Thursday, September 05, 2013

Progress report: The state of the blog — and a thank-you

I’m excited: pageviews on this blog broke through the 200,000 count a couple of days ago.

In other words, people from literally around the world have clicked their way to at least open their browsers on Written Words over 200,000 times — most of them in the past three years.

I like to think that viewers come back frequently — and with under 40 email subscribers who have signed onto the feedburner, and 247 Google “members,” I think I’m safe to say that the same people come back repeatedly.

A slow launch

This picture of the all-time history of pageviews looks like a cross-section of Alberta, looking south: the prairies almost perfectly flat until BOOM! a steep rise that really look like mountains.

I launched this blog in 2006, but I did everything wrong for the first four years: rare updates, mostly text, unsupported by any other promotion other than a few emails.

Then I got serious. When I was getting close to publishing my first novel, The Bones of the Earth, I started reading about publishing and promoting your own work. “Build a platform,” was a common theme from many advisors. A platform, went the common wisdom, comprised a website, a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

I went to work and started writing blog posts more frequently in April 2011 — eight posts that month, but then fell back to just three in May and only one in all of June.

Getting serious

By August 2011, though, after a vacation, I really got serious and started posting two or three times a week. And I’ve managed to keep that up, too.
At about that time (as far as my Swiss-cheese-like memory can recall), I started using Twitter, and (as many of you know), most of my tweets link back to this blog. That’s probably how you got here in the first place.

That was when the visits really took off. My Twitter feed grew pretty quickly, to over 2,000 followers in the first year. It’s leveled off since then, but it’s pretty clear that tweets bring viewers to the blog.

I have done a few experiments. I use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets, usually a day or so in advance. (I also interactively add other tweets, and retweet stuff when I can.) If I reduce the frequency of tweets, my daily pageviews decrease, as well. I hope that I am not wearing out my Twitter welcome (Twelcome?) with such frequent use of the medium, but as long as my pageviews keep rising, I’ll assume I haven’t.

The next plateau?

These days, the average number of pageviews is around 400 a day; a marketing expert I know told me that he’s read reports that that is a very healthy number for a blog. That adds up to over 12,000 per month. While the two measures are not comparable, 12,000 readers of a trade magazine in Canada was once considered strong.

If this keeps up, that total pageview number will reach 300,000 in less than a year.

Who is to blame for this? You are, dear readers — you who keep coming back to see what’s on the blog.

Thank you.


  1. Congratulations! Keep up the good work :)

  2. Congratulations, Scott. Nice to see a fellow Canadian getting some recognition.

  3. I don't know if my site has regular readers or not. I have found that certain posts of mine seem to have a life of their own, and they get hits nearly every day-- which suggests my audience might not be following me but attracted to specific subjects. My daily hit count has climbed regularly, I think, mostly on the basis of old articles. Maybe that is OK too.