Saturday, 4 July 2009

Blogging and advertising. Pt.2

Back in May I posted that I was going to give AdWords a go on this blog and see what came of it. Well after two months, 722 visits and 856 page views the results are in... It didn't work, I'm still not a millionaire. But I think I have learned a few things over the last couple of months.

My "audience" just isn't ready to make me a millionaire.

To me this means a few things:

  1. I just don’t pull enough traffic.
    As I’m sure most small-time bloggers think to themselves  every so often, why would anyone want to read anything I’ve got to say. Well, I often think this but then I check my analytics and notice that I’ve been getting around 320 visitors a month and to someone as small-time™ as I am, this is incredibly encouraging and impressive.
  2. The traffic I do pull isn’t the right type .
    My biggest hitters (in terms of traffic per post) are my article from 18 months ago about uploading and resizing images, accounting for roughly 50% of my hits per month, my post about multiple order-by’s in SQL (aprox 19%) and since I posted it on the 14th June, my post about getting the Subversion revision number into your project output has been responsible for 17% of my traffic. What does this have to do with the point I’m making? Well these articles are technical “how-to” kind of articles, and being a programmer myself, I know how people read these things.
    1. You do a Google search for what you need to do.
    2. You start clicking links.
    3. You read the first sentence or two to see if it sounds like you’ve landed on the right page.
      1. You either bail out because it’s not the right page or…
      2. You start scrolling up and down the article to see if there is a nice concise chunk of code you can copy.
      3. You bail out because you’ve got what you came for.

    What this means is that the visitors aren’t here to read what I have to say, they aren’t going to browse around the site, they definitely aren’t going to be bothered to click on advertising.
  3. My visitors are the wrong type of person.
    As I commented in my original post. I don’t click on advertising. I get this funny feeling inside that it’s a lie, that if I search for something, then The Google is good enough on it’s own to find the right thing, and that anything that has been surreptitiously crammed in at the top, with a different colour background to draw my eye, is just bad.
I don’t like the idea of advertising on my blog.

Well not this blog anyway! I’ve recently been listening to the Stack Overflow Podcast, a couple of times recently Jeff and Joel have mentioned Cognitive Dissonance. I’ll let you read the the first sentence of that page rather than me try and paraphrase it…

Any way, my point being, since I put the AdWords on here I’ve been checking Analytics with vague regularity to see how much I haven’t made. I’ve been trying to think of all-star topics to write about in order to earn me a million. I applied extra pressure to something I was trying to do for personal improvement reasons.

This, it turns out,  is beyond useless, as I can barely write anyway (although I’m doing OK today!), having this extra pressure made me super-illiterate. (Let’s not even mention spelling!)

The upshot of all this is, after a little over two months, I’ve removed AdWords in an attempt to lower the pressure and enable me to write a bit more freely.

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