January 24, 2008

The Downside to Raised Blog Expectations

Heading into the last week of January, this has been more than a record-breaking month for louisgray.com. Instead, it's been a tidal wave. Without giving away all the fun statistics, planned for a February 1 post, suffice it to say that we've already had traffic more than 1,500% greater than January 2007, also more than double that of December, which was the previous record.

Rather than resulting from a few Digg spikes or runs at StumbleUpon, this increased level of activity has been through increased presence on Google, significantly higher linkage from other blogs, and a number of highly-discussed posts, both here and elsewhere.

And with the higher page views, site visits, RSS feed subscribers and Technorati Authority, I'm feeling as if I'm going to fall victim to my own raised expectations. While I used to be content to make comments on the latest updates in Bay Area sports, or my favorite TV shows, the threshold has been heightened, and more is expected.

After all, take a look at what Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write Web (and formerly of TechCrunch) was saying on Twitter last night...

Via http://twitter.com/marshallk

Whether he was being too kind or just trying to send me a few new visitors from Twitterland isn't 100% clear, but now that we're getting noticed by some high-profile folks, and achieving previously uncharted levels of traffic, as well as reaching the rarified air of the TechMeme leaderboard, I'm feeling the pressure if I'm staying too many hours at work, or if I'm putting the laptop down a few hours to catch up on TV. My new subscribers are going to expect big things from this blog, and they won't want to be let down.

While I can't expect to find new services like ReadBurner and Shared Reader every day, and I don't anticipate starting a verbal war with one of the most widely read blogs on the planet all that often, I do expect we'll try to find new insight into the world of technology, and hope to earn the kind of accolades I've seen from people like Marshall, or VentureBeat's Eric Eldon that we've received over the last few weeks.

I do expect there will be days when I don't post at all. There will be days when my posts just might not be interesting to people, and there might be days when my RSS feed count goes down as people unsubscribe. And just as we've seen our traffic jump in January, it may fall in February, making me feel we're not measuring up. Even if there were an official "Up and coming tech blogger of the month", and even if I won for January, somebody else would win the next month, and I'd be yesterday's news, potentially fighting to stay relevant.


  1. Congratulations. You are a breath of fresh air in the "follow the meme" tech blogosphere. Please keep away from any aspirations to climb up the techmeme leaderboard and stick to original analysis than me too posts. Great work. Keep it up.

  2. keep doing what you are doing Louis - I always look forward to your posts showing up in my feed reader.

    don't forget the good days like these you are having because they'll help carry you through any down days you might have.

  3. hey louis, welcome to the brave new world of writing!

    i've been friendfeeding your posts here for awhile. all of the different services you've been promoting (friendfeed, readburner) are great new ways of finding, well, new blogs like yours. :)

    personally, i don't think you should sweat blogging. just write about the stuff you care about and don't worry about volume of posts.

    i wish i had the chance to more of that.

  4. krish steven and eldon,

    Thanks for your positive comments, all.

    @krish, I do try to be original and not follow TechMeme. Of course, sometimes that means I guess wrong, but risk is worth occasionally failing.

    @steven, you know I unfairly and unequally like your posts. You are my "cranky old canuck" peer up North.

    @eldon, there are so many flavors of writing, some public, some not so public. My background was in journalism/Mass Comm, but I ended up in the Valley doing tech. This is a great way to do both and enjoy it.

  5. I share your pain Louis as I'm sure Steve does too, but we'll pull through :).

    I just need to get better about updating TecHaiku...

  6. Thank you for sharing your humanity Louis.

    Hugs from your Twitterbud.

  7. I have a very small, family and friend only blog, and I feel the same pressures.

    Personally, I miss your sports posts and other non-tech posts (such as the one I remember you writing about an idea you had as alternative to college), and hope to see them sometimes. However, I realize the majority of your readers would rather read about web services. I like variety.

    You've always said you write for you and that you're not aiming to make money from this blog. If that is true, you should write about what you want and not worry so much about your stats.

  8. @Jeff, I'm sure we'll get some good A's posts with FanFest tomorrow and the season starting up... but it's a long cold dark winter. The TV writers' strike doesn't help either.

  9. You sure going places Louis. I like the your 'original coverage' of tech.