So, today’s blog is about… blogging! Specifically, it’s about blogging here, but it can be applied to any blog you might want to know about. We did warn you that this blog would be eclectic, didn’t we?
When we began, a couple of months ago, we had a bunch of questions, ranging from “Would anyone be interested in this?” to “Will running the same topic in more than one post in the same week help or hinder readership?” We’e answered those two (yes and help, in case you were wondering), but we know that we still have a lot of stuff that will catch us by surprise.
Nevertheless, I would call the first two months an unqualified success. We kept to the publication schedule, had a bunch of guest bloggers sharing their wisdom on topics ranging from Romance to Awesome High Schools, and we have some interesting stuff in the pipeline as well (for example, if you ever wondered what life was really like in Syria before the civil war, stay tuned).
But what did we actually learn?
Well, the first thing we found out was that having a nice-looking blog interface really engages people. I’ve had guest bloggers tell me that the reason they accepted the invitation was that the blog looks really good – and was even more of a motivating factor than the content which had gone before.
The second thing we learned was that having a Facebook fan page is important, as FB seems to be the place where most people go about sharing links and clicking through – a majority of the traffic we’ve seen has come through FB links. Also, if you haven’t already done so, go ahead and like our FB Fan Page, and you’ll get updates automatically whenever we update the content. LinkedIn, LiveJournal and Twitter feeds have also had some readership, but FB seems to be where it’s at right now.
Third thing – and this one was a bit painful – was that a nicely emotional, personal article will always attract more readers than the most interesting mega-punditry. Unexpected, but true, and probably explained the need to write this post.
These are just some of the learnings – I could also mention the fact that readership grows slowly, in spurts, that no matter how many readers you have, people will be too shy to comment. Or that unexpected topics wake people’s passions – such as last week’s tango extravaganza, which proved unexpectedly popular.
Not so positive things? There were some. If we had to do it all again, we would have launched the FB fan page the same day as the blog itself, so that even the readers who came aboard very early could have signed up for the updates.
And the final thing? The analytics are addictive, especially the map which tells you where people are reading your posts. We’ve been delighted to entertain visitors from every continent other than Antartica… But are now a bit obsessed by the fact that we’ve had none from Senegal or Nepal (in fact, Africa and Asia are both conspicuously blank). Why not? Where are you guys?
We know you’re out there… and we will find and engage you!