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My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Question: How Can I Get Pageview Numbers Like Yours? (FAQ)

You too can make your pageviews into a phallic symbol!

Short Answer: Post free porn.  (Seriously, your numbers will explode--right up until your host shuts you down.)  

Long answer:
I've dealt with some people seriously jealous and kind of pissed off about my blog's performance over the years. Sometimes even friends who have had a hard time not letting that emotion consume them. Some who feel like I'm tricking them or being unfair when I tell them what I know.

This is what I tell them: 

Write five to seven entries a week.  Make most of them 2-3 pages. Over half the entries should be original content of as high a quality as you can produce at that pace. (The other half can be a combination of trying to get people to vote on polls instead of just complaining about the results, link recommendations, personal updates, running gags, and threesome references.) Cross-post everything. Annoy your friends. Slip the occasional really awesome article onto another social media (even though they discourage self-promotion), but not so much that they notice. Ignore the friends who threaten to "mute/unfriend" you if you don't shut up. (Let them. Your other friends will take pictures of their lunches.) Keep going even though you have days where 50 pageviews seems like a big deal. Avoid mobs of your friends with torches and pitchforks.

Keep doing this.

Keep doing this.

Keep doing this.

After three or four years, get back to me.

I know that the idea of writing daily (or nearly so) for years is intimidating. Aaaaaaaaaand you don't have to do it. But you asked, and I'm telling you.

The main problem I see isn't that people working hard can't seem to improve their blog numbers. The main problem I see is that people who post infrequently and sporadically are looking for some kind of shortcut. 

There isn't one. 

I mean, besides porn.

First of all, my blog really doesn't do that well. My Facebook page is kind of jumping, but the blog it's there to promote is still pretty meh. If you live in Ukraine, you might think England is a steamy place for a sunny summer vacation, but if you live in Belize, England is an overcast popsicle. Neither of those opinions is WRONG based on where someone is from and their life experience. In this analogy there are an awful lot of Belizes. 

I self-promote for hours a day (two at least). As of early 2021, on a good month I'll do 50k hits. (It was a lot more for a couple of years, but then Facebook did a massive throttling of pages to try to get them to pay for advertising.) Usually hits per month are somewhere between 30k and 40k.

So let's keep those numbers in perspective. I'm hardly the next HuffPo or Whatever(Scalzi).

Honestly, I don't have a secret or shortcut. I don't want to channel your dad or anything ("The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary, you little whippersnapper"), but there's just no substitute for working hard to produce good content. That's why blogging and e-publishing and the new dimensions of the publishing industry are great for writers who fucking WRITE, but are still not yielding fruit to people who don't apply ass to chair, and why a tremendous number of people who go through all the trouble of self-publishing make a pittance. 

I know a little about SEO because I'm the kind of guy who does my homework on the activities I partake in. (You should have seen me in research mode to find the clitoris.....although maybe another time.) I'm much more interested in the writing itself, so I am more concerned about how much energy and time I'm putting into things that aren't writing — like SEO and self-promotion. I'm much more interested in finding the sweet spot where I'm doing the work I want and slowly growing* than just getting "MOAR HITS!!!" no matter what. I also know that any attempts to "trick" SEO (like with keyword-rich text) are met by increasingly sophisticated search engines changing their algorithms to ignore such tricks. Google prides itself on its ongoing ability to weed out bullshit and keep good articles at the top of a search.

*These innuendo puns really write themselves, don't they?

This means the best advice I can give anyone (that will still be good advice in a year from now) is this: write good, high quality, original content as often as you can and on a predictable schedule. If you do that, your numbers will grow. Maybe not as fast as you would have hoped, but they will improve.

Check out the section in The Reliquary called Blogging About Blogging if you want access to all the wisdom and knowledge I've dropped. I'm not stingy with my insights.

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