Analyze This: Three Years & More than 1,000 SafeLawns Posts Later
With the rest of the world already caught on to the phenomenon known as “blogging,” I finally got around to it on June 18, 2009. Why June 18? I have no recollection, really, about why I picked that day to launch what soon became a personal obsession.
More than 1,000 SafeLawns posts later, most of them written by yours truly, I remain grateful that enough sponsoring partners and daily readers have conspired to make the SafeLawns Blog one of the go-to Internet sites for natural lawn care information. As much as I lecture, consult, teach and appear in public, I have always considered myself a writer first and foremost. The blog is a great place for unbridled, often (admittedly) unedited daily expression. Some of it, I hope, people find useful.
One of the tools I find most useful each day is our Google Analytics page that tells us who visited, what they read and how much time they hung around. And for all my ranting about lawn and garden pesticides, postings of this or that study about what is killing the bees, or generally trying to build public consensus, the one thing Google Analytics tells me day in and day out is that people want good old-fashioned how-to information.
Any idea what the No. 1 most-read blog post of the past three years has been? Hands down, it’s this post about the efficacy of corn gluten meal as a weed control product: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/04/corn-gluten-meal-as-weed-control-20-years-later-the-jury-is-still-out/. More than two years after its publication, the post still generates hundreds of “hits” daily.
In second place is another two-year-old article that I posted while on family vacation in Florida: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/05/looking-for-a-grass-alternative-try-a-peanut-lawn/. It’s about a lawn alternative plant. In fact, as a category, lawn alternatives ranks highest among the keywords or catch phrases that draw people in.
As for what really has fired up the masses, or fulfilled our mission statement of effecting change, two issues come to mind. The first was when TruGreen ChemLawn wanted to sponsor Earth Day. The reaction was fast and furious: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/03/chalk-one-up-for-social-networking-earth-day-drops-chemlawn/. And then early this year the Wildlife Federation came to its senses after hearing from numerous members of SafeLawns and other environmental watchdog groups: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/01/citing-guilty-plea-wildlife-federation-ends-agreement-with-scotts/. Turns out folks are pretty good at recognizing an injustice when they see one.
The truth is that none of this is easy. Companies and people in general spent far, far more money supporting the SafeLawns movement when we started in 2006 and 2007 than they have in all the years combined since. The SafeLawns movement is still making progress, taking market share year after year from the synthetic chemical lawn care industry and taking perverse pleasure when Scotts Miracle Gro’s stock drops by nearly 30 percent in a month due to bad sales projections and results. But did sales plummet due to the economy? The weather? Or because people are seeing the light and driven to buy safer, cleaner, better organic products. It’s certainly some of the latter, but probably more of the former.
That means there’s still work to be done. And that means more blogs to post.
So we’ll be here again when you sign on tomorrow. Thanks for reading along for three years and counting.