Posts Tagged ‘blog’

How NOT to attract traffic to your blog

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Log in to your blog. Wait for the statistical figure to show. Fingers crossed—wish Total Views number surprisingly skyrocketed. “What the hell is wrong with people? Why don’t they read what I write?” You wonder.


Yong checking his blog view statistics

Almost all rookie bloggers fit into the profile I just described. Don’t feel ashamed if you are one of them, even if you are already a veteran blogger.

It is human nature to be noticed, cared, praised or criticized, and liked or hated. Your blog is part of you. It wants spotlight as well.

Basically, every blog is important to at least 5 people: your father, your mother, your husband/wife, your kid, and of course, yourself.

But you want more people to read what you write up there, make their comments, or just leave a smiling face like :-).

How to generate traffic

So you learn to write online, fighting some old habits of so-called “good writing” in the traditional sense.

Thanks to David and Paul, two funny lecturers who specialize in online journalism, I now have some golden rules for online writing, including blogging.

  • Write for Google search engine (SEO).
    Over 40% of all traffic to a site comes from Google search. This doesn’t include those who first know your site through Google but later visit your site by typing the URL or clicking your URL address in their bookmark.
  • Key words for headlines
    and less than 60 characters. Jacob Nielson acclaimed BBC News for having the best headlines
  • Keep sentences short and simple.
  • One idea per paragraph and keep paragraph short.
    Why? Because it’s easier for online readers to scan. (I know there are two ideas in the above line. No need to remind me.)
  • Use sub-headings after 5-6 paragraphs.
  • Use list or bulletin points.
  • Cut, cut, cut and cut again.
    or, shall I say cut just once and cut the other three cuts?

Dailyblogtips gives 30 traffic generation tips. I would suggest Jacob Nielson’s Writing for the web before worrying about the number of your blog visitors.

How NOT to generate traffic

It’s always easier said than done. And persistence requires even stronger mind.

I could have finished piling up what I want to say in a lump within 15-20 minutes, but one hour later, I’m still here writing because I’m trying to follow those golden rules.

Back to the headline of this blog, how not to generate traffic, or how to lose traffic, the answer is very simple: Do not follow any online writing rules.

You can tell I’m kidding, right?

Well, I noticed some habits, or “mistakes” over the past few months that might cause bloggers to lose readers.

  • Write about things of not much “value”
    You can write about your own life, but unless you are a celebrity like Opera Winfrey or Brad Pitt, you should not expect people to be interested in your blog.

    Jonathan Morrow from Coypblogger wrote a touching story On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas that best makes clear this point.

  • Force” readers to visit your site
    Many people now read in RSS readers such as Google Reader or Blogline. Some set their feed export to “abstract” or “headline” instead of “full text”.

    What makes you so confident that you write better headlines than BBC News or irresistible first paragraph (with a few more lines, usually considered “abstract”) so that people would click on the feed and go to your site?

    Most probably, they will just never bother checking your feed or simply cancel their subscription of your feed.

  • Bolden sub-headings
    Sub-headings not only function as road signs all the way down your post, but also gives tags to Google search.

    If you just bolden the sub-headings, they are actually still body texts put in that <p> tag.

    You have to set them into Heading 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 according to your blog layout. Headline 1 is usually reserved for THE headline. This gives a <h> tag that Google spider catches.The Headline block usually is located in the style tool bar, next to other layout buttons such B (bold), I (italic), U(underline), etc.

  • Update blogs irregularly
    “Sorry, I’ve been busy these days so I didn’t update.”People don’t care about your schedule.

    If they come to your site on day 1, and see no new blog, then on day 2, still nothing, then there is a slight chance they might still come on day 3, but if then they still see no updated blog, they might never come back.

    And on day 4, you feel like writing, and you publish 3 blog posts, or 4, or even 5, but sorry, the gone readers are gone. They are not coming back.

All in all, blogging is about quantity, but more about quality;
it’s about talking to yourself, but more about interacting with others;
it’s about following hot topics, but more about offering original idea; and
it’s about finishing assignment for the Online Journalism module, but more about polishing your writing and getting prepared for a journalism career.


Blog by Hugh Hewitt

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Blog: understanding the information reformation that’s changing your world is a book written by Hugh Hewitt. It was published in 2005.

Hugh states that the mainstream media will no longer be able to dominate the agenda of the society, particularly political agenda, as bloggers are swarming rapidly as a trustworthy voice.

He gave a lot of examples to prove his points. Here are just a few of them.

  • Senator Trent Lott stepped down as Majority Leader over remarks implying his tendancy to racism;
  • US presidential candidate John Kerry was spotting lying about spending a Christmas even in cambodia as a soldier;
  • CBS presenter Rather ruined his career for reporting faked documents on George W. Bush’s military service record;

You might have read, heard or watched these stories in newspapers or on radio and TV, but they could have died out had it not been for the sake of diligent bloggers. They spontaneously wrote about these stories and successfully pushed them into the mainstream media.

Hugh continues to explain why blogs have become so powerful that they have taken away a big number of audiences from mainstream media.

He then talks about why people like you and me should blog, and what to write about.

A big part of his book is given to examples as mentioned above. It is interesting to see how bloggers spot a story, write about it, and attract so many readers that mainstream media simply can’t neglect these stories. You’ll be amazed at the details that Hugh tracked, such as which blog first wrote about a thing, who else then followed at when, etc.

Blog is actually not a book that tells you how to blog, by which I mean it doesn’t tell you any technological knowledge about starting a blog. Hugh does suggest what topics you can blog about, but he stops there without going into details. He doesn’t talk about online writing skills, either.

This book is recommended by my Online Journalism teacher David Dunkley Gyimah, and I bought it from Amazon.

If you are interested, I can lend it to you, for one week, but you can renew it unless it is requested by someone else, just as our library regulates. 🙂

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Internet changed, is changing, and will continue to change our life

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The Online Journalism classes will begin next week.

Needless to say, Internet has changed our life. In fact, its daily use is so essential that it now becomes almost impossible for a journalist to work without access to Internet. Even old people are trying to learn to use Internet.

To an extreme, some people become so addicted to Internet that they have to go to a doctor or a psychiatrist for consultation. To find out if you are one of them, you can take this Internet Addiction Test.

What concerns me is that Internet has fundamentally changed the way we study.

We treat information as knowledge, consider bookmarking as studying, mistake reading as thinking, and take it for granted that archiving means having mastered the knowledge.

I have been always amazed by some old people that they remember so many things. They have the habit of learning stuff by heart. Little by little, they form their own knowledge schematism. This is the traditional way of learning.

What happens with the wide application of computers and Internet is that we seldom try to memorise most of the things. We no longer turn to great minds; instead, we just “google” it, and in most cases, we are not disappointed.

I remember someone said this when TV became prevalent:

Whenever someone turns on the TV, I go back to my room and read.

Is there any chance he can still do so whenever someone turns on a computer?

By the way, this is one of the very few quotations I remembered without having to google it.

Random thoughts on blogging

November 4, 2009 4 comments

Suddenly got stuck on the blogging way after meeting Gordon Brown. Couldn’t think of anything to write about.

What’s the problem? I guess the reason is that I still haven’t decided the theme of this blog. I tried to focus on news, but I definitely did not want to be so niched.

Now I see why it’s hard to keep blogging about one thing. All that requires is persistence, above everything and anything else.

Shall I continue focusing on my learning of news writing and report, here in this blog?

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