This morning I had a very constructive meeting with some colleagues to discuss setting up a new blog/podcast series for the university. It reminded me that I wanted to post something about how long it takes to build up a blog readership , specifically in the sciences. The figure above shows the monthly number of views of my blog from its inception in March 2012 up to January 2015. The line is a second-order polynomial, just to aid interpretation rather than to make any kind of statistical inference.
For the first year and a half of the blog’s life, monthly views were typically in the range 200-400, occasionally getting as high as 600. Only after that was there a trend of increasing numbers month-on-month, but even that was not consistent, with some periods of low readership. In part this relates to how frequently one blogs: more frequent = more monthly views, and I have been posting more often of late. But that’s only part of the story and the figure also demonstrates that it takes time to build a readership for a blog. For example, 4 posts in March 2012 attracted 402 views; the same number of posts in April 2014 received 1,469 views, and 2,120 in December 2014.
A lot of scientists (particularly early career) are starting to blog, sometimes because they think it’s the right thing to do: they see others doing it, and it’s encouraged by funding agencies, etc. Sometimes these blogs are very successful; other times they falter after a few posts, perhaps because the writer loses interest. I’m not in a position to offer much advice about blogging as I’ve only my own experience on which to draw, but I would say that it requires persistence: don’t assume that you’re going to get a big audience from the start, it takes time to build a readership.