The end of July marked 6 months since the launch of Pendora's Box. Back at the 1 month mark I had done a post with the launch story along with some highlights. I wasn't planning to do 6 months "anniversary" post per se, but I did want to reflect on these few months of running the blog and maintaining the momentum.
After a decent initial month, the blog puttered along but at a slower pace. I tried to post several times a week but because of work and personal matters, the number of posts went from 21 in February to an average of 10 for March and April, then back up to average of 19 for May through July. Not surprisingly, the visits and page views on the site dropped for that March to April period. Momentum was regained when posting frequency increased. The best month so far, in terms of traffic, was July. August is not done yet but it's looking to be a record breaking month too.
Now, having done this for 6 months, I find the biggest challenge is to write and post consistently. I don't have a "fixed" schedule yet except for the Wordless Wednesday and Throwback Thursday posts. Those are fixed for obvious reasons. My other posts are spread out and generally depends on when I get them done. I haven't got a feel yet of whether I should do my big review posts on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. I've experimented a bit and I could not make any definitive observations.
I've only recently taken an interest in looking at more analytics. Square Space keeps track of page views and visits by month, week, day but the analysts don't go back to the beginning of the blog. The analytic I'm after is the most popular article to date but that is not available to me. I've started to play with Google analytics and, in hindsight, I regret not hooking up this function earlier. The only reason this interests me because recently I've noticed that more people have been looking at posts that I've done moths ago. Initially there was not as much traffic on some posts, but over time, they've attracted an unexpected amount of traffic.
All of this is really to help me understand what Pendora's Box visitors like to read. So far I've written about pens, inks and paper that interest me in some way. After all, this blog is about my journey and exploration of the fountain pen and stationery world. Since I purchase all my pens, ink and accessories, everything would be slanted to my interests and tastes.
As I was writing this post, I got thinking that I should not be swayed by what the analytics say and just continue on as I have.
Now, this does bring up another discussion and that is burn out. I've acquired quite a few new inks and pens over these moths. That's partially because I myself want them for specific reasons and purposes but also to create a pool of material to write about. If I keep posting at the rate that I have been, I will run out of topics to write about. Unless, I get more and more and more. I do worry about having too much stuff, plus, my dear husband would not be on board with this plan. I could keep all my pens inked up but there's no way I could reasonably use up the ink. The opposite approach is to have many pens sitting around uninked for months at a time. This has started to happen to some my earlier pens. Well, I don't think I reached the point of having too many pens yet. But I do wonder when and how soon that day will come.
I have find some way to maintain a a consistent posting schedule that balances the needs of my non-pen life with my hobby. At some point having an aggressive posting schedule demands more time, money and effort than I can afford for a hobby.
Recently Brad Dowdy and Myke Hurley discussed the conundrums of blogging fatigue and stress. Others in the community have chimed in with their viewpoints too. This discussion comes at a good time for me having done this gig for 6 months.
I love the thrill of researching and hunting for a great new pen and the perfect inks to match for a particular use case. I enjoy writing about my experiences of trying new things. I've started to get a better feel for the photography that goes into the site. Taking pictures that capture the unique finishes and shape of pens is not easy. I think I've upped my skills but much more effort is needed.
I'll finish this post with a couple of lists.
This adds on to my 1 month highlights.
- A couple of mentions in Brad's weekly newsletter to Pen Addict members. By the way, Brad puts a lot of love into that newsletter and it's one of a few that I will read every week without fail. It's well worth the membership fee.
- Best Web site analytic results in July.
- Instagram followers growing steadily. Reached 500+ by end of July.
- Positive vibe from the community of pen friends on Twitter and Instagram.
- Feedback and comments from readers. Thanks so much to those who take the time to write to me via the Web site, Twitter or Instagram.
- Features on Rhodia Drive and the Penman Post.
- More pen, ink and paper reviews.
- More use-case and fountain pen life type posts.
- Writing about accessories.
- Attending my first pen show? Thanks to @MacPrinter1 and @RamblingsCANADA for planting a seed in my brain about a Pendora's Box meet-up at the upcoming Toronto Pen Show. It all depends on my son's hockey schedule but I've definitely got the show penciled into my calendar.