Sometime around 10:00 last Thursday night, jeffreytharp.com set 2020 as its best year for views yet. That’s not a bad place to be at the tail end of October and the numbers, of course, keep ticking up every day. Say what you want about the suffering of life in a plague year, but having people home, bored, and dinking around on the internet has done great things for my numbers.
I’m sure there are people out there who are making an actual living at this. God knows I get enough emails about “monetizing your platform.” That’s never been my goal here, though. The only reason jeffreytharp.com exists at all is as a venue for exorcising some of life’s daily bile without my brain exploding… and maybe offering up a bit of entertainment along the way.
Sure, making a few coins from it would be nice, but I value my position as an amateur bitcher and complainer. Maybe I could take the whole thing pro, but surely it would lose some of its charm when in the back of my head I’m always conscious of what drives views and spend time worried about who might be offended. That’s just a risk not worth taking, so we’ll keep on as we are… because I feel like there’s going to be a lot of things that need saying over the next few months.
1. Numbers. This blog is my own little catharsis and never really intended as clickbait, but sometimes I really do wonder what sorcery is behind the numbers. My view and visitor numbers have been all over the map for the last few weeks. There’s no seeming rhyme or reason for days that are up or down. Posts that I think should be a hit end up idle and those that I thought fairly bland rack up visits. After fourteen years of doing this, you might be tempted to think I’d have a clue. If you thought that, however, you’d be 100% wrong.
2. Incredulity. The number of times in the last six weeks that I’ve been asked some version of “Aren’t you starting to go stir crazy?” is telling… if only because it reveals how many people don’t really “get” me at all. I’ve got books, critters, ready access to food and liquor, the ability to have almost anything on earth delivered to my front door, and can leave at any time for goods and services that need to be sourced locally. I feel no fear of missing out. Staying home isn’t punishment for me. It’s the life I thought I was going to have to wait another 15 years to have for myself… and after sampling it, I can assure you going stir crazy is the very least of my worries.
3. Persistence. Maggie has been quite a trooper, never so much as attempting to lick or scratch her enormous incision. Keeping a certain white and brown young canine sibling from trying to lick it all the time has been my other full-time job this week. Seven days into healing and he’s mostly stopped – though not before a few full-blown screaming fits on my part. I can sense him still searching for an opportunity. I usually appreciate and even respect that kind if persistence, but in this one case, I’m going to need him to knock it the hell off.
It wouldn’t be New Years Eve if I didn’t take a couple of minutes to run you through the numbers for 2019.
In no particular order, here’s what they say:
Words: 64,075 Words
Most searched term: jeffrey tharp attorney
Ok, yikes. So first of all, I apologize to anyone who landed here hoping to find a lawyer. I hope my namesake is a good one and everything worked out for you.
2019 was the second biggest year for views and visitors I’ve had here at WordPress. 2013 retains the crown, presumably because I was spitting so much fire about being furloughed that year… but it hasn’t kept the crown by much, so who knows what 2020 will look like.
The most read post for 2019, was a tribute to Winston. I wrote it back in January with tears streaming down cheeks. Even now, almost a year later, I can just barely make it through that post without sobbing.
In a few short hours we’ll consign 2019 to history. I wish I had something deep or insightful to close on, but all I keep thinking is what a truly strange year it has been.
I got an email this afternoon from “a new media agency headquartered in the UK” wondering if I was “interested in selling advertising space on jeffreytharp.com.” The sender promises that advertisements would be unobtrusive and that they can pay an annual upfront payment for the advertising space. While the email does track back to an IP address in Uxbridge, England it’s safe to say that it qualifies as one of those sounds too good opportunities.
The truth is, I’m not blogging for advertisers. I’m not blogging to sell banners or to generate click-throughs or even to climb in the Technorati ratings. Mostly I’m blogging because I think I can turn a pretty phrase now and then and it seems that people are kind enough to humor me by reading it on a regular basis. If I happen to sell a few of my own wears in the process, so much the better – but this blog isn’t now and never will be written for the sake of generating a few pennies of advertising revenue. The complete lack of a coherent campaign for selling my own book should pretty much tell you where advertising falls on my list of priorities.
I think everyone that blogs harbors some kind of secret dream of being the next breakaway hit… and while it would be incredible to be on the receiving end of millions of hits a day, if I get there through the merits of the written word, that’s awesome. If it take shilling for some advertising company, well, I’ll keep my day job (at least 4 days a week) and enjoy the 20-30 people who check in around here on a regular basis.
