Blog Stats May 2009

These are my 3 blogs’ stats for May 2009. I record them here monthly for my benefit and to hopefully start a discussion on blog income and popularity.

I used the following sources to gather my data: For backlinks, Yahoo! Site Explorer; for visits, Google Analytics; and, for Net payment I just look at my PayPal statement.

Postcards from the Funny Farm
Backlinks: 8,238
Visits: 6,173

Damien at the Speed of Life
Backlinks: 4,579
Visits: 1,370

Dynamite Lesson Plan
Backlinks: 2,386
Visits: 1,207

Total earnings were $274.

Notes and reflections: May was a disappointing month in some ways and a revolutionarily cool one in others. I lost PageRank on my personal blog and Postcards which were both my biggest ad sources of income. Of course, the monster of irony is that the ads I got prior to losing my PageRank will now cease. It’s a dilemma that will probably never halt between good-hearted bloggers who seek to make a living and Google who seeks to take all that away. On a stranger note, my teaching blog gained a PageRank notch and is now a 3. If you look, last month I pretty much did every other post as a paid post … go figure. Google will never counsel you or tell you why they do what they do but in a way it’s a good thing:

I always explore more new things when I have no PR.

“Plenty to live for and nothin’ to lose.” -Dave Sharp

In a word I’ll describe my plans for June: “automate.”

’nuff said. See you with the blog stats that will follow on the other side of 40 in July. Take it easy.

So there ya have it! While I am always working on a perfect model to make money and reputation online, these folks are working an a better treatment for acne. I recommend checking their site out if that is an issue you struggle with. A lot of people do.

Blog Stats April 2009

This is a post I’ve brought out of my archives. I used to measure my blogs’ success or lack of progress in a monthly stats post where I used the acronym “CAN” for myself as well as interested readers. Should I bring it back? Maybe, it really did work to keep me focused. Some of the links are dead, so I just put it up for fun and posterity. How do you measure your blog stats?

This post reports my blog stats for the month of April 2009. The purpose is to provide advertisers with 100% transparency for my blogs. The criteria is represented by the acronym CAN:

Circulation (or backlinks)
Analytics -and-
Net (or dollars earned)

Then I list some notes about my stats.
An archive of past blog stats can be found an the CAN Blog Stats archives.

Circulation (# of Google backlinks)
Postcards from the Funny Farm: was 218 is 178  (2)
Damien at the Speed of Life: was 21 is 54 (1)
Dynamite Lesson Plan: was 14 is 8 (1)
The Damien Riley Podcast: was 0 is 5 (1)

Analytics (# of visits last 30 days)
Postcards from the Funny Farm: was 6,074 is 8,919 (1)
Damien at the Speed of Life: was 606 is 508 (1)
Dynamite Lesson Plan: was 903 is 1,119 (1)
The Damien Riley Podcast: was 368 is 132 (0)

Net: was $235.38 is $386.43 (3)
Blog income sources I used.

CAN Blog Rank for April 2009:
Postcards from the Funny Farm:  6/15= 40%
Damien at the Speed of Life:  5/15= 33%
Dynamite Lesson Plan:  5/15= 33%
The Damien Riley Podcast:  4/15= 27%

Notes: Quick data analysis:
Positives
Damien at the Speed of Life and the Damien Riley Podcast increased their Circulation, and Postcards and Dynamite Lesson Plan both had a significant increase in Analytics. All blogs combined earned an almost record high Net of  $386.43.

Opportunities
Postcards and Dynamite Lesson Plan dropped in circulation. Damien at the Speed of Life and the Damien Riley Podcast dropped in Analytics.

Goals
Circulation is increasing when I have quality, relevant content people will link to. I will be writing on more topical, pillar post type issues rather than personal diary stuff.  Then I will try network with people who enjoy my stuf and asking them to submit it to social media.  My hope is that it will get linked to.  I will also be submitting some of my best articles to Article Avenue.
Analytics are decreasing when I am not posting as much.  I will make an effort to post updates every day and to comment on other sites as well as “drop” my Entrecard as much as possible.  After all, if you write something relevant and interesting, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if no one visits you site.
Net was huge last month.  I turned away about 50% of the sponsored post offers I received.  Unfortunately Google reduced my Postcards PR to a zero again so I am not optimistic about getting the same amount of offers.  I will continue to provide quality content whether paid or not and as always provide my readers and advertisers with 100% transparency in these monthly updates.  I see nothing wrong with doing sponsored posts when they are written well and I am recommending to you a product I believe in.  Therefore, as long as advertisers will continue to hire me, I will continue to do it.

