Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Uh-oh! Somebody’s Actually Reading This- Part 2

It’s been almost two months since I made the first post about my blog’s statistics. It seems more than a little bit self-centered to make another one, but I feel like I figured out some things since the last post, so I wanted to do a quick update. As you can see from the above chart the number of views on my blog have increased by almost 3,000 in the last month.

The first thing I can say with more confidence, now that I’ve been able to study it, is the only reason I have even that number of views is…I’ll give you a hint, almost no one views my blog because of my great wit, large vocabulary, and propensity towards extrapolating deeper meanings and life-lessons from science fiction and comicbooks. Instead, I’ve only got these views because I like to use large pictures.

“What if Spiderman had Rescued Gwen Stacy”
and “Childhood’s End” were my top articles at the time I wrote my last post. Since then every time I’ve seen them get hits it’s been though searches on Google images.

What I also discovered is that the Google search engine is more likely to put your image higher on results screen if you have an article title that includes keywords, and have your pictures saved with keywords too, rather then just using something like image_ 1 or whatever code your camera automatically generates.

I tested this theory on a couple of my old articles that hadn’t gotten a lot of views. It turned out to be the perfect month to tweak my old Thor Review what with the new movie out in theaters. According to my Photobucket account, which also has some statistical records, since I renamed the Thor photos in my article and made them more searchable I got 323 views in a month.

The second thing I figured out is that one of the easiest ways to get views is to be a leech. I wrote an article “Meeting the Angry Video Game Nerd.” I wrote it just to get it off my chest, I felt like there was a certain bit of universality in the fact that I felt a connection to a celebrity, but meeting him brought the illusion of that fantasy into harsh clarity. My father used to call this the Johnny Carson effect because Carson said one time that people would come up to him on the street and start talking to him about their sick aunt or that Jimmy just graduated from middle school. They felt so at home with him due to seeing him every night on TV that then deluded themselves into thinking it was a two-way connection. Anyway, the article didn’t get a lot of views until the Nerd himself posted an article and a video montage about the game convention where I’d met him. I posted a simple reply on his website it just said, “I was at the convention too. I met the Nerd and I wrote an article about it. Here’s the link…” And from that I got 386 views on my article in one day!

Here’s a chart where you can clearly see that day where I had so many views. I have to admit I got sort of giddy over it at the time.

My third lesson was to pick popular subjects. The first article I did on the “Game of Thrones” series got some views so I got an idea for the ultimate “sell-out” article. I thought of it as selling out because it was the first time I wrote an article just to see if it would get views. I slapped on lots of pictures onto the article, plugged in some humorous text, and I had a best seller. “The Top 10 Game of Thrones Bad-Asses.” turned out to be the exactly the juggernaut I imagined. It has generated 1,572 views in one month. 474 of those are from image searches for Tyrion Lannister, obviously the fan favorite character.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, "who cares? So some people are looking at pictures you posted what good does that do you?" To tell you the truth I’m not really sure. All I’ve been doing is experimenting and seeing how I could tweak things to maximize views and so far my experimenting is bearing fruit. Now that I figured out in about a month how to get people to look at my pictures, maybe in another month I can figure out how to get them to read my text?...Okay, it will probably take much longer than that.

Anyone got any advice?


  1. Heh, heh. The last thing you need is advice from me, John! But I do notice a bunch of Google hits when I post about an extremely popular computer game or book ("Heaven is for real" still gets a ton of views).

    But since my return visitors statistic doesn't increase at all, it's easy to tell that none of those people ever come back. Of course, I don't have any particular theme at my blog. I just blog about whatever I want.

    If you're really interested in attracting more readers, I think you need to specialize. In particular, if you find a niche that's currently underserved, you could grow rapidly. The CRPG Addict, for example, is a little more than a year old - almost exactly the age of my own blog - but I could only dream of getting so many readers.

    But in that case, I think it was just something he wanted to do, and it happened to resonate with other people. Note that it wasn't a matter of picking a hot topic, but of finding an empty niche (which is a lot harder). There are a lot of people online, so you really only need to appeal to a small subset of them.

  2. Thanks Bill, picking a hot topic vs. finding a niche is an important distinction to think about.

    My blog definitely isn't very specialized I just write about whatever interests me that day.

  3. No, keep writing about your statistics, I'm learning stuff. WordPress Statistics don't reveal as much as Blogger, so I didn't know that searching on pictures might be bringing me hits.

    I think Bill is right and that specializing helps. When I write about SF topics I sometimes get linked from SFSignal. It's those essays that seem to be the most popular. I've been picked for StumbleUpon a couple of times, and it was for science fiction essays too.

    And I suppose if I want regular readers and subscribers I should probably pick a topic and stick with it. But I'm all over the place.

  4. I find I have to beg SFSignal to link to me and in general they aren't interested in reviews. But it is great when they are willing to link to my articles.

    I've never used StumbleUpon, is it worth checking out?

    Glad you got something out of my article and thanks for the feedback.