Is blogging worth the effort?
I set out to post an essay every Wednesday. Fifty-two blog posts later, I want to evaluate what have I gained, and at what cost?
There’s definitely been good that’s come from posting weekly.
- I’ve posted every Wednesday but once, when I posted that Thursday.
- Almost all my posts have been new essays; I’ve reworked previously published work less than a handful of times.
- I’m proud of producing so much original work, and mostly pleased with its quality.
- Thanks to a hard-learned lesson about intellectual property rights, I’ve also started to take my own photos. It’s been a lot of fun to reactivate the visual part of my brain and learn new skills around digital photography.
- I’ve also learned how to source free photos and how to manipulate photos for the web. Since I like learning new skills, this has been fun.
But there’s been a cost to this work, in both money and time.
- I’ve let some of my paying work slip in order to write for the blog.
- Have I made up for lost income in increased audience? It’s hard to tell. Even looking at the numbers, I’m not sure.
- According to the Jetpack Stats, my website has had 8,266 views; according to my hosting company, I’ve had 81,312.
- Which stats do I trust? Why the discrepancy? And who are these viewers?
Evaluating the stats.
- After a year of regular posting, I have forty-nine email subscribers, some of whom I don’t know.
- The number of people who follow my author page on Facebook, however, has doubled, though still shy of 500.
- If Facebook’s analytics are to be trusted, an average of two hundred viewers see each of my posts, and generally ten per cent of those viewers click through to the post.
- Some of my posts have seen much more traffic; one had 1550 hits.
- I also gave Twitter another try, but I still don’t get it.
- For one, I refuse to put any social media on my phone. Life is distracting enough!
- Even Facebook is getting old, as in Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame.
- Social media does seem like lust in action – lust for readers, for higher numbers, and for book sales. Sure I want readers and income, but I still believe good writing will bring both.
- Without meaning to fall down the rabbit hole of social media, it’s hard not to become addicted to checking the numbers and looking to see if there are new comments.
- The comments are unquestionably more gratifying than the numbers, because they represent real human interaction.
- “Meeting” readers is definitely worthwhile.
There are definitely pros and cons to blogging, so I’ll sign on for another year, posting an essay every Wednesday about one of three themes: Living In Place, about living a life rooted in place; The Middle Ages, about this glorious passage between young and old; and Vermonters By Choice, profiles of some of the really interesting and talented people who’ve come to live in the Green Mountain State.
What do you think? Is blogging worth the effort?
Deborah Lee Luskin lives and writes in southern Vermont. She’s the author of the award-winning novel, Into the Wilderness and a regular commentator on Vermont Public Radio.