Finding New Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic

 

By Scott Biddulph

06/28/2017


Reaching for the sun

The blogosphere, like outer space, is enormous, unending, vast, and bloggers scream at the top of their lungs for attention. They scream for the ever-elusive moment of viral exposure. The competition is growing by the day because the Internet provides instantaneous publishing capabilities, and the ease with which anyone can publish books, blogs, and other content – with the mere push of a button – has made writing and publishing an activity for anyone, and, unfortunately, that translates to content which includes everything under the sun, good and bad.

I remember early in my writing career surfing blogs to see what others were doing, what was working for them, what content seemed to glean the most traffic, and I was often left disillusioned and feeling inadequate.

The thing that drove me nuts, especially, was the niche blogs: Hollywood, Pop Culture, food or cooking blogs, fashion, and design. I would read some of the articles and not only was the writing bad, but the grammar and syntax made my head hurt. Why? Why were they able to succeed? Why did they have 30 Gravatars of readers who liked their posts and 50 comments to boot? It was because of the interest in the content more than the writing itself. We in the writing business don’t have that same luxury; that’s not how it works for those of us in the literary arena who write essays, flash fiction, poetry, memoirs – literary and writing blogs. We have to produce interesting, engaging content, and we must show good writing skills, too.

Our blogs don’t fall into the sloppy niches where writing skills don’t matter. Conversely, our blogs deal in the skill of writing, rhetoric, metaphor, analogies, and alliteration — the use of the senses to convey ideas and stories that reach into the hearts and minds of readers. That’s one of the reasons memoir is such a hot genre, it tells the nitty-gritty details of other people’s’ lives. You might even call it “Grammatically Correct Gossip”.

Fiction is our other potential for attracting readers; other genres begin to break down further and appeal to the various favorite flavors of readers, writers, and authors. We don’t attract the Jerry Springer crowd like the pop-culture blogs do.

So, we have to learn the art of “hooking” the reader, and we have to work twice as hard to attract followers and fans. Of course, we could always sell out and write a vampire novel. That niche never seems to die out, or as Marilyn Davis says, “Just title it, The Kardashian Method for Writing, and we’re sure to get the reader.

The world of the literary/writing blog is a mountain to scale in terms of real success. I’ve seen more grammar errors in the daily news columns of late than I’ve ever seen before. Editorial review is almost out the proverbial window in the modern “hit publish” environment of the internet. Pardon my running down a rabbit trail, but it does tie into what I’m getting at – I’m talking about exposure for our type of blogging, and I’ve found a new way that I want to share with our readers.

Social media mud-puddles

All of us, whether you use Blogger or WordPress, have the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media share buttons on our blogs (if you don’t, you should); however, the real numbers generally come from Google and other search engines. I was talking to Marilyn Davis, our wonderful assistant editor, and we were discussing the realities of Twitter; for example, on Twitter, everyone is tweeting and retweeting but no one is reading or clicking links, for the most part. In reality, and I’m sure most of you would agree when you read your demographics, Twitter is a futile exercise in bragging about how many followers a person has. If 5000 followers don’t produce at least a 10-20% return in clicks to the site, what good is it?

Facebook still produces many hits for our site; however, we have found a new app/site that at times causes a good post to go viral, quickly! It’s called Flipboard. Some of you may already be using this app on your phones or laptops to follow news and other topics you enjoy, and the list of topics they produce content about is endless. That said, how many of you know that you can create a magazine for your blog that Flipboard users can follow? In turn, if they “flip” (the app’s word for sharing) a story from your blog into another magazine, it has the potential to go viral quickly. We’ve had this happen on a number of occasions, especially with posts about grammar and memoirs.

I created several magazines on the app for Two Drops of Ink, Poetry (I named it ‘Poetic Ripples’), Grammar, one for the books from our “The Book Shelf” page, etc. Over the last few months, Flipboard has regularly become the number one and number two referrer to our site, over and above the search engines. All we did was share the post, the followers, and I don’t have many (but they’re growing), did the rest.

A sower of seeds

I’ve said many times that trying to gain exposure in this business of writing is much like being a fern at the bottom of the Redwood Forest. Our philosophy of collaboration with other writers, authors, and bloggers has been a total win-win. I can’t share the many emails I receive from new and seasoned writers complementing what we do at Two Drops and thanking us for our commitment to helping others gain exposure. It’s humbling. I see myself, and the team, as sowers of seed. The harvest is a joy to watch. This fact feeds my motivation to tell you about Flipboard.

