As a newish blogger there is a lot to learn: how to post a blog, links, adding pictures and other media, and what the heck is a pingback and a blogroll? I thought content would be my big problem. You know, thinking of things to write about. It turns out I can always find something to write about, but is it something you would like to read about? How do I figure out what you like to read? So I entered the world of stats.
Stats is a mysterious land that tells me how many people actually visit my posts each day. I think. I really wasn’t sure. So I started clicking on anything that could be clicked on and was surprised at what I found, and what I learned.
Lesson 1: Write from passion. Have something to say.
The idea to start a blog came to me in 2010, four years ago, and quickly stalled out. Three months ago, I committed to writing, motivated by the death of Robin Williams. The responses I received surprised me. While I was interested in my earlier blogs, they lacked the passion, the urgency to communicate, that was now aroused within me. I had a message that I needed to share. This is in fact my most viewed post. But this was not the only lesson I learned from studying the stats on this post.
Lesson 2: Use titles to drive search engines, as well as categories and tags.
I have no doubt that the main reason this is my most read blog, is because Robin Williams name is in the title. I had zero followers at that point. Someday, maybe my name will be enough, but until then, I need to use what I can to get my work out there. Close behind this post is another one, for an entirely different reason.
Lesson 3: Make them laugh, but also give something of substance.
People love to laugh, and If a Man is in the Woods is a funny post with a sensitive side. This post deals with something all of us are concerned about, relationships. This post got the most comments, but comments are not the only measure of how a post is received.
Lesson 4: Just because they aren’t commenting doesn’t mean they aren’t reading.
When we sit in a room by ourselves reaching out with our words, we wonder, “Is anybody out there?” Some people say they only write for themselves. I wrote for myself for years, in notebooks, stored on my computer, and there is a privacy setting that allow you to do just that. When we hit the publish button we are reaching out. We want to have an impact. One such post is Safety Dejavu. This post received one very long response, with one very long reply back. Given my readership, it was very well read. The other thing I learned from my stats, is that even people from Facebook have been reading, even though most have not commented or liked. It is good to know my friends are supporting me, if silently.
In general my 37 posts show my readership is growing. I’ve learned to use pingbacks and what a blogroll is, and bunch of other stuff thanks to Blogging 101.