Building Blog Readership – An Evolving World

When I started this site in March, after I stopped working with Vario Creative, where I had previously been blogging, I expected that the same traffic building steps that had worked for me before would work here.  After 5 months, I can safely say, that’s not the case.

You see, when I started blogging at Vario, the important keys to getting readership were Technorati position and getting trackbacks from other sites.  In today’s world of sploggers and spammers, the trackback is dead, and Technorati is increasingly irrelevant.  In fact, now Google Blog Search is really the source for accurate linking information, so much so that WordPress has a feed of links from them in the blog dashboard.

My stats have been looking really good, upwards of 240 readers a day, but when you dive into them, you’d find that the majority of the traffic is coming from Google and is associated with an image of a shark eating someone.  It’s driveby traffic, they come into the site, and it’s one and done.  No long term readers, no comments, no added value.  Yesterday, Google realized the error of their ways and my image is no longer showing up in Image Search.  The Google well has run dry.

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Week 4 – Online Community Building Field Test

The march to success continues.  This week:

  • We’ve jumped to 112 registrations from the first day of our trial.
  • We’ve had several users starting to post on their personal blogs.
  • I had a request to create a new forum for the Bicycle Commuter – and got the forum up in a couple minutes.
  • We were helped by the news today that Lance Armstrong will return to next years Tour De France.
Again, I’ve been too busy with normal responsibilities both in terms of development (I just had a huge site move to QA, watch for more info on Sept. 18 when the reason for these posts becomes crystal clear) and with my admin/publisher duties for  I guess that helps to highlight that when you’ve got a decent domain, and a fairly well setup site, things can happen without you.
  • A real admin – I’m not the guy to be running this site.
  • More hours in the day – I’m not doing this field test any favors with my effort level.
  • The ability to take what I’ve learned through another development cycle – yes, lessons have been learned. 
  • No email notice of moderation tasks – This is a big issue (but probably not for a more dedicated admin).  I sometimes don’t get into the admin area for a day or two.
  • A better way to see user blogs – I feel like their buried in the user profile and not as easy to find as I’d like.
I’ll continue to follow up over the coming weeks, but I can safely say this is a success at this point.  It’d be more of a success if:
  • I did an email newsletter to users.
  • Started a post of the week contest with a prize.  Recognize the users, and they really take notice.
Perhaps if I could dig up an intern somewhere.  BTW, if you’re into cycling, have some time, and would like to learn about running a community, I have an opportunity for you.