What Have You Done For Me Lately?

TWOILH

The title of this post describes the blogging life.  I took a six-day blogging vacation and the number of visits to The Way of Improvement Leads Home dropped 900%.  Don’t get me wrong, I expected this.  It is quite normal.  No one wants to read a blog with no new content.  I am sure this happens to a lot of bloggers when they take time off.  It has certainly happened here before.  This is probably why Andrew Sullivan always had guest bloggers whenever he took vacations from The Dish.

But for whatever reason, this time around the precipitous decline in readership during my vacation hit me in a different way.  I began to think a little more about the “tyranny of the new.”  (I thought I coined this term, but a quick Google search proved me wrong). Bloggers are successful when they feed their audience on a regular basis.  A blog will fail quickly if it does not satisfy readers’ desire for new ideas, new opinions, and new information.  Readers are always asking “what have you done for me lately?”  I do the same thing when I read online content.

Perhaps it is time to think about writing things that are more permanent–things of better quality that are not written in a hurry to feed the machine.  Maybe I need to rethink how I blog or reconsider whether a blog remains the best venue for my ideas.

Or maybe I should just accept the fact that blog readers come and go.  Maybe I should be thankful that I have cultivated a core audience here.  Maybe I should continue to write and post for them without worrying too much about broadening the circle.

I’ll keep thinking.  I still enjoy the work so don’t expect any immediate changes.  And, as always, THANK YOU for reading!

15 thoughts on “What Have You Done For Me Lately?

  1. Sorry to hear the traffic dropped so much. It is frustrating to feel like you have to post every day or drop that much readership. I have a small personal site and I struggle to get a post a week. I’ve always been impressed by the volume of posts you have every day. If it is any consolation, I didn’t come here to your site while you were gone, because I get the emails and follow the links, as opposed to going to the site everyday. Hopefully, that means that your traffic is back up to where it was now that you are posting again.
    Keep up the good work.

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  2. Ever since I took your online course with Gilder, I have been a regular visitor to your blog. I also pass your link onto friends.

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  3. A topical blog that comments on the events of the day does require frequent posts. I remember when there was a Writer’s Strike in Hollywood that forced The Daily Show into showing reruns. I don’t think it took them too long to see how far the ratings fell before they decided to produce new shows before they lost even more of their audience. Jon Stewart interviewed people willing to cross the picket lines so The Daily Show could produce new episodes.

    Your Blog has become an important resource for those of us looking for an Evangelical Christian viewpoint on current events. This has become even more important to us in The Age of Trump. I also enjoy your posts on traditional historical issues and research but I admit that I most look forward to your informed commentary on the latest political and cultural events that bombard us daily.

    I believe your blog is valuable because it gives voice to a compassionate Christian worldview that has been buried under the relentless onslaught of negativity by those who profess a much darker and quite disturbing version of Christianity that leaves out most of the Christ part. So I selfishly hope that you continue to communicate your thoughts with us as we deeply appreciate your wisdom.

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  4. I recall Sullivan himself recalling what Matt Drudge told him (I know, listen anyway): A blog isn’t a magazine, it’s a broadcast. So, Sullivan used to update how many times a day? Like 6 sometimes? As it turned out, he had a team working on it. Dreher is close to that, but he’s obviously a maniac. You do quite well, I think–there’s always something. Most of us would find it just too stressful and exhausting. It takes a special kind of person. Thanks for doing it.

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  5. I think there is a technological piece here as well, as blogs are generally consumed within feeds rather than as electronic books or periodicals. I haven’t looked too closely at the referrer data — and as a team member here, perhaps I should 😉 — but generally, blog traffic is driven by interest generated in social media and RSS feeds. While many certainly hop over to get their daily fix of Improvement and in so doing might go for older material when new material isn’t being published, a lot of traffic is coming from social media linking. While people were clearly engaging with twitter content during your interregnum, they weren’t clicking through to your blog.

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  6. I think there is a real point behind the tyranny of the new. However, I am a bit older and I like collections of blogs and writings that I can read in clusters. Blogs are like too much like conversations that depend on recency.

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