Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Going On?

I'm going to be honest with y'all.

I'm just a tad bit vain.

I write a blog because I have something to get off my chest and because I'm really interested in hearing what y'all think about my feelings. On one hand I think I'm providing a service, but on the other hand it's pretty much a way to get my ego stroked.

Y'all haven't been stroking much lately.

According to StatCounter, I get about 5,000 visitors a month to the blog. Sometimes traffic spikes when I link to a popular site, but that's the average. For the first few months, the site was growing quickly, but lately things have been pretty stagnant.

And, that's been reflected in the comments on the blog.

I guess I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. At times I wonder if I'm repeating myself, if I'm not being creative enough. Would the blog benefit from me posting less frequently, or rigidly?

So, for those of you who are inclined, I'd like to hear from you. Not praise or good wishes, but genuine advice on what you think the blog is lacking and what would increase your interest. And maybe attract new people.

I would appreciate it.


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23 comments:

MCBias said...

Big Man, the way I can see it, you can react to the flattening growth in one of two ways:
1) You can push for more growth by trying new methods. This includes submitting stories to the likes of digg.com or stumbleupon.com, including different media on your site (i.e. audio/video of yourself talking, etc.), or working to cross-link with other blogs.

2) You can assume that for right now, the best fits for your blog have already found you. Instead, you can work on making your existing readership more loyal to you, by holding contests, having more discussion posts, and spending time commenting on your most loyal readers' blogs.

Personally? I get bored with growth once I reach a certain comment ceiling. Haters annoy me, as well, so I might prefer 2). But then, if one is always preaching to the choir, the message gets stale. An open-minded contrarian or two can be a beautiful thing.

Good luck with your choice. Also, do consider that the changing of seasons and school starting again does seem to hurt traffic. It might just be a temporary phenomenon.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Big Man, when you check your stats, see how many use FireFox rather than Internet Explorer. For at least a month now, your blog looks totally fucked up when I come to page using Firefox. I mentioned this to you back then. I see a whole bunch of HTML and have to scroll way down until I get to the heading and body of your page.

There is something in your HTML setting that's screwy. If you feel comfortable enough with me trying to troubleshoot, email me, otherwise find or hire someone to repair this. I'm guessing it's something fairly simple, and maybe your facebook link is what did it since that's prominent in the HTML. Try to get that fixed soon. It ain't on my end; your blog is the only one in the universe that does this on my computer.

Visually, you might also want to play around with colors. The grey on the page is not typically used, and although you might like it, maybe others think it's drab.

Your topics, writing style and other things are great. You already know you're one of my favorite bloggers.

I don't know if you leave a lot of comments at other blogs, but I do know that when one does, people are inherently curious. So if you write an interesting comment, people will often click on it to see what your blog is all about. I'm shameless when it comes to promoting an article I'm especially proud of and so is Raw Dawg Buffalo. We'll leave links to a good post sometimes when leaving a comment on someone else's blog. Not too much though, but on your best stuff.

Visiting the blogroll lists of sites you like will often lead you to knew blogs that have fairly simpatico viewpoints of your own. Be sure though by scrolling through their older posts. When you leave your first comment there, invite them to check out your blog. Let them know when you blogroll them, ie, This was a great post blah blah blah, I like your blog and just blogrolled you. I never say this if I don't mean it. Usually people will blogroll yours automatically, and if they don't I don't sweat it since I like their blog anyway.

I also step out of the pond of black bloggers occasionally and have pulled new readers from bagnewsnotes.com when I leave a comment. That's an awesome site. Another favorite is stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com. That's NOT the same one as Stuff White People Like.

That's all I can think of now. Hope this helps.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I agree with Kit that you may want to change the colors, personally I like dark colors but I know some folks don't.

Honestly, I can't see anything else that you could be doing other than the fact I think blogs have their seasons with ups and downs.

BBCSR53 said...

I personally like the way it is: that just me.

Big Man said...

Thanks for all the help so far.

Particularly KIT. I'm going to shoot you an email this week about the HTML thing. I'm totally lost when it comes to that stuff. I just added a facebook link because a friend told me that's an easy way to share what you write. I don't even have a facebook page.

Deacon Blue said...

I find that my commenting around here (and elsewhere) ebbs and flows a lot.

Depending on my mood, how busy I am, what the topics are, etc. I get a similar dynamic at my blog, with some posts gettign a few comments and most getting none.

And my modest hit rate (30 to 70 "real" hits a day, as opposed to the other 20 to 50 people a day who end up at my blog searching for images of women and boots and such and probably leave when they see I'm not a porn blog or fashion blog.) tells me you're probably doing something right to get the kind of hits you are each month...and to keep a loyal following.

I think, in the end, having loyal readers and knowing that they're there, but no necessarily always commenting, is worth a lot.

At the same time, I understand the ego thing. I don't have a massive one myself, but in terms of my writing, I like some attention, too.

I think you're doing great, and don't see much need for you to change. But there may be ways as others have mentioned to get your name out there more, and maybe you can find some "gimmicky" tactics to break out every once in a while to provide more variety and maybe bring in new readers (my two-fer tuesdays and hummus idol posts, for example, seem to have done me at least a little good in changing things up and keeping things lively for certain readers).

You'll have a loyal reader in me (and Mrs. Blue, and Son of Blue) for a long time, I think.

That Girl said...

Okay. Honestly, most of the folks who jump to my spot come there from here. So bowing down I humbly say thank you.

That said...I read all my blogs (all 123 a day or so) in bLoglines. I just need a quick snip and I'm out. I love that you put your whole post up there and not just the title or the first arbitrary 2 or 3 lines. However, that does mean that I never have to actually come to your blog to read it. So I don't care what color it is or know about HTML screw ups cause that's how I read you. According to bloglines, there are two of us subbed to your blog that way (smile). For what that is worth.

