Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Keeping My Balls in the Air

Bill Rogers of the WDR Consultancy blog has written a piece wondering if I can keep my blog and radio interests "in balance". He has identified something which I have always known would be a real challenge, and I don't pretend I am finding it easy to maintain the blog as I used to before the election. Even with the addition of Grant Tucker to the team, I know I am not being as prolific as I used to be. Here's what Bill says...

Dangerous ground for a minnow of a blogger, but is there a slight drop-off in
the range and impact of Iain Dale's Diary ? One of the "daddies" of UK political
blogging, Iain is now also almost a full-time host on LBC, and more and more of
his posts are trails for his show, or tales about interviews. Can he keep radio
and blog in balance ?

Alexa, one of the big sites tracking website data, says the diary is down 7% in daily reach over a month, and 31% over three months. I also quite enjoyed this analysis. has a three-month global Alexa traffic rank of 123,471. About 82% of visitors to the site come from the UK, where it has attained a traffic rank of 5,524. It has a relatively good traffic rank in the cities of Sutton (#38) and Thame (#39). Compared with all internet users, appeals more to users who are aged 35–45 and over 55; its visitors also tend to consist of childless, highly educated men earning over $60,000 who browse from work.

I suppose with traffic figures you pays your money and makes your choice. If you use Google Analytics traffic is actually up 9% in October compared to September (117,000 absolute uniques over the last 30 days), although it is 15% down if you compare the last 3 months with the previous 3 months. Actually, that's not as bad as I had expected because the previous three months included the election and coalition building period.

Doing two full time jobs (Biteback and LBC) was always going to have some sort of impact on blogging. The fact is, I used to do a lot of blogging in the evenings at home. I'm now never home in the evenings, and frankly, when I have finished doing a 3 hour radio show, the last thing I want to do is sit down and think of something to blog about. I am sure readers understand that.

This is and will remain primarily a political blog, but it is also a diary, which is why I do write blogposts if anything unusual happens on my LBC show. I is a big part of my life now, so of course it will figure here. A blog is evolutionary. If it remains static it will lose appeal. Part of the appeal of this blog, I think, is that it has always been quite prolific. Fifty per cent of you come back three times a day and expect something new to read when you return. I'm very conscious of that, and will try to satiate your appetites, but some days, I am afraid it's just not possible, and I am sorry about that.

I am never going to get Grant to write blogposts in my name as I think that would be cheating my readers. If he posts on the blog, it will be in his own name. Maybe I should ask him to do a bit more of that. What do you think?


Paddy said...

Iain I've been reading you since 2005 and never commented before. Being realistic we all know that circumstances change and that has been reflected in the drop off in content from you.

To be honest, what I would like to see more of, even if it's less regular than it used to be, is political analysis. Guido is increasingly doing more on deficit reduction etc. which is to his credit. I enjoy reading your blog most when you are fair to all parties but still critical when appropriate. But of course your life is your life and you decide your priorities. Just don't give in completely!

Plato said...

Iain, I live nr Eastbourne but listen into your LBC stuff every night as it's excellent and an thousand times better than endless footie on R5.

I'd rather have 3 hrs than the odd lack of blog post.

Carpers need to grow up - its not like they pay for the content.

tradingaswdr said...

An elegant riposte, and as speedy as ever. I'd expect nothing less....

Anonymous said...

Since you're so busy, why not a spot of (signed) delegation?

See how it works out.

Tapestry said...

LBC is adding to the blog, getting you closer to the public. These nutters are just carping.

I prefer Tory Radio where you are obviously more free to be occasionally outrageous, and that Jonathan gives a great working class Tory view of the world.

Tony said...


You describe yourself as a political commentator on your blog but seems to me that first you are a publisher, have been for some years now, recently spending nearly as much time on broadcasting with political commentator well down the list.

Perhaps the blog should just reflect the way you spend your time rather than the way you used to spend it. Better good at one or two things rather than ....?

Anonymous said...

When people have grumbled about the blog in the past, you have made the obvious point that it's *your* blog and it's free, and it's yours to do what you like with.

Since you have asked for opinion, however, I regret the predominance of LBC material here, just as I would regret the intrusion of your West Ham blog. I'm not interested in football, and I'm not interested in LBC.

I come here for informed political opinion which is Conservative-ish, the -ish being vital because you are even-handed and not polemical. I can overlook your uncritical worship of Mrs. Thatcher, because you seem to have the confidence of the current crew in government, have an insider's knowledge of what's going on and why, and talk good, analytical sense.

Guido has taken a clear stand on morality in politics, and is a must to read. When your blog becomes something I can live without, I'll live without it. Sadly, I can see it going that way. I'm not interested in the LBC stuff, because I don't listen to the radio in the evenings, preferring to spend quality time with my family. Maybe the people who phone your show are very different from the lunatics, geriatrics, security-guards and truckers who seem to be the stations listeners during the night. That's when I have a choice of World Service, R5 and the foreign stations; and that's when LBC is truly dismal radio. At either end of the small hours, I have heard Clive Bull and Steve Allen, and have not been impressed either.

So, yes, I think you're spreading yourself too thin. Are you a businessman/politician, or merely a media-whore with opinions on everything; Polly Toynbee in drag? I would ask you to stick to Biteback and politics, but do it your way - with or without me.

Weygand said...

I don't feel that Iain will be encouraged that the best support so far posted is that "the blog is free" and "it's your blog" and that "carpers are nutters".

It had seemed to me that his ambition had always been to have a blog that set standards and was a 'must read' for anyone interested in politics - and I believe it has become so.

However, given the number of other commitments, a choice has to be made. Either the bog can remain personal but less authoritative or remain authoritative but with less hands on control.

I favour the latter.

Ron C said...

I am a happy recent reader but even in a few months I can see more "on my show tonight" posts. Suggest you do delegate to up the political analysis. We need more cogent thought which is not left wing biased. Channel 4 and BBC News are getting me down.

Anonymous said...

I like that it's Iain first, politics second.

Give the young lad a shot.