Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Active versus passive blogging.
Clearly we have been doing something right. Photo by Louis.
Like many writers, I have a blog on Google’s Blogger. Others use WordPress or another service provider. I actually have four blogs, as well as being on blogging sites. Some of these include Hubpages, Squidoo, (where I have nothing posted,) then there’s Tumblr, Pinterest, and some other places. You can blog on Goodreads, Book Blogs, and probably others.
The trouble with a blog is that it tends to be passive. We put share buttons on them so that anyone that enjoys the content or finds it useful can share it with friends or followers.
That’s fine as far as it goes. How did the readers get there in the first place?
By signing up for Networked Blogs on Facebook, when I post a story or article on Shalako Publishing’s blog, it automatically pops up on Facebook on my Shalako Publishing author page.
That’s all well and good. This resulted in a few page hits a day from people using search engines, and a small spike here and there when I posted something. A very small number of people are actually signed up to follow the blogs—maybe a dozen on Shalako Publishing and exactly three follow the ‘badpoetsclub.’ When I post something new, a few of them probably do check it out.
Getting blog followers is quite difficult. It takes a moment to sign up, but readers don’t necessarily want to be bombarded through their inboxes with post after post. It doesn't take long before people turn off notifications altogether, which is why I blog twice a week, and try to keep it relevant.
How then, was I to get more page-views? This is important, as the material posted on the blog says a lot about us, and of course I have all the ads down the right side where people can click and take a look at my books in various places. While it is hard to estimate just how many people click through and look at a book, or how many of those actually click on the ‘buy button’ on Amazon, Smashwords or iTunes, we can say this much: some will. I also believe that ‘interest,’ the very fact that someone looked at your book, has some weight in the ‘product presentation algorithms.’ If someone buys your book, and then another one, the next guy that comes along may see the proverbial, ‘people who bought this book also bought this one,’ or ‘people who looked at this book also looked at this one.’ You want your book to be in there.
So all we have to do is drive up those numbers, right? Bearing in mind this is all part of a larger strategy.
What I have been doing is to look at older posts. Some of them can be rewritten, enhanced, perhaps relevant links added to them. If I have an old story on the hard-drive, I can take a look at it, stick it up on one of my four blogs, and see what happens, for surely posting new content regularly is one way to build an audience, (or drive up hits.) I routinely do this with all new content now. But the older materials can be recycled to some extent. I have the poetry blog, a French-language blog, and a blog which I never promote. That one has had 150 page hits, mostly indexing hits by search engine bots, and it serves as a control blog—that’s how many hits you get in a given time period with a static, totally passive blog which is not updated too often.
So what we do is to click on the title of the story. Then we copy that URL with our mouse. Then we close down our blog for a while and fire up Tweetdeck. On Tweetdeck, I manage three Twitter channels, and I can post to Myspace, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I’m putting out on six channels, and this is to a total of several thousand people, not all of whom are viewing at any given time.
What this means is that you can repost later, at a different time. Make your writing work for you.
Then I go and post on Reddit, Digg, and any other place where I can get away with it. I say that because Squidoo for one is looking for all-original content. The basic technique is to blog twice a week on Shalako Publishing, but by reposting and recycling, we can make it do the work of ten passive blogs. If it takes an hour to write a good post, and another ten minutes to ‘spread it around,’ that ten minutes of time is a good investment because it multiplies effectiveness by a factor of about ten times.
Watching your stats.
Watching stats might sound boring, but you can learn a lot. I saw that an old post, ‘Kobo not recognized by PC,’ was getting the odd page hit. It was just a short little story. Clearly, people were having trouble figuring out their Kobo…they were Googling it to find out what to do.
After some thought, I searched through my e-mail and found Kobo’s response to my question. I stuck it in the story. After more thought, I engine-searched and found Kobo’s help page on their website. So I added another line to the story and put that link in there as a service to people who were obviously having the same problem as I was. Also, having links in a story, and traffic generated by them, drives up our ranking with the search engines, for those people who randomly search or have just heard our name somewhere.
There is no single solution to generating traffic.
Getting results and data from experiments.
What we are doing is getting results and data from our experiments.
Incidentally, our ‘Kobo not recognized by PC’ story pops up on page one of the the Google results, and we did that without even half trying. If I had more tips and information to put in that story, I would do it in a heartbeat.
The Shalako Publishing blog had about 5,900 hits in two or three years of blogging. Not too impressive, right? The badpoetsclub had 100 hits last month in total.
This month I’ve gotten about1,400 hits on Shalako Publishing. Just to replicate the experiment and the results, I posted a couple of poems and got 39 page hits so far today on badpoetsclub, including one comment, which happened within minutes and was completely unexpected.
Comments add weight to your blog.
Encourage people to comment on your blog.
Comments also add weight in search engines, as well as activity of any sort. With a scientific application of some pretty basic principles, we are well on our way to somewhere between 15,000 and 35,000 page hits this year on our blogs. That’s a lot better than a couple thousand a year.
If one in a hundred clicks through and if another one in ten buys a book, this will have a significant result on sales, and of course name recognition and blog followers are good things too.
Comments are always welcome, and if you have some simple tips you would like to share, please feel free to do so. I don’t have a donate button, but you’re always welcome to share, re-post, or link to this post within your own blog. Please have a look at my books, I'm a professional writer with 29 years of experience and there might be something there for you.
P.S. Here’s one criticism of this blog: not enough pictures.
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