Blogging · Blogs · My Thoughts

Eight Years of Blogging—So What?

Eight years of blogging

Eight years of blogging brings up some interesting insights. I love to look back over the previous year and compare it to past years and see what’s happened.

First, a big thank you to all my readers. I think of you every Sunday as I write my blog. The topic percolates during the week, and I have kept a list of topics and tried to keep up with my schedule, but serendipities make me veer off the path. I keep an imaginary snapshot of my readers in mind as I write and I write to you!

During 2021, I addressed the following topics:

  • Marshall Flippo—monthly
  • My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?
  • Square dancing
  • My life during this continued pandemic
  • My poetry
  • Holidays

During the year, I posted regularly about Flippo, and I continued to address my experience in the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic. In my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, I included the inspiration of these posts. In looking at my statistics, I realized how often I wrote about holidays. I love writing about any current holiday, featuring all major holidays and my experiences, traditions and beliefs.

On November 2, 2021, a writing friend told me about the Ultimate Blog Challenge, an opportunity to write a blog post every day during the month of November, so I succeeded but missed the first day. What a challenge that was! This challenge increased the “Likes” and comments on my blog posts, which has historically been a problem area for my blogs. I thoroughly enjoyed it and came up with an outline of what I would write about each week:

  • 1—A variety of writing topics
  • 2—Where my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? came from
  • 3—Gratitude topics for Thanksgiving week
  • 4—Feature some of my poetry and future poetry books
  • 5—Daily topics suggested by Paul Taubman, the organizer of the Ultimate Blog Challenge

Visitors vs. Views Stats

I watch these two statistics regularly and am happy to see an increase in visitors vs. views from 78% to 83% this last year. What does that mean?

Views and Visitors

The two main units of traffic measurement are views and visitors:

~A view is counted when a visitor loads or reloads a page.

~A visitor is counted when we see a user or browser for the first time in a selected time frame.

visitor is an individual looking at your site. A visitor can view many different pages of your site or view the same page multiple times. Therefore, the views number is typically higher than the visitors number.


https://wordpress.com/support/stats/#views-and-visitors

The significant growth of 5% tells me that visitors saw something they wanted to view in my blogs. Significant movement. But my total numbers decreased this year from last year. Last year’s high in views happened because of the pandemic and people being home more than this year. Also, Facebook changed their ads, making it hard to advertise to the world market, which limited the exposure I had enjoyed in previous years.

The good news about this year is the difference between my visitors this year was less than one thousand. I got all this data off of wordpress.com where I have my website and blog, but the numbers off of the Facebook ads surpass these numbers. With my Facebook ads, I reached 1,594,301 people and 44,836 clicked on the blog post, which doesn’t match my numbers from WordPress, so I’m not sure about that, but those are outrageous numbers to ponder!

Here’s how many posts I have published in eight years:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 54
  • 2019 – 66
  • 2020 – 64
  • 2021 – 80

For a total of 315 posts in eight years! Each post is about 750–1000 words, so that’s over 236,250 words! Wow! That’s a lot of words!

My Audience Spans the World in eight years!

I continue to touch a worldwide audience, which is shocking to me! In 2019, visitors came from 154 different countries to my blog. My audience expanded to 176 countries in 2020! In 2021, 171 countries visited my blog, decreasing from the previous year. Facebook changed its selection of “Worldwide” for ads, so I’m sure this affected the number of countries who saw my advertisement.

The United States continued to be my biggest market, followed by these countries with the most to least visits: Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Ireland, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, China, Mongolia, Venezuela, Turkey, Canada, Libya, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Laos, United Kingdom, Bolivia, Peru, Cambodia, Brazil, Colombia, Armenia, Germany, Lebanon, Bhutan, Somalia, Albania, Sweden, France, Ecuador, Australia, Belgium, Vietnam, Tunisia, Netherlands, South Africa, Japan, Romania, Morocco, Ethiopia, Hong Kong SAR China, Switzerland, Palestinian Territories, Guyana, Serbia, Suriname, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Denmark, Yemen, Taiwan, Argentina, Nicaragua, Haiti, Guinea, Jordan, Timor-Leste, Paraguay, Spain, Fiji, Guatemala, Ukraine, Comoros, Honduras, Malaysia, Italy, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Macedonia, Georgia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Maldives, Israel, Senegal, Russia, New Zealand, Uganda, Madagascar, Moldova, Burkina Faso, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Eritrea, Trinidad & Tobago, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, 95 Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Mali, South Korea, Liberia, Croatia, Portugal, Samoa, Norway, Austria, Greece, Mauritius, Malta, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Congo – Brazzaville, Kosovo, Chile, Tonga, Micronesia, American Samoa, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Namibia, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Belize, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Bahrain, Montenegro, Zambia, Andorra, Belarus, Burundi, Swaziland, Puerto Rico, Cote d’lvoire, Lesotho, Uzbekistan, Luxembourg, Finland, Tajikistan, Cameroon, Oman, Réunion, Guam, Gambia, Botswana, Norfolk Island, Panama, Congo – Kinshasa, Curacao, Cyprus, Jersey, St. Lucia, Qatar, Papua New Guinea, Chad, Palau, Lithuania, Aruba, Slovenia, Northern Mariana Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Slovakia, Isle of Man.

