A few weeks ago I had a bit of a blip in the stats. Both visitors and views went up to several times the usual numbers. I was curious, especially as there hadn’t been anything of exceptional note published that day. The normal haiku, a couple of reblogs, and a couple of posts that were relatively lightweight. Nothing that might have been able to explain the hike in the figures.
There were no more ‘likes’ per post than usual… it seemed odd and, though not at all ungrateful for the extra traffic, the blue spike in the graph sort of bugged me. It reminded of that universally recognised digital taunt… the middle finger.
Was it telling me that I should stick to lightweight stuff if I wanted these kind of figures? That fluff is preferred over substance? I know that simple posts, easy on eye and mind get more of those ‘this-is-so-safe-I don’t-even-need-to-read-it’ clicks from strangers to the blog via the Reader, but regular readers seem happy to delve into deeper stuff, share my days, my dog and my odder thoughts. I’m not about to change how I write for the stats… and if I cared that much about them I’d be blogging for all the wrong reasons. The whole point of a blog, for me, is what I can write, the people who read it and the interaction with people, not numbers.
Even so, the presence of that middle finger bugged me, so I dug around and traced the extra views back to the fact that someone had shared a post StumbleUpon…which would be probably be why the ‘likes’ and comments hadn’t gone silly too.
Mystery solved, I was really glad I had reinstalled StumbleUpon after it had gone missing form the sharing buttons during an update. A bit of further digging revealed that there had been over 2000 referrals from StumbleUpon over the past year… so it had been well worth doing.
1.If you want to reinstate the StumbleUpon button, Chris the Story Reading Ape pointed to an article by Michael A Rios telling you how, while Michael himself refers to an more in-depth article by Sue Coletta. Click the highlighted links to find out how.
2. Michael illustrates how to reinstate the button via the Classic Editor. It can still be accessed. On my own blog (a WordPress.com site) and on the desktop PC it is as simple as hovering over the ‘My Sites’ top left of the screen, then clicking WP Admin in the dropdown. It doesn’t always work for everyone, but Marcia Meara at The Write Stuff shares her experience. You can also access it through the ‘Site Admin’ on the Meta on the home page of your blog.
3. Sharing is a really important part of the writing/ reading/blogging process and Twitter can play a huge part in that. I like to Tweet a lot of the articles I read, especially the ones that are entertaining, informative or useful, as well as those that move me by their beauty. I also like to help promote new books and reviews by tweeting them, but many bloggers have not connected their Twitter names to their blogs, so when the Twitter sharing button is pressed, all that comes up is an @wordpress.com address. It is very simple to connect the account so that any tweets from your page are associated with your Twitter account. Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News has a ‘How To’ article that explains the whole thing.
4. Last week, I shared a link from The Story Reading Ape about adding a ‘Follow By Email’ button. This too is well worth doing. For the reader who follows a wide selection of blogs, it is the best choice for keeping up with those you want to read without missing a post. For the writer, getting straight to someone’s inbox means your post is far more likely to be read.
5. When you have read a great post, you may want to share it by reblogging. Sometimes you cannot see how to do it. Some blog formats, especially scrolling ones, hide the button, others simply don’t have one…and that applies to non-Wordpress blogs too. There is a brief guide to reblogging here that addresses some of these issues.
6. The article also includes a link to a very useful post from D. G. Kaye about the Press This button and how to use it. This is also a great way to be able to schedule reblogs.
7.When you reblog another WP blogger’s post, they will get a notfication. You can also create a pingback if you mention a particular blog or article. I was mystified when I first started blogging about some of these terms… what on earth was a ‘pingback’? Hugh Roberts explains in detail what they are, how to use them…and gives an important bit of information I was unaware of for a long time about – you have to link to a specific post, rather than the blog itself, to create a pingback.
Pingbacks are not always reliable. Sometimes they do not come through, and sometimes they need to be authorised before they appear when you are responding to writing challenges etc. , so it is always a good idea to check the comments on the original article.
There are WordPress Forums, Help topics, tutorials and walkthroughs that answer pretty much any need. You can access them via the links at the bottom of the classic dashboard, but sometimes the simplest answers come from fellow bloggers.