Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Using Stats to Make Blogging Decisions

I have two blogs. The other one is From the Shadows to the Page, which is something I started to post about writing from life, since my two books are written from life. Memoir-writing, personal and family history collecting-- that sort of thing.

Yet with limited time, and when I view the Stats on both blogs, I question whether my quiet blog is worth my time. Most posts only get a few comments, and I can see by the Stats that some days only get 2 or 3 views.

So I'm faced with questions and decisions: Why am I keeping it up? Is it something I want to continue, considering the limited audience? Using Blogger Stats to make the decision shows that it's not a wise use of my time online. Unless I were to step it up over there, which I prefer not to do. I've got all I can handle here, and I'm not sure I want two blogs anymore.

So then what? How to let a blog die? Gradually post less and less, until finally one day you're done? I can just as easily post about writing from life here. Memoirs, even recording one's personal and family history. These are subjects that would work here. It's all writing after all.

There's a lesson in comparing my two blogs. This one is where I have focused my online energy. I used this blog's URL to follow and comment on others. That other one I dabbled now and then, never following anyone, didn't list other blogs on my sidebar, did nothing to attract people. (In fact, most of the followers probably came from here originally.)

So if you don't want much of a following, or a real active blog life, just don't try.  

Don't follow people. Don't comment on their blogs. Don't do anything special to attract visitors. Don't give back.

That's how to have a quiet blog where not much happens. Check your Stats. It will show you how things are going, and if your blog needs a shot of adrenaline.

50 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post~ I'm very impressed that you maintained two blogs at all, but it seems reasonable enough to combine them. We already really enjoy your posts here, and I'd love to see some of your memoir stuff.

    PS~ I almost never check my stats, but I'll go take a look right now :)

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  2. I can see where maintaining two blogs, plus everything else could be a bit much. If you wanted to keep your other blog going, maybe just post once a week there on a certain day. Didn't realize you had another blog. I'm sneaking over to look. :)

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  3. Is there a way you can merge the two blogs?

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  4. I just don't know how you keep up with everything. Writing two blogs, reading and commenting on blogs, writing and critiquing/editing, baking cookies....Your list just goes on and on. I can barely keep up with one blog a weekly post, fitting in some blog reading.

    Maybe I need some time management lessons from the master! What do you say? :)

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  5. That's interesting - I'm just considering scrapping my second blog AND website and consolidating my online activities into one place so your post is very timely.

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  6. I once thought about starting a second blog. But I decided just what you so eloquently say here, summed up in a word. No! I don't have time for a second blog if I want to do justice to the one I have, and if I want to write another book!!!
    Ann

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  7. Yeah you prolly can merge both blogs. i have seen other people do it.

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  8. I am always amazed by people who can keep up with multiple blogs, and I think for everyone who does, they are often faced with this at some point. If you are passionate about the topics you explored at the other blog, you could close it and dedicate a post or two a month to the ideas and themes here at this blog, right? :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  9. My group blog is like that. I've often thought of quitting it, but it's hard not to do it for the other writers. I agree with Joanna, you can either merge the two or just refer the old blog to the one you want to keep. Good luck. =)

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  10. Carolyn, Sometimes we just have to set limits! I wouldn't join a group blog because I know I wouldn't stay with it.

    Angela, Starting up a blog is the easy part. Maintaining it is another story!

    Joanna, So I suppose the way to do it is to just put a notice on my other blog that I've moved? Oh well, I'll figure it out.

    Ann, it's tempting to start another blog because it's so easy to do! But then 6 months later you're going, Uh, what now?

    Kate, maybe I'll watch what you do and copy it :)

    Linda, watch what Kate does and copy it.

    Ann, I don't know how I do it either. Probably why I'm looking at cutting corners. And plus I work at home so everything is consolidated in one place. That saves tons of time.

    Jess, Yes I think I'm going to consolidate the blogs. It only makes sense.

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  11. I think you have to think about whether your second blog is different enough, and whether it has a different audience. If not, then maybe not worth your time.

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  12. Goodness, there is NO way I could handle 2 blogs! I'm barely keeping up with one!
    It sounds like you've made your decision to consolidate, which seems the only wise and logical choice. :)

    Have a wonderful weekend, Karen!
    Love,
    Lola

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  13. I just posted today about trying to figure out what sort of blogger I might be--then I saw your tweet and thought, "Karen's got it figured out." I've only started looking at stats recently, and I still can't figure out what is driving traffic.

    But it all does come done to the one thing I don't do often enough: comment. The other day I spent hours thinking about your post regrading self-publishing and snobbism. It was that thought provoking. But I never came and told you that.

