Has my blog passed its Use By date?

Today, I’m questioning the continued existence of this blog. It’s reached the point where I can no longer deny that visitor stats are in decline. Ignoring the ludicrous bump they took after being Freshly Pressed in March (and the overflow to the following month) and the mysterious slight rise in October, my visitor counts have decreased since 2010.

I have no reliable way to know how many people might read my posts in email or a blog reader, so I tell myself that I still have tons of interested readers, they just don’t come online to be counted. But am I fooling myself?

It’s been a weird year on this blog, for many reasons. I admit my posts have deteriorated from hopeful excitement leading up to the publishing of The Brevity of Roses, to disappointment, grumbling, whining, and bewilderment. Hmmm … sounds like a good way to send readers scrambling, doesn’t it?

  • Novel thought—maybe I should work harder to write quality posts.
  • Maybe I should post less frequently. I, too, get overwhelmed trying to keep up with some bloggers.
  • Maybe it’s not my particular blog. (I’m grasping here.) Maybe blogs are passé. Maybe everyone has moved on to something else. Something shinier. If so, I didn’t get that memo.
  • Maybe it’s cyclical. Many of my earlier followers have gone on to be serious writers, and some of them serious bloggers. They have their hands full with their own followers. Others are still working toward publication and they want blogs with helpful writing advice, which they’re increasingly hard-pressed to find here.
  • Maybe that’s the thing— I’m comparing apples and oranges again. I blog, but I’m not a Blogger. I don’t have any clout—or should I say Klout? I’m not destined to have a big following. I shouldn’t expect a growing readership.  Accept that. Be thankful for the readers I have (and I am). Move on.

Many I know have quit blogging, or greatly curtailed it, so apparently they don’t miss it. But I believe I would. And since I’ve already concluded that I’m a bust at Twitter and Google+, my blog is my only real “public” presence. Still, I’d hate to be the last to realize it’s time to mark this blog expired and remove it from the shelf.

*sigh*

I’m stubborn. I’ll probably be the last blogger standing. But maybe some changes are due around here.

Any suggestions?

36 thoughts on “Has my blog passed its Use By date?

  1. Blogging does indeed come and go in cycles. And your bullet points are valid. But don’t fret and don’t worry. It’s also the holiday season and things usually start to cool way down from Thanksgiving to the middle of January. I know I’m on hiatus, because the only way to get work done was to stop blogging.

    If you don’t follow Anne R. Allen you should take a look at her last post, she gives 20 tips on how to build a fabulous blog. http://annerallen.blogspot.com She only blogs once a week and has an amazing following.

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    1. Anne, I can see the seasonal cycles by viewing my stats through the years, but overall visitor counts grew each year until this one. That’s what made me question.

      I do follow Anne’s blog, but her last post was actually tips for starting a blog. However, I think the size of Anne’s following is mostly due to her personality, which is not something you can teach others. I’m stuck being me.

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  2. I went through similar thought modes. Then I went by Kristen Lamb’s blog and read her book about it’s me blog, writer and that spurred me on to try to uplift my blog a little. I’ve been neglecting it due to novel deadlines and my father’s illness and passing and many other things that just are how life goes. But even before that, I wasn’t putting my heart into it, and that’s what I want to do again.

    If I didn’t blog and facebook (to a much lesser degree, twitter), I’d be way too reclusive! These social networking sites are my community – kind of sad in a way, huh? Laughing! But I live in a small mountain town and don’t get out much 😀 And really, the SN community has been wonderful to me – supportive and lifting me up and I hope I do the same for them.

    I read your blog in my email many times – I’ve been bad about commenting on blogs, but I am trying to get ‘out there’ again.

    I will say, too, that the “honeymoon period” after your shiny new book comes out is intoxicating, but it oft-times does follow with a thump – don’t let this get to your innards – remember the excitement and the joy and try to keep that close to you. You wrote a beautiful book – *smiling warmly*

    (weird, as I write this comment, there is a little tiny glowing dot that keeps running around, as if it’s some kind of bug – strange! )

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    1. “These social networking sites are my community – kind of sad in a way, huh?” No, Kat, I have to say that’s not sad because this is my community too. I wish I could say it’s because I live in the mountains, though.

      I admit that I’ve slacked off commenting on blogs myself, so I understand that. I was just shocked to see that for the first time my overall visitor count had gone down this year.

      Other authors have also told me the post-publishing slump is normal. I just wish I’d known beforehand. 😉 I’m happy to know you judged my book “beautiful”. If only I could make more people aware of its existence.

      I’m curious, was that dot in your eye or in the room?

