In My Writing Life: 10 I said that I started a blog in 2014 and promised that I would write about it later. And so here I am, concluding this series on my writing life by talking about my blog, “Much to Write About,” on WordPress.
I started this blog because writer-illustrator-designer friend Robin Koontz kept encouraging me to do so. She pointed out that, unlike Facebook or Twitter posts, blogs live forever out there in cyberspace, and that search engines pick them up when people are researching relevant terms. Robin kept drumming into my head that blogging was a very good way to market oneself and one’s books.
In the second half of 2014 I started my blog . . . without any clear plan, really. The first thing I wasn’t clear about was how often I would blog. After four or five months I settled down to blogging twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. And, except for any rare special-announcement blogs, I have kept to that pattern.
The second thing I wasn’t clear about was what subjects I would blog on. I saw the choices as Narrow or Broad. One who blogs on a Narrow range of topics often has more followers. Imagine a mystery writer, for example, who blogs only on mystery books. Maybe even only on cozies. The more narrow the range, the greater the possibility of attracting fans of that genre and building a loyal following.
The problem with that, for me, is that I do not write in any one genre. I write children’s books: beginning readers, early readers, Middle Grades fiction and nonfiction, YA fiction. I write books for adults: fiction and nonfiction. I write in prose, I write in poetry. I publish traditionally, I self-publish.
This means I have many interests and many things to write about. It also means that I won’t attract anywhere near the same number of fans that a genre writer will. But that’s okay. I decided to write about any and all of my interests. And that’s what I did and have been doing. I write about Baseball. About Mystery. About Poetry, Grammar, and Writing Well. About Writers. About History.
I have been very happy proceeding in this fashion, and I have slowly but surely gained followers. I don’t know if these followers are like-minded ones who have a variety of interests, or whether they follow me for one or two topics such as Baseball and Writing Well, and kind of just put up with the rest of my writing.
However, something occurred last year which led me to explore the popularity of the 200-plus blogs I’ve written, and that was the fact that the WordPress template I had chosen for my blog back in 2014 was going to be dropped, sooner or later. Wanting to update when it was convenient for me (and not when it was a dire necessity) I decided to switch to one of WordPress’s most recent templates late in 2022.
After I made the switch, I noticed that it was easy for me to check daily stats if I wanted to. Things like how many people visited my blog that day, what they looked at, and how long they hung around. These are stats that I might be interested in once or twice a month. I certainly feel no need to check them daily. I don’t even think about them daily.
But once I realized the stats were there, I decided to see what my ten most popular blogs have been over the last nine years. My reason for doing this was partly just plain curiosity . . . and partly to see if the majority of my readers were really interested in only one topic. Or, maybe, two. In other words, were my readers interested in as many different topics as I was?
What I learned pleased me. I learned that the top ten blogs people view are, in fact, scattered over several fields.
Those blogs, in terms of views, are listed below. The parenthetical information is the year the blog was published.
- Jack Graney and the Broadcasting Dawn Era (2015)
- Five Figures of Speech (2017)
- Punctuation Marks: 1 (2018)
- Ridge and Furrow (2017)
- Emily Dickinson (2019)
- Mountain Passes: Raton Pass (2019)
- The Strawberry Roan (2014)
- From Here to There: Transitional Devices (2018)
- The Golden Age of Mystery (2015)
- Foreshadowing (2020)
If I break these down into areas, fields, or categories, I have:
Baseball — 1
Writing Skills — 4
Poetry — 2
Mountain Passes — 1
Memoir — 1
Mystery — 1
It definitely pleases me to know that those who read my blog are interested in a variety of topics.
Here’s the link to my very first blog, The Strawberry Roan.
One response to “My Writing Life: 12”
Hey, I cry foul! I kept clicking on No. 2, Five Figures of Speech, but got nowhere :(. Nice blog and congrats on 9 year.