Travels with Myself

A Journal of Discovery and Transition
Doug Jordan, Author

Observations on Blogging

I thought I would share some observations about my Blog Notifications, these occasional email broadcasts, and what I am learning about creating a blog readership. It’s a mixed bag. 

I use an email software package (DirectMail) to let you know about my latest blog post. The software provides me with reports of the response rates. (My usual email software, Mail for Mac, does not provide such reports, leaving me completely in the dark about whether the mail got through.) DirectMail is slightly better: at least it lists the subscribers and reports whether each subscriber ‘Open’ the email, and whether they ‘Click’ through to the blog post. And of course summary statistics.

I have 105 subscribers, maybe! I add 1 – 2 new subscribers every week, but then I have 1 – 2 people who ask to ‘unsubscribe’. But of the 105 subscribers, maybe 30 never ‘Open’ the email. So are they really subscribers?

Some of the not ‘Open’ people may actually see the email summary on their mobile device, and decide to ignore it, i.e., not ‘Open’. Of the people who are reported as not ‘Open’, I think the many of these are people whose servers detect the email is from a broadcast list and direct it to a quarantine or spam folder. Pity. They probably won’t even see this email. I’ve been gradually ‘correcting’ this result by emailing each one independently and seeking confirmation that they would like to be notified and which email address works best for them. Most redirect me from their company email to their personal email.

For that matter I’m not exactly sure what ‘Open’ means.

Of the 105 subscribers, about 55 (not always the same 55) are reported as ‘Open’ed but of those only about half Click through to the blog site itself. This is not surprising really, it’s only my tender ego that expects all my readers are eager to read my latest post. The solution may be that, to get the ‘Openers’ to actually ‘Click’, I have to put a bit of a synopsis of the blog post in the email to entice the receiver. That may also be the case for the mobile receiver: that first line in the email may really matter.

Of my 105 subscribers, about 20 – 40% (overall average ~30%) actually click through to the blog post. Of these 30, about 20 are habitual, another 20 or so are occasional. Some I have perhaps 40 regular and irregular readers.

Blog and marketing pros advise that a take-up rate of 30 – 40% is exceptional; the normal rate is 5 – 10%. The problem is, my readers are people who know me, and therefor have a special interest in what I might have to say. And the broadcast list is a very small sample.

I know that there are readers who find my blogs by other means – through my sm feeds: twitter, AFS Publishing Facebook page, Canadian Authors Association page, and through my Goodreads author page, and including referrals by you. My blogs and tweets are seo’d and this in theory may attract random web searchers, in theory. I don’t have a counter on my blog page and so I have no information about how many people have stopped by my page. Spammers do find my page however and leave comments for me: Amazing number of dedicated young women from Ukraine who read my blog.

I have to ask myself, why am I doing this? It takes a lot of effort to write a [decent] blog, so what am I getting out of it? Some people think I am writing for cathartic reasons, or therapeutic. I tell myself it is to promote my books to a wider audience. Likely it is to draw attention to myself. Is that pathetic? On the other hand, I think I have a creative streak in me, a drive to produce something, hopefully worthwhile. My writing is my verbal art. I feel compelled to express myself. I do get positive comments on my writing and on my topics and this is enough for me to keep on with my blog. I’m reminded by the plaque above my desk: ‘; my story isn’t over yet’.

Comments always welcome.


‘Seeking to Entertain, possibly to Educate’

1 thought on “Observations on Blogging”

  1. Hi Doug,

    I chanced upon your blog while looking into AFS Publishing. It surprised me about your plain honesty into blog writing intention and revealing your awareness of who reads your blog sent through the DirectMail. As a marketer myself, I do use such emailing tool to get my company product message across. I would encourage you to keep writing despite it is time-consuming.
    I love your tagline: ‘Seeking to Entertain, possibly to Educate’. Keep it up!

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