Jaded

Mark’s blog (my blogging buddy for postaday/postaweek) got over 1,000 pageviews on his blogging buddy post which was featured on Freshly Pressed (the front page of WordPress.com).

I’d like to be excited for him, but having seen this sort of meteoric rise in traffic on a single post in the past (one that’s actually not as fresh as the “Freshly Pressed” moniker implies) on this site, I know that a few things are likely to happen:

He will gain a few regular subscribers and readers.  This will probably last a few days to a week before most of them eventually drop off.  Some will stay and possibly be relatively loyal.  The rest was probably really more interested in the “blogging buddy” and “post every day in 2011” thing and when they realize that’s not the primary subject matter of the blog, they’ll hit the road.

That’s what I’ve seen happen in the past when a single post is taken out of context from the rest of the blog and pushed into the spotlight.  Some blogs make it their entire goal to suck up as much instant traffic as possible to increase their Google rankings, so they post controversial topics or use titles that grab your attention.  I have 3 posts that regularly bring the minimal amount of traffic this site gets on average.

  1. MusicIP Mix handles huge mp3 libraries better than WinAmp [Abandonware] – This gets hits because the WinAmp Playlist Generator is broken and I have a download for an alternative.  Really, I think, it’s mostly for the download, which I got from another member on the WinAmp forums.  Because it’s in the realm of stuff I generally post about, I’m actually fairly happy that this gets a steady stream of people finding it and I think the plugin is useful even if I’ve ultimately gotten completely fed up with WinAmp and switched to iTunes.
  2. Borderlands: Gun Porn – This gets traffic for 2 reasons: “borderlands” and “porn”.  Since posting this, I get all sorts of traffic particularly for “borderlands siren porn” or “borderlands siren nude.”  I’m happy to say, they leave disappointed.  But then, I could always just direct them to free sexy babe photos.  It doesn’t matter that the content of the post is my review of the game — the hits I get to the post are looking for porn.
  3. Scam Alert: “Testers needed to test the Apple iPad” – testitandkeepit.com – This is a scam I stumbled upon when a web design client sent an email to my personal email address (i.e. not the business one I use for communication with clients) inviting me to a program to test an iPad.  It was obvious from reading the email that he didn’t write it, and I did some digging to uncover what I could about it and expose it.  This blog is not that sort of consumer watch-type blog where I expose scams on a regular basis, so that this gets the most traffic on average (corresponding with when another instance or version of the scam crops up) sort of leaves me with ill feelings.  To be fair, I did more for SEO in the title and the post than I would for just about anything else because the point was to grab traffic from people looking into whether this was legit.  But my 1,000+ hit day came from this post and it is not my regular fare.

There’s actually one other post that gets a fair amount of traffic which is In-Place Windows 7 RC downgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium — however, why I still get traffic to that post when Windows 7 RC is long since expired is a bit of a mystery.  The point is that the posts on this site that get hits are about a thing and I don’t often write about things, so it’s annoying to me to see those get so much more attention than, say, this one will ultimately get.  So, I see this whole explosion over the “Freshly Pressed” Blogging Buddy post to be fortuitous but ultimately temporary.  It would be nice if some of the traffic both of us get out of Mark’s exposure on Freshly Pressed sticks around, and I do think some of it will.  (About 1% of the people who have hit his blog have clicked over here.) But people on the internet have short attention spans and The Long Tail rules — unless you’re Seth Godin, the majority of traffic to your site will be based on keyword searches, so it will be some random post in the past that may or may not even be relevant to the original search that draws traffic to your site as opposed to your stellar personality or writing style.

Of course, as the post title suggests, after nine years of keeping a blog and watching the traffic ebb and flow and — occasionally — spike, I’ve become jaded.  I’ve watched newbie bloggers immerse themselves in a community they helped build and, in less time than it took to build this blog up, get more hits in a day than I get in a week.  And I’ve watched established bloggers drag their blog into the sewer.  I’m probably not as bitter on the subject as I sound, I’ve just given up trying to be the popular kid and never cease to be amazed when I see more than 12 people subscribing to my feed.

Now that you’ve gotten this far, I urge you to read TheBoyEllis’ reaction to all the hub-bub yesterday which is much more inspirational and positive than mine.  I actually feel a little sheepish for being such a dick.  But that’s what a real blog is all about, right?  It’s human, it’s personal, it’s real.  If you’re having a bad day, or think something is stupid, you say it.  As much as I like and frequent the ever-present “blog with a topic” (WordPress blog, design blog, news blog, tech blog, etc.), the lack of personality and human connection is tiring.  I might avoid writing about myself as much as I can, oh ye dozen readers, but I promise you that I will be honest with what I do write.  Maybe by the end of this year you’ll see me spilling my guts.  Let’s hope not.  It gets messy.