Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On using the "f" word: What Works in Blogging

Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897)
Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While my blogger friends were talking the other day, the subject of readers, comments and success came up. We all love to have readers and encourage meaningful comments and suggestions. In fact, response from readers is a measure of our success.

For example, today I received a book suggestion from Early Retirement Journey for a book relevant to the post about Mississippi finally getting their name on the list of states that ratified the 13th Amendment.
CommentMy first thought on hearing this was "You can't make this stuff up." 
I would also recommend an absolutely excellent non-fiction book written by an educated, former slave titled "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs. Harriet is amazingly articulate, and this book, released first in Europe in 1851, didn't make it's way to mainstream America until 1973. Harriet's story, beautiful and articulately written, makes it crystal clear that slavery corrupted every single individual involved, up to and including the North, particularly after passage of the Fugitive Slave law. 
Nicely enough, it's in the public domain, and therefore available as a free e-reader download if you are interested. 
This is the kind of exchange bloggers love. Meaningful, articulate and interesting!

Building Blog Traffic
Linda Myers of Bag Lady in Waiting was with us on that day the bloggers gathered and she told us that she wanted comments from people that were fellow writers or had something to add to the conversation. We all agreed  that a return comment is the polite thing to do but sometimes is very hard. Our blogging life depends on courtesies like this but when a commenter doen't read the blog and leaves a comment about their own life that does not apply to the blog post, we are put off.  Sad but true!

Sadder yet is the fact that success in our world is dependent on getting traffic. Building a relationship with fellow bloggers is one way we can do that. Some very successful bloggers have built a great following that has emmerged as a brand name.  They have succeeded by just being attentive daily to those people that read their blog and leave comments. Good or bad, they keep returning the comment favors. I admire their work.

I might add here, that I am not so successful that returning the comment favor has ever become a burden in anyway.  I love my readers really and always respond to their comments in my blog and will visit their blog before long or even add them to my blogroll in the sidebar. I love that my success rate fits my needs. I also encourage people to leave a blog address in their comments or even the link to their business as long as they add something to the conversation. Some of the most interesting bloggers I know are in business.

Words that Build Traffic
That brings me to the "f" word post I put up on Monday. See, I am a former teacher and in my world the full "f" word was not actually spoken...ever. In fact, "f word" has become symbolic even with the general public. The fact that I put "f word" in the name of my blog post and it brought in so much traffic I was astounded is very revealing.  We all know that a giant up spike in my traffic on that day had to do with readers curiosity and even prurient interest. Or it could be that people are looking for reasons that the "f" word would be important in some way. It is really is very interesting.

If you didn't read the post, the three words I was speaking about were friend, flower and fences. I confess that when I wrote the title, I knew that it was pushing the envelop. It is fun once in a while to throw out a hook and see who bites.  I did that very thing a while ago when I wrote a blog inviting spam. That hook did not draw many in at all. Oh well!

So there you have it...a little glimpse of life inside the mind of a blogging woman of a certain age.  Any bloggers have additional thought on what works for them? I would love to hear them.

Be well.


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  1. I know that, for every one person who reads a blog post of mine, four to five arrive on the page and leave without a comment. I'm curious as to why that is.

  2. Several points well taken, b+. I've come full circle on the banality of comments such as 'lol', 'I agree', or 'me too'. I find them, well, you know... Now I've become more accepting of them and those who key them. At least I count them as readers and not only cruising through. (Right, Linda Myers?) Enough said-comments that are thoughtful, meaningful and carry the conversation to new places are most valuable.

    And how about the Mississippi book surfacing after so much time. And even for free. Who can resist?

    You asked for other ideas to garner traffic? What about video-original, self made pieces, not those regifted from other sources. I appreciate a 30-60 second piece that makes a point, even if it's someone in front of the camera of their cell phone.

  3. I love following you...even watch on FB and the tweets. Problem is I follow TOO many and have to skim through as fast as I can sometimes, let alone post on my own blog. When we hit the road, hoping to have more time to participate :O) One reason I like the "like" on FB...nice to get a heads up someone is at least enjoying the material. Wish a good way to par down links but I just can't get enough:)

  4. Linda,

    It occurred to me that leaving comments is a tricky thing. If we arrive on your blog, for example, and love the post but have nothing meaningful to say beyond 'nice post', a fellow blogger will probably leave.

    I noticed that on blogger on the layout page inside the edit blog post box there is a place to check so that people can leave a reaction. I cannot get it to work on my page but maybe you can. I have fiddled with the html on the template so that may be why.

    If you tell people what you want them to do, it does help. Ask a question that they can answer and that may also prompt more comments.

    Good luck.


  5. Michael,

    The video idea is sensational...this is the kind of thing that keeps me blogging. I love new tricks and widgets. This is a fun concept. I am not sure how that work on blogger though. Do you have a website that I can visit to help with adding that feature?


  6. Cj Cozygirl,

    I know what you mean about the time spent visiting and commenting. It is almost like the tail wagging the dog. If we can't write quality stuff because we spend our time trying to comment on every blog in the world, we are missing the point don't you think? It is just a thought.


  7. Dear Barbara, thanks for stopping by my blog to leave a comment on my Wednesday posting. I'm glad for that because it's led me to your blog and I found this posting speaking of the wonder of blogging and its pitfalls as well.

    I've met so many wonderful bloggers whose words speak to me often just when I need to read them. They have often helped me put my day into perspective.

    As to the titles on postings--it's so true that something like the "f word" will bring readers who have never before been to your blog. But perhaps once they arrive they find a common sense and a sensibility that speaks to them. I have in reading this posting. Thank you for it. Peace.

  8. Dee,

    You are so welcome. I visited this afternoon with Linda Myers and she would agree that the connection with so many wonderful bloggers is really what it is all about.

    Be well.



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