On Blogging, Traffic, Blog Hosts, and Unique Visitors…

Disclosure: I receive financial compensation from Fatcow Web Hosting Services for every person who signs up for web services through an affiliate program – Jenny Hatch

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When I was preparing to write this blog back in 2005, I spent a few months researching to figure out the most straightforward way to proceed.

I had used the services of an excellent web design company in Boulder to set up my first site at Natural Family Co and when I was ready to go, I called my web designer and asked him who had the best blog software and what was the best way to host the blog.

He told me that my web hosting company,Fatcow had a blog platform that they could easily install Movable Type onto, and that it was the best software for Blogging.

***NOTE*** Fatcow offers amazing technical support as well as help setting up your Blog using WordPress, the acknowledged best Blogging Platform on the Web! With Free Domain Registration and unique features including email, unlimited bandwidth, and an affordable monthly fee (usually under $5.00 a month), this Green company that is powered by Wind Technology is ready to help you begin your Blogging Adventures Today!  I have used the Fatcow services for over ten years and they are the best! *** Jenny Hatch ***

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I took his advice to heart and thus began the most frustrating side to my blogging adventures.  Movable Type was designed by Programmers who know terms like Perl, CSS, and html.  I purchased the book HTML for Dummies and used it a few times to help me learn how to do certain functions.  But if I was not married to my husband Paul, a computer genius, I would have given up that first year.

It did not help matters that soon after I began Blogging my site was continually spammed with nasty comments, trackbacks, and pings, and the most revolting porn and drug ad comments were hitting me day after day after day making conversations nearly impossible.  I have since read about other alternative health care bloggers who have had the same thing happen, up to and including sites torn down, especially sites that talk about alternatives to Chemotherapy, and computers hacked so bad they had to be replaced.

Conversely Mom Bloggers like Dooce who continually hold up Allopathic Medicine as the supposed savior of her life in the form of anti depressants and who use vaccines for every known disease for her and her children, have traffic and advertisers out the wazoo.

Not complaining, I understand the various forces at work attempting to disrupt the flow of information on the web.

Movable Type  proved nearly impossible for me to edit and once, I lost all of my content as I attempted to change the CSS format into something that looked a little more colorful.  Paul helped me find my blog posts after I made that costly mistake and I just reconciled myself to the fact that the type of blog platform I had chosen would not be edited by me and I could not hire anyone to help me make it more beautiful because of a lack of money.

Despite the lack of beauty on my blog, traffic was great, and I consistently had 40,000 unique visitors coming to my site every month.  Those who came in for a look often stayed to click around quite a bit and my hits were always at the 400,000 mark.  It was not a “high” traffic blog by technorati standards, but I was happy.

In 2009 I had an advertiser express interest in embedding a widget on my blog.  I had the technical ability to install pictures with links as ads, but was dismayed by the my lack of ability to install widgets.  Thus began my education about widgets, sidebars, flash players, and the various blogging platforms that could or could not host my advertisers content.

I made the difficult decision during the summer of 2009 to pull the Unassisted Childbirth Conference videos that I had hosted on my web site off the web and upload a free version of the conference on You Tube.  I eventually uploaded all of the videos in January of 2010 as an offering to the Holistic Birth Community.  It had been costing me quite a bit every month to pay hosting fees for the videos and I just could not afford the monthly drain on our family budget…

In November of 2009 I made the almost impossible decision to download all of my blog archives and begin again on this WordPress Platform.  The reason this decision was so difficult is because I knew that I would lose most of my traffic and all of my links would become invalid.  I was not aware of how many people were coming into my blog because of postings in chat rooms and email lists.  After making the change I realized that over 95 % of my traffic was from search engines and all of those links were invalid.  It literally made me sick to lose all of that traffic when I had worked so hard to write and produce multimedia that others found valuable.

Recently I went into my blog archive from the old movable type platform and looked at my traffic from the past year.  It still records who is coming in, who referred them, and what they are attempting to look at, even though the post is gone.  I was again disheartened to learn that 240,183 unique visitors had come in trying to find my posts over the past year and every single one of those people had been turned away.  I also had a total of 524,839 hits to my blog, again resulting in INTERNAL SERVICE ERROR replies to my potential readers.

