When I click on my WordPress reader, from time to time, I also click the “Stats” button just to see how the site is doing. For months, several patterns remained consistent: my views went up on the days I published new posts, people often landed here through Googling different teaching-related terms, and my teaching-related posts were some of the most popular. Facebook and WordPress followers are my most consistent readers, and my views-per-day number is on the smaller side, but steady. I started blogging mainly to journal and keep up with old friends, and I’ve been pleased with the smallish band of loyal followers I’ve developed, counting many among my friends though we’ve never “met.” I also love thinking of my site as a resource for other teachers and readers.
Then, two things happened. I adopted a new theme for the blog that was a new design option for WordPress users, and my site was included on the official WordPress page that describes that theme (I think it’s been bumped off by now). That resulted in an immediate, relatively-medium-size uptick in my traffic; over the three subsequent weeks, I was receiving over one hundred more views a day, people heading over from that page and then clicking their way through my pages and archives. Next, my blog was featured in a post on effective front-page strategies on Hot Off the Press, WordPress’s main blog full of news and updates, followed by thousands of other WordPress bloggers. That post resulted in a one-day spike and my second-highest number of views ever. The only time I ever beat was when I published a post about our plans for Inauguration Day after Obama was elected! Seasonal spikes are typical–I’m getting some traction right now on my post about Easter recipes from the Pioneer Woman–but the WordPress ones were unprecedented for me, and resulted in many more global visitors.
I’ve never been the kind of blogger to chase stats; I’m more interested in making myself a better writer and teacher through blogging, as well as getting to know all of you. I don’t think of this blog as a moneymaker: I’ve only done one sponsored post in all that time, the offer for which literally landed in my inbox one day, and I only just received my first ever Amazon Affiliates payment (a welcome $10, so please keep clicking those links!). Seven years and 700 posts in, I’m fairly clear on what I’m doing around here.
However, I was surprised at how it felt to suddenly know that I had a much larger audience out there, reading, listening, and perhaps even waiting to hear what I would say next. Who were these people? What did they want to read about? Once they had clicked over, what might or has kept them coming back? I found myself amping up the number of posts I published, adding more tags, polishing up some of my pages and making sure my links were all useful and active. Maybe you wanted some book reviews, or some National Poetry Month ideas, or maybe you were just curious about the peeks into my life–since many are bloggers themselves, these new readers were the kind to like and comment and reblog different posts, as well on click many links and add themselves as followers. I got a little charge each day out of seeing new followers and comments pop up, and found myself continuously surprised about what got reactions–this post on life without a dishwasher seemed to catch your eye!
If you came to A Patchwork Life as a result of one of these recent posts, welcome! More importantly, if you’ve stuck around, I’m so glad you’re here. Having a new audience has not changed my taste or content, but it has provided inspiration, and that little boost to post more and more, and remember that I’m part of a larger conversation that can provide all kinds of creativity and surprises.