The month-long experiment has come to an end. The results are in. I was more than a little curious about what sort of effect the end of my WND column would have on the blog. After all, the blog only began as a sort of permanent mailbag to replace the little mailbags at the end of the column, and it initially became useful to me as a means of responding to multiple emails about the same column at once. It was so effective in this regard that the numbers of emails I received about the current column eventually dropped from dozens per day to only a few per week despite the fact that the column readership grew considerably over the same period.
It seemed to make sense that because a lot of people originally first came to visit VP by way of WND, we would see a noticeable decline in the traffic here without my column there. That didn’t bother me, as traffic has never been a priority here and I assumed all the regulars would likely continue to swing by. I was more than a little tired of fruitlessly attempting to advocate liberty to a crowd that was much less interested in it, on average, than in being in a position to dictate to the other half of the country. That is why, at the end of the experiment yesterday, I was surprised to learn that after retiring my column on December 31, VP traffic not only did not decline last month, but increased to 630,860 Google pageviews, (895,311 combined with AG), up nearly 20 percent from the previous month.
What happened? It wasn’t the SFWA presidential campaign that made the difference; there aren’t that many SF/F writers in the first place and most of them don’t pay any attention to the election. A fair number of rabbits did come by the one day to show how they could hop on one foot and shake their fluffy little cottontails on command, but less than appear from a single Instalink. Nor were there any Instalinks to VP in January to skew things upward, though there was one to AG. What happened was that two weeks after seeing there were no negative effects on traffic from the end of the column, I added a link to VP from AG for the first time. The unexpected increase in January almost entirely comes from that little modification to the AG layout. Go figure.
What I learned is that while there is a significant amount of overlap between the two blogs, as anyone who recognizes the regular commenter names can tell, there is rather less than I assumed. I never bothered linking the one from the other because I thought that everyone who went to AG was already a VP reader. That was initially the case, I’m sure, but it is clearly no longer true, especially in light of the emails I’ve received from AG readers who were clearly surprised to discover the existence of this blog. I’ve said from the start that because the human interest in all things socio-sexual is considerably greater than in pretty much anything else, AG would eventually surpass VP. That hasn’t happened yet, but at the present rate, it should take place within two years even though, as the chart shows, VP is still growing at a reasonable pace itself.
So, it would appear that I was wrong and those of you who said WND was no longer doing anything material for me from a readership perspective were correct. I admit it. You may commence the crowing now.
While the sole purpose of this blog remains the Amusement Imperative, which concerns entertaining myself in whatever manner happens to strike me at the moment, I do appreciate the way in which the Dread Ilk continue to contribute to the discourse here in their inimitable manner. It’s remarkable how even the class of anklebiters has gradually improved over the years. They may still be nipping at the sweet, sweet taste of my ankles, but at least they are aware they are doing so and not operating under the illusion they are gnawing through the foundations of Western Civilization or the last remaining supports of the Patriarchy.