James Blogs About His Own Blog

James Proclaims (4)

man-997400_640

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.

 

Massively Increase Your Followers In Three Simple Steps

James Proclaims (4)

business-1297532_640
Hello, I’m James and you are currently reading my latest post on a blog that I like to call ‘James Proclaims’. There’s a chance that you already know this of course and that you came here to sample my latest offering because you generally find my output tolerable. However, if you’ve stumbled here by accidently clicking on the wrong link or some other internet-related mishap (we’ve all been there), then I still want you to feel welcome and appreciated. We at ‘James Proclaims’ value all of our visitors, regardless of the circumstances that led to them finding themselves here. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I sometimes like to pretend this is a team effort, but it isn’t. This blog is entirely my fault and my fault alone.

There is, of course, a chance that you’re reading this on the basis that you were enticed by the ‘click-bait’ title I decided to give this post. If that is the case then I’m genuinely sorry. It wasn’t my intention to mislead you (well it was, but only in a misguided attempt at humour). In all honesty, there is very little chance that continuing to read this post will help you to get more people to follow you on whatever social media platform you’re currently operating on.

Because I don’t know how to do that.

Certainly not in three simple steps.

I don’t have that many followers.

Actually, at the time of writing I do notionally have something like 850 followers. Some bloggers would consider that a lot, while others would look on me with condescending pity as they bask in the glory of having thousands of followers.

850 is fine with me. It would be even better if there really were 850 people regularly reading my posts.

There are not. I think there are reliably about twenty people worldwide who actually read most of what I write and then maybe another twenty or so people who occasionally read what I write. I could be wrong. There could be more than that, there could actually be far far fewer than that.

The other 810(ish) followers either consist of people who did used to read my blog but haven’t for a while, other bloggers who followed me despite having no interest in my blog, solely in the hope that I would follow them back (I’m sorry to disappoint those people but I tend not to do that, although they aren’t actually reading this so it’s probably a redundant statement to make) and quite a lot of my followers are what we in ‘the business’ like to call ‘bots’. I don’t know what a bot is, but I do know that if I write about specific topics, things that normal people write about like health and/or fitness, then the bots go crazy for it. When I write about ducks and puddles, the bots seem less interested.

Anyway, the point to all of this, if indeed there is a point, is that in the month that has just gone, the month in question being June in the year 2020, my blog has enjoyed something of an upturn in fortunes. It was, statistically speaking, the most fruitful month I’ve ever had based on all of the different criteria that WordPress uses to measure the success of my blog. I had more visitors, more ‘likes’ and more comments on my posts in June than in any other month since I started blogging, way back in May 2015. And while you might expect a blog to get more successful over time, that generally isn’t how things have gone for me. My stats for June 2020 eclipse every other month by a considerable margin. The only month that comes close is August 2015 and that has always been an outlier, a beacon of shame if you will, reminding me that every other month has been a spectacular failure by comparison.

There are some factors which may have helped June, not least the fact that I’ve been producing content on a much more regular basis than I have in the past, but as this is my hundredth post in as many days, one might wonder why I didn’t enjoy a similar upturn in fortunes in April and May. Ok, May could be explained by the fact that I wrote exclusively about Star Wars for thirty-one consecutive days and April was fairly niche too because I mostly wrote about 90s indie music. But I’ve had blogging streaks before and they’ve never resulted in a massive increase in my blogging stats. Perhaps the pandemic has meant more people have time to read blogs. Maybe my particular brand of ‘whatever-it-is-I-actually-do’ has been more appealing during these coronatimes than it was when there wasn’t a world-wide health crisis.

Or maybe, somehow, I have finally nailed the art of blogging and June 2020 was the beginning of my humble little online journal joining the stratosphere of the ‘superblogs’. Maybe this time next year I’ll have 8000 followers rather than just 850.

It seems unlikely. But, while I’d like to pretend that I don’t care about things like ‘numbers of followers’ and ‘likes’ and that I’m really too cool for all of that, there is a part of me that has enjoyed this last month.

And I’d like it to continue for a bit longer.

So, I thought I’d get my July blogging stats off to a good start by writing a post with an obvious clickbait title.

Just to see how many more of the bots I could reel in.

Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’

new-jamproc-3

Last week I was lamenting the fact that I actively got worse at blogging in 2016 when compared to 2015.

And although I rather churlishly claimed in that post that I was going to endeavour to be even worse in 2017, in actual fact I’d like to be a bit better.

Or, you know, more popular.

And having examined my ‘stats’ with a fine-tooth comb (that I bought off a dentist for a very reasonable price) I realised that 2015 was more successful than 2016 because I produced a lot more content.

Simple as that.

In the just-under eight months I blogged in 2015 I produced 153 posts, whereas a whole twelve months of blogging in 2016 yielded just 104 posts.

It was all about quantity and very little to do with quality.

I was clearly a man possessed in 2015, churning out all kinds of second-rate bunkum.

Did I really just use the word ‘bunkum’? What is wrong with me? Continue reading Introducing ‘Artist’s Corner’