WordPress keeps telling me how I can increase the traffic on my blog by doing this or that, and appears to take it for granted that I would like to have more traffic (a term that conjures up a vision of my blog as a kind of gridlocked Spaghetti Junction). Simply the suggestion that I should attract more readers (as opposed to heavy vehicles zooming through and flattening everything in their path) makes me wonder if I want or need them. More traffic, more roadkill.
I have a nice little bunch of people – humans not vehicles – who read, occasionally ponder, and sometimes comment on my posts, and although I haven’t met them all in the flesh, we are “virtual” pals. Some even follow my blog, so presumably they are interested in what I have to say even if they keep their opinions to themselves.
Yes, I know that some of the blogs I follow have hundreds or even thousands of regular readers, and if they get fewer than 50 comments per post are presumably disappointed. Apart from the boost to the ego, what is the advantage of this to the author? If they are trying to change the world, OK; then they do need to reach a wide audience. However, those are in the minority. As far as I can discern, there is no monetary remuneration; it’s purely self-gratification. “Look what a good boy am I!” “Hey, Mom, twenty thousand people are fascinated in hearing what you cooked me for breakfast!”
Am I being mean and facile? Lots of bloggers do it because they are frustrated at not getting into print – and when I read some of their misspelt, ungrammatical ramblings I am fervently grateful that no trees are sacrificed to make paper to print such rubbish on. These bloggers satisfy their urge to express themselves, and their excretions vanish into the vast cyber-lavatory.
I am fully aware that much of what I post – though I try to spell correctly and my grammar is usually unobjectionable – falls into this category and is the equivalent of my talking to myself. Who in their right mind records the kind of conversation one has with the dog, cat, flowers or kitchen wall? Bloggers do. Sometimes we chop our thoughts up into short lines and call it poetry (may the Muse forgive us!) and glow with smug complacency when someone we don’t know, and whose capacity for literary appreciation is around zero, compliments us on it. Those who think it’s crap usually don’t bother to comment.
Do I really need to have a readership of thousands for my trite and boring ruminations? I use the word advisedly – I can chew the cud of my thoughts till the cows come home, and it’s the end product that appears on my blog.
I was amazed when I got a thousand hits, and am baffled to have had more than 17,000. It has made me feel that if people are bothering to consume my offerings, they deserve a decent menu with dishes prepared with loving care. It isn’t a Michelin-starred, exclusive gourmet restaurant but neither is it MacDonald’s, Starbuck’s or KFC (I hope!). I view it as a neat little café patronised by a few regular customers, to whom I present home-cooked food. The cupcakes may be a little lopsided, the crusts may be a little dark around the edges, and the scones may not be perfectly round, but everything is made with fresh, nourishing ingredients and served with a smile. And the coffee is hot!
Would that survive more traffic?