Blogging: Does Size Matter?

Susanne van Doorn mentioned in the comments of A good week for a writer like me that views of her excellent Mindfunda blog were down because she’d taken a break, and we had a really interesting email chat after that about blogging.

Her reduced hit rate was, it turned out, about the same as Writing in the House of Dreams in a good month, so that got me thinking about how we bloggers measure the success or failure of our blogs. Do the numbers matter?

I guess you can only measure success in relation to why you are blogging, and what you want your blog to achieve.

Here are my blogging goals:

  • to express ideas, and have them affirmed or challenged, so that I can progress my thinking.
  • to maintain a kind of shop window, where people who enjoy my writing might be tempted to try one of my books
  • to find themes I might develop into new writing projects
  • to build a community, where people interact with me and with each other in the comments

You’ll notice they’re rather like my writing goals – quite modest in terms of a more mainstream definition of ‘success’, which you would have to measure in visitor numbers and views.

Every time I put a new post up, I get a few new followers, and there’s no doubt that if I blogged more often, that number would rise faster. I often take a break, even though views gradually drop off, and sometimes my blog holidays can run into several months.

But I always come back, because my blog does everything I want it to do. You challenge my thinking or, more often, augment it with your own experiences. Like this blog post, new ideas for writing come from random exchanges with people I meet through blogging (hello, Susanne!)

I’ve got two books in development at the moment that have come directly out of my blog – one about personal writing and one about depression and the writing life, as something I have noticed from the numbers is that my posts about depression and creativity seem to attract the most interest.

I do have a sense of community when I write here. I feel we come into the House of Dreams to share our thoughts and experiences.

I remember years ago someone telling me that when you go to a conference you shouldn’t be trying to get round as many people as possible – you just need to make sure you meet the right one or two.

I don’t need thousands of visitors to this blog. I just need you!

If you’re a blogger, what do you think – does size matter?

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9 thoughts on “Blogging: Does Size Matter?”

  1. Hi Jenny,

    I love the thoughts you express here. Writing a blog as if you are meeting someone for the first time.

    One of the concerns for me about visitors has to do with the ability to get review copies of publishers. I write a lot of reviews, I read lots of stuff. But (and people usually say what they want to say after a but) I’d have to have a good number of visitors in order to be able to get my review copies.

    And the other thing is just personal. Having a lo of visitors makes me feel like I am doing “the right thing”. It’s like the pat on the back, a virtual hug you get after a job well done.

    At the end of last month, i emailed a lot of people asking what book really made an impression on them, with the purpose of writing a blog with a beautiful list of good books. Two people of that list mailed me back with a book title, the other answers where: jeez, i’d have to think about it… So on the other hand, maybe books are just not that important (did you know that thought never even crossed my mind before? I am definitely book-crazy).

    So, like your tip of selecting an audience, maybe it is time to select a different main topic for my blog. It’s always worth a try and see how a different subject connects with people.

    Sincerely,
    Susanne

    1. Hi Susanne – I think we could chat about this for hours! It’s so interesting hearing how you approach your blog, the specifics of that. I think for book bloggers, size really does matter, though again, it probably depends a bit what kind of book you review. I think dreams and consciousness are still niche subjects – books on these topics sell in tiny numbers compared with, say, cookery books or romantic fiction, so reviews presumably would draw fewer readers too. I think books are really important, and I hope you keep reviewing. I’d happily send you a review copy of ‘Writing in the House of Dreams’ 🙂

  2. I must say I prefer a heart-felt comment about what I’ve written better than numbers.
    Although I love seeing the map&numbers WordPress does just to see where people live who read my blog 🙂

    1. I so agree, Alejandro. It’s all up there, published, like a book or magazine article, part of the body of our work as a writer, so it matters to make it as good as you can.

  3. It’s always great when comments come by and I agree, any discussion that follows can be personally enlarging when it gets me thinking. Great post thank you!

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