Though unintentionally, I appear to have started the previous two months with a kind of ‘blog update’. I suppose it’s an inevitable consequence of posting something everyday that occasionally my muse will lead me to ponder my own blog and indeed the concept of blogging as a whole.
And frankly I’m not alone in this. You rarely have to delve too deeply into the blogosphere to find someone ruminating about their blog, giving advice about blogging or lamenting the state of their blog and/or blogging in general. It is, I suspect, the nature of the beast.
And so, as we begin August, in this strangest of years, I thought I might again write a little more about blogging. I have, after all, been at this for a while. This is officially my 732nd post on ‘James Proclaims’ in the 5 years, 2 months and 22 days since a younger and greener me took his first tentative steps into the world of WordPress, so now seems as good a time as any to share my wisdom and experience on all things bloggy. Well maybe not as good a time as any. Perhaps I’d have been better doing this on the fifth anniversary of ‘James Proclaims’. But that day I was busy writing about the 1978 ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’. I stand by that decision.
Perhaps I’d be better hanging on for my upcoming 750th post. That seems like a seminal blogging landmark. But I might have something better to write about that day. Although if I maintain my current daily blogging schedule then it would fall on a Wednesday, which currently, and rather arbitrarily, serves as the day on which I post my satirical ‘clickbait‘ posts. And they do really lend themselves to blogging about blogging. Because they aren’t really about anything else.
But I’m feeling somewhat introspective today and the beginning of the month makes sense by my (usually flawed) reasoning. Not least because it permits me to look back on the previous month’s ‘stats’, be that in elation or despair. And on that score, things are currently looking up. I began July 2020 by celebrating June 2020 as my most successful month ever, in terms of the stats that WordPress deems relevant. And this was significant because June 2020 was my most successful month since August 2015. But July 2020 has actually been even more successful, across the board. Not only that, but a mere seven months into 2020 and I’m already enjoying what is now officially my most successful year in blogging. This mostly speaks to what an appalling job I’d been doing in previous years. Admittedly the second half of 2018 and most of 2019 don’t really count because I was, effectively, on a kind of ‘blogging paternity leave’ for most of that time. I did pop up occasionally with the odd post here and there but from May 2018 until March 2020 I really produced very little content. Apart from my much ignored annual Christmas Advent Calendar of Films, which I doggedly stuck to, even though no-one ever reads those posts.
2017 was my previous ‘best year’ and even then I was pretty inconsistent with how often I posted, but I did spend more of the year blogging than I spent not-blogging. 2016 was a very poor year, because, while I did produce a reasonable amount of content, for some reason my posts weren’t appearing in the ‘WordPress reader’ which meant that any bloggers who chose to follow me were not being made aware of the fact that I had written anything. And most of my readers are other bloggers. That too is the nature of the beast I suspect. Because at the time I didn’t ‘follow’ my own blog I had no idea of the problem. I just assumed that people who had previously been quite regular visitors had just decided they didn’t like my blog any more.
I may have self-esteem issues.
Of course I have self-esteem issues. That’s why I have a blog.
Once resolved, my stats improved dramatically, and I now do ‘follow’ myself in order to be certain that my content is available to people who might like to read it. Or at least so they can click the ‘like’ button and give me a misplaced sense of self-worth.
Anyway, 2020 is now statistically my best blogging year. And this matters because I can now choose to not blog again until 2021. In many respects this would be the smart thing to do. If I keep going, then the eventual blogging slump when it comes (and it will come) might hit me hard in 2021 and mean that I can’t top this year’s stats. Whereas a blogging slump now would leave my stats fairly sedentary for the rest of the year and a reinvigorated blogging schedule next year could then theoretically help me to continue to ‘build on my success’. There’s no point in setting the bar too high.
However, you will be relieved to know (yes relieved is the correct word) that I am not planning on having an immediate blogging slump. Not least because my blogging schedule is really not well-planned enough to actively plan a slump. Beyond a notional ‘need to post every day’ at the moment, I have no particular idea of what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Last time I had a blogging streak of this magnitude it was far more planned.
I had a proper blogging schedule.
And I had much worse stats.
These days though it’s just whatever I can think of, whenever I can think of it. Which seems to result in a lot of haiku. And some of those haiku have been about how I always write haiku.
I didn’t even really know what a haiku was when I started blogging. Now it’s my ‘go to’ strategy for producing content when I can’t think of anything else to write.
But endless underwhelming haiku do appear to be the foundation of my current blogging ‘success’.
Success, is of course, a relative term. For this blog to truly be successful I would actually need to have some sort of aspiration for it.
But all I really wanted was for some people who weren’t me to read my stuff and not hate it.
And on that score this blog has been a runaway success story since the day I realised that you need to ‘tag’ your posts in order for other people to be able to find them.
Which I admittedly did not know for the first few weeks that this blog existed.
So if I was to impart one piece of advice to any newbie bloggers out there, it would be to tag your posts. It doesn’t matter what tags you use. Etiquette would suggest that the tag should be pertinent to the content.
But honestly, the bots don’t really care one way or another.