Top Five Favorite posts:

The top five favorite posts of 2021 cover a variety of topics.

  • Haunted by a Favorite Poem
  • Vaccinated: Short, Sweet & to the Point
  • Writing Groups—A Best Kept Secret for Writers?
  • Will Square Dancing Survive the Pandemic?
  • Is a Nativity Set Important?

So, I’d like to share the take-aways from this in-depth look at my blogging history:

  • I continue to love writing my weekly blog.
  • Potential readers moved from just visiting my blog to viewing it. I like that.
  • I continue to have a worldwide audience.

Future Plans

I plan to be more selective about my topics this year. In the past, I wrote about whatever came up, and I will continue to address current events, but I have five areas I will focus on:

  1. Writing—my current project and writing topics
  2. Flippo & square dancing
  3. Poetry
  4. Baby boomer topics
  5. Holidays

If we return to traveling, I will add that specific topic because my readers love my travel tales.

Finally

After eight years of blogging, I’m proud of my results. Suggest any topics you’d like to hear about. Regular readers, please “like” my blog post, then leave me a comment. How about—read, reflect and respond! Then we could truly be an international community!


~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · Goals · Gratitude · My Books · My Thoughts · poetry

A Challenge for Thirty Days! Whew!

Man in rapids in a kayak - challenge

The Ultimate Blog Challenge, Day 30, is today and I have mixed feelings about its ending. I finished the challenge of writing a blog post every day in November, missing only one day—the first day because I didn’t know about it. A friend in my writing practice group told me about it long, long ago on November 2. So, I started that day and continued successfully until I had network issues one day and had to publish two blog posts the next day. The challenge also asked us to post links on our Facebook and Twitter pages, adding the hashtag #blogboost on Twitter. The next step: post on The Ultimate Blog Challenge Facebook page. Finally, read, comment and post on Twitter 1 – 2 other blogs in the Challenge.

What did I learn in this challenge?

I truly enjoyed writing a blog post every day. Because I had returned to Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice every day in March 2021, it came easier. I outlined topic themes for the four weeks at the beginning:

  1. Writing help—SWAG, doing successful interviews, how I select my blog topics and the value of writing groups
  2. Back Stories for each of my six books and three cookbooks—there’s always a story behind the story
  3. My poetry—I found a sketchbook/journal with several poems I had forgotten about and shared them
  4. Gratitude list & things I was grateful for—I shared about my recovery, key people from my life and my dear pets
  5. I chose two suggested prompts from the Ultimate Blog Challenge & then wrote about my newest adventure: audiobooks

Being organized at the beginning with this outline made the writing every day easy. I didn’t have to search for topics. Being new to this, I didn’t realize topics were provided every day. Also, I created a blog post page with the social media icons in it for each day to make life easier. Normally in my weekly blog posts, I love to add a couple pictures, but I found a wonderful plugin that reduces the size of the picture tremendously and that helps because I have a horribly slow network, and it made my life much easier.

My big take-away: I relearned how much I love to write and share my voice with the world.

What did I enjoy?

I thoroughly enjoyed my topics, especially my gratitude week. Coincidentally or not, the day I planned to write about my dear friend Kathi Raver Miller was the anniversary of her death. I savored each word.

Also, I took pleasure in reading the wonderful posts by the other participants. I learned so much and saw how others handled the challenge. Every blog post I read entertained, educated or consoled me! You can’t beat that!

What was a hassle?

I do my blog in wordpress.com, and it has so many helpful hints which have made me a better writer. But every day I went through the list of suggestions to tailor that post to have both green light (good) in SEO (Search engine optimization) and Readability. In the past, frequently, I have had problems with the Readability score because I write complex sentences. It suggests writing shorter sentences, so I worked hard this month and ended up with a lot of green lights for Readability—yahooo!

Also, my brother visited us for Thanksgiving, so I worked super hard Wednesday night and did two—for Wednesday and Thanksgiving. So, I all I had to do on the holiday after gorging on our delicious meal and watching nonstop football was clean it up and publish it and then do the required assignments!

Would I do it again?

Again, I have mixed feelings about it. It took a lot of work to do it, but the regularity of writing significant pieces every day rewarded me deeply. Yes, I think I would.

Finally,

do + dooubt - challenge

I never once doubted I would finish the challenge. I’m just that type of person. I love a wonderful challenge and couple that with one of my passions and it’s a win-win situation for sure!

What did you think? Did you like it? What was your favorite blog post of mine?


Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

STILL AVAILABLE! Cyber Week Specials at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, on select books! If you liked my blog posts, you’ll love my books! 40% off of select Individual books, 40% off of select bundles and 50% off of digital copies! These books make the perfect gift for your friends and family.