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  3. I read all of your posts and occasionally comment. I especially like the ones that ask for a response, because it inspires me to think about something. But similar to other “relationships” in the rest of the world, they wax and wane, no fault of theirs (or yours). Every year at this time I am ready for a divorce or to sell my house, but when the sun comes north again, I feel a lot better. Maybe you too? I hope you don’t give up your blog.

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    1. You’re right about “this time of year”, Mary Jean. I get moody. Who decided to end the year in winter anyway? It’s probably the worst time to look back and evaluate the past twelve months. (And yes, I know those down under folks are not ending their year in winter. They have their own problems. :-))

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  4. My first post went up 7/31/10. The stats are very mysterious. I have had 40,000 hits but about 4,500 comments. 150 followers and growing . I average 135 hits a day with 25 or 30 comments from followers. Different people comprise that 25 usually plus the core base. People drop by because they don’t have a long read and a minute and a half visit communicates the particular message and people seem to like that. I don’t have time to read a post more than 4 or 5 paragraphs and I can’t stand “join me in worshiping my cat or my kids” blogs. Do they think anyone cares? I do mostly cartoons and readership is mostly poets, authors, photographers and artists. They build on my network and I on theirs. I am comfortable with this size. Friendships develop beyond mere visitors and I value that. Besides I don’t want to spend more than 2 hours a day commenting and answering comments. We will always have our core group. The key is reciprocity. I have followed many blogs and commented but they don’t seem to realize I have one too and don’t visit so they have been deleted. You are welcome to play off my blog and visit my commenters and perhaps establish new connections. Many would find your stuff of interest Very delightful and talented people visit me. Genre draws genre and talent attracts talent. I would not be visiting you if I did not find posts of interest and this post today did indeed spark that interest as you see. 4 particular published authors follow my blog regularly and I have purchased a book from each as a Christmas present for mother. If you send me your address and sign your book “To Jennie……” I will send you a check. Relate cost and shipping. See, you just made a sale.

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  5. From time to time I go through blog withdrawal when it comes to reading other people’s blogs as well as writing my own posts. Lack of time or sometimes lack of ideas or both. I always enjoy your posts though, even if I don’t always comment. I don’t blog all that much in general, which is probably the reason I only have 29 followers. Or ist it? I don’t pay attention to stats much, particularly not to the sales stats of my books.

    But right now, I have a valid excuse (do I?) for not blogging much. I’m in the process of redesigning my website–not because I want to but because I’m forced to. And it’s all Microsoft’s fault.
    If you want to know more, why not hop over and read my newest post, if you have time.
    http://christa-polkinhorn.blogspot.com/2011/12/microsoft-i-am-filing-for-divorce.html
    Christa

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  6. Hi Linda. Gaining followers takes up time, at least, that’s what I’ve observed. I know bloggers who get 50 to 100 comments. But they also visit that many blogs themselves. There are folks who tweet many times each day, as well as post on Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn and other places. I’m amazed by them. It’s paying off for them in book sales. Perhaps I’m not organized enough. Or maybe I just have too many other things to do that take up my time. Or maybe …

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  7. I read your blog through email. I am subscribed to several bloggers and only read that way. It’s easier for me and I seldom post comments because I simply lack the time.

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  8. Hey, if you enjoy blogging, you should keep blogging.

    I got sort of bored with my own blog and also found it *surprise* to be a detriment to getting published elsewhere. I used to post short pieces on my blog and then when one of those pieces seemed ‘perfect’ to submit to a publication – I’d find that the publication, in many instances, considered my blog post to mean the piece was already published and therefore they wouldn’t consider the piece. Kind of a bummer.

    On the other hand, I’m very glad that I have devoted time to blogging and to following several other writing blogs. I feel like I know you – and several other bloggers I only know from an online presence – personally.

    I honestly feel that if we ever met at a writers’ conference or award ceremony (heh heh) we would sit right down together with a cup of coffee/tea/wine/beer and just start right in like old friends. And that’s a great feeling.

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    1. I do, Natasha, so I will. 😉

      My husband gives me a weird look when I refer to you guys as friends, but I don’t care. You all do seem like real friends, and I think we’d have a rip-roaring time, if we ever met in the flesh. And by that I don’t mean we see you in your outdoor shower. 😉

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  9. M’Lud,I refer the jury to Alannah, Countess of Murphy and Keeper of the Sinister Echoes http://alannahmurphy.co.uk/2011/11/20/the-end/ Same thing. Similar advice. Boils down to ‘do what you do because you want to, not because you have to’. Your readers will see your creative energy then, not your attempts to feed the fickle public beast. I use ‘your’ generically. I would talk to a wall, unless it kicked me in the unmentionables and told me to shove off. You never know, there could be someone the other side of the wall, loving what I’m saying. Glass half full.

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        1. Oooh, I is being used as an example, woo hoo 😉

          I like Countess of Murphy, I’m using that from now on!!!

