Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Traffic: Who Needs It?


All over the blogosphere, well-meaning bloggers tell me how to increase my blog traffic. Sometimes I get sucked in. I spend two hours (when she promised it would be less than one) to add "Most Popular Posts" to my sidebar. Apparently, this "simple" exercise increased her traffic. But me? It simply ate two hours of my precious time.

Other times, I remember who I am. A writer first, a blogger second (or maybe tenth). I'm not about traffic; I'm about words... finding them, tackling them, molding them, sharing them. And when I remember who I am, I go read (again) a portion of V.H. Wright's The Soul Tells a Story.

I read things like this...

Embrace your personality. Study it, love it, exploit it to the fullest. Find the angles that are specifically yours, and work from them. There are stories only you can tell, because they are intrinsically tied to who you are and who you have been. Keep working on the flaws, the weaknesses, the neuroses. But do it with love. (p.176)

When I read such advice, I get this urgent sense that I must, one more time, go out to my Secret Place and study the pine, which is just now shedding puffs of bronze. I lie on my red plastic sled and pray, "Search me and know me..." I listen to the warble of birds I haven't heard since spring and realize that some things are only here at certain times, and I must be ready when they come.

Blog traffic. Who needs it? At some level, I suppose I do. But I also need to park myself in the little woods and listen to God's voice on the wind.

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Blogger Mike said...

Thanks for that. I needed to be reminded.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Christine said...


I just added a "clustr maps" widget to my blog. I'm with you on the traffic thing, but it is so much fun to see that someone clicked on in South Africa yesterday, and Thailand (I think), and lots of Northeasterners.

Who you are comes through loud and clear on your blogs, and what that is is beautiful!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Great words and thought here, L.L. From my perspective and understanding, I concur.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

We may drive in traffic; we must not however, be driven by traffic.

5:59 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Wise words from Craver.

And honestly, I postulate that at least part of what gives your words such value to those of us who visit here regularly comes as a direct result of you sitting in your secret place, listening to birds, praying the psalms, and feeling the breeze brush against your cheek.

So thank you.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Christine said...


I should have said, "and who that is is beautiful." Sorry, grammar girl : )

I really liked Wright's book, by the way. You've inspired me to read it again. I like the part about embracing who we are, exploiting it to the fullest, while working on the weaknesses. So easy to wish we were more like someone else ...

Kirsten is right, too. Your secret place nourishes your friends through you.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Or is it the other way around? You nourish your friends because of your secret place. Yes, Kirsten had it right. I had it wrong.

12:29 AM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

hi barkat!
just stopped by for a little read.
good thoughts and photo.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Here's adding to your traffic today!
Only in the blogosphere is traffic good and welcomed ...everywhere else it's a bad thing.

I like Craver's reminder...not to be driven by traffic. When I first started blogging, I would check my statcounter regularly and look for ways to increase traffic...now, I've abandoned any activity to increase traffic and I appreciate the few readers that visit.

Who needs traffic?

12:14 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Mike... you're welcome!

Christine... it is fun. It really is. Sometimes I wish I could put faces and voices to those map graphics. And thanks for the sweet compliment.

Ted... concurrence. A nice feeling.

Craver... ohhh... I don't like THAT kind of traffic. And I love your little word play.

Kirsten... it's always interesting to think about what it is that feeds our souls so we can turn around and feed others. Thanks for the observation.

Christine... yes, that's the thing. Good writing stems from acceptance of ourselves and cultivation of what we find inside (or, conversely, open struggle with it). And I know I often wish to be somebody else in my writing, which belies that I'm not necessarily always content with who I am. Any suggestions out there, on achieving this noble goal? (Self acceptance) Oh, and regarding your followup comment, I think you had it right both ways. The place does speak healing, even as much as I speak healing as a result of being there.

Nancy... oh, hi!

Every Square... a good reminder to remember who we are. Not graded, numbered beings, but persons. (Kind of like Ted's thoughts in his post today (October 17))

12:31 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Folks who blog to market wares certainly ought to be concerned about increasing blog traffic. Are you selling something? Do I need to order multiples to qualify for free shipping?
I'll take 5... Whatever it is. I want the free shipping. ;)

Along with the other readers here, I appreciate your dedication to secret places and soul-infusing contemplation more than to blog traffic. I imagine that's key to the increased traffic and consistent readership in your blog. You don't give a sales pitch, you open a thought-provoking dialog and a long-term relationship. (Going back to communities vs. networks)

3:40 PM  
Blogger Real Live Preacher said...

You really don't need the traffic. In my case, my blog is just a way to get myself writing. And if whatever traffic you have does that, well, mission accomplished.

I think we writers must see this differently. Bloggers can want traffic. We want to produce a body of work and know that only by writing will we do this.

My two cents. You're right on the money.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

See, now, SOME people make horrible salespeople and just have to give their coffee cuffs away.

It does do a little bit to increase blog traffic, but only temporarily.

More than anything though, I just like to make stuff and gift people with it. And I would LOVE to see a young fellow artist's work in the coffee cuff motif. They are the very in thing these days.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Real Live Preacher said...

We featured this posting at highcallingblogs.com


4:27 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

great point. we make this decision with everything in life, don't we? do we do the things we do to glorify God? to be who He created us to be? or to "draw traffic" to ourselves, which, if we're not careful, reeks of self-image and selfish ambition.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Michelle Gregory said...

Thanks for stopping by my place for a visit. I haven't seen you for a while, but then, I haven't been here for a while. You always have something relevant for my life. The quote was great. I'll have to look for that book.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

It seemed inappropriate to post this comment with today's post on lament, so i'm tucking it here:
hebrew? not going so well. i have such good intentions. actually, when i was deep in the writing of my bible study on abe and sarah, i was studying the hebrew.
then other things demanded--screamed, yelled, threw temper tantrums--my attn.
now, it's time to get back to abe and sar and hebrew. thx for the encouragement!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Inspiring & refreshing... my focus is back where it should be: writing first, blogging second. Thank you for pouring out your heart for your readers! You may count me as a regular and I will be adding you to my blogroll.
- Jo

11:00 PM  
Blogger Anna M Blanch said...

Thankyou....i needed this post this morning!

1:31 PM  

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