Three months ago today I started this blog. It has turned into a full-time job for me with five to eight hours a day devoted to it. I admit about 25% of that time is clicking refresh looking for new views. The little thrill of the traffic counter going up by one is starting to wear off. Suddenly getting 16 hits at once is a whole other thing though!
Although the overall traffic for the three months is rather impressive, approaching 4000 views today, this enthusiasm needs tempering with some information about Word Press where this blog lives. While Word Press abounds with creative possibilities and is relatively easy to use, it has a few crazy-making roadblocks that detract from the overall enjoyment of its purpose. I won’t list them. Word Press users know what I mean.
Word Press’s dirty little secret is the actual number of views you get. Spam referrals often account for many of my so-called “views.” I don’t mean the spam that naturally flows like sewage through the internet and gets flushed out by spam catchers. Here is Wikipedia’s definition: “Referrer spam (also known as log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referrer url that points to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publicize their access logs, including referrer statistics, will then end up linking to the spammer’s site, which will in turn be indexed by the search engines as they crawl the access logs.”
I don’t understand what that means exactly except that some days half my “views” are spam referrals. Typically anywhere from 10 to 20% of my hits fall into the spam category. They aren’t real hits and badly skew the overall figures. Word Press’s non-solution for this is to bunch the spam into “other sources” and pretend it has gone away. If you are looking to build a blog that relies on quality and real hit information, forget Word Press.
On the larger positive side, having this blog has given me an instant outlet for my creativity. Working in radio and having the store were excellent outlets for my expression and the blog carries on that tradition admirably. My intention this year is to Find My Audience and the blog has helped me do that. It has helped me clarify what I actually know and what I need to express while providing guidelines for my current state. Between my active imagination and the hundreds of articles, pictures and video I have stored on my computer, there is an unlimited well of content yet to come. I love being able to think of an idea for a feature, create it and post it within minutes of the original light bulb effect.
What have I created on my blog in the past three months? There are over 150 posts in 41 categories with over 1200 tags and about 275 pictures on my blog. Eleven pages are filled with a diversity of stuff:
- ABOUT investigates my present, past and past lives;
- BIRDLAND has 4 features on my encounters with birds and the complete 1959 Songbirds of North America collector card book;
- CHURCHES offers pictures and short features on 12 Manitoba churches;
- DAY TRIPPER has 14 interesting places to explore around Manitoba;
- DTC ART traces the art projects Linda and I created between 1977 and the mid 80s, up to 1980 so far with more to come;
- FAQ answers six questions pertinent to shamanism;
- FICTION has 14 pieces of my short fiction;
- GALLERY shows 24 pictures of Linda and I from kidhood onward;
- HOUSES features 12 Manitoba heritage houses;
- SACRED PLACES offers my reports on visits to 15 sacred sites in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
My friend Jim was saying I should watch for the 3-month ennui that bloggers sometimes feel. After an enthusiastic start, the phenomenon of fading interest is common. I haven’t felt that yet but once the warmer weather invades the prairies I may feel less inclined to blog. Once I start traveling, it could work the other way with much more to report on.
Future plans for the blog include a new page devoted to a history of IF you have to get dressed in the morning, the vintage clothing store Linda and I ran in the 1980s, a three-part series of feature articles called Sacred Places and Consciousness which I am finishing now plus more of everything!
There is plenty to see and do here and I am grateful to my readers for delving into all the little cubbyholes I’ve created. I hope it’s as much fun to explore my blog as it is to build it. I love feedback and have over 50 comments so far plus lots of star ratings. Please let me know if you like what you see on ReadReidRead and what you’d like to see more of.
The bottom line: three months into this, call me a happy little blogger who is humbled by the response, grateful for every real view and keen to see where this will all go next, spam referrals notwithstanding. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
Be happy and love one another. Reid