Time Flies

3A8A571B-BE87-4824-B6AC-3B794A1CD62DYesterday I received the above notification from WordPress. Wow, three years since I registered “Fivedotoh” with WordPress. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, right?

I published my first post on this blog on May 14, 2017. It received five views, two likes, and no comments that year. Woo hoo!

Since that first post, I’ve published around 4,500 others, including this one. My blog posts have had more than 365,000 views from almost 100,000 visitors. My posts have received close to 114,000 likes and just shy of 68,000 comments, and my blog now has almost 3,200 followers.

All I can think of is that tagline for Virginia Slims cigarettes from back in the day: “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Thank you all for visiting my blog, reading my posts, liking my posts, and commenting on them. It means the world to me.

And to all of you mothers out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Blogging Insights — Stats Rule

Blogging insightsIn her latest edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya asks us three questions about blogging statistics and traffic.

1. How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

I admit that I check my stats multiple times a day. It’s just another way to get feedback about how many people are visiting my blog and viewing, liking, and commenting on my posts. This kind of feedback enables me to see what people enjoy and what doesn’t resonate all that much.

2. What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)?

Honestly, I don’t have any definitive strategy for increasing reader engagement. I do, though, as I said above, look at my stats and I try to use that data to help me make gain insights about my blog and to take small steps so that others will enjoy reading my posts. That said, based upon my declining views each month since August (see the chart below), I should probably consider coming up with a better strategy.0AE90795-9BE8-46E0-B97C-323B14D42398

3. Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

Not at all. I’m don’t have accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, or any other social media sites other than Facebook, on which I never post anything and only have an account there because my kids post everything they do day in and day out on Facebook.

While I Was Sleeping

I picked up my iPhone and opened up the WordPress app when I first woke up this morning, as I am wont to do. I went to my stats page and this is what I saw:Blank Stats pageWTF? Where are my stats? I clicked on “Weeks,” “Months,” and “Years.” No stats! Shit, did WordPress somehow misplace my stats? My posts?

I opened up my Safari browser, logged into WordPress.com, and went to my stats page.AA58C03B-F5DD-4C59-87E7-A1B83F6024D7Ah, that’s more like it. But what’s the deal with the WordPress app for iOS?

So I went to the App Store on my iPhone and checked to see if there was a recent update to the WordPress app. Sure enough, the app automatically updated sometime overnight while I was sleeping.BA980EAB-98E0-46AF-A8A3-D3600A579A47Sheesh, WordPress, I appreciate that you guys want to keep your app for the iPhone up-to-date, but don’t you ever test it before releasing the updates?

Okay, I guess it’s time to reach out to the Happiness Engineers…again!

Blogging Insights — Burnout

Blogging insights

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about blogger burnout.

Here are her three questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is “blogger burnout”?

0D7E35C2-D78B-4F90-9322-1C824617CB1DI think blogger burnout occurs when you lose your motivation to blog, when the joy of blogging disappears, and it becomes a chore. It’s different, I think, from writer’s block, where you still have the desire to write, but are drawing a blank. In burnout, that desire to write has left you, temporarily, at least.

I suffered blogger burnout in 2015 on my previous blog, which , I abruptly shut down. I had become obsessed with my blog. I was always thinking about it, talking about it, and even dreaming about it. I was still working at the time and my work was starting to suffer because I was more focused on my blog than I was on my job. I was even more focused on my blog than on my family, and it was putting my marriage in jeopardy. I finally decided that I needed to regain control — and balance — in my life, so I just stopped blogging. I don’t know whether or not that technically was a case of blogger burnout. But I do know that I was having a life flameout and I needed to stop blogging in order to get my real world life back on track.

2. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress?

I suppose what I just confessed about why I shut down my previous blog was an example of blog related stress. I think another stress inducing factor in a blogger’s life is stats. I look at my stats on a daily basis and, even though I realize that they vary significantly from one day to the next, if my stats are down for a stretch of two or three days in a row, it does cause me stress.

For example, I was looking at my monthly stats today and, much to my chagrin, November was the third month in a row where my views dropped. In fact, I had fewer views in November than I had for any other month this year except for February, which had only 28 days. And my blog had more than 1,500 fewer views this November than it had in November 2018! So yes, when I saw this chart of monthly views, I felt stress.e2ab2a6a-6e75-4197-87b1-15f5d9ca3c69.jpeg

3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

For me, the answer is simple. Stop looking at, being concerned with, or worrying about stats. I love to write. I rarely run out of opinions to express, perspective to share, or stories to tell. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me to hone my imagination and creativity and to keep my mind active and sharp. So I need to do my thing and not worry about how many views, likes, or comments my posts get.

Blogging is not a contest or a competition. It’s an outlet for creative self-expression and to be happy with what I create. It’s the act of writing and publishing what I’ve written on my blog that provides me with a sense of accomplishment. If people read what I write, like it, and comment on it, great. But if not, I shouldn’t let that stress me out. At least not so much that it will result in blogger burnout!

FOWC with Fandango — Stats

FOWCWelcome to July 10, 2019 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “stats.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.