Column: ‘Blogging from Nowhere Land’

If you find a sleepy nowhere land to live in and it’s fairly close to everywhere, you should buy a house there. Nowhere Land is highly under-rated, on the contrary, it can be quite juicy with life! Not everyone can live where it’s happening. Heck, nowadays with the internet, everything is happening everywhere, nowhere men and women are harder to find. 

cropped-profile_2015_hawaiiluau_300px.jpgDamien Riley is a blogger and podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.blog once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton, he married a princess (now his queen) and together they have 3 children.

Living nowhere has its advantages. I live in a town called Victorville and it’s conveniently seated 2 hours South of Las Vegas and about one hour from Los Angeles. The only thing to do here is going to movies and go out to eat. We have the basic corporate chains: Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Red Robin. These are great places to eat, I’m not knocking them. Living in the high desert dusty sands of Victorville can have its advantages though.When you want to go to see a film, Cinemark holds the monopoly up here. Tomorrow I’m going to see a novelty showing of the original Planet of the Apes, which will be insanely fun. Still, we don’t get indie films up here and the theaters cycle in the trendy blockbuster stuff week in and week out. This is fun, as long as I can get someone to go with me. My wife used to be gung-ho for any film I wanted to see, I remember driving way “down the hill” (This is a colloquial term for driving South down the Cajon Pass toward Los Angeles and Orange County.) On that date we drove about 90 miles to the UC Irvine move theater to see Jennifer Lawrence in an indie film called Winter’s Bone. Over the years, her mind has become more closed to crazy indie films like that, especially the horror and goofy stuff I’m reviewing these days: ie; Tusk, Swiss Army Man. So, I have taken to seeing films like these with my daughters or by myself at home. If I review a trendy blockbuster, it’s likely I saw it with my wife. Horror or goofy, I probably didn’t.
We have a mall up here that is first class. I still like to shop at Barnes and Noble, even though I really don’t read. If I have a general interest like lowering blood pressure or another sort of fact sheet, I might look up a free pdf online and read it in my Nook. Otherwise, I’ve learned I don’t have as much patience for books these days. I push myself to read other peoples’ blog posts but books are sort of on the back burner for now. The last novel I read was Nos4a2 by Stephen King’s son “Joe Hill.” He also wrote Horns which was a horror that I truly loved. There is an amazing food court and a Starbucks kiosk. I’m an avid coffee drinker so I love to get a Starbucks on my app. Every purchase earns me stars and enough stars gets me a free drink. Starbucks is a holy word in my house. My wife and I must spend 10K there a year (guesstimate). They have a See’s Candy store in there where I have bought my wife Valentine’s Day candy for years. The line is never unreasonable. I used to live in Orange County and I can tell you there is almost always a mile long line in those malls for See’s Candy on Valentine’s day.

There are a few parks up here that are pleasant to hang out at. They are hot in the Summer though. I think anyone living up here learns a way to get wet and stay cool. I have my pool. It costs me a lot to keep up but I love it so I spend happily. Jumping in a pool up here on a 108F day is akin to a religious experience. In the evenings, I enjoy my jacuzzi that I usually heat up to 101F. Kids love playing at the park. There are regular “ice cream man” trucks that jingle by. One plays the Music Box Dancer song by Frank Mills and I always love hearing it. Liberty Park is a great place to have an impromptu picnic. Several times we have picked up a box or friend chicken, some drinks and sides, and laid down a blanket for a tasty lunch. The kids get to play and we can lay around with our laptops or just lay on each other’s stomachs and have a nap.

