Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lessons learned

Commenting and leaving your website/blog info here and there on the interwebs can actually generate traffic. So sayeth my recent interpretation of the data I've been collecting on this very blog. Before you freak out, no, I can't tell exactly who you are, and if you're on the web you're spreading information about your surfing habits all over the place anyway. I left a comment over on Meredith Farkas' blog, Information Wants to be Free after the CIL2010 conference along with my blog address, and got a few clicks off it. That's certainly one way networking works, and why we should form connections online. (There's a building slowly on top of foundations metaphor here somwhere)

Posting links on certain days of the week, and times of day results in different levels of click-interest. I got a ton of clicks yesterday, and I suspect this is because people were le bored at work on a Monday. I'll have to devise a controlled experiment to test this theory. Maybe posting the same number of links of similar type every day? There are also notable changes in click frequency based on how I've "sold" the link in my tweet or text.

People are more likely to respond to a post or a link if they can see that others have done so before them. Facebook posts with lots of comments or clicks get shuffled to the top in the "Top Stories" feed, and if there are several comments saying "omg, so cool" and "this is great!" everyone else will click, too.

Which brings me to the irritating point that people are frequently more interested in visual content than in text. (this post is already screwed) This generally makes it difficult to communicate information to people because they are lazy or unwilling to go through all the trouble of reading. The blog Information is Beautiful takes advantage of this by posting awesome graphs, diagrams, charts and whatnot that are visually interesting, full of information, and make their point. I admit that I am also guilty of this trend. When I go through my Google Reader feed at lunch every day I beeline for the "pretty" items, the webcomics, and posts I know will be brief.

I'll just conclude by saying that posting interesting, wordy content and creating a reader base isn't as easy as one might think.

(if I put a kitten here, would you be more interested? another future study.)


  1. Pictures of cats with words photoshopped on top of them are always a guaranteed way to generate traffic.


  2. So true!

    I'm less concerned with visuals (though who can really resist a kitten?), but I don't think that's the standard. I like thoughtful, wordy posts, so when I'm zooming through my google reader I click on the ones with a good hook or ones that sound like they'll have an interesting conversation going on in the comment thread.

    And I love Info is Beautiful! How did infographics suddenly become trendy?