I’ve spent the last few days thinking about what advice to give to new bloggers. Having signed up as an NBI2015 sponsor, i feel like i have to do something to earn that title. Unfortunately, i’m not hugely talented in writing (this is such a great post by Jeromai) and might fit into the newbie blogger category better myself – if you take a closer look at my posting history, you’d find out that i picked this blog back up again in december 2014.
So i can’t really tell you where my ideas come from, how i’m able to do this for years on end, how i found my niche, my favourite topic and so on. I’m still exploring, still travelling. But there’s one thing few bloggers talk/write about. I’ll come to that in a minute; you’ll have to wade through the prologue, first.
I’m not a person that usually wants everybody’s attention- on the contrary, it makes me uncomfortable. If you’d meet me at a party? You probably wouldn’t, cause i’d be the guy in the back watching the action take place. I’m an observer, sometimes curious, mostly interested. I look at how people interact with each other, see group dynamics at work and maybe, if i feel comfortable, i’ll join the group. Or decide it’s not for me. All this happens while i’m still back in my corner.
Why would i tell you this? There was another thing stopping me from blogging, besides the “i don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said better”-feeling. i felt the instant i pressed the “publish” button i’d be writing- and publishing something for the whole world to see. That’s frightening, right? Everyone could come across your blog and read your opinion on meaningless stuff like MMOs. I didn’t want that. Sure, i wanted this blog to be read, to have comments, conversation, maybe even getting links from somewhere, but the prospect that the whole world is able to read it still is somewhat uncomfortable.
I felt this anxiety the last time yesterday, when i published my opinion on gamergate. I knew i’d offend someone, and maybe i did, but my balance for that post is: no hate-mail and only one Twitter follower lost. That’s not too bad. But i also noticed the – comparable- lack of “likes” and (at first) comments. When you’re anxiously waiting for someone to hit the like button, it’s a strange situation.
So what do i want to share? Numbers. I think there’s a blog or two who share their numbers, but generally, we don’t share this stuff. I don’t know if it is to lessen competition or for some other reason (for example because we don’t care about those numbers), but actual numbers are hard to find (the easiest being the Feedly reader number of blogs). So if you’re worried the whole world reads your blog and finds it unattractive/uninteresting/offending, you can stop doing that now.
I started this blog when Everquest Next was announced- ok, a few days earlier, but it was around that time- in august 2013. In this first month of blogging, i had 414 visits- that averages out at 13 visits per day. This was also my best month in terms of visits until this january, when i hit 666 visits (21 per day). My EQ Next reveal post was found- and i really don’t know how- by Syp, who linked to it. I can’t access the data anymore, but there were about 50 visits coming from that alone.
You’ll have those spikes when you are lucky enough to get found by people who really do have a high visit count. Massively sent me huge numbers when i blogged about their impending closure and they were friendly enough to link me (about 150 visitors); the only one i know topping that is Wilhelm, who sent almost 160 visitors my way this year alone.
Generally, being in those blogroll-thingies-that-show-recent-postings help getting visits. Because they show the latest posts on top and include the title (really need to get that thing going here, as well- is it possible with basic wordpress?).
Feedly tells me i have 23 readers- one of them being me. That is backed up by my usual average visits/day count, which is at 29 views per day this year. Note, these are visits. On average, everyone who came here visited my blog 1.82 times this year. That leaves me with about 16 different people a day.
About a fifth of my visits (777 of 3685 this year) come from search engines- i consider that much, because what you can find here really isn’t valuable information. The FF14-crafting-post, maybe. A little. The rest is just personal scribbling of misadventures mixed with an opinion here and there. No guides, no deep insights. I used to post/comment news, but that’s really too much for me- i save that for when there really is something i like to talk about.
I’ll also give you quick numbers from 2014 and 2013:
In 2014, i published 10 posts (8 in december), but still got 2288 visits- almost nobody came twice and the reason they came at all was this post about two rocky launches: Archeage and Final Fantasy XIV. I also received 4 likes and 2 comments (all but 1 like in december); and that happened because again, i was lucky. A post got the attention from mmorpg.com as well as Syp.
In my first year, 2013, i published 33 posts, probably in a span of 2 or 3 months before i stopped posting. My daily counts go down from 13 visits/day in august to 3 visits/day in december.
My best month, so far, has been february- with 1302 visits by 658 people. Since that was when Massively was in danger and also when some other, much more popular bloggers than me noticed my blog, it will be quite some time before i can top this.
What does this tell us?
All in all, i’d like to tell you this: of course we care about those numbers- if it isn’t quantity, it’s quality- a like, a comment, a link or a mention somewhere are huge motivators. I’d also like to say that a little help from others, by citing, linking, discussing others’ posts can do a lot of good for the readership and community on someone’s blog.
So all of you who think about starting a blog on your own? Now’s the time, because this month is all about helping- with advice, discussion, common topics, links, mentions and introductions to this community.
And no, it’s not the whole world who’s reading your blog. And those who do? They’re great people!