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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A very long ramble on the status of my blogging

It figures that just as I was getting used to the fact that hardly anyone reads this blog, Joe Carter posted The “How To Start a Blog” Series: Tips and Suggestions for Launching a Successful Blog and got me wondering all over again, “Why does hardly anyone read this blog?” (What I mean is, why does hardly anyone besides a few dear faithful friends read this blog?)

Here are my guesses:

1) I’m not “consistent.” I blog about too many miscellaneous things and plaster the surroundings with photos. Sometimes I go for long periods without posting anything but photos.

2) My writing isn’t so engaging or interesting.

3) I don’t blog about things that many people are interested in, or, if they are, there are others writing more excitingly and consistently about them than I am.

4) I have no niche. Except the “has no niche” niche.

5) My blog layout is pretty boring. I don’t know how to improve it without ignoring the rest of my life completely.

6) There are a ton of blogs out there.

7) My ship has yet to come in.

8) I own a black cat.

I’ve also considered the fact that Intellectuelle, despite having a stellar cast (plus an extra from off the street – me), isn’t exactly a blockbuster either. True, it almost died awhile back, and no one wants to be around a dying corpse. No wait, a corpse is already dead. But I thought its readership and dialogue might pick back up after the blog was resuscitated. It hasn’t, though. Perhaps the reason is inconsistency of posting (timing especially), but there are other blogs that update much less frequently yet maintain a respectable (in number, not in character necessarily. NO, I mean in number of readers, all of whom of course are respectable) readership. Why? Niche, perhaps. Loyal following. Colleagues, etc. Big names. Major affiliations.

Intellectuelle has a niche, or so I thought, not to mention a heavy-duty sponsor, so the fact that its readership isn’t greater is a little puzzling to me. I thought that its attempted ecumenical character might be a draw, but then it’s not fully ecumenical, which perhaps has some people wondering what it really is. Mostly Reformed, a little Catholic and a little Not-sure, I guess. (OK, I’ll be honest: a little Doesn’t Want the Label).

Yes, I am largely responsible for the present team (inviting them, anyway), but theological bent was not one of my criteria. I invited women who had demonstrated that they were Bible-believing, thoughtful, analytical, and wicked smart. And glory be, they accepted the offer. There have been some fantastic posts, I think, and terrific discussion, but not enough people are reading and commenting to carry the discussion further. It’s also hard to hook up with others in the blogosphere who are discussing the same things – there are several different conversations going on at once but they’re all at different tables. "So?" you might say, but I think it shows that, rather than enhancing communication, the blogosphere in some ways serves to dissipate it. I don't mean to sound emergent or anything, but I think that conversation is important, and the more people participate in the same conversations, the better those conversations will be.

I would think that people would want to seek out what others have to say about the topics they blog about, because I do, but maybe not everyone is like me. Imagine that. A few exceptions I can think of are Joe Carter, John Schroeder, and David Wayne. Maybe Andrew Jackson too. I’m sure there are others. Hey, maybe I should look up all the relevant posts on certain topics and post a list of links!

The other thing that has me scratching my head is all the theological camps. It seems that people are quite self-conscious about them. Yet for all some seem to resent “labels” and misunderstandings, I’m not sure how much effort is made to do more about it than complain or pontificate. Then there’s me, idiot quasi-Arminian (who had no idea what an Arminian was until several months ago) who found a bunch of Reformed-types’ blogs, thought they were awesome, and got totally hooked before even realizing they were Reformed! And do I care? No. I love these people. I love the way they think. I find that they are intellectually rigorous in ways that other “Bible-believing” Christians (accepting some form of inerrancy of the Scriptures) are not.

Why is that??? It seems that most of the “major” bloggers are Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist, or emergent. (Maybe a few Orthodox?) Where are the Lutherans? Where are the Methodists? Where are the Covenanters? I know they’re out there, but why aren’t their heavies in the arena with the others?

I haven’t really been able to connect with the few other non-Reformed bloggers I know of except for Charlie Lehardy, but then he’s a fellow Covenanter and Covenanters are the coolest people on earth. (Yes, I realize what I just said.) Then there’s the wonderful Jan Lynn, and Martin LaBar. I’m not really sure what his exact theological “persuasion” is, nor do I care. I have no idea of the denominational affiliation of some of my other readers. Theology hasn’t been my concern in that regard; I’m more interested in thought as it relates to living out the faith, i.e., evangelical concerns. I'm appreciative of anyone who reads my blog. And let’s face it, I’ve been smitten with the bloggers I started reading to begin with.

