2001: A Blogging Odyssey–Reflections and Projections After 2000 Posts
It has taken 6 years and almost 7 months to accumulate 2000 posts on The 3 R’s Blog, but it happened yesterday. Post number 2001 seems like a good place to pause and consider how I got here, and where to go now that I am here. The last time I reviewed blog stats was the end of 2011 (I only looked at reading stats in 2012). I think this is a good occasion to revisit them, with a little bit of context from each year of the blog’s life. Care to come along?
2007: 332 posts for the year
Top 5 Pageviews in 2007 (*=all-time Top 10 pageviews)
I read a lot of posts about blog development during my first year, and I clearly took their advice about frequent and consistent posting to heart. Despite not starting until the spring of 2007, I ended up with almost a full year’s worth of content thanks to double-posting days, participating in several weekly memes, and joining NaBloPoMo in November. I was much less serious about finding a focus and/or developing a niche, though. Although I started the blog as a book journal, my drive to discover a whole world of other blogs led me to write in response to non-bookish reading as well–randomness was leading the way!
400-plus posts–I haven’t gotten anywhere near that number since! I posted 5-6 days per week; I was still doing several weekly reading and writing memes, and would often have an additional, non-prompted post go up on a “meme” day. But my most productive blogging year was my least productive for reading–I read just 35 books. I called myself a book blogger, and I was getting on publicists’ contact lists and hosting blog tours, but the numbers didn’t seem to support the claim–on the other hand, maybe the 3 out of 5 top posts associated with book-blogging-community leader Dewey did help give it some credibility.
The randomness still seemed to be leading the way, though…and, perhaps, leading me a little astray. I started posting regular link roundups. I became a charter contributor to the LA Moms Blog (although I never did get comfortable calling myself a mom blogger), linking and promoting that more topical content here. The 3 R’s Blog got its own domain at www.3rsblog.com and became part of the BlogHer Publishing Network, where it earned good promotion and not-so-good ad revenue until 2013.
2009: 320 posts for the year
Top 5 Pageviews in 2009 (*=all-time Top 10 pageviews)
A full year of blogging yielded fewer posts than the 9.5 months of 2007. I was posting 4-6 days per week, but finally broke the two-a-day habit except for rare exceptions. I continued contributing to the LA Moms Blog, which inspired much of my non-book-based writing, and a reaction to the “Octomom” story became my all-time most-viewed post when it was picked up in a related-content widget on a CNN.com post. I dropped some memes, but became part of the team that continued Dewey’s “Weekly Geeks” book-blogger meme for more than two years. I went to my first blogging conference (BlogHer’09, Chicago), and I read and reviewed 47 books.
2010: 304 posts for the year
Top 5 Pageviews in 2010 (*=all-time Top 10 pageviews)
The post count for this year includes two weeks of guest posts while my family went on vacation–and if I’d known I would dislocate my shoulder the day we got home, I would have arranged for more of them! I injured it again five months later, which derailed my NaBloPoMo November plans. All in all, I spent about ten weeks that year with my right arm in a sling, and produced nearly three dozen blog posts left-handed (which I am not). None were for the LA Moms Blog, however, as it shut down that summer.
Recovery time was productive reading time, though; I read 54 books in 2010, none of which were audiobooks. (I can’t approach that number without audiobooks now!) I was part of a small group of book bloggers who founded ArmchairBEA that spring, and I recovered from the first shoulder injury just in time to attend my first San Diego Comic Con and second BlogHer conference.
2011: 239 posts for the year
Top 5 Pageviews in 2011 (*=all-time Top 10 pageviews)
2011’s post count includes guest posts during the two weeks following surgery to fix the shoulder damage resulting from two dislocations in less than six months, and it was clearly my slowest blogging year to date. Because it was easier to share links on Twitter and Facebook as I came across them than hold and hoard them for the blog, I dropped my roundup posts. Between that and the shutdown of two weekly meme groups, the Weekend Assignment and Weekly Geeks, I was down to posting just 3-4 times per week, which has remained the norm around here.
I wasn’t regularly contributing posts to other blogs either, but I wrote occasional featured pieces on BlogHer, Moms LA, and CBSLA.com, and I started contributing (and being paid for!) book reviews to Shelf Awareness’ Readers edition when it launched that summer. I worked behind the scenes on the second year of Armchair BEA while attending my first Book Expo America and Bloggers’ Conference, and after years of a daily 80-mile round-trip commute, I finally started reading audiobooks. I wish I’d gotten into them long before, but they’ve helped make my drive more tolerable–and keep my annual books-read count above 50–ever since.
2012: 203 posts for the year
Top 5 Pageviews in 2012 (*=all-time Top 10 pageviews)
The post count fell further, and I wasn’t regularly writing anywhere other than here and Shelf Awareness. I came back from my second trip to BEA and the Bloggers’ Conference with fewer books than I had the year before, and didn’t feel at all deprived; thanks to my SA gig, I was cutting back significantly on blog tours and review books from other sources. I was out of nearly all reading-and-writing memes except for the Sunday Salon–and I was an irregular participant in that one–but I got involved in some photo memes during that summer. I didn’t really keep that up, but they did lead me to more frequent image-based posting here.
By this time, I did very little of my blogging on the fly–most of my posts were written and scheduled in advance, and I had a loosely structured editorial calendar. Working ahead led to some shifts in content, with fewer current-events reaction posts and more focus on books, entertainment, travel and events, and “the blogging life” (which became the source of most of the current-events reactions I did post).
2013: 171 posts to date–should end up in line with 2012
Since the year’s not over yet, I won’t list the Top 5 pageviews, but I will say that the “Factors For a Successful Marriage” post continues to get search traffic, and that the most-viewed post I actually wrote this year is “Three Reasons Why I Blog,” from September. It always fascinates me to note that there’s rarely much overlap between what Google Analytics identifies as my “top posts” and the ones I consider my best, or even my favorite, work–but I’m pretty pleased to see that particular post doing well.
I left the BlogHer Publishing Network for the Riot Ad Network in May–I think pageviews may have suffered a bit from the loss of BlogHer’s cross-promotion of posts across their network, but RAN’s still growing–promotion opportunities may come, and they already pay better. I joined an online book club this summer, but I’ll be leaving it early next year–the selections just haven’t been interesting me all that much. I want to keep doing freelance book reviewing, but when it’s not for pay I want to move back toward reading what I want, when I want.
I came away from the CreativeAlliance’12 retreat in the fall of 2012 with a desire to seek more opportunities to develop as a writer, including finding ways to get paid for doing it. I still have the desire, but–ad-network changes aside–I’ve probably moved further from acting on it. This year, I’ve become a realist (and not just because we bought a house, and there are bills to be paid!). Blogging is a hobby I love, and one that’s made me a better reader and writer, but I don’t have time or resources to make it into more at this stage of my life. I miss doing timely, current-events-driven posts, but it’s hard to fit them into the blogging schedule I’m managing now, so they continue to be infrequent–and when I do write them, I’m trying to tie them in with books. I’d like to explore more personal-essay writing as well–and tie it in with books.
Fortunately–and I wish I’d understood it sooner–there’s no one right way to do this. The randomness has led the way through 2000 posts here–and it’s not going away, but it’s gradually steered me toward writing more about the reading, which is what I meant to do here in the first place. I think I’m understanding who I am–and how that’s shaped by a lifetime as a reader–better, and this blog is central to capturing and telling that story.