Blogging · My Thoughts · poetry · Ranching

How I Record Life? Poetry

Man record life in a journal

How do you record life? Today I wandered through a journal dated August 1, 1999 to August 29, 2004 and found some poetry gems. It’s a large sketch book I dragged around with me those five years, writing poetry, taking notes and wondering about my life. I haven’t revisited it in years, but as I prepared for this blog post, something deep inside nudged me, “Look, browse! Be surprised!”

So, I did, and I am!

As I look at this chronicling of my life, I see a twenty-year time lapse. Yet, I recorded what was going on it the time, what I thought important! I have a stack of journals I’ve filled out over the years. I thought I had typed up all the poetry that had meaning, but my spirit knew treasures awaited me in this journal. That makes me wonder about those others on the shelf.

A Sampling of My Early Poetry

These three poems address attitudes of life and a specific life experience—branding.

Experience Life Totally

July 24, 2000

Anticipate the joy
	Toes on the edge
		Lingering ever so slightly 
Life in its fullest
	Step up to bat
	Step into the swimming pool
		No dive in head long!
	Step out of the crowd
	Step into the crowd

I must participate
	I can’t watch
		Wasn’t made to watch,
			To be a spectator

I want my hands dirty
	My neck sweaty
		My feet wet

I want to experience life totally!
		


The Sound of Her Voice

August 24, 2002

The sound of her voice
	Saying my name,
Reverberates back to
	The very first time.

The time she held me in her arms
	For that first time
	And said my name.

No fruit tastes sweeter,
	No bell rings clearer.
Nothing soothes my soul
	Like hearing my mother
		Saying, “Larada.”


That Smell I Will Never Forget

August 29, 2004

Burnt hair
	Burnt skin
A tradition
	A part of our work.

Branding day on a ranch
	Is a day of celebration of ownership.

These are my cattle
	My property
	My destiny
	My life!

The smell stays with me
	Many years later
		The stench
			The smoke
				The bawl from the calf
					The wrestle to get free!

It was painful
	But necessary!

One day, I slept by the campfire
	Three or four years old
I couldn’t miss today,
	But I was sick!
		Diarrhea
Mom put me in a diaper
	And let me go
		To our special day.

I slept and smelled 
	The campfire
		The branding.

My approach to life stays the same today. I look at life and capture it in poetry to record the feelings, the nuances. These three topics still resonate in my heart.

How do you record life? Do you write poetry? If so, what do you do with it? Leave a comment below.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · Blogs · My Thoughts · Travel · Writing

Blog Topics—How Do I Decide?

Blog Topics—make your choice

My blog topics are up for grabs—I never run out of ideas. So how do I handle them? How do I manage them? Here’s the system I’ve used for seven years, and it seems to work well.

Normally, I write ideas on posits and scraps of paper scattered everywhere around my computer on my desk, but I knew I had to handle this differently, so I did. For my blog topics and dates, I create a database for the upcoming year that becomes my blogging calendar. I usually write my blog weekly on Sunday afternoon and post it that night, so that’s the date I have in the date column.

My Blog Topic Calendar

Then I create the following columns:

  • Date to post blog
  • Title of post
  • Facebook Ad–Check button
  • Cost for ad
  • Two Results columns for Facebook Ads
    • People Reached
    • Clicks
  • Notes

At the first of the year, I enter topics that go with specific holidays and personal dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Also, in my first blog each year, I have done a statistical analysis of my blog for the previous year—that may be more for me than for my readers, but the data shocks me each year. The readers get to see the worldwide neighborhood they are in when they read my blog.

Specific Topics

In 2020, I published a biography of a world famous square dance caller, so I dedicate the first Sunday each month to a topic about him. I identified the specific area of his so I wouldn’t duplicate.

Also in 2020, I wrote many posts about my experience during the coronavirus pandemic. Then those posts became the inspiration for my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, so I often write about current events.

What topics do I write about?

Most bloggers pick a specific area of interest and write about that. I wish I could do that, but I have such a variety, I can’t. I’m an author and writer, but I’m a square dancer. I have strong connections to country living, growing up in a small ranching community in southeastern Colorado, and now am co-owner of a ranch there. So, I have to talk about the current drought.

So, my blog topics jump all over the place because I have a rich full life and many interests. During my daily walk, driving to town or watching TV, an idea springs up, and I grab my iPad and add it to my calendar. Right now, I have half of the topics for 2022 already identified.

One Big Change


I need to change the day I write my weekly blog post though. I’m a Bronco fan, having grown up in Colorado, so I have a crunch on my writing time every Sunday, and I don’t like that. But it’s a habit of seven years, and it’s hard to break!

When I travel, I write several posts in one day and then schedule them to publish weekly. That’s what I should do all the time—take a day and write several posts. But I percolate my topics for days, sometimes changing the whole gist of it after going over it for days. So, that won’t work.