I guess when I say there is nothing much to do here I mean cultural things. There are no playhouses or theaters. There is a community college but no University. I say it’s no wonder why so many denizens up here succumb to drug use. Crystal Meth and Heroin are a couple of the big ones. I’m sure LA and Hollywood have problems with more expensive drugs. I guess that’s why I started blogging a few years after I moved here. I could connect with people all over the world through the blog software Wordpress. Facebook wasn’t invented yet so there was still a little prestige and mystique in blogging. Nowadays when I say I’m a blogger, some people equate that with someone addicted to social media. The blogging I do is far more content oriented. It is social but I seek to leave the world a better place with the articles I leave behind. Facebook is more about liking your friend’s son’s Bah Mitzvah (sp?).

As a teacher, I get breaks throughout the calendar year. My contract is from August to June with some weeks off in-between. Even when we were struggling financially years ago, my wife Sarah and I made sure to plan and take family vacations as much as possible. We still do. This past Summer we went to Hawaii, OC Beaches, we’re going to Vegas in a few days, and tons of movies, restaurants and other stuff. We really do live like Kings. Still, before anyone go resenting us, trust me we live month-to-month and both of us have hefty student loan payments. Our son can’t qualify to waive his college tuition, so we feel sometimes on the outside up here. I don’t ask for anyone’s sympathy but I would appreciate a level of respect that we made choices to get where we are and there are always consequences whether you make choices for college of not. It’s called adult life.

It’s a sleepy place I live in but I recommend a place like this for life. We aren’t a stone’s throw from anywhere but we can get in the car and be somewhere pretty quick. And so do you see the value of living in nowhere land? Oh I almost forgot, the traffic is virtually non-existent.

Whats This About Getting Rich Through Blogging?

When I tell people I “blog” part time they immediately blurt out one of three responses: They, 1) seem confused and ask what blogging is, 2) want to know how much money I make -or- 3) ask if I can get them making money immediately.? For this reason, I usually don’t get into the topic of what has become my part-time job.? On the other hand, I use my PayPal card often (a card bloggers get paid through) to buy my wife, kids, and friends stuff like pizza and Baja Fresh (Baja tacos in the photo were paid for through blog money)? .. that’s enough for me to feel successful!? In fact, it’s amazing to me that I get paid for writing and tweaking code!? That, to me, is blogging.? This is probably due to the fact that 1) I don’t do it primarily for money, 2) I love to communicate and broadcast ideas, and 3) I prune my blogging to fit into no more than 15 hours a week (strict personal guideline).? I read an article tonight a Stumbleupon friend sent me that decries blogging as a “get-rich-quick” method.? I’d have to agree with that.? You won’t get rich quick doing it.? Having said that, you can make “fun money” through writing and tinkering with code and graphics.? I couldn’t ask for more in a part time job.

I did my time in college earning a BA, MA, and a teaching credential in California, one of the most rigorous states for credentialing.? I have a great job as a teacher and I work 185 days a year developing young minds.? What more could I ask for?? Well, there is something and I am doing it: blogging.? I have developed, after over 2 years, a method of setting blog goals and strictly organizing my time to create income as I go.? When I did my 2008 taxes I saw that I made nearly $3,000 blogging … it adds up!? Who would have thought you can make that kind of money writing about things like: appetite suppressants? If I was seeking a full time income, this would be disappointing but I am not.? Without my job, what would I write about?? Beyond that, I feel my blog helps my career.? Reflective journaling has been proven study after study to be an ideal habit for leaders in their fields.? I don’t blog to escape my life, my blog is integrated with my life.? Reading my blog you get life as I see it and I wouldn’t want to sit around in pajamas raking in millions through my blog.? Furthermore, I get comments and emails all the time from readers who tell me my “journal” has helped them in some way.

This year I hope to make more than last year but it still won’t be enough to pay my student loan each month.? One of my blog tenets is “100% transparency” and I publish my blog stats every month.? I’m not seeking to get rich blogging but I am seeking to get rich-er.? My college degrees, my teaching career, my 3 children and lovely wife make me rich in ways far beyond money.? I am comfortably writing about that every day and broadcasting a weekly podcast every weekend.? One part of my individual earning method is having 4 blogs instead of just one and scheduling post deadlines for myself throughout the week.? This allows me to have more variety in advertising pull and all I am doing is journaling, in essence.? I have been a mentor to a total of 11 people formally since I started this.? I tell them all I don’t know how to get rich at this, I only know how to manage time and tasks to write good content and and make some side money.? No one has backed out of being my mentee after hearing that.

