Blog Growth: 2012

About a year ago, I took a look at the growth of this blog, what I thought was working and wasn't. It looks like a heck of a lot has changed in a year.

(1) Google Bait
I don't intentionally write Google bait, but the vast majority of daily hits come here from Google. They come looking for images of steampunk, board games, Lord of the Rings, Dune, and various classic novels (assuming those last two are students looking for an easy book report: let me know what grade I'm getting, m'kay, guys?).

(2) Getting an Agent
Writers who read blogs are interested in a couple of things, and one of them is seeing other writers succeed. I started this blog as a narrative of my journey, and though the narrative is really slow and plodding, people notice when critical plot events happen. (Well, mostly. Note the lack of growth when I got published in BCS.)

(3) Content People Talk About
Before I got an agent, blog growth jumped around September 2011. Sometimes posts just hit a nerve, and then people link them so they can hit more nerves. For me, some of those posts were: Why Haven't You Self-Published Yet, What Do Agents Owe You, and Writing When You Hate Writing.

Hits don't mean readers. All those folks who found me on a Google image search are unlikely to stick around for more. I think the Google hits from that one steampunk post prove that.

Even hits from getting an agent don't automatically mean readers. Honestly, a lot of the growth since December is due to other nerve-striking posts: The Offer I Turned Down, What Makes a Query Letter Awesome, The Thing About Rue and Racism, etc.

So what do I think gets readers? Content People Talk About.

But how to write content people talk about . . . Heck, I don't know. For every post that got retweeted, there were a dozen or so that only you (my loyal readers) noticed. If I knew how to hit a nerve every time, I'd be rich.

I do know this:
  1. Know your audience (from the post titles, clearly my audience is writers).
  2. Write stuff nobody else is writing.
  3. Write you.
As I said in last year's post: "Honestly, this is stuff anyone can do."

What do you think? How did you find this blog, and why do you stick around?


Lynne Matson said...

Hi Adam!:) I found your blog through awesome Natalie Whipple's (LOVE her!) and I come back because your posts are thought-provoking, real, and fresh. Nice job making your own way in the blog world!

Jack said...

I have been wondering for awhile what makes blogs grow. All I've been able to come up with so far is reading others blogs and commenting, non stop. But I like your idea of posting, you, as you put it. I have often wondered what kinds of posts I should write, and finally settled on ones I want to write, that fit me. It seems to be working, the people that stay and read my blog are at least interested in my writing style and me and my book, I hope.

I don't remember how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did! I've found it very helpful, and fun. One of my favourite blogs I read.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

I believe I found you through the Rue and Racism post, linked on Twitter, or referenced SOMEWHERE online by one of your followers. I stuck around because your posts are interesting, I've learned things by reading them, and I love your charts, graphs, and lists. :)

Your beautiful background picture doesn't hurt either. When I see one of your posts in my Blogger dashboard, I always know I'll have a few minutes to admire the scenic beauty of Thailand, if nothing else.

Matthew MacNish said...

Now if only I knew enough about using my analytics account to be able to tell real traffic from useless traffic. I have some posts on my group blogs that have over 10,000 pageviews, but I know less than 10% - heck, probably less than 5% - of that is actual genuine readers who were there for the reasons I actually wrote the post.

And I'm kind of tired of thinking about it. My traffic has steadily increased since I started blogging, but my comments have been down the last few months. I prefer the real interaction to the overall volume. Sigh.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm here for the free snacks and occasional graphs.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I come here to look at the cool background. Just kidding. But great advice sir! Congratulations on your growth. I'm for any kind of growth as long as it doesn't include my waistline.

istern said...

i like your blog!

john hopkins said...

i like the tips too!

Sarah Ahiers said...

Did you use analytics to get your data? I really need to take a look at that.
FWIW, one of my all time favorite posts of yours is your love letter to Joss Whedon. I have personally sent that link to a couple of people. Heck, i just recently posted it in QT forum because we're talking about the Avenger's movie.

Steve MC said...

I got here by way of Matt's post, saw you were a righteous dude, and decided to hang out. I've stuck around 'cause your posts are entertaining, informative, unique, and just the right length. And did I mention you're a righteous dude?

Becky Wallace said...

I've visited from Natalie's blog a couple of times, but usually fail to comment. Sorry. I know, blog-reader fail.

Adam Heine said...

There is never a requirement to comment, Becky. I love the lurkers too :-)

Nancy Thompson said...

I have no idea how I got here originally. Maybe from Naralie Whipple's blog. But I rarely visit there anymore yet I always return here. And I don't read steampunk so that's not what keeps me coming back. Your blog is one of the few I keep a shortcut to on my iPhone. I do enjoy your content as its mostly about all things writing. I enjoy the journey & living vicariously through you & others like you. And I'm a girly girl so my faves tend to be guys: you, Matthew, Alex. But if I didn't learn something or feel something when I read your posts, I wouldn't come back. So whatever it is you're doing, keep doing it. And I'll be back. =->

Peggy Eddleman said...

Fascinating post! I love seeing your stats like that. What program do you use for your stat counter?

I found you through the awesomeness that is Marie Criddle. I come back, because your posts are well written, fun and interesting.