How do you select your blog topics? How do you manage them? Let me know in a comment below.

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? ad

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · Blogs · My Thoughts · Technology

Wondering What’s Going On?

Wondering What's Going On?
Wondering What’s Going On?

Are you wondering what I’m doing? Normally, I write my blog post weekly, but something changed this week. As of yesterday, I joined the “Ultimate Blog Challenge” and will post a blog every day in November—yes, daily! I plan the post to be shorter, and I have created an outline of my topics:

TOPICS

  • Week 1 – A variety of writing topics
  • Week 2 – Where my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? came from
  • Week 3 – Gratitude topics for Thanksgiving week
  • Week 4 – Feature some of my poetry and future poetry books
  • Week 5 – Facing the end of 2021 & yet another crazy year

Wondering about blog secrets

Blogging Technology Secret

I have a blogging/technology secret to share with you. Today I created drafts for all thirty blog posts with the social media button string in the post, using one of my favorite computer tools: copy and paste. I love having the social media string of icons at the bottom of each blog, but you have to recreate it each time you write a blog, and that can be tedious. So I came up with a solution. (I use wordpress.com.)

Wondering how I did it:

  1. Create a new post.
  2. Select “Social Icons” from the block menu.
  3. Click plus to add one.
  4. In the search menu, type the social media site name, like Facebook.
  5. Then, in the little window, type in your URL address for your page.
  6. Click the plus and add the rest of your social media sites.
  7. Save this as a file named, “Social media icons” as a draft.
  8. Create a new post for your current blog post, name it and save it.
  9. Go back to the draft of “Social media icons.”
  10. Go up to the top of the window and to the right where you see three dots and click.
  11. Select “Copy All Content” midway down the menu. It will say on the bottom left side, “All content copied.”
  12. Go back to the current blog post and put cursor in a block, and paste! Voile!

I love sharing technology shortcuts because computers should make our lives easier, right? Wondering about anything to do with technology or blogging? Leave a comment and I’ll help if I can!

Wondering about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

Visit my website to find out about my new book and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Blogging · My Thoughts

What Does Seven Years of Blogging Look Like?

Seven years of blogging

Seven years! Thank you to any reader who took the time to read what I deemed my priority for that week. I so love thinking about my weekly blog post. Topics tumble around in my head, percolating. I usually spend Sunday afternoon writing my weekly post.

Since 2019, I’ve evaluated my year of blogging during the early part of January. I believe this type of deep assessment has helped me grow my exposure.

During my first few years, I adopted the suggestion to do a blog but posted sporadically and had no commitment to it. My first year I posted seven times—obviously not a priority in my life! Something happened in 2018, and it’s grown ever since.

As I faced 2020, I planned to write about the following:

  • Our Travels
  • Square Dancing
  • MAJOR FOCUS: Marshall Flippo and promoting my new book
  • Personal life stories
  • Being 65 and fully alive
  • Holiday highlights
  • Ranch life in southeastern Colorado
  • My 16-year-old cat, Jesse

Little did I know, that the coronavirus would affect much of my writing for the year. Yes, we had two amazing trips. In January, we spent twelve days in Costa Rica, and I wrote about that amazing trip in six posts. My readers loved my travel blogs, and February 2020 showed a marked increase in views—2511 for the month. That month ended up my biggest month of the year!

At the end of February, we traveled to Spain, and I had the same plan—blog about our trip featuring each day in my weekly blog. Then the coronavirus hit! I did feature the nine day Spain trip in four blogs, but the pandemic changed my plans for the year.

As a poet, I turned to writing poetry to process my feelings generated by the pandemic, so I featured those poems and my narrative in twenty-seven posts. And as an offshoot of those posts, I collected those posts in a book I’m publishing in the next couple months that will be available on Amazon as a paperback and e-book titled Bitter or Better: My Coronavirus Journey.

2020 saw a marked increase in views and visitors by almost 5000 each. My blogs about our trips and the coronavirus stimulated that increase. Look at the growth my blog has had over the last seven years:

Here’s how many posts I have published in seven years:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 54
  • 2019 – 66
  • 2020 – 64

For a total of 235! Wow! That’s a lot of words!

Seven years of blogging--the world

My audience continued to span the globe. I advertised worldwide on Facebook last year, until recently when it made that option not available. That concerns me for future growth worldwide.

The United States continued to be my biggest market, followed by countries with the most to least visits: Myanmar, China, Algeria, India, Ireland, Nepal, Laos, Philippines, and Bangladesh.

