Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Much Blogging Is Too Much?

Here's your favorite editr hard at work.
I'm trying to determine how much is too much in the blog world. Last night during Karen Chase's "Blog to Book" class, she talked about the number of hits her blog receives each month and I was taken aback at the figure because I thought it low.

Karen has a good blog (here) and her first book is selling well, at least partly because of her following. But she's measuring hits in the hundreds per month. She blogs weekly. I don't get it.

I blog as much as seven or eight times a day, rarely miss a day with a post and have been doing that since October 2008, when I posted my first blog. I have written something north of 3,400 posts in that time on three blogs (Valley Business FRONT, Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and this one). You can look at the number on the left of this page and see how many visits I had in the last 30 days (updated daily). That number has been as high as 29,000, but averages about 17,000. As I told Karen, the more I write, the more people visit.

But what is a high number? Nobody seems to know. My friend Dan Casey at the local daily here has very large numbers by my reckoning, but Dan is supported by large institutional platform and my blog is strictly independent. It doesn't even allow advertising. I tried that and found myself unintentionally writing for the advertisers, so I quit after a couple of months. There is a blogger in Christiansburg with a national following for her food posts whose numbers are in six figures monthly. She built her following slowly, but is now courted by advertisers because her following is so significant.

It strikes me as odd that this blog comes up first when I search "Dan Smith's blog," even though there is a young novelist named Dan Smith (here) who writes a blog about his books, something that I hope to do as soon as CLOG! is in stores. I have four books to my credit, but have not built a blog for any of them. Burning the Furniture and Saving Homer have Facebook pages, but selling large numbers of those books has never been a specific goal of mine. The other Dan has the site name and I'll have to figure something else out in the meantime (maybe CLOG!bydan smith).

So, tell me this: Am I writing too often, too long, about too wide a variety of topics to capture significant numbers. I'd love to know what you think.

16 comments:

  1. Dan, my two cents: blog as much as you want. You get three times the hits my blog does and I blog every day and have for seven years, but I shy away from controversial topics and you do not. I also don't care if my blog gets a lot of hits as I am using it for a personal outlet for my photos and musings, not for making money. I have created a nice little community of readers and I am perfectly content with that.

    You do not come up first in bing, but you do in google. Google is picking up your blog because it's a blogspot blog, which google owns. From my own efforts at website publishing, it appears to me that Google has skewed its algorhythms to favor G+ and its other products first. I know some SEO sites discuss this from time to time.

    If all you want are numbers, then you need to find a topic and use keywords to draw in traffic. Most blogs that do that are targeted toward some kind of niche, like the food blog you mention. I think for what you write about you have an enviable amount of traffic. And frankly, writing that doesn't focus on keywords is more readable and better writing. The fact that you don't seem to focus on keywords is a plus as far as I'm concerned.

    I guess it's all in what you want, but I like your blog as it is, a mix of stuff that is Dan. I read it almost every day.

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  2. Thank you, Anita. This is helpful. And thank you for reading.

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  3. I have found that the relationships I have built out of my blogs are the most valuable things to me. I average only 15 hits per day per blog. But I have been re-blogged and done a guest blog for White Maths group on education. Another time, I was blogging about the Coral Reef Crochet Project at Roanoke College when the author who developed the Math behind the crocheted corals began a conversation! The numbers don't tell you anything unless they are spending time on your blog or interacting with it.

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  4. Dan,
    To me your numbers are enviable. After a little over a year of blogging, I'm getting a few hundred hits a month now that I post an occassional link to my personal Facebook page. I find your writing thought-provoking and entertaining, and love the fact that you are not manipulating your content around keywords. I admire you for sticking with it and hope you never stop! If you have something to say, say it. If not, don't. You could get higher numbers, I'm sure, if you narrowed your topic and focused on keywords, but that's not what you're about, and we love you for it.

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  6. Karen: That's awfully sweet of you. Thank you. Amanda: the numbers are only important when the publisher of my book asks what they are. I write for me (and my mama, who's dead), so the content is what it is and what it will be. No keywords. Thank you both.

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  7. Networking with other blogs helped build my numbers, which run about the same or a little lower than yours. My frequency is totally inconsistent, sometimes monthly, sometimes multiple posts a day.

    I registered with Technorati, started networking on Twitter just for the blog, and joined a group called the LAMB "Large Association of Movie Blogs" and my hits grew ten fold in a matter of months.

    Grassroots networking helps too. In blog terms that means commenting on other peoples blogs who may be interested in yours. In fact, comments are a much better indicator of traffic than actual traffic numbers. There's a lot of spam clicks out there, I know my blog gets a ton. (Blogspot is far worse than wordpress about spam clicks I've heard.)


    Of course, my two cents probably aren't worth a nickel to you. #math

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  8. Thank you, Dusty. I appreciate your thoughts.

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  9. Well... book publishers are a horse of a different color! :)

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  10. A blog is such a personal thing, and everyone has different objectives. But I agree that blogging more does tend to bring more traffic. It seems to come naturally to you, too, so I'd keep at the frequent posts. Plus, the search engines love fresh content. When you're ready to market and promote your book(s), you might consider NOT setting up a separate blog/site, but merely adding a page here where you've developed a following and your traffic is already pretty good. (Blogger allows you to add pages and various widgets.) That's what I did with my blog and book, and I'm glad I did it that way.

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  11. A blog is such a personal thing, and everyone has different objectives. But I agree that blogging more does tend to bring more traffic. It seems to come naturally to you, too, so I'd keep at the frequent posts. Plus, the search engines love fresh content. When you're ready to market and promote your book(s), you might consider NOT setting up a separate blog/site, but merely adding a page here where you've developed a following and your traffic is already pretty good. (Blogger allows you to add pages and various widgets.) That's what I did with my blog and book, and I'm glad I did it that way.

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  12. Just keep blogging. It is good stuff. Always..............

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  13. Just keep blogging. You always write informative and thought provoking material....................

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