Logged in to check the blog recently and saw that the counter has passed the 10000 hits mark. I doubt very much if those 10000 are unique visitors. Also I don’t think I’ve clicked on my own blog that many times since the first post 7 months ago. But numbers create perceptions of milestones that are hard to ignore. Hence the requisite self self-congratulatory naval gazing post.
The most shocking is that other humans actually seem to like reading my twitchy word vomit. I’m still trying to recover from that realisation (it is a pleasant one).
There are plenty of posts on the Internet about how to crank up blog traffic and get 10000 visitors in one day. The most common tactic seems to be to set up 5-10 blogs all linking to each other and pump generic content grabbed from other sites. Mainly in the hope of a click on an ad. Perhaps it works for those doing it (specially if you indicate that there images of scantily clad women involved). I’m not into such things because I don’t see blogging as a revenue earner but as an outlet for a desire to write (and helps me keep my mouth shut). And I can’t spare the time. 😉
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen‘s “Write Articles, Not Blog Postings” describes the attitude towards blogging that’s gelled in me over the last 7 months. I agree with Nielsen’s argument at a gut level even though I don’t think I write articles. It is more like vaguely amusing reading matter with a snippet or two of some trivia. I write original stuff because its fun to write it. If it amuses/interests a reader that’s great. And if readers really liked it, they might drop by again, tell friends, or better yet, link to me (hint hint) ;).
From the comments I’ve gotten and reading Nielsen’s other work, I’ve come to realise that any good blog content must have some positive effect on whoever bothers to read it. It might not result in an immediate spike in the stats but it will contribute to a growth in readership over the long term. Though the long term is rarely something that’s contemplated in the blogosphere.
Things such as search engine optimisation, a readable layout, and writing good mircocontent are tools to make good content accessible. They are NOT a substitute for content that will on the long term get repeat visitors let alone develop a readership (I’m not claiming to write the creme de la creme of the content btw).
The definition of “good content” is less clear cut when it comes to more personal idiosyncratic blogs like mine. I don’t provide information in the traditional sense or even claim to be informative at all. But it seems good enough for a Sri Lanka newspaper to steal. Or perhaps that’s an indication of the low standards of English language Sri Lanka media.
The numbers slowly tick over and the next millstone seems less clearer. Perhaps it should be a higher hits per day or something statistically specific. However I’d prefer to polish my writing, keep it true to myself – which always brings out a surprising response – and not be so stat obsessed.
One day I’ll die or run out interesting things write about (I hope the second is due to the first condition). In which case this blog will end. Like this post will after the next two sentences. Till then I’ll keep on plugging – without being so stat obsessed (if that’s really possible). So thank you for reading.