The Blog Year in Review

Yesterday was this blog’s first anniversary. Here are some things I’ve learned about the blog process since my first post on February 14, 2010.

1.  Blogging takes more time and energy than I thought it would. Writing a headline that includes the sense of the piece and fits on one line in the “Recent Post” box also takes more time than expected.

For example, I started this post a few minutes before sunrise on the morning of February 14, 2011. One two-hour meeting, a four-hour stint at the day job, three meals, and several loads of laundry later, I got back to it. Because I’ve learned the hard way to let a post age overnight before I publish it, it didn’t hit cyberspace for more than 36 hours after the first keystroke.

2.  The goal is to post three times a week. The actual frequency is three to six times a month, due to either the exceedingly high quality of each post or the speed with which time flies while I’m having fun. You decide.

3.  Typos happen (see “let a post age overnight,” above). Fortunately, most of the time I receive instantaneous ERROR! ERROR! alerts from The Much Honoured The Lady of Reay and am able to correct the error(s) before more than 50 percent of my readers see them. (And no, there is not an extra “The” in that title, at least according to my source of all things Highlandish.)

4.  No two hit counters count alike. The three I installed at the bottom of the right sidebar last March show wildly different totals.

The WordPress hit counter is set up to track individual page views–not unique visitors–and only real people, not spambots. It also does not count any time I visit my own blog.

I configured the Pax and Sitemeter counters to track unique visitors, which the WordPress counter doesn’t do, but as of this writing, the difference between them is a statistically significant 840.

I suspect most of difference can be attributed to spammers; WordPress’s  spam filter has snagged about 2000 spam comments so far, many of them written in what looks to my untrained eye as Cyrillic, but I’m just guessing. (The good news is that not a single one of the spam comments made it onto the blog, and as far as I can tell, only one legitimate comment was caught by mistake.)

5.  The comments format is a bit subtle on the particular blog template I’m using. If you read this blog by going to the home page, you won’t see the comments unless you click on the small green Comments link that follows the blog tags at the end of the post.

If you go to the post’s page (by clicking on the headline of any given post on the home page), the box where you can enter your own comments/replies/corrections shows up below any comments that have already been left. (Subscribers are taken to the most recent post by default).

The first time you comment you’ll also have to leave your name and email, and maybe enter a captcha code. The comment will be held for me to look at; after I let WordPress know that I’ve approved you for posting, I don’t think you have to go through that rigmarole again — correct me if I’m wrong.

6.  Most of my writer friends get the “subscribe” idea, either by the email or RSS (Really Simple Syndication, the little button at the top of the page). Few of my non-writer friends do.

For whose who would find it convenient to receive an email with a link to posts as they are published, you can subscribe in the Did You Know..? box at the top of the sidebar on the right side of this post. Even though you have to enter your email address, I think you only have to go through that step once (again, somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this). I don’t do anything with the email addresses, and neither does WordPress; it’s just a cyber-safeguard to check that you are really you and not one of those wacky Berzerkistanis who wants to cut you in on a $15 million legacy if you will only send him your bank account number and PIN.

7. Hardly anybody over the age of 30 understands that a word in green with a dotted line underneath it is a live link to something else. Come on, folks. Youthen up! Do I have to depend on my kids for everything?

© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

This entry was posted in Blogging Tips, Tech Tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Blog Year in Review

  1. Tim Eisele says:

    Congratulations on making it through the first year!

    I personally think that, if your posts are substantive, then posting once a week is about what the normal person with other demands on their time can consistently manage. The only people I’ve seen who can keep up a faster posting schedule have a majority of short, quick posts. Either that, or blogging is part of their full-time job.

    I’m also a big fan of a buffer full of non-time-sensitive future posts. That way, if one has the opportunity to write several in one block, they can then be metered out over a period of days or weeks, giving the illusion that one is writing on a steady schedule.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Thanks for that encouraging observation, Tim…and for your implied assumption that a writer is a “normal” person! I do have the option of posting on a schedule, but it didn’t work the time I tried it. I thought it was because my laptop was sleeping, but that doesn’t make sense; it ought to work independently of what I’m doing, or what’s the point?


  2. Congratulations, Anne, and Happy Anniversary!

    When my blog was new, I posted much more frequently—new toy that it was. I find I’m now down to once a week. Between home, family, writing, and my day job, that’s a comfortable and doable frequency.

    And yes, I also find it takes more time and energy than I had anticipated. Even still. Perhaps even more now.


  3. MaryWitzl says:

    Before I managed to get an outside job, I too blogged at least twice a week. Once a week is far more sane, especially when writing time becomes scarce.

    YAY! I’m over 30, but I know that anything with a dotted green line underneath has a live link! (It’s a little sad how proud I am of that knowledge.)


  4. I try really hard to write on my blog once a week but I don’t always make it. I don’t have an outside job but I do have other things that need doing. Most of the time at the computer is spent writing. For me that’s the necessary and fun part.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      If it’s any consolation, it probably will be the same when we have several books out at the same time…you know, all that fan mail and speaking engagements to deal with along with the usual groceries-meal prep-laundry. I notice that both Meg Cabot and Lisa Yee have cut way back on their blogging, and I bet Meg, at least, has a personal assistant to help out.

      Cynthia Lord probably doesn’t, however, but she still manages to post three days a week, even with all her school visits and the issues one has to deal with when someone in the family has autism. So….if she can keep her schedule going, I ought to be able to do better!


  5. Marcia says:

    Yes to the first sentence in point 1! I’ve arrived at this: I blog 6 times per month, and write and schedule the posts WAY ahead.

    But that point about nobody over 30 getting what a link is? I’m amazed!


    • Anne Bingham says:

      I think my over-30 friends get the concept of “link” in general, Marcia, but not links in a blog post. When I look at my stats I can tell what’s been clicked on (but not who has done the clicking). Of course, it is possible many of them just don’t care…


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