Happy Blog-a-versary! Final Behind the Scenes, How Fast Am I Growing?

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  Which also means it will be rapidly out of date, because the biggest thing to know is that it is all changing all the time.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.

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8 thoughts on “Happy Blog-a-versary! Final Behind the Scenes, How Fast Am I Growing?

  1. I am so happy that your blog grew, even since I started following you. I did my part in recommending people.
    But, let me tell you a small instance. There is a musician I know (since I am a musician myself but not on youtube), who did videos for fun, for getting recognized. He did a video every two weeks for two months. He had some 10 videos in all and the view count barely went beyond a thousand. He gave up this as it was taking a lot of time to compose tune, play it and get it going and the finances were drying up. After that he gave his musical instruments and joined a job. After two years of one work he once checked his long forgotten channel, and the views were in hundreds of thousands. When he checked pattern, it was like this : First week after video release subscribers 10, views 650. Two months after release Subscribers 14, views 780. Six months after release subscriber 50 views 1500. Eight months after release subscivers 150, views 3200. Tweleve months after release subscribers 400, views 500.
    See the pattern here. Every three months or so, your views double and your subscriber increase. Based on the subscriber base you already have, you will get a head start with no of views, but the exponential pattern of growth doesn’t change.
    So don’t worry Margaret. The things you do now are going to give you long time returns.
    There is a youtube channel called Superwoman, and Rickshawwali. I viewed their first videos, shared a few in their first stages. Now, the channels have grown so much that Rickshawwali was actually invited for Bahubali 2 Audio launch event !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of all your Blogaversary posts, I found this to be the most informative. Thank you. And best of luck for the blog (I just shared a link to one of your movie reviews on Facebook — and he actually came and read it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, same to me, Margaret and Moimeme…
      If you love doing something, if you hae a talent for that something, then what matters is the patience, commitment and dedication you put into it.
      When I wrote to Imtiaz about your scene-by-scene and the thinking process his movie triggered, he answered me that he would read it (well, I don’t know if he did but at least he got to know).
      I am only on two other forums but I more than once linked to you because I genuinely like your thought process and writing. I am on twitter but follow no one (except my alter ego) but there are people who read me and lots of people I read and I post my enthusiasm for your blog and your writing.
      I sent ShahRukh excerpts of your blog…he isn’t one to reply but I am sure he is aware of your blog and may even read it…at least there will be someone of RedChillies to read it.

      So, yes, like Joshi mentioned, some really good things need time to be acknowledged in the global mass 🙂

      Btw, your card has arrived and I am VERY happy about your choice…it was through your writing about JabHarryMetSejal I decided to comment (I already was positive through the reading I had done since some weeks before because I stumbled about your blog while googling a special topic …and I simply LOVED the respect shown in your header “don’t call it Bollywood” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • So glad you got the card! And I appreciate you posting about me on other sites, since you are one of my few German speaking commentators, I can actually track back pretty closely how many views I have thanks to you, and it is A LOT.

        Like

  3. The numbers are good for someone who doesn’t have the time or the inclination to do promotions. As a businesswoman, I know for a fact that the surest way to make a profit is to keep expenses as low as you can. If you’re clear in your head that the blog getting bigger is the prize (and it’s free to run), then your existing strategy is great. Quora would is a great promotional platform but the troll issue would always be there.

    I find Quora a much much inferior and populist version of reddit. Reddit is hard to follow and Quora is too easy which is why there are so many trolls.

    The good news is, there’s this trend of standard responses emerging on Quora where “experts” answer a question in a paragraph and provide a link to their site for more information.

    Since you already have a vast resource to work with, you only need to develop the standard response (2-3 lines) to go with your answer to a question in a small paragraph. You post and forget. Post an answer and forget. You can’t get sucked into Quora threads. Let the trolls be.

    Facebook, well that’s been mild for you so far because the real conversation is happening here. BUT I know there are sites that have integrated their Facebook comments with their website. So every comment made on the site or on FB ends up being visible in both places.

    I don’t know what plugin makes that integration possible though. Also, since the blog helps people keep their chosen identities, Facebook seems too public. It’s weird actually. I keep thinking what if we had a group on FB centred around the blog and then I immediately go ‘yeah, not everyone would be comfortable with that’

    That’s the tricky part.

    Now the good news:

    In the second year of your blog, you got an awesome YouTube channel that’s slowly building up. By the end of the year, people would be able to spend a few hours just browsing the different videos you’ve put up. Maybe you should start categorising them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to think about quora. I just have to psych myself up for it, like sticking my hand in the toilet to clean it.

      The version of WordPress I am using doesn’t allow for plugins. I could switch to the free flexible version, but that would require a lot more tech savvy to run, unlike this version which makes it easy for me. Or I could go up to the much much more expensive level that might allow for them, but that’s another expense.

      Right now I haven’t really figured out what is driving people to youtube. I’ll keep putting up box office and random editorial type videos when I think of them, and I’ll see. Once a pattern emerges, I can start categorizing and stuff. That’s what happened with the blog, I put up a bunch of random stuff in the beginning and, eventually, I figured out what people liked and how to sort it out.

      Like

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