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Crunching blog numbers. December 11, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , ,

Bloggers, have you ever felt like a voice crying in the wilderness? If so, there’s a good reason for that: The numbers are against you. Our friend Ben was reminded of this again today when I saw a news headline on our blog host, WordPress’s, home page announcing the launch of WordAds. Yeeikes!

Mind you, our friend Ben has no objection to using our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, as a springboard to generating some desperately needed income. If our content and style garnered us a grant, award, or book deal, or an offer to write a magazine or newspaper column or be a regular on a radio show, I’d be delighted.

But I’ve seen plenty of blogs with ads, and they’re not ads I’d want on my blog. I’m always horrified by the ads that pop up on my Yahoo e-mail page. And I’ve been shocked by the purple-faced woman cropping up regularly with the “she’s 80 but looks 20!” promo on, of all places, The New York Times online. If The New York Times can’t keep vulgar, trashy ads off their site, what hope do we bloggers have? Fortunately, checking out the post about WordAds, I saw that they were optional. But I digress.

Point being, that same post carried some pretty stupefying statistics. “There are more than 50,000 WordPress-powered blogs coming online every day,” for example. So far, 5,320,347 people have signed up to receive WordPress’s e-mail updates.

Heading to Google to try to unearth data about how many blogs currently exist, I found 2011 data for 450 million active blogs in English and over 1 billion worldwide, which translates to 1 in 6 people worldwide with their own blog. And these are just the active blogs, not the dead or defunct blogs that litter cyberspace, the sad husks of abandoned dreams. 

Does knowing this make you feel better or worse? Certainly, the chances of catapulting your blog into bestsellerdom and film fame were way higher in the early days of blogging. It’s much harder to be a Julie Powell of “Julie & Julia” fame today, or Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos, given the competition.

But it’s far from impossible. Look at Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. She has successfully leveraged her blog into bestselling books, a Food Network show, and a forthcoming movie based on her life. And, as Silence Dogood pointed out in our earlier post, “The pizza zombies are coming” (check it out in our search bar at upper right), a waiter at a diner just scored front-page coverage in The Wall Street Journal because of his pizza blog.  

So, is it even worth starting a blog or carrying on with your blog in the face of such massive competition, to continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness? Of course, that depends on why you started your blog to begin with. If you enjoy writing it, if you enjoy sharing things you’ve learned, if you feel you have something to say that others might want to hear, I’d say absolutely. Keep on keeping on. Eventually, people will hear you.

Take us, for example. Here at Poor Richard’s Almanac, with no promotion, no platform, no famous names, no visuals, and no advertising, we get an average of 500 views a day. And that’s 500-plus views a day for writing about whatever the heck we want to write about on any given day.

True, it’s not 5,000 or 50,000 or 500,000 views a day. Nobody’s beating down our door to offer us awards or book deals. Nobody’s begging us to put their ads on our site. But wow, when we started, we never thought we’d arrive here. We’re so grateful for the people who want to read what we have to say. Thank you, everyone! And thank you, WordPress, for making Poor Richard’s Almanac possible.




1. William Scudder - December 11, 2011

Quality not quantity, dear friend. Keep up the good work.

Thanks so much, William!!!

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