Even websites need a holiday, and mine starts tomorrow. I’m back at work in the week beginning 12 January, and wish all my readers a relaxing, safe and enjoyable holiday break too.
I started this website in June 2012, so it is now two-and-a-half years old. Over that time it has attracted about 27,000 unique readers, who have in total visited the site more than 70,000 times, and read nearly 150,000 pages. Readers have made nearly 3,700 comments to my 608 posts, and of course to one another’s comments. Before I get carried away with such success, I should mention that my website is about the 27,000th most visited one in Australia, and about the 1.1 millionth most visited in the world. On the other hand, all the figures are going in the right direction.
Growth has been steady, though unspectacular, and seems likely to continue. I currently get about 4,000 hits every month, and comments average about a dozen or so for any post. About two in three of those who visit the website have done so before. I have no idea who they are, though some of the commenters are becoming old friends! The only moderator is me, and I don’t moderate before the event. There has not been one comment that I thought ought not to be published, other than the spam that arrives every other day, hoping that no one will realise that the source is selling Viagra or offering gambling.
Six in seven of those who go to the website live in Australia, with the USA and the UK coming next, at 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. There are more readers in Brazil than in New Zealand. The readers come from Australian cities in rough proportion to their size, so there’s no pronounced geographical bias. The male/female ratio is 54:46, but to my surprise the great majority of readers are young or young middle-aged; only a few are over 65.
It is hard to predict subjects what will get attention. Andrew Bolt has picked up my essays on two occasions, and at once numbers went way up, to be high the next day, and then drop back to normal. On Line Opinion re-runs a post or two each month, and perhaps there is an increase through that medium, though the OLO people seem to stay on that site. There are other sites where the DA website is mentioned approvingly, and I can see that I get a bit of traffic that way too.
I post on Facebook, Linked In and am thinking of becoming a Tweeter in the New Year. Others tell me that I have to do that to improve my audience, though the notion that 140 characters can be a contribution to a conversation puzzles me. But I’ll give it a go.
I mention all these statistics for a good reason: maintaining the website is now becoming a real job. I’ve written about 600,000 words for the blog, and none of the posts can just be dashed off. Then there is dealing with correspondence and comments — I get quite a lot of feedback by email as well as on the Comments section. And it all takes time. I was warned that this might happen when I started, and the reality has arrived.
I had supposed that I would be able to keeping writing books, but the time available has gently declined, and will decline further if I start to use Twitter. I have three books (all fiction) that I’d like to publish, and I promised them for 2014. There are two others, one half done and the other only started, and I keep thinking about them in the shower. Not a word has been written in either of them for months.
So my end-of-2014-resolution is to reduce the posts from three a week to two a week. I started with six, and reduced that fairly soon to five, but it’s been three throughout this year. I do need a deadline — it’s all too easy to say that I’ll write when I feel like it, and then not feel like it. I learned about the importance of deadlines when I first had a newspaper column, in the 1960s. I’ve tried to keep my essays down to 1000 words or less, but with only two a week the length will probably increase a bit.
My thanks to all the commenters, who keep me on my toes, and to the readers who don’t provide comments, but who encounter me somewhere, and tell me that they liked the one about such and such, or strongly disagree with me about something else. Again, may you all enjoy the holiday season, and emerge from it with a renewed feeling that our country has a lot going for it, no matter which party is in power.