live free

So, it’s been a week since I overhauled my site, changed the type of posts I make and generally began doing things differently around here. My declaration of independence from the boring bullshit my blog had become was this post. While I did expect to see some improvement, I was totally unprepared for the scale of the change.

According to stats, last week (May 20-26, the week I made the change) traffic to this site increased 92.89% over the previous week. This week, May 27-June 1, the first full week of the new format, page views are up 199% from last week, which itself was almost 100% above the week before. A three hundred percent increase in two weeks! Whatever I’m doing, it working–and it’s working fast.

This is what I did: I freed myself from the shackles of being An Author Blog. You’ll notice the stuff I posted during the week. All of it is content I find interesting–some cool places on Google Earth, a historical anniversary, a crooked politician, a missing metalhead, a missing heart surgeon, a jaw-dropping train crash video, and some other random odds and ends. Yes, I did alert you all that Chapter 11 of The Armored Satchel, my serial, went up on Saturday. But there’s no author interviews, no generic writing tips, no prescriptions for getting agents or landing publishing contracts.

That’s not to say that these things aren’t good content. Surely they can be. I have done author interviews. I have given writing tips. I’m sure I will again. Hell, I’m filing this post under “Authors.” But the content that drew people back to this blog all week was not that sort of thing.

I browsed a lot of author’s websites this week, just to see the sort of thing they were doing. They were fine, and many were extremely well-designed. The advice they gave was valuable. But most of them were Author Blogs. Author Blogs are a certain genre of website, in case you haven’t noticed. They’re written by authors for other authors, or for book bloggers. They’re fine for what they are, but I think they are fundamentally limited in their reach.

So here’s the only author advice I will give this week: break out of the rut. Use your site to showcase what you find interesting, whether you think it has anything to do with your books or with writing at all. If you find it interesting, I can guarantee you someone else out there will. Not every post you make will be a hit–nobody, for instance, seemed to like this post about “Benson, Arizona”–but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and they broke a lot of bricks building it.

Just for grins I’ll leave you with one of the all time classic metal videos, which is (just barely) on topic.

Cheers everybody, thanks for reading! Have a terrific weekend.