Final post! If anyone is interested. If you aren’t, just skip it. But if you are, this is your rare once a year chance to get a glimpse behind the DCIB curtain, ooooo!
So, I keep my data secret. I have the option of putting it out there on the blog, view counts and stuff. But once you put a number on it, suddenly that’s all that matters. A post is good or bad based on the numbers, not the content. When you are scrolling through the posts, you subconsciously start noticing what has more views and making that part of your judgements.
Comments are different, comments mean people really care about a post. Obviously I want you to see how many people cared enough to comment. But how many people cared enough to click through and then click away again? That doesn’t matter.
I keep my follower numbers secret too, because that’s just the same effect but on a bigger scale. You treat me with more respect because I have more followers than you thought, or less respect because I have fewer, and that’s no way to do it. It should be based on content, not success.
But I will break that now as a special once a year treat! Which also means it will be rapidly out of date, because the biggest thing to know is that it is all changing all the time. So, let’s talk numbers!
As of right now, I have 532 wordpress followers. That means people who signed up to get an email every time I put up a new post.
Most days I get about 2,500 views and about 800 visitors.
My most popular posts average about 20 views an hour for the first 5 hours, and top out at around 300 views after a few days.
My least popular posts average around 4 views an hour and top out at around 70 views after a few days.
I get a new follower about two or three times a week. And my average view/visitor count is going up in fits and starts (went up to 3,000 to 4,000 a day during the Jab Harry Met Sejal period, was at 1,800 to 2,000 before that, went down to 2,500 after that).
What does this mean in real terms? Well, I am now getting $60 a month in ad revenue. And spending $100 a year on the wordpress site, $30 a month on the two podcast services (soundcloud and itunes), and of course $70 a month on movie tickets and the gas to the movie theaters.
If it were “olden days” on the internet, I would now be at the point that I could run a website full time, but ad revenue is way way way way lower now, thanks to ad blockers and market changes and stuff. If it were the really “olden days”, I would be running a newsletter and charging $2 a month to everyone who is “following” me now, and I could also be running it full time. Okay, I’d have to go back to buying expired food at the cheap grocery stores, but I could do it full time.
Of course, if it were those “olden days”, I would have to know a heck of a lot more about computers before I could set up a site like this, and I would have a heck of a lot harder time finding readers for a newsletter. So there is a balance. But this is just a reminder of how screwy the world is now. I am doing really good work (I think), and I am steadily growing. But if the goal is to actually do this as a profession, not as a hobby that I am treating as a profession, that’s going to take a lot of patience and a lot of hard work. And a lot of hope that the internet doesn’t change too drastically in the meantime making everything I am doing somehow obsolete.
And now some of you have the urge to offer me advice on how to grow! I have done research and looked into it and track my numbers really carefully, so I can tell you what works and what doesn’t, and you can read that through, and then see if there is something I haven’t thought of.
Quora: I joined it a little over a year ago, became a super popular rockstar poster within a few weeks, and then a few weeks after that gathered a whole bunch of trollish types following me post to post and saying things so stupid that it was infuriating. I still get about 5 referrals a month from my old posts, but it’s just not worth it to try to go back and make new ones. I was providing free content that garnered quora hundreds of thousands of views a month and in return I was getting a lot of hate and, even worse, ignorance that I couldn’t moderate and got too tired of responding to. And most of all it only garnered like a dozen clickthroughs to my blog on a good month. Not worth it!
Youtube: I got to 100 subscribers within 2 months, every video gets around 50-100 views, one of them (the Arjun Reddy box office post) got a couple thousand. So clearly the videos are good enough for people to enjoy them. However, I’m not spending a lot more time on them, because they aren’t getting me many blog click throughs. And again, I am providing free content for youtube, so I am not going to spend much time on it, when the primary goal is very very slowly growing the blog.
Podcasts: Get me nothing. I never get click throughs. I’ve got a handful of followers, and most of the podcasts get about 100 listens, but that doesn’t matter if they don’t click through to the blog. But I am keeping it up because it takes no extra time or changes to my life. It does take extra money. But if I keep going long enough eventually itunes does have a pay option so I can start breaking even instead of losing money. Or maybe I will give up and cut my losses, and gain back that $30 a month.
Twitter: This is the best so far, but still not great. I’ve been retweeted by directors, movie stars, and fanclubs. And it makes a difference, but not as much as you would think. I get a bump on views for the particular post they retweet, but then it goes away. Maybe I garner a few more regular readers who saw it and liked it, but there is no golden bullet effect. I really like it when my work is appreciated by people who I respect, that is wonderful. But it’s not exactly “OMG I was re-tweeted by Prithviraj and now I have a million readers!” More “OMG I was re-tweeted by Prithviraj, I really respect him as an artist and a thinker and am proud that he appreciated my thoughts.”
Tumblr: It’s cool, I’ve got a few people from there, wordpress reposts automatically so it’s no extra work on my part.
Being posted on other sites: No one wants my stuff. I’ve sent in submissions to every website you can think of, and no one even responds. I’m not even talking about getting paid (ha! Paid for providing content! Such a quaint old-fashioned concept), I’m talking about just being willing to publish me on a different forum so I can link back to my blog. Srkuniverse reached out to me, which was AWESOME. And I got slightly more new readers from there than I have from, say, a Madhavan retweet. But it wasn’t like “oh wow, now I am famous!” It was like “oh wow, now I have 5 more regular readers on top of the 500 I already had”. I’ve given up on cold submissions, it takes time to put them together and no one responds, so instead I just focus on being as good as possible right here and wait for someone to find me. I mean, I am aware that it is probably mostly my fault. Somehow I am just terrible at selling myself to others, I always come across as too pushy or too shy or too eager or too something. So no more trying!
Facebook: Not great! Every once in awhile I will get a sudden burst which tells me that someone somewhere posted something on the right fan forum to get noticed. But Facebook doesn’t let me track back in any way, I can’t even see who it was that linked back to me, so I can’t figure out what does and doesn’t work. But usually it is just like one or two click throughs a day, mostly just people who are already following me and happen to have Facebook open so click through from there instead of wordpress. But like tumblr, wordpress does all the work for me of double posting and it’s free, so I might as well keep it going.
Being mentioned in a comment on a different website: THE BEST!!!!! Really, it is. That’s why I keep bringing it up on the 16th every month. Something about the way the internet mind works, people are more likely to trust and click a link in a comment than within the actual body of the article. More likely even than something your favorite movie star re-tweeted. A comment on a fan forum, on a youtube video, on a review on another website, that is guaranteed to get me 20-50-100 new views in one day, and keep getting me views indefinitely.
So, that’s the plan, I keep working all day every day on putting up high quality posts, I am patient and I try to make the most of every small advantage I have, I know that there is not going to be an overnight change in anything. And most of all I remember that in the end, I am doing all of this because I want to counter some of that ignorance and hate that was driving me so batty over on quora and other parts of the internet, with intelligence and love.