Have I been barking up the wrong tree? I don’t know. I’ve made some pretty great friends, and they mean more to me than lots of readers.

I just wonder about the readership thing. I am sure that mine is the least-read/most-linked blog in the TTLB ecosystem. My link ranking is currently #1049. The highest I got was in the 800s, I think, about a year ago. I was a Large Mammal then. Currently I’m a Marauding Marsupial. Yet on average I get a mere 15 hits/day, not all unique and usually a couple of my own! (Surreptitious glances, hand over mouth, pretend to look elsewhere.) I did some research and discovered that several Christian blogs with less than 10 inbound links, ranked in the 20 000s or lower, have 30-60 readers/day! Others didn’t list traffic data, but, based on comment activity, I’d guess they probably get more than 15 hits per day. The lowest readership of any other blog that I checked was still above 20 hits/day. (Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be nosey; I was merely collecting data on readership and linkage among Christian blogs.)

Oh and yes, it’s possible that some read my blog via Bloglines without ever actually “hitting” it. It’s possible.

Have I considered quitting? Yes I have, as anyone who reads this blog knows, though actually I’ve considered it more frequently than I let on. A few times I almost made the announcement (the draft is still sitting in WordPerfect). But I just can’t do it.

I love to blog. I really do. I would blog even if no one read this blog. I would. The only reason I’d quit would be because I spend too much time at it. But then I’d spend way too much time reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, so why quit?

Well, if you’ve made it this far in this post (and even if you haven’t), have a wonderful nap. And thanks for reading.


  • Well, for one thing, your writing is excellent. I've frequently, too frequently, read a lot worse.

    Some people seem to want to read either blogs that they already agree with totally, so they can feel good about agreeing with someone, or that they disagree with totally, because it raises their adrenalin.

    You do go all over the map (so do I) or at least over several degrees of latitude and longitude, but you are interesting. It's interesting to read what you are thinking about.

    A blog is also for the blogger. Some of us need to put our thoughts in writing, for various personal reasons, some of which we don't recognize or understand. The fact that anyone else at least subscribes with Bloglines (or something) and, occasionally reads is a plus.

    Thanks for blogging. Quit if you need to.

    By Blogger Martin LaBar, at 7:01 PM  

  • Hi Bonnie,

    I’ve learned throughout my life that I can have just about anything I want if I am willing to pay the price. However, there is no way I can ever have everything I want. I am not willing to pay the price for many of the things I want and I don’t want many of the things I can afford.

    If your goal is to be widely read, then you need to make sacrifices and you have to make compromises. It is obvious to me that you have the writing and thinking talent. Are you willing to be relentless in self-promoting your blog? Are you willing to compromise your topics and your beliefs? I hope not, because I like you the way you are.

    By Blogger David M. Smith, at 4:49 PM  

  • Gol, you guys are gonna make me cry. Thanks so much for your very kind words.

    Martin, yes, blogging for me is a sort of catharsis. It also helps me keep ahold of myself, as long as it doesn't get excessive. And it's an offering, I guess, to whoever will take it.

    For some reason I've always been extremely averse to having my life be dictated by other people. This is probably a fault. Likewise, I don't want my blogging to be dictated by anything other than inspiration and a commitment to doing it as well as I can. In this I don't think I could ever compromise, David.

    I'm also a lousy self-promoter! I find it extremely hard to do.

    (David, nice to hear from you! I hope you're doing well.)

    Blessings, gentlemen :-)

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 10:48 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Catez, at 10:54 AM  

  • Sorry - my comment was not really formulated. I probably need to think some more on it. Thanks.

    By Blogger Catez, at 1:30 PM  

  • Bonnie, as I was reading your post, I was also trying to think of what it is about your blog that I so enjoy. Then you put it into words for me in your comment: you blog based on inspiration. Your "no niche" niche is exactly what makes you so interesting, including days when you "only" post your inspiringly unique photographs. I hope you'll keep it up!

    By Blogger jan@theviewfromher, at 10:08 PM  

  • Thank you, Jan! Thanks for reading (and looking :-) )

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 11:23 PM  

  • My husband's Presbyterian denomiation (RPCNA) call themselves the Covenanters, too. But they're not the same Covenanters as the ones you cite here. I wonder why that is.

    Not being an RP, and not even really knowing about them until I married one (though they would consider it shocking that someone didn't know they exist *gasp*), I wonder what they would say if they knew there was another Presbyterian denomination calling themselves the Covenanters.

    By Blogger Krista, at 5:42 PM  

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