Friday, June 5, 2015

How many People Read my Blog?

Let's love ourselves then we can't fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication
- Lauryn Hill.

Just how many people read this blog?
I honestly do not know. And more important, I am not bothered.
I'll tell you why.

A little over a month ago, my friend JMN clicked through to The Walkabout after connecting with me on Facebook. She took hours to read a large number of posts, all of which, she later confided, were worth her while. She even bookmarked this site.

She then asked me if this blog was listed on BAKE or the Kenyan Bloggers Facebook page and Twitter list. "No, it's not," I replied.
She happens to be strongly persuaded that such content should be actively shared and seriously promoted, thanks to its timeless and edifying nature. That this is something everyone needs to read... That my blog should be winning awards!

True, and very right for a reader to think that way. But a writer shouldn't.
Let me explain.

Blogging 'then' and 'now'

You see, I started blogging back in 2006, on At the time, there was the KBW and Afrigator blog aggregators. Guys actively read blogs, shared links and at the time, Intense Debate meant literally that. Comment Luv was for real. Bloggers wrote often.

Then Facebook and Twitter happened.

I personally experienced a major slump in the number of blogs that were now regularly updated. With so much information coming in on the FB Newsfeed and Twitter TL, our attention spans were severely diminished.

Upon joining the aforementioned social networks, I too started posting less.
Then something much worse happened to web traffic to my blogs. No, the hits or page views or unique visits - whatever you wish to call it - did not reduce.

The real problem was increased bounce rate (a visitor leaving so soon after kanding on a site), which means that less time was now being spent on the site.
Not that the quality of the posts was wanting. In any case, it keeps getting better. It so happened that people no longer read the entire post. They are either perpetually distracted or invariably in a hurry.

You can now see what prompted my firm decision to reconsider my audience.

Blogging is Personal

I therefore started writing for just one person. I stopped obsessing with hits and Google Adsense cheques. I dispensed with the comments. I stopped looking at the backlinks, trackbacks and my Alexa ranking. To this day, I still have Analytics installed on the blog but all I take a look at, and very rarely, is the bounce rate and time spent on the site. Not by many people, but by my intended audience.
All that matters to me now is engagement.

So what or who is my intended audience?

I now write for just one person. You.
You who reads a post in its entirety and ponders it. You may not share it and won't even be able to comment. But you actually take the time to read it all. Most likely, you go ahead and read a suggested/related post. That done, you now look forward to the next post, hoping that it will be soon. 
The single person may even be myself (yeah, I read my own posts a lot, especially past posts).

When I write for one person, I feel like I am having a one-on-one sitdown with you. In this way, the so desirable situation that Alanis Morissette sings about in Utopia is almost realized.

Each day is a new beginning.
Another chance to learn more about ourselves,
And to care more about others.
In sum, that is why I am not hoping to win a blogging award. Because this blog should win your heart instead. I'm not seeking popularity or media mentions. I'd rather The Walkabout earns the attention and trust of just one reader, not fleeting eyeballs and hits. It is for similar reasons that I removed the comments plugin, for I prefer that what you read here prompts you to have a meeting with yourself, a la Macy Gray's "there is a conversation I need to have with me, a moment with myself."
That is why, I do not care that many, many people may not read The Walkabout. Just one engaged reader is enough. Just you.

So go on, and read. The Walkabout is a journey of insight, inspiration and self discovery.
If a single post inspires you, if another post offers some insight, and if that same or other post helps you learn something about yourself or others, then my mission is accomplished.

That, and no more. And it is everything.

* * *

There is this lady who has a voice like no other. But that is not the important thing. It is her words - they have meaning, they make a difference and do add value. Her music is such a joy to listen to. Here is Lauryn Hill in Everything is Everything.


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