The blogosphere changes over time, and so do the individual blogs that populate it. In this week’s blogging chat, I thought it would be interesting to look at how our own blogs have evolved.
I’ve had a major shift in who’s reading my blog over the last couple of years. The table below shows the stats from my top three traffic sources since my first full year of blogging, which was 2018. I don’t like using actual numbers because that can start to get competitive and yucky, so I’ve set my lowest figure, which was search engine traffic in 2018, as a reference point of 1, and all the other numbers are multiples of that reference point.
|Search engines||WP Reader|
Summer 2019 was when I first got the WP business plan and started working on search engine optimization (SEO). In 2020, search engines became the main way that people were getting to my blog.
Not all of the people I consider to be my blogging community come through the WP Reader, but my Reader stats are pretty interesting. I’ve projected my 2022 total based on the first 6 months of the year, and that’s a pretty massive drop from my high in 2020 (when it seemed like COVID had led to everyone spending more time online). I don’t really tend to personalize that, because I think there’s there’s a broader shift of people who are talking about mental health moving away from the WordPress.com space.
My search engine and Pinterest visitors don’t really interact; they come, they read, and they leave. The WordPress traffic is where the community activity happens, and I’ve definitely noticed the drop in activity not only on my site, but in the mental health corner of WordPress more generally. I’m spending quite a bit less time reading blogs because a lot of the mental health bloggers I follow are posting not very often or not at all.
How often are you writing/publishing?
I started publishing daily back in 2018, and that was also when I started writing my posts ahead of time and scheduling them for later. I kept up the daily publishing, with the odd exception here and there, until the end of last year, when I dropped to 6 days a week. I find the 6 days a week schedule more manageable.
Dropping to 5 is a possibility I’m considering. I like the extra interactiveness of posting days, but given that the mental health blogosphere has been quiet and feels less interactive than it used to be, 5 days a week might work better than 6.
What are you writing about?
This has always been and always will be primarily a mental health blog. I have had a bit of a shift in my non-mental health content, though. I used to post more fluff than I do now; by fluff, I mostly mean the kind of posts that make for good community interaction on the day that they’re published, but no one will ever look at them after that day. I want to keep my site as streamlined as I can, so now I delete anything that doesn’t have staying power.
The shift in my reading audience is a major reason behind that. While the community aspect is by far the most meaningful part of blogging for me, I do have more of a sense in my head now that I’m writing for a broader audience. Instead of being a primarily community-targeted blog, I tend to think of it as a dual-purpose blog. While my weekend posts (weekend wrap-up and blogging chat) are still purely community-oriented, for pretty much everything else I write, I try to keep a broader audience in mind. This change probably started towards the end of last year and has really crystallized in the month or so.
I’ve always been interested in the technical side of blogging, but the more advanced my knowledge base has gotten, the more interesting it’s gotten to tinker around with my site’s nuts and bolts. It started off as more of a means to end to make my blog more findable and work the way I wanted it to, but now I get satisfaction out of tinkering as a way to practice new skills.
Over to you
So, that’s me. Now it’s your turn—have there been changes over time in what you write, how often you write, and who you’re writing for?