Friday, 18 April 2008

Six Months On: Looking Back and Forward

It's six months since I started this blog, so it seems to me like a good time to take stock.

I started it out as a way of expressing and hopefully publicising my views on a variety of matters, and hopefully stimulating a bit of discussion with other bloggers. The name Question That was intended to promote the blog as a place of inquisitive, thoughtful and analytical writing rather than simply another set of opinions.

The posting style and topics covered on the blog over the past six months have been nothing if not varied. From campaigning to philosophical rambling, from music & book reviews to rants, from detailed policy analysis to good old-fashioned argument, I haven't exactly settled into a niche. It's perhaps one of the reasons I have stayed enthusiastic about blogging despite relatively low interest, but I suspect it may also be one of the reasons for said low interest. People don't really have a specific reason to keep coming back, and now I find that although QT is getting an average of just over 60 visits a day, a majority of them are coming through searches.

It has been suggested to me, and I am inclined to agree, that there is a need for more analytical blogging, complementing the often sensationalistic way that Parliamentary activities, reports etc. are reported in the press (or, alternatively, not reported at all) with some more dispassionate analysis. I undertook such a task earlier this month to get to the truth behind tabloid reports on the supposedly EU-mandated changes to the Sex Discrimination Act. Doing this consistently represents a challenge that I believe I am up to, and will give a new lease of life to QT, whose name seems (fortuitously) appropriate for a blog performing such a role.

I don't intend for this type of posting to be to the exclusion of everything else, and I plan on keeping regular/semi-regular features such as Video of the Week and Diktatwatch on, as well as postings related to the new political party (LPUK) of which I have signed up as a member. I will be reducing the opinion blogging, especially off-the-cuff posts (e.g. this) that are essentially space-fillers. In short, the idea is a reduction in quantity in exchange for improved quality.

Finally, I am planning on investing in a blog redesign, to give QT a more professional new look to complement the change in posting style. At the moment it is simply a standard Blogger template with customized colour scheme*. Exactly what it will look like I have little idea as yet, but I'm sure it'll be much more attractive and instill a bit more confidence in the reader that the postings here are worth reading than the current non-design.

Feel free to let me know what you think of all this in the comments thread.

*Dark violet background with pale green header text, pale blue post titles and white post text, in case it looks different by the time you read this.


Mark Wadsworth said...

60 visits a day is pretty good after six months in a very crowded market.

Libertarians4Ken said...

As the other poster says, "low interest" is a pretty relative term, I think you're doing better than OK.

Good luck with the re-design &c and don't lose the personal touch entirely-if I want dispassionate political analysis I can buy a newspaper or magazine. To a certain extent, I look on a blog to read about a person.

The Heresiarch said...

A few words of wisdom from someone who, by my calculation, has been going about three weeks longer than you have...

First of all, I second MW. It's actually difficult to understand which blogs are popular, and why. For the first couple on months, I thought it was a good day if I got 30 visitors. There are plenty of good, interesting bloggers who average 10-15, and who have been going for years. You seem to have some high quality referrers, too, which is a good platform to build on.

Secondly, design isn't everything. There are a surprising number of "high-value" blogs with hundreds of daily visitors that are plain old minima. Personally, I love nothing better than messing about with the template. I'm on my fifth. Not that it seems to have much bearing on visitor numbers.

Thirdly, and I'm sure you know this, the key to getting traffic is to get "discovered". Which is, largely, a matter of luck. Something I wrote a few months back was picked up in the Guardian, and then posted on Boing Boing, and got more than 10,000 hits. Largely as a result, my daily figures are now comfortably in the hundreds, and feedburner reports around 400 subscribers. This is a mixed blessing, though. Apart from anything else, it increases the pressure to "perform".

Best of luck. I'll no doubt be back. Have you discovered the delights of Heresy Corner? It's very good, you know.