W00t! #2 of Fastest Growing Blogs

February 14, 2008 at 8:56 am | Posted in Blogging, Lent | Leave a comment
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Yesterday was a busy day on this blog – too bad the Fastest Growing Blogs counter on the dashboard became defunct soon yesterday (and still is now) as it usually means an extra boost of traffic once you get on one of their global charts.

Stats

Lent Logo 2008 Let’s also say something about Lent, shall we? I’m still not particularly enjoying it (but I guess that’s not the point of Lent, is it?) – on Sunday when we took a walk around Kahlenberg and spent some time on their churchyard, I even fantasized seeing chocolates on the graves. Can craving get any worse? What it factually was were just the remains of some Christmas ornaments, a pine cone iced with fake snow and wrapped in cellophane. And yesterday my boyfriend brought home half a dozen of Fasten yogurt drink bottles which he got for free somewhere. ‘Fasten’ means ‘Fasting’, particularly fasting practiced during Lent – but I am not sure whether the amount of fructose it contains makes it a truly eligible lent candidate… it sounds like something you could actually enjoy:-)

Boosting Your Blog Traffic, pt. 3: A Little Help From Stumbleupon

May 15, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Blogging, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment
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Not that the world’s been waiting for it, but at last, here is a brief review of my experience with Stumble upon. When my boyfriend introduced me to Stumbleupon about a year ago and after I had played with it for while, it made me realize (maybe wrongly) that the web for the first time could really be something like the new television – a medium that simultaneously instills a lean-forward AND a lean-backword attitude in the viewer.

Leaning back had in the past been particularly difficult with the world wide web. Of course you have youtube, dailymotion and Google video, which is more or less the illustrated audio track of TV crammed into the resolution of a 600 by 800 screen, and with a crappy image quality. And that’s precisely the problem about this approach to web TV.

The approach Stumbleupon takes is different. It is a listing of many different ‘interesting’ (as judged by the users) web sites, but instead of having to go through these listings, you can simply specify what your interests are ONCE, and then (and after installing the Stumbleupon bar of course) you can just lean back and enjoy. Well, almost. You still have to click the ‘Stumble’ button of you want a new suggestion, and sometimes pages don’t load promptly. But it’s still the best lean-back experience I’ve had with the web so far.

The suggestions are user-submitted and, similarly to digg.com, users can decide whether they like a website or not. I use Stumbleupon mainly for a little diversion, and my preferred sites offer optical illusions or games. I hadn’t even thought of using it for News and Politics, although it offers a much wider variety of categories in comparison to digg.com.

When, however, one of my own blog posts attracted the insane traffic of over 1,500 on the day of the French elections (because the title sounded as though it offered the results of the elections – unfortunately it only covered the first round of the voting), a few souls also clicked the ‘End Guantanamo’ banner in my sidebar. One of these kind souls submitted it to Stumbleupon, with more than 180 hits coming in in the first night. Numbers have since then dwindled to about 3 to 5 visitors a day from Stumble upon. I suppose that, when a page gets first submitted, Stumbleupon sends it to the screens of a relatively higher number of users in order to have a base according to which to assess the site.

So this has, of course, not been a major breakthrough in blog advertising, but I am happy if just one or two of these 200something visitors downloaded or forwarded the logo. I know that conversion rates (i.e. the amount of people who visited your site AND took the encouraged action, in our case: downloaded or printed or forwarded the logo) for such scenarios are very low: 1% would be a good result.

And I am actually happier about those 234 recent visitors to the End Guantanamo site than I am about the more than 1000 that were misdirected to the French elections page. I am investing my hopes in those tiny steps that might make a difference…

P.S. The one thing that I am not so fond of regarding Stumbleupon is that you can also (and of course – this is capitalism, attention is being marketed) buy screen space from them. They have a kinder word for it: Create a campaign, and once you start this process it takes a few more screens and steps until you realize that this will cost you $0.05 per visitor. I wonder how this interferes with the quality of their site listings – for the moment they should be fine, but once the subjective content to advertising ratio (as judged by the users) is suffering, they’re in trouble (and rightly so:-).

In other words: I those 234 hits that my blog received via Stumbleupon, had been generated as the result of a ‘campaign’, it would already have cost me $11,70. Interesting, isn’t it? Attention is an expensive commodity. If each hit my blog has received so far had been worth 5 cents, I would already have earned $850.

This post is part of a series: Here is part 1, and here part 2.

Boosting Your Blog Traffic, pt. 2: A Little Help From France

May 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Blogging, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment
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On the 23rd of April, I published a little post about the results of the first round of the elections in France, titled Elections in France: the results. It was nothing special, and I do admit that my resolution of coming up with one post per day is not showing an utterly favourable effect on the quality of my posts. What the heck.

A week later I began noticing that this post attracted a tad more attention than it had attracted while it was ‘fresh’. The obvious reason: People were expecting the results of the second run-off of the French elections.

On Sunday the seventh of May, the day of the second round of voting, I noticed in the afternoon that the traffic on this particular post was going up to something like 70 (which is a lot for one post on my blog). I was about to leave home to meet a friend, so as a kind gesture I included a link to a page on LeMonde.fr where the results could be expected. Since most visitors were probably British or American – neither nationality known for their proficiency in foreign languages – I don’t think this was of very much use to them.

