This is my 500th post here on the Green-Walled Tower so hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging.
Like any blogger, I’m always trying to grow my readership and I’ve been analyzing how to do that. Here is what I’ve concluded, based on my own stats.
5. Do collaborate.
The best thing about blogging is that there is likely a market for whatever you writing: readers with blogs of their own. If you can join a group (as in my case, Friday Fictioneers or Sunday Photo Fiction) and participate actively, it gives you a built-in audience of like-minded individuals.
4. Do give useful information.
My fifth-highest post, in terms of hits, is called How to Eat a Triangle Kimbap, and is about just that. In fact, a lot of my posts about Korea got consistently more hits than others, since it’s something that people can use in their lives. Granted, I don’t do this much, since I usually can’t resist making up fake information for laughs, like my Rejected Apple Devices article. But useful information is a good idea, is what I’m saying.
3. Do write about things that at least sound naughty.
My third most viewed post is called Getting Naked With Strangers (in Korea). It is all about the experience of going to a Korean sauna. I posted it just like any other informative article about Korea but then noticed in the following weeks and months that it was getting a lot of hits through search results like naked korea, and korean men naked. It’s even had one today, from the search terms naked korean men. This tip is a little sneaky, since it will get you page hits, but probably not readers. I guarantee that at least 95% of the people who have clicked on that blog post did not go away satisfied because my article was quite G-rated. But it looks good on your blog stats.
2. Don’t write serial stories.
This one pains me a little, since I like to longer stories. Longer stories let you explore themes and characters and the only way to avoid posting a 5,000-word post that will be TL;DR’d by everyone who comes across it is to break it into segments.
Now it is possible to write a really great serial story that goes on for a long time and only gets better. Dysfunctional Literacy’s The Literary Girlfriend is an excellent example of this. However, in my experience with serial stories, hits decline sharply as the series goes on. New readers don’t have time to go back and read the previous installments and if they miss a week, it’s hard to catch up.
From what I have found, if you are going to write serial stories, make sure that each installment can stand on its own as an independent story. This is very hard to do, especially once a series gets going. I have also found that when I do post a story with several parts, it’s best to post them only a few days apart, so that people don’t forget what is happening in the story.
1. Don’t write fiction.
This one really kills me, since I run a fiction blog. Out of my 500 posts, 389 have been stories (fiction) but out of my top ten most viewed posts, only 2 of them are fiction and only 10 of my top 25 are fiction. Obviously, I’m not saying not to write fiction or that I’m going to give it up, but if you want a lot more readers, fiction is a difficult way to do it. There are a couple possible reasons for this: people don’t search for fiction online like they search for information and news; fiction is harder to skim when you don’t have much time, etc.In conclusion, there are lots of ways to get more readers but the best way is to produce high quality, creative content. As my sister once told me, “whatever you write, make it really, really good.” This may seem obvious but it’s easy to let things slip after hundreds of posts and just post for the sake of posting. But I’m going to keep trying to think of new, fresh ideas for stories and posts for another 500 posts and beyond. That’s the plan, at least.
October 9th, 2014 at 11:56 pm
Good tips here, David. Of course, I’m in deep trouble over at BeingMG because almost all I ever post over there is fiction, but my stand-alone flashes about vampires oddly have helped me gather a small following of goth types. Another thing that has helped me a little is creating a fiction character that pops up at the top of Google searches. Go ahead, type “Lauren Shrecklich” into Google and see what comes up–I dare you. 🙂
All shameless self-promotion aside, I have become starkly aware recently that fiction writers need to pay much more careful attention to search engine optimization in order to get hits on our blogs. We need to tag genre stories and create characters, plots and fictional environments that will direct users of Google and Bing to our blogs without fail. Sounds weird, but it does work.
Anyway, thanks for the tips . . .I’m off to create my 74th post for BeingMG, which is rather pitiful compared to your 500 posts, but it is what it is.
October 10th, 2014 at 12:22 am
Well, don’t stop writing fiction. 🙂 After all, as much as we want readers, we write fiction for a reason. I know what you mean about the SEO; I’ve been trying to find a way of capitalizing on that too. Two of my stories somehow started coming up often on searches for “drill sergeant” and they’re the two that rocketed to the top of my stats. I just wish I knew how to do that for all my stories.
October 9th, 2014 at 11:26 pm
It’s a process, and with algorithms that change frequently, it”s an ever-changing process. Once I realized that I could use a character name to drive traffic, I began working to tell stand-alone stories about that character more often. In fact, I just checked to make sure it still works, and it does. One thing that also helps is tucking commonly searched terms into your titles. I haven’t had much success with that on my fiction blog, but I’ve gotten some hits on my HubPages articles simply by changing my titles.
October 10th, 2014 at 2:44 am
Congratulations David. Although I seem to go against the majority of those tips lol
October 10th, 2014 at 11:44 am
So do I. 🙂 After all, there are more important things in life than having a million readers. And who knows? Someday…
October 10th, 2014 at 1:52 pm
Yep, someday …
October 10th, 2014 at 5:26 am
#6. Write an article on how to write a blog, increase readership, or blog dos and don’ts because we all write blogs here on wordpress and that’s the most relevant topic to most of us. Just sayin.
Listen, in the end, if I have 20 authentic readers of my blog over the hundred readers who went to my blog by mistake, I’ll take the 20.
October 10th, 2014 at 11:48 am
Exactly. I’d rather develop relationships with real people than have a healthy stats page.
And yes, I thought of mentioning that this type of post might go under “useful information” but I refrained. It’s like a get-rich-quick book that suggests the best way to get rich is to write a get-rich-quick book. 🙂
October 10th, 2014 at 5:58 am
great points David.
October 11th, 2014 at 1:13 pm
I love this…you are so sweet to share this, and I think you have one of the greatest sites going. It doesn’t hurt that you write so well, but I’m never sorry when I visit.
You’re right about longer pieces. The few I’ve written were big yawns. Thanks for this 🙂
October 16th, 2014 at 12:40 pm
I didn’t congratulate you on your 500th post…that’s big. YAY
October 16th, 2014 at 8:40 pm
Thanks! I have a ways to go to catch up to you though. I really slowed down during the summer, but I’m pretty much back now.
October 17th, 2014 at 4:48 am
It’s still a lot…500. Think about it. The time it took..your avid imagination. Impressive.
May 20th, 2015 at 12:57 am
Just saw this post as related and clicked on it, David! #1 is painful, isn’t it? I’ve found it to be true, too. I guess thankfully we have Friday Fictioneers.
May 21st, 2015 at 10:59 pm
Yes, in the end, we write for pleasure and for the people who read it and enjoy it, even if it never gets as many views as a gossip blog or whatever. But yes, I’m glad for Friday Fictioneers.
May 20th, 2015 at 12:59 am
Congrats on your 500th! Even though it was so long ago. 🙂 Wow, you’re so ahead of me!