crossroads for this blog – please read and weigh in

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If any of you are interested, I’d like to have an open conversation about this blog. I’m at a kind of an impasse, and I’m not sure if I should A) continue, B) cut back to one post per week or C) scrap this project and start over with something else?

There are several reasons this is on my mind:

  1. I’m not getting the volume of traffic to justify the investment of time: 2017 yielded a little over 120,000 views. That’s just 10,000 hits per month.
  2. 6,333 people follow this blog. That number may sound like a lot, but there is little indication most “followers” ever actually read!
  3. I have no evidence that writing a daily blog does anything to facilitate book sales.
  4. I started this blog on the advice of my publisher… But a number of people are now wondering if maybe I’m giving away too much quality content for free. In other words, why bother purchasing my books when this blog is updated on a daily basis?

These are all interesting observations for conversation or comment, but do they add up to good reason for radical change?

What if, for instance, I simply published a “weekly column” (or twice-weekly) as I did when I wrote for The Tampa Tribune? My column – Reading Between the Lines – appeared on the editorial pages; it was popular and well-received critically. My writing won “Serious Column of the Year” from the Florida Press Association, similar recognition in North Carolina, and a prestigious national nod – an “Amy” – for faith-based content.

What if I started over with something brand new?

What if I narrowed my focus and only wrote about one thing?

The bottom line here for me is I don’t want this to become an “a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it…” blog. It may be important to me, but I’m honestly not sure I’m making any noise.

IMG_3667So let me know what you think. Writing this way every morning is – for me – a valuable devotional exercise. The real question is, “Should I continue to share every day, or should I leave my writing unpublished until it appears in my next book?”

Enquiring minds (at least, this one) really do want to know – DEREK

38 comments

  1. I appreciate your questions and have no sure answer, but will share my thoughts. Your posts are rich and helpful, but I don’t have time to read them daily. I would try posting once per week to see how your audience responds, but do keep writing each day! I follow another writer who posts about twice a month. It may be that scarcity creates interest. Please do keep writing! We need to hear your voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I have a couple of thoughts (I’m sure you’re shocked!):

    1) I love reading the blog daily–I am not, however, sure if that is because I love keeping up with you or if it furthers my devotional life (I honestly think it is both, but I may be somewhat atypical from your target audience).

    2) I agree that you are giving away a lot of content for free. I wonder how much of what you’ve written on this blog could have fueled another book.

    3) My absolutely favorite columnist is Peggy Noonan at the WSJ. She writes once a week. I make a point to find her column every week (in fact she is one of the main reasons that I pay to access the WSJ). I wonder, though, if I would look for her so intently were she to post every day.

    4) I tend to value your thoughts most when they concern faithful responses to burgeoning current events or as they relate to the daily Christian family life. Perhaps you could analyze the traffic of your posts cross-referenced by the topic of that day’s writing to see what most interests your readers (i.e., what generates the most traffic). That way you are delivering content that is valuable to them–not simply your daily “journal” as it were.

    5) Perhaps you could still write every week, but only post a finely-tuned piece from the best of your weekly writings once a week that is targeted towards these high-interest subjects (not mine, per se, but the overall readership’s)?

    Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am like Bruce in that I read your blog every day. And I appreciate your input on contemporary events. And I enjoy your spiritual insights. Here lately you have written a lot of articles that facus on your church. I tend to.skip over these
        It’s obvious you are very proud to be a part of.thaat congregation, and proud of Rebecca’s ministry, but that’s not why we read your column, and probably why you’ve lost readership.

        Earl

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Derek, I do enjoy reading your blog daily. To a writer, it must feel good to know that you are being published daily and reaching 6333 people every day. You are sharing God’s WORD with others and examples for others to live by. Press on fisherman and continue to fill your net! Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What is your purpose? I write to express myself in an environment where I am very suppressed and feel God gave me a voice for a reason. I also write because I have to personally. The last and probably most important reason I write is to reach and encourage people in the Lord. If followers, visitors and sales were my motivation, I would market elsewhere for this does not help that at all. So, explore your ambitions and motivations and go from there. You must do where your heart is pulling you and what you feel is right for you and your family at this moment. That is what God expects of us… obedience to His calling on our life. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce said it well. I enjoy reading your blog for many reasons, but must admit to actually reading sporadically. I suspect you and your readers would benefit by a denser, less frequent publication schedule.