I encourage you to check out Flipboard and add it to your share regiment. We at Two Drops wish you well in your writing endeavors, and we hope this suggestion will bring you much success.
Scott


Photo Credit: https://dailytekk.com/why-i-love-flipboard-and-what-i-read-on-it/


Scott Biddulph: Editor-in-Chief

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Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir.

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Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books.

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Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch.

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~ “I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told.” ~

~Scott Biddulph~


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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~

32 comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Scott for validating us. I’m tired of the mantra that we have to find a niche and write only about that niche. Twitter I have found to be futile. Most of the new followers I get are people who I think want to sell me something when I become famous. I look forward to checking out this new source.

    Like

    • I’ve been so happy to see that this post has helped so many of our readers, followers, and contributors. I wasn’t seeing it mentioned by other bloggers and writers, so I wrote this post. It’s been awesome to see the response from you and others. Thanks, Jayne.

      Like

  2. Marilyn’s title “The Kardashian Method for Writing” may certainly get you some extra visitors and sometimes I think it is necessary to attract that viral spike in readership, even if you retain just a couple in the long term. I am like you in hating the instant “publish” mentality that many bloggers have. 10 years ago it was said that 99.9% of things published on the web were trash, that is still true. It amazes me when such trash talk gets millions of views, although it shouldn’t – because the cult of the hero is growing.

    Like

  3. Thanks for this post Scott. Any tool that can be of use in getting writing to the masses is one worth looking into. I think I had some training on flip book when I was in the classroom as a way to get kids work published and to make it more interesting to them by tying their writing to technology. I will have to go take a look and brush off the cobwebs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Scott, thank you so much for writing this post, sharing your heart and providing this tip.
    I seem to recall Marilyn mentioning flipboard in one of her posts. I remember checking it out and being impressed and had it in mind to explore and get on board later then forgot all about it until reading your post today.
    I’m not very good with social media. Half the time I don’t know how to use it effectively. I might start out with gusto but then I find I cannot keep up with all you are supposedly expected to do to keep things going. I certainly don’t share stuff I’ve not read and didn’t know this went on.
    I’ve always felt from what I’ve observed at WordPress that the blogs with the big follows are those who write fiction or poems but perhaps that’s because I’m not checking out the other types of blog you mention. Then again I’m impressed by any blog that has more followers than me, which may not really be what others consider to be successful blogs with large following.
    I joined Twitter early this year simply because I felt 140 characters will be more manageable to maintain. Even that I struggle with. Because of course it’s a 2-way partnership and you have to read and engage with others – or so I thought!
    Can’t remember which of you above mentioned this but I do prefer the loyal readers to the ‘followers’ that are not really interested in what you say.
    Uphill slog – here I come!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Ladycee, so good to hear from you. I’m thrilled that this post has done what I had hoped; it has shown some of our readers and followers a new outlet for exposure. Thank you for your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi Scott, thank you for this post and for the info on Flipboard! I have heard of it, but have not used it – so I will definitely check it out! It sounds like a great option for sharing, because as you said, so many of us are tweeting and retweeting away with little to no engagement there. (At least I know I am).
    The social media landscape is ever changing and definitely can be a mud puddle to wade through. Sue had a good point in her comment – I think what we all want are loyal engaged readers. Some forms of social media lend themselves better to engagement than others, imho. And true engagement I believe comes in serving others (by following their blogs and commenting) and offering valuable content.
    Although the growth may be slower, it is more solid. Two Drops does SO well in both of these areas. The community here is very interested in not only promoting their own posts, but the content of others’ as well. You and Marilyn have done an awesome job of laying a strong foundation for both the site’s success and the individual success of the writers whose work you publish. I humbly thank you both.
    I also agree with Sue and Wendy. I don’t share blog posts on social media that I haven’t read – to maintain the integrity of my brand/and my values (which are pretty much one and the same) 🙂
    I do however really enjoy sincerely promoting someone else’s work that I found value in – because I am committed to seeing other writers/bloggers succeed. Two Drops has plenty of promotable content – in fact, I often miss promoting some I’d like to because of that pesky time factor we all have to deal with.
    That said, I find that many readers will read a post shared on Facebook – and then come back and comment there – rather than on the blog itself. If anyone has any suggestions for overcoming this issue – I’d be most interested to hear, learn and implement. 🙂
    While I think I might sense a little frustration (not a rant by any means!) – this may actually be a good place to be – reassessing how to best serve our audience and the most effective, productive way(s) to do that, can only, I believe, result in more value for everyone and more loyal engaged readers.

    – so

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott,

    Thanks for this post.

