As the New Year rolled around, the resolution-making and the goal-setting and the Purpose Driven Life questions filled my Facebook wall, my Twitter feed, and my Google reader.
My first inclination is to always resist the popular trends.
But I just couldn’t help but consider, just for a second, some possible goals. And the main thing that came to mind was my writing.
WordPress, the site that hosts this blog for me, sent me a Year in Review, highlighting what I’ve accomplished (or failed to accomplish, if you’re a glass half empty kind of person…) in 2011.
Some noteworthy stats:
- This blog was viewed 3,200 times
- There were 88 new posts, bringing the total post count to 225
- The busiest day of the year was August 11th with 111 views
- The most popular post of the year was This Time of Year
- People from 5 continents viewed this blog (Antarcticans and Africans didn’t)
- The most commented on post was When Church is Messy
After reading this summary, I had to decide how to respond to those stats. I found them interesting, for sure, but I was neither impressed nor depressed. But I now have a measurable standard that I want to surpass in 2012.
And as much as I’d like to deny it, that kinda sounds like a goal.
More specifically, I’ve identified two goals for this next year.
- Increase my production to at least 2 posts/wk.
- Increase consistent readership.
Number one should not be hard to accomplish. I only need to write 16 more posts than I did last year. It might require some reprioritization of my TV watching time, but this is very accomplishable.
Number two, however, feels impossible. Most of my readers are friends and family, for which I am super thankful, but that is a pretty limited group. I really don’t know how many unique visitors I had last year (because my stat software sucks), but I can’t imagine more than about 75 different people looked at this blog at least once. And the bulk of pageviews probably came from about 10-15 people.
That is terribly discouraging news to someone who aspires to write on a grand scale. I do not want 2012 to roll by and my WordPress annual report to boast the same statistics it did for 2011.
So to begin expanding my reach, I’ve enrolled in a 12-week course called “Intentional Blogging”, written and taught by a professional blogger named Jeff Goins. I don’t know how beneficial it will be, but I figure it can’t hurt.
For week 2, the week I happen to be in, he wants us to “find our focus” by clarifying what and why we are writing. He says the narrower our focus is, the broader our reach will be. It sounds counter intuitive, but think he’s probably right.
A blog that is an inch deep across an expanse of subjects may attract a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life initially, but they will quickly lose interest once they realize the depth of the material is lacking. Conversely, a blog that plums the depths of a single subject, producing rich content consistently, will attract only a few types of people, but it will retain their readership week in and week out. So that’s what I am going for.
In response to an exercise Goins had us complete, the theme of this blog – the area on which I aim to concentrate – is how people can apply the Bible to their lives to cultivate ever-increasing intimacy with Christ. And the objective of this blog – what I hope to accomplish through it – is to show people that the Bible is a mind-blowing conversation with God and to birth a desire in them to study it for themselves.
With these things defined, everything I write should uphold and perpetuate these purposes. That means I have to resist the temptation to share cute videos of my kids (unless they are exemplifying the practical application of some theological concept in said videos… hmm…). And in so doing, I should attract more and more consistent readers.
Unfortunately, I just realized that THIS VERY BLOG POST does not uphold my theme or objective…
But Goins told me to post my theme and objective on my blog…
You were just obeying your instructor and that counts for a lot. I am excited to see how you accomplish this narrowed focus. You are an extraordinary writer so I’m expecting great things.