    Side note: I am enjoying Suddenly the Light Was Gone! The intimate look at the experience of coming of age at the start of WW2 while living right across the channel from France is fascinating to this somewhat naive american.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading the blog daily and adding it to my daily devotion routine since you have been in Wake Forest. Before you moved here I did not know it, or you, exist. Sometimes I think the pressure of writing “something” daily dilutes the message when the rest of your life gets in the way. Although I love reading it every day, and I do, I could adapt easily to a once or twice a week blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoy your blog, but I am not always able to read it daily. Once a week feels good. I would look forward to it on that day each week. I, too, am currently enjoying “Suddenly the Light Was Gone.” So proud of you…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Longtime reader, first-time commenter —- my vote would be to cut back to a weekly posting. Over the last two years I have felt that with a daily posting you might have had a “forced” or “have to” feel to some of your writing. Please keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I always look forward to your blog. If I am on a trip and can’t read your blog, I read the ones I have missed when I return home from overseas. I find your blogs interesting, informative, thought provoking, and enjoyable. Even though I met you on the Israel trip in 2012, I spent more time enjoying Rebecca’s company than yours. I have gained such an appreciation of your capabilities. I thoroughly enjoy the pics of your children and grandchildren too. You have so much to offer your readers so I hope you don’t stop your blog, just cut back if you need to.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Derek,

    I was invited to read your blog by Velva Graves who forwarded several entries to me. I’ve since subscribed for more than a year. I’m Velva’s pastor.

    You’ve asked about what you should do with this blog… just my suggestion… I would like a weekly blog (with perhaps the occasional “special edition”)- my life is pretty busy and I don’t always have time for a daily read.

    Blessings to you as you spend some time discerning your direction for the blog – I do hope you’ll continue it in some form!

    Margaret Marquis Pastor, Ocoee Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Derek,
    I have been a daily reader for the last two years and even went back to read many of your earlier posts because I was interested in your family and your history. I’ve also read most of your devotionals and your new novel. Your writing is a part of my daily devotional time. So I would really miss your daily thoughts, but that being said, I feel that following your heart will be your best guide. Just please don’t stop publishing regularly! I will continue to read your posts in whatever way they come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Terri – that means a lot. I’m going to let this rest for at least another day, gather more feedback, and re-read all the comments (there are a lot on my Facebook page too!), then I will come to a decision. I’m moving toward settling on a new design, a new title, and a new schedule (likely twice a week as my basis) – then I’ll try to be consistent for a few months and see how it shakes out.
      Peace – Derek

      Like

  12. I joined your blog group – well – it’s been a while- after I was in a group from BeADisciple (or was it Upper Room?) that used one of your books. I really do read the post most days although I confess to skipping the photos sometimes. I occasionally quote you in sermons and a midweek devotion I send to my church folks each week. I had to shake my head over your comment that you get “ JUST 10,000 hits per month” which by my math is well over 2000 a week. I part-time-pastor a small church in a small town and am thrilled if I get to offer words about God to 30 people a week! And I doubt that it worries God that you are giving away “ quality content for free.” Jesus did. But I know that publishing is a business and those questions are asked from a different perspective. I’m just saying that what you are doing now is certainly not loss even if it isn’t profitable in a business sense. Calls and activities shift with time and circumstance, and you have to use your time in the ways best for you and your call. And oh how I know that being spread too thin benefits no one! So the idea of a weekly post, perhaps more concentrated, makes sense to me as a reader. I rather think that you are already writing about one thing – life in the kingdom of God – it’s just that that one thing is marvelously multi-faceted. So there is room to focus more tightly if that seems better to you and your publishers. You already focus more tightly in your books, so you know how to do that. Thanks for all you have done and that I know you will continue to do. BTW I just bought the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with several of the comments, especially with Bruce’s. I enjoy keeping up with you, Rebekah and your family but you need to address the main reason you write as well as the desired frequency (tough decisions). Generally, I will read a week of your columns on Friday morning when Janey is volunteering in the Church office.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am a mere novice; only 720 followers and not yet a published author, but I say that the blog is only one tiny cog in the book selling machine. It’s a great venue and helpful in many ways, but if you already have such a large following and invested so much time in it, keep it

    Liked by 1 person

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