          We all have questioned our own blogs, and the reason we blog. I have done it over and over. In the end, you have to do what’s right for YOU. Write about WHATEVER you feel passionate about. The minute I wrote about my love for music, and how I regretted given up as a musician, I got the most views that day, and that one post, became the most popular one so far, so I think writing about your passion (whatever that is) and what you love, is what matters.

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          1. Well, Alannah, I guess I should blog about pizza then! 😉 Seriously, I agree that you should blog (and write) what you’re passionate about. So, I guess I’ll keep on as usual. Well, maybe with a little more restraint on the freaking out.

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  10. Try posting poetry posts. That’s what I did and I got 4 followers in one day (thats a lot for my blog that only gets 32 views per day). And try changing your layout, it might or might not help.

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  11. Blogging comes and goes in cycles. And, don’t fret about the visitor count. With regard to what to write, I like it. Hang in there. If you quit, how else we’re going to find out about your next novel, collection of short stories, etc.?

    Writing for one reader is just as good as writing for a thousand.

    😉

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  12. It’s funny, Linda cause I view you as a quite proliffic blogger! I guess it’s coming from where I am – I read this post the first day you posted it and it’s taken me 4 days to have a chance to come in and comment – to me your blog is succesful. But, it doesn’t matter what it means to me, it’s your blog and has to bring to you what you need from it. I think blogs change their purpose to their owners as we go on. Maybe ask yourself what you want from you blog, if you’re not happy with it. Take the changes from there. Sorry, no suggestions for you other than that, I like you just the wayyyy you are 🙂

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    1. Jennifer, until I read your comment I didn’t realize it had been four days since I posted! You’ve been a regular here for a long time, and I appreciate that. I know you’ve seen me question whether to continue blogging more than once. But I love it, so I’m not going anywhere. Maybe it’s just time for a new theme, or at least a new header (after Christmas). And more positive posts. 🙂

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    2. Linda,

      I love what Jennifer says here. I don’t think I can add too much. Measures of success really depend on perspective, so Jennifer is right. We bloggers/writers have to decide if our blog is still feeding our writerly selves.

      Some days I wonder about the legitimacy of my blog as well, but I often think that as long as I enjoy what I’m writing, I’m doing okay. Slowly, but surely, readers will follow. The key is “slowly”, which means I avoid staring at stats as much as possible 🙂

      One thing I have grown to love, which also helps in blogger burn out, is to find people to guest post on my blog and to do author interviews. But really, anything to break up the pattern – guest posts or what not – helps.

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      1. Something to consider, Christi. Of course, your blog has more depth than mine. I don’t really think I could stop blogging. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something even when I can’t settle my mind to writing fiction.

        And “slowly” is much harder for me than I ever would have thought. 😉

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  13. Hi, Linda! I read many of your posts in my Inbox these days. I rarely comment on any blogs or forums because of time issues, but I still like to check up on online friends.

    Did you know you can see your e-mail followers under Site Stats? Right now (for me, anyway) the list is accessible from Totals, Followers & Shares, blog followers (link), then Email Followers (tab/link).

    Keep blogging for as long as you enjoy it, and people will continue to enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. Hi, Ann, I’m glad to know you take the time to read my posts. Thank you. 🙂

      Yes, I know I can see those who subscribe by email, but only if they use the button on my blog to do so. I can also see those who subscribe to my post feed, but only if they also have a WordPress blog. Stupid rivalry between platforms! 😦

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  14. Oh Linda, I feel the same! I’ve been having an insane time keeping up with all of the blogs I read and blogging lately. I now have googlereader, so I keep track there. I used to have a lot of blogs sent straight to my email, but that got overwhelming. I now have the googlereader app on my iPhone. It makes it easier to read a blog here and there, but still I don’t stop to read them that often. Today when I logged in I had 200+ blogs to read. I wanted to cry. The folders option helps me to weed through them based on what type of blog it is: writer, author, agent, book blogger, etc.

    I’ve always kind of viewed my own blog as me talking to myself. If someone else reads it, then Woohoo! It’s icing on the cake. With the holidays and everything else going on in my writing life, I’ve decided to change my blogging schedule all together. I can’t keep up, but I want to keep posting regularly. I tried to keep up with everyone else and post all the time, nope, not for me.

    I do read all of your blogs, but I’m awful with reading them in a timely manner and commenting. Don’t fret over the stats. I feel like I’m in the same boat you are most of the time. 🙂

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    1. I know what you mean, Heather. Sometimes I get so far behind on blog reading, and then I feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation so I don’t comment.

      I started out just talking to myself here, so I suppose it will go full circle and I’ll end up that way too, long after everyone else has moved on to the next big thing. 🙂

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