The Month That Should be Forgotten
It is with much frustration that I write this installment of Tale of a New Blogger. I would love to skip this month from my blogger experience entirely, and that is probably why it is already the middle of May and I am just now sitting down to write about April.
Blogging is a bit of a roller coaster. Some month have amazing highs while others feel like you are plummeting to your death. April was a month of downward spirals.
My intention of starting this series was the write the real experience of a new blogger. True to that conviction, here goes.
Sickness is a Different World for the Self-Employed
April started strong. The end of March saw some increase in momentum. I was finally starting to feel like I was getting into the right groove.
Then the universe decided to see how many things it could throw at me.
First, I had a week of issues from a chronic health condition I live with. Next, a severe chest cold led to weeks of difficult breathing and minimal sleep.
Just when I felt like I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pollen explosion had me wishing I could literally scratch my eyes out of my head.
Experiencing an illness when you have a traditional job can be a bad experience. But you at least have the comfort that the business will keep functioning and you may even have the benefit of sick or vacation pay.
When you are a business of one, even a moderate illness brings everything to a screeching halt. Production, customer service and income generation all stop as you do.
I tried to keep up with my blog and posted at least one new post each week. Social media got some attention as I tried to get on at least one of the platforms each week.
But, all in all, April and the first part of May were dismal.
Did Anything Good Happen?
Gloom and doom are not typical parts of my personality, so let’s switch gears and talk about the positives of the blogger experience for the month of April.
For one, even with my limited posts for the month, visitors and page views for the blog held fairly steady. To me, that is a huge win because it means the blog has finally developed some momentum and is growing organically.
While page views held pretty flat, the number of visitors on the site saw good growth. The trend also seems to be growing in visitors visiting more than one page during their visit.
My blog now has 110 blog followers. That means I need to finally get an email program up and running. The steady increase in followers makes me optimistic that I am producing valuable and engaging content.
Both Facebook and Instagram were woefully neglected. The small drop in Facebook likes is not surprising.
Twitter continues to be my social media platform of choice. I can’t say why I prefer that platform so much. Part of it is because most of my followers are writers and bloggers. Being able to interact with such amazing individuals and at 280 characters or less brings me much joy and inspiration. I might explore the other reasons why in a later post.
Twitter was also neglected during my illness, but the relationships I have nurtured and the presence I have built kept a steady increase in followers even on the days I wasn’t able to get online.
Pinterest started very strong. The blogger experience lesson learned here is that, no matter what other bloggers will tell you, manual pinning is important.
I use BoardBooster and am very happy with the automated pinning product. Campaigns are set to pin 10-15 pins per day at various times. Even with BoardBooster working properly, you can see near the end of April, when I was too sick to spend any time online, impressions dropped dramatically.
Pinterest was responsible for 12% of the traffic driven to my site for the month. That may not sound like much, but in the previous month, Pinterest only brought in 4% of the traffic. That large increase in such a short period means I will be spending lots of time on Pinterest in the coming weeks.
Be Constantly Improving
Whether you think of it that way or not, a blog is a brand. If you are an author, your name or psuedonym is also a brand.
Brands only continue to grow and gain popularity by buidling new and meaningful relationships with existing and potential readers.
I hate marketing. There’s no sugarcoating how negative I feel about the subject. Marketing is a necessary evil in the blogger experience, and is especially important for bloggers and indie authors.
During my illness, I read a particulary moving post about mistakes that authors, and by extension bloggers, frequently make. Here is the link to the post:
In her post, Meg Dowell discusses three mistakes that many authors and bloggers make. The point that resonated the loudest with me deals with interacting with readers on social media.
I have to admit that I have fallen into the bad habit of primarily using social media to promote either my book or content on my blog.
Meg’s post reminded me that readers follow writers because they want to get to know more about the author as a person. Most followers already read your work, so social media is a chance for them to get to know the person behind that work.
Much effort is being directed at improving this bad habit. I’ll keep you posted on the positive results I see down the road.
And in Other News
If you are not already following my science fiction, work-in-progress, working name Paradise, be sure to click this line. There are now 11 chapters available in what I intend to be book one in a series.
The feedback from the chapters posted has been positive and brings me much joy. I would love to have more insight. Please share the story with others you know that like science fiction. Even if someone is not a big sci-fi fan, they will likely enjoy the story because it is mostly character driven.
April was poetry month. While I intended to write a poem every day, I only ended up writing one poem for the whole month. I plan to post that poem later today or tomorrow.
Now it’s your turn. How did last month go for you? What lessons and tips did you learn about the blogger experience? Were there any triumphs? Please share your stories in the comments below.
Until next time…