I started blogging for a specific reason: I have a story to tell, and wanted a forum to tell it. More specifically, I thought that there were readers out there that would want to hear about cycling in south Texas, with the occasional piece about my efforts to move back to Austin, my travels to Mexico, my family, and related topics.
Occasionally, my thoughts about my blog get a little off topic. I start thinking about monetizing the blog, or writing stories that might draw more people to the blog. I wonder how I could get as popular as BikeSnob or Fatty. Truth is, there are things I could try.
For example,I use Google Analytics, and frequently look at the data to see what people are reading and what draws people to my site. Today I looked at keyword hits for the last year, and the top 10 looked like this:
- beginning cycling
- anzalduas bridge
- leopold jay howard
- matamoros, sunday june 1, 2008
- moyer cycles
- shiner gasp
- 331 miles
- team mcallen
- electrolyte recipe
- riding the tour de france: livin' the dream
Of course, the hits aren't evenly distributed. The top 5 are about equal, #6-8 are about equal, and then 9 and 10 drop off significantly. Also, many readers don't access my site by keyword; instead, they have the site bookmarked or enter from another site. Keywords, though, are interesting, as they tell you what people are trying to find.
When I read the list, I realize that if I try to give people what they want, it will destroy my blog. 5 of the top 10 keywords are outside of my core message. Here's why:
- I'm not interested in writing very much at being a beginner cyclist. Others such as BikeNoob do it better, and enjoy helping new cyclists.
- Leopold Jay Howard stole Dave Zabriskie's stuff, which has almost nothing to do with my life, but I blogged about it ONCE because the dude looks old beyond his days.
- Moyer Cycles is a defunct company, and at one time I was interested in buying one of their bikes. I've written two blog posts about them, and probably won't mention them again.
- I wrote a very short post making fun of an electrolyte recipe that was posted by LIVESTRONG. I guess there are people looking for recipes to make their own sport drink, but I don't have any expertise in that area.
- "Riding the Tour de France: Livin the Dream" is a TV show that I blogged about, but since it's on TV, there's an audience out there searching for more info, which resulted in a spike of keyword hits.
P.S. Search my blog for the posts. I'm too lazy to link to them all!
If I tried to blog more about this stuff, it would kill me, and probably kill the blog. I just don't have anything to say about the topics. On the other hand, I have valid opinions, geographical connections, and personal experience related to the other five. They are all related to south Texas, cycling, rides that I've completed, or the name of my site. I still have a lot to say about those topics, and expect to continue to post about them.
What does all of this mean? It means I won't try to flim-flam you and draw readers like flies to the blog. I'm going to try to keep writing about cycling in south Texas, and trying to write better written and more interesting posts. If that manages to increase readership and somewhere along the way someone approaches me with free gear, a lucrative advertising deal, or an offer to put my opinions in print somewhere, please pinch me so I can wake up and continue looking for a job.