    I hope you know I'm a devoted reader--even if I'm a sporadic poster. what you are giving here is deeply appreciated.

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  14. Blythe, What a wonderful compliment, thank you so much for your comment.

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  15. I liked you other blog! :-) It was a peaceful oasis! But blogging is extremely time consuming if you want lots of traffic to your blog!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your other blog - you're right though you can always write what you do there here - it's all writing and jolly fun it is too!

    Take care
    x

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  16. I wasn't aware that you had two blogs or I would have been reading the other one, too! :) But I can imagine how challenging it would be to maintain two blogs, and think that consolidating the two blogs is a great idea! Do what's best for you!

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  17. I vote for consolidating. I don't know why you'd want 2 blogs. You could assign a day here to blog about From the Shadows to the Page stuff. It doesn't even have to be weekly. It could be the last Friday of the month or something like that.

    Sorry, I've become one of those silent readers rarely commenting anywhere lately.

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  18. Consolidation seems to be the answer, in my opinion. I was talking to someone the other day about how much time can be eaten up with posting and reading and commenting and how then finding time to write on current projects can prove somewhat problematic!

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  19. Yeah, why not merge? You can always signal posts as 'one of the quiet ones' or something, so people don't have to check it out if they don't want to. I have one or two little 'series' going on like that (my not-a-mommy-blogger posts and my adapted fairy tales, for instance) and I know I get different readers for those.

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  20. It's true that if you never reciprocate with your blog comments, you will start to lose readers. I went to one blog many times and left comments, probably about six or seven times. Never once did the blogger respond or visit my blog in return and so I just stopped trying (and this was not, btw, some famous author person or anything). Not that blogging must be a quid pro quo, but it does strike me as odd if a blogger seems to want no interaction with readers. Why else do you blog if not to participate in a to and fro discussion?

    As regards stats and stat counters and figuring out who's visiting your blog -- honestly, I don't even look at any of that. I do have a sitemeter. It gives me a once a week update. I'm mildly curious when I see a spike in readership but I just carry on with my usual nonsense no matter what the numbers show. Nonsense is all I know how to do.

    Good post!

    Cheers,
    Kristen

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  21. Kristen, I've had similar experiences with non-responsive bloggers. I don't get it. If we're not here to network, then why bother?

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  22. The Life of a Blog - I think I'm going to do a post about that sometime. You always inspire me Karen! Off to check the stats... :)

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  23. I used to have many blogs which I had to take down because of time. It's difficult to take on too many projects as a writer even though you want to.

    CD

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  24. I understand your quandry on combining both blogs. I have one blog and only update it one day a week. I want to have time to really have something to say instead of rushing through it just to get something posted.
    Also it leaves more time to write my novel and get everything else done, like work, family and friends.

    Decision is yours, go with with your heart tells you.

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  25. A lot of people post about a variety of subjects and I don't see that as a problem.

    It is possible to export the blog or permanently delete it - I've done it, using the instruction in 'Settings'.

    My current blog has a small number of followers, but I don't mind that. I love reading blogs and commenting, but I don't expect people to follow me simply because I follow them.

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  26. I think there are only so many projects one person can handle, and handle well. One blog will always be enough for me.

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  27. You have to set limits, but if you still enjoy it, you should still post on it. Like people have suggested above, combining them is a good idea. They could be special or bonus posts. And besides. Sometimes it's fun to write something even if no one will see it.

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  28. I can barely keep up with the noise on my blog right now!
    Karen, instead of losing everything on that blog, why don't you creat a page on this site and transfer the most important information to that page?

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  29. How interesting and relevant to my own blogging. I only have one blog, but I briefly started up a second with only one post. It's a music blog, aimed at a completely different audience. Except I was having trouble finding readers (there aren't that many music bloggers the way there are writing bloggers, apparently) so I stopped blogging there. Once I find the time, though, I'd like to start it up again. I admire you for managing two blogs regularly. Thanks for posting!

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  30. I agree with CD above. As a writer I find that blogging is a little bit like talking. If I am not careful, I say what I want on the blog, and never get around to writing it in my own work. Same goes for talking when I should be writing.

    Interesting post.

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  31. I think we do it for the interaction with others!



    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral

    ><}}(°>

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  32. I've been following your other blog, but it's easy to miss it as most of the action is here... I do agree that perhaps you could merge the two and let the other one rest in peace.

    But you're right, it's all about paying it forward and giving back!

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  33. The stats are really handy. Great advice too for a quiet blog ;)

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  34. I did not know about the other blog. I wish I had your following but I agree with Alex. Do a page and merge. Now how do you find all this time Ms Super Woman? :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  35. I don't always catch your posts on the other blog in my feed because you post there less. Also, if I click on your comment to check your blog, this is the one that comes up.

