Tag Archives: seo

Of Battling Bloggers and the Zen of “Duh”

I don’t usually like to respond directly to other blogs, but I thought today merited some exception to that rule. See, on Wednesday Kristen Lamb tried once again to whack us in the noggin with the idea that as writers trying to grow an  online audience, blogging about writing is not a good idea.

This is not new. Kristen has been talking about this at least since I started reading after her at the beginning of the year.

Then Austin Wulf, another blogger I like and respect, answered back with a post arguing against Kristen Lamb’s main points. I recommended you read both blogs for yourself if for no other reason than the fact that they represent two very well argued and opposing viewpoints.

But here’s the deal: I’ve been thinking a lot about this blogging thing lately. More importantly I’ve been thinking about audience numbers and how to expand them. Of course I’ve always wanted more readers, but for a long time it was something almost academic, simply a way to fuel my pride about my blogging ability.

But about a month ago something changed. I released an ebook called A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw. Many of you who are loyal readers of this blog bought the book, and I thank you. But about two weeks after releasing the book my numbers basically hit a brick wall. I’d sell one every couple of days, but the numbers just weren’t there. I’d tapped out my audience, and now I was swinging in the wind. And I don’t know about you, but the prospect of making money really makes me perk up and pay attention.

So I started thinking about what I could do about it, and what I came up with was this: maybe I shouldn’t be blogging exclusively about writing.

Because I believe it does limit my readership to a certain extent. Looking back over posts of the past, some of the most popular by SEO numbers have absolutely nothing to do with writing. And now that I’m further along in my blogging career SEO is a big part of bringing in traffic.

Now there are clearly writers that can pull off writing about writing and garner an audience by the boatload, but as far as I can tell all of those writers are named Chuck Wendig. I am not named Chuck Wendig, nor do I have even an iota of the man’s skill in crafting pithy punchy posts.

Which is why you may have noticed in the past few weeks, that I haven’t been writing as much about writing. Instead I’ve been dabbling in other topics that interest me to see what kind of reaction I can get from the audience at large. This is not to say that I’ll never blog about writing again, but after all this time, I’m finally starting to think maybe Kristen was right all along. And even though it did take me a while to realize it, I’m not ashamed.

Sometimes you have to understand something for yourself. You hear it over and over, and one day it finally clicks and you’ll say, “You know that thing everyone tried to tell me I should do for all those years. Maybe I should give that a shot.”

And the people who tried to tell you for all those years are smacking their heads with their palms and saying, “Yes, what a brilliant idea. Maybe you should try that.”

And that’s okay. Because sometimes you just have to learn it on your own.

Addendum: don’t worry. The economics post was a bomb, so you won’t have to worry about seeing Money Mondays anytime soon.

Addendum 2: I have a new/old short story out for the Kindle. It’s a terrifying little tale that mixes science fiction and horror into a delightfully spine-tingling concoction that I call Derelict. Maybe you should check it out.

[Insert Impractical But Awesome Title Here]

I’ve got some bad advice for you guys. But it’s good bad advice. So, you know, do with it what you will.

This is the thing. I’ve seen several articles and blog posts advising us bloggers to only stick with literal unimaginative titles for our posts. For instance, if your post is about forty-seven new ways to make tuna casserole, these people say your post should be titled Forty-Seven New Ways to Make Tuna Casserole.

To this I say, “Baloney!” Heck, lets throw in a couple of slices of “Ham” and “Cheese” and maybe a few slices of “Bread” and make ourselves a “Sandwhich”! Um, that didn’t have anything to do with anything, I just felt like being silly.

To be fair these people have a point. Literal titles are great for search engine optimization. So, for instance, if someone is looking for a post about forty-seven new ways to make tuna casserole, your post will be right there waiting for them.

Here’s my problem with it: there is more to life than SEO.

Sure, I’m here blogging to build a platform. One of these days I may actually try to sell something to all of you wonderful readers out there. But this blog is not just a long term sales pitch.

I am also here to have fun. I want to get silly, I want to tell stories, I want to enjoy myself. I want you to enjoy yourself. And part of that is coming up with crazy titles for my posts. Sometimes the crazy title even comes first, and I think of a post I can fit around it.

I’m not bashing authors who choose to follow this advice. I read after some good people who follow the “Forty-Seven New Ways to Make Tuna Casserole” formula of naming blog posts. I even gave it a try myself for a while. But if you’re on the fence about this issue then I want to encourage you to be yourself and have fun with your blog.

Maybe you’re more comfortable with literal titles. That’s fine too. Just never forget that first and foremost your blog and your platform is a reflection of you, with all your little quirks and eccentricities. So go out and have fun with it.

Because if you’re having fun, chances are your readers will be having fun too. And that’s what it’s all about.