Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blog Hit Slowdown

Last year, my blog started hitting its stride.  I was getting, on average, about 500 hits per week beginning in late June, and I arrogantly thought it was only a matter of time before that became a daily occurrence.  Well, my hits and expectations have recently come back to Earth.

Don't get me wrong - I still average about 150-200 hits per week, but it's disappointing given the momentum I once had.  Therefore, I've spent considerable time thinking about what drove the traffic down, and I've come up with a few explanations.  These aren't lessons only for me, but I hope my fellow bloggers can take these observations to heart and find ways to apply them to their own blog.

First, I stopped writing short stories every week.  Looking back through the traffic, these stories were among the most widely viewed posts.  Even my bad short stories garnered hits.  In late November, I decided to abandon Short Story Friday.  Trying to produce quality work was throwing off my schedule, and I felt that much of what I put out was just plain awful.  I thought that readers would appreciate no longer seeing such drivel online.

That turned out to be a mistake.  Traffic dropped off immediately.  I should have known that folks like going to a writing blog to read stories, but the exhausting pace led me down the primrose path.  I don't know when I will be able to change this, but I'm going to find a way to reintroduce that aspect of the blog.

Second, I'm not commenting as much on other blogs.  Linking in my blog address to those comments brought at least some traffic as people who read what I said grew a little curious and dropped by.  The folks who did that were never going to be regular visitors, but they did increase traffic.  My hectic life has led to less time on the computer, and, thus, to less time on other blogs.  I wish I could find a way to reverse this, but that likely won't happen for several more months.

Speaking of events in several more months, a change in employment this coming summer caused me to delay the release of my first book by a year.  I think this may have given the impression I'm not serious about writing.  Nothing could be further from the truth - I delayed the release precisely because I wanted to give it the time necessary to do it right - but the casual observer could look at this and decide I'm all talk.  That in itself could lead to others seeking satisfaction elsewhere.

Finally, as an addendum to the blog commenting part, I'm not visiting online writing message boards as frequently.  I used to go at least once a week, and I always saw an uptick in traffic when I did.  By not going, I haven't been able to draw in potential readers.

All of this may seem like one big bitch session, but it's really more analysis than anything.  There are some aspects - like short stories and visiting message boards - that I have to find ways to fix.  Other  aspects will be more challenging.  I hope others will look at these things and remember that changes in the face of momentum can have negative affects on your work.  If only one person sees that, my work is successful.

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