This past month a post I did on that former blog platform called Jennys Flu Soup, which I cross posted at Free Republic was the high traffic post of the month. 1,659 people wanted to access my blog to get more information about my soup recipe and it was not there for them to read.  UUUGGGGHHHHhhhh!!!

I have now been happily blogging at WordPress for over a year and my total unique visitor count is 44,586.  Wordpress does not indicate unique visitors vs. hits in the stats.  I suspect that number is just hits, although it could be unique visitors, I don’t know.  The point is my traffic has NEVER recovered from the change and it just makes me sad.

I quickly learned that while WordPress has amazing features regarding embedding widgets and installing videos in blog entries, Blogger has some nice features as well.  So last year I created a Blogger version of this blog and every once in a while I import all of my recent posts to keep it updated.  Changing my archives from movable type to wordpress to blogger is a story that would take a book to write, it was not easy and made for a very difficult transition.  Those archived posts on Blogger all look a little screwy, but the words and some of the links are still the same for those who want to wade through that maze of formatting hell.

Do I have any advice for a Mom who is just beginning her blogging career?

Sure.

If you are looking to just journal your life and import pictures of your family to later be made into a book, use Blogger.  It is so easy to use.

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If you are writing a blog that is for technical or professional use and want to really impress your associates and include advertising on your site, use the services of a Professional Web Hosting Company like Fatcow to create a polished, amazing finished product with WordPress as the Blogging Platform.  Wordpress allows you to upload your multimedia content in text, audio, video, and still pictures to share with readers.  Wordpress also has Comment Sections that can be hooked up to Facebook and Twitter Accounts so that your blog will immediately be published on your favorite social media sites!

I have used them exclusively for many years to host my web site, and love the technical service, it really cannot be beat!

If you are writing a blog that is meant to poke the powers that be, disrupt the flow of dollars and resources currently flooding into the coffers of the New World Order, then for sure, use WordPress to smack them at every juncture.

Use Fatcow services to re register your domain every year (Mine is WWW.JennyHatch.com) and every week or so save your posts in a file that is not contained in your computer so that you can easily and within minutes be back on the web posting when they hack your site, flood your home computer with viruses, and mangle the files stored on your laptop.

You can also have several blogs “waiting in the wings” all ready to go, so that if they tear down your site, you can easily make those blogs hosted at Live Journal, Blogger, Posterous, and WordPress go live the second they pull your content off the web.  I have designed several blogs to serve this purpose in my life should the powers that be attempt once again, to pull down this site.

It comforts me to know that my voice will be heard even if they manage to hack and attack to the point where I am completely disabled…

Don’t assume that every “alternative” news outlet will be willing to host your content.  When I began blogging, Pajamas Media was happy to post quite a bit of my content on the site.  Then shortly after I had sent along that very post on Alternative Remedies for Flu, which they used, they would not accept any more of my stuff and I noticed a Theraflu ad prominently posted on the site a few weeks after not accepting any more posts.

Free Republic has been the most willing site to host my content these past  6 years.  Huffington Post has also hosted a few of my citizen journalism reports, and I have had content posted at The Bitter Pill since Amy Philo invited me to be a guest blogger at the site.  These sites are all way more popular than they used to be and all you can do as a blogger is send your links to them and hope that they will post and in the case of Free Republic, not pull your content off once it is published.

I also started writing for Blog Critics Magazine last year and although they only published about half of what I sent to them, they were willing to publish a few of my articles.

No money has been involved in any of these collaborations.  I blog because I love to write and I am PASSIONATE about my content.  I would love to make a few more dollars from my writing, but selling one book a month on amazon and getting ten or fifteen dollars every now and again for an ad placement is about all I am making at this juncture. It does pay my web hosting fees, so for now I am content.

When you pick fights with the wealthiest people on the planet, it does tend to ensure that the advertising dollars do not come flowing like a spigot into your bank account.  I read that Dooce gets $40,000.00 a month from her advertisers.  I wish her well and hope that her blog continues to be a cash cow for her family.

I will not accept ads from companies that poison and intoxicate families.

So, if you have a nice business dedicated to helping families be healthy, consider advertising on The Natural Family Blog.  If not, happy trails…

Jenny Hatch

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Healthy Families Make A Healthy World!

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