It’s that time again. Since I started this blog, I’ve done a “State of the Blog” post every six months. This is the fifth such post.
One of the key tenets of this blog is an open writing process. I’ve brought that to my serial novel, Razor Mountain, with my development journals, and I bring it to the blogging process with these posts. While the Razor Mountain development journals focus mostly on fiction writing, these posts are about blogging in general.
Let’s start with the numbers:
- Years blogging: 2.5
- Total Posts: ~315
- Total Followers: 128
- Monthly views: 530 (average over last 3 months)
Search vs. Direct Traffic
The split between search traffic and direct traffic has stayed roughly the same in the past few months. Something like 75% of the traffic I get is from search, with one hero post and a handful of other mid-ranked posts capturing most of those views. The remaining 25% looks like it’s mostly from regular readers, and they’re mostly reading my new posts each week. As you’d expect, comments and likes come mostly from the regulars, while views are mostly the drive-by-searchers.
That search engine traffic varies quite a bit from week to week and month to month, so I’m in the odd position where my stats often aren’t driven much by what I posted recently, and instead come down to how many people wandered in from Google.
As I looked back at previous six-month windows, I saw fairly consistent growth in numbers. Usually, my views would just about double over the course of six months. The past six months were the first time where that wasn’t really the case. On average, those stats still went up, but not at that exponential rate.
Complicating the issue is that the numbers didn’t show a consistent trend. As you can see from the graph, there were a couple of fairly low months and a very high month. Turns out a lot of people have extra time to catch up on their blogs in the last two weeks of December.
It will be interesting to see what the next six months look like. This just isn’t a ton of data points to infer much from. I’m not really looking to change what I do based on these numbers—I won’t be doing a bunch of SEO stuff or using more clickbait-y titles. I’d love to see the blog keep growing, but if it does it will be because I keep posting what I enjoy posting, and people find it and like it too.
Approaching the End of Razor Mountain
There are ten chapters left in Razor Mountain. That number may change a little as I work through Act III, but that’s still well over 2/3 done. Plus, as an experiment, I already wrote a first draft of the last chapter at the start of the book. So as long as I can keep up my current pace, I should have all my chapters done before my next State of the Blog post.
I’ve been thinking about what happens next. First, I know I’m going to take a break from the book to get a little distance. Then I’ll be rereading and digging into whole-book edits and polish. I worked extra hard on the front-end to make these episodes as good as they could be when they are released, but I know that there will be a lot of opportunities to go back and further improve and tighten the story.
The bigger long-term question is what I want Razor Mountain to be. Right now, it lives on the blog, and on Wattpad and Tapas. I wanted this to be an open experiment, and I’m very happy with how it has gone. But with a rare few exceptions, traditional publishers are not interested in publishing a book that is already out in the world. I may decide to explore self-publishing, just in case there are folks out there who would be willing to throw a few bucks my way for a copy of the final book.
What Lies Beyond
Razor Mountain has been an integral part of my blog almost since its inception. My posting schedule changed when I went from pre-production to actually posting chapters, and it will probably change again when I get into editing. Then, at some point, I’m going to be done with the book, and there will be a big gap to fill in the posting schedule.
I have a few ideas of what I would like to work on next. I would love to spend at least a few months writing nothing but short stories and really grinding submissions to publishers. I also have dreams of writing a TTRPG campaign setting—I know there is a decent chunk of my regulars who are into that sort of thing, and I think it would bring in some new readership as well. I’ve been kicking around ideas for a setting for years, so it would be great to get it out of my head and onto paper.
Whichever project I choose to do next, it’s very likely that I will end up posting less frequently. I love the blog, and it has been very satisfying to get to a point where I put out at least three posts most weeks, but I also want to produce more fiction and other work that I won’t end up posting to the blog. Since there are only so many words I can produce in a given week, that necessarily means I will end up stealing time from the blog for other projects.
That’s okay. In some ways, I feel like the blog has grown up. It’s no longer a baby blog where I post my thoughts into the void. I have regular readers that I recognize, and writing and blogging friends that I occasionally trade comments with. I don’t want to stop blogging, but I feel like the blog can continue to grow and thrive with a little less care and feeding than I’ve been putting into it so far.
See You Next Time
That’s it for this time. I’ll see you in another six months for the three-year blogoversary!
2 thoughts on “State of the Blog — February 2023”
This setting better have lots of maps. People love maps.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You make a good point. Just for you, I edited this post to include some maps in progress.
LikeLiked by 1 person