Having not posted anything in July or August I have made up for it with this being my 6th post of the month. I have also gained 13 new blog followers during September, taking the total up to 65. You might think that with 65 followers I could expect each new post be viewed on the order of 65 times within a few days of posting but from what I can tell that seems not to be the case and I am left to conclude that most of my followers rarely view my posts.
My blog doesn’t automatically post notifications to Facebook but sometimes I manually post a link to a new entry and that does usually attract a significant number of views. But then I do have almost three times as many Facebook friends as I do blog followers (I also usually get a few comments on Facebook whereas I have not had anyone comment directly on my blog since December last year).
So why, despite having a reasonable number of followers, do I get so little engagement with my blog? To answer that I need to explain what happens when you follow a wordpress.com blog, which is basically that new posts appear in your wordpress.com Reader. However, what appears in Reader is just an initial excerpt and in order to increment the view count of the post I assume you have to actually click on it. In my case I am following 102 wordpress.com blogs and although I am fairly good about checking what is new in Reader I don’t have time to read more than the occasional post. I guess that is the same for a lot of people – they have at some point read one of my posts and thought it was interesting enough to click “follow” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will go on to view any of my future posts. Things are not helped by the fact that my blog is not about a particular thing – someone who follows it as a result of reading a post about cycling might not be interested in my posts about cannabis.
The web would be nothing without content and I want to be a creator rather than a passive consumer of content. I also want my blog to have some influence, which it won’t unless it gets seen. It has received an average of about 140 views per month since I began in 2008, increasing to an average of about 325 views per month in the past year. I had hoped to have reached a larger audience by now, but a lot of things that “go viral” only do so because someone either buys views or resorts to spammy SEO techniques. You are obviously more likely to get a large audience if you blog about things that a lot of people are searching for but I want to write about things that interest me, regardless of whether they interest anyone else.
Sometimes I think I could be more influential if I gave up blogging and concentrated instead on contributing to Wikipedia, which I have dabbled in occasionally. Certainly Wikipedia pages get a lot more views than my blog posts, but they have to be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV) about a notable subject and be supported by reliable third party published sources. That is rather restrictive so I will persevere with the blog for now. All I can do is try to continue writing regular good quality posts and hope to see a continued slow but steady increase in views.