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Blogging workplace

Two years into blogging my stats nose-dived.

What happened? My work schedule interfered with my recreational blogging. I took long breaks between posts. Sounds like a good excuse, huh?

WordPress sent out my yearly statistics with a few pitying words of encouragement, telling me that I had “staying power.”

They were right. I’m still here.

Want to know how I survived?

staying power

First of all, blogging was my hobby, not my job.  Are you selling something? Is blogging your livelihood?

If so DO NOT take an extended leave of absence from your blog. PERIOD. Absence is a sure-fire Blog-Kill. If you are inconsistent about posting, step away from your blog, close it down and go earn a living some other way.

PROFESSIONAL BLOGGERS STOP READING HERE!

But what about amateur bloggers, how should they respond to dismal statistics?

Statistics meme

Most bloggers have another life. They blog for fun. They blog because of the interactions between their readers. However, even recreational bloggers sometimes get depressed and wonder why their statistics gutter and few people come to visit.

If this happens, cheer up! You can fix it!

Problogger, Darren Rowse, in his podcast tells all bloggers, professional and recreational, that establishing relationships among bloggers builds statistics over the life of the blog. Like with any relationship, if you take a blogging break, it’s best to let readers know why and how long you will be gone.

But what if you have never had great statistics? Bummer! What do you do?

Blogger Leo Babauta stated, “I’m often asked, “What’s the most important thing I should be spending my time on as a blogger?”

And my answer is always: Create amazing content.”

WordPress assumed that poor content and bad choices of topics caused my failing statistics. Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, agrees. “The key is creating compelling content that’s worth linking to and sharing, then finding a way to get the word out.”

Like professional bloggers, recreational bloggers need to write something valuable to others.

Four Ways to Tweak Your Content

This first tip is from the mouth of the WordPress statistics machine.

1. Write about what you know.  A few years ago, I worked on a state project to align the Common Core Language Arts Standards with history-social science. I was an expert. My assigned part of the document was “How to Write in the History-Social Science Classroom.” The original several hundred page document, modified beyond my recognition, is probably on the California Department of Education website.

When I started my first blog, I published my original section of the document. That article draws more views year after year than any other post.  WP told me I have staying power and I should try writing similar articles to successful “ones I’ve written in the past.”

I’ll tell you about what happened with that post in just a second.

2.  Write about what you don’t know.

WHAAAAAAAAAA?

Even though WP told me to write more of what I know, most of my readers preferred reading about what I DIDN’T KNOW!

It appears that readers liked to join the learning process. Blogging was my next most popular topic. As I learned, I posted. Educational researchers assert that writing cements student learning.

It turns out that my readers liked that. Why? They read because the post engaged them, as well as the writer, in the learning process.

Often the reader knew more than the I, the writer AKA “new learner,” and they had a valid reason for responding.  Readers engaged because they experienced the same struggles and overcame them. They enjoyed my mistake humor. Whatever the reason, readers engaged on my “for-fun blog” on a real level, and became my friends. My blog did not have TONS of readers, but YEAH, it had staying power because THEY had something to say!

3.  Analyze your stats.  The truth is that I had no idea why people favored one post over another. From the stats, I learned how readers found my blog. In the case of my most popular article, a university professor assigned that article to her students. They came to my blog because they HAD TO read the article. They never communicated with me.

So what if I had great stats with that article? It did not serve the purpose of my site, which was to establish relationships and see if I could write. I dug deeper.

As I examined my stats, my blog more focused on writing, blogging in particular, because those were the readers I enjoyed and who stuck with me.

learning

4. Finally, fix your headlines. Your content may be fine, but how do you know if your headline works? Get ready for this!

This is the coolest gizmo since Pac-Man. I LOVE this site. It’s like playing a game,”What’s Your Best Headline?” Paste in your title. Wait for it…. SCORE! Click here to try it for yourself. It’s so fun!

This post started out with the title, “Three Tips To Achieve WordPress Staying Power.” Score 54. Boring.

So I worked on it until I got the title I’m using. Score 76. Anything around a 70 makes me pretty happy. Even the score 76 is still only a B+ because there are no uncommon words. The creator of this site, CoSchedule also has a free list of power words to help build your headline. Nevermind that they are a site for probloggers who want to market their content. It’s just fun to use the Headline Analyzer, and it’s free!

In case you do not want to always come back to my website to find this wonderful toy. Here is the address again. Bookmark it! http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer

In my opinion, Smartblogger has a better word list. When I inserted one of Smartblogger’s suggested power words into my title and checked it on the magic analyzer tool – BAM instant BIG SCORE!  The Smartblogger words are categorized by emotion as well. Here is the link to bookmark. https://smartblogger.com/power-words/.

I downloaded their pdf and saved it in Google Docs.

How do you like my title?

Happy-New-Year-Images-To-Share-On-Facebook

Kalev3

Kalev likes it, but she likes everything I do.

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

The media transforms the great silence of things into its opposite. Formerly constituting a secret, the real now talks constantly. News reports, information, statistics, and surveys are everywhere. Michel De Certeau

After analyzing the data, if you have a content problem like I did, try this. To pick a good topic: write what you know, write what you don’t know, but are learning, and analyze your stats. Finally, fix your headline.

For more great articles about writing and blogging, sign up for my newsletter and free book, So You Think You Can Blog?

Writing Challenge

Share your post with us here at Just Write.

  • Try one of these tweaks  to improve your content.
  • Write the post on your blog, then share the link to it in the Just Write comment section.
  • If you wish, share the backstory. What was your thinking about the tip and the post as you wrote it? How did the post do statistically?
  • We will check out your posts.
  • Please check out each other’s posts as well. You never know which new friend might be lurking in ours or someone else’s comment section.

Happy blogging!