Monday, January 3, 2011

What Makes a Successful Blog?

This question is often tossed about in discussions, but I've never read concrete rules on how to create and maintain a good blog. The best advice I heard once was that the blogger should have an identity, some facet of the blogger's personality and interests. I do believe a blog about romance books shouldn't espouse a cause of any kind. Those blogs have a place, and I even read a few now and then. But for the writing and publishing business--stick to business.

For a reference, I studied the stats for my blog between May 2010 and January 2011. The results are surprising. Bottom line, I don't know why readers view my blog, leave or don't leave a comment, or why certain blogs become big hits.

It's still a big mystery, but I do have one encouraging comment: "Many readers view and/or read your blog but do not leave a comment." I always keep that in mind.

The guest blogs' stats are varied. A guest may get many comments, but only a few more pageviews. (Note: I block my own pageviews.) The numbers indicate how many readers open the blog, whether they read it or not. The conclusion here is that I find no commonality among the higher numbers.

Are you curious about my top blogs for a six month period?

Number One blog from these six months: One of my blogs titled "The Victorian Age in America," on June 3, 2010 got 18 comments. Nice, but get this number of pageviews: 497.

Number Two blog of this period: Destination: Berlin-by Stephanie Burkhart, on July 9, 2010 got 13 comments but pageviews? 362.

Interesting, isn't it? If you were a guest on my blog during these six months, I'll tell you your stats if you want to know. E-mail me.

But why did a post about the Victorian Age get so many pageviews? I have no idea.

I haven't formed any solid conclusion to my findings, but I do have a few conjectures on what influences a reader to check your blog: (1) A blog is visited because of the topic, the guest, or the blogger herself. (2) The more a blog is promoted, the more visitors and/or pageviews (3) Curiosity about the unique title.

Do you have any idea why a blog is successful? Please share with all of us--we need it!
Thanks and I'm hoping for many comments and/or pageviews.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/
http://www.celiayeary.com/
New Releases
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21 comments:

  1. Catchy titles, just like in newspaper and magazine articles, helps to catch readers' attention, and asking questions sometimes helps to encourage comments. Also tags can help. If you don't give key tags for your blog, it doesn't help to catch readers who are interested in your topic on searches.

    Pictures help. I get a lot of comments about how much readers love the pictures I share. When I visit blogs that have no pictures, they're not as eye catching. :)

    I have a small core of commenters on my personal blog, but many more who read it, and sometimes get a kick out of the comment discussion and just have to say something. :) I also get comments from reviewers on their blogs about how much they enjoy my blogs--again, where I have no idea they're reading them.

    Another clue is I've had more bear orders after posting about recent bear orders, and also personal emails commenting on the blogs, answering my blog questions that way. :) I've also had readers send me pictures of their beautiful wolf dogs, wolves they took pictures of at a reserve, beloved dogs, and just plain goofy dogs for fun that I've shared with my readers. It keeps me connected with them--and it's a lot of fun! :)

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  2. Great topic. I've figured out a few things. Participate in a weekly meme and rarely is it about anything writing related. This draws lots of readers and the most comments. Also, visiting other blogs makes a difference. Direct people to a particular post from my facebook page brings visitors who otherwise wouldn't even think to stop by.
    I don't think there is any one key to a blogs success other than to keep it current. A visitor is only going to come back so many times to see the same post.
    This is just my 2 cents worth.

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  3. Celia, I don't haave a blog but I have done quite a few guest blogs. And I think the guest needs to alert people that she is there and bring her own readers to the story. I don't ususally blog about my books either, and when I visit a blog it is mainly because the subject is of interest, unless it is for a personal friend. Of course, anything they have to say is of interest to me.

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  4. Hi, Celia. Excellent post. I agree with everything Terry said. For me, I've found with my reference-book blog posts and guests blogging along the same lines that I get more visits when my titles are specific. Ex: 6th C Mayan warfare, Scottish love poetry, etc. I think your two favorite posts got the most hits for that reason. ;) ~Skhye

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  5. I have no idea, Celia. It seems like since I entered Internet Land, all I've done is read about "you MUST have a blog". Well, I got one. Is it popular? I have no idea, even though I can see the page views. Usually the comments come from my faithful online friends. That makes me appreciate them even more. :)

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  6. Celia, wow. I'm honored to be #2 in that time frame. Very interesting, isn't it? I think you're on track, but I also Terry's comments are good, too. Pictures help and key tags are important to drive traffic to a blog site. I think lurkers just aren't comfortable in posting and for me, that's fine. As long as I've said something that resonates with you, I know you'll be back.