    I set up a 2nd blog to post queries and beginnings. Really, it was because I couldn't figure out how to set up something on my regular blog. Somehow I have 44 followers and people comment, though I don't comment back. I don't check stats on it but I'm sure they're near 0. The comments made my query better for sure, so I'm not taking down.

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  36. I don't know how people maintain more than one blog. I find one blog a handful.

    If I was trying to kill a blog, I'd redirect readers to the other one.

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  37. I think there's no reason why you can't post about writing from life on this blog. I think it's a good idea to concentrate your resources from one place because it takes too much energy to maintain two blogs, although I applaud you for doing just that for this long.

    Those stat counters are godsends, aren't they? I always find it enlightening at the end of the day to check out what the stats where.

    Jai

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  38. I don't know if you'll be back to my blog tonight so I just wanted to leave a message here. Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with WiDo. I've found Allie wonderful to work with and everyone has been so professional. I talked to Bruce (I think that's your husband or relative) and he's been very helpful with the contracts. Thank you so much. I believe I work with Liesel next and look forward to it.

    CD

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  39. Clarissa, And I look forward to reading your awesome book!! Many congratulations! I hope you are celebrating like it's 1999.

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  40. I can't imagine trying to keep up with more than one (though I do participate in my writer's group multi-authored one)--I think it's really true though--on the group blog, when we have new followers, I sometimes make a point of following back PERSONALLY, but the BLOG doesn't have a persona to go FIND BLOGS to follow. We've talked about creating one, because I think it would help get readers THERE. I know my own blog grows faster and I'm sure that is a huge part of why.

    As to OTHER stat decisions... I know weekends get fewer hits, so a part of me says 'if I need to cut back, that is what will go'. On the other hand GUESTS also get fewer hits (though there are exceptions) but I feel committed to that, anyway, because I think it's a karma thing. (in other words... it depends...)

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  41. What a great metaphor for life in general. It's all about giving back.

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  42. Two blogs? Impressive. I'm stuck though on the thought of using blogger stats for a decision. It's likely I'm reading them wrong...but I don't know if I believe they are reliable. Of course though with your two blogs, you can compare. Anyway, if you do decide to end the other...I think I'd write a post telling folks. If you just let it die, you may have followers going back to check in who get frustrated...which was what happened to me early in my experience reading blogs. A writer I loved just stopped...and I worried.

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  43. I don't know; there's something to be said about quiet blogs. I have two blogs, and I don't feel stressed about my other one at all. When I feel like posting, I do. It's low maintenance, and I like it like that!

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  44. Talli, that's what my husband said. He said it's a quiet oasis and people like that. It's not like it's high maintenance. And I like your other blog because I don't have to scroll down a mile to leave a comment!

    Liza, Good point! Every so often I come across one I follow that hasn't posted for 3 months or more, and I just figure the blogger got sick of it and moved on.

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  45. LOL at "just don't try." So funny.

    I think you can keep at both blogs if the other one makes you happy! It could work like a journal, if you want. No matter what, I truly appreciate all that you do with THIS blog. You're a great source of inspiration, comfort, and reality.

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  46. Wow, two blogs, two books and writing and marketing....You've got your hands full!

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  47. I only recently discovered my stats! Now that I have, it is a useful tool also to see what kind of posts people want to read:) Because all we see is the tip few lines, it makes a difference.

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  48. I'm running three blogs, two of which are definitely only for fun and I contribute to them as and when I want to. I'd agree with Talli that I don't feel any pressure to update them as frequently as my own writing blog, which I link to when visiting here and other blogs.

    If your other blog could be brought within this one, then great. Otherwise, why not just let it trickle along, if it doesn't demand much maintenance and do what someone else here suggested by only posting to it on a certain day of the week, so anyone following it knows that there's likely to be an update that day? That seems like a good compromise.

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  49. Kath, Yes, I think I've come to that conclusion. Whenever I go over there, I like it. It's a quiet, calm oasis on the internet. And I pretty much say anything over there.

    Thanks for your comments on my other posts. I love what you said that 5 years is a LONG time in tech years. That is so true! Which is why keeping a blog for that long sounds really long, but keeping a job for that long doesn't sound long at all!

    Also, I agree with your comment on the publishing snobs post as well. Totally. Thanks for all your input.

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  50. At first I had the same thing going on both of my blogs (my private family one and my writing one) until I figured out how to change those don'ts around, as you mention. Now if only I could figure out how to keep UP with two blogs! LOL!

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