It was three years ago today, on May 20, 2014, that I started producing a daily gardening blog under the name Laidback Gardener. Previous to that, starting in January of the same year, I had tried a few experiments: texts and photos on plants in in bloom my home and garden, travelogs about trips to San Francisco and Costa Rica, etc. But the blog only became a daily one as of March 20 that year. Since then, I haven’t missed a single day … if you don’t count the few occasions when I accidentally posted two blogs the same day and none the next, which doesn’t change anything when it comes to the total number of blogs.
At the very beginning, the blog received no more than 4 or 5 views a day. These days, about 1,400. And that’s a huge increase over only a year ago, when it was up to about 500 views a year ago. There were 147,000 views all last year and there are already 125,000 so far in 2017.
A Few Statistics
Who visits the Laidback Gardener website?
The vast majority — about 2/3 of the readership — are Americans, which is interesting, considering I live in Canada. English-speaking Canadians do make up most of the rest, but there are readers throughout the world, mostly from England and Australia, but also from 185 countries so far this year… and that’s a lot, considering there are 196 official countries in the world according to Wikipedia.
The blog doesn’t seem to have any readers in Greenland … I wonder why not?
Interestingly, most of the readers of this blog are not regular followers. I can tell, because WordPress shows me which blog subjects were consulted on any given day. Most days, the “blog du jour” only gets about 50 readers, but, for whatever reason, some blog from the past that people have found through other means is usually the most visited. Yesterday, for example, the two most popular blogs were ones I wrote a a year or so ago: Can You Kill Ants with Boiling Water? and What is “Black Earth”? That goes to show that the Laidback Gardener site is being used as a reference, which is fine with me.
My Other Gardening Blog
I also produce a second daily gardening blog, in French: Jardinier paresseux. You might wonder why… but the answer is simple: although English is my mother tongue, I live in French-speaking Quebec and most of my daily activities are in French. And, as a “gardening personality”, I’m far better known in Quebec. So essentially, the French blog is the main one and, by the way, far more visited than the Laidback Gardener blog. On an average day, it receives about 14,000 visits. Yes, that’s 10 times more than the English one. And more French speakers actually “follow” the blog on a daily basis. As a result, the French blog’s subject of the day is almost always that day’s most popular one.
Most of the blogs you read are translations: I usually write the blog in French, then translate into English, although sometimes I write in English and translate into French. Occasionally there is a blog that will be of no interest to the other group, in which case I write an entirely different blog that day in the other language. Today’s blogs, for example, although they both cover the two blogs’ shared 3rd anniversary, required a total rewrite since the statistics behind the two are so very different.
Still, most gardening subjects are pretty universal and go over well with both groups, so I use translations. If you read both the English one and the French one, there wouldn’t be much of a difference.
And the Future?
I make no income from this blog (maybe I will one day: keep your fingers crossed!) and it takes up a lot of my time: hours every day. Whenever I travel, and I travel a lot, I have to start writing blogs weeks in advance so I can maintain the flow.
Still, I intend to keep at it. I have this need to share my passion about gardening and writing a blog has become the primary outlet for that passion. True enough, I lecture widely, write for magazines, newspapers, and other blogs and have dozens of books on the market, mostly in French, but the pleasure of getting up each morning and writing about gardening, my favorite subject, is incredibly satisfying. And I have so many subjects I want to write about. You’d think that, after over 1,000 blog articles, I’d have run out of ideas, but it’s almost the opposite: the more blogs I write, the more subjects come into my head.
There will be one difference from now on, though: I’m going to try and give myself 2 to 3 days off each week and republish previous blogs to fill the gaps. I’ve done so occasionally in the past, mostly very punctual blogs like what to sow over the coming weeks, always something people need to be reminded about, but they’ll be more repeats in the future. I hope that doesn’t upset people who’ve been following my blog since the beginning… and I will mix them among fresh blogs. So there’ll still be plenty of new material, I promise!
My goal is to continue to provide healthy, practical, honest horticultural information, especially information that will reduce the workload in the garden, to readers around the world for as long as I can.
Tomorrow, then, I’ll return to formula of a “blog rich in horticultural information.” But I’ve given myself a day off with this less horticultural blog to celebrate this 3rd anniversary. I’m going to go out for an ice cream later: I figure I deserve it!