Writing for Eyeballs, Writing for Love

I check my site stats daily, just wanting to see how many people have been checking the site out. I check what posts do well, what’s speaking to people, search terms, and referral links. Over the past week, I’ve noticed a trend. The most searched for keywords that people are finding my blog from are: Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love clothes, Ryan Gosling style.

Ugh. It goes back to this post. ONE POST. There are 3 lessons from this.

One, you should keep writing and hitting publish, especially early on in your writing. You’ll get better as the process continues. So write about topics you’re interested in, write as well as you can, without getting terrified that your writing isn’t catchy or challenging enough. Because…

Two, you can never predict what is going to be popular and speak to people. The post in question, Road Warrior – Tips When Packing for Business Travel, took me under an hour, and I didn’t care that much about it. I thought it was a worthwhile topic, and I had knowledge to impart, so there we go. Now the post on Haiti, Minimalism, Fight Club, and being Homeless, it was my baby. I spent 4 hours and over 2000 words on it.

Site stats on those posts?

  • Travel Clothes – 20 views, 50% via tag and search terms
  • Haiti – 45 views, 2% via tag and search search terms

Yes, Haiti had more page views, but the majority of my traffic comes from direct links via email or facebook. Tag and search terms are usually the new/unique visitors. Earlier this week I posted a list of 5 no equipment exercises you could do, and that has generated a lot of search and tag related traffic. This shows again that people are searching for ways to be fit and look good, and no surprise there.

Three, should you even care about what is going to be popular? Yes and no. It’s nice to see stats increase to have people following your blog and visiting. It’s good to write content that people are looking for and interested in. Which drives traffic, which can drive revenue.

But ultimately, I say no, don’t write for popularity, write for your passion and creativity. If you are continually seeking out the latest popular search terms and tags, and trying to craft your essays around that, you will burn out. Because the fire isn’t inside you, and your writing will be hollow. People don’t want to read hollow writing.

So go tell your story and share the things you are passionate about. This is the best writing you can do, and what will ultimately resonate with people. If you got in to this game for the money and the fame, go try something else. I care about telling people how life is in Haiti, the streets of WNC, tips for being healthy, and ways I feel God calling me to live. I’ll post on other matters as well, like travel, exercise, nutrition, and sports, but that’s not my forte, and other people do it so much better. What gets the stats, I’m caring less and less. I simply want to share what is going on, and hope that it can impact others.

Ultimately, I believe that is what the world needs from me. What do you think it needs from you?


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