When is a Blog a Blog?

Rachelle Gardner : 10 Tidbits About Author Platform

Back in October Rachelle Gardner posted an article titled “10 Tidbits About Author Platform” and I’ve been mulling it over for a while. The main body of the article was the importance of having an author platform, how to build one, and what was considered a decent benchmark for a ‘good’ following.

While most of the information was the same as what I’ve come across before, the benchmark wasn’t– This was the first time I’d seen anyone throw out specific numbers (even bookended with disclaimers).

Just Facts, M’am

7. Nobody can to tell you exactly what to shoot for in terms of Facebook followers or blog visitors, because there are so many variables. (I’ll do a whole post on it sometime.) As a benchmark, you could shoot for 500 fans on your Facebook profile page and 15,000 monthly page views to your blog. The important thing is that you keep your numbers steadily growing (and of course, that you’re tracking your stats with a reliable indicator such as Google Analytics.)

— Rachelle Gardner, “10 Tidbits About Author Platform”

I have a business Facebook now, but for the moment it’s occupied mostly by friends and family. Considering I don’t have 500 of those, I figure it will take a year or so to meet that target. My blog, on the other hand, has been around for a bit… So how do my numbers stack up?

Google Analytics Nov 2011

Not well.

I’ve gotten 17,269 pageviews as of November this year and the idea of getting that kind of traffic in a single month is sort of scary, to be honest. Even assuming that pageviews go up once there’s something there to read, that’s a serious uptick in visitors.

Wandering Eyes

Up until I read the article I’d been rather proud of the way my non-bounce visits were trending upwards. I’m slowly getting people to stick around for more than one page and that’s the key metric I’m looking at. I want readers, not channel surfing Stumblers (as much as I love Stumble).

I need to develop the same sort of stickiness as TV Tropes, where readers wander in… and then look up three hours later trying to remember where the time went. ‘Enjoyably Addicting’ is my key phrase, I just have to figure out how to get there.

And doing a plethora of ‘Five Things’ posts seems a bit of a cop-out. *eyes Cracked meaningfully*

I did go back in and add a quick tweak to the Previous/Next navigation, but I think I want to rip out all of the inherent navigation and put in something more user friendly. Most blogs seem to enjoy sending readers on walkabouts looking for specific content—I want to hand them the Appendix and say ‘have at it!’

Mountain vs. Teaspoon

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m all about the baby steps. So finding ways to bring (and keep) more traffic to the website is going to be a slow and steady journey.

I’m not expecting overnight success, but I’m also not sure just how long it will take me to reach the numbers that Rachelle suggested above. I have a bit of an advantage, since I’m not just a writer, but I don’t know how much that will hurt or help in the long run.

I’m adding ‘Website Traffic Generation’ to my official to-do list, so you can expect further posts as I work my way through Google. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated, so if you have posts on the subject or a favorite blog, feel free to link it below!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply