Anyone who has ever written a blog can attest to the following: It's hard work. Trying to think of subject matter that would appeal to the masses, writing well, making sure people can find you on the web, trying to attract readership by reading other blogs and tweeting, and making your blog's interface easy to navigate and attractive to the eye all go into writing a blog. It's not all "if you build it they will come" philosophy. No, I have been discovering just how hard it is first hand.
When I first started Picking Up a Dropped Stitch, I went into it with very limited expectations. As I continued to post entries I got more of an interest in sharing my experiences with readers. But, lately I found myself wanting to drop this blog altogether. Why is that?
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light
I discovered a very nasty side to myself over the last month: I developed an obsession with readership and pageview statistics. That's right: I turned into a Statistics Ho.
Logically, I don't really have a right to expect readership. I've only had my blog up since September and so far it has become a niche blog on knitting. Let's be honest, most people are not into knitting. I have 12 blog posts which really isn't much. I try to write a blog entry once a week, but this is not always possible. I have no followers and one subscriber (my hubs). No comments. I have been obsessed with asking why this is the case.
Why don't I have engagement in the knitting blogosphere? I've discovered the reason: There are THOUSANDS of blogs just like mine trying to get readers' attention. On the one hand I think, maybe it's a good thing, not having any attention. I could write whatever! But then the Statistics Ho in me thinks, "What's the point of all this?" The bigger question should be: "Why is this so important to me?"
Advice. You know the saying...
No one can say I haven't attempted to get an audience. I've been following the Ann Landers of blog advice on the net: aka GOOGLE. Meaning, everyone who blogs has advice on how to give your blog more exposure. I've read it all and done most of it:
- One should write every single day. (Okay, I can't do that..)
- Join Google Plus (I have, and I hate it).
- Tweet about your blog and follow other knitters. (Done.)
- Read other people's blogs, comment on their posts and subscribe to their feeds. (Done, done, done!)
This is becoming a full-time job
Whew! I could go on. Between writing and designing the blog, reading other blogs and researching how to get an audience, my evenings and weekends are shot. I would like to know how other bloggers manage this with busy personal lives. Reading blogs all night is not something I can commit to, though I really do try when I can, and comment when I read something really interesting. How do other bloggers do it without making it the unpaid full-time job?
The Blogger vs Wordpress dilemma
Picking Up a Dropped Stitch is made in Blogger (those that have "Blogspot" in their address usually are created in Blogger). I was thinking maybe Blogger isn't a good choice for me. Maybe I need to migrate to Wordpress? Perhaps they're good at marketing themselves, but Wordpress gives me the perception that they are better for blog exposure and community even though everything I've read about switching contradicts this idea. So, then I change my mind and stick it out with Blogger.
Blogger is owned by Google, and some believe this somehow makes your blog more powerful. I could probably write a blog post on my experience working with Google and how Google is systematically backing away from Blogger. Let me list briefly what Google has done to push away all the things that support Blogger users: Ending their Blogger Help Blog, forcing people to start a Google + account by shutting down Google Friend Connect and backing away quietly from supporting Feedburner (the free email and rss subscription service for Blogger), but I digress. I'm keeping my eyes on you, Google! I haven't decided if I'm switching yet.
Should I change the name?
I have searched Picking Up a Dropped Stitch on Google to see where it's listed - It's buried somewhere on the third page, which isn't good for search results. The blog name is blended with tutorials on how to pick up a dropped stitch. The thought popped into my head that I should change the name of my Blog. But, the two people who read my blog tell me to keep the name - they like it. Alright then...
The Numbers Ho rears her princess head
My pageview statistics - looking a lot like a black diamond ski hill to hell
I've been analysing the content of my blog critically. Knitting is a very specific topic. I can't expect everyone to care what I have to say about it, so I'm going to lighten up on my readers...or lack thereof. Read if you want to read, subscribe if you want to subscribe. You are welcome to my fold wherever you are from. Welcome, friends.
Plus, the notion to write every day is not always possible. I can't help but question the quality of blog posts if you are writing every day. Are you writing meaningful posts, or just writing for the sake of writing? I conclude that if I have something to say, then I will say it, and try to make it interesting and well written. Above all, I choose quality - not quantity. If that is the reason my blog gets passed over, I will accept that as the consequence. I reap what I sow.
I am proud to say that I haven't analysed my blog stats in about a week in an effort to lick this bad habit, and it's been hard, but I've managed to get through. I think I can cautiously say this Statistics Ho Roxanne can turn off that red light. Now to exchange one bad OCD habit for a better one...where are my knitting needles?