A few weeks ago Swallows on the Stoep celebrated its first birthday! And the clever guys at WordPress, who figure out exactly what all their bloggers are up to, furnished me with a few interesting tidbits in my first annual report.
In the last year:
- I wrote 23 posts
- My blog had 1,365 views
- Visitors came from 36 different countries (though mostly the UK, South Africa and the US)
- I gained 17 followers – yippee! – people who have subscribed to my blog (a mixture of friends, family, acquaintances and complete strangers!)
- 58 people came to the blog via Facebook
- My most-viewed pages were ‘About Me’, followed by ‘A Psalm of Waiting’ and ‘Take the Positivity Challenge’.
These statistics (and others) are useful and interesting because they can help me improve the blog in various, tiny ways that will ultimately hopefully increase my number of followers and commenters… the holy grail of blogging!
But they’re actually much more than that. To me, the stats are evidence of a step of faith in obedience to God.
A Godly nudge
At the beginning of last year I felt God prompting me to set up the blog, but there were lots of reasons not to. I don’t know how, I argued. It’ll take serious time and effort. What will I write about? What if people read it and judge me? And worst, what if no one shows any interest in reading it! To crown it, someone had commented that blogging was now “very passé”.
And yet, there it was. That deep-down nudge of the Holy Spirit prodding me to learn what I could and get stuck in, without knowing where it would lead, if anywhere. Eventually I reasoned that even if no one else found it beneficial or encouraging or even vaguely thought-provoking, it would probably aid me.
It will help me think more deeply and clearly about what’s going on around me and in me. It’ll rejuvenate writing skills going rusty through lack of use. It might connect me to similar, like-minded people ‘out there’. It will bring me pleasure and a sense of achievement, grow my knowledge and teach me new skills.
Learning new stuff
A year on, Swallows on the Stoep has indeed fulfilled all these goals. And yet, in some ways, I’m still at the beginning. In setting it up I’ve made some mistakes I simply have to live with. It also requires constant tweaking and promoting (in addition to the posts), and I haven’t quite got the knack of time management (timely posts) and consistency (regular, once-a-week posts) yet! But I am now expanding my knowledge base to include social networking and other digital media, and I’m growing all the time.
It’s also been an exercise in increasing dependence on my loving heavenly Father, and He has been so faithful. When I ask Him to give me ideas for posts, to develop the thoughts He’s prompting in me, and for the words to say what I should, the posts are always so much better than when I attempt to churn something out with my own ability and wisdom!
In my first-ever post I explained the origin of the blog’s name, Swallows on the Stoep, recalling the beautiful little birds that would return each Spring to our stoep (patio) in South Africa, confidentially chattering to one another.
This blog is a place of conversation for me, and it’s a thrill when others take time to engage in the nattering that’s going on in my head and airing on my blog. It’s exciting and encouraging to read the posts of fellow bloggers – particularly Christians – who are having similar chats with themselves. That’s one massive chin-wag going on around the world!
Are you a blogger? What drives you to put fingertips to keyboard? And what encourages you to keep writing?