As Long As You’re Here, You Might As Well Stay

Man in Doghouse 02

It occurred to me earlier today that the key to having a successful blog is, perhaps, to just get people to hang around for a bit after they land here the first time.

Of course, that is also the hardest part.

I think people, in general, are hungry to be entertained.  We are all so desperately trying to escape the world we live in that we are scouring the on-line landscape, looking for anything that will take us away from the real world for a bit.    And if we happen to stumble across a blog or a website or a game or a series that helps us escape for even just a minute, we are happy.

And maybe, if we’re lucky, right below the thing that caught our eye and helped us escape for a few moments, there is something else that captures our eyes again.  And again.  And again.

Next thing you know, we’ve binge-watched 8 seasons of some show or another.  Or we’ve spent four solid hours listening to random music on YouTube.  Or we’ve read 200 recipes for Spam.  Or we’ve played some mindless twitch game for 27 hours and developed incurable carpal tunnel syndrome.  Or we’ve watched a series on on ThisOldHouse.com on how to build a pergola out of recycled plastic grocery bags.

So, because that sort of behavior now seems to be an epidemic, I am curious why, when someone stumbles across my blog, they don’t stay.

I’m sure you’ve wondered the same thing about your blog.

I have 422 posts in my archives, but they might as well be wrapped in a garbage bag, stuffed into an ice chest, chains wrapped around it and locked, buried in the back yard, cemented in under a new patio, and shaded with a new pergola (that I saw on the ThisOldHouse website).

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m very thankful when people drop by and read my latest post because it appeared on a tag wall in the past 2 hours.  I’m just curious why they don’t go on to read some of my other stuff.

I can only conclude that most of my posts do not rise to the entertainment value contained within a Spam recipe.

39 comments

  1. People often do read past posts but then they often get too embarrassed to comment because nobody else has or few other people have. They don’t realise that early posts in a blog rarely get any comments anyway. A very old friend of mine a few years ago spent hours reading all my posts, every last one of them – but didn’t comment on any. And some bloggers actually turn off commenting on old posts so that it becomes frustrating when one wants to comment on some. Personally, I love reading people’s old posts but there are still only so many I can comment on as I run out of energy fast these days.

    Have you got an archive hiding away somewhere? If not – try putting one on a page (I can find you info about how to if you want.)

    Generally though, if you want old posts read, a blog isn’t the best thing to use because of the ‘new post’ nature of it. As someone else said, it helps to put links to older posts in new ones.

    As for the brain-wiping, mind-numbing binges, oh hell yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Val!

      I agree about the “comment shyness”. I suffered from it when I first started blogging. I felt very intimidated about being the first person to comment on someone’s post. I’ve gotten past that now. I finally realized that every writer enjoys feedback on something they’ve written, or at least some sort of an acknowledgement that it was read. I’ve gotten a lot better about commenting now, though sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to read and comment on all the wonderful posts that appear by the hundreds every hour.

      And I’d very much appreciate the archive info you mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, there are usually far too many posts to comment on. I’m not on the site (wordpress dot com) all the time anymore and recently started scheduling my posts on an every ten day basis so that I can get on with more stuff offline in between, but now I most often comment on other people’s posts in the first few days after I’ve posted or in the run up to a new one.

        Here’s info about the archive: https://en.support.wordpress.com/archives-shortcode/

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the info! I’ll definitely check it out.

          And yes, you’re right. There are so, so many posts out there. It is impossible to comment on them all. I’ve found it is usually just happenstance … I comment on the posts I stumble across. The ones that happen to come up when I browse my favorite tags.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your blog. It’s one of the few that I seek out. It has nothing to do with the timing of your posts. I just find it relatable, humorous, and most of all it’s not boring.

    I have wondered about my blog as well. I think it’s ok, mildly entertaining, but only a handful of people read it. That said, I do love it when I get the occasional comment or “like”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That means so much to me coming from a fellow writer. I often feel after I’ve posted something that “Wow … that was way too boring.” But I don’t know what else to write, so I just keep doing it.

      And I know what you mean about likes and comments. I care about them way more than I should. All of the “how to blog” sites and posts say to not worry about them. But it’s hard not to!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sure some tortured individuals who have been with me since the early days did read all the old stuff, but only when it was new once. Try as I might to disappoint even them, they still come and read every new one.

    I do have the ‘other articles’ widget, sometimes I see stats for the posts that are thrown up on it. There’s also the #ThrowbackThursday excuse to publicise an old post weekly as well on Twatter.

    Mostly though it’s the new stuff they want. I take my revenge by mostly writing the same post each time but with very slightly different words.

    The strategy I take overall though is “Bollocks, it’s only for a laugh anyway.” This explains a lot of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good attitude, Bryntin. I try to keep that attitude, too. And, for the most part, it IS fun. I like writing and posting things. I try not to get all wrapped up in the stats side of it, but I think all writers are curious to know if anyone is reading their stuff (and hopefully enjoying it).

      I like reading other peoples’ stuff, too. But … wow! There’s just so much of it. One could spend their entire lives just reading the outputs of one’s top 10 or 20 favorite bloggers. But I guess that’s a good thing.

      Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Biff, While you are crying in your beer, let me give you some encouraging words about archives: Life is tough, for readers: Life is short. “Time is Money” Aesop. The old Irish toast comes to mind: May your bog have more views than visitors. Feel better.
    patrick

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Patrick! I do feel better. As I said in some other comments on this post, I was just whining a little. It’s kind of frustrating watching so much of my writing just swirl down the drain into the archive septic tank, never to be seen again. Maybe that’s a good thing. Most of them weren’t very good.

      Like

  5. You have 200 recipes for Spam!? I foresee a whole new series, which will draw in a whole new audience!.

    Seriously though, as a subscriber I try and get to the new stuff shortly after you post, but who has time for the older material? I’m sure it is great, but my boss gets upset when I read blogs when I am supposed to be working. Like right now. Sorry, gotta run!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lorne! I used to have a page-a-day calendar that had a Spam recipe on every page. I wish I still had it. Some of them were quite disgusting. The one that really stands out in my memory was “Spam cheesecake”. That sounds very hurl-worthy.

      I agree about reading older posts. I’m guilty of not doing that on the blogs I follow. I will occasionally, but I don’t even have time to read the NEW stuff, let alone the old stuff. There’s some good stuff out there, though. I just wish there were more hours in the day to read it all.

      Thanks for dropping by! I hope you didn’t get in trouble at work for surreptitious blog reading. 🙂

      Like

  6. I’ll stick around, I reckon 🙂 People WILL go back and read your older stuff at some point. Sometimes it’s worth reblogging one or two of your best older posts to encourage people to delve further. Or, putting links to older posts in current posts. Ah, the complexities of blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe have the list in the side-bar to tempt the lolly-gaggers … oh, you do. Who knows? I only come to play while I have a few minutes here and there, when I want to ease the mind from its current task, when I want to unspool –

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always happy when you drop by, Cagedunn. And you must forgive me my bit of whining. I was mostly trying to motivate myself to write more, but not doing a very good job.

      I actually thought of the title first and then tried to force a post around it. I probably won’t ever do THAT again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do THAT all the time – posts aren’t planned, they’re free-falling; I plan stories and don’t want to use up all that focus on a post (it could be possible) – they’re more for fun and [what are other things where you just let it all hang out?].

        Liked by 1 person

        • Amen. I very rarely plan a blog post. I just click on the “write” button and start writing. I’m sure that shows in the “quality” of my writing. Truth is, I’ve never been very good at outlining and plotting.

          And THAT is how I “let it all hang out”. ha ha!

          Liked by 1 person

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