Friday, December 28, 2007

Blogging: review and benchmarks

I launched this blog on January 5th this year. It was a way of staking my claim on the frontier of writing. In many ways it has resembled the Soddy of the old American West.

Like the homestead speculators of the past I had the knowledge and tools; in my case to write and create documents. Starting a new blog, like settling an undeveloped piece of land, requires a lot of extra work that is not apparent on the surface.

I started blogging because I wasn’t finding a way to explain satisfactorily that I was a writer. I also wanted to improve my writing and to do that I needed an audience which blogging also could provide. Really what writer doesn’t want to be read whether they intend to improve their writing or not?

Like those sodbusters of the plains I have had to decide what I want to produce so that I plant the right seeds. That part of the process has been trickier for me as a writer than for those farmers. In their case the soil and moisture and climate dictated what would grow, and grow profitably.

Writing and carving out a successful blog niche is not as instinctively obvious. I have written a number of very successful and well received posts but there are valid reasons why those successes should be considered paradoxical and not normative. On the other hand a few posts were not that well received on their own merit but there had been encouragement to pursuit the topics of those posts from different perspectives in the future.

Just like the frontier farmers and ranchers I need to set aside time to sort out what a snapshot of my year looks like. I need to look at what has worked and what hasn’t; as well as who is reading and try to discover why, or what kind of content he or she is looking for. A season of shot-gunning posts is okay for trying out new things and refreshing content but there is some need for continuity and reasonable predictability for me as writer as well as my readers.

I plan to continue blogging in the coming year although I do plan to make significant changes. I think it is time to find a domain, and a host, and move to WordPress. At some point my blogging and my professional writing aspirations have to find a touchpoint, a connection.

There is a loose connection in that my writing more has led to me writing more. However, my blog and my column and my novel aspirations are almost completely discrete from one another so few people have read something from all three areas.

So a few notable benchmarks from my year of blogging:

- I have published, including today, 173 posts (there are 2 more coming for 175 total).

- The monthly average has been 14.5 posts per month.

- The low posting month was November, when I was doing NaNoWriMo, with 4 posts.

- The high posting month is December which so far has 22 (eventually 24) posts.

- The high traffic month was September which also had the high week and high post traffic.

- The post receiving the highest traffic was Professor’s Final Lecture which received over 300 views and click-thrus to the video link in the first weekend. This post still gets significant traffic every week.

- The post receiving the most comments, not including images, was Setting Goals.

- The image post with the most comments was Camp Cat.

Now that I have had some successes and failures in the realm of blogging I need to use the information associated with the statistics to make some decisions about, and goals for, my blog writing this coming year. I’ll post about those soon.

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Writing the Cyber Highway said...

Hi Deb,

I followed over from a comment you left at Writing FORWARD. I'm glad to have found you!

Best wishes on your move to WordPress. I'm thinking I'm going to make that move myself in 2008. It feels like the "next step", doesn't it?

Here's to a successful 2008!


chelle said...

I adore Wordpress and having my own site to control ... feels like one step closer to world domination ... MUWAHAHA!

Happy almost one year blogiversary!

G's Cottage said...

I am none to confident about all the stuff I don't know that controlling my own site would require. I am not moving this week. The change of year has enough annual bills without adding my domain and hosting fees. But hey, I'm all for world domination, as long as I'm the one doing the dominating. ;)