I started on Hubpages back in 2010. The biggest lesson I learned here was to create each post as a single, stand alone, magazine style article.
I took that lesson and applied it to my own sites. My main website now gets around 350,000 views/month.
The problem is, I talk to "bloggers" in "blogging groups" and they are very confused. They all have "post schedules" and "promote their new content." They're always busy "posting content for their regular readers".
I publish 12 posts in a day then don't write anything for 2 months. I hide my new content and promote my old content. I go out of my way to avoid "sponsored posts" and all my social media is automated. I prefer new first time readers because they click more adverts.
Anyone else occasionally network with bloggers and find they have a completely different mindset? I'm almost to the point I just avoid blogging groups altogether, as it's like a journalist trying to network with a poet!
I avoid networking with writers, period.
Sometimes, in the manner of things, I meet someone on writing sites and over a period of time, we become friends, but groups?
What you are doing is good. My best way of working is to observe what works when something takes off and replicate it.
The best advice ever but then that is something I have grown to expect from you. Love your website.
I think it's the conventional, and I think misguided, wisdom out there in the blogging world that writers must constantly post content. Like you, I just post stand alone articles, even on my own sites. The logic, which I think is correct, is that the people find the article in the search engine, so all is well.
You mention that you use an automated social media; I assume that is so your new posts will be found by searchers. What method are you using, and how often/where are you posting? Thanks.
I use Edgar to automate my posting. Honestly, less than 10% of my "social traffic" comes from my social pages. Nearly all of it is organic social traffic, because I optimise my articles for social sharing.
How do you determine your topics? That's my biggest issue. I also rely on search engine traffic.
I use a Wordpress plugin called Revive Old Post and it tweets links to my content at random. I use Edgar to post tons of funny topical cartoons, quotes, tips etc, which are stored in its library - it starts at the top and reposts them all when done. I think I have about 150 on there.
I meant topics you write about initially. There are some topics that get traffic and some topics that don't get traffic. The trick is to write about something that many people are looking for but few people write about. That's where I have difficulty. It's a hit and miss affair for me.
My main website is about pregnancy. It's a high competition niche, but I use Google suggest and write about all the topics with no competition.
Thanks. The clue is write about an aspect of a topic that is not often written about. Thanks. Good advice.
The interesting thing about blogging is that it can unearth some topics that you might think were well covered by websites but in fact are not.
I rank #1 on Google for several topics which I wrote about because I was interested in them. I'd done precisely zero research - I write about what I like not what I think people are looking for. It turned out nobody else had done a halfway decent job of writing about said topics and mine started to come out as top response to the queries on Google.
That can then lead you to look at related subjects and micro-niche areas - and before you know it you have another website needing to be built....
My best advice to people is make blog stats your friend - you can find out an awful lot from them....
Your way is better for your monetisation strategy. Ideally, if you are building a readership of regular visitors, followers, email subscribers etc, you are doing so to maintain a relationship with them, build trust, and market your own products and services. With AdSense and affiliates, you want new visitors, rather than a following.
I just started building a little Blogger site and I've been thinking about the blogging vs article site thing you're talking about here. I do see the benefit in writing search-friendly articles rather than attempting to attract a readership via frequent blog posts, and that will likely be my strategy more than anything.
So, how do you handle dating your posts? If I date them like blog posts eventually many posts will look like old information, even though I intend to update them and keep them fresh the same way I update my Hubs.
Is it smart NOT to include a date at the top of the post? And, is it okay to update the posted date (which shows up in SERPs) when the post is updated, or is that seen as sneaky and misleading?
On blogger the original date in included in the url anyway, so it almost seems pointless to hide the date.
Google knows when you're cheating by changing the date.
Think about it like this - what does Google have a big down on? Answer - anything which cheats the consumer as to how current and fresh and relevant the content is.
I've read articles by people who thought it clever to do this and I seem to recall they regretted this.
You can of course change the date any time around the time of posting - but doing so sometime after the event (months, years) is unlikely to be a good idea. That's because Google takes a dim view of misrepresentation.
