Blaugust 2021 – Fini

Here it is, the last post of Blaugust 2021. I made it. Whew! While I originally didn’t plan to post every day and at the 1/3rd point I decided to cut back I never really did. For better or for worse. Technically I think I wrote 32 posts since if I remember right I double-posted once.

So what did I discover? Well most importantly I learned that I can still generate a blog post every day if I really want to. Unlike so many of my projects, I didn’t abandon this one. I also discovered some really nice blogs and really nice people and I intend to keep reading these people in the future.

There were some disappointments along the way. While I tried my best to amplify other Blaugust participants by retweeting stuff with the #blaugust2021 hashtag on Twitter, I found there were only a handful of us doing that. Seemed like a missed opportunity. (There were a few people who retweeted almost every post and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart!) In some cases I Followed Blaugust participants just so I’d be aware of their blog post announcements and could retweet them, but often they didn’t follow me back. Maybe other bloggers just don’t see Twitter as an important audience building tool? Or maybe they just thought it was more important to curate their timeline than to promote people they didn’t really know (which is fair, particularly if they’re trying to build a Following that they can monetize). Either way, that was a bit of a bummer. I mean, it isn’t like promoting each other is in the rules of Blaugust but it was still a little disappointing.

In the run-up to the event I was excited about joining the Discord community, but I only lasted a week or two in there. As with just about every Discord I join, it felt like a clique of people that I wasn’t a part of. (This is just where my brain goes in any kind of crowd, IRL or online, so not a knock on the community, just a hang-up I have about new groups of people.) I dutifully posted content in the “Share Your Content” for a while, but I saw almost no traffic from that and none of my posts seemed of interest to the other Discord users. There are certainly helpful people in the Discord and if you ask a question you will get answers. So it serves a function, but for socializing and talking about writing it was a bust for me. Additionally the most helpful people in the Discord seem equally helpful on their blogs or in Twitter, and since I’m already at those places, making a special trip to Discord seemed like a poor use of my time. (I should note that I am not a Discord user and the Blaugust Discord was the only Discord that I was using.)

In general the broader community aspect of Blaugust was pretty much a bust for me, but then I’ve always struggled to find my tribe. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve joined a micro-community of bloggers who I really resonate with, and that is a huge win.

All that said, I am ready to announce the Dragonchasers 2021 Blaugust Mentor of the Year Award as chosen by ME!:

Aywren from Spot of Mummery!
*confetti cannons go off*
Aywren posted a lot of great advice over the month and her advice was always clear without being simplistic. A marvelous gift.

Honourable Mentions:
Bhagpuss at Inventory Full
Naithin at Time To Loot

So, About The Future…

One of the reasons I did Blaugust was to decide if it was time to shut down the blog. I went something like 8 or 9 months without a post. Is it worth paying for the domain and hosting?

In terms of popularity, it clearly is not. My traffic doubled in August, which sounds great but again, I hadn’t posted in a long time so traffic was very very low. Doubling from 2 to 4 is a lot less impressive than doubling from 2 million to 4 million, after all. Specifically I had like 1000 page views for the entire month of August and 240 of those page views was for a post from last year. Basically 31 days of Blaugust posts barely caused a bump in traffic. Eliminate that article from last year and Blaugust added 250 page views over the entire month.

My take-away is that posting daily doesn’t help me generate traffic, and let’s be real, this blog is 19 years old. If it hasn’t found an audience yet, it never will. My choice of topics or my writing style doesn’t resonate with many. I remember a time when I thought Dragonchasers would become a side hustle. I was going to build it up and then get sponsors or ads or whatever. That dream was 99% dead already, but Blaugust drove the final nail into its coffin. I don’t have what it takes to write a blog that generates revenue. I’m just not focused enough.

And y’know what? That’s kind of a relief in a way. Last time my hosting plan came up for renewal I bought a 2-year plan and I still have a year or so left on it. So for now the blog will stay around but it’ll be MY blog and I’ll write for me and assume no one will ever read it. Maybe I’ll just share stories of my (completely ordinary) life or something. Who knows?

