My immediate response to the question, “How do you get readers to come to your blog?” is “I don’t know!” And I really did not know, because I was too busy / interested in writing for myself and for my family than worrying about what I should write for everyone else. Back in the day, no matter what I wrote, or how I wrote it, I still maintained a very low repeat rate of readers.
I didn’t blame them either.
But as I started to look more closely at the posts which attract the most attention and those who take the time to comment – see what they are commenting on – I came to the same conclusion. After looking back through almost 1100 blog posts here at The Urban Daddy, the statistics tell me that my blog is a destination, not a journey. What I mean is that visitors regularly come here for a specific post, thought, idea or opinion, and not as part of their daily “must read” routine.
I’m okay with that.
And you should be too, if you see the same pattern while looking through your blog stats.
At least people come, right?
Every day or so I look at my blog stats to see how people get here and where they come from. I am not overly concerned with what they do when they get here, but it helps to see if traffic is coming from somewhere other than the main social media sites where I am linked to, such as my Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google + profile or directly here through a reader.
My views and unique views have more than tripled over the past year to year and a half, and regularly people will comment to me that they have read / read my blog and that they enjoy it. It still humbles me, to be honest, and in the back of my mind, I wonder what else could they possibly say?
“Hey man, I read your blog and it sucks. It’s terrible!”
Only once, so far (at least to my face).
I liken this exchange to one someone would have when seeing an ugly baby (yes, some do exist). Would you lie and say, “Aww, what a cute baby” or would you instead be truthful and just not comment on the baby’s looks and say something like, “Aww, what beautiful eyes he/she has.”
A friend of mine once came to my defense at a Dad’s wing night when he said that he likes reading my blog (and I appreciate it, I really do) and then he listed several posts over the years which he felt connected with him. I sat back and listened as someone else at the table said he occasionally reads my blog – but only when he has nothing else to read. I’m good with that too. It’s direct, and honest, and I prefer honesty over a generic “I love your blog” comment because it puzzles me to think that so many people could even care about the things I write about. I know, it’s me, not you.
This is exactly how you should be handling your blog, no matter how big or small, or how you feel about it. Take the compliment, know that you can do better, and do it. Trust me when I say that if you go offside on your blog, you will hear about it right away!
Now, back to my point…
More than half of my daily readers come from search engines. They come here as a destination via a search for something quite specific, and usually have nothing to do with being a Daddy blogger. The majority of that traffic comes to learn about Captain Lou Albano, the McRib, Rob Ford, The Starbucks secret menu in the Philippines, the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program and other non-daddy related stuff like that. If I ignored this information and continued to write about my kids and my family only, I would have a wonderful memory for when I’m older, but no one would see it. At least this way, I get some feedback on issues relating to parenting or politics, and I can be a little adventurous and learn for other people’s thoughts, opinions and comments.
So really, life may be a journey, but my blog’s a destination. Don’t be worried if yours is as well. Enjoy it and keep writing!