Something a bit different this week, a blog post that starts with a request.
Would you kindly fill out this survey?
If you're interested in the why, read on.
What's The Magic Number?
I've been writing posts on this blog for ~6 months now. One blog post a week, with the first one going live just before I started working as an Engineering Manager at Atlassian.
In fairness, not all of the posts have been literary masterpieces, but I think I'm doing okay.
In that time I've written 23 posts for a grant total of 22856 words. Each post is on average ~1000 words long and all that writing has taken me ~52 hours of total effort, with each blog post taking about 2 hours to write.
In the scheme of things, it's not that much effort, especially considering how much time I've sunk into other, probably less valuable things.
But it feels like a lot of effort and I've had to sacrifice other things in order to make it happen.
So it becomes a question of return on that investment, which makes me question how I would gauge said return.
Show Me....Reader Metrics!
According to the Ghost platform that this blog is hosted on, I have 9 subscribers. You know who you are.
According to Google Analytics (which I am not an expert on), I have ~40 30-day users, which I take to mean that I have about that many unique regular readers.
I'm somewhat ignoring the huge spike and decline at the start, because focusing on that would make me sad. Also, because it's likely a combination of a.) insufficient data and b.) a big spike in traffic due to starting at Atlassian.
9 subscribers and 40 readers.
Is that good? For a few hours of investment a week maybe it is.
My first thought though, is that those are rookie numbers.
But pushing those numbers way up means I'll need to put in more effort, and the threat of investing more effort makes me question what I'm really trying to accomplish here.
I don't really know what I want from this blog.
The intro post and the about page both talk about the value in just writing. Expressing thoughts and opinions, solidifying experiences and having something that is easy to refer to at a later date.
I'd forgotten that, until I re-read those pages, which is a nice circular proof point if ever I've seen one.
But does that alone justify the investment? Or should I have an endgame of some sort?
Do I want this blog to be a source of revenue? If so, I need more readers and I need to find a way to monetize them.
Do I just want this blog to represent me to potential employers? If so, readers are probably less important and it's more of a portfolio. Also, employers would have to actually read it, which seems unlikely.
Do I want this blog to make a difference in peoples lives? That implies I have something worthwhile to say, but it doesn't necessarily require a huge number of readers.
I don't even know if those are the right questions to ask! They were just the ones that occurred to me when I was writing this post.
I need more information.
I Surveyed An Unknown Number Of People
And thus the survey was born.
I could probably try to talk to each of my subscribers directly and get their thoughts, and I might very well do that at some stage, but I figured I'd cast a wider net first and see what I catch.
I think what I'm looking for is just more things to throw into the pile of things that need to be considered. Thoughts, ideas, feedback, validation, it's all good and valuable and will help me to figure out what I want to do.
Worst case scenario, having people take the time to respond to my request might just make me feel better about shouting into the void.
It's always nice when the void shouts back.
My proof reader has been pointing out that I am incorrectly using the word "its" instead of "it's" for a while now. I am a stubborn man sometimes, so I resisted, but I hope they take note that I actually went and fixed all of the occurrences. I'm not sure if its a meaningful change, but let's see if they notice.