I presumed they would know, but wasn't sure how they'd view it. If a significant update is made to a post, maybe a refreshed date would be okay. Or maybe they'd just think it was manipulative no matter what.
I know you have blogger sites. How do you handle it when you refresh an old post? Or do you just write a new one with the updated information?
If I do a significant update to a post - I leave the published date "as is" and then include a very clear message e.g. UPDATE AS AT 11 DECEMBER 2015 and box in the update so it's clear where it starts and finishes.
The alternative is to do a brand new post - reference the old post with a title/link and maybe a brief summary of key points - and then include all your update in the new post. That way you generate traffic for the old post as well as the new post for those who are interested to read the background.
I tend to favour the latter unless it's a minor update such as "this book is now out of print and only available via second-hand bookshops" type of update - and as indicated I'd just include a date with my update comment. I certainly would never update the date of the original post.
The golden rule to avoid annoying Google is be completely transparent and never ever attempt to do anything which they might construe as deception.
For the record - a very good guide to what to do is to think about it as a consumer. For example - is a date relevant or not?
If the information you are writing about is enduring then there's no need to worry about the date posted on the content - because your readers are unlikely to be concerned about it.
However if the topic and content is current then of course the date is relevant. How would you feel about people who recycled content and made out it was completely fresh when it wasn't?
Okay, so say you had a post about something like "10 Best Illustrators of 2015". I have no idea if you'd write such a post, but say you did. When it comes time to write "10 Best Illustrators of 2016" maybe eight of them are the same people.
Thus, you'd basically have two posts (or maybe more, depending on how many years you did it) that had nearly identical titles and much of the same info (at least as far as headers, etc). No concerns there?
Here on HP, I'd just update an article like that to reflect the new info (I'd leave the year out of the url of course).
On Blogger, it sounds smarter to write a new post, as long as there are no dings for having several posts with similar titles and content.
I'm the same! In fact I'm worse, because I don't work online much at all - so my "blogs" get a new post added once a month, if that. They do not get anything like your readership, but they have jogged along at the same level for years now, quietly earning a monthly income.
I learned a lesson a long time ago from the Nerdy Nomad. She spent years trying to "build a following", i.e. attract regular readers. Eventually she gave up - because, as she said, she found that "regular readers don't click on ads". To earn PASSIVE income (i.e. from affiliate ads and Adsense), you need NEW readers from the search engines, looking for answers and therefore willing to buy - not people who visit regularly to enjoy your articles.
If you want to make money from regular readers, that requires a whole different approach which is much more active - not for lazy people like me!
Too true! I keep meaning to "start a list" etc, but oh gosh, that sounds like so much work.
Now that's a gold nugget of info - I'd never looked at it that way before! I shall look at my split between new/existing readers in a whole new way in future!
My take on it is that
* AdSense tends to work with new readers (i.e. regular readers are typically adblind) and
* Amazon tends to work with people who already know you (i.e. trust your recommendations).
I find writing to be a solitary endeavor and using a website is for information purposes. A blogger writes to keep engagement from others for the most part.
Yes, a website does have followers and you have impressive numbers due to the popular subject.
A blog has to be updated constantly to keep interest.
Not so - a blog needs to be updated in a consistent way to gain readers.
It actually doesn't matter whether it's seven days a week, twice a week or once a month, if your blog posting has some degree of regularity to it then people are happy to follow.
The people who never get followed - unless they are outstanding - are those who are completely ad hoc in their posting and can be characterised as 'infrequent' at best.
I always look at how often somebody posts before deciding whether to follow them or not. What's the point of following somebody who posts less than 10 times a year?
This is a really stupid question. Why do people follow people? Do you have a list of attributes so that one can possibly work with them?
My answers are based on blog polls I've run on my blog in the past.
If you want to know what interests people or why they do what they do ask them a question and give them a poll to answer. I've found out loads of useful info that way.
Mind you - you do need decent traffic......
I can post every day for a week, then not be able to post for a few days, every day again for a few days, nothing for a week, etc.
