Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Why being an underdog generates blog traffic

quote image, writing quote, joss whedon, beach, typography image
Often, I find myself doing my fair share of SEO research and reading other blogs to see what people connect with. The truth is that no matter how many "how to" guides you read, there is no foolproof magic trick to conjure content popularity and high traffic stats. It's going to be different for everyone, depending on your writing style and your interests. You can tick all the SEO boxes and you can have a variety of content, but you'll always find that some posts are more well read than others. You will always walk a wavering tightrope of people's loves and hates, unless you have a large established audience.

If you go through my blog, you'll see a history of politics, world news, and general observations about life. Some of these past articles are some of my best examples of work, but for some reason I couldn't get them to click with readers. Although I still intend on writing articles based on these topics because after all- I like them, I have learned what people come to me for. 

People want experiences, they want struggle, and they want a dose of crushing reality. In the endless hazy spiral that is our twenties, we are all well too aware that life isn't all canned laughter and crafted montages. 

We know that it is a unrehearsed circus act of manipulating our skills to get a job, of perfecting ourselves to win an audience. 

We want to know that people relate to us, perhaps we want to feel like we are not so alone in the world. We want a singular voice to echo our thoughts, even when we can't find our own among the misted mass of confusion. 

Don't be afraid or ashamed to write about your failures, or your loss. Give your work a bit of meat, and own everything that has happened to you.

My last post, "I got slut shamed, and I let it go." has managed to weasel it's way to the top of my most viewed posts in the space of a week. My other popular posts include the ones that are about quitting my job, or about working in a bar. It's a fuzzy and inconsistent line between articles of  ego slashing disappointments and honest humour. The one thing they have in common is that they are all based on my life and no one else's. 

When things don't go to plan, the pressure is as subtle as a sharp stone in the small of your back. You know those really sad adverts where the donkey is carrying bricks on it's back? That's what it feels like to be in your twenties, when society has raised us to follow the correct path to success, only we can't reach it. 

Millennials are accused of being sloppy and entitled, but the baby boomers raised us to feel like we could achieve everything we wanted. I can't watch donkey the advert (because donkeys are underrated and we shouldn't pick on them), which reminds me of how I reflect on my own life. I'm an avoider. I don't open bank statements, and I try to avoid admitting that my life is occasionally a train wreck. Even when the flames are pretty and even when I find a warmth and a comfort in knowing the crash is over done with, I know it is still burning. That said, I am extremely fortunate in other ways.

I've also learned that the double edged sword of having a blog is that you are an open book at all times. My Twitter account is open and uncensored, my blog is an anthology of my thoughts, and the only social media account I keep to myself is Facebook. I live to tell stories, and this is how I share them. 

image of cappuccino, coffee, love, blog, image editing
As any blogger will know, having a strong online presence can have it's seedy consequences. Even if you banish people from your life, you can't stop them reading about it. Which brings me to this, be careful what you type. More for your own safety than anything else because you can only do so much to protect yourself. No one likes to be monitored, even if it is only gentle stalking. If I wanted to be followed by people, I'd be a Kardashian. I'd be Khloe, in case you were wondering.

So like I said, my most popular posts are either funny, or tragic. It is because you, like me, are an avoider. When we avoid we either want to laugh or cry, until we feel like it's going to get better.