One of the most frustrating things about running a blog is that some of the posts I think will go like gangbusters end up falling flat while others that were more offhand seem to spark the most interest. Even when posting about a normally popular topic, there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for why some posts get a large number of views and others languish more or less unseen. Such is the life of a blogger – always chasing after the next “hit.” Come to think of it, that description makes it sound a little like blogging is the nerd equivalent of being a smack addict. Maybe the two aren’t as different as they seem except for the part where a blog only tends to ruin your life by sucking up all your free time and possibly getting you sued for slander or libel.
If I ever find the secret formula that’s probably just the perfect combination of topics and timing, I’ll be sure to let you know. Actually, I won’t. It will become my most closely guarded secret as I let the number of visits reach into the stratosphere. It’s more likely that I’ll continue bumping along at 20-120 views a day indefinitely, because really I’m more interested in writing about whatever catches my interest on any given day than I am writing random crap just for the sake of driving web traffic.
One thing I know from a misspent middle age is that Fridays are pretty much the worst day of the week to post a new blog. As soon as the whistle blows at the end of the day, people are off and racing to start the weekend – or in this case the extra long holiday weekend. Even a post with all the right content, perfectly archived tags, and on a topical bit of content just isn’t going to have juice. That’s why Fridays are usually the day I don’t bother posting anything. Even on Saturdays you can reach a respectable audience if you get you post up and in front of people early enough in the morning that they see if before they run off to do whatever it is normal people do on Saturdays.
I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know what my posting schedule is going to look like for the next few days. This has all been a long way of saying that hitting the regular gates for days and times that I usually post can be a little problematic when there’s travel and a holiday involved. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m going to try to sticking to a schedule for the next few days. With that being said, I don’t foresee things going dark around here either. Stupid things that need to be talked about seem to follow me around like damned plague of locusts.
The best way to make sure that you don’t miss any of the fun and excitement at jeffreytharp.com is to go ahead and click on the little “Sign Me Up” button on the upper right hand sign of your screen. That way you’ll get your very own email notification every time something new shows up. I mean if that’s not a Christmas present, I don’t know what is.
If you’re a blogger, one of the best ways to know how nice the weather is is taking a look at your daily site visit logs. In the middle of winter, when the nights are long, your number of views goes up. Same thing at the height of summer. Everyone is inside hiding from the heat. In the spring and fall, though, those are the doldrums. That’s when the floor really drops out and people have better things to do that putz around the interwebs checking out what people are bitching and complaining about that. All of that might not be strictly true of course, but that’s the pattern I’ve noticed over three years of watching these things. Maybe you don’t notice it on big sites that get millions of hits a day, but around here we pay attention to things like that.
Now if I were an unscrupulous web denizen, I could fill my tag cloud with phrases like “hot lesbian cheerleaders” and probably bost my numbers a bit, but realistically I’d rather keep bringing in people who are interested and interesting. I’m not always concerned about quality over quantity, but that’s how things are here at least. I wonder, though, how much of spring and fall doldrums are caused by readers having better things to do and how much it’s caused by bloggers who are just as interested in doing something that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a monitor. Like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
But now that it’s cold again, I’m expecting your jerks to check in more often, mkay?
If you were expecting another post about the harrowing experience of packing everything you own in preparation for dragging it 900 miles across the country, I’m saving that for tomorrow. Tonight is a purely self congratulatory post celebrating the 1000th visitor for the month. Well done May, very impressive. Since half my hits lately seen to come from people looking for information on the now-defunct hiring freeze, it’s only a matter of time before things settle back to the more routine 500 view a month level. It’ll be a good long time before I gin up a topic with that kind of interest again, so I’ll savor the moment. Well, the moment and this frosty Stella Artois. Cheers!
Just taking a few moments this morning to thank all of you who read Get Off My Lawn for making yesterday, the most active day ever on the site – You almost doubled its previous best day (which was last years launch day for the iPhone 4 – so, yes, I’m seeing the pattern here).
I started blogging as a way to vent off the ideas rattling around in my head that were too impolite to say out loud. Over time, it’s become my personal soap box to opine about any topic that’s caught my interest. Surprisingly, you’ve stuck with me even without any overarching rhyme or reason for what topics are taken up around here. All I can say to each of you, is thank you for being interested. I’d blog even if nobody was reading, but you guys make it much, much more interesting.
We know you have choices in reading curmudgeonly rants and Get Off My Lawn appreciates your business.
I’d like to thank everyone who visited jeffreytharp.com yesterday for making it the busiest single day on the site since I set up in February. If you like what you’re reading, don’t forget to click on the “share” button on the upper right side of your screen and give jeffreytharp.com some social media love. I appreciate your support!