When I came back some time past 9pm and checked my blog I gasped: 1002 hits on just this post! And it did not even contain the results! I felt a bit sorry for the people who had come to this page in vain, so I quickly began editing and updating it. But the traffic had since long begun to falter, and no more than 78 more hits came in over the following five days.

What does this mean for the blogosphere? It means, the hype about grass-roots journalism not withstanding, that blogs are no good for current news. On the contrary, it shows that current news events, just like allusions to sex and a bit of pornography in your tagging, can be instrumentalized to boost your blog traffic.

I did obviously not instrumentalize the elections in France consciously, but it is easily explained how I could have done that: The majority of visitors came in not via wordpress tags, but via search engines. How? Because the original post was two weeks old and thus old enough to have entered the search engines.

This was the first boost. The second wave of traffic was ushered in by the startpage wordpress.com, where blogs and posts of the day are featured. It needs a bit of a foundation in terms of traffic to get onto this page, but once you’re there, you’ll get even more. Or as the German proverb would have it: ‘Der Teufel scheißt immer auf den dicksten Haufen’ – ‘The devils picks the biggest turd to crap on’.

The post ended up in the top five posts, and the blog in the top 20 blogs of the day, with my ugly mug appearing somewhere on the wordpress front page for a little while (as a thumbnail, but my mug nonetheless).

So: If you want to use a current event to increase your blog traffic, be sure to have a suitably titled post published two weeks ahead of the time of the event, so that search engines can list it, and then hope to enter the wordpress.com top 20.

This involuntary traffic operation had one positive sideeffect though: 217 people in the past seven days were directed to my ‘End Guantanamo’ page. And every visitor on that page COUNTS! This effect can partly be assigned to the End Guantanamo banner you can see on the side-bar, but mainly to the workings of another public opinion tool like digg.com.

Which one? I’ll tell you tomorrow. And this time, it wasn’t me who submitted the page:-)

P.S.: This post is part of a series. Here is the first part.

Boosting Your Blog Traffic, pt. 1: A Little Help From Britney

May 12, 2007 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Blogging, Britney Spears, Tagging, Tags, Web 2.0 | 5 Comments
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Last week I tried to boost my blog traffic by heeding Lenina’s advice that a bit of sleaze cannot harm anybody (actually, it can) but is good for the traffic. I blogged about Britney Spear’s latest publicity stunt. It was a rather bland post and didn’t even contain images or video (only links to images and videos), but the title was reminiscent of a Britney Spears title and also contained a reference to the last Hasselhof PR disaster. For further enhancement, I used rather salacious tags, such as ‘upskirt’, ‘boobies’, ‘nipples’ and ‘nude’.

Furthermore, I submitted the post to digg.com, which was probably a bit of a cheat because the only reasonable category was Video>People – as mentioned, it only contained links to videos and thus circumvented digg.com’s own recommendation to link directly to news stories and videos.

But boost my blog traffic it did:To this day, the post has only received one digg (which was my own), but it never the less helped to drive the traffic figures: In the past seven days, the post has received 802 hits, because people click on many more stories published on digg than they actually digg. ‘To digg’ a story means to express that one likes it by clicking on a ‘digg it!’ button. The more diggs, the higher the ranking on digg.

And these are my traffic ratings of the past eight days – the Britney Spears post was published on the 6th of May:

03/05/2007 – 75 views
04/05/2007 – 77 views
05/05/2007 – 75 views
06/05/2007 – 339 views
07/05/2007 – 1589 views
08/05/2007 – 295 views
09/05/2007 – 186 views
10/05/2007 – 149 views

Tomorrow, I’ll explain what happened on the seventh of May. It had nothing to do with Britney’s tits at all.

What to do if you’re blacklisted?

April 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Blogging, Spam | 3 Comments
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It seems as if my blog is now rated as ‘spam’, because anywhere I comment my comments go immediately into the moderation queue. And while I don’t consider this an outwardly political intervention, I am beginning to wonder whether this might have to do with my “End Guantanamo” banner – at least temporally, there seems to be a connection:

StatsApril.jpg

Traffic had leveled off at about 200 a day (the left most value was an aberration), and now it’s gone back to an average of 60, which I had in my very first month of blogging – in spite of taking to the heart some of Lenina’s advice on increasing blog traffic (actually, only the last one, the one that I care for the most: post regularly).

I mailed the WP team about being blacklisted, and they referred my to akismet.com/contact, but they never responded nor did anything about it. So do you think that it’s possible that there is a connection to the Guantanamo banner? There’s just a handful of blogs where I post regularly, and even on Jetsam’s blog I suddenly found myself blacklisted (it’s o.k. to comment on a blog once one of your comments has been approved).

That’d be really sad for the blogosphere if it responded that sensitively to political intervention of the most modest kind:-(

Yesterday also proved that the opposite of one of Lenina’s pieces of advice may work: She recommended to refer to current news stories – the slow food approach would be to write pieces of eccentric interest and wait for the stray reader to come.

And yay! Yesterday somebody found his or her way to my blog using the following search term:

butterschiff means

And here’s the answer to that question;-)

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