My Blogging Lessons

I’ve been blogging regularly for seven weeks now, and the blog has been lucky to recieve over 25,000 visitors and a Technorati Rank of 57,893. As of today, we have 201 links from 67 blogs, 120 posts, and
189 comments.

Looking back on my staggering wealth of experience as a two month blogger (tongue firmly planted in cheek), I’ve had some spectacular belly flops. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned as a new blogger…

Jon’s Rules of Blogging

1. No matter how thoughtful, well-researched, and meticulously referenced your post is, someone will write in an anonymous comment calling you an idiot.

This is an immutable law like gravity, and simply can’t be helped.

2. Approximately 98.7% of your commenters turn out to be bloggers.

This raises the existential question, are there any purely authentic readers? Or are we all bloggers posting linkbacks on other people’s blogs, driving traffic in an infinite loop?

3. Post traffic is no indicator of post quality

Often infuriatingly so. Occasionally I’ve been lucky enough to post news-breaking information or unique analysis. For some reason, these posts often go unread. Better to post Ten Great Blogger Temper Tantrums and watch your traffic go through the roof.

4. Web 2.0 posts get the most traffic

Meanwhile, my stock market and finance posts get moderate traffic. And my Wikipedia posts get low traffic. This bums me out because I really, really enjoy writing about Wikipedia.

What are the lowest traffic posts? Posts about ValueWiki.com! By all indicators, most readers of the ValueWiki blog have no idea what ValueWiki is. More on this below.

5. The best way to drive traffic is to express an opinion, positive or negative.

Sadly, posting a really negative post is a nearly infallible way to spike traffic. Meanwhile, my experience is that writing factually-referenced and neutral-voiced articles is blog traffic poison.

6. Bloggers are overwhelmingly motivated by self interest

JohnChow.com, a blog I read every day, has gotten 310 blogs to post reviews of his site by offering them a single linkback. This is driving up his Technorati Rank and Google SERP in an arguably artificial manner.

The most comments I’ve ever received for a post was from the Top 100 Finance Bloggers series, because of dozens of bloggers wanting their links included. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. But it’s worth noting what drives reader interest!

7. About 30 Blog visitors per 1,000 check out ValueWiki.com

Do any other entrepreneurs have this experience?

It’s bewildered me how many finance bloggers are now aware of the ValueWiki blog and aren’t yet aware of ValueWiki. Still scratching my head trying to figure out how to get the word out.

Suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below. And you can leave a link to your blog as well!

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13 Responses to My Blogging Lessons

  1. khartand says:

    Why don’t you start writing strong opinions on stocks in ValueWiki (message boards). maybe it will attract traffic there?

  2. Dave says:

    Great reading…

    I agree with khartand but as I’ve said, go one step further…an opinion on the main article page…as you say in your guidelines: “be bold.” Down with neutrality! Get the facts and take a position!!!!

  3. Some interesting insights. I like the comment about you getting called an idiot. It’s sad, but it’s true. No matter what you say, at least one anonymous person will find it controversial.

    Personally, I’d rather have bloggers commenting, then regular readers. It means that you have influencers reading your stuff regularly. Bloggers may be self motivated, but I’ve also found that there is a different connection between bloggers, then between a blogger and readers.

    I actually found the blog after discovering ValueWiki. I think ValueWiki is a great resource. If you can gain critical mass, I think it could end up being a great resource for financial bloggers. Have you considered contacting sites like Seeking Alpha, that are on the top 100 list and seeing if you could work out some kind of a mutually beneficial partnership? It would be neat to see even more people contribute information on the site.

    The controversy might sell, but I’d rather see good well thought out posts, even if it doesn’t generate the same link love.

  4. Jon says:

    Khartand,

    A number of pages, like Abbot, have definitely been getting increasing traffic. Converting this traffic into users is the puzzle… Maybe provacative message board posts is the key!

    Dave,

    I hear you on this. I just worry that VW could devolve into the chaos of message boards if everyone can post their opinions on the article page. Wikipedia wouldn’t have the credibility it does if anyone could post opinions about each topic on the article pages. I think a happy solution would be if users write their opinions on subpages, and link from the article page. That is, AAPL/Dave’s_Analysis, AAPL/Khartand’s_Analysis, etc. Or on their user pages, Jonathan_Stokes/AAPL_Analysis, Khartand/AAPL_Analysis etc. Maybe try it out? We’ll see if it catches on.

    Davis,

    Yep, critical mass is the name of the game….tell a friend about VW! Yes, I have heard from David Jackson at Seeking Alpha. My general impression is that many finance bloggers are aware of the blog but not ValueWiki. Hopefully some more bloggers (like Khartand did) will begin to cover the site, and help explain the mission to their readers.

    Thanks for the insight everyone,

    Jon

  5. great stuff so fast. keep it up

  6. Toni says:

    i think this is a great performance u did in the last few months. Great job!

  7. you will with your enterprising spirit light the way into the heart of all bloggers,…
    blogging is a holistic science of healing it heals without prescription both the eye and the beholder too…

  8. Kitty Kelso says:

    I suggest you switch the names for a week or so, then at the end of the wrong (but message you want to be read), announce the glitch, and offer that ValueWiki will be redirected ASAP. Also, the name ValueWiki could be changed. I’ll tell you why I think that…the minute an ignorant person who is a user, not a programmer, is so relieved to have found your site at all, after maybe hundreds of advertisements in the corner of their eye, the last thing that I would want to do, is get lost in what might be somebody else trying to sell me something….Value – indicates level of importance, expense, estimates of all kinds. I want maybe a forum, rather than a blog. Maybe even the web-hosting, which is something I only wanted to do when I was on line, and be able to interact with my visitors, like a chat works with Google. Anyhooo, drop me a line. Teach me something!!! Kitty

  9. itsasecretantiaging says:

    I am so new, computer illiterate,but wana be blogger.
    I found this new world of communication space and do not know how to digest yet,and what to do with this blessed fortune.
    please read my blog and tell me what I must do.
    http://www.itsasecretantiaging.wordpress.com
    leia

  10. Chicago says:

    A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means.

  11. pwrpixie says:

    whoa that was all great,I wish I could write stuff like that— you sound pretty good — I dont have a blessed clue what your saying but it does look real good — dont feel bad — I get this about what Im trying to say — dont worry I am not very up on alot of things — so its not you — Im just stuck out here in space at the moment and happened on you — but I just want you to know it looks pretty good to me — I will mark you — if I get to where you are I will know how to get back — Thanks and hang in there Pixie

  12. I do not believe you’ll be appropriate, have you in fact investigated the information?

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