorite posts on each of the blogs.  With so much content available, great posts often go unnoticed.  My goal with this is to point out some of the most interesting material to new readers and provide a walk down memory lane for those who have been around since the beginning.

Today though, I wanted to take a moment to wax poetic about this blog.  I generally try to avoid blog posts about blogging.  Always seems to “meta” for me.  This seems like a nice opportunity to do so.  When I started this blog, I was at a crossroads.  I had written a book about serving and had sent a large batch of query letters to literary agents.  Those that replied (a shockingly low number) told me that I needed a platform to show that people would read what I had to say about the hospitality industry.  I decided a blog was the best way to go about it.  I asked some blogger friends for advice and set up a page on wordpress.  I came home from work the next day and wrote a post about how to get permission to sell to your guests.  I posted it on my facebook page and told everyone I could.  I was so excited when it got almost 100 views in the first day.

Later that week a local blogger linked to one of my posts.  It hit nearly two hundred that day.  A writer for the local weekly paper saw the link and asked to do an article about the blog.  I was pretty sure I was on my way.  Then the lull hit.  About three weeks in my blog was consistently doing 30-50 hits a day.  I was convinced most of these were my mother.  I always had the fear that no one was really all that interested in the thoughts of a server who wanted to say positive things and help others do their job better.  These fears started to seem pretty valid.

That is about the time when many of my fellow server bloggers found my site.  They put me in their blogrolls and I discovered that there were a lot of other people who had something to say about this business.  Their focus might not have been the same, but their passion was unmistakable.  I will never forget how important they were in keeping me motivated and the encouragement they provided.  This got me over the hump and left me inspired to keep on writing.  Yellowcat, purplegirl, teleburst, CJ, SNMT, and skippymom will always be names that I hold in high regard.

Pretty soon the blog start hitting thresholds of 200, 300, and 400 hits in a day.  The content also became far more diverse.  I decided that it was time for a move and The Hospitality Formula Network was born.  This was a tremendous undertaking.  Dividing all of my posts and setting up five new sites during the Christmas season was a questionable decision.  I had a vision of what I wanted it to become.  I sat back with a legal pad and drew a detailed diagram of how the network would work.  After a few weeks of holding my breath, it started doing what I anticipated.  The readership grew significantly as did the opportunities it afforded me.

Today, I look back upon my original goals for this blog and smile.  I wanted to hit 250 views a day by the end of the first year.  Now if my traffic dipped that low I would panic.  I wanted to prove to literary agents that I had a platform.  Now I have a platform and have decided to bypass the agents altogether.  Honestly, I wanted to get this site big enough to impress some people who were important to me.  Instead, I developed a great deal more confidence in myself and determined those people’s opinion shouldn’t have been so important to me.

Before I go back to writing about the industry, I want to take time to thank one more group of people.  My friends have spent hours listening to me ramble about this blog at length.  I have been known to dwell on it.  So to all of the people who listen to me ramble, thank you.  This list includes my co-workers past and present, the Brambles, the Burtons, all the Haydens, Senor Esparza, and many others.  Most importantly, thank you to my girlfriend, Ali, who has to suffer through the bulk of my ramblings.

For the rest of the week, I will not blog about blogging.  I will however post some “best of” lists on each of the sites in the network.  These should be a good refresher on the posts that I think are too often overlooked on each site.  Today though is my chance to thank all of you for taking the time to read this site.  I will never stop being honored or forget that I have the best audience of readers in the world.