Blaugust is done. It’s not something I imagine I would do again. I’m glad I did it just because it got me back to writing, and getting people to blog is the whole point of Blaugust so it definitely worked. That said, if someone were to ask me about getting started or back into blogging, I’d say rather than waiting for Blaugust just pick a day and start writing. Make a schedule and try to stick to it, but avoid going for a daily post schedule. Give yourself at least one day off a week, and probably at least two. Maybe 3 or 4. Depends on how much free time you have. If you work full time and have a family, I feel like 3 posts/week is PLENTY. You need to reserve some time to do the things you’ll eventually blog about!

13 thoughts on “Blaugust 2021 – Fini

  1. Sounds like your blog gets a lot more traffic than mine. I get hardly anyone from Discord or Twitter — barely enough to count. Most comes from organic search, and those are largely for the “Save the Fish” post I did last year.

    If I ever thought blogging in 2021 was a pathway to fame and glory, I know better now 🙂

    Still, I will always regret letting West Karana die and removing myself from the community. I kept looking for a new community where what I wrote would be widely read, but no such community exists. Luckily, the friends from the Twitter community I met a decade ago, like you and so many others, are still (mostly) around to share adventures!

    1. For me it’s a post on Drake Hollow Beginner Tips from last October that is my most popular!! You just never know what is going to get traffic.

  2. “In general the broader community aspect of Blaugust was pretty much a bust for me, but then I’ve always struggled to find my tribe. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve joined a micro-community of bloggers who I really resonate with, and that is a huge win.” – take the wins where you find them, this comment in specific resonates.

    1. Yup, ‘take the win’ is great advice and it’s been fun finding a few new people to read that I really enjoy.

  3. Thanks for the Honorable Mention! Aywren really deserves the award, though. She took her mentoring duties very seriously, as did Naithin. I tend to direct my energy in Blaugust towards leaving a lot of comments all over the place but then I do that all the time anyway.

    Every Blaugust there’s that thing about cross-promoting posts via various social media, Twitter, Discord and so on but as several people who keep track of this sort of thing have said, traffic’s as likely to go down as up during Blaugust. It wasn’t too bad this year (maybe that should be “too good”) but the event does create such a torrent of posts that many people end up picking and choosing rather than reading everything. In a normal month I’d expect to read 95% of all the posts that come up in my blog roll and on Feedly but this August I’d estimate that dropped to under 75%.

    I didn’t even log into Discord after the first couple of days. I find it a very awkward and artificial platform in general. I’m in maybe a dozen different Discords but I use them more like a resource than a communication channel, just looking stuff up on there then leaving. As for Twitter, I have an account but I’ve never used it. I think Blaugust does fine just on blogs.

    1. Honestly I can’t really quantify why I gave you that honorable mention, it’s just this kind of aura of positive blogging energy you spread everywhere. A few times when I was thinking of giving up I’d read a post or a comment by you and your joy of what you do just came through and it gave me the boost I needed, just when I needed it. So thank you so much!!

  4. Discord is an interesting one, and I’m sorry you felt it to be a bit of a clique. I for one loved seeing you drop in. But the most interesting part of this to me is the difference of view here — because I see this Discord as very disjointed. Er, perhaps a better word is diverse? You got a few in there *heeavily* into the RoI and money-making aspects of blogging, many more in there from a hobby perspective but across a range of things from writing to gaming.

    Most of the connective fabric comes from the blogs themselves, the comments, and the general interactions outside the Discord. The Discord sort of becomes a bit of an addendum to those things rather than a whole other means of forming them.

    At least in my experience!

    Twitter though is definitely an area I recognised you excelling in, and did poorly in myself. Once upon a time I used to scroll through Twitter to keep ‘up to date’ with everything. But it was just too much, so I had to stop. Now I check in and respond to what I see in the time I give it, but that can sometimes be days apart. So if it isn’t in my notifications, or happening while I’m there, the chances are good I just don’t see it.

