Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blogging about Blogging, Part 1

I have a confession to make. I look at the stats for my blog pretty much every day. Back when I started it last November, I used to just go to my blog and stare at the "0 comments" at the bottom of each post, knowing no one was reading it. However, my husband soon introduced me to Google Analytics, where I could, free of charge, actually see how many visits were made to my blog and where they were coming from. So it's become my ritual when I'm home, to check my stats while I'm eating breakfast. I have learned a couple of interesting things by doing this:
  • Just because no one is leaving comments, doesn't mean no one is visiting.
  • Some days are much better than others, but in general, I get around the same number of visits each day, which is usually somewhere in the teens.
  • Several people I have never met have links to my blog from theirs. They're all bike people in some way or another; most are local (at least in Michigan); and most seem like nice, interesting people. Still, it makes me curious about how they even found my blog and why they think it is worth adding to their blogroll. It also makes me wonder if I should add more people to my blogroll since I currently have a pathetic number.
  • Sometimes people reach my blog from some other site or blog and I have no idea why. There doesn't seem to be any link on their blog to mine, nor have I commented on it or associated myself with it in any way. I guess I'll just be grateful and have it remain a mystery.

Late last month I had quite a spike in the number of visits one particular day, and it made me ponder what drew people to my blog on that day. A couple of days later, I also had some days that were two and four visits (many of which were probably me checking to see if I had comments), so I must have got a lot less interesting quickly. As you may have figured out already, the thought of no one reading my blog does bother me. After all, writing is what I do and I'm used to caring about whether people are reading what I'm writing, whether it's on my blog or something work-related. I have read all the advice on how to make my blog popular and have actually done some of it. I have also done some shameless self-promotion, such as sending links to my blog out to people I know via e-mail and suggesting they check it out.

I'm analyzing this way too much, but I've also been thinking about my favorite blogs, all of which are more popular than mine (some of them vastly so) and why I like to read them. I am hoping this will give me some indication of whether or not my blog will ever become popular. So, I have decided to compile all the information I can think of my favorite blogs and why I think they are popular, then compare them to my blog. However, this post is already significantly longer than I intended and I have to start my workday, so this will have to be continued in tomorrow's post (which will also make thinking of something to write about tomorrow much easier).


inasnit said...

So ya know - Chris links to his blog in his MMBA forum signature (I think that's how I found it, he may have just posted a link to it on a "blog" thread in the basement once) and I found your blog from his.

I enjoy your blog very much. I don't have the discipline to post much and I'm envious of people who do. Also, I can relate - quite often - to the topics in your posts.

I almost introduced myself to you at the Stony Creek TT (I sell merchandise for the MMBA and was in the tent all day, saw you a couple of times), but I felt like a dork about it, so I didn't ;)

I think your site is on my blogroll because I follow your blog through my google reader (RSS feed) and my blogroll comes from that.


Hope that helps shed some light on at least one loyal reader ;)

~marty (inasnit / corporate_hippy)

Ali B. said...

I believe I found your blog the same way Marty did. :) I added you because you are a girl, in Michigan, and you like to ride bikes. I guess I don't think much about the number of readers or visitors to my blog... I just like to document my days and the amusing things I think of or see. I treat it as my journal only better - photos, music.. videos! Ali

Andrea said...

Thanks for the explanations, Marty and Ali. It is interesting to know some of those details. I didn't even think about the fact that my husband spends all that time on the MMBA boards. I lurk there occasionally, but I never post anything.

Marty, it's funny because I saw you at Stony Creek and I recognized you and almost went up to talk to you, but I felt weird too. I sometimes worry that getting to know people in the blog world will make me act too familiar with them in real life. Next time I see you I will definitely say something.

Xavier said...

Frequent short, concise, quickly digestible posts about what is important to you. Add pictures. Have some variation of subject matter, but keep to one-three themes, depending on posting frequency.

That's my recipe.

People surf when they read blogs. Make it easy for them.

FWIW, I added your blog to my blogroll back when because I liked the way you wrote, and because the title told me what you were about.