Other visitors came from Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Canada, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Iraq, Turkey, United Kingdom, Australia, Bhutan, Vietnam, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia, Libya, Japan, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Honduras, Sweden, France, Brazil, Morocco, Cote d’lvoire, South Africa, Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia, Maldives, Venezuela, Congo – Brazzaville, Paraguay, Armenia, Suriname, Ecuador, Cambodia, Senegal, Jordan, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Samoa, Denmark, Mozambique, Fiji, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Peru, Nigeria, Lebanon, Congo – Kinshasa, Guinea, United Arab Emirates, Palestinian Territories, Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka, Italy, Tanzania, Albania, Timor-Leste, Spain, Romania, Chile, Angola, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Guyana, Mauritania, Thailand, Georgia, Chad, Liberia, Cape Verde, Belgium, Netherlands, Kyrgyzstan, Belize, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kenya, Djibouti, Togo, Macedonia, Switzerland, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Brunel, Serbia, Singapore, Ghana, Gambia, Vanuatu, Jamaica, Israel, American Samoa, Bulgaria, Sao Tome & Principe, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Uruguay, Solomon Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Moldova, Benin, Northern Mariana Islands, Comoros, Finland, Caribbean Netherlands, Greece, Gabon, Burundi, Taiwan, Hungary, Martinique, Guinea-Bissau, Curacao, Mauritius, Panama, Czech Republic, European Union, South Sudan, Lesotho, Zambia, Poland, Niger, Micronesia, South Korea, Equatorial Guinea, St. Lucia, Oman, Central African Republic, Palau, Rwanda, Yemen, Madagascar, Namibia, Cook Islands, Lithuania, Tonga, Kosovo, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Zimbabwe, Norway, Aruba, Bahrain, Marshall Islands, ­­Kiribati, Barbados, U. S. Virgin Islands, Kuwait, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sint Maarten, French Guiana, Anguilla, Reunion, Uzbekistan and Guam.

In 2019, visitors came from 154 different countries to my blog. This year it expanded to 176 countries! That is so amazing to me, and it shows the worldwide accessibility to the Internet.

So, I’d like to share the take-aways from this in-depth look at my blogging history:

  • Blogging has become a major focus of my writing.
  • Readers especially like my blogs about our travels.
  • Readers emailed me about my blogs about the coronavirus.
  • I love the worldwide audience I have created with my blog!

Seven years of sharing my thoughts! I continue to want more interaction with my readers. Respond, like, let me know what you think. Let’s have a dialogue!


Flippo's book

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for all my bookss   https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Blogging · My Thoughts

What Does Six Years of Blogging Look Like?

Six years of blogging—yahoo! I’ve taken the advice of writing pundits that I should blog as an author, so I did it sporadically and half-heartedly for four years. I didn’t do regular posts. I wasn’t committed. I didn’t know what to do.

Then in 2017, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Ireland and England, and it hit me–blog about every day of the trip. We were gone for 23 days, so I had topics for twenty-three posts, and I was off and running. I realized the power in having planned blogs. My statistics changed, and in 2018, I hit it full tilt. I grew exponentially in 2019! Now I have a database of topics for 2020 already.

Last year, I looked at my first five years, and the data opened my eyes! Today, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at the statistics of my blogging and thoughtfully consider what’s working and what needs to be tweaked! Let’s look at my statistics for the last six years:

For the first two years I had 207 views but my visitors increase. In 2016 views more than doubled and visitors increased also. In 2017 again, views increased but visitors more than doubled. But 2018, my numbers went off the map! My views increased more than six times and the visitors jumped by seven times. Wow!

In 2019, I more than doubled my views and visits from 2018. I moved my website to wordpresscom so the blog and website sit together, and I think that’s helped.

Over the years I increased my posts, and last year I posted on a regular weekly basis–some weeks I posted twice a week. Readers like regular blog posts, and they like more. Regularly, I post one blog post a week, but last year I added some at the holidays and did that again this year.

Here’s how many posts I have published in six years:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 55
  • 2019 – 66

Let’s look at specifics from 2019. My most popular post published was “Why Knit?” with 1939 views. Experts say to ask a question in your title and I saw that suggestion improve visitation. “Home” visitation of my website was the second popular, so moving my website is the reason for that!

What was your favorite blog post of mine in 2019?

I love the growth statistics this last year, but I continue to have two disappointing statistics: likes and comments.

Likes:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 1
  • 2016 – 8
  • 2017 – 45
  • 2018 – 136
  • 2019 – 57

A major decrease from last year shocked me. What do I do to encourage more likes on the wordpress site?

Comments:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 2
  • 2016 – 77
  • 2017 – 8
  • 2018 – 48
  • 2019 – 0

Many visitors interact on Facebook with likes and comments but don’t go out to wordpress.com to like and comment. How do I move the reader to go out to my blog and respond?

I want more interaction with my visitors. I end each blog with questions to stimulate conversation, so help me out. What do I need to do? What would make you like and/or comment more on my blog?

Visitors to my blog come from all over the world which fascinates me, so what countries visited my blog last year and how many did I have from the top countries?

2019

  • United States – 4893
  • Pakistan – 593
  • Algeria – 520
  • Turkey – 485
  • Nepal – 425
  • India & Mynamar (Burma) – 149

2018

  • United States – 3962
  • Australia – 108
  • Canada – 103
  • United Kingdom – 69
  • Germany – 36
  • Ireland – 34
  • India – 26
  • Japan – 25
  • Hong Kong (China) – 19
  • Sweden – 8

Notice the directional movement in readership of my blog from 2018 to 2019. It’s amazing the difference.

