It started on Saturday.
In January and August I wrote two posts about Snapchat, an app popular with teenagers, and both times I got a lot of traffic on it. The one I’d written in August was really popular. In a single day more than 120,000 people had seen it. (A record for my blog.)
By Saturday night the number was 30,000.
When I woke up on Sunday morning it was 70,000 before 7:00 AM. Something like half a million people read it on Sunday alone.
The post passed that number by 11:30 on Monday morning. At 6:54 PM on Monday the post had 1 million views in a single day. (Ending the day at 1.26 million) For that single day I had a top 100 website in the country. Not top blog. Website. This little blog had more traffic in December than the Washington Post.
I Don’t Know Why
Here’s the funny thing. Posts which are 4 months old rarely get big again. A post does well in my world because my regular readers like it and share it. And my regular readers definitely promoted it back August when it had 120,000 views in a single day.
I didn’t do anything to re-promote the post again. I was taking night photography and climbing a mountain with my wife in the desert.
My Belgian thighs were not made for climbing mountains. #tired
— Adam McLane (@mclanea) December 27, 2013
This literally just happened. Some news was circulating about Snapchat having an easily exploited security hole, some people linked to the post on Facebook, and then it just spread. Of the 1.26 million visitors on Monday 1.1 million came from Facebook.
@natwarrior thanks for the mention!
— Adam McLane (@mclanea) December 28, 2013
@jackieckennedy thanks for the mention. Did you see this on Facebook?
— Adam McLane (@mclanea) December 29, 2013
It Happened Because I Was Ready
So the fact that it started wasn’t my doing. But the fact that it sustained and continued was because of some preparation work I’d done.
Two years ago my business partner, Marko, had his annual Christmas Nativity post go viral. His post also spread across Facebook but then went mainstream, landing on a bunch of radio shows and newspaper websites and the Huffington Post.
And our server wasn’t ready.
I spent 2 days keeping his site afloat. As the waves of visitors came the site slowed and eventually shut down from the traffic. And since several of our clients are on the same server, all of our sites were down. Boom… out of business because of a single blog post. That was a wake-up call.
That can’t happen.
Since then we’ve seen our various sites have occasional spikes. And since then I’ve invested a lot of time and resources in making sure our sites are prepared. Caching helps, CloudFlare really helps, upgrading our server helps, keeping our themes light on resources helps.
According to Google Analytics live view, at one point on Monday the post was getting 75 new visitors a second. There were 9,000+ people reading and sharing and commenting on the post at once. I was getting 35,000 – 40,000 unique visitors per hour.
From December 28th – 30th this blog displayed 7,209,913 ads from Google. That’s a lot.
But the site never slowed or went down on Monday.
My biggest challenge was keeping up with the comments and twitter discussion. And that’s what it should be, focus on your content and not your server.
The next phase seems to be media stuff. I’ve got a few interviews to do, but that kind of feels like clean-up at this point.
A Deep Breath
Waking up this morning was refreshing. The holiday’s are over. (Though we’re still waiting for Amazon to deliver the kid’s new trampoline!)
The surge of the Snapchat post seems to be over.
And today I go back to work.
A New Year
Looking back at 2013 I see a year full of highlights.
My first book, a book I co-authored with Marko, did very well and exceeded everyone’s expectations. At the Cartel everything we did exceeded our expectations for the ministry side of things. (We grew a ton, but you always look at growth as something you would have liked to seen more of, right?)
While we still have tons of work to do to get where we’re going the Cartel is on a very healthy trajectory.
I’ve got great memories of 2013 with my family. Celebrating birthdays and milestones and Aztec wins. Showing Megan the town she was born in and exploring Boston with Paul. Spending a week playing in Yosemite. Day by day I’ve watched Kristen change from an occasional jogger to someone who runs a half marathon and then casually goes about the rest of her day.
In 2013 we chased passions around the globe. I traveled about 80,000 miles. I went to Zimbabwe, Haiti, and France plus about 30 U.S. cities. Kristen had her heart re-awakened in Cambodia.
In 2013 we made great memories. We worked hard. We chased hard after our passions. And we reaped great rewards.
Staring at the calendar of 2014 I see more of the same. Actually, I should emphasize the word more. We have more on the horizon at the Cartel. I’m investing more of my time and energy into my family. I’m investing more of my time and energy in things which I’m passionate about.
So what’s my message today? It’s simple. You’ll never enjoy the thrill of free fall until you jump out of the plane.
For years I felt God was nudging me to do stuff that was bigger than me, that’d help people in ways I don’t understand, that’ll free them from bondage and bad habits and unhealthy relationships. I’ve always felt like I was put on this planet to say that you don’t have to do things the same old way, that history doesn’t have to repeat itself, that there’s joy in discovering new stuff and rediscovering old stuff that still works.
But the simple reality has been that until I went after it– until I jumped and tried– those were just daydreams.
You’ll never see a single dream come true until you stop preparing, stop hoping, stop sitting… and make prayer a verb in your life.
My goal for 2014 is to continue making prayer something I do while doing.