What have the two in common? Nothing really, but they both have a similar effect on traffic to this blog.
Here’s the skinny…
When I posted the Chuck Norris blog I also submitted it to some social network sites (digg, reddit, stumble…). My traffic spiked considerably for a few days. I was surprised at the popularity of the subject. But social networks have a tendency to move on and so does the traffic they bring (in most cases). However both the posts mentioned above still continue to draw regular traffic to my blog everyday.
Here’s what I have learned:
Make Them Laugh
Popular humour can draw visitors. Personally I’m terrified that Chuck will discover who I am and roundhouse kick me to death. But offer something that will make people laugh and there’s a good chance they’ll find it, either by referral, by search or by social networks. Humour does not have to be an actual joke. It can be in the style of writing etc.
My writing lacks both humour and style. This is a serious blog.
Give Them What They Are Too Afraid To Ask For
Browsershots.org enables web site designers to see how their site will display in multiple browsers across multiple platforms. The popularity of the browsershots post made me realise that there are a lot of web designers out there that don’t know how to check there sites across multiple browsers.
This is interesting because there’s much talk about web standards and cross browser compatibility in the web design community online. I mean all designers know this stuff, or at least the talk in forums suggests they SHOULD know! Maybe those who don’t know are too embarrassed to ask their fellow designers for advice. Not knowing this stuff quickly becomes unacceptable and rather than ask, web designers are keeping their mouths shut and thinking ‘I better find out how to do this myself’.
That’s why they’re finding my blog post on the subject. Because I’m telling them something they feel they can’t ask their peers about.
Something To Ponder While You Should Be Working
- What questions are people too afraid to ask in your industry?
- Can you answer their (unasked) questions in your blog/website?
- Can you do it in an entertaining way?
If so you might have a killer traffic combination. Just like a double foot roundhouse kick to the chops from Chuck Norris himself!
If you have the guts to comment to this post work away. Or why not subscribe to my RSS feed? I did.
The point is that even on a busy/bad day Seth gets his posts out. He’s reduced his text to a title and and a few words in a post as follows:
Thanks for that Seth.
Now we can all sit around and speculate about Seth being a pure genius or just plain lazy. What’s important to pick up from his short post is the power of mailing lists. Yes, I probably would not have clicked the title of Seth’s post were it just another piece of noise floating around the internet. But because I subscribed to his blog I tend to give him a minute of my time (his blog is well worth signing up for!).
So the lesson for me is that mailing lists work and can work really well. Even when the list holder is being lazy, having a busy/bad day (and just trying to get his posts out) or a genius, which Seth may or may not be.
Another interesting lesson from Seth’s post is still to reveal itself to me. That is, will I pick up traffic from this trackback? To be honest I couldn’t give a hoot as my blog is all but fully neglected right now, but as an experiment it will be interesting to see the results.
Who know, if it does pick up some traffic I may even post about it tomorrow, should I live that long.
Just keep blogging! 🙂
Categorize Your Blog Posts
I recently published a three part series on the topic of blog categories and why less is sometimes more. You can find them here, here , here and here, read them in any order you like, they will change your life.
Anyway, Bonnie kindly commented asking an excellent question to do with filing posts under several categories, as follows: “Why won’t you return my calls? I left like 19 messages on your machine! Call me!”
Sorry, wrong question, read on: “BTW, what’s your opinion on filing a post under more than one category (i.e., an article with SEO tips for blogs might be filed under both “SEO” and “Blogging”)?”
Are You Single?
Okay, at a guess I think that it is best to file a post in a SINGLE category, here’s the theory bit…
Search Engines appreciate topic focused writing and being asked to split their attention between a couple of categories from a single post has to diminish the value they put on the specialist nature of that post. I reckon anyway but what do I know?
If the topic of a post is about ‘blog categories’ and the author mentions possible ‘SEO’ benefits in the post, it’s probably better to file under ‘blogging’ and link to the ‘SEO‘ category or a specific post (just as I’ve done here). Sounds like ‘much of a muchness’ but I think the subtle difference is enough to make this a sensible practice. Are you sensible?
By following this practice you are telling the search bot that the main topic and the majority of the post is dedicated to blogging. You are also letting it know that you mention SEO in the post and that readers can find out more about SEO elsewhere in your blog (or another website). That’s why only the text relevant to SEO is linked out.
Search Bots Travel Buy Links, You’ve Just Greezed Yours Up
Filing and linking like this will benefit your reader by giving them further content relevant to the main topic, giving them an opportunity to expand their understanding of the overall subject. Search bots will like you because your post is subject focused while giving them good internal links to other relevant topics. Search bots travel buy links, you’ve just greezed yours up.
Be careful, Search Engines will love you for this but your readers may become obsessed with you. You’ve been warned…
To Mugshot or Not To Mugshot? – That is the Mugshot
I suspect it is important to add a photo of yourself to your blog, especially if you’re a model or something super like that. So should ‘regular Joes’ stick a mugshot on our blogs? Here’s my thoughts on the subject for what it’s worth.
- All the top bloggers do it so there must be something behind it (Darren Rowse, Yaro Starak are two)
- People recognize you after a while and may be more inclined to stop and read your posts
- Stalkers have something to…eh…focus on!? – Hey, stalkers are people too!
