I mentioned earlier that I was nearing my 300th post and THIS IS IT!
I posted my first blog article – a review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – in September of 2011. At the time, I’m fairly certain only my agent saw it. Since 2012, I’ve averaged about a hundred posts a year (many of them written by fabulous guest bloggers), which means I’m once again celebrating a fun blogging milestone.
NEARLY 125 COUNTRIES!
One of the things that continues to amaze and delight me is the international nature of blogging. This year, people from nearly 125 countries visited my blog. Pretty darn cool, huh? :-D
Where are you all from? The Top Twenty
WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? MOST POPULAR TOPICS
No surprises, but it was nice to see what the most popular categories and tags were because they nicely sum up what I want this blog to be:
WHICH POSTS WERE YOUR FAVORITES? THE TOP FIVE
My Oscar Movie Marathon post is a perennial favorite, which always makes me smile because I never would have guessed that it would be one of my most viewed posts when I wrote it. Like last year, a lot of the credit goes to Sir Jog A Lot. I linked to a great post he wrote back in 2009 (5 Tips for Running a 10K Race) and there’s a trackback to my post in the comments section of that post. What did this experience teach me? One, to love the serendipitous nature of blogging. Two, to be grateful for trackbacks! Three, I should do more posts linking to others in fun (even better, meaningful) ways.
As for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty… I should rename that post “The Secret Sauce of Blogging is Discussing Ghost Cat Metaphors.” :-D
WHY DO I STILL BLOG?
Reaching post 300 was a natural point in time to step back and take stock. Why do I blog? Should I still blog? To help me decide, I took a Writer’s Digest webinar with Jane Friedman on “How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience.” If you’re new to blogging, trying to decide if you should start blogging, or just a casual blogger like me who’s wondering what it would take to push your blog to the next level, I recommend it. I watched it in the car on Thanksgiving during a two-hour car ride. Here are a few of the things I decided after watching it:
Things I Do Well
- My name is in the header. :-)
- I share my posts on Twitter and Facebook.
- I USE WORDPRESS! :-D
Things I Don’t Do Well
- My brand is a little muddled. My focus is not as tight as it could be. (You’ve heard these confessions before.)
- Lack of consistency in the timing of posts. (Although Jane did mention that once a week was probably ok for those of us who aren’t super-serious bloggers).
- Vague headlines (perhaps my most egregious sin; I’ve been trying to do better but make no promises about permanent abstention… ahem, just look at these subheadings!).
Things I’m Not Sure About
- Adding personal updates to the end of guest posts. I tend to do this when I haven’t posted something in a while and I just feel like updating everyone or saying hello with a little bit of news. But it detracts from the focus of the guest blogger’s content.
Things I Might Do/Should Do
- Add author interviews. I’ve done a few, but not many because I feel like there are lots of interview opportunities for authors out there. But it could be fun if I can think of a unique list of questions or an interesting interview angle.
- Add metadata to my images. Sometimes I do this, but I don’t always remember and sometimes I’m in a hurry and skip it.
- Add a newsletter option for readers who just want to know when my next novel or story is coming out.
Things I Probably Won’t Do
- Monetize my site: This was one of the biggest reasons I took the webinar. To decide this. (You know, it’s the whole “Go big or get out?” question). But, nope, not gonna do either right now. (Good to know, however, that if I change my mind and want to “go big”, it would be relatively easy to switch from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site and start following blogging best practices instead of knowingly and willfully ignoring them. :-) )
- Nix the guest blogs: Structuring guest blogs as intermittent, themed series really works for me.
- Mix up the content: For now, I’m going to continue to blog about writing, movies, books, day trips, and whatever else I think might appeal to fantasy fans. It’s what I’m into. It’s the type of content I can sustain for the long haul (or, ya know, at least the next six months ;-) ).
Which brings us back to…
Every blogger has to decide this for themselves. For me, my reasons haven’t changed too much from when I first started. And they can be summed up in one word: CONNECTIONS. With readers. With other writers. My blog is the hub of everything I do online. Sometimes, this blog is a quiet place. But that’s ok. Because I’m a novelist first and a blogger second.
I am ever appreciative of all of my followers. Just as with a story, a blog isn’t complete without readers. Thank you to all of you that take the time to read these posts, leave comments, like them, share them, or tell me in other ways that you value the information and stories you read here.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
P.S. another thing I do well is add images to my posts… although sometimes they have zippo to do with writing, books, or fantasy. :-D