ACW

ACW

Monday, 28 November 2016

100,000 Pageviews: Modesty or Self-promotion for the Blogger/Author?


‘Ex Nihilo’: one of the author’s acrylics
that accompany the blog referred to below
Within the next month, unless something very surprising happens, my blog ‘The Cross and The Cosmos’ will pass through 100,000 pageviews (98000 as this is written and rising at 130/150 per day). Not massive in terms of today’s astounding viewings achieved by some young tech and entertainment savvy young people who appeal to their peers by age and sometimes curious interests across the world. But the internet is still, for many of us, a startling phenomenon.

But, I like to think, 100,000 is a reasonable achievement in five-and-a-half years for a blog which is about weaving together the themes of faith (1% interest), science (maybe 2% interest) in poetry (1% interest). Now it is not necessary to have a degree in maths to work out that .01 x .02 x .01 is a very tiny percentage of likely readers. But there are obviously some interested readers out there amongst the massive number of internet users today.

That is just by way of background: I wanted to think more about the issues of modesty and self-promotion and to encourage any of you who are thinking about starting a blog of your own to ‘have a go’. Any increase in the Christian Literature marketplace, provided it is of high quality, is a witness statement and a seed sown that might take root and begin to grow – just anywhere.

I look back to the early days of the blog when it was exciting to find six or seven pageviews had been recorded in the last twenty-four hours. That was right at the start but when, after six months the figures were still of the same order, I began to have doubts: was this at all worthwhile?

Being a fairly determined creature, I persisted, and gradually, gradually, the audience began to grow. Two years down the line, 30 page views a day was not uncommon. I still wondered whether it was worth it – but carried on, sometimes to the amazement of family members who found it difficult to understand ‘what I was on’.

Then, rather like growing a small business, during the third year, momentum began to build faster and now I am getting a fairly consistent viewing record of 140 – 170 page views a day. But this was not achieved by just sitting back and hoping for the best.

Blogging needs drawing to people’s attention and the classic routes for doing that are through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter - and it is here an author may feel wobbly about what s/he needs to do. With the public filter open, I advertise one of my poems or a group of poems every day except Sundays – on which I exercise a Sabbath rest. Any in my ‘friends’ or ‘contacts’ groups also get a rest from my daily ‘bombardment’ although I doubt many of them notice.

I use the word ‘bombardment’ with care. That is the effect of regular daily messages calling attention to my work on each of those three social media platforms. So I have to accept that my ‘friends’ will unsubscribe if they really find it offensive or merely treat the entries as ones to be passed over in the same way as they will dismiss much of the advertising that assails them.

Now I am, like many authors, I guess, a natural introvert. So I tend towards thinking ‘All this tweeting and facebooking and googleplussing: it’s a bit close to self aggrandisement, isn’t it?’

Well, one of the very simple tests that can be applied is to simply  STOP the ‘advertising’, perhaps when you go away. The effect can be seen almost immediately, The pageviews will drop on the instant leaving a straightforward decision to be made. In my case, I return to the ‘badgering’ as soon as possible, marvelling once again at the facility given by my keyboard. I can draw attention to any earlier post. So, for example, round about now, I shall promote every one of the twelve carols I have published over the five years in question and remind people that something new among the traditional mix might be something concert goers or Carol service attenders would enjoy. It is a fascinating possibility. Book producers can emulate that by promoting a chapter or a seasonal passage of a book or paragraphs of topical interest on a blog together with the other three social media I have mentioned. So a blog with Social media support particularly suits those who write regularly with seasonal appropriateness. And deriving seasonal interest is an interesting challenge too. A Scottish theme on St Andrew’s day; a women and justice theme on International Women’s Day (Early March) are good examples and for these, learning about the use of hashtags (#) for this purpose is important - but this article has been long enough! If it has made any of you think you’d like to explore this further, and you need a basic ‘primer’, ‘Blogging for Dummies’ is the book that got me started. It has been a rich experience leading to some fascinating opportunities – but perhaps more of that on another occasion.

My encouragement is, I hope, clear. Do consider blogging if you don’t already – but you will need to leave your natural modesty aside. You must be your own publicist.

Finally, I hope this may feel like an invitation to others who are already blogging to add further hints in the comments below this post. This article could not possibly be comprehensive and further ideas for those thinking about taking a step into blogging may just be the ‘tipping point’ they need.

To see the possibilities of seasonal repeat promotions have a look at the collections assembled at the top right column which you’ll find at http://crossandcosmos.blogspot.co.uk/

8 comments:

  1. Trevor, this is very interesting. My viewing figures are nowhere near this high. Perhaps I am not sufficiently focused in what I blog about. (And I have 3 blogs.)
    I do have one or two hints. It is possible to continue promoting your blog during holidays. Tweets, Facebook and blog posts may be presheduled. I use Tweetdeck to schedule Tweets. I also find that using Tweetdeck, I am less likely to make mistakes than when I just Tweet.
    I only promote each post once on each of the social media sites you mention. Perhaps I should do more!
    I also link to other popular blogging sites by taking part in challenges such as the Daily Post's weekly photo challenge.
    Sue

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    1. Dear Sue, thanks for these new ideas: An interesting day yesterday which I think illustrates two aspects of our different approaches. I had an unprecedentedly high page-viewing and although some of that is from an American ‘bot’ crawling the site, I am sure I can track some of the volume to your tweet. There were sources with a distinctive writing indication in their name who I have never seen before. So I think you have a strength I don’t have in your twitter following (Mine is only double figures). I think, then. the reasoner the difference in our volumes is because, being retired, I can indulge in the practice of an advertising tweet, Facebook entry, and Googleplus entry everyday. You may not be able to manage that but it might be good to at least up from monthly to weekly or more frequently. I have a feeling that with your twitter following you could soon outpace me! So thanks for your response, I hope others will finder exchange helpful. I’ll now go and send an ad for this highlighting our conversation>

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    2. Thank you for this post, Trevor - it is very helpful. I am on Google + but I don't fully understand it. In order to do a public post on Google + do you have to post to lots of different Collections that you are following? I tried to do a public post and it told me I was sharing the post privately. And is your "public" post only seen by the people who are following you or following one of your collection? Many thanks for any help you can offer!

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    3. In honesty SC (Sorry, can’t find your Christian name anywhere) this is the system of the three that I understand least well - but i can tell from my statistics it does turn up some random viewers from time to time. To get it into the public arena, go to the box that says +Add more people: click on the + sign and a small menu welcome up. One option in that box is ‘Public’ which then explains in very short order what that means. If you select that, the box should turn green where you’ve just touched the + sign and say Public in it: you’ll be in the same position as me. I’m sure you could also extend the range by posting to any circles you belong to and though that feels quite laborious, I simply start my ‘adverts’ in Google plus, copy them and then paste them into FB and Twitter. Try that and lets try and find an opportunity to compare notes in the early new year. Or it may be that someone else spots my invitation this morning and can illuminate further for both of us. That would be good!!

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  2. Well done Trevor. You are right, being consistent is key. Thank you for this

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    1. Thank you Wendy: you know well how encouraging such support feels. As you’ll see above, the post has given rise to an exchange about ‘advertising’ technique which I hope other will find helpful

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  3. I'm reminded of St Paul's persistent, determined efforts to communicate the gospel in all places at all times - writing, talking, networking, debating... a natural, but inspired by his message and his love for Christ.

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    1. Eve, thanks so much. I feel a bit daunted by the parallel but if that is what comes across, let us both hope it will fire a few hearts at least. Trevor

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