Each year, print magazines are required to publish circulation information that shows how many copies of the magazine go out on average in different categories This blog is not a magazine and there is no requirement for circulation stats, but yesterday I passed a minor milestone here on the blog that got me thinking about circulation, blog stats, and readership. I thought I’d pull back the curtain a bit and talk about this milestone. But first, you need some context:
- Between 2010-2017 I was very active here on the blog, writing every day, or nearly every day, sometimes more than once a day. During that time, I hit my peak readership averaging about 620,000 views and 358,000 unique visitors per year. For a scatterbrained blog such as this with no particular focus and no commercial intent, that was far better than I ever thought I’d do.
- After our third child was born in 2016, I started to slow down in my writing and blogging. With work, and three kids, there just wasn’t time to do it all. 2017 saw my numbers drop by about 50 percent, down to about 260,000 views for the year. It halved again in 2018 finally hitting a low point of 98,591 views in 2020–the first time in a decade that the total fell below 100,000.
- At the end of 2020, with the kids getting older, I was able to start to write again. Initially, I thought I’d focus on fiction-writing. But I realized two things: (a) I was an okay fiction writer, but I would never be a great one; and (b) I enjoyed writing for the blog more than I enjoyed writing stories. I decided I refocus my efforts on the blog in 2021, and at the end of 2020, I set a goal of publishing a post every day in 2021–a goal that I met.
- Writing every day in 2021 challenged me, invigorated me, and, as it turned out, reinvigorated this blog. Whereas I had a low point of 98,591 views in 2020, in 2021 that number jumped 48% to about 144,000 views in 2021.
- I found that I enjoyed writing for the blog and interacting with my readers here so much that in 2022, I set goal of trying to write 2 posts every day. This was a stretch goal for me. I wasn’t planning on publishing two posts each day. Instead, I’d build up a backlog of posts that would keep the pressure low for those inevitable days when time or inclination kept me from writing. As a result the numbers have continued their upward trend.
With this background in mind, last night the blog passed a milestone: on the 111th day of 2022, the blog hit 99,000 views, surpassing all of 2020. Indeed, at the pace I am currently on. not barring disaster, 2022 is set to more than double what I saw in 2021–approaching somewhere around 326,000 views. That surpasses even 2017 and puts the blog back on track toward its old heights of a decade past.
These are just numbers of course. They don’t translate into ad revenue because I don’t monitize what I do here. This blog is my avocation, my hobby, and I write here because I love doing it. But I present the numbers for two reasons:
- They are one of the guages I have to judge readership. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that as I writer, what I want more than anything is to be read. If readership is going up, I must be doing something right.
- The numbers give my readers an peek behind the curtains here. I’m certainly not getting the numbers of a wildly popular blog like Tim Ferriss or John Scalzi. But I think they are respectable numbers nonetheless, and that they are growing as much as they are fills me with glee.
And I have you, my readers, to thank for that. From the comments I get on the blog, and the occasional emails, Tweets, and other messages readers send me, the consensus seems to be that you enjoy what I am doing here. That delights me more than any statistic I might come up with. It makes me want to do better with every post that I write.
So thank you, readers, for getting me to this milestone, and helping make this hobby of mine such a joy.
Written on April 22, 2022.
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