A few months ago, I signed up for Google Analytics so I could track traffic to my photography site, and while I was there, it gave me the option to “add another website.”
I’ve been tracking my blog hits for years, but I thought, what the heck? It might give me some different information, so I added it.
Then I promptly forgot about the entire thing.
It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I wanted to see how many hits I was getting. A few photographers I've befriended revamped their photo blogs recently, and I questioned the monthly hosting cost and whether they really thought it was worth it.
When they explained that their blog was getting about as much traffic as their main flash site, the host of which the three of us all have in common, I started to reevaluate mine. The dump I call a photo blog.
To give you an idea of how pathetic, I update it even less than I update this one these days.
Yes, that bad.
But I’m a firm believer that social networking online is better than any paid advertising. I’ve gotten more business from my Facebook fan page than almost all of my advertising dollars combined. And I spent almost a grand on that in the last few months with both bridal expos.
So then I started to take a harder look at my business’ web presence. And my personal web presence, too. And I remembered that analytics account.
I’m happy to say that my photography site’s hits are up more than 200 percent, but that still pales in comparison to the traffic I get here, which is up, too.
Then I started comparing things like time spent on each site, referring sites and bounce rate. It all looked pretty basic.
Then I clicked on “countries.”
In the past few months, I’ve gotten regular hits from Poland, Iceland, Ireland, Indonesia, South Africa, Chili, Venezuela, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Russia, Portugal, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Pakistan, India, Malaysia and, of course, the U.S. Because I know my mom reads.
That floored me.
Then the internal debate started.
I wondered what the hell I was doing trying to half-ass another blog when I already have the most awesome readers on the entire planet. A site I’ve spent years and years pouring my heart and soul into.
On the other hand, do I really want to mix my personal site with my business site? I already feel somewhat limited in what I can write because I value my newspaper job, I want my family to respect me and I want to maintain my husband’s and my daughter’s privacy. Do I really want to add another layer of personal censorship?
I’m an open book in a lot of ways, but there are some things I wouldn’t want to share with my clients. And I might feel the need to keep it perpetually perky.
Which I’m not.
This is my outlet when I’m working through some difficult emotions. That doesn’t seem to mix with a sneak peek of my latest photo sessions.
Speaking of that, if I combined the two, that would mean you’d have to read about my studio specials and promotions. Not to mention the difficult decision of whether to keep novelle360, which has become a part of me, or get rid of it because it might confuse clients.
I could add an explainer in the “about me” section, but that just seems like a mess.
But I also know that I need my professional blog to be relatable, to tell a little bit about me, to reflect who I am — not just talk about how much an 8 x 10 costs.
So this is my quandary for the moment. To merge or not to merge.
On the pro side, it would likely mean more frequent updates until my schedule miraculously lightens. It would also feel great to have a one-stop spot, rather than feeling twice the guilt if I haven’t updated both in awhile.
I mean, it’s a lot to maintain a personal blog, a professional blog, a personal Facebook page, a professional Facebook fan page, three personal e-mail accounts (don’t ask), a professional e-mail account AND a professional website.
Not to mention my family, my full-time job and corresponding with clients.
And then I wonder why my house is a mess.
So I guess I’m looking for advice. I’d like to know what you think. You rarely steer me wrong. And this time it may affect what, how and where you read me.