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Blog Theories

Getting Visitors to Your Blog
I have been writing blog pieces for some years now. Since the early months of 2004.
Periodically the question comes up: how do you attract visitors to your blog?
There are many answers to this question, some of which I list below, but the first question you need to ask is what do you want visitors for? For it is very, very, easy to get lots of visitors. You simply post lots of pictures of naked women (easy assuming you can find the women to pose naked in the first place of course). You’ll get lots of visitors. Ah, but are they the right sort of visitors? So what or who, then, is the right sort of visitor?
Henry David Thoreau wrote in his diary on 28 October 1853, about the dichotomy of getting his writings published, versus writing as he wanted, see Thoreau’s Journal Entry on Not Finding a Publisher and What Success Really Means. The question is not a new one. The answer is a new one though, because now, with Blogging and the internet, it doesn’t cost you anything to be self-indulgent over this. That must be technological progress of the most beneficial kind.
I would argue that the right sort of visitor is someone who is at least a little bit interested in what I have to say.
And what I have to say may be of minority interest. I might be out of tune with the preoccupations of the many, and in that case I can’t want or expect to be attracting hordes of visitors unless or until I choose to compromise my views. And if I am out of the mainstream; if those who are interested are but a select few, then that is something to be pleased about and strive for, seeing as how I don’t intend anyone any harm. Being a part of a minority is an especially comforting thing if you look around at the majority and see a great deal of conformity and subconscious manipulation. A very fine thing indeed.
My travel pieces fall into that category a bit, for rather than describing the glitzy glories and wonders of the tourist world, I am more intrigued by the bizarre behaviours its inhabitants get up to. In that sense my travel pieces are unlike classic travelogues, and so are not read by many. That’s OK, I feel I have something to say. As with Henry David Thoreau, my time might come – or equally it might not, but then again as with Henry David Thoreau, I probably won’t be too bothered, seeing as how I most likely will be dead at the time.
That said, writing anything at all must have as an underlying basis the idea that someone out there will feel interested to read it, and comments can be very useful, leading to further lines of research. If you do it all wrong, no one at all will look, whether they are the right sort of visitor or not. So here are some theories I have about doing it somewhat right. On Popular Posts I analyse some of my own blog pages, to see which ones get looked at most.
Doing it Somewhat Right
1. Some would say post daily. That’s probably right, but I don’t do that. Though it’s probably right. My life is too interruptible to post daily, and I only want to post when I feel I have something I want to say.
2. Use pictures. That’s probably right too. I don’t always do it as I don’t always have the right pictures. For myself, I would rather write a pure piece with relevant pictures or no pictures at all, than a contrived piece with fillers. But then I’m a purist.
3. Stay on topic. I have noticed quite markedly, that the blogs devoted to a particular topic get more visitors than those that are a jumble. If like me you are a polygob, make a number of separate blogs.
4. Choose a popular topic. Aside from porn, soft or hard, certain topics seem to achieve greater attention, among these are:
travel (of the non-cynical kind)
a place or location
something that many people feel they need an answer to, among the distressing uncertainties they find themselves presented with day to day – fonts, for example, which appear so unexpectedly as a topic when someone buys a desktop computer
There are probably others.
But if, like me, you have certain esoteric interests, such as in my case from time to time the readability of coloured text over different colour backgrounds, then that could reduce your potential for getting visitor numbers quite a bit over someone who is keen on, say, nothing but trains (though my pages on colour theory don’t do too badly in terms of visitor interest, in point of fact)
5. SEO. Search Engine Optimisation. This is really nothing more mysterious than putting the key phrases at the head of the page. My blog piece titled High Heels and No Knickers has been the top of Google’s search list for that phrase for at least two years. It surprises me too. The title is a kind of parody of the saying, ‘Fur Coat and No Knickers’. In terms of number of visitors, it attracts a lot, though I suspect many end up disappointed (and it’s amazing – or maybe not – how many people can’t spell knickers). Lots of visitors, but this doesn’t greatly excite me, aside from the social experiment
6. Index. Blogging software doesn’t always index pieces terribly well, you may have to do it yourself (as I do). I find it works. People finding one piece click on another. On a blog with a lot of articles you may have to make a context index, i.e. an index that lists other pieces on more-or-less the same topic as the page you are looking at, rather than listing everything. I believe this can work well too.
7. Social media. Google Plus and tie-ins with Facebook, Twitter and the like. I don’t make much use of this, for I am not writing a blog in order to collect friends, praise, or followers. I am doing it to fill a gap in the world’s collection of knowledge by my contribution, and to practise writing well (with what success is for others to decide). So I can’t comment too much on this, though I know that people say it works well, if virtual friends is what you’re after. My blog pieces that get automatically shared on Google + and Twitter get a fair few looks shortly after they have been, but whether that is by anyone who has any interest whatever in what I have written, I have no idea.
Have I missed anything? Please let me know if you think I have.


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