    Thanks for sharing, Celia.
    Smiles
    Steph

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  7. Some say it involves metatags. When you fill in the tags, put popular phrases or words in there, also catchy titles, as was already mentioned.

    It helps to blog about something lots of people are interested in also.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  8. I think you might gain more insight from the content of your comments than from the quantity.Are they answering questions or asking them? Are there common threads?

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  9. Hey Celia! Nice to know your blog is rocking right along. I remember how much research you did before you launched your blog and it looks like you got the right combination of personal themes, guests, and blog topics to interest a large cross-section of people. I'm still a baby blogger and need to do more in this realm. Soon. Or tomorrow, which is the procrastinators creed, LOL!

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  10. CONGRATULATIONS, CELIA AND STEPH!!! That is just wonderful. Wow, all those page views, even if the comments weren't as many as the views, you know someone is reading the entries anyhow. That really is wonderful--Celia, I love your blog, I wish I liked blogging more. I don't mind guest blogging but don't really enjoy blogging in general, so I don't really keep up with my own blog as I should. I really envy you, and again, congratulations to you, Steph!
    Cheryl

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  11. These are great numbers, Celia. Even if the majority of visitors don't comment, just getting them to come to the site is an accomplishment considering how much chatter there is out there.

    Based on my experience, people who like to blog seem to have more successful blogs and blog posts. I think it's easy to see the energy and passion in the writing and topics.

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  12. Interesting topic, Celia, and some interesting comments too.
    Must admit I don't advertise our 'Heroines with Hearts' blog as much as I should (maybe I ought to make that a New Year resolution!).
    Although we have quite a lot of 'followers', they rarely make any comments. Wish there was some way of alerting them to our 'topic of the week'.
    Hope you have continued success with your blog -and all the best for the New Year!
    Paula

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  13. Celia--Congratulations. Your blog is doing well because you choose interesting article of general interest. You post consistently every week. Also your pictures are catchy but not distracting. I took a workshop about blog with Kate Terry and she mentioned the things above. I know I enjoy your blog a lot. I wish I was more consistent in blogging.

    Steph--WOOOHOOOO on your stat too!!!

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  14. Hi Celia - Great stats, interesting blog.I think, the reason why people don't leave comments is simply because they don't want to take the time to sign in and figure out the letter configuration.I would visit a blog if the topic interested me or if I knew the author. I've been looking to join a group blog. Do you know anyone who would like to add a paranormal suspense author? Happy blogging Celia.

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  15. You have a wonderful blog, Celia. And congrats, Steph, on the stats for your guest visit to Celia's blog!

    I noticed I get more comments when I do giveaways and when I share family photos.

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  16. Interesting post, Celia. Proof that blogging can reach out to many more people than expected.

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  17. People typically scan blogs, but only leave comments if they have something to say or contribute. I think it also depends on personality types. We can be standing in a group of ten people having a face-to-face comment, but only 3-4 will dominate the conversation. Others will chime in here and there. It doesn't mean they aren't listening or reading. They may just be the quiet types or lack time.

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  18. Key words definitely have a big impact because of Google search and so on. Also, from everything I've seen, those who go out and visit more blogs get more visitors. My question is: if you pull a lot of return visits by your own visits, is it worth the time to make all those visits? After all, they don't tend to equal sales, only social calls, and building sales/name recognition is the point of a writer's blog, isn't it?

    I think a blog should reflect what you write - your main themes of your books, as yours does. Therefore, a successful blog. Congrats!

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  19. I'm with Miss Mae. I started a blog because I'd read over and over that a writer needed one. But Nicholas Sparks doesn't have a blog. Neither does Vince Flynn, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber or Sherilyn Kenyon. I notice that instead of blogs, these and other big-name writers have websites that are frequently updated. They're also very sales oriented.

    I've observed, too, that among writers who do blog, the question sometimes comes up -- who are we blogging for, readers or other writers? I read many author blog entries about writerly subjects such as show-don't-tell, passive voice, characterization, etc., subjects I don't think a reader would care for, unless she's a writer, too. But what do you write about for readers?

    If the bottom line is selling books, I don't know whether a blog is a good ROI, considering the time involved in maintaining one. I don't know how such information could be determined.

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  20. Celia, and everyone, good comments. I figured from the beginning my personal author's blog would not be POPULAR. What I write isn't for everyone. And, I'm controversial. That's the way it is. I've been that way since the day I was born.
    Yet, I write my blog nearly everyday, anyway. And, honestly, I was surprised by the overall number of hits I was getting once I looked at the blogger stats thing. No, they don't equal sales in most cases. And, a lot of my hits come because of the pics I've used.
    Bottom line, I blog because I can. Because, overall, I like it. And, because it does give me a presence on the web as an author.

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