In 2019, other countries who visited my blog were Venezuela, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Libya, Ireland, China, Egypt, Philippines, Bolivia, Tunisia, Japan, United Kingdom, Chile, Canada, Argentina, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Iraq, France, Australia, Brazil, Albania, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Mexico, Bhutan, Ecuador, Germany, Somalia, Colombia, Guinea, Georgia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Paraguay, Russia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Honduras, Hungary, Mali, Surname, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Thailand, Cambodia, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Ukraine, Peru, Austria, Macedonia, Namibia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Poland, Haiti, Finland, Costa Rica, Senegal, Armenia, Hong Kong SAR China, Tanzania, Singapore, Kenya, Croatia, Cameroon, Laos, Mauritius, Lebanon, Fiji, Tonga, Niger, Cote d’lvoire, Spain, Samoa, Lithuania, Taiwan, Malta, Greece, Vietnam, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Maldives, Barbados, Benin, Liberia, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Vanuatu, Congo – Brazzaville, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Yemen, South Korea, Belgium, Uzbekistan, Panama, Qatar, Portugal, Czech Republic, Uganda, European Union, Belize, Mozambique, Congo – Kinshasa, Comoros, Madagascar, Bahamas, Iran, Denmark, American, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Gambia, Chad, Norway, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Burundi, Puerto Rico, Kuwait, Uruguay, Brunei, U. S. Virgin Islands, Moldova, Caribbean Netherlands, French Polynesia, and Reunion.

 In 2018, readers from 29 countries have visited my blog in 2018; in 2019, it grew to 150 countries! OMG! I changed something this year—I paid for an ad, but at the beginning of March, I selected “Worldwide” when forming my audience, and that made all the difference.

So, why did you come to my blog from such far-away places? Let me know.

I continue to add quality photographs and graphics because of good blog design.

Over 84% of all marketing strategies use images, popular GIFs, graphics, animations, and signs among others to pass information. Visual communication has more impact in passing information to people. 

In 2020, I plan to include these topics this year:

  • Our Travels
  • Square Dancing
  • MAJOR FOCUS: Marshall Flippo and promoting my new book
  • Personal life stories
  • Being 65 and fully alive
  • HolidaY highlights
  • Ranch life in southeastern Colorado
  • My 16-year-old cat, Jesse

What would you like to hear about? I’m open!

All-in-all, my blog has become a major focus of my writing career, so stick around and see where we go this next year!


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Blogging · My Thoughts · Words Matter · Writing

What Does Five Years of Blogging Look Like?

Five years ago, I took the advice of writing pundits that I should blog as an author, so I did it sporadically and half-heartedly for four years. I didn’t do regular posts. I wasn’t committed. I didn’t know what to do.

Then in 2017, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Ireland and England, and it hit me–blog about every day of the trip. We were gone for 23 days, so I had topics for twenty-three posts, and I was off and running. I realized the power in having planned blogs. My statistics changed, and last year, I hit it full tilt. Now I have a database of topics for 2019 already.

I wanted to take this opportunity to look at my statistics and thoughtfully consider what’s working and what needs to be tweaked! Let’s look at my statistics for the last five years:

For the first two years I had 207 views but my visitors increase. In 2016 views more than doubled and visitors increased also. In 2017 again, views increased but visitors more than doubled.

But 2018, my numbers went off the map! My views increased more than six times and the visitors jumped by seven times. Wow! Why?

Over the years I increased my posts, and last year I posted on a regular weekly basis–some weeks I posted twice a week. I more than doubled the number of posts published. What do I take from that? Readers like regular blog posts, and they like more.

Here’s what my posts published statistics look like:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 55

Let’s look at specifics from 2018. My most popular post published was “Day 3 – 4 Kissing A Stone and on to Killarney.” I wondered about its popularity for months, then my husband said it was the blog post that came up every time he went to my blog, so is that the reason? Or are people enamored with “Kissing the Blarney Stone?”

“Live Lively, Square Dance” was the second most popular. I shared it on several Facebook square dance pages, and the response was great. Sharing about my personal life seems to spark more interest.

What was your favorite blog post of mine in 2018?

I love the growth statistics this last year, but I do have two disappointing statistics: likes and comments.

Likes:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 1
  • 2016 – 8
  • 2017 – 45
  • 2018 – 136

Comments:

  • 2014 – 0
    2015 – 2
    2016 – 77
    2017 – 8
    2018 – 48

I want more interaction with my visitors. I end each blog with questions to stimulate conversation, so help me out. What do I need to do? What would make you like and/or comment more on my blog?

Visitors to my blog come from all over the world which fascinates me, so what countries visited my blog last year and how many did I have for each country?

