Last time I reflected on my progress with this blog was at 55 days in. Let me use some of the metrics I used then. In the past month I've averaged about 20 visitors per day (up from 9). I have 110 people (all friends; up from 22) subscribed to my e-newsletter and 15 people (probably all friends?; up from 3) getting me through their RSS feed readers.
Googling "ink and beans" (no quotes) brings my blog to the top of a search results list. Googling "Jim Cooney" (no quotes) my blog comes up as hit #8 (up from #25), and googling "fledgling novelist" puts me at #3 (up from #151).
Visitors don't necessarily find their way to my site via any of these search terms --- the only people googling "ink and beans" or "jim cooney" are those who know and are looking for me anyway --- but their higher placement on the list does reflect improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Thanks to my Google Analytics reports, however, I'm starting to identify key search phrases that are bringing visitors to my site. These are the search phrases I really want rank high on, and one of the most logical ways to do that is to write posts that focus more on the topic/phrase in question.
Example - A handful of people found their way to me by googling "starting a novel" or some close variation. Meanwhile, my push to promote the blog to my friends last month returned additional feedback from people interested in a starting a book. Thus, in an effort to leverage this popular concept, I added variations of the phrase as labels/tags on various posts, and also titled a two-part post "Starting a Novel."
Though I'm not getting deluged, I have since received somewhere between ten and twenty visitors who found their way to me via some variation on that phrase. And unlike the majority of my visitors via keywords, who leave instantly(time on site 0:00), these guys actually stayed and read a little bit (average over 2 minutes, a good attention span by blog standards).
Currently, typing in "starting a novel" (no quotes) places me at #13 in the search list.
Other phrases that appear significant, which I'll try to play to a little more in my posts, are "writing a climax," "submitting short fiction," and "submitting to literary journals."
Addendum to Part 1: I just searched those three terms now to statisfy my curiosity, and it turns out they return my blog as search result number 3, 3, and 7 respectively. Wow. If that's the case I'm surprised I haven't gotten more traffic off those terms. How many people do you think, writers or otherwise, google "submitting short fiction" every day? Maybe less than I thought?