who is this Lance Manion and why is his website traffic so shitty?
When you have the distinction of having the lowest percentage of visitors returning to your website it requires some explanation. 1.4% of visitors to the lancemanion.com site come back a second time. When I say that this rate is the lowest I mean the lowest of any website that has ever operated on the worldwide web. Ever. Imagine the dumbest website you can possibly imagine and their % is higher than mine.
Down from 1.6% in November.
Even I couldn’t have dreamed that it would all end up so terrible. And wonderful.
Here’s the self-serving explanation I mentioned in the first sentence…
Soon after I graduated from a not-particularly-prestigious college in the Midwest I pulled up stakes and headed to the East Coast. I had moved a lot as a child and thought nothing of leaving all of my friends behind to start a new adventure. In retrospect I fear I might have underestimated the importance of those relationships but what is done is done. Even how I kept in touch shows, in hindsight, a rather odd detachment disorder. Instead of writing everybody letters or making the effort to call them individually from time to time I started The Lance Newsletter. Every month I would mail everyone I knew back in Illinois a magazine that I typed up, copied and threw in the mail.
It was really nothing more than rambling fiction and bad attempts at humor. Despite this, The Lance Newsletter became very popular and my friends would show other people and they would request copies. Soon I was printing off dozens of these odd little fanzines and eventually the cost of mailing them became unsustainable. I couldn’t charge my friends to find out how I was doing.
For those of you too young to remember, Myspace was Facebook’s predecessor.
I simply switched formats and started posting these blasts of stupidity instead of mailing them. The irony is that my webpage has never quite attained the popularity of those Myspace days. Truly the Golden Age of Manion.
After a year or so nobody that I actually knew ever read what I was writing. Honestly, not one. But friends of friends and soon complete strangers (nobody is as complete as a stranger) with a thirst for the profane started reading my page. Once I felt free from the restrains of being held accountable for what I was thinking things really went off the rails.
In a good way.
Many of the stories that found their way to my website started off as Myspace posts.
Then Myspace died. Readers dried up and I was forced to either buy a website or give up writing altogether.
So lancemanion.com was launched at the same time I self-published my first two books simultaneously; Merciful Flush and Results May Vary. And the rest is history.
Proving that something doesn’t have to be particularly noteworthy to be history.
So what was/is the point of this website anyway?
Outstanding question… and one that has been asked dozens of times by readers who think I’m a crazy person for doing it.
I travel a lot and when I drive I listen to mostly college radio. Why? Because every now and then I will hear a song that I’ve never heard before. A song that almost nobody has heard before. A song I will never hear again. And I find that awesome. Like some holistic force in the Universe communicating something to me. It wasn’t the song I wanted to hear, it was the song I was supposed to hear.
The name of the band or why they wrote the song is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that brief burst of obscureness. I listen more intently to the lyrics or the mood of the song because it’s what I’m supposed to be listening to at that exact moment.
If that unknown and under-appreciated group of musicians hadn’t taken the time to record it and release it I wouldn’t have that little moment. It took a bunch of people who didn’t listen to their friends or family or critics about how they were wasting their time and that nothing would ever come from their efforts and instead spent their time and money to make sure that somewhere in the middle of nowhere some guy they’ll never meet would hear what it is they wanted to say.
Do you understand?
I hope so.
But even then, you’re probably saying to yourself, 1.4%?
Keep in mind (another bit of trivia) I have two stories that have somehow gotten in with Google or something because The Myth of Female Orgasm and Memoir: Hearing My Parents Having Sex bring an average of 10-30 people to the site every day. Every damn day. Two of the dumbest things I’ve ever written and THAT’S what drives traffic to my website.
If you’ve ever read either of those stories you’d be surprised if anyone ever came back to my website.
But it’s ok. This site is a hobby at best. I find it therapeutic to write down the dumb things that go through my head every day. Manion obviously isn’t my real name and given that I’ve insulted every possible group of people on the planet over the years it’s very good that nobody knows who I am (including myself most days).
And yes, I know that I’m not a very good writer.
But if this is your first visit here please know that I’m working on it.
But I hope you’ll come back again one day when you need a burst of inspiration. Or want to feel better about your own writing. If you do it might pump up my returning visitor number to 2%!