A couple of my Twitter mates and me were having a little debate (as you do in statements comprising 140 characters or less) about the nature of blogging. We all blog, incidentally - did I mention that I blog?
Anyhoo - the upshot of our twitty-chat was the 'who' component. To whom do be blog; for whose sake? It revolved around the notion of tags and keywords. She had written a piece that involved pornography (well, discussed it, as opposed to featuring some - she is not among its greatest fans, you see) but used the term "P*rn" in her title, rather than "Porn". The question was asked why and she cited an article that suggested that use of such terms attracts the wrong kind of punter. I am aware that the same can be said for tags, and I am in the middle of an experiment of my own at this very time. Tags are the apparently random words that appear at the foot of most blog posts, under the box where this stuff is consigned - they draw attention to the key elements of the post in the wider ether. I have been tagging all my posts with 'Jesus Christ Son of God' recently as I am interested to discover if it increases the visibility of this site to those searching the web for all of some of the words involved in the phrase. We will see ... anyway, back to the story.
My learned and esteemed friend is not wrong about titling of posts, as I discovered when I cheekily (and quite deliberately) called a post "Naked Women Flesh" once - it gets visited by porn surfers quite regularly. About this I am not worried. My friend, however, would not value their visit. The reason she gave is that success (such as it is) is measured in blogs by 'bounce rate' (the percentage of visitors that leave via another website), and porn surfers would bounce out every time - raising the rate. I guess a low bounce-rate speaks of specific loyalty, because if a reader logs on here and doesn't leave the site for another, they came here for this material alone. However, most bloggers have a list of other blogs regaling their sites (not to mention embedded links that demand a 'bounce' when accessed), and use of those links will always increase bounce-rates. I remain unconvinced, therefore, that a blog's success is to be measured this way. Answers on a postcard.
The crux of our little exchange Twitter-style was about the value of visitors who did not intend to arrive on our sites. She regarded them as unwanted as they didn't form part of the blogging community to whom she writes. This is a valid perspective, though one I disagree with. One of my porn surfers has re-visited this site three times since landing here by accident. He didn't revisit the page he first found, and came here directly (that is to say, he landed here by typing the web address in or using a bookmark). S/he is very welcome here, and despite arriving here with a Google search for [I know the answer, but won't betray it - but please note, whatever you put in Google gets remembered] has come back to a Christian blog again for non-porn surfing reasons, presumably. That is why I write, for people like that, as well as the rest of you, of course!
So, why do bloggers write? Who do we write for? What measures the 'success' of a blog? If you are a blogger who reads this, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Are visitors to our sites who didn't intend to be, unwelcome? Please let me know!