In conclusion, If you read blogs to learn how to get rich, don’t waste your time on mine.? On the other hand, if you want to compare notes on how to get tacos and pizza and take your wife out on a fancy date once in a while, you would definitely profit from reading and listening to my stuff:

https://www.rileycentral.net/ – My thoughts on psychology and inspiration
https://www.rileycentral.net/ – My personal blog
https://www.rileycentral.net/ – My teaching reflections blog

What’s your take on blogging?

4 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block as a Blogger

A lot has been written out there about what subject matter gets blog traffic and backlinks. What hasn’t been written about enough is how and where to get the inspiration to blog. That’s why I am sharing a few sources of inspiration I use.

  1. Reading other blogs. I’ve used many methods of browsing blogs. So far, the easiest and most broad in scope has been through using Google Reader. You can develop a collection of favorite blogs over time and visit them in one place rather than bouncing around blog to blog. The blogroll is all but obsolete when you consider the handy nature of feed readers like Google Reader. As I read, I usually don’t even get through three blogs before I have an inspiring idea for a post. It is a good idea to recognize the blogger who wrote the article in your article. However, if the new post idea is not clearly related, you should feel no obligation to do so.

  2. My kids. When I consciously take time away from my duties of life (including my computer) I get at least one or two inspiring ideas to blog on. I guess the only advice here is to do something with them away from the computer. If you end up making it into a profitable post, make sure you pay then with a trip to the pizza parlor or something else they’d enjoy.

  3. Movies reviews! I love writing these at my other blog and here: rileyfilm.reviews

  4. Google Trends. This is another excellent service Google provides that shows you what people are searching for. This is probably not a sure-fire way to get visitors but it can get you thinking and therefore inspired to write a post that will indeed be relevant.

Those are four inspiration sources for me. I hope you’ll try them out and find success in your blog journey.

Blog Stats for 2015 – No Bozo!

In high school, there was a popular slogan replete with bumper stickers going around town. The sticker/slogan read:

No Bozo.

After reading through several blogs bragging of enormous post counts as that are indeed higher than mine, I felt it was a good slogan for my year end blog stats post. So,

No Bozo.


I have purposefully NOT used the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys to make this post. They are shiny with nice graphics but they are way over used imho and miss the point of blogging.

It’s not about post counts but rather how much your reader counts on a post from you.

3 Facts:

  1. I’ve blogged something at least once per day. Quite frequently I’ve posted up to 3 posts per day. I’ve developed templates and routines that make this easy and fun to do.
  2. I’ve fulfilled my 11 year dream this year of making Riley Central a place where all my online projects come together. I crosspost from/to flickr, tumblr, WordPress dot com (Note, my blog is not a WP dot com but rather a WordPress dot org blog. There are many plugins I use that cannot be used on WordPress dot com), twitter and other profiles. Let me make sure you understand how cool this is: ex. I can upload a high res photo to flickr, add a description and have it appear immediately as a draft post on my blog.
  3. I have a theme I love and am very experienced with: twenty eleven I know what I sacrifice and what I gain by using it.

I make goals and measure my success by them through #ROW80

I know more about blogging on WordPress than I can ever relay on a blog, so I won’t try.

I am a successful blogger based on my own measurable goals that I set. Here’s to more of that and personal growth through blogging in 2016. To all who put up with my typos and sometimes needlessly long word counts, I thank you and salute you!

No Bozo!

Happy New Year!

Cross-posting Formula

I’m a big fan of cross-posting. If you haven’t heard that term, it’s the process of sharing one post on one social media site with several other audiences at other social media sites. Usually this can be done with a few clicks. Each social media service has hooks built in to get your posts “cross-posted.” Unfortunately, some don’t render correctly. For example: Flickr for the iphone offers the ability to cross-post to Facebook but when you check the Facebook post, you find there is no title or associated description that you intended. For this reason, I dug in my heels, hunkered down and discovered what works for me. I share that below.

1. ALL SHARE TYPES: *Tumblr is fed via RSS to blog as private (Through the “Feedwordpress” plugin) – if wanted on blog must input feed, edit post and make public, (OPTIONAL) clear title, and adjust to desired format (only modifies on Home page).

