Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Friday, December 23, 2005

How to succeed in blogging without really trying!


chris_remix
Originally uploaded by dmc500hats.
Shit if I know. I just thought this title and the "hot button" Technorati tags below might help me generate a few extra hits. Heh heh.

Silly, you say? Well, there was actually a blogger who got a huge amount of hits simply because he wrote a "how not to blog" post as his very first entry. What cheek! But hey, whatever works, right?

Incidentally, adding all those TECHNORATI tag codes is a real bitch!

When you publish for the "mainstream" print media, all the toil is up front. It can take many years of sweat and struggle to seduce an editor into finding your prose print worthy. But once you do, you're home free. The New York Times has millions of readers, so you can just sit back and bask in the glory of your byline--until it's time for your next hair-raising deadline.

But for the typical blogger, getting your name "out there" is easy. It takes about 15 minutes to set up a Blogger account, and viola! Your words are published for all the blogosphere to see. But now, the quest for readers has just begun, and you're the one who has to make that happen. Unless you truly don't give a shit, but who are we kidding here? Why blog if you don't want anyone to read you?

Samuel Johnson once said: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." Though newspapers typically pay poorly, I did earn a modest pittance for my freelance work in addition to writing for the Man. But my main goal was to write about things I was passionate about and get my name and ideas out there. After all, writers want to be read, just as painters want to be shown and musicians want to be heard.

For me, as for many, blogging is a labor of love, not money. Print publication pays some, but it doesn't give you a lot of reader feedback. Your audience is essentially invisible, anonymous, and mute. That's why I'm such a BLOG SLUT. I love giving and getting comments. I love the links and the interaction and the feedback and the conversation.

Although some bloggers actually make money doing this, and businesses can use blogs to help promote their product, I'd say most people are not expecting to make a killing off their blogs. But since Americans in particular are so deeply steeped in the cutthroat culture of capitalism, blogging has become a dead serious competitive sport-- even if you don't intend on making a dime off of it. Nonsense, you say? Let s/he among you who hast never checked your site meter several times daily cast the first stone. And, um, I also covet my neighbor's site meter. I'll always scroll down to the bottom of a blog to see how many hits you have. And I'm usually very very jealous.

But for me, hits in and of themselves can be pretty meaningless. I was never into casual encounters--I always prefer long-term relationships. So when I check out my referral stats, it's always with the fervent hope that even those disturbed individuals who seek "Elvira naked" or "crack whore confessions" or "inertia powered cracker" and click on my site will stop and read my blog, see the error of their lascivious ways, visit and comment early and often, and sin no more. Oh hell, what do I care--just gimme a hit, baby!

What really gets me excited--my version of cyber-porn, if you will--is any "how-to" website or post with tips on generating more web traffic and linkns and/or building a better blog.

In any case, anyone who wants some great insights into blog tech and methodology might give Performancing.com a look. Likewise, I'm a sucker for sites like The Blog Herald,Problogger,and Bloggers blog.And thank you, Elisa C of Worker Bees Blog, for your (semi) tongue in cheek post on how to manipulate blog traffic, which inspired, in good part, this craven post.

If there's one thing that can drive a stat-obsessed blogger crazy, it's when the technology you rely on to let you know how you're doin' turns on you--kinda like when Hal the computer went crazy in the movie 2001. Sites like Technorati, for example, rank you according to the quanity and "quality" (read: popularity) of the inbound links you've accrued (I think). So of course, now that I've graduated to using tags so that people searching for "kvetch" or "psychotic" or "excessive alcohol consumption" can find me more easily, I've discovered that Technorati is not reading all of them. Plus, I think they're out of touch with my total number of links. That makes me cry. Is it any wonder so many bloggers up and quit after a few months?

Along the same vein, the "quality" and quantity of sites that link back to you is one of the reasons Glenn Reynolds'Instapunditis currently the highest of the Higher Beings in the TTLB (The Truth Laid Bear) ecosystem. Just for...ahem..."fun," the other four top links in descending order of immortal fabulousness are: Michelle Malkin, Daily Kos, , Power Line, and Little Green Footballs.Incidentally, there has been much hair pulling and gnashing of teeth over the recent revamp of the TTLB ecosystem, which has devolved many bloggers to lower forms of life. I myself have fallen from roughly midpoint (an amphibian or something) to the equivalent of an obscure, extinct virus. Actually, last I checked, I wasn't even listed there at all. TTLB has killed me off, just like the buffalo!

Welp, I was gonna go on and insert some more links to hot sites, but my recent blog-paranoia is compelling me to cut this post mercifully short (which in my case, means roughly not as long as War and Peace).

