I don’t seem to have much success in having a relationship with a man last this long, but this post wraps up the 26th week of my relationship with The BetsyG-Spot.
Time to take a little stock, I’d say. The good stuff: I’ve managed to come out with 26 essays for my Sex in the Suburbs columns (one was written by my friend Larry). That is a lot of essays about relationships. I am amazed I’ve managed to keep it up.
Other good stuff: my essays have reached people and made them laugh, cry, or empathize. I think they’ve made some people feel a little less alone, and others a little less stupid about their own mistakes, and that’s all good.
I’ve also managed to post another 50+ entries, either essays, rants, or rambles (including one essay by my friend Ron). These seem to connect with a different set of people, including those who take pleasure from watching me humiliate myself (which is the appropriate response).
Certain posts have generated a fair amount of traffic through searches, including the Mirena post, Dumpee Syndrome, Size Inflation, and Does God Speak Through Phallus Impudicus. Solving the Gay Marriage Problem got tremendous traffic the day I posted it, and The Truth About Sex, Love, and Marriage also got good readership.
I think my product is good, even though occasionally I am frantically trying to make my midnight deadline, with less-than-satisfactory results. There’s rarely a chance to go back and fix something beyond typos and grammar, but oh well. It’s just a blog, not The New Yorker. I’m proud of my work, and infinitely pleased to have regular readers who take enjoyment from it.
On the not-so-good side, I’m not building the readership I’d hoped for. Most of my regular readers are my friends, though I probably get stumbled upon by about as many people. I have 44 subscribers today, which is growing (and I’ve made some efforts to increase subscribers recently), but not astronomically. I think this month I will get 1,000 unique visitors, which translates to several thousand page views, and that’s an increase, and possibly enough for me to start to think about getting banner ads. Getting there.
Have I made money? No. My Google Adsense dollars are up to $14.08. The Amazon Associates program is a bust, and I haven’t put the effort into changing my ad models, mostly because getting traffic is much more important.
Why hasn’t this taken off when it’s a good product that seems to resonate with readers? I know several reasons why, and they are mostly my fault.
- The audience my posts most appeal to does not read blogs regularly. Even people who tell me they love my writing don’t have a daily blog-reading habit, and they simply forget about it. That’s because the over-40 crowd, in general, does not read blogs. Heck, I don’t read blogs.
- Therein lies another problem. To build traffic, I need to connect with the community of blog readers and writers. While I am occasionally added to someone’s favorites via various blog directories (which means their friends will see it and perhaps read it), what I need to do is read others’ blogs, comment, and link back to mine. I do this very, very sporadically, like three times in the past six months. I don’t do the work needed to build a network of readers with similar tastes.
- My biggest mistake is that I don’t stick to one topic, i.e., stick to a niche. I noticed when I was trying to figure out where I fit in blog directories, I really didn’t fit anywhere, because I write about so many things. This makes it hard to find me, or it may mean that someone finds me when they’re looking for relationships when I’ve written on politics.To address that, I’m considering splitting out my content, putting just the Sex in the Suburbs columns on this site (and perhaps expanding the format, because I don’t know if I have another 26 of those essays in me) and the other content on another site. I am pretty sure I have two sets of readers, and they put up with the posts that don’t interest them to get to the ones that do. What do you think?
- This brings me to the other failure, which is that people do not comment. Or they’ll comment, but to me directly in private e-mail, because they’re my friends. There are a few exceptions to that (God bless you to those who do comment), but very few strangers comment, and very few people send me their stories as I had hoped. I think if I work the relationship and dating niche in a more focused manner, that could change.
Despite these issues, I do feel The BetsyG-Spot is in some way a success, because it’s kept me writing on a regular basis, and most importantly because I have gained several friendships because of it. It is certainly a labor of love, and one relationship I am anxious to continue.
Stay tuned for possible changes. In the mean time, I do most sincerely thank you for reading, and especially those who have stuck with me since Day 1.