Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog readership

My blog readership has increased steadily in the year that I've been writing it. I 've made connections with artists around the globe and I am more in tune with what is happening in the world of art outside my city than most artists I know personally. Blogging and reading blogs allows me to move beyond the restrictions of geography and parochial ideas . I've also had opportunities to correspond with people who have no agendas except interest in art and the inner workings of an artist's mind. I grow from their comments, questions and posts.

When I look at the location of visitors to my blog (through sitemeter) and check the profiles of my followers, one trend is apparent- I have very few visitors from my home province - Newfoundland and Labrador. Japan, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, United States, Norway etc. all show up. I'm pondering this.

The other day when Anonymous left this response to my blog. ...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

it brought the question of why people are attracted to certain blogs to the forefront again. I suppose the answer is definitely wrapped up in the nature of the blog. When one writes about the personal aspects of artmaking the interest of the general public is limited.

There's a Newfoundland and Labrador Blog Roll that is in the process of determining the favouite Newfoundland and Labrador Blog. The voting trend is the same for all visual artist blogs so I don't feel lonely!

I'll throw this out to my readers. Why do you visit/follow a blog? Do you have many local blog visitors/followers ? Why do you think visitors are interested in your blog?


Kathy said...

Good questions, Margaret. When I first started blogging I signed up to follow a large number of blogs and found that I just didn't have enough time. These days, I concentrate on visiting the blogs of those who regularly contribute to my own. I do this for two reasons: if someone takes time to read and comment on my blog on a regular basis then I owe them the same courtesy, and secondly, the few blogs I visit best suit my interests.
I know how many people have signed up to follow my blog (123) but I don't know the actual readership. Every week I get emails from people who haven't formally joined the "follow" crowd, so I know my readership is larger than 123, and I haven't been tracking the geography although I do know that some are local from their emails.
In answer to your final question, my readers indicate that they like a critical discussion of art. However, I don't think this has universal appeal, but that doesn't matter. It's more interesting to me to have a substantive discussion with a few than no discussion at all with a huge crowd.

Margaret Ryall said...

Kathy your comment about having a good discussion with a few rather than no discussion with a huge crowd coincides with my feelings . Much of my growth in the content of my blog has come from responses to posts I've written and content or questions found on other blogs.

I too try to visit the blogs of people who follow my blog . Sometimes someone gets overlooked but not intentionally. Knowing the art and interests of those who regularly read my blog helps me to place comments in a larger context and to compose posts of interest.

Kim Hambric said...

I'm not sure anyone ina 500-mile radius reads my blog. Very few friends and family do.

I do like to talk about my art in my blog. If I find other artists I like, I want to share that with others. I want to share something of myself other than art with readers. To me it is important to show as many sides of myself as possible.

The blogs I enjoy reading are similar to mine in many respects. I look for advice from other artists that have advanced and experiments far more than I have. Yet I dislike the blogs where an artist does nothing more than toot there own horn about their successes. I do want to know about why they do what they do, but if that's all they have to write about, I'm going to visit other blogs instead.

I see the blogging world as a place to share and be supportive.

Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks Kim for your thoughtful post. I too like to have well rounded posts so I can "see" the person behind the work.

layers said...

I live on a small island in the Puget Sound and am a bit isolated--there are other artists on my island but have not found much in common with them. The blog has opened up a world of artists i can connect to and share ideas, inspiration with. There is a range and variety of blogs I look for as i do not care what the medium is- if the artist is creative and serious is important-- can be pottery, photography, poetry-- anything. I write to animate my brain and thinking and I read other blogs for inspiration.

Shayla said...

Great questions, Margaret!
Following art blogs has cured studio isolation and contributed greatly to my development as an artist. When I was disabled and unable to leave the house, those connections kept me sane. Artists have helped me with creative blocks, dealing with creative cycles, getting published, we've collaborated- it's satisfying on many levels. When another artist is excited about what's going on in their studio, then I get excited to go make art too. My stats are mostly local. Early on I exchanged links with an artist who's very popular around here and I think that got me started on local traffic. These people read blogs but don't have blogs of their own.

