Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday bloggish navel gazing

So many writers have said it in so many ways that I can't remember from whom I first picked it up (I can remember when -- I was 12 -- just not from whom): If one wants to be a writer, one must write.

I took the maxim to heart immediately, starting with club notices for my local newspaper, and in the 30 years since I don't think I've ever gone more than a few weeks without buckling down to write "seriously." The last such period which comes to mind is December of 1990, when I was just too damn busy (Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, getting read for the Big Show in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; once we were over there, I got some writing done).

Writing is what I do. I write -- sometimes badly, I'm sure, but for the last ten years I've been able to call myself a professional writer with a straight face. When I'm not writing (under my own name, or under someone else's), I'm editing (my own work, or someone else's).

All of which is just a long, boring lead-in to the analogous rule: If one wants to be a blogger, one must blog. If one wants to be a successful blogger (as measured in any number of ways -- traffic, links, money, etc.), one must blog regularly and frequently.

I became neglectful of this rule, and as a result, traffic at KN@PPSTER fell by about 80%, and Technorati "authority" (a status measurement reflecting the number of recent links from other blogs) by about 75%, over the course of a year. Income fell, too, but since it wasn't a major income source even at its previous height, I can't offer exact statistics.

That doesn't work for me. I've decided to get born again hard on the blogging thing. That means blogging every day (at least two posts per weekday, at least one each weekend day) ... and if there's nothing in particular I care to blog about, I'll by God blog about blogging, just to cultivate the habit. Which is what I'm doing right now, hopefully with a helpful veneer of industry news in the "I am the Blogosphere, and You Can Too!" vein.

Three basic rules:

1) Blog -- every day.

2) Promote -- in every way.

3) Monetize -- as much as I can get away with.

That third rule leads me to a matter of actual current interest to at least one reader, "steven," who writes:

[I]s there anything you can do about that goddamn ad page that comes up when I click on your website? I don't mind having to click on "skip the ad" to get back to you, but several times now I get stuck on that page with no way to get back except to log all the way off the internet and get back on (which I always do because I like your site). It's just a royal pain in the ass.

I'd love to be able to accommodate that request, steven, but Rule #3 says I can't just knock off those particular ads.

Here's the thing: In recent correspondence with a blogger whose traffic numbers were better than mine (that's changing, fast, now that I'm back to regular blogging), he mentioned his AdBrite revenues. They were all out of whack with mine, even allowing for the difference in traffic. I'm talking a full order of magnitude here -- mid-single-digits for me, low-triple-digits for him. The difference between his implementation of AdBrite and mine? He runs those funky "interstitial" ads.

We're looking at a potential revenue difference here of $90 or more per month. That's big money to me, and if I can grab it without burning my own house down, I'm going to.

I hope you'll stick with me, steven. I've sent AdBrite a note about the problem, and if there's anything I can do to fix it, I will. In the meantime, you might consider following KN@PPSTER via RSS -- Feedburner offers several options (My Yahoo!, Bloglines, etc.), and a supportive user has also syndicated it via LiveJournal. I hate sending readers off-site, but that's the only alternative I can think of to removing the ads, which I'm unwilling, for the moment, to do.

All right, then. Weekend blogging quota met. Take that, Anthony Trollope.

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