Do you feel it would be better to hold off on those posts and try to be more regular? (Just twice a week, every week, for example?) I would not say my posts are infrequent, but they are inconsistent.
My advice to bloggers has always been to find the rhythm which works for you. It's different for everybody.
I spent years doing a blog post every day. Now I'm older I aim for 5 a week but don't beat myself up if I have some nice days out instead.
Some people like to sit down and do a week's worth of blog posts in one sitting and then schedule them to post every day over the coming week. I've never been able to do that - but I do sometimes write two back to back.
Some people like to post quick short posts every day to maintain regular connection with readers. The trick there is to use your expertise to provide a good piece of information every time.
Not being able to post is about either not having enough to write about on your specialist topic or being creatively exhausted.
I find hanging out on Facebook or relevant groups/forums gives me stimulation for the things people want to know about. It's more 'what do people want to know' rather than 'what do I know that I can write about'.
The trick to blogging is preparation and pacing yourself. I found one of the ways of creating a rhythm within a rhythm - which avoided having to dream up new topics was to:
* create a draft post every time I thought of something which was a good idea for a post. Sometimes it's just a title, sometimes it's a title and some quick notes and/or a link to more info. That gives you something to look at when trying to come up with a new topic.
* created regular spots for eg a weekly round up, a monthly poll, a weekly question for discussion - something you do which creates a routine for other people as well. These then create followers within followers for people who like this sort of thing
* schedule a proper "time off" period every so often where there's no need to think about blogging. That deals with the creative exhaustion.
* most of all - just find a pace which matches your own particular creativity.
This all comes courtesy of 3,000+ posts on my main blog and some 800+ drafts I never got round to writing up! (Mind you I still go through them when stuck for a topic!)
I would say have a schedule. Many blog platforms allow you to write posts, then schedule them for publication in the future - which is great if, like me, you write sporadically. I once sat down and reviewed my collection of DVD's, which produced 24 posts, then scheduled them to appear once a fortnight - thus providing a whole year of blog updates!
I think the line between a website and a blog is extremely blurred these days.
It comes back to the question of whether you want to attract followers (i.e. people who are interested to read each new post as it's published), or readers (i.e. people who will want to search your archives for posts that are relevant to their particular situation at the time). You can do either or both with a blog.
In Wry's case, most of her readers would be interested in the posts that apply to their particular stage of pregnancy - and they're all at different stages, obviously. So the newest post may not even interest them, if it happens to be about an earlier trimester or about a problem they don't have. So for them, frequent new posts are not that relevant.
And this is the point - when you think about most subjects, unless it's topical, there are going to be just as many readers - if not more! - interested in old posts as new ones. So people will stay interested in your blog even if you're only updating once a fortnight or even once a month, because it offers them a valuable ongoing resource.
I totally agree about the audience for past blog posts.
The key to unlocking that audience is to link back to past posts and use a really good labelling/tag system. That and good titles and writing a meta description for each post makes all the difference.
Plus I'm a big fan of LinkWithin!
My follower asked if I would stop posting for a while as his migraine had reappeared.
I think it depends on your motivation. There are many famous quilters who became quilters by writing regularly and offering lots of free patterns, etc. They became famous by offering all this free stuff, and then they published a book, which people were willing to buy because of all the helpful information they got from these quilters. These followers will probably buy all new things put out by these famous people, but a lot of it is the community and camaraderie and frequent posts. They will also travel and pay to see these quilters in person. I don't think these quilters would have gotten as famous if they didn't have the frequent posts and free stuff so that their name was associated with the articles. Yes, it is a lot of work to maintain this strategy.
The HubPages way is a different strategy and works differently. You are not promoting yourself as much - you are promoting your content. Of course you have to show expertise on the subject, but that reader is looking for specific information and will take it from anyone who can provide it, while the reader who is reading the quilt blogs just wants to get their quilt fix, and is browsing more than looking for info. Yes, they will also search for info from time to time, but they mostly come to the quilt blogs just to see what new content is posted there.
"Do Bloggers Find Your Methods Strange?"
Nah, but they do find me strange.
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