Besides, all the experts say shorter is better.

PS: Two words: Boing Boing!

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29 Comments:

At 10:34 PM, Blogger ratchtaphol said...

write very good .. from Thailand

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ratchtaphol:

Thanks for visiting!

(See? I've already got first dibs on the Southeast Asian blog market!)

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Oops--I take it back about TTLB. They do have me indexed now--as a lowly insect! Buzzzzz......shoo fly, shoo!

 
At 1:19 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Oy vey...talk about synchronicity!

I took the photo that accompanied this post from Flickr. At the time, I just thought it looked clever. But after I'd posted it, upon closer inspection I realized it depicted Chris Pirillo's superimposed head!

Chris Pirillo, as I (now) know, is a Maurading Marsupial in the TLLB ecosystem--nothing to sneeze at. I think marsupials also like to eat lowly insects.

 
At 1:21 AM, Blogger jane said...

adding technorati can be exhausting, especially when you have multiple countries or other words that can just go on & on.
i was checking out google rank & some other rank the other day, added them to my blog & then thought, fuck this. they rank you by the weight of who links to you. and the only blogs counted are those who have blogroll, not just being on a bloglist.
but i thought, with those meters on my blog, i'm going to worry about them & now it made me understand something i read long ago: get on as many bigtime blogrolls as possible.
after about 5 minutes of having them, i decided i didn't want them on my blog. i can honestly say i don't care about how much weight's someone's blog, who links to me, has. i think had i kept those, it would have totally changed my style & i wouldn't have liked who i became.
anyways, i much prefer regular people, underdogs, not egomaniacs who want me to want them to put me on their blogroll.
yes, your title caught my eye! but i was here anyways, lol. this is a really good topic, elvira.

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Jane:

My admittedly limited and jaundiced impression of the whole bloggerati envy game is that some (not all) bloggers seem more obsessed with rank, linking, etc. than creating quality content for their site. And not to be sexist, but it definitely seems like more of a competitive guy-thing.

As far as weird ranking issues--I think the logic behind the TTLB Ecosystem shakeup was in response to bloated blogroll abuse, which artificially inflated bloggers' inbound link status.

A more local example I saw of craven blog ego-bloat was the competition for some sort of NYC urban blog awards. Thing is, the bloggers pimping for votes reminded their readers that you could vote as often as you like! So really, what's the point of that?

I don't add gratuitous links either--only sites I would bookmark anyway.

 
At 2:12 AM, Blogger dan said...

I write because like my home, it's a place to dump my excess... um, merde.

If folks find humor or truth or a kindred spirit in that... that's gravy.

Feedback can be a double-edged sword... the more readers, the more expectations you try to fulfill, until the blog has grown out of your control into some monstrous entity.

Maybe I'm weird. But I guess I already knew that. ;) I know there's quality content here, so I visit here... that's enough for me.

 
At 3:17 AM, Blogger jessie said...

i like visiting blogs that are interesting. what makes them interesting is that it's something different everytime. the blogger keeps the readers on their toes so to speak, or just mixes it up a bit. whatever the case it makes for a good blog and lots of readers.
actually, i forgot i had a hit counter on my blog!!! LOL!

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Dan:

Well, I must say your excess merde is fabulous!

Three things I know about Dan:
a. You're weird.
b. You have quality content.
c. You have weird quality content.

And that's why I loves ya!

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Jessie:

There are lots of great blogs out there, but I don't know that they all have lots of readers. One doesn't always follow the other, unfortunately.

You actually FORGOT you had a site meter? Wait here, let me check it for you!

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Walker said...

I personally don't look at the Technorati tags, I have enough trouble writing the posts I do as it is without trying to incorporate the tags. I did once write a post to see how many people would link to it. I disguised it like any other post. Lisa was the only one that knew what I was up to and it got over 50,000 links because of the words in it.
I won't say I don't look at my site meter and there are alot of other features on my site which know one knows about like the IP tracking I have that traces IP's back to their source and I get to block the assholes at their providers.
That takes care of my annonymous dick head problems.
As you know I do accept comments from any blogger with good or negative comments but I delete anyone who is nameless and being a fool.
As for hits.
I can't figure them.
I think the most I have had is 300 and 78 of the were unique visitors so I guess the rest were normal people LOL
I just write for myself and who ever wants to read.
I read 30 blogs a day on average, like today I have gone through 22 blogs your being the 22nd and have the rest of the blog roll to do.
I read to see what my friends are up to and for some entertainment.
At almost 30,000 hits in the 9 months my blog has had and the and 10000 comments I have recieved I think the best part of blogging has been the friends I have made.

