Blog traffic and growth • Blogging Insights#15

cost of blogging

Blog traffic and growth • Blogging Insights#15

In this 15th round of Blogging Insights Dr Tanya – in her great blog Salted Caramel – asks the following questions: 1. How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics? 2. What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)? 3. Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

Q: How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

A couple of times every day I’ve posted something. I’m a sucker for performance numbers. Being still much of a rookie-blogger I still fret over the performance of anything I’ve posted. I even have notifications of the WordPress-app on my phone turned on (though I have switched off the sound). But, there is a but…my blog statistics do not drive my traffic and growth.

Q: What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)?

Paradoxically – or stupidly (depends on how you look at this I guess) – I haven’t made many changes. Even when the numbers are dismal. I just do whatever I feel like doing. I have learned the hard way for instance that posts with less text and an emphasis on photos score better. But being a bit stubborn I don’t really care enough to spastic-ally change behavior. A couple of days ago for instance I posted something about my cat and how I found her in a shelter. Normally I score well over 70% likes/views on this particular challenge. But this particular post so far ‘scores’ below 50%. And to my own surprise I don’t really care. I like what I’ve written. And so do (a few) others apparently.

On the other hand though I do get a feeling of accomplishment when I see the # of likes go up, which they do fortunately. But if they don’t, I do not lose any sleep over it.

To digress for just one minute and share a (for me) crucial lesson I’ve learned many lifetimes ago when I was young and eager. I was trying to land myself a job with one of the up & coming advertising hot shops in Amsterdam. I was being interviewed by one of the founders and a creative partner, trying to wriggle myself into a job that was way too big for me at the time. His one and only question after we were past exchanging pleasantries was ‘Are you vain? Vain enough to have what it takes?’ While I had prepared myself solidly, I never expected that…He didn’t mean vanity in the appearance sense he explained, but was I vain enough to believe deep down inside I could be one of the greats and win awards that mattered? Because he believed that all great advertising people were inherently vain, vain enough to develop ideas and execute them in a most memorable way. Vain enough to stand up for what they believed in, in front of clients who did not see at first what they saw. And vain enough to keep believing in an idea even when everybody rejected it (at first). Because he could only build an agency that would and stay famous with people that possessed this kind of vanity. To only care so much about what others think and stand up and fight for his/her conviction. Damn the torpedoes so to speak.

Coming back to the point then. The same is true for architects, artists etc. Basically any form of creative expression. The same is true for bloggers I think.

Q: Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

No.Basically I am not so enamored with social media any longer. I dutifully fill in the boxes of my Yoast SEO plug-in, but that’s about the level of my engagement.
Personally I spend less and less time or post hardly anything on social media like LinkedIn or Facebook. I absolutely hate Twitter, to the extent that I never go there voluntarily. And while I may have a few other accounts here and there they’re inactive.

So, to round off this Blogging Insights#15 about Blog traffic and growth, if you’d like to read what I intended when I started this whole thing, click here.

Melancholic Light • #JanuaryLight

Opera Melancholica • #JanuaryLight Square

Melancholic Light is my last entry into the #JanuaryLight challenge by Becky B. of Winchester for Jan. 31.

Thank you Becky for being such a formidable host!

Melancholic Light seems to be fiitting the closure of this challenge. In the opening of the opera described below melancholic was described as a feeling of missing something essential, but you have no idea what that is exactly.

Opera Melancholica

These photos were taken only two nights ago at a performance of Opera Melancholica. (A.k.a. the anatomical theatre of the human mind.) This site says the following: ‘Through cinematic minimal music by composer Philip Glass and a story by the ‘Master of the Macabre’ Edgar Allan Poe you will be presented with fantastic visions and horrifying delusions live at the theatre.’

