Behind the Scenes of a Mid-Sized Blog

It never ceases to surprise me that sweet strangers will stop in regularly to read the documentation and whining of a girl who runs and does other stuff (me) while zero of my family members have any interest whatsoever.

I'm not sure if it's that they don't understand how blogs work (certain conversations have led me to believe they think that each post is a "blog," so I am currently operating over 200 blogs) or if they think I only post when I link to it on facebook (which is something I only do for races with a worthwhile recap).  Whatever the reason, none of my three sisters nor my parents regularly read.  I think I may have lured my mom over to the dark side of reading though.  And while I'm mentioning her, I must remark that she is looking hellllla fine.  Seriously, 60 looks GOOD on her.

She's the one in the mouse costume.  KIDDING she's the gorgeous one on the left.

My older sister, the one who created an adorable baby and not the one on the right in the photo above who so far has only succeeded in ovulating 150 cute eggs (too graphic?), recently stumbled upon the blog, got lost in a whirlwind of some of the BEST reading of her life, and then remarked: "that seems like a lot of work! How long does it take to write a post?"

Well, the truth is it is not a lot of work, and the answer is it does not take very long.

Anyone, even those with negative interesting things to share, or a second grade level of writing skill, can write a blog.

Her question inspired me to venture behind the scenes.  For anyone who doesn't blog, here's a peek inside--and for those of you who do, let's compare! I assume that many people approach their blog in a much different way than I do, so please share your own blogging habits because I'm plain curious.

1) How long does it take to put up a post?

Well, the writing pours forth instantaneously.  While not the hallmark of a well-edited blog, my writing is freeflow.  Brain spill.  I write whatever I'm thinking.  Then I read it over once, twice, and try and correct any blaring typos.  Delete a few things that will potentially lead to an explosion of sensitive reactions.  Tame down a rant.  Notice that half of what I wrote is completely inconsequential and realize, at least it is more interesting than 79% of shit up in blogland, so post I shall.

The biggest time wasters for me are a) photos and b) blog titles.

I'll start with the latter.  I can't tell you how many times I have finished a post, and then stared at it for a FULL five-to-ten minutes, stumped for a blog title.  Yes, I've considered "fuck it, I can't think of a blog title."  For a while I was just inserting the date when I couldn't think of a title.  Titles are the most terrible chore.  Someone teach me a good tip for a quick and easy title.

Photos: yes, there are many blogs where the writing is the clear standout and photos are largely and welcomingly absent (my girl, my dear, sweatykid--who just ran the Philadelphia marathon in 3:02:42 after earning it the hard way with a year of intense mileage).  And even I have posted without photos before.  Hard to believe, I know, given my notoriety for photography skills. Those posts were the quickest, easiest posts of all.  But wish I may and wish I might, I continue to insert photos because my instinct is that it pulls the post together.  It throws an image in your mind to connect with a specific post.  It breaks up the monotony.  It allows the eyes to rest on something pretty.

I MADE THIS.  For real.

I know for a fact there is technology out there that would make adding photos easier.  Whether it is uploading the photos straight to your blog from your iphone, or a platform superior to Blogger.  But I don't have any of those [I don't own a camera, and my phone is from 2006, so ya dig, adding pictures involves stealing the Gentleman's iPhone or camera and uploading the old fashioned way].

Ironically, in the best sense of the word (I think), I have just hit a 15 minute problem with photos, in which Blogger is telling me I cannot upload any new photos because my "Picasa album" is full.  And I have to pay $2.50/month to add new photos.  For Beyonce's sake, what? I hate blogging. (No, don't leave me, I love you!)

To come full circle, the short answer is: each post takes about 90 minutes.  Give or take 30 minutes.

2) How many page views do you get per day?

This many:

Honestly, I don't know if it is taboo or not to share this stuff, but crap if I care.  On days I post, I typically see 600-800 blog views.  Occasionally something exciting might push the views over 1,000. On days I don't post, it is usually in the 350-550 range.  And it trickles off from there each day I don't post.

At least I can't make the joke, "thanks mom! I know 500 of those page views are from you!"

I think I heard Cupcakes & Cashmere say once that she gets 100,000 page views per day.  So, pretty much neck and neck with her.  Should be getting a book deal and painting my nails all day soon.

3) Money?

If you're new here and haven't yet heard me complain about the enormously disgusting amount of advertising, cross-promotions, and give-aways on blogs then let me introduce you to the FACTS.

I have never had an ad on this blog.  Not even Google Sense or whatever that easy avenue is.  I have never reviewed a product in exchange for it or for some other benefit.  I have never received anything free because of the blog.  Any free stuff was earned on account of placing in a race, winning a giveaway, or showing up somewhere as my real self, not as a blogger.

I still hate FitFluential and still am glad I dropped that offer like it was hot.  You KNOW WHO YOU ARE, your blog SUCKS right now because of all the promotional shit going on.  I can't read through the cracks to know when a product is worthwhile or when you are just aroused by the free-ness of it all.  

If reviews, giveaways, or going to free events is more than 30% of your blog, then you have officially lost control of your blog.  You are owned and controlled by Stuff.

More than anyone I love free stuff.  I AM that nut at Costco hoarding free samples.  But still, when it comes to the blog, which doesn't even represent the REAL me--it represents the anonymous exaggerated version of me--I still ignore every request in my inbox.

Free? I'll take 40.

I'm sorry to those who have asked for me to review/endorse/try out a product.  I never reply.  I tuck them away in my inbox, and I have considered many of them, but ultimately I can't be bound to writing about something because someone asked me to--even if there is something in it for me.  The only way writing is fun is when it is about what I WANT to write about.

Straight up, we all could use some more money.  Some day I may accept an ad.  For now, with my 600 page views/day, not gonna happen.

Any other behind the scenes stuff to discuss?  

Spill your blogging secrets, please!

**And a running recap in cliffs-notes: treadmill this a.m. due to threat of rain, 8.77 miles in one hour, a progression run starting at 8.5 ending at 9.0 mph.  1.0 incline.  Buttcrease pain level = 3.2 on a scale of 1-10.**