It has been a year since This ‘n That went public and into “Clubhouse syndication”. I want to thank my readers for looking in and would like to present some insights into blogging by way of reviewing what I have learned. Some of these ideas may be useful to your blogging success. Here I will go over some of the statistics, feedback, how to get them, and how to influence them.
My blog is primarily about computing and digital pictures, so being seen in the Clubhouse and subsequently on Windows Live has greatly extended my audience. Chances are better than four to one that you see one or the other of these titles at the top of the page:
The Clubhouse provides a “Your Profile” page for each member with statistics about all the posts that have been syndicated through the Clubhouse. I have submitted some fifty posts and they received over a hundred-thousand visits by way of the Clubhouse or Windows Live Connect. My articles have received a very wide range of “popularity”, the most popular posts have received over a hundred times as many views as the “also-ran’s”.
In the Clubhouse and Windows Live Connect views, there is an opportunity for readers to provide feedback in the form of a “star” rating by just clicking on the rating scale – one to five stars. About one in 400 of the viewers of my posts clicks on the rating option.
There are numerous ways for readers to find a blog. Of course I informed my friends and students when I started This ‘n That. Some even told others. Word-of-mouth, or more likely these days, by message, e-mail, tweet, etc, is the most rewarding way to get readers. As I already mentioned, my wider reach came with the Clubhouse. Members can log in to see the latest posts of all members or find posts by tag or blogger.
Postings are also picked picked up by Windows Live – Connect. On that site, visitors can select blog listings by Windows Live product.
Well-rated posts may get a link on a Windows Live – Explore page. I have been fortunate to get picked frequently. See if you can spot my logo on the Windows Live Photo Gallery or the Photos page. Hitting the jackpot is getting a mention in Exploring Windows or another newsletter. That has been good for thousands of views of the mentioned post.
Many posts are also mentioned on the Windows Live twitter page.
But when someone has a specific question they turn to search pages, Bing, Google, Yahoo, Ask, and others. Search engines “learn and remember” when many users click through to a specific entry. If your blog gets many hits, it will come up in the listings. To my great amazement and amusement, I have such a posting. The earliest post on This ‘n That was about using Live Search (that was before Bing) – that’s what I thought at the time. I used “wicker aircraft seats” as the example in the post. Little did I know, that this is a most fascinating and popular search subject. Not a week goes by without someone looking in on that post. How do they find it? When a user uses Google to look for “airplane wicker seats”, this comes up:
Yep, top listing! Not even any “sponsored” entries ahead of it. First in over a million and a half! In spite of of my swelled head, I doubt that I can ever come close again.
So, to recap, how do folks find my blog?
- Some steadfast readers, students and friends look in regularly. I treasure this small group.
- Clubhouse members follow the up-dated list of posts of members.
- Windows Live Connect is a gateway to finding posts on specific products.
- Highly rated posts are mentioned on Windows Live Explorer pages and this brings a lot of new readers to the blogs.
- Occasionally a link is included in a Windows newsletter – that brings in a very large readership.
- Relevant posts are picked up and mentioned on other blog and news sites, including Twitter – Windows Live.
- Posts show up in search results when folks look for specific information.
I talked about the statistics provided by the Clubhouse. My This ‘n That blog is on my Spaces page. When you select More on your Home page and then click Spaces, you can see statistics for the last day or two.
Here you can see the statistics for your blog and the recent-most views.
For most views, you can see the “referring address”. In the example here, there are two views that came from Google searches. The majority of searches lately have been for “uploading folders to SkyDrive”. Clicking on the referring address, get you to the page the user saw before clicking on the link to the post.
My post is only in second place, but the first one basically says “you can’t”. What is very useful in this, you can see the question the user asked. Knowing what people are looking for, helps me in picking popular and relevant topics. If I have answers to frequently asked questions, my sharing them helps other folks. That is what my blogging is all about.
So, what is my advise for successful, popular blog posts?
You may have knowledge, tips, or advice to share, or write poetry or tell about far-off places. But for success, you must get folks to read your blog. There are two important essentials that journalism courses have stressed since time immemorial. 1) You need a catchy title. That is what people see in the listings, search results, tweets. It must be interesting enough for someone to click the entry. 2) Your first sentence must captivate and hold interest. In our fast-paced world, that is all we get most of the time. The start of the post must be relevant or fascinating.
Once you get a reader past the first sentence you have it made. Just be sure that the rest of the post delivers on the promise of the introduction and pleases the reader. Do my posts do that? Well, not exactly. I have a couple of posts that have gotten only 70 views. I won’t link to them. If you have read so far, I better count my blessings.
Then you must try to get people to find your blog. My story here lists a number of ways. Good luck to you.
And many, many thanks to all my readers for making my first year such a rewarding experience. Just for fun, I collected some of my posts from the first year in a little book. There was a post about that too! You can page around in it, even buy it, at Amazon.