It continues with ‘The production focuses on the Dutch première of Glass’s compelling opera in two acts ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, with a libretto by Arthur Yorinks based on Poe’s story. The piece portrays the melancholiac pur sang Roderick Usher and his twin sister Madeline, who in this production is rendered by both a soprano and a female dancer. We will immerse you in Usher’s melancholia and show you all corners of the human mind: Opera Melancholica.
Melancholia is a human trait. We are able to look at our life and to realise that we are mortal. We harbour lucid dreams of a better world and life after death. Overwhelming views, but we pay a price for those ideals: the fear and wistfulness when we have returned to harsh reality. That is, if we can find our way back…’

Opera Melancholica • #JanuaryLight Square
Melancholic Light • the stage • #JanuaryLight
Melancholic Light • the skull • #JanuaryLight

Can you make any sense of it? Because after have seeing this ‘melancholic opera’, I’m not sure whether I’ve seen the melancholic light. I’ve seen. But don’t let that put you off though. Even then it was a spectacle worth seeing and of course listening to.

As a closing remark I’d like to say T H X A G A I N B E C K Y for initiating and hosting this #JanuaryLight photo challenge.

You can find one of my previous submissions in this challenge here.

Hidden Gem • Thursday Doors

‘Hidden Gem’ is the entry for January 30, 2020 Thursday Doors. Hosted by Norm 2.0.

In downtown the Hague many, if not all who don’t know its secret, walk past this rather bland door, without wondering what the name “Rusthof” (“Retreat”) actually entails.

Just a non-descript door • Thursday Doors
Just a nondescript door • Thursday Doors

When you step through that door its secret is not immediately revealed. You enter a rater dark, damp and mouldy passageway leading to…

A passageway, to...
A passageway to… • Thursday Doors

The gem that lies at the end of it…

The hidden gem • Thursday Doors
…the hidden gem • Thursday Doors

This used to be a retreat for elderly spinsters. Wikipedia sums it up as:

Rusthof is one of the approximately ten charity courts in The Hague. It is located at Parkstraat 41-61, right next to the Sint-Jacobus church.

Elisabeth Groen van Prinsterer – van der Hoop, the wife of Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer, founded this retreat/courtyard on 15 April 1841. She used money from her father-in-law’s legacy for this.

While the old tenants had to pay one guilder a week, for which they, apart from shelter, received meat, poultry and fuel for cooking and heating.’

To this day the houses in the Rusthof are rented out, solely to single female residents. Men are simply not allowed inside any of the houses. And that is as much of the story of this hidden gem that I could uncover. The Hague has approx. a total of 10 of these retreats for single and elderly women.

You can safely ignore this piece as it’s only here to appease Google and the likes. But if you really want to see my last entry into Thursday Doors, you can find it here.

Amsterdam Canal Light • #JanuaryLight

Amsterdam Canal Light • #JanuaryLight Square

Amsterdam Canal Light is the entry into the #JanuaryLight challenge by Becky B. of Winchester for Jan. 30. ‘Originally’ from this amazing city, I haven’t posted a photo featuring a canal.

Amsterdam Canal Light • #JanuaryLight Square
Amsterdam Canal Light • #JanuaryLight

I took this photo of the Jacob Van Lennepkade, on a late October afternoon. Since it is away from the beaten tourist tracks, canal tours etc., it is an oasis of peace and quiet.

The Jacob Van Lennepkade is in the old West area of the city, just a stone’s throw from the more famous canals in the city center.

You can find one of my previous submissions in this challenge here.

Finned Light • #JanuaryLight

Finned Light • #JanuaryLight 21:9

Finned Light • #JanuaryLight Entry into the JanuaryLight challenge by Becky B. of Winchester for Jan. 29.

Finned Light • #JanuaryLight Square
Finned Light • #JanuaryLight

This magnificent Chevrolet was another of my rentals while in Cuba. The styling is magnificent, as was the level of comfort. But it handled as you’d expect from an American car from this era. Not.

But the tail lights on this boat of a car are one of the most memorable from car history. It looks to me like the evil eye from a monster somewhere deep below.

