As March winds down, things have never been better at Mark's China Blog.
The new year of 2009, and especially March, has seen exponential growth in traffic here. It looks like there are going to be just about 5,000 visits and 7,000 page views for this month alone.
In addition to increased traffic, the comments left by you, the readers, have never been more plentiful or of higher quality. There have been numerous instances where user comments have clarified a point I'd made, given a different perspective, or have simply refuted what I'd written. That is great.
Over the past few months, there have been a number of links from influential outside sources referring to my blog. I want to take a minute to recognize these instances.
Blogs.com, a site that tries to organize the blog-surfing experience, rated Mark's China Blog as "One of the Ten Must-Read China Blogs" on the internet. Being on this list with some of the best China bloggers out there is flattering.
The Wall St. Journal's China Journal has linked up to a few posts of mine over the past few months. Getting recognition from such a storied enterprise is awesome. Sky Canaves and the other writers at The China Journal do a really good job of keeping a pulse on China news.
Chinatravel.net and the editor there, Rebekah Pothaar, have been very kind to me. I'm happy to have cultivated a relationship with them and hope to continue to do work with them in the future.
The wildly popular website, The Shanghaiist, has linked up to my site a number of times.
But by far the biggest endorsement I've received over the past few months is from Richard over at The Peking Duck. If you're not familiar with The Peking Duck, it is one of the longest-running and highest-quality blogs about China. Period. I've been reading his blog for years. For him to give me the ringing endorsement he did last month, well, it really makes all the trouble of writing this blog worth it. His link in itself has tripled my daily traffic.
I'm not posting these things to brag or say that I'm great or anything. I do want to give credit to the the people and places that have helped me get to where I currently am though.
Over the past few months as Mark's China Blog became a China news commentary site, I've certainly alienated my friends and family who, for a couple years, had been coming to my site to read about my daily experiences and thoughts on living in China. I wrote the more personal kind of blog for about two years. At some point (in 2008, I think), I just got tired of doing that. I felt my knowledge of China had grown to the point where I could do more than talk about the cultural differences I found interesting and post photos from my various excursions.
I feel as though my personal experiences are still, in fact, very present in the present form of Mark's China Blog though. I certainly get into the nitty-gritty of China news, but always try to add my own perspective for relevance.
Updating the site daily with fresh China news and then commenting on that news is turning into a real passion of mine. I really like the way this blog is going. I hope that you, the reader, are learning something about China as we go along. I certainly am by writing it.
Some people may not understand why I put in the effort to this blog. I don't have a very clear answer for people who ask this question. I'm not getting rich (in fact I'm making $0 off of it). I'm not getting famous (I'm not deluding myself about the endorsements that I've received over the past few months). And I'm not sure if all the time I'm putting into this will ever help me get a job (I'm not holding my breath about ever getting the chance to be a professional blogger, although being a full-time blogger would be incredible).
Saying that, I'm going to try to keep going with what I'm doing. The intellectual, cultural, and maybe even spiritual growth that I get from writing Mark's China Blog is more than enough satisfaction to keep me writing. I can't guarantee I will continue at the furious pace I'm going at now (88 posts in 88 days so far in 2009), but I will keep doing what I'm doing for as long as I can.
If you like reading Mark's China Blog and have some extra money sitting around (since I know everyone does these days), feel free to donate whatever you want to me and this site. Again, I'm not blogging for money. But I wouldn't be opposed to earning a buck or two if you think this site is worthwhile to donate to.
If you do want to contribute a little bit, click on the PayPal "Donate" button on the upper left hand part of the page.
Thanks for reading Mark's China Blog. I'm glad that you are exploring China with me.