I’ll post a recap of the year’s best reads tomorrow, followed by a look ahead on New Year’s Day. But because there have been some big changes in my small corner of the blogosphere, I thought I’d give a short recap.
You’ll notice that I’ve used the plural form of the word “blog” in the title of this post. That’s because I’ve got four of them. (Yes, I’m nuts.)
The year started out good. Blog traffic continued to climb. By July traffic was setting records. Nearly every post had comments, and the number of followers was slowly growing. I found all of this very satisfying, especially the comments, since a community of regulars had formed. There were some great discussions. Blurbs from Adventures Fantastic were starting to show up on the covers of books by major publishers. I was having a lot of fun, which was a large part of why I do this.
Then Google decreed that Adventures Fantastic was a spam site. I’m not quite sure how they figured that since I went over their guidelines with a fine toothed comb. And while I did include a number of links to other sites, Google was very clear that sites which include links in reviews weren’t spam. The automatic response to the appeal I lodged with Google said it would be several weeks before they even looked at it.
So I decided to create my own sites, ones that would be hosted on a server that I paid for, not piggybacked on Google’s servers. Even if Google decreed my sites to be spam, they would be under my control. I had bought the domain names and server space last Christmas but was too lazy to get them set up before classes started. In August, I relaunched Adventures Fantastic and Futures Past and Present along in addition to launching two new blogs, Gumshoes, Gats, and Gams (detective and noir fiction) and Dispatches From the Lone Star Front (Texas and Southwest history).
I taught an overload this fall, so I didn’t actually post anything at Dispatches until the Christmas break. The overload kept me from blogging as much as I’d like, plus there was the weekly post at Amazing Stories which kept the number of posts here down. I’ve posted more at Gumshoes than at Futures, although that should change in the new year.
The reason I created two new blogs was because I want to keep the focus of Adventures Fantastic and Futures Past and Present and not dilute the brands, so to speak. I found I wasn’t reading much in the way of detective fiction because I was making reading choices based on whether the book would be something I could review. Also I wanted to indulge my interest in history without alienating any readers.
Traffic is down quite a bit. Some of that is because the old posts on Blogger still get plenty of hits. There were enough posts that the backlist got the bulk of the traffic. That’s still the case. While traffic is down overall, the old blogs still get the majority of the page views. I’m not worried about it, though. Given time, the bulk of the traffic will move over here. I built it up once before, and I can do it again.
At little more disappointing is the lack of comments since the change. There are still a few (thanks, Paul), but some of the regulars don’t seem to drop by anymore. I’m not sure why that is. I’m still figuring out WordPress, so there’s a good chance I’ve got something set up that makes commenting a pain. Now that I’m home from all the holiday traveling, I’ll be looking into that over the next week or so before classes start. If any of you have any suggestions about how to make the sites more comment friendly, please let me know.
I don’t mean to come across as whining, although I’m sure that’s what it sounds like. I’m still having fun, and it’s nice to be able to blog about different interests without feeling like I’m alienating readers who don’t some of those interests. While I miss some of the folks who used to comment here (and I realize some of them had some major life issues crop up during the year), I’m not going to let that stop me. Things are going well overall, I’m still getting review copies from some publishers, and I’m still having a blast.