Anyhow, by not coming to your actual blog, I get to read you at work without making it obvious I'm reading you, but what gets lost is the commenting. I almost never comment on blogs but for the weekend and because you're a relatively recent addition to my bloglines, you're so far down the list that by the time I get there, I'm commented out.

While I don't always comment, a quick look at the blogs I've clipped to later include in my blog posts (or just to clip because I'm a packrat, even online) shows that I tend to clip your blog most often. So clearly I like what you write. And maybe because I like it so much (and agree with it) I don't feel a need to write an "amen" or "I agree" because I don't feel like I'm contributing anything useful to the convo. Much like this way too long comment.

Ah. It is what it is. All to say I typically only comment when I fear that a fave blogger is about to close shop because comments are the only way they feel worthy. Don't fall victim to the hype! I'm messing with you. But there it is.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Nothing comes to mind. I have been super busy plus I can follow you with the new follower widget. I don't have time to comment as much these days but I SEE YOU.

I think you are doing fine and just think it’s like Deacon Blue says ebb and flow. I notice the same thing on my space.

I'm always reading even when I don't comment. Trust!

-OG

Big Man said...

Thanks for the feedback folks. As you can see, I have already made a color change. I was kind of tired of the dull gray and black anyway.

I don't know what this "bloglines" thing is, but it sounds interesting. I am woefully out of my depth when it comes to digital stuff. I only learned a month ago how to burn a CD from my Ipod.

Anonymous said...

I usually check the blog when I'm reading SLAMonline comments and remember I haevn't checked in a while. Just keep doing what you do.

Darth Whitey said...

I was also seeing junk on the page with firefox until today.

I've been rather busy lately so I haven't had much time to come up in here and challenge y'all, but then again I've come to the stunning realization of just how fucking racist mccain's peeps be heh. Not much to add to that really.

I do have another generic question though: when you are walking around in a big corporate office and you cross the hall with a random white guy you've never seen, and he sees you and nods and then looks at you just a little too long after that, what goes through your mind? With no particular expression on his face or nothing, but he keeps on looking. Do you think "I'm black. He just realized there's a black person here. He was not expecting this. He didn't look away because he feared I'd think he was being dismissive of me and hence I'd think he was a racist cracka." Or is it nothing at all and we whiteys just crazy?

MODI said...

Big Man, much technical advice has already been given, but here is my two cents on your blog title. It has 6 syllables... aka it is hard for non-loyal members to remember. I actually have a similar criticism of SOMM to a lesser degree. I have done a lot of research on this and it is usually good to have no more than 3 syllables in your title -- 4 the absolute max. Anything longer should be a play on words that has built in memorization contained within it.

I must also say that I was disappointed when you took that Obama dunking over McCain graphic down. That one should have stayed up at least through the election... actually inaugeration if all goes as planned. I don't know if it actually affected traffic, but I thought that this is a good time to bring up the grievances.

As for your writing itself, keep doing what you do.

Big Man said...

Darth

I wouldn't even notice. I rarely make eye contact with random white people.

MODI

You know I didn't want to take that photo down, but I figured that most people who came to the spot wouldn't get the allusion. That was only for the sports fans.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hey Big Man! Nice change. I love the colors. Most importantly, your HTML problem is gone when I open on Firefox. Maybe it was a conflict with the Facebook thingy.

That was cool of you to ask everyone for help and got all these responses. Hope it made your day.

skb said...

I've been reading for a few months now....I don't comment b/c I read so many blogs that I rarely have time. I just wanted to say I love your writing style & didn't mind the background.

Gye Greene said...

Big Man,


Hey! I like the new look -- and that you got rid of the html gunk at the top of the page.

Although, that never deterred me: I just scrolled down past it. But I can see how someone new to your page might have become confused, and just left.


--GG

Smokie said...

I like your blog. I read it just about every day but I rarely comment. I guess the main reason being that you say it all. I agree, think a little harder, and go to the next blog. Maybe you're too good dunno.

Oh yeah, add pictures to the posts.

Kevin said...

Like That Girl said, I read your blog through a reader service (Google) and so I dont actually come to your site, I get a feed of what you write, laugh or frown, and move on... If you have feedburner or some kind of feed service, you'll probably see that while your hits have gone down, subscriptions to your blog, via bloglines, googlereader, etc. have gone up.

Big Man said...

See, I'm glad I did this. I didn't even know about this bloglines or google reader thing. I'm going to have to find out how those work.

nonie3234 said...

I subscribe to your feed on Google Reader - are you able to see that on StatCounter?

Personally, the only thing I'd like from you is MORE. I think you are a brilliant writer, and I appreciate what you do. What I usually do is "save up" about a week of your posts, and then get a strong cup of coffee and catch up on them all at once.

That said, you really do deserve to have WAY more attention paid to you. You oughta be famous.

Maybe crosspost each of your posts to some sites with a lot of traffic, and make sure to link back here? DailyKos comes to mind.

adamson said...

I don't think that you've been doing anything wrong...

Take care.

MODI said...

No Big man, that Obama over McCain picture is universal. People who hate sports can appreciate it!!!

I'm noticing something... it seems like you have more female fans than male ones? Is it your soul-searching writing style?

Alex said...

Second all the folk who say they follow your site on some type of syndication service. I use Google Reader, and am following way too many blogs, so I tend to let them each build up a backlog, then go read through them in one good. It feels more like an ongoing conversation that way, rather than snippets. Not much you can do to prevent this sort of sporadic traffic, but you should be able to at least turn on an option that posts only an initial excerpt from each entry to the feed page, so readers have to visit the site to read the rest. That should increase your number of comments

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