2. STATUSES: status EMAIL to ifttt makes clean status on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. IFTTT is really cool. You can make if then recipes for many services.
*Tumblr

3. PHOTOS: Instagram posts & renders correctly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.
*Tumblr
(Flickr posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr but renders without text.
SO use Instagram for PHOTOS instead.)

4. BLOG POSTS on WordPress: Manual share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+.

5. TUMBLR REBLOGS: Reblog and manual send during process to Facebook and Twitter.
*Tumblr

To close, Tumblr is a wonderful backbone for crossposting. Not only does it render a feed, it also has buttons hooked into reblogs and posts to send them to Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr renders correctly in these two sites. Make sure you have a good description that shows up in Twitter as images don’t always show in a feed. Do you have a great way to share content via cross-posting?

Blog Posts About Something vs Nothing

I have known for years that the most visited posts I write are those that are “pillar posts” or in other words posts about something specific. For example, I wrote a post about the brain and anger several years ago and it remains one of my most highly visited posts. At the same time, I wrote a detailed post on acronyms for personal development and it gets scant attention. Even though that post is about something, it apparently is not about a very highly searched for something. Then there are my short pithy posts that are about nothing. The “Seinfeld” posts if you will. These are my online diary, my journal. In these I just seek to complete some sort of thought in hopes of growing as a writer and person. The challenge in these is simply to be regular at writing them. I have had posts like this gather huge interest as well, but not as much.

I suppose if you are a celebrity the journal entry is the best to write because people care about the minutiae of your day. I think these posts are valuable because they keep my readers updated on what’s up with me. Most my readers who produce Adsense and other advertising dollars will come in for the pillar posts but I don’t want a blog experience that consists of simply writing pillar content. The online diarist in me seeks to reach out and hopes that over time he will produce “Seinfeld” content that entertains.

Blog Stats 2-12

What is C.A.N.? Simply put: I self-rank my blogs based on three criteria: backlinks, visitors, and dollars earned. C.A.N. breaks down specifically as: C: circulation (# of backlinks) A: analytics (# of visitors) N: net (# of dollar earnings) The higher the C and A, the higher the Net payout. Some months I make more than others depending on the effort and time I put in.

C: (via Alexa)
rileycentral.net 148
rileycentral.net 145
dynamitelessonplan.com 82
blogwithdamien.com 36

A: (via Google Analytics)
rileycentral.net 3,661 Visits
rileycentral.net 224 Visits
dynamitelessonplan.com 672 Visits
blogwithdamien.com 562 Visits

N: via Paypal/adsense check in the given month from all blogs.
Total: $165

How to Monitor the Analytics of Your Blog

Nowadays, a lot of people have blogs. At the same time, not as many know how to check and monitor their stats in a productive way. This is a quick way to check the daily visits, or analytics, to your blog and how you’re doing compared to your monthly average. Just like custom address labels are there when you need them, so a few tools can help you check your analytics quickly on demand.

What you need (materials):
A Google Analytics account for each if you have multiple blogs.
Optional: Mozilla Firefox (for ease of shortcuts)

Steps:
1) Make a new folder on your shortcut bar entitled Analytics (or whatever you choose).

2) Go to your blogs “Overview” page in Google Analytics.

3) Drag that url into your new Analytics folder on the toolbar.

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 with any other blogs you wish to monitor.

5) Click on the folder. When all GA shortcuts drop down. click “Open all in tabs.”

6) Start on the left tab. Look at your graph. Note yesterday’s number of visits by scrolling over the point. (ie; 151 etc.)

7) Now find the monthly number of visits on the bottom left of the graph (ie; 4,846 visits etc.) Click on that.

8) In the same area you will now see a visits / day number. That is your daily average for the past 30 days. (ie; 156.32 etc.)

So, if you had 151 visits yesterday, you were about 6 visits lower than your monthly average.

9) Go back to step moving one tab to the right and repeat the rest of the steps until you’ve monitored all your blog analytics.

10) Note the changes or lack thereof. Make tasks for the week that will help you raise your analytics or keep them high.

This is an excellent way to monitor the “A” in my acronym CAN. CAN is a method I created of improving blog stats through setting strategic goals.