MYSTERIES OF BLOGGING

screenshot-My Stats NOW — WordPress.com 2014-11-10 00-02-49

Statistics are the eternal mystery of blogging. I’ve been blogging 2 years, 9 months and I’m pretty happy with where I am these days. I’m popular enough to feel my voice is heard, but not so busy I don’t have time to answer comments and interact with the people I enjoy on the big wide web.

I keep hearing about the “cool kids,” popular bloggers with large followings. Compared to the really big blogs, I’m not even a drop in the bucket, but for my own purposes, I’m in a good place. Last week, my “followers” — whatever and whoever they are — exceeded 7,000. So — does that make me one of the cool kids?

Marilyn and Bette
Me and Bette Stevens. Two veteran bloggers enjoying lunch in Skowhegan

That would be funny because never in my life have I been a cool kid. At this point, I’m no kind of kid. Senior citizen. Retired writer. Amateur photographer. I use my time to do something fun and productive. I blog. But I wouldn’t mind being cool or a kid.

Yesterday I got the most hits of any day for the last year. My view stats have been climbing all year. October’s numbers were the highest of any month since I began blogging. The beginning of November looks even better.

The first time my numbers approached this level was November 2012. I had some help from a contentious presidential election and super storm Sandy. That rising tide lifted a lot of ships, mine included. This time, though, I suppose I can take the credit. Whatever that means.

screenshot-My Stats — WordPress.com 2014-11-08 23-06-56

I keep wondering why me? My husband, biggest fan, loyal supporter, says it’s because I write interesting articles and take good pictures. I will concede October was a fantastic month for photography. It was a glorious Autumn and I was well-positioned to capture it.

Can the formula be that simple? Maybe it is. But there is a bit more to it. Popularity has a momentum of its own. At some point, you become like a rock rolling down a steep hill. It’s hard to get moving, but once you’re in motion, gravity keeps you going.  Success — to some degree — leads to success.

As far as I can tell, the deepest mysteries of blogging are ridiculously simple:

  1. Write interesting posts
  2. Display good pictures
  3. Maintain high quality.
  4. Post often so when people visit your site, there’s something new to read, something interesting to look at
  5. Don’t quit.

Reuse material if you think it deserves it. Many posts get minimum response the first time around, but do much better on subsequent publication. I don’t know why people have problems with this. You wrote it, you own it. You are free to use and reuse it however you like. Networks don’t apologize for rerunning series, and you shouldn’t either.

When I started blogging, I figured there was a magic bullet, a formula that would assure success. Just do “this” and you’ll get a big payoff. It has turned out to be both simpler and more work than I imagined.

Keeping at it when you are getting very few hits and hardly anyone comes to visit is hard. You have to believe you have something to say and people will want to hear it. Persevering in the face of apparent disinterest can be disheartening.

Regardless, resist the temptation to post  junk (unless it’s especially funny junk) and reblog carefully and selectively. If you are ever going to have a following, you want them to follow you, not the stuff you found on Facebook or other bloggers.

screenshot-weekly Stats — WordPress.com 2014-11-08 23-09-22

NOBLOPOMO OR, AS I LIKE TO CALL IT, NOBLOWME

You may have noticed (maybe you didn’t) that I’m not participating in NoBlowMe this year.

Whether or not these kind of “challenges” do anything for you is open for debate. Participate because you want to, but keep your expectations reined in. I joined last year because someone I liked very much asked me to join her team. I was already posting daily, so I didn’t need to be spurred to post more. If anything, I need a whack on the head to make me post less.

It was disappointing. To me, the voting seemed nothing but a popularity contest based on how well you could organize your “troops” to vote for you. Because I refused to ask anyone to vote for me, pretty much no one did. I had thought it was about quality, but it wasn’t.

If you are looking for something to help you post more often — daily — maybe it’s worth it. Or maybe you want to do it just to give it a try. But none of these are any kind of “fix”. Do it for fun or comradeship, but don’t expect miracles.

Did participating improve my numbers? Look at the numbers for November 2013 and decide for yourself.

YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!

I don’t officially encourage adoration nor do I try to organize anyone to do anything — except vote in elections. Even though I’m totally adorable, in an elderly sort of way.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

40 thoughts on “MYSTERIES OF BLOGGING”

  1. I didn’t know there was any voting involved in Nablopomo… I just thought it was a challenge to blog every day. Le Sigh. Another thing I thought was just fun down the drain.

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  2. Can it be I actually got to be the first to like this?? I feel privileged! I’m usually late to the party here…I needed to read this tonight, thank you. You are such a giver, and that is one of the reasons you are successful. Besides your interesting take on Stuff. You’re always interesting. And you take great photos. :o) Congratulations on the numbers!

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    1. Thanks. It’s nice to feel I’m in a good place. I never aspired to being “big.” Just to have people read what I write and look at my pictures. I figure I’ve gotten there. Anything more will be gravy 🙂 The REAL bonus are people … like you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is my first time doing the NaBloPoMo (aka, Nano Poblano) thing. It’s sort of fun (there are some “blog hops” going on that are interesting) but because I post daily anyway — and have been doing so since March — it’s really not doing anything different than what I would otherwise be doing. And the voting thing you mentioned? I don’t know anything about that. So I suppose no one will be voting for me, either. — Sigh.

