It’s been five months since Passive Guy started this blog. The original business purpose was to build a platform to support some PG works of fiction that won’t see the light of day for awhile (PG has issues with letting go of backstory).
Since his readers are his constituency, PG decided to provide a State of the Blog report. Since almost every author blogs, perhaps some of what PG has learned will be helpful to you.
When the blog was birthed, PG was researching self-publishing, so he started posting interesting items he discovered during his research. He picked up a few readers (Thank you!), but unique visitors were bouncing along in a generally unimpressive manner.
Following is a graph showing daily unique visitors to The Passive Voice for the first two months of its existence:
This is a slow upward path, but nothing very impressive. At best, about a hundred visitors per day.
If we look at the most recent two months (approximately), we see a nicer trend developing.
For the first few days, we were in the 150-175 visitor range, then on May 7, visitors spiked to over 500. What happened?
On May 6, I wrote my first post on contracts, entitled Don’t Sign Dumb Contracts. This post commented on an essay Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote about hinky contract practices by agents and publishers. Kris was kind enough to mention my post and readership went up and stayed on a 300-400 visitors per day plateau. I’ve picked up 41 comments on that post, which was the first to generate significant commenting.
I continued to write regular posts about contracts in the last two months. During that time period, I also started paying more attention to Twitter, actively trying to recruit additional followers.
The next big spike came on May 28, when the blog hit 929 visitors. What happened?
On May 27, I wrote a post entitled Strip Mining the Authors, once again starting with an essay by Kris Rusch. Kris mentioned my post, Dave Farland picked up on the strip mining metaphor and Dean Wesley Smith had emphatic posts on May 27, May 28 and May 31 pointing to the Strip Mining and a follow-on contracts post, For Avoidance of Doubt as must-reads. On May 31, the blog punched up above 1,000 daily visitors for the first time.
Since that time, The Passive Voice has hit a new plateau, although this last Friday and Saturday were each new daily visitor records and the last four days have each had over 1,000 unique visitors. The last month has also brought more visitors from outside the United States (Thank You!).
Here are some general blog stats:
- 511 posts since I started – Generally I try to have 4-5 posts per day. I quite often write posts for 1-2 days at a single sitting, then schedule them to appear during the day so repeat visitors will see something new.
- 2069 comments (Thank You!) – Heavily-commented recent topics include J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore announcement, PG’s upcoming book on contracts, Harlequin, plagiarism on Amazon and Keyboard vs. Longhand.
- The average visitor spends about 4 minutes on the site. In PG’s experience, this a high number and may reflect the number of new visitors who come and read multiple posts about contracts.
The four most-visited posts are:
1. Strip Mining the Authors
2. Publishers and Agents are Trying to Figure Out How to Skin Their Own Authors
3. You Just Signed with a Big Agent? Oh, I’m So Sorry. (Snarkiness sometimes pays)
4. Write More for Harlequin, Receive Less Money
In the last month, PG has made the blog feed more prominent and this has substantially increased the feed numbers. Currently 591 people subscribe to the feed, up from less than 100 a month ago. 165 subscribe via email, the remainder via feedreaders.
Twitter is the real deal. PG should go over the 3,000 follower mark today or tomorrow. Clicks from Twitter comprise about 25% of new visitors to the blog, about twice as many visitors as Feedburner delivers.
Some of you are familiar with Technorati. For those who aren’t, it’s like the Social Register for techheads. Technorati ranks blogs by their “Authority” based on a complex algorithm combining traffic, links, quotes, etc. For a tech type, a high ranking on Technorati is almost as cool as being mentioned in Wired magazine or standing next to Steve Jobs.
Among book blogs, The Passive Voice is currently ranked #12 by Technorati. If PG manages to push up two more spots, he’ll have more “Authority” than the Tor publishing blog, which seems very strange and makes him question the whole Technorati ranking method.
Let PG know if you have any questions about any of this, how to do something he mentioned, etc.
As far as the future is concerned, PG knows he needs to do more with Facebook and will begin to build a presence there, starting with an automated feed of blog posts.
PG also plans to provide updates on his contracts book as it progresses, likely asking for feedback on content areas, unmet needs, etc. He appreciates all the comments already made on this topic and has modified his outline based on several.
Thanks to all who support The Passive Voice with visits, comments, emails and links. Passive Guy highly values the intelligence of and interaction with the people who come here.