  • United States – 3962
  • Australia – 108
  • Canada – 103
  • United Kingdom – 69
  • Germany – 36
  • Ireland – 34
  • India – 26
  • Japan – 25
  • Hong Kong (China) – 19
  • Sweden – 8

Other countries listed are Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Mexico, Russia, Denmark, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, France, Armenia, Portugal, Belgium, Ukraine, Spain, Lithuania, New Zealand, Finland, Egypt, Romania, Thailand, Italy, China, Cameroon, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Poland, and Colombia. Readers from 29 countries have visited my blog in 2018–Wow!

So, why did you come to my blog from such far-away places? Let me know.

One more change I did these last two years was use a variety of quality photographs and graphics.

Over 84% of all marketing strategies use images, popular GIFs, graphics, animations, and signs among others to pass information. Visual communication has more impact in passing information to people. 

https://www.eztalks.com/unified-communications/why-visual-communicaion-is-important.html

I plan to include these topics this year:

  • Our Travels
  • Square Dancing
  • Marshall Flippo and promoting my new book
  • Personal life stories
  • Being 65 and fully alive
  • Holiday highlights
  • Ranch life in southeastern Colorado

All-in-all, my blog has become a major focus of my writing career, so stick around and see where we go this next year!

I have 4 books and 3 cookbooks to check out on my web site: https://www.laradasbooks.com

25% Discount on Digital copies of all my books at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft

Blogging · Gratitude · Grief · My Thoughts

How Does Gratitude Work?

chicken close up dish food
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving, 2018 has come and gone. Gratitude takes center stage on this holiday. People recite their gratitude list that day–post cute animations and beautiful memes on Facebook and then what?

Could year long gratitude change our world? Where’s the power in gratitude?

We all know people who are negative, focus on what’s bad and are complete “downers” to be around. They have no understanding of gratitude because a dark cloud hangs over their lives–everything is wrong. Then there are those whose world view is positive, see the silver lining in everything, and I want to be with them. They see life as an opportunity, a joy to live. What makes the difference?

I think the practice of gratitude does. If we only knew the deep workings inside of everyone we see. Each person I pass today is battling something–disease, relationship or work issues, and/or spiritual unrest–but this attitude of gratitude makes the difference. I know peaceful warriors with gigantic loss and pain overflowing with gratitude, so I’m convinced it’s not what happens to someone–it’s something else.

Gratitude grows out of a heart and soul that has a deep connection with a Higher Power–Something or Someone more powerful and more loving than my finite self. In that connection, the negativity and darkness that consumed me changes, dilutes, and evaporates in the presence and power of eternal Optimism.

Yes, I do believe that gratitude can change my world. The moment I turn to my God through a beautiful desert sunset, a belly laugh at a child’s innocence or a dance in my husband’s arms, the world is right and gratitude oozes out of every pore of my being.

Gratitude heals all those deep hurts in my wounded heart: I’m so thankful for the times with my Mom and Dad over the years, my monthly visits with my Aunt Willie and her precious dry sense of humor, and my weekly phone call visits with Marshall Flippo this last year. All of these are losses for sure, but my gratitude for the richness each brought into my life moves me beyond the hurt to the healing.

Make a daily gratitude list this year and see how your year goes. Get back to me next Thanksgiving and we will compare the results. Here’s to a grateful year!

affection appreciation decoration design
Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com


For what are you grateful? I’d love to hear your gratitude list.


Visit my web site for information about my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

Cyber Monday Specials at my Etsy Shop:  Larada’s Reading Loft

Blogging · Life Lessons · My Thoughts · Travel

Do You Love An Adventure?

adventure asphalt california country
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love any kind of an adventure, but travel adventures and a great road trip are my specialty; however, I was a little apprehensive about this trip because I have some eye problems going on right now, and I worried about it–for weeks. As so often happens, my worries were unwarranted and I had a delightful trip.

My day started with a flight out of the Albuquerque airport at Thursday morning at 6:20 am heading to Walla Walla, Washington. Lin doesn’t like leaving as early as I do. I stepped up to my place in line at the gate just as the Southwest attendant called our group–whew!! My flight west veered off via Denver, Colorado with a short turn-around time. We arrived in Denver early so I arrived at the gate with plenty of time.

Often on flights, I have no conversation with the people near me. On this flight I worked on my Keynote presentation (Apple’s version of PowerPoint), and the woman seated at the window asked if I was a writer–she had read my presentation over my shoulder.

“Yes, I’m doing a presentation at a writer’s conference.”

“My nine year old daughter told me this week she wants to be a writer.”

I encouraged her and told her about some writing apps–a future writer. Those are the kinds of airplane conversation I enjoy.

When I arrived in Seattle, Washington, I had to jockey three bags on the shuttle to get the rental car–one of them transformed into a backpack, so that helped.

Getting the car was the easy part! These new fangled cars stumped me because I regularly drive a 2004 Saturn. To start, I couldn’t get the trunk open to put my suitcases away, but an attendant helped me with a smile. I could start it, but the GPS wouldn’t load because I was in a parking garage. I had to leave the garage and park somewhere to load the maps and away I went.

