Slogging blogging

Now with the horsepower of the Ottawa Citizen behind it and a writer/editor with 33 years of journalism experience plus a joy of commentary, The Bulldog gets tens of thousands of page views a month. – Kenneth Gray

After reading today’s post, I’m not sure what Ken Gray’s real point is. Is it that bloggers can’t get enough readership because their topics are too narrow? Or that they are poor writers, compared to professional journalists?

Tens of thousands, eh? Now that covers a huge range. If it’s 50,000 a month, divided by 30 days (Gray posts pretty much every day) then that is, let’s see, 1666 views a day.

But if tens of thousands means 20,000 a day, divided by 30 days, that’s about 666 per day (note: no editorial comment intended with that number. I’m sure he’s a particularly angelic bulldog).

So, I turn to my trusty WordPress¬†stats page, and discover that West Side Action is getting, ta da, an average of 401 hits per day. If we multiply that by 30, it’s “over ten thousand hits a month”. By an unprofessional writer, with all the resources of his eyeballs, walking shoes, and $150 digital camera, and a small PC in a back bedroom. If I take the peak stats, 1281 views in one day, times 30, I get a theoretical 38,430 hits in a month. Oh la la! All for news and stuff focussed on one small neighborhood on the west side of the downtown, one that generally hasn’t got a name (Dalhousie … wassat? West side … where? somebody lives in Little Italy?) And content is somewhat original, no recycled press releases.

Blogging has a future. Amateur writers have a future. Many newspapers seem to have a past … and I hope they continue into the future.

17 thoughts on “Slogging blogging

  1. For the record, I read both blogs but enjoy (and share) your articles far, far more. You & your blog make me wish I still lived on Elm Street!

  2. I check back daily at your blog and am impressed with the work. You’ve got great original content almost every day. One comment though is I think you should develop some guest bloggers, because I don’t want you to burn out! Perhaps someone could occasionally cover some local Hintonburg developments.

  3. dfg: yes, the big problemo with a single person blog is that it is limited to what I see or do … and I walk and cycle a lot in Hintonburg during the summer, but not when it is icy, except for periodic treks to the great Loblaws in Westboro. Hintonburg coverage picks up in better weather. I do appreciate leads to infills and interesting neighborhood oddities. There will be a series of posts on a Westboro house next week.
    GG: you can always move back. Some nice infills available in my back yard!

  4. Between the two of you, the world is probably paying out enough for what it’s getting in return.

    I’m just not sure about the distribution of that payout.

  5. I’ve found most journalists have become quite humbe with the explosion of social media. However, there is also a persistent arrogance. Ken Gray is a good blogger, I like his work. But there are many other bloggers I like more, some of whom do not have training in journalism but are excellent writers and researchers – and not getting paid for their work (or at least not getting directly paid for the writing itself). Nice to discover your blog. I grew up Britannia and later, in the Carlingwood area, went to Nepean HS, and spent a lot of time in and around Westboro too. Now (after a few stops in between) I’m a New Edinburgher.

  6. Do you count RSS readers? (Either of you.) I read both of you through RSS — that way the content comes to me, rather than me having to keep coming back to you. I only actually click on something if the comments might be interesting, or I might want to comment on it myself.

    I wonder how you’d actually measure RSS readers — and the percentage of the posts in your RSS feed that actually got read?

    (For the record, your RSS feed is much less irritating than Ken’s is, and I probably read a higher percentage of your content than Ken’s, since he mostly reprints press releases.)

    1. David M: I have no idea just how wordpress counts readers. I presume it counts RSS users, as they are probably the majority of readers. I just go to the WordPress Dashboard and a nifty little graph & counter shows the views. I figure if I use the same source all the time, my relative understanding is consistent. I’m innumerate enough to not want several sources or different counters going at once. Thanks for reading.

  7. Like you I did the math on Ken Gray’s page views and wondered about it. His blog is so heavily promoted by his employers that it would be surprising if he didn’t get at least a thousand hits daily – even my little pipsqueak blog, inspired by yours, gets at least 100 views a day:

    It’s all about establishing a ‘niche’ that is neither too broad nor too narrow, and then taking the time to produce a quality product that somehow hits the sweet spot.

    Put me down as a fan of WestSideAction, the only blog I check daily except for this one which has a totally different format and purpose than yours.

    Like you, she puts a lot of work into her blog and posts daily, which builds a loyal readership.

    Your writing and photos are great, and I like the overarching theme that echoes even in the quirkiest of posts. Keep up the good work!

  8. And your count does not include me. I visit every post through Google Reader but don’t always click on the link, so I probably don’t get counted.

  9. In a sense page views are irrelevant- every blogger writes first of all for her/himself, n’est-ce pas?

    My blog would be different if I had fewer readers, but even if I only had ONE reader it’d still be worth doing.

  10. Methinks Ken Gray sometimes deletes unfavourable comments from his blog. Often I see the comments on a particular Bulldog posting reduced from 11 (or 8, 9, etc) to zero the next day. Not sure what’s going on with that.

    1. Hi S-Man, I can confirm that he does, because I make a point of copying the comments I leave on his blog, and more recently, the original Ken Gray post as well, because I have seen him delete both.

      I’ve started an expos√© on Ken Gray on my blog. See relevant posts at and share your story. I don’t secretly delete content willy-nilly or block criticism (thus far, at least).

  11. I knew it wasn’t just my memory running off on me! My comments today in response to the Bulldog blogging tennis match certainly didn’t get printed; I have to assume it was because I gave examples of his one-note, one-sided blogging. That Bulldog reeks of self-righteousness and, dare I say it, NIMBYism. Contradictory posts after contradictory post regarding intensification (he hates sprawl but 2-storey homes belong downtown, not larger buildings – they don’t belong anywhere), the “useless” LRT plan and tunnel (that HE would never use, hence its uselessness), and the act of blogging vs. serious writing.

    I tried to get him to explain the logic of his intensification stance (during last week’s live blog), and how such a view could be replicated in reality (which is what really counts – implementation in real life, not repetition of a mantra with no action), and he simply accused me of “reacting” to his comments, not listening to them. (By that I assume he was offended that I didn’t just soak up his empty ideologies and mantras and go away unsatisfied – that’s what serious journalists do, right Ken?)

    I told him that not understanding a bizarre logic and asking for further explanation didn’t constitute ‘reacting’, rather, it was simple discourse. His answers got briefer and vaguer until he simply stopped responding when I pressed him further on the matter.

    I trust him to interview a federal politician, but for anything community-level or human-oriented, I doubt his integrity. Touting blogs as being bastions of serious, mature journalism, then hitting the convenient delete (or ‘do not approve’) button when questions and opinion threaten your image.

    Stay classy!

  12. Here are some things I’m curious about:

    – Is WestSideAction your first blog? When you started it did you ever imagine that it would become so popular? What were the first blogs that you read regularly?

    – Did switching to WordPress change your life?

    – Are there ever times when you’re working on a post and you’d REALLY rather be doing something else, like watching mindless tv? Is there a downside to blogging?

    – Do you look upon your blog as your ‘job’ now that you’re retired?

    – Would you agree that your blog is ‘Ottawa’s most popular’? Not that there’s any meaningful way of measuring it.

    – Have you ever met Ken Gray?

Comments are closed.