Monday, March 15, 2010

Curmudgeon thinks about ways to boost readership

Monday morning, and wallowing in self-doubt:

Like a lot bloggers, I suppose, from time to time I wonder why I haven't hit it "big" yet: Not only do I not have a book contract, I don't get even 100 visitors a day. And, lately, most of those come here looking for a cartoon I reposted about piñatas back in September 2007. (If you've landed here looking for that, go here instead.)

For comparison purposes, Ken Levine's blog (as of this morning) is averaging 4,920 visitors a day. Of course, Levine has written for M*A*S*H, Cheers, and lots of other TV shows you've heard of and watched. He's broadcast major league baseball (and currently has a Dodgers talk show on KABC in Los Angeles). So there's that.

And, with his fund of Hollywood lore, Levine has stories of national interest. A lot of the stuff I do here is more 'local interest.' Moreover, Levine stands behind his work; I blog anonymously. Maybe, therefore, it would be a better comparison to look at a local interest, anonymous blog. One of my favorite Chicago blogs is Second City Cop, an inside -- and, for that reason, necessarily anonymous -- look at the Chicago Police Department. This morning, says Sitemeter, SCC is averaging 10,736 visitors a day. And I'll bet none of them are looking for someone else's cartoons about piñatas.

Now I really feel bad.

I know part of my trouble here is that I am consistently inconsistent: I don't blog about a single topic. I blog about family, or politics, the practice of law (occasionally), or anything else that pops into my head on a given morning. How can anyone expect a blog about nothing in particular to hit it big? Can you imagine a TV show about nothing attracting an audience? (OK, besides Seinfeld....)

From what I read in the papers, extremism seems to be a good way to generate blog numbers: Take an extreme stance and heap abuse on anyone who dares to disagree. I used to doubt that such creatures really existed in significant numbers -- but after looking occasionally at the on-line comments to almost any news (or sports) story, I was forced to reevaluate. I don't like to read blogs like that... but, if all I want are numbers, maybe I could write one....

It's just... what kind of extremes could I shout about? I don't wholly buy into the agenda of either political party. On a given issue I lean one way or the other -- but that lack of bulldog commitment would probably doom an extremist enterprise from the start. Unless... do you think there's a future in extreme moderation?


Dave said...

But you've got all those Adsense bucks rolling in (you're on a medical insurance kick following your last couple of posts).

Me, I get comments in Japanese hawking Viagra.

dick7517 said...

I for one like reading about everyday in the USA. I am a American living in the Philippines and the down home posts are welcome here.

shell said...

Write what appeals to you. Though your readership may seem small compared to other blogs, I sense that you have quite a few loyal followers who enjoy the quality of the content. I am one of them.

My stats might not show up on your stat-o-meter and I might not comment on a regular basis, but I do read your blogs on a fairly regular basis via a Reader program. I have to say -- I really enjoy reading your blog. The posts are diverse in topic, interesting, and frequently amusing.

AndyK said...

You could write to Starbucks every day and tell us about it.

Shelby said...

try extreme moderately funnies from the past (yeah, like it's working for me - yawn).

anyway.. I posted some clips from Bob Newhart today.. you'll probably laugh mildy.