So with that in mind

Have a Merry Christmas amd a Happy New Year Elvira :)

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Walker:

Well, I think Technorati is becoming a waste of time for me. All those tags--not a one of them has shown up for this post. I don't even think my actual post has registerd yet, so what's the use? I use Pingomatic, and I've written to tech support four times.

Wow, those are some nice stats!!! Oy vey...Well, you definitely earned them, Walker. And I'm honored to be one of your many friends and fans.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and have a great time in NZ with Lisa! Woo hoo!

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Personally, I simply prefer to type and hope that people find something interesting in what I have to say.

 
At 2:56 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ice:

You said:

"Personally, I simply prefer to type and hope that people find something interesting in what I have to say."

That's cool, but sometimes it's hard for people to find you and discover that you have something interesting to say at all unless you're proactive in some regard, however modest. There are millions of blogs out there, so it can be hard to have your voice heard (or seen) without at least making the rounds and commenting to a bunch of blogs to start with. But some people spend more time trying to promote rather than just producing and letting the chips fall where they may. There's something to be said for the latter.

My main goal is to try to produce something that people might find an interest in, but do it my way. In addition, I 'm just making some modest stabs at self promotion--but when the technology won't work, it becomes an exercise in futilty. After all that work programming all those tags, none of them are working on Technorati, despite pinging (and contacting) them repeatedly. Other folks are having the same problem too, and it's maddening.

 
At 9:47 PM, Anonymous paula said...

Lol!

You're a lowly insect? I'm green with envy. I'm a microbial microbe, or some such strange thing. I was shocked and amazed that I even existed in the TTLB ecosystem at all.

Actually, I'm pretty happy with a small readership, mostly because I'm still not sure why I blog.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Paula's post reminds me. My friend likes microbes. He rarely washes his hands because he likes the idea that there might be microbes on him. Personally, I'm Linda Ronstadt. Okay, I'm not, but I hate admitting this.

I would hope for a much larger audience, but I don't really think that I post about anything anyone would care about.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger ElisaC said...

Thanks for the link, and understandingthe concept of having one's tongue only in one's cheek in a semi- manner.

The issue is discoverability, and all the tools that purport to help you find the merde you like suck, IMHO.

And I am nearly pathological in my dislike of adding tags to posts. Like, why would I want a little advertisement for Technorati, whose service is inconsistent and inexplicable at best, in every post I write?

BTW: Elvira - check out BlogHer and the BlogHerRoll:
http://blogher.org

One more reason to hate Technorati: they don't count links from blog rolls implemented via Bloglines. So it won't help your link count to be on our BlogHer Roll, but it does drive traffic.

 
At 2:45 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Paula:

All I can say that microbes ruled the world billions of years ago, and will doubtless be here long after we're gone. Get a bunch of them together, and they have the potential to kick some serious butt.

 
At 2:48 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ice:

OK, I think I've discoverd the Achilles Heel on your hunky friend--he doesn't like to wash his hands. Maybe it's better if you don't have any close encounters of the unclothed kind with him after all.

Microbes are in us, on us, and around us, no matter how much we wash. Washing one's hands is a sensible thing to do, unless you like e-coli infections. Dig?

 
At 2:51 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

elisac:

I think I'm just gonna forgo the Technorati tags from now on. It's not worth the time and aggravation. But it does piss me off no end. It's the little guy who needs the visibility the most, but I'd be willing to bet that the bigger sites get indexed posthaste (pun intended).

Thanks for the tip on BlogHer--looks like a great resource!

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Update: Tuesday morning, 3 am (yes, 3 am):

Well, as far as I can tell, it took 3 days, but Technorati has finally activated my tags. Most of them are up near the top of the queue, so all is not lost.

Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the hits to just roll on in---NOT.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ice:

Oops--I forgot to address the second part of your comment. You said:

"I would hope for a much larger audience, but I don't really think that I post about anything anyone would care about."

Ice, you are a very interesting guy. A biopolar man who sees himself as a woman, likes men, but is asexual and also has borderline personality disorder? Now that's what I call unique--and fascinating.

Thing is, you hardly ever post! But it's nice to read you in the comments, and when you do post, I read.

But I have to realize that some people have, like, actual lives and their blogs are sometimes a lower priority than, say, classes and homework. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that I didn't have access to the internet when I was in college.

PPS: Tell your hunk to wash his hands already! I know you guys are into animal rights, but those bacteria grow faster than you can say "I've got the runs." A few million die; a few billion are born. If you try to save them all, you'll upset the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and then where will we be?

