Wednesday, April 30, 2014

With blogging, time sure flies when you're having fun

While considering more important things I didn't notice when my blog post counter passed the duo-millennium mark. Today's lame-o post is number 2010. It's lame-o and self-congratulatory because I could not find the illustration I need for the post I had planned for today. 

I started writing this blog back on 9/21/08, when Dubya was in the White House, with a post about why people self-publish. I've posted about many topics since then, and have sometimes posted reruns (therefore, the 2010 number does not indicate unique posts).

I've posted five (or sometimes six or seven) posts a week since the beginning. That's a lot of keyboard taps. Many blogs (including some I've started) have disappeared after a week or less, so I have reason to be proud -- at least for my persistence if not for my quality.

Like most blogs, this one started out with just one reader -- me -- but recently I've attracted about 1,500 daily visitors. That's not competition for TMZ's million-per-day, but is much better than the couple-of-dozen to a couple-of-hundred that many bloggers report.

Traffic goes up and down, often for reasons I can't discern. One thing I do know is that traffic is lower on weekends, even if I post new material on Saturday and Sunday. I stopped doing that.

The traffic indications on the right sides of the graphs above are low because the visitors were counted very early in the morning, so there is no reason for me to be concerned.

I had not planned to offer tips on blogging today, but I will.

  • Write regularly. Three or more times per week. Five is best. You want your blog to become a daily habit with your readers.
  • Publish in the morning. As early as possible.
  • Don't bother posting more than once a day. If you feel the need to spout more frequently, use Facebook or Twitter.
  • It's nice to publish guest posts but don't let guests replace your own unique voice. One blogger I used to like a lot but now often ignore has become more of a publisher than a writer because he publishes so much material that he does not write. A blog should have a personality, not dozens of personalities.
  • Promote your blog on other media -- websites, Facebook, etc.
  • Mention your blog in anything you control, including books, comments on other blogs and websites, business cards, letterheads, etc.
  • Cover a variety of topics, even if not closely related to your blog's title or premise. Up at the top I say that I discuss "writing, editing, design, publishing, language, culture, politics and other things." Other things allows me to write about anything I feel like without violating my "charter."
  • Variety allows the blogger to preach about world events or personal emotions, and maybe grab readers who don't care about the main topic. Most of my readers come here via Google. They may be searching for topics I discuss, and not necessarily searching for me.
  • Don't be afraid to publish reruns. You should be attracting new readers every day, and someone who reads your blog today may not have read the same material three months or three years earlier.
  • If you do publish a rerun, update it if necessary. Add, correct, provide new illustrations, change the title. Pick reruns of popular postings, not ones that attracted few readers.
  • Write about things that interest you. If you're disinterested -- if blogging becomes a chore -- readers can tell and will turn away.