You have to remember that I'm just a small-time blog, one writer who for years has written for love and pleasure. There were even long stretches of time when I didn't write, not when I stopped enjoying writing but when life interfered, I guess you could say. This blog has been online for almost ten and a half years, its articles having been viewed almost 330,000 times, with almost six hundred posts.
Starting as a writing blog to feature my published work, Tom Kepler Writing quickly expanded its content to include all of my life--mirroring my writing since I tend to write about whatever is happening in my life. This lack of focus has probably diminished the marketing of my published work but has increased my understanding of my life and what I'm about as a human being. Not a bad trade-off!
As a comparison of numbers, my camping blog Green Goddess Glamping has been online for about one and a half years. It's page views as of now are 74,140. Like this blog, I am the sole writer, having written 108 original posts about camping. With my blogging experience, though, I've been more deliberate and effective in my marketing. Comparing the current blogs, in ten and a half years, my total page views for Green Goddess Glamping would be around 519,000. I believe the page views will be much higher, though. The camping blog has been active one seventh of the time that this blog has.
The interesting point of analysis is that even though I haven't written as regularly over time on this blog, and even though I've marketed this blog less intensely over the years, it's monthly page views are still fairly comparable to the camping blog. Why? What I've seen is that the weekly and monthly page views totals for the Green Goddess Glamping blog accumulate from just a few popular articles posted during that time. For Tom Kepler Writing, this blog, there is a steady and strong viewing of articles over many years because of viewer searches that have located older yet still interesting articles. Keeping that in mind, then over the years the camping blog will also amass a range of articles that attract readers who are searching particular camping topics. Interesting!
10 Highest Viewed Articles from This Blog, Tom Kepler Writing
Of the ten highest viewed articles, the highest was a techie article on a Facebook "Like" button. Two articles were about publishing, one article was about a movie, and half of the articles were book reviews. The book reviews were about books that can be called "popular and literary" classics. The most-viewed articles present an interesting range, both from topic and time perspectives! More specifics below.
- New Facebook "Like" Button Added to This Blog: With the highest number of page views (11,200), this post is short, just telling where to get html to post a "Like" button on a blog page. Funnily enough, I don't even know if the August 2012 information is still current. The post was heavily view for about six months and then dropped off to essentially nothing.
- Backlists, Self-publishing, Breakout Novels, and "The Dream": With about half the page views of the #1 post (5,520), this article was publishing in May of 2011. It had moderate page views for around two years and then had, for some reason, a great year in 2014, then settled down to a trickle or nil. It interesting aspect of this article is that it discusses backlists as a powerful business strategy for mid-level authors whose earlier novels are out of print. E-books are a way for the authors to re-invigorate their backlists. For this blog, it's my "backlist" of articles that are generating page views in numbers that are similar to my newer blog numbers, around 3-5 thousand page views per month. I think whether a mid-level author or lone blogger, having one's backlist of writing still being discovered and read is a compliment to the power and authenticity of one's writing. Folks are still reading the older stuff. Big Smile!
- A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, by John Muir--a book review: I love to read John Muir--a lot--so I guess my enthusiasm is catching. Posted in June of 2011, this article received its largest number of page views through 2015 and now has tapered off to noticeable yet fewer amounts, yet is still regularly viewed (5,350). Muir chronicles a naturalist's hike, soon after the Civil War, from the upper Midwest down to the Gulf--on a trek and ship voyage that eventually leads to Yosemite. I've reviewed about four or five pieces of Muir' writing, so if you search this blog, you'll find several enthusiastic accounts. (This link might work: Muir.)
- Is Huck Finn an Archetypal Hero?: Published in January of 2012, this article's title delivers the content focus. The page views (3,130) have remained consistent over all the years to the present. I think this article is discovered by students who are reading the novel. I probably wrote it while teaching the novel. The hero's journey coupled with Twain's realism--and a novel that is still consistently banned--Huck's adventure is quite a read. It's also interesting from the perspective that Twain spent the Civil War years out West after quitting (if not deserting) the Confederate army.
- Apocalyptic Jack London--The Scarlet Plague, a review: A lot of readers don't know that Jack London, a self-educated man, was a serious socialist at a time when the common worker needed protection from the titans of industry. What made London great, though, was his love for the story he was writing, which he passes on to the reader. With a good number of readers (2,340), this review, published in October 2011, experienced three years of higher views and has now dropped to low but steady viewing.
- Traditional Publishers Adopt Self-publishing: This short article is about how traditional publishers began jumping on the self-publishing wave by establishing self-publishing branches of their businesses, allowing (for a price) the authors to publish using the publishing house imprimatur (a self-publishing branch version). For writers seeking publication, the article highlighted a trend developing in the industry at that time. Posted in December of 2009, the views have settled down with the settling or congealing of self-publishing avenues (3.430).
- Ironman 2--the backstory revealed by a Marvel Comics aficionado: In May of 2010 I was inspired to write about a superhero movie. Why not? Views (2,830) were mostly for the first couple of years but have continued. Basically, after watching the movie I had some WTF questions, which a guy I know, an Ironman fan, was gracious enough to answer. He begins his responses with the following sentence: "Obviously, you were not a big Marvel Comics reader when you were younger." A fun interaction!
- The Old Man and the Sea--Maharishi School Student "Book Report" Reactions: As a teacher reading this novel with the class, I allowed students a variety of ways to respond to their reading experience. Their contributions? A "prequel," an "obituary," and a more traditional analysis of Hemingway's novel. I think providing students with a variety of ways to respond to the novel was something good I did as a teacher. This article was posted in February 2012 with its strongest views in the first three years of posting (1,620).
- Zane Grey--my love/hate relationship with his writing: Zane Grey's writing reflects both beautiful descriptions of nature, romanticism, and racial and ethnic bigotry--pretty much the norm for his time. This article was my way of personally processing those extremes. Posted December 2010 (1,730).
- Hanging Clothes by Moonlight: Unique among the top ten most-viewed articles, this is a personal narrative essay. "I think hanging clothes to dry after washing is probably the cheapest way possible to save money and to help the environment." Nice to see that one of my more creative pieces made the top ten. Posted November 2012 (1,220).
Just looking at these numbers and dates of publication, I have to say that probably some of the reviews of classic books and their number of page views corresponds with the time I was teaching and had attracted a number of parents, students, and school-related readers. Perhaps I don't have them now, but the backlist still regularly generates some readers.
My lesson from this analysis is that the key to a successful blog is quality writing. If writing can create interest and joy, if it can stimulate both the intellect and the emotions, then I think interest in that writing will endure. I hope you check out some of these articles. It's fulfilling to know my writing from years past can still provide a good read.