The audience for this blog has reached another record high point: in November 2014, more than 20,000 people viewed a page. Three times during the month, daily numbers reached or exceeded 1,000, and the all-time number is approaching 400,000. In fact, I fully expect to reach that by next week. If things keep going the way they have been, even without any more growth, it will have reached half a million by June.
Here’s the graph from Blogger. You can see that I started blogging in March 2006, but I didn’t post very much at first. I published seven posts in March, mostly reused material like reviews of printers, cameras and other communications technology. But by May, the frequency had dropped to once every week or two. I didn’t publish anything in June, just once in August and nothing all that fall. I only published six posts in all of 2008 and only one in 2010.
It’s not surprising that my blog got little attention then. Why would anyone come when there’s nothing new to see?
It wasn’t until 2011 and I had finished writing my first novel, The Bones of the Earth, that I started blogging regularly. By that fall, and most of the time since (with a few lapses, sorry) I was blogging at least once a week. For a while there, I was doing three posts a week. And, not surprising, that’s when pageviews started to climb.
That’s also when I got my twitter account, and putting a link to my blog in most of my tweets. Pageviews, driven by frequent announcements about posts and attracted by new content, started to climb dramatically.
As you can see from the graph, pageviews climbed in spurts. There’s the long, flat head from 2006 to 2010, then a more or less steady rise through 2011, when pageviews averaged around 6,000 per month—that’s 200 a day. There are peaks and valleys from month to month, then another surge to another plateau around 10,000 per month for most of 2012 and 2013.
And now, a new high: from 13,734 pageviews in September 2014, to 16,548 in October to over 20,000 in November! And the pace so far in December (okay, I know we’re just two days into it, but taking that as a trend) is over 700.
Getting the best help
What accounts for that? I have to give some credit to Lisa Jey Davis, also known as Ms. Cheevious. In addition to being a kick-ass lady and always entertaining writer and blogger, she’s an awesome social media consultant. She created some Facebook pages and posts for me, and is doing some other mysterious things in social media on my behalf. And since she started doing that, my numbers have been climbing strongly. In addition, the Army of Worn Soles page she created for me on Facebook now has over 100 likes. To me, that’s a lot.
The view from the peak
I remember being so excited in 2011 and 2012 as I watched my daily, monthly and “all-time” pageview statistics climb. I remember thinking “Wow. Those statistics were really pathetic before 2011, but now, this is serious.” I compared this to my experience working on Canadian magazines (remember those things, printed with ink on paper?) in the 1980s. Thirteen thousand readers per month was a respectable, healthy readership for a “trade,” or industry magazine. With a staff. And postage expenses. And here I was, getting those kind of numbers all by myself.
A note here about Google’s graph: the numbers I see today don’t jibe with my memory. And the graph doesn’t show the odd-numbered years. You cannot see the statistics for 2007, 2009, 2011 or 2013.
Why do I do it?
Three times a week required an effort and a devotion of time that were too great to sustain. Other things, like writing novels, began to suffer. So I scaled back to twice a week for a while, and now am pretty content with once per week.
Now, if there were only a way to make money from that. Don’t tell me about Google ads. I have those, as you can see, and I haven’t gotten a penny. I’m not complaining; that’s not why I write this blog.
“So why do you spend so much time on that blog and on setting up tweets every day?” my lovely and supportive wife is fond of asking.
I’ve used the standard answers (that I am, umm, repurposing from consultants and self-described authors’ advisors): “building the platform, raising my profile.” It’s partly true, but as a method of driving book sales, well, I can’t say it’s had the impact that other writers report.
But it does show that I can get an audience. My writing is reaching important people: you.
Thank you, readers.