The Mysteries of the Reader


Blogging’s a weird business.

Once upon a time, I was a traffic whore. I love that term, btw. What it means is, I’d do anything required get my page hits up. SEO, keywords, catch phrases, tags, categories…everything and anything I could think of. And, to a point, it worked. At one time, I could get my page views up to about eighty a day, five days a week.

Last week, though, I couldn’t seem to break through the 25 barrier. I tried to pander to my audience with rant posts (I do those no matter what though), I tried a heartfelt post, I tried to use a list of items…all things I thought might be of interest to the reader, but you know what? I got no love from the Interwebs and my page views stayed low.

I don’t mind now, though. I’m not as much a traffic whore as I used to be. I did the rant because I wanted to rant, not just because my readers like it. If the two converge, that’s great, but I’m gonna rip on the gatekeepers with any and all fodder, period. If I lose readers or friends over it, I guess that’s the price I pay for taking my stand and stating my opinion. I’ve lost friends for less.

And I did my heartfelt post not just to generate traffic, but to share a piece of myself, something beside the raving lunatic and whining weirdo masquerading as a writer. If that draws people into the discussion, great, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. It’s my blog, and I write what I want.

The point is, readers are strange ducks. As soon as I start quacking the way I think they want me to they change their tunes. The things they like when they come to my page one day may not be the same when they come back to my page a year later, a month later, a week later. Heck, later that same week they may be in a different mood, a different mindset, a different place in their lives. Maybe what I wrote the first time they saw my blog spoke to them for some reason, but now I’m just repetitive and boring for writing the same smack over and over again.

Tastes and people change. What was a big hit in 2008 isn’t so much now. What I did 2010 doesn’t really matter anymore. What I did in September, no one cares about. What I did October 3 is long forgotten, and no one wants to hear about that. Internet folk seek fresh, new content all the time and if you can’t deliver, you’re out.

What about your blogs, y’all? Have you been able to figure out by observing your stats what your regular visitors like to read? Can you draw a bead on what they’re looking for when they stop to drink from your well on the web? And for those of you who stop by here, what would you like to see more of, less of, none of?

Sound off, and let me know. I’m genuinely interested, you dark and mysterious readers.

-JDT-

Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, all rights reserved

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7 thoughts on “The Mysteries of the Reader

  1. Blogging is a curious business. I gave up trying to guess what “people” want to read: posts I expected to be interesting, and which I spent a lot of time on, have frequently failed to attract much attention, while others that I dashed off on a whim have attracted a lot more. Who knows why?

    Exactly. Very frustrating, isn’t it? It annoys me no end.

    I’m blogging much less these days than I used to, so I suppose that’s probably why my traffic is a long way down on previous heights. Trying to build a reliably popular blog is like having a second or third job; you have to keep on it all the time, churn out at least one post per day in order to entertain the tastes of everyone who might stop by. Personally I think writing fiction is a worthier use of some of that blogging time.

    I agree. Let’s write more and blog less. πŸ™‚

    It’s also holiday season again though. Thanksgiving in some parts of the world, Halloween, school half term. Lots of stuff that draws people away from their computers. Point being: it isn’t necessarily you or anything in particular that you’re doing (or not doing).

    True enough. But the sudden drop-off is disconcerting. Thank you for coming around again Charlotte. It’s always such a joy to have you. πŸ™‚

  2. Ah, how expectations change. For a while I was obsessed with my traffic, and my hits were consistently over 50 a day. If they fell below 30 I’d feel frantic to get it back up. Just recently I had 12 hits, and I was ecstatic. Haitus does that to you. And I don’t comment on other blogs much, so no traffic that way.

    I think the blogging bubble has burst. People are blase about it in general.

    I don’t know. Could be. I think new and shiny like Facebook and Google+ will be a preoccupation for a few, then that will drizzle off, then we’ll have more bloggers again, and so forth. Cyclical maybe.

  3. That was a quick leave of absence… :}

    Scheduled posts, m’man. The BANE of all pantsers.

    My traffic seems to stay about the same no matter how long I go on hiatus. Most traffic is going to three or four of my older, more popular posts anyway.

    Interesting you manage to keep the static numbers without fresh content. I think I had that when I had the bio-data stuff up.

  4. It is weird what gets views. Looking at my top 3 viewed posts from the last week, we got:

    3. Looking at naked women in public…. not at a strip club
    2. Girls are like Gremlins
    1. Twins – Take 3 (34 views this week)

    As we can probably tell from this list, sex (women) “sells”. The funniest is the #1 one. I made that post as an experiment, I posted the picture to see if it would get me a lot of views. I was right, it is still one of the most popular blog posts i have ever done. Mind you after saying all this, my blog was NEVER as popular as yours, so 34 views is impressive to me, I am not sure what is impressive to your blog.

    I don’t either, Bob. I’ve never been over 100 consistently. I think my all-time high was something near 140. My wife got over 3500 once. That could be cool. πŸ™‚

  5. Well, sometimes I’m not sure if readers are strange ducks or what…I have some blogs (yours included) in my rss reader BUT, I don’t go to my reader every day or every week. If I see one of yours on FB or some such, like I did, this morning, I click on it and read it, then go back to my reader usually and see if there were some I missed.

    Yeah, that’s probably an approach a lot of people are taking these days. If you don’t, it’s pretty easy to get caught up reading all day and not get anything done!

    I don’t always comment either because I missed the post or because I have nothing really to add. And that’s pretty much how it is for all the blogs I read.

    I generally post a comment just to let someone know I was there. If it’s a popular post or blog, I won’t say anything.

    As for my readers…my most popular post to date was entitled “10 fun facts about the plague.” Which had nothing to do with writing other than that my wip takes place during the plague. I wouldn’t have thought the plague would be such a fascinating topic, but there you go.

    They’re pretty odd, those blog surfers. I have some posts about the search terms which brought people to my blog. Hysterical.

    My other most popular posts were when my cat was dying…hmmm, starting to see a theme here. Anyway, I do pay attention to my stats, and they go up and down, but I don’t get too antsy about it. Guess I just need to write more about the plague…or dying cats. LOL

    Death seems to be a catchy theme, eh? Sick what people want to read about.

  6. I have an easy solution to the problem. I never check my stats. Well, maybe once every couple of months. They’re always next to nil, but that means nothing because I have quality instead of quantity when it comes to blogging friendships.

    Well! That’s the best way to go, I’m sure! πŸ˜€

  7. I don’t try to figure out what my readers want, I just write to get stuff off my chest. Based on the search terms that guide people to my blog, I’ll say there are some strange people out there and I’m not sure I want to know what they’re thinking.

    What you do everyday is important. I’ve missed you and Falcon in the 2+ months I’ve been gone. It’s less about stats and more about friendships!

    True enough, the friendships are key! And we’ve certainly missed you too. πŸ™‚

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