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I was eager to check all my blog statistics at the end of January because I had calculated that the numbers would trip my blog odometer over to a big number.
I keep a spreadsheet for the 8 blogs where I write online. I don’t keep track of stats for my Tumblr or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social sites I use. And I don’t obsess over the numbers month to month because I don’t get any income from people just viewing a page. I am curious about which posts got the most attention because it gives me some insight into what people want to read.
Looking at the total page hits for the eight blogs over their lifetimes, the number has now crossed the 100,000,000 mark.
That’s one hundred million page hits, which doesn’t mean there were that number of “unique visitors.” It is safe to assume that many of those hits come from the same people – and that’s a great thing. Blogs get subscribers and followers who are usually notified of new content and who, hopefully, come back to read more of your posts.
That number – 100,000,000 – sounds like the population of a country – my own little country of blogs. My blog country is a bit smaller than the 12th largest, the Philippines at 107,668,232, but we are bigger than Ethiopia (96,633,456) and Vietnam (93,421,832). Sure, we are only half the population of Brazil (202,656,784) and Pakistan (196,174,384), but everyone in Austria (8,223,062) could visit the site a dozen times each to get us to 100,000,000.
Weekends in Paradelle has a largely North American readership, but the UK, Germany, France and India account for about 25 percent of visitors to this particular blog.
My most oldest and most read blog is Serendipity35. I have been writing about technology and education there since 2006, so it has a head start on the other blogs. It pulls in about a half million hits every month (532,468 in January and 859,860 in December 2016) and accounts for 97 million of those hits.
Serious bloggers look at when people access their blog and then try to post in that time period. For Serendipity35, which has a much wider global audience than this blog, there is no “hot” hour. People are dropping by all day and night from somewhere.
You would assume that Weekends in Paradelle gets most of its hits on the weekends since that is when I post (mostly in the morning). Wrong. The most popular day is actually Wednesday (30% of all views), and the most popular time is 4 p.m. ET. Go figure. But I’ll still be posting on Fridays – Sundays most weeks.
It’s nice to know there is a country of visitors out there. It’s even nicer when you leave a comment, so I know it’s not just Google search bots visiting!
Yesterday, I wrote about the idea of devoting 20% of your time to something special. That could be a workplace habit or in your own life. My 20% seems to be writing.
If I devoted a fifth of my free time to one writing task – like a poetry manuscript – I might be a more successful writer. But, like most of my distracted life, I split that percentage into writing different things in different places.
There are five blogs that I write on regularly, including this one, and three others that I contribute posts to occasionally. I don’t get paid to do that writing. I can’t say that I do it for “fun” either. It’s hard to explain (especially to my wife) exactly why I do it.
I was reading another blogger,Maria Popover, who writes the Brainpickings.org blog. She has a “writing tip jar” on her site which says that “Brain Pickings remains ad-free and takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit, between the site, the email newsletter, and Twitter. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider becoming a Member and supporting with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a fancy dinner.”
That is like the public television and radio model. You listen, so you should pay something. Luckily, enough do pay, but the paying listeners are a small percentage of the listeners.
Most bloggers don’t have a pay model or a contributor model using PayPal or some other subscription. Some blogs have ads. I do that. Amazon ads are one of the most popular vendors. I will put those links here for books I am discussing. From all five of my blogs, I am surprised when in a three-month quarter they generate enough sales to have Amazon make a minimal payment which is only $10. So, I’m not getting rich by writing online. This blog is creeping up on 200,000 visitor hits, so people have found it and some must be reading it.
I had always hoped that the ads would cover the cost of some domain names and hosting that I pay every year. (You pay to own a domain name like ronkowitz.com, poetsonline.org or serendipity35.net. Some sites, like this one on WordPress, are hosted for free. Others require a yearly fee.)
I had added Google AdSense ads to some sites and that actually generated more than Amazon. Unfortunately, that ended very badly. One of the blogs was hacked and because of that Google deleted my ad account. The worst parts of that were that we never knew exactly why they felt we were at fault for the hack, and the Adsense ban is for life! Yes, for life, and there is no “person” to talk to about it. It’s all algorithms.
There are people who blog and make a living at it. There are people who are poets and make a living at it. But not many. Every poet I know does something besides write and publish poetry to earn a living. Teaching is the most common job, whether it is in a school or in workshops.
So, why do we write our blogs and poems? I haven’t come up with a definitive answer, but I have some ideas for myself.
I do hope it gets my name out there as a writer and that it leads to further opportunities and maybe some income. So, it is advertising for myself.
I like telling people things that I think will be helpful. I have been a teacher since 1975. It paid the bills, but teachers know that part of the reward is knowing that you are doing something good for your students and, in some small way, for the world.
I also like the occasional connections that come from writing online. That means anything from the person who “favorites” a post, makes a positive comment, emails a note, links to your writing. I have even had a few people find me online and ask me to do a workshop or give a presentation at a conference.
But all that perhaps isn’t enough to “justify” the time spent doing this. What is that other thing that keeps us doing that 20% that we don’t get paid to do? I’m sure some of you reading this are also volunteers like I am in some non-profit endeavor. Why do you do it?