Thoughts on my first month

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Well, it’s now been just about a month since I started this blog, so I think a short retrospective is in order. First, the good stuff:

  • Registered with most of the main directories and search engines
  • Even getting some hits from above
  • Done a lot of interesting (to me anyway) research and translations
  • Managed to average just about one post a day
  • Got a reasonably slick authoring environment with HTML-Kit
  • AdSense monetisation set up

Now the bad stuff:

  • Lack of punters
  • Lack of comments – one real one, one spam so far
  • Google ranking pretty poor – even seron what japan thinks hits blog directories first
  • One solitary AdSense click
  • Blog Explosion has been a waste of time

To explore the bad stuff further, first let us consider Blog Explosion. On paper it sounds great, for every two blogs you surf, you get credit for one hit in return, basically. However, the hits are extremely poor quality, as everyone, me included, is just clicking through to get credits. Admittedly, I’ve found two blogs that are interesting, the first being Blurred Line Blog, and especially his ongoing experiment with buying credits for Blog Explosion and tracking the hits. It’s also refreshing to find a blog written by someone who understands the English language correctly. The second is Tom’s Astronomy Blog. I’m not much of a fan of the science, per se, but he has a great set of pictures from his telescope and elsewhere and writes up descriptions for them that very clearly express his love of the stars. Both would be feeds for my RSS Reader, if I had one!

Next, the lack of punters and comments. Well, I suppose it’s early days, so I can’t expect a healthy readership instantly, and I’ve not tried networking much at all. This problem ties in with the Blog Explosion experience above, I feel, as with Blog Explosion you need to spend thirty seconds surfing to get one viewer (assuming you assign all your credits to buying hits), who is probably only going to spend the minimal time on your page just so they can get their credit to spend on another pair of useless eyeballs. To get 30 visitors (my current daily average) I need to spend probably 20 minutes (allowing for overhead) surfing. But, if in that 20 minutes I instead search for a blog with a recent posting on a similar topic matter to mine – Google Blogs and Technorati are good places to look for candidates – and write a comment that either just has my top-level URL in the header or specifically links to one of my relevant stories, I should in theory get targeted traffic. I’ve only done this twice or thrice, mind you, and have had merely one or two hits in return, but if I can do twenty posts and once catch the blog owner’s eye, the chance of getting a trackback or even a blogroll entry increases, and a permanent link is worth it for getting that essential boost in the search engines.

I suppose all the other negative things are caused by the lack of punters, so I’ll just have to keep plugging away and see what happens. I genuinely believe that this blog will provide a useful database for someone, whether it just be settling Internet arguments about Japan, such as when discussing Japanese religiosity or lack thereof; or whether it be for more serious business reasons, such as trying to get a feel for Japanese public opinion on topics that perhaps rarely get translated. I really do feel I have some unique (within the context of the English language world) content here!

To conclude, one of my Technorati blog tags is public opinion. I am the solitary blog so tagged, and looking at the individual post tags, public opinion shows my own blog with five out of the latest ten entries (it would be more but Technorati is slow to update my blog, and I didn’t start tagging until recently), which must demonstrate something, probably about how ego-centric the average blogger is!

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