a numbers game

I’ve often wondered about the different methods writers (and all bloggers in general, actually) use to keep people coming back to their blog.  While I am not one to relentlessly obsess over the number of hits my blog gets in a given period of time (nor will I actually give out the numbers), I have noticed a gradual decline in the numbers.  If you believe in the traditional rules of bog success, then I suppose this decline is partly because of the fact that I don’t blog as often as I used to.  Looking back at the stats, I have noticed that it was during my freelance period, when I was writing a new entry almost every day, that my numbers were at their highest.

This could also lead in to the fact that I had more time to explore the blogosphere.  Since I have taken up a 9-5 job, my blog reading has fallen behind and I leave fewer comments on other blogs than I used to.  That could obviously be cause for the slight drop off of readership here on my blog.

Again, I don’t want to come off sounding as if I am losing a popularity contest or something.  But as a writer that is trying to make a name for himself, I think it is important to find out how to keep regular readers coming back and how to attract new ones.  I saw a bit of success in this when I held the Poetry Month giveaway contest, but that was to be expected.  Yet, I am in no way, shape, or form prepared to offer a new contest every month.

I also know that keywords and tags have something to do with it, but that is an art that I have never really even tried to learn the secrets to.  Maybe one day…

How about you guys?  What tactics do use to try to get new readers and to keep the blog interesting?

As for me, the only tactic I have is the following (and yes, it sis both an example and a true statement): Sometime early next week, I’ll have a pretty great announcement to make.  Stay tuned!

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9 comments

  1. I have no clue what my numbers are anymore. They were never that hight to begin. I do get more comments when I put the post on Twitter. I suppose I could get even more if I put it on Facebook, but I don’t feel the need. I know who my audience is and I appreciate all of them all. Now you have me looking forward to next week.

  2. I get only a handful of readers on non-post days and if I’m lucky, 50 to 100 on post days, thanks to StumbleUpon, FB & Twitter. I don’t mind – I’d rather have my core peeps visiting & commenting anyway because for the most part I know they can relate to my crazy writerly ramblings.

    At this point, I will assume the news you have to share is something along the lines of selling a 10-book series, especially at the rate you’ve been going this year, Mr. Napier!

  3. I used to be obsessed with my stats – after I’d gotten over the initial shock of anyone actually reading my blog – but now, I’m happy just to have a core network of friends. However, they stop visiting and I panic. Sad, but true.

  4. Numbers. Meh. A writer’s blog isn’t really in the numbers game. Start rambling on about politics or religion…now we’re talking.

    It’s all good, Barry.

  5. Numbers, you can check your numbers? Just kidding. I figure if I knew I might stop blogging, for it would be further evidence of me talking to myself–a squirrelly exercise. I dunno, I blog for fun and I’m tickled all sorts of shades of pink when a visitor stops by to comment. Like you, thanks. : )

  6. I haven’t really been checking my stats, either. I was obsessed with it for a while when I blogged on Blogspot, but I found that over time it was really only a small core of people I cared about and a ton of random hits, but even then I was riddled with guilt if I didn’t regularly visit every one else’s blogs—which approached a hundred RSS feeds before I collapsed into a twitching bundle of fail and gave up almost entirely for a few months.

    I’ve decided to take it much more casually on my new blog…if I post, that’s cool…I’m always happy to see people stop by, but I decided that I wouldn’t pull my hair out if they didn’t or if I didn’t have time to post for a week or two.

  7. My blog does pretty well in stats department, but I’ve been doing it for coming on eight years, so I’ve built a bit of a following (I also have a Twitter account, Facebook, YouTube funneling traffic to my site). Not that I’m a hugely successful writer, but you put in the time and people stick with you.

    Having said that, I blog much, MUCH less than I used to because my writing commitments have increased, and I have to say I don’t mind at all. In fact, I think this is the way it’s supposed to be. I’d much rather be known for my fiction writing than my blog writing. These days I update the blog when I have writing news, or when it’s been awhile and I want to give people a heads-up on what’s going on. Interesting links and shorter updates, I use Twitter (which it’s perfect for).

    The way I see it, if I’m not blogging much, it means I’m writing, and that’s a good thing. There are plenty of writers out there promoting themselves on blogs and message boards and Twitter and MySpace — and they don’t even have anything to promote! Because they spend so much time on the web (usually complaining about how they don’t have time to write).

    I read an article by Norman Partridge today on writers and the internet, and I actually wrote down this one paragraph: “If you spend more time online than you do writing, it might be time to rethink your career choice. Being a writer is all about typing “The End” over and over and over again. No one is going to buy a collection of your greatest message board posts.”

    This is my overlong way of saying, don’t worry too much about the blog, Barry. If people dig your work, they’ll keep coming back. They’re here because they like you as a writer first and a blogger second. When I see you haven’t updated for awhile (I don’t comment much, but I do visit regularly), I always figure it’s because you’re working on a new project, and in my opinion that’s the way it should be.

  8. Thanks for the insight, everyone.

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t delve into “woe is me” mode whenever I see that my stats go down (I only check them once every week or so).

    Actually, a few of you hit it right on the head…is there really any point to blogging other than to post news and insightful info you’ve come across? There are a few blogs I read regularly where the blogger posts damned near every day and each and every post is something of worth (Mr. Polson, I’m gazing in your direction).

    Ian: Nice to know you drop by from time to time. I will admit, I have not ventured by your blog since Lost went off…

  9. Hell, I have about 2-3 regular visitors and that’s about it. The blog is more for my use than anything, if I keep at it once a week I feel like I’m progressing and making promises to myself.

    In fact, this seems to be a common idea. By starting a blog, you suddenly want worthwhile things to talk about and it spurns you on to finish stories and get some hits.

    In the early months this year, I had a real write on and got a few hits in quick succession. My blog seemed to pick up as well.

    I think your doing fine, you have so me regular contributors and some decent content. I’m happy to stop by when I can.

    Cheers,
    Rich

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