Monday, April 11, 2011

The hazards and difficulties of online experimentation

One of the problems with online writing is that one occasionally has to experiement. One encounters a gap on one of the online writing sites, and one wonders why it is there. Is it because no one else sees it? Or no one looks for the information that you think should be there? Or is it too much work? Or not enourgh demand? Has someone tried it already and told everyone else it is not worth doing?

Depending upon my mood, I may or may not indulge my curious nature and write something to fit the hole. Of course, with online writing your definition of success tends to be eyeballs on the page. Often one finds themselves experimenting and wondering how long is a proper amount of time before one calls the experiment an utter failure.

It is a difficult call to make. Google takes time to index things. And if the subject is something that is only occasionally of interest, an experiment today that looks like a total bust can have a hot spot a year or two (or ten) down the line. For instance, this year I got a lot of hits on a state of union commentary I wrote when Bush was in office.

I am quite sure that no one was actually looking for that one; I am positive that they were looking for information about the most recent one that Obama did---one that I did not watch because I got no return from the Bush state of union address. *sigh*

Of course, the reason for the extra hits was the fact that the site that I had it on was being managed by a different company and now had a much wider audience share. Which is another thing that makes experimenting and writing stuff that fits into missing gaps so d*** difficult to decide when it is a success or not.

At the moment, I am kicking around all these questions merely because I am experimenting with trying to figure out why such a hole exists on one of the online pageview sites. The set of articles I am writing are on a special type of astrology (the "born on this day" variety). Based on the first couple of days' results, I would have to consider the experiment a complete bust.

Now, I can't give up the experiment yet. One, I have been writing online long enourgh to know that it is a strange market. Two, I really need to have some stuff like this in my portifolio if I ever want to work with a business or publication that does this type of articles. I figured that I need a sample of thirty days to prove that I can do this type of work.

It would actually be easier to do this type of writing for someone other than a pageview site. After all, most publications who do the daily horoscope routine require a smaller number of words per day. I figure I am having to do four to six times the words that I would have to do for a regular client. Plus my initial math, and yes I had to do math to prepare for wiriting of the set, can be reused---I never have to do the math ever again.

Nevertheless, based on the short term, it feels like I am wasting my time. Only time and Google will tell if that is really true or not.

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