    Thank-you for the honourable mention for mentoring, too. As Bhagpuss said already, I wholeheartedly agree with Aywren winning this one. I felt I could’ve done more in my first year’s outing as a mentor, but also felt so much of the advice had been well covered! Roger also had a lot of good advice this time around, as did I’m sure, a number of other bloggers too.

    As to you, and the future — I’m glad you’re sticking around beyond the end of the event and hope you continue to do so well beyond the current expiry of your hosting setup.

    I had noted and was saddened by your absence over the months prior to your resurgence. I’m also somewhat saddened by the downbeat tenor of your post and how you’re feeling about things. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do to help, but if you want to chat — likely ironically via Discord, it does have good private messaging capability after all — more than happy to do so. <3

    On the subject of views — I think carrying on will definitely build them up, a month of additional daily content would've certainly added a jump start, but I think those 3 or so posts a week (or less, if needed / desired!) would certainly add to that rate over time. I'm not sure about the dreams of sponsorship or significant ad-revenue, but certainly with a bit of a better viewership at least. 🙂

    1. Well first, thank you! But I want to reiterate that my issues with the Discord are really about me rather than about the Discord. I’ve joined many Discord Servers throughout the years and never stuck around in any of them. I am not good at the “introduce yourself, then get to know folks and give them time to get to know you” pattern. Ditto, actually, for guilds in MMOs. I never stick around in them either.

      It’s a curious thing I see in myself. I wasn’t always an introvert and a recluse. There was a time when I was the life of the party, so to speak. I guess we change with the years.

      And downbeat is kind of my natural state. 🙂 But I think it was more pronounced in this post because I was just mentally tired of the exercise. Of course since writing this post, I’ve written a couple more that are already scheduled, so perhaps I’m already bouncing back! Like now that I don’t “have” to write a post, writing them is fun again! LOL

      Brains are weird. At least my brain is!!

      1. I don’t think your brain is wierd, on this at least. Or if it is, we’re weird in the same way! Both times I’ve done Blaugust/Blapril before now, I ended up carrying on posting a daily a little longer than I ‘had to’ even though I’d been quite mentally exhausted by the ‘requirement’ to do so by the end.

        Not sure if I will this time, I thought I was going to give myself a quite intentional break, but then this morning I was already finding myself taking a look around at what to write, thinking about my actual Blaugust wrap-up post (as opposed to the more general Journal I’ve already done), etc. So who knows. I might find a repeat of the prior year’s crazy happening again. xD

        On the social side, a lot of what you’re talking about I recognise from shifts I’ve made too — particularly in the context of MMOs / gaming with strangers. Hell- probably communities too, but Blaugust managed to break through and become an exception somehow.

        Outside of these things, I’ve definitely moved over the years to a position of either BYO Friends or Play Alone.

        In any case! Glad to hear you’re starting to bounce back a little! I might offer a little soft push toward trying in Blaugust Discord again, even if only a little. It might just not be for you- and that’s OK. Especially given I know you play a lot more on Console these days over PC. But if you’re around and about, maybe even just responding to the odd in-flight conversation rather than any concerted effort at ‘introducing yourself’ might work.

        It might end up being an exception that you enjoy too. But as I say- very soft push. If it really isn’t, no big deal. As long as you’re around and blogging I’ll be more than happy to keep interacting in this fashion.

        But equally so, offer to chat is always there if you want to as well.

  5. So, um, the more I’m trying to write, the less I remember the niceties like “reading” and “effectively using social media” and “remembering to actually write comments”, but like Naithin I felt this post was a little melancholy so I wanted to make a point to say I only discovered this blog in the last couple of days, but I really do hope you’ll stick around for a bit, in whatever way that works for you!

    1. Yeah I get that too. Well, I do now. I have to admit I hadn’t thought about it that way. Of course the more time we spend writing, the less time we have for the other stuff. Honestly that’s kind of the 800lb gorilla in the room and I’m kind of embarrassed that I never thought about it until now.

      1. This post was enlightening for me too. I am not really overly motivated by my page views or most engagement metrics, and I feel like I played this particular Blaugust 100% to my needs without considering what it is *actually* about. There was definitely more than a morsel of food for thought here for me.

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