I recently added a photo of myself to the header image of my blog because it was quick and easy to do. I haven’t the time to customise the entire site at the moment (I’m lucky if I find the time to get even a couple of posts out a week!). So it’s a little bit of easy customisation, I wonder will anyone even notice, or care?
How To Put A Face On Blogging
If you’re new to blogging and if your blog is hosted with WordPress, rather than a private server, and you haven’t customized it so far, why not do the same? In your WordPress Dashboard go click the ‘Presentation‘ button and then click ‘Custom Image Header‘, the rest is a piece of cake, you’ll figure it out.
Put your photo in your header image and comment this post with your URL! There’s no time limit. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!
This is the last of three posts about blog categories and why less is sometimes more. Previously we’ve looked at blog categories from the perspective of search engine placement and the blogger’s perspective in relation to focus and avoiding bloggers block. Now let’s approach it from the third and equally important perspective, the reader.
Your Blog Is Not About You It’s About Your Reader, blah-blah…
How many times have I come across that statement or something along that vein? Don’t believe it. Your blog is all about you, your interests and your passions. You’re writing for yourself. When you get more traffic to your blog it makes you happy. It may even make you some money. You You You, your blog is for YOU!
What About The Reader?
You and your blog need your readers to keep the blog alive. You know the saying, “people speak just to hear themselves speak” is only partially correct. We also speak because we want other people to hear us too. We want other people to respect our opinions, to see us as being interesting or witty or insightful or whatever.
That’s why blogging is so appealing to the masses; we want someone to listen to us, ya’ hear me?
Blogger’s Ego – Readers Required
So now that we have identified the needs of the blogger we now know that the reader is essential to the growing needs of the blogger’s ego (which expands with every new visitor and deflates with a drop in numbers). The reader has the power to make or break you, to turn you into a quivering mess, so best to make things as easy for them as possible if you want them to come back to your blog.
Important, Readers Time Is At A Premium
How do we do that? Well one way is to make it easy and quick for them to find what the hell it is they are looking for. If they are reading your blog on their 45minute lunch break, chances are you’re not the only virtual destination on their list so time is important.
Lot’s of blog categories means lots of scanning and looking for one of interest. When the reader finds one they think fits the bill they click it, wait for it to load, have a quick scan of the posts and decide if this is what they are looking for; if not it’s back to scanning. If this goes on the frustrated reader will be off checking their mail, looking in recruitment sites and so on.
Speed Up The Selection Process And They May Read A Post
Just make it easy for your readers by staying focused on your topics as part of a single theme and by keeping your blog categories to the minimum. This will make the reader’s selection process much faster, won’t offer too many distractions and they may actually read a post or two instead of just browsing your blog categories.
Remember, if you want your readers to admire your intellect, your humour, your humanity, they have to read your posts first!
Show me some love, make a comment and turn me into an egotistical monster!
This is part two of a three part series about blog categories and why less is sometimes more. Part One Is here.
It’s a Categorical Fact Yor’ Honour
In the fist part of this series I proposed a theory based on may years of research, and countless sci-fi movies, that there is a search engine optimization (SEO) benefit to keeping blog categories to a minimum of related topics.
This second post deals with the human side. I offer my experiences as a fledging blogger struggling to avoid or overcome bloggers block. No, you are not alone!
Bloggers Block Kills Blogs
Bloggers block is a blog killer. Every blogger learns that we should post daily if we want our blog to be successful. Suddenly a hobby, a mild interest, turns into a “success or failure” activity.
You love your posts, you reread them and admire them daily, you view your stats constantly, each new visit a personal triumph. You realize if you want to keep getting that ‘hit’ of seeing your stats go up a little over a week or a month that you will have to blog more, probably daily! But it’s a lot of hard work, and what to blog about?
Congratulations, you have now reached the point of make or break. You will either find a way to continue blogging and improving your writing and increasing your visitor base or you will crumble under the pressure and become not a ‘writer of blogs’ but a bitter ‘commenter’ on other peoples blogs. Shame on you! Shame on us all…
Good News, It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
No it doesn’t. There are practical steps you can take to reduce the scourge of bloggers block. One of them is to keep your list of categories tight. Do not make a new category for every second post!
Stick to absolutely necessary categories ONLY and write about what you know and are interested in ONLY. Sticking to a small amount of blog categories will help you to keep focused on writing about what you know best.
YOU Can Be THE Authority
Following this advice will help you maintain your interest in your blog. An other benefit to this approach is that you will research and learn more about your categories as you are forced to push your knowledge further beyond your comfort zone. You will soon build up a large backlog of blog posts of ever increasing value and quality, all relevant, all focused on your core theme. You will also become an authority on your core topics in a relatively short time.
Too Much Choice Is Sometimes Bad
Bloggers tend to have curious minds and will jump from one subject to another. Too many categories offer too much choice, so keep it tight and become the specialist you were born to be.
I Have 15 Categories At The Time Of Writing This Post
You can probably see that a couple of my categories could be merged into one or deleted from the list. I will have to cull! It will be interesting to see how many blog categories I’ll have a year from now.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
We all know we should post at least once a day to build and maintain our presence on-line, but if you miss a few days don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s not the end of the world. Just keep blogging!