State of the Blog — Aug 2022

Dang y’all! Somehow it has been two years since I started this blog. It’s honestly hard to believe.

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 “state of the blog” posts every six months or so.

Metrics

  • Years blogging: 2
  • Total Posts: ~250
  • Total Followers: 87
  • Monthly Views: ~375 (average over last 3 months)

I do my best to not worry too much about visitors, views, and all the other bloggy statistics, but I do keep an eye on them. In the past six months, I really have nothing to complain about as far as the graphs and numbers. I don’t pay much attention to the totals. I’m small by most standards. All I really look for is growth, and the blog has been growing steadily. It took until this May to hit 2,000 total views, and a couple weeks ago I hit 3,000 total views.

One Post to Rule Them All?

One interesting statistic that has become apparent over the last few months is that I have a single post that has out-performed all the others, by a considerable margin.

Great Writing Can You Say Hero? is a post from about a year ago. I had intended to start a series of posts talking about some of my favorite pieces, but I’m distractable, and I’ve never written another of these posts. Views for this post have steadily increased over the past few months, to the point where now they account for about 50% of the views I get every single day!

It’s important to note that I did not intend or expect this. I just wrote a post, and hoped (as I always do) that it would be interesting for others. This particular post hit a search algorithm sweet spot.

You see, there is a steady flow of people looking for Junod’s story about Mr. Rogers, and not very many search results on Google. Because of this, my post shows up near the top of results for several similar searches. This traffic is almost entirely driven by Google.

This is a potent illustration of the power of search engines to drive traffic. This is why people spend so much effort chasing SEO. However, the million dollar question is whether this traffic is actually good for me. I just happen to be capturing views in search of something else. On the other hand, the more people who read the blog, the more likely that some of them will be interested and come back.

The next six months will be interesting, because I’m also seeing search engine-driven traffic on a couple other posts on a much smaller scale. We’ll see if these other posts start to grow in a similar way.

The Long Tail

Even setting aside the search engine traffic, I’ve now reached a point where the post of the day is usually not the primary driver of traffic. On days when I post something new, it is almost always out-performed by a random assortment of my past articles.

This is why so much advice for “content creators” boils down to “keep making a steady stream of new stuff.” On rare occasions, you’ll make an outlier that performs better than most of your other stuff, but you’ll also create a large body of work that collectively draws in a bunch of people over time.

Looking Back and Setting Goals

These six-month reviews are partly about looking back, and partly about re-evaluating what I’m trying to achieve.

Looking back, I feel like I’ve really hit my stride. I have a steady rhythm of alternating weeks: Razor Mountain episodes and a development journal one week, then two writing-related posts and a reblog the following week. Every once in a while I skip a post. I’m not a robot. And I no longer worry about maintaining a perfect schedule.

I usually have a backlog of ideas for posts. Sometimes I do a series on a topic, sometimes I do one-offs. I’ve become a lot more comfortable with off-the-cuff posts and less editing. I’ve also become a lot less stressed about throwing my work onto the internet where everyone can see it. (There will probably always be a little pang of stress about that, but I think that’s probably healthy.)

My goals right now are:

  • Finish Razor Mountain
  • Write a couple of short stories alongside the novel
  • Write more, and especially write more fiction
  • Think about what’s next for the blog after Razor Mountain

See You Next Time

That’s all I’ve got for this two-year blogoversary. Thanks for reading, and we’ll check back in six months.