On Blogging

The blog recently had a milestone.  100 published posts!  Cause for some self-reflection.

What makes a good blog?

I think sticking to one topic would help.  Most of  the blogs I go to exploit one theme over and over.  I can’t do that.  I am addicted to diversity.

When I started out, I got this advice : Quantity over Quality.  There’s two main justifications

1. Blogging is like throwing darts at a board.  The way the internet works, 99 percent of stuff gets ignored, and one percent goes bananas.  There’s a small chance you’ll hit the bullseye without expecting to.  It’s important to throw as many darts as possible.

2. This urban myth:  there was a pottery class, where the class was split in two.  One group was told their mark would depend on the quality and beauty of pots they made.  The other group was told their mark would depend on the volume of pots they made.  By the end of semester, the group that had been focussing on sheer volume was making rounder, better pots than the group that had been trying to focus on beauty.  Sheer repetition of the actions improved their skills.

Occasionally I may use the motto of quantity first as an excuse for dross!  But I think my blogging has improved a little.  I hope it improves even more.

How do I blog?

I have a contract.  I have to pay my girlfriend 20 bucks every afternoon if I haven’t turned in a draft for an article.  I pay her another 20 if I haven’t published something by 11.30 am. Highly motivating, although when the contract expires I sometimes stop writing altogether.

This website called stickk inspired me.  It uses this technique to commit people to their goals.  Great for people who have lofty ambitions they sometimes fail to meet in their day-to-day life.

Some people have misinterpreted this and said ‘a bet is a stupid reason to write a blog, you should write a blog because you want to’.  I do want to, I just find the moment-to-moment motivation harder to harness than the grand ideas.  The great thing about this is that she doesn’t get rich.  I’ve only missed a couple.

How much money do i make from blogging?



Here’s the revised top twenty  pages.

Modern Warfare 2: glorifying violence? 407 More stats
About 184 More stats
Inglourious Basterds – a review 169 More stats
iSnack Two Point – Oh dear… 118 More stats
Coffee Safari 103 More stats
Riders’ rights and responsibilities – have your say
88 More stats
My first (and last?) car. 81 More stats
Travel Disasters – the rat. 77 More stats
In which your correspondent is horrified 77 More stats
Eight things I don’t miss about the public service
70 More stats
Mt Hotham – a book review 67 More stats
To Err is Devine 67 More stats
A stab in the back for the heart of the nation 64 More stats
Travel disasters 61 More stats
Costco – A review 60 More stats
Accents eh, bro? 60 More stats
Intelligent delivery? 55 More stats
Fairtrade 54 More stats
Something-something and over it 49 More stats
Are we dense? 49

What’s frustrating is the most-viewed posts are not the best ones.  The audience depends mostly on how well I link them.  If I put a link in an incisive comment at the bottom of a good article in a popular newspaper, then the traffic can be massive.   If I don’t even put it on facebook, it will be minimal.

Comments are a better guide to what has got peoples attention.  Here’s the top ten articles, by numbers of comments.

Garbledy gook 5
Eight things I don’t miss about the public service …6
Bruno Sprunkelstein part 1 6
Should I run through the rain?
Inglourious basterds 7
Coffee safari ………………………………………………………8
Bargain 11
My first (and last?) car ……………………………………….17
Riders rights and responsibilities 20
A stab in the back for the heart of the nation ………. 20

You can see that the blog remains pretty modest, traffic wise…

Published by


Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

5 thoughts on “On Blogging”

  1. Following on from Miaow, believe that you need to do some hard-hitting comprehensive econometric analysis over your blog data. Perhaps using variables for day of the week, what the weather is like, whether Australia has just won or lost in the most recent Test etc. etc.

    After a while, you will have a model to predict when, where and under what circumstances you should blog to increase your readership.

    Perhaps variables such as quality should also be considered.


  2. You’re using negative reinforcement to encourage yourself to blog.

    You should consider positive reinforcement: every time you post, your girlfriend gives you a special cuddle.

    Vary the two systems, trying one one month and the other the next, and compare the results.

    Plus, i have found in my blogging experience that the whole time-to-blog thing isn’t about the hour of the day or the day of the week, but rather it comes down to this: be topical.

    On a site like Tumblr, where 98% of the traffic is based on your product appearing in a user’s dashboard when they’re online, timing is incredibly important.

    On a site like WordPress, where the posts have (unlike Tumblr) adequate metadata for prospective readers to find you via Google, you just have to make sure you have product out there when people are looking for a particular topic.

    For example: Jen Hawkins appears naked on the cover of a magazine, people start looking online for those pics. So you have a post that discusses JEN HAWKINS NAKED (with those words preferably in the title), and you’ll get a lot of hits.

    Then, with your foot in their browser door, your writing has to be brilliant enough to entice them on to read other things, and to make you their new best friend.

    Problem with that is that 99.8% of people looking for pics of JEN HAWKINS NAKED aren’t going to be readers.

    So you need to be topical about things that don’t involve pics of naked models. Myki, the KFC ad, stuff like that.

    And then you throw in a naked model post every now and then for “fan service”.

    That’s my SEO advice, for what it’s worth.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s