Crazy college kids.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger !ce said...

Let's not make too much of the hygeine. He makes up for it. He showers once every three days, and brushes his teeth every two. He also washes his hair once a week, so that makes up the difference, no? Okay, maybe not entirely, but he remains hot.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ice:

Perhaps you will pass this tip on to your friend from ol' grandma Elvira:

For best results, brush your teeth twice a day, minimum. Otherwise, you'll likely find out all about Dentucream at a far earlier age than you should, m'kay?

If he loses all his teeth, it may not even be possible to admire him (sniff) from afar. Just bein' real.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger !ce said...

I would still admire him, and try to help him with his speech. I don't really have to admire him from afar anyway. As long as I refrain from fondling him or using terms of endearment, he lets me hit on him as much as I want.

 
At 4:27 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ice:

For once, I am speechless. As they say, enjoy it in good health.

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Note to Paula:

If you have any interest in this stuff--and you might not--you might check your TTLB ranking again. Mine just evolved back to Crawly Amphibian, so yours may be up higher too. But in the final analysis, it seems kinda silly, don't it?

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blackie,

Getting your name noticed, or at least on someone's list-that's the goal to know you've made it. Funny how it ends up (your name and your $) getting put on another list (sold) and you continue helping someone else (make $ off you).

Here we go again, someone out there is telling me how to make money, or how to improve myself. Before blogging, there were/are plenty of folks on those TV info-commercials trying to sell their own "brand" of how to build a better mousetrap.

Every commodity under the sun is/was being exposed through a guru who could tell you how to do something better-from real estate (Carlton Sheets), to loosing weight (Jenny Craig), to getting rich (Michael Kwan), to living better (John Phillips), to self-enpowerment (Tony Robbins) to getting financial freedom (Suze Orman), and a long list of others.

I can appreciate their sincerity and earnestness behind what they are saying, really. All of them have found the real "secret" to doing something, and they are willing to sell us their wonderful mental gem for only an amazing $---.-- + S & H, over --- monthly payments.

Thing is, if I had a secret, I would want to hoard it for myself and not tell others how to benefit from it. In the business world, look how companies hide their secrets from their competitors, and even to customers-from Bush's baked beans (cute lab dog telling others the secret formula with a Bush family member trying to stop him), to Loreal (major law suit against Revlon for stealing some of their hidden perfume formulas, I think).

The point here is, in my small world at work, I'm starting to hang on to what I know and not pass it along to others for fear of my performance bonus dropping due to others moving up on the boss's gravy train of success (partly because I told them how to do something I once knew alone).

These gurus earlier mentioned aren't hanging on to their secrets because they want to only share their gifts. They share with us their gifts because they get a bigger gift (your $$$) by selling it to us! It's better to give than to receive (esp if you can make a huge profit in the process).

And, on top of that, once you buy their gift, your name goes on other lists, which in turn means those who have that list will try to sell you more gifts, GREAT!

I think these gifts/lists can be related to "tags" in associating ones interest to ones wallet. But, I,m only referring to the lower form of life, making a buck. I guess lists, and tags, have their value, and place, in the blog world, in finding out what people really like. Plus, your tags don't cost me any $$$. I just wish that my interests didn't have to cost so much money most of the time,(only in regard to some gurus).

Maybe TxxB knocked you off the big list because you weren't going to make him/them money, just kidding. What do I know? I hope I'm on your list. Please keep me, I'll be good, I promise!

BLLB

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

BLLB:

TTLB has restored me to my middling position. In one sense, it's a very silly thing to fret about, but once these rating systems get set up and people get an ego boost, it can be very upsetting to see yourself get knocked down a peg (or five). The basic criteria of ranking, I think, is how many (and what kind) of sites link to you.

Most people will make little or no money blogging. There are a few who make very good money. Most of the time it's a combo of using ads on their site and being popular enough so that their ads generate enough hits to earn them money. Another way is to use a blog as a business/publicity tool.

When you get into the "pro" blogger (money making) sphere, things like rankings and links and hits become more "dead" serious because real money is involved. That's also where all sorts of underhanded schemes take place--including spammming for hits.

For others, blogging can be like a competitive game. Some people like to win at poker even if they bet pennies.

There is a certain cooperative spirit in many parts of the internet, where people see helping each other as a "win-win" situation. And information is definitely one of the most valuable commodities of all today.

In my case, I mainly just like to have regular visitors, esp; those who take the time to comment. And it's always nice to get new visitors and blogpals.

I could go on, but I could easily make a whole 'nother post on this. Maybe I will!

 

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