-Don said...

Margaret, I could copy/paste your first paragraph and sign it. That's exactly how I feel. However, I have intentionally tred to stay away from anything that gives me numbers regarding my readership. My blogging has never been about that. I have three criteria for my blog and for following other blogs:
1) I love art.
2) I love to talk about art.
3) I love to share (show and view) art.

I've enjoyed the natural progression of me discovering other artist/bloggers and them discovering me. It has that organic feeling of developing friendships based on a common interest.

I read Anonymous' comment to you the other day and wondered how I would have responded to it. The second sentence took what had started as a compliment and turned it into an underhanded slight. The fact they stayed anonymous speaks volumes. If they really wanted to respond with something of value they could have emailed you and signed it. In fact, I've just decided that if Anonymous ever leaves me a comment I will delete it immediately.


hwfarber said...

I think I'm one of two bloggers in my small town. My friends & neighbors read it but almost never comment--they mention it in conversations and tell their friends to check it out.

I follow lots of blogs (all types) but comment on just a few. I have learned from the blogs of
other artists, but I'm not really interested in tracking or counting. I just hope Google doesn't keep track of how many times I re-edit when I'm posting!

I would publish but ignore Anonymous.

Jeanette said...

Yes, this is an interesting topic.

I came into blogging 4 years ago to make myself accountable and push myself to produce art after being out of the art scene for quite awhile. I also wanted to network with local artists and others around the world who had similar interests.

I follow blogs that have content that makes me think, as well as having technical and creative expertise. I follow blogs that I feel some connection with.

For me, numbers aren't part of the package, as I continue to blog whether there are responses or not. I do this for me. Having said that, I also like to share ideas and techniques that help others achieve their goals and a blog is a good medium for that.

Locally, I have searched for art blogs, but there are few or are rarely updated. My blog doesn't seem to generate a lot of local interest, but I guess its down to personal interest levels by readers in the province.

Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks so much for leaving such lengthy responses to my thoughts. I have connection with four other artists in NL who blog. That's great for us.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not obsessed with numbers of readers etc. If I was I have all the techniques down for increasing my readership. I read those blogs too! I want a community to connect with and in many ways to count on. That's a whole other ballgame.

I too started blogging mostly as a way to document my process, thoughts and work. It was a way to extend myself beyond NL. I had no idea I would network with so many artists. What a bonus that has been.

Don would have deleted Anonymous but I see it another way. Sometimes people read blogs but have not set up a profile so they sign in as Anonymous. That is how I operated before I started my blog but I always stand by my words so I signed my name. I agree on that part Don. I also agreed with the comment that my blogging is improving because I now have an audience that I think about when I write. Reading lots of excellent blogs improves my thinking and produces many ideas to consider.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Good question: A few reasons for my blogging...accountability, self expression and connection to name a few. I have not been disappointed rather surprised at how friendly and accepting bloggers can be...I like to refer to finding my ducks in the in the "Ugly Duckling" story. My biggest surprise is the lack of local visitors...I live in an art community but rarely receive local visitors?

Four Seasons in a Life said...

A wonderful question Margaret and the responses are terrific. It is now a few minutes before two in the morning and I have been up for twenty hours, so I only have a few words to contribute.

The individuals that are local followers are personal friends before I started blogging, otherwise I have no new local followers.

There are other interesting patterns I have observed, but i need to get to bed. Sorry.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Heather said...

I agree,good questions. I follow blogs relating to what I'm interested in: mainly art. I generally follow those who have something positive to say and who are friendly and engage with their readership. I also want to learn from them as artists because I'm a student, so that is very important to me. I have one local visitor (my friend) to my blog. The rest are further afield. My commenters are mostly from outwith the UK, but I don't know where my subscribers come from, as I have no way of checking. I think people visit my blog because I'm a student and I put up my projects from college and show my progress. I don't censor my work because of this. I also talk about what we are doing in class and what I'm learning and I think that is what attracts visitors, though I can't be certain.