I’ve had this blog since December 2006. It took a while to get it to a place where it received more than a few dozen regular daily visitors. During this run, I noticed a few things that I thought might be worthwhile to share.
Publicize. Sending links to aggregators helped. Facebooking and Tweeting helped. Having popular friends who Facebooked and Tweeted links helped EVEN MORE. One day, when Phil Plait tweeted a link, several hundred people popped in for a visit. But most didn’t stick around.
My posts got some eyeballs but not enough. These days, as a long-established site, I get more traffic from people who access my archive content or static pages (on Paranormal TV shows). I also get hits from Google search on certain topics, like Bigfoot.
Photos. I have extremely limited time. It takes sometimes days for me to write a blog post that I’m pleased with. For all that work, I want as many people as possible to see it and for it to not be forgotten and buried. But, I soon noticed that many people found my posts because of the interesting images I used. They liked the pictures, not the story. That’s a little disappointing but I guess it can be seen as an advantage if you work it the right way.
Specialize. It took a while, but I finally focused the website into a rather narrow band of topics around fake science, pretend science and paranormal science wannabes –their methods displayed what I called “scientificity” and their actions were “sham inquiry”. I’m pleased with that focus but I realize I’m appealing to a small crowd. I attempted to attract some of the pro-paranormal viewers but they never hang around long enough to comment. More on that in a bit.
Contributing elsewhere. In Tim Farley’s excellent, common sense presentation, Please Don’t Start another Blog or Podcast, he gives a list of things you could do to contribute to the cause you feel is important. One that is not explicitly mentioned on the list is to contribute to existing podcast or blogs. Tim has mentioned this in other places because he has done it – contributing content to the JREF’s Swift blog and to the Skepticality podcast.
A little while back, I posted stories and interviews to SheThought.com. Due to the larger audience there, I got more hits on those posts than if I had put them on my own blog. The same happened with my pieces on Skeptoid.com blog . Even more hits were obtained on the WhoForted Blog when one of the posts got picked up by a “discovery engine”. That particular blog site, which is heavy on graphics, humorous and attracts both skeptical and paranormal viewers, featured my two posts with lots of photos and even an “original” image.
A huge number of clicks were displayed for a piece I co-wrote on the JREF’s Swift blog on a Norwegian psychic family. I’m not sure how accurate that is and I can’t be at all certain where the traffic came from but it read over 11,000 hits. I suspect the large hits may be because no one else on the internet wrote about this aspect of a worldwide news story. Got lucky on that one, perhaps.
As Tim says in another post, “Effective skepticism is about communication, and skeptical outreach demands we communicate with as many people as possible. Even the finest investigation report or essay…does no good if they’re never read by anyone”.
So, I have made a change for now. I’ve decided to make my website fairly static and concentrate on some research projects, print articles and blog posts in places that get the clicks. I also completed some print pieces that hopefully will be published soon. I’m interested to see what happens with them. Unlike blog posts, they seem more real, more permanent (regardless of “the internet is forever” business). Printed stories appear to be more special than a blog you can type out in an hour to add to the endless stream.
Finally, ignore all I just said, because I did something silly – I started a new blog. To be fair, it’s something that I felt was needed, it’s still in the trial mode and I have help with it. It’s a news blog with paranormal, pseudoscience and general skeptically themed story links. I did it because I was posting stories to Twitter days before they became hot items in the mainstream. I decided to create a “scoop” site. Within a week, it surpassed the visitors to my own established blog. I’m happy about that but it has nowhere near the traffic I would like. Spread the word if you can.
Oh, yeah, one more thing… I’m available for paid gigs, panels, events and a new career. Feel free to email offers. Thanks for reading.