It’s a cliche, I know. You remember the old joke: “If you set a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters, how long will it take them to produce the complete works of Shakespeare?”
It seems to me that while there are literally millions of blogs out there, and more of them come into being every single day, the sad fact is that most of them are no better than the one I scraped this image from. The writing is not bad, actually, but the last post was published in 2009 and the post is just way too long. Ok, actually it’s a WordPress monthly archive but still, the individual posts were just too darned long. It’s a common mistake that many bloggers, even some very successful one’s make– although if your posts gets thousands of views and dozens of comments I suppose you may not be doing anything wrong. But I nonetheless strongly advise anyone seriously considering a regularly updated blog to limit their posts to a maximum of 600 words or so. The sad fact is most readers do not want to read long posts. And if you’re not writing for most readers, that is fine, too. But please don’t ask me how to get more general traffic, comments and engagement to specialized long posts in a particular narrow niche. The social media rock star who can do that for you is more likely than not just selling junk traffic.
You have to remember that a successful blog according to the numbers is a three legged stool. You need to have traffic, which is to say page views of your site. You want as much of that traffic as possible to be sticky for it to have a high average visit time and for it to have a low bounce rate. If someone visits your site, then ten seconds later clicks away to somewhere else that gave you Traffic in the form of a page view but it very negatively impacted your average visit time and gave you a very bad bounce rate. That’s why it’s really not a good idea to participate in traffic exchanges where you find no value in the content you are visiting nor do the induced visitors find any value in your content. Without engagement, just getting someone to click a link and record an official visit to your blog is utterly meaningless. If you don’t get folks to actually read what you have put before them, their visit really wasn’t of any value to you. And even Google knows it.
Alan Jobe is the author of Walking Down The Avenue and consults with #indie writers and entrepreneurs about social networking and self-publishing.