    I’ll be the first one to admit I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in the social media madness, but quite honestly, I don’t think writers are going to get what they want from it. It’s easy to fall into that trap because you can see numbers – clicks, likes, follows, etc. – but I see it as a false sense of success. As you said, you can 5,000 followers and if you had a book to sell you might get a dozen or so sales. I’m not going to give up on social media completely, but I am planning to significantly reduce the time I spend on it.

    Having said that, we all want “press” and perhaps Flipboard is just one outlet that would better serve us. I’ll defintely check it out.

    I read a lot of books and articles on writing and promoting and the consensus is to write good stuff and make that your focus. Promotion is important but that doesn’t mean it’s all about Facebook and Twitter.

    Thanks to all of you at TDOI for this site.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you, Scott, for the tip about Flipboard. I’ll go check and see what it’s about. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of reading a post before sharing it. What we share should not clash with our personal brand and/or values or we’ll lose the trust and loyalty of our friends and followers. I’m stingy at sharing because my free time for reading is shrinking more and more (Though memoir grabs my attention and tempts me to stay up way past my bedtime). 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Liked by 3 people

  8. That post is excellent in every way. As a newbie I’m just getting to grips with hiw to market my work (as well as creating it!). I will check out Flipboard now. Just had to thank you first!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello John,
      Thanks for your comment. I think you’ll not only like Flipboard as a social media “sharing” platform, but also as a great place to read good content of all types. Thank you for your readership!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Scott, this post adds huge value to my knowledge base. As you have said. Publishing on the internet is instantaneously fast. I find myself opening many social media accounts to help spread the word or keep content alive. Sadly, I’m overwhelmed by all that is available, but realize I will get the hang of it, eventually.
    I, like Sue, like sharing content I have read before I share, but am guilty of RE-tweeting without reading just because I get caught up in the twitter marathon.
    On a personal note. I like to offer my best when I do write for all to see, thus resulting in slower output for me.
    The most important thing for me, anyway, is to be continually diligent in my efforts to learn and give by best.
    Flip board will be on my to do list right after I catch up on my honey do list. Thanks Scott 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think all of us a guilty, at times, of sharing something we’ve not read – mostly out of loyalty to someone or a site we follow. Maybe we were short on time and just wanted to help; however, I do like to be genuine, and, like Sue, I like to read and comment when I can to help my fellow writers, bloggers, and authors.

      I sort of went down a “rabbit trail” rant in this blog for a moment about sites that publish garbage but receive huge numbers, but it led to my main point which is that we all want exposure like some of the more “niche” sites and blogs recieve. Writing/literary blogs have their audience, but the next move that Kim Kardashian makes is always in the limelight and garners more hits than a good poem, unfortunately.

      Liked by 2 people

      • No worries Scott. I did not perceive you ranting at all. I think it’s great we can talk about it here. I love this site and people who visit here. Like you have said, we want to be genuine here which brings in the fruit of exposure for all. I’m glad you brought up loyalty. My strongest desire is to help others above myself because I feel a connection and loyalty to those I have come to know and follow. Their is/ are so many friendly people I engage with daily. I think it’s impossible to read everything even if we have good intention to do so.
        In all honesty, your post is a golden nugget of truth.
        I signed up on Flipboard! It’s cool! 😎

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Being old-fashioned, I never share on Twitter…or anywhere else…things that I do not read. But I am well aware that many do. I will not always take account of grammatical errors either… the intent and ideas of the writer are a more important factor to me personally.

    It often seems to me that blogging/online publishing has become far more of a popularity contest than a measure of quality. I doubt if the vast majority of my ‘followers’ have ever seen more of my blog than the follow button, clicked in the hope of reciprocation. I value those readers who consistently return to read. I have heard a fair bit about Flipboard recently, I will have to look into it if it actually encourages people to read what is written.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Sue. I believe that’s what you offer on your blog – posts worth reading, but I think you’ve described quite well the realities of a lot that’s published – a popularity contest. Sad but true. Thanks for your insight. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Sue,
      It’s always a pleasure to see you here. I love your blog, and I read it quite often. BTW – I’ll be in England in September. I so love that land!

      I wanted to address the “grammar” issue. I realized after I hit “publish” that I had left myself open by not explaining a bit further about my position on grammar. Marilyn can attest to the fact that I’m the last person someone would call a Grammar Nazi. I detest smugness in editors and writers about Prescriptive Grammar. That said, I do believe Standard English Grammar should be the baseline; however, any communicative noise or gesture can be a legitimate grammar. Just look at “Ebonics” in American cities. This is a true grammar with its own lexicon and syntax. My point in the post was really more directed at the sheer sloppy editorial review we see in all forms of publication today.

      Thanks for your comments and your visit. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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