My previous submission in this challenge can be found here.

Queen of Lazy Mischief • Tuesday Photo Challenge

Queen of Lazy Mischief • Tuesday Photo Challenge

Queen of Lazy Mischief • Tuesday Photo Challenge is my submission into Dutch goes the Photo challenge – Cat. Meet Snotje, a.k.a. the Queen of Lazy Mischief. The vet estimates her to be somewhere between 7 and 9 years of age. Her exact age will remain a mystery.

Queen of Lazy Mischief • Tuesday Photo Challenge
Queen of Lazy Mischief • Tuesday Photo Challenge

I ‘found’ Snotje (Sniffy) in an animal shelter roughly two years ago. My girlfriend and I thought it would be a good idea if I adopted a stray cat to have ‘someone’ to care for (we’re not living together). ‘Someone’ who would return some love and attention.

Walking around the shelter I didn’t find the one that made go ‘yes, that’s the one.’ Until we came across her. Thing was however that, while I was immediately attracted to her, the lady who showed us around actually advised against her. She didn’t likepeople that much, and she had a urinary infection. The attraction was mutual it appeared, as I had no problem stroking her. To the lady’s complete surprise.

To cut a long story short, I was finally able to take her home a couple of weeks later. She put on at least a kilo in weight (she weighs in around 5 kilo or so).

While she sleeps most of the afternoon, in the morning she demands attention. Undivided attention preferably. When I’m behind my Mac she demonstratively sits down in front of the screen and after I’ve convinced her there are other places to sit down she haughtily walks off… Over my keyboard.

Almost a daily routine. Just as I’m reading on the couch and not giving her majesty the attention she thinks she deserves, invariably I hear something falling elsewhere in the apt. When I walk over to inspect, most of the time she just passes me with an air of ‘I hate to tell you I told you so, but I did bloody well tell you…’

Needless to say I never regretted adopting her for a second.

Took this photo with a Leica V-LUX 2 and it is the original. I haven’t tweaked or color corrected it in post!

For my previous submissions in Tuesday Photo Challenge, click on Fantasy, Peace, Glow, Mist, Common, Moroccan Portal or Psychedelic Ride.

Arabian Light • #JanuaryLight

Arabian Light • #JanuaryLight landscape

Arabian Light • #JanuaryLight Entry into the JanuaryLight challenge by Becky B. of Winchester for Jan. 28.

Arabian Light • #January
Light Square
Arabian Light • #JanuaryLight

Captured these Arabian Lights at a stall called Meneer Tanger (mister Tanger) at the Foodhall in the Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam. Since it was a bleak day, a morning scouting this Foodhall was a sensible thing to do.

For a peek at my previous submission in this challenge, click here. Or simply use the menu on the side.

Monday Mural • Capriole Café parking area

Monday Mural• Capriole Cafe parking area mural

Monday Mural • Capriole Café parking area

I discovered this mural on the parking lot in the Binckhorst in The Hague. I shot this photo without giving it much thought. Primarily because I liked it and its ‘purity’. Meaning it had not been mutilated by graffiti signs of the less talented. But this challenge did me do some searching into its artist, and behold, he truly is an artist. Do check out

Monday Mural• Capriole Cafe parking area mural
Monday Mural• Capriole Café parking area mural

Discovered on October 5, 2019.

Entry in Sami’s challenge 27 January.

For more of my entries, see for instance this

Hotel New York Window • Monday Window 27 January

Hotel New York Window • Monday Window

Hotel New York Window is my entry in Ludwig Keck’s challenge Monday Window 27 January.

Hotel New York Window • Monday Window
Hotel New York Window • Monday Window 27 January

I shot this beautifully preserved glass-in-lead window through another window on the 1st floor of the Hotel New York. This building used to be the head office of the old Holland-America Line where passengers checked in and were waved off.

Click below to see what fellow Monday Window bloggers cooked up.

monday window-badge-2

For more of my entries in Monday Window simply start here.