    I do envy your stats, though. My best month ever was September, with 8,856 views. And my best week ever is this week, with 2,284 views as of when I’m posting this comment.

    Anyway, Marilyn, thanks for posting this. Good to hear your formula for success.

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    1. You are doing all the right stuff. I had your numbers a few months ago. From where you are to where I am is not much. You’re well on your way. Just don’t give up and it will happen. You’ll be ahead of me eventually because you’re more controversial and people like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, we really like you. Besides your intelligent posts and beautiful photos, what I like about your blog is that your personality comes through, loud and clear. Regarding your five points about the deepest mysteries of blogging, number four is the hardest for me. I faithfully post once a week. That’s about all I can do for now.

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    1. And for a lot of people, that’s more than enough. I don’t get to read anyone every day and people who (like me) post a lot, I can only read some of the posts. I just don’t have the focus or time. I can’t both write a lot and read a lot. I also need some non-blog time to do other things … you know … cook, shop, talk to the dogs 🙂 Take some pictures, process them. I never thought retirement could be this busy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Impressive, I guess because I’m impressed. Where I go from here? I’m not sure. I haven’t been doing anything special but as I said, you get a momentum going and it is no longer in your hands. Actually, I’m not sure how much control we really have past a certain point. We can choose to quit or continue, but that’s pretty much it.

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    1. As it is, it takes me half a day just to respond to comments on a day when there are a lot of comments. I don’t want to get to the point where I can’t keep up with them any more. That would defeat the purpose of blogging for me. If I’m not connecting, why am I bothering at all?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We all love you, Marilyn, and this post is especially encouraging to those of us who aren’t where we would have liked to be after the first year, even if our numbers have double or tripled (or quadrupled). True, I could probably increase those numbers by posting daily, but I believe my work would suffer – I simply don’t have the time or energy to work all day and then dream up a mind-blowing post every evening. I guess for now I’m content with my following – maybe once I retire (if I’m ever able to), I’ll be able to devote more time to my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best place to be is whatever place feel rights to you. If you have regulars who read you and the occasional newbie who discovers you, you may not need or want more. Kind of my point. Between were I am and the next level up … I’m not sure I need to go there. It seems like more work, but no more satisfaction. I’m pretty happy with where I am. If you get so “big” eventually, you no longer are able to keep in touch with the people you meet and enjoy. It becomes a business … minus the paycheck!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is the first I have heard of voting with the NaBloPoMo, not sure if that is for the novel one or not. Is that through YeahWrite? Because if so, their voting is every day/week, not just in November. They were involved with the blogging challenge last year but not really this year.

    If there is voting involved with the blogging version, then I have no clue about it or where to begin because I hate things that require me to solicit for votes. Read me or not. Period. That’s all I know.

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    1. Yes, they do the contests all year round, but I only participated while I did NoBlowMe last November. Then they got a new editor there who decided my writing wasn’t good enough to submit, at which case I took some very serious umbrage (apparently so did a lot of other people). They fired his ass and apologized, but I’d had enough. I don’t do this for money. I do it for fun. If it isn’t fun, I won’t do it at all.

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      1. Oh, I agree, which is why I don’t do anything with them. I am not at that “level”, which I found out after I did the November challenge last year.

        Luckily, this year, they aren’t promoting their stuff as NaWhatEver so I am able to ignore it and ramble as usual.

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        1. I got seriously pissed when their snot-nosed kid editor decided I didn’t write well enough to participate in their “contests.” I decided they weren’t good enough for ME. After they dumped him (he must have pissed off a lot of people quickly to get canned that fast), they wrote me and asked if I wouldn’t please join in again, but I said no. They may have changed editors, but they still conduct business like a high school popularity contest. I’m too old and opinionated to subject myself to that crap. I think maybe I was ALWAYS too old for it, even when I was young. Last year, I did it because I wanted to support the other women who were on that particular team, but I don’t need them … and clearly, they don’t need me.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t believe I really have that many followers. I think a lot of them are either spambots or people who stopped by once, clicked “follow” and disappeared forever. Who knows if they are even still alive anymore?

      But the daily views ARE something. I don’t know who most of them are because they don’t even click “like,” but often I’ll meet people for the first time and discover they “read me.” I’m pleased and happily surprised when it happens. I was really taken aback when one of these people turned out to be a former Mayor of Boston who we used to hang out with when Garry was working. Blogging is weird that way. You can be a little bit famous and never know it.

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  7. It’s always good to be appreciated 😀

    On your 5 pointer: #5 has somehow been the easiest for me – 3+ years, highly erratic with my posts but still in the running. #2 is not particularly relevant to my blog. I cannot comment for myself on #1 and #3. I can only hope I do that. #4, that one on writing more often and regularly is what I’m working on. It’s not for lack of material. It’s the discipline that’s been in short supply.

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    1. Writing gets to be a habit, like anything else. Over the first few months, I started writing something every morning while I sip coffee. Anything, no matter how short. A few sentences thrown together and saved as a draft eventually gave me a lot of stuff. Posts don’t have to be long or fully fleshed out. They can be 100 words … a thought … an idea. I think a lot of people work too hard and lose the fun of it.

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