The purpose of this posting is to notify readers that “The Wine Commentator” is ceasing publication and that all past entries will be deleted in the very near future.
I can’t say I’m going out of business because this blog has never been in business. As readers may have noticed, the blog is devoid of advertizing and always has been. In addition, as per the disclaimer above, there has never been any other source of revenue or compensation in any form associated with my activities.
I started this blog about six years ago when I developed a severe case of tendonitis and had to have a leg put in a cast for a month. One day, sitting at my computer, I clicked my mouse a few times, typed in a couple of words and discovered that I had a blog.
What to do next?
Some months earlier, I had been trying to explain to a friend the difference between Bordeaux reds and wines made from grapes associated with Bordeaux that were grown in the state of Washington.
“You should write about wine,” he said.
I dismissed the idea at the time, but with a blank blog in front of me, I thought “why not?”
I also decided to test an idea that is central to “Field of Dreams” – the film about baseball: “If you build it, they will come.” Could that be true with respect to the Internet?
Initially, I told no one other than my wife that I was writing a blog about wine and made no attempt whatsoever to publicize it or to optimize search engine results.
The outcome? They did NOT come!
I continued that approach for about five months and during that time, I probably experienced on average three visitors per week.
Then a friend of mine sent me an article from a long-established San Francisco-based wine blog and during the course of reading it, I discovered that the blog invited other wine bloggers to submit their URLs. So I did and my blog joined a very long list. (This does seem to be a popular activity.)
Almost immediately, my traffic jumped to between five and ten visitors a day (as opposed to a week), but when I examined where they had come from, I discovered almost none came from the other blog. Rather, it seemed, Google’s search engine had somehow decided to take my efforts more seriously as a result of the link.
Some months later, Google greatly improved its indexing system for blog posts and I took advantage of that change. Traffic then quickly climbed to about 20 visitors a day and increased slowly but steadily thereafter.
At present, traffic averages about 60 visits a day during most months and climbs to more than double that during the “high season” for wine – the months of November and December. Since the blog was started, there have been just short of 100,000 visits in total.
The number of “readers” is far smaller than the number of “visitors,” however. Most people arrive at this blog as a result of a search for information on a particular wine or type of wine and in the vast majority of cases, what they see here isn’t what they were looking for and they quickly depart.
A small fraction of visitors remain and read some postings – mostly two, three or four, but in some cases a very large number. It’s had to know whether what I have written has been helpful or not: I rarely hear from anyone. (Unfortunately I had to make it more difficult to comment because I started getting spam when it was easy to do so.)
The main reason I have decided to end “The Wine Commentator” is that I have been having a difficult time trying to find anything new to say. In addition, it’s time to move on to other activities.
I’ve personally had a lot of fun writing the blog and as a result of doing so, have discovered and tried a LOT of wine that I probably never would have experienced. It has been fascinating.
Best wishes to all -- including a few who have informed me I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about!
Fowler W (“Skip”) Martin
(PS I would like to thank Google for hosting the blog and diligently indexing the postings even though the company has received no revenue as a result of my activities.)