Now I had a four and one half hour drive to Walla Walla. My goal was to get out of the congestion of Seattle before I stopped. With a dry mouth and my stomach rumbling, I stopped at Snowqualmie resort area for water and a Lunchable. I sat in the parking lot of the gas station and ate, and away I went on I-90 through Snowqualmie pass. I never did figure out how to use the cruise control.

I had no idea I would be driving through the Cascade Range–pine, fir and spruce trees, standing tall and regal along the side of the road. At times, I felt I was driving through a tree tunnel.

Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief and truly enjoyed the drive through the fall colors, but it rained almost the whole way. At times, I had to slow down surrounded by trucks vooming by. I crossed the Yakima River several times and the Snake and Colombia Rivers–water everywhere it seemed to this dry land, desert dweller.

I couldn’t connect with my husband, Lin, because his phone was dead, so I felt I was on my own, but all was right. I wasn’t sure when I needed to arrive at the hotel, and the heavy rain stopped me from taking pictures of the majestic fall colors.

wrecked iphone
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The conference last three days.

On Sunday morning I arose at 5:30 am because I had that four and one half hour drive back to Seattle and was told by the rental car clerk to arrive at the airport two and a half hours early because of the security lines. I had passed the crowd when I left the terminal for the rental car shuttle and saw the long lines, so I knew what she meant.

As I pulled out of the Marcus Whitman Hotel parking lot, I saw a gas station close, so I grabbed a coffee and another Lunchable, this time for breakfast. The dark morning made it hard to see, and I dealt with fog off and on the whole trip. I experienced a little rain but mostly fog.

I did stop to take the following pictures as I viewed a valley full of fog and a surprising rainbow.

IMG_6261
On my drive, coming down into a valley of fog & a rainblow!

IMG_9005
Valley full of fog!

I loved the fall foliage–an amplified collection of bright orange and yellow!

This leg of the trip, I phoned with Lin–to let him know I was on the road, then he texted me vital information–his football team, the Eagles were playing in London and the game started at 7:30 am, our time, so he was up and about.

The fall colors were the brightest along the river by Cle Elum, a gorgeous city by the Cle Elum river–orange and yellow leafed trees lined the river.

As I neared Seattle, I stressed over the amount of gas in the car. I bought the rental package where they would fill it up when I returned it, so my job was to bring it back as empty as possible. This new car’s gas meter chimed “Low Fuel” when it was on a quarter of a tank and I was 70 miles from Seattle–that was shocking! Then the needle moved slowly. I kept trying to figure out the cruise control and found a button that told me how many miles left to fill up, but I didn’t trust it, so I stopped and added $5 worth of gas and the gas gauge needle didn’t move at all.

black car instrument cluster panel
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

The gas gauge needle moved. I sweated out the last twenty miles to the airport because the needle hovered almost at empty, and wouldn’t you know it–a horrible car accident happened one and a half miles before the Seattle/Tacoma Airport exit. I inched my way by thinking, “I didn’t figure this possibility in. I hope I don’t run out of gas.”

When I pulled into the Dollar rental return space, I breathed finally–my mind had imagined all kinds of horror stories of running out of gas a few miles away.

Before catching the shuttle, I found the bathroom to relieve myself in preparation for the long wait in line. I caught the shuttle back to the airport, checked my bags and printed my boarding pass. I started to get in the long line to go through security and thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I was TSA Pre boarding?”

I looked my ticket over and I was! I backtracked out of the long line and went down to check in at gate 4. One passenger stood ahead of me, and I saw no bins to put my laptop, iPad and my shoes in.

“Where’s the bins?”

The TSA agent smiled and said, “No need. Keep your shoes on and you don’t have to unpack your backpack.”

So what I feared all day–a two and one half hours wait in the line only took five minutes. That freed me to buy a Starbucks, call my husband and relax. I grabbed a quick lunch and had a enjoyable visit with an airport worker from North Africa. I was listening to the Bronco game on my iPad with my AirPods, and he thoroughly enjoyed my enthusiasm.

I slept on the first leg of my return trip home. I sat in the Oakland airport writing the first draft of this blog. When I finished, I had tomato basil soup for dinner and then on to Albuquerque. I read and played games on my iPad on the Albuquerque leg. My husband picked me up at the airport, and the long travel day was done.

I have traveled a lot in my life–I flew all over the USA to meet my ex-husband for dancing. I taught for Lesley College and flew by myself for two years. Lin and I have traveled a lot too. Every trip has its memories. This one makes me chuckle when I think about all the worrying I did. Would I have trouble seeing and driving? Would I get to the Seattle airport early enough?

Once again, I did fine and enjoyed the serendipities of a trip!



Do you like to travel? Have you had an adventure flying? driving? Share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.


The holidays are coming!

Visit my website:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Discounts galore starting now at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft