I Wanna Be Popular

I began blogging back in 2002 using the site Xanga.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and the community behind it was pretty great.  I even paid the $25/yr to get Xanga Premium, and paid for a few friends just to keep them blogging.  It was a pretty sad state, in high school and into college and stuck on Xanga.

It wasn’t long into my college career that I decided to make the move to something a little more powerful.  MoveableType was the answer to my prayers.  For the first time, I was in control of what I wrote, how it was presented and I didn’t even have to pay for it.  I had tried LiveJournal (yuck) and Blogger (not bad but kinda boring) but there was something about another company potentially owning my material, or being able to shut me down, that bothered me.

As I began to grow my blog and needed more flexibility, and when TypePad started to want to charge me for features I used to get for free, I began another search for a great blogging platform.  That is when I was introduced to WordPress, which had only recently changed from b2.

Moving my site over from MoveableType was supposed to be really easy but I was new to the whole MySQL thing and, well I deleted most of my posts, possibly all of them.

Back when my blog first started, I was afraid of people reading it.  Now, my friends and dorm mates all knew the address and read the blog, but anyone outside of that; well that made me quite nervous.  My father had recently gotten a new job in a high position with a boss would was very much against homosexuality and if they found my blog, he could lose his job.  Or so my brother convinced me.

Heck, my family didn’t know I was gay, I wasn’t really out to them; and that’s even a little iffy these days.  But I was terrified that a professor or a family member would find the site and I’d be done with.  So I kept the blog as a subdomain of my main site, Soundwise.  I haven’t updated Soundwise since, oops.

It wasn’t until I moved to California that I felt comfortable with a blog that had its very own domain, and it even had my name in it.  But that was the trick, if someone asked me, “I hear you have a site/blog, what’s the address?”

I would simply respond, “Oh, yes!  The address is really simple, it’s just justin dot com.”

They would go, “awesome, I’ll have to check that out”

Clickity clackity, www.justin.com

Booyah, tricked.  Now, if I wanted them to make it to my site I’d just say, “Oh yeah! just go to www.itsjustjustin.com

Now-a-days I don’t worry so much.  I am more or less completely out to my family and no longer have skeletons in my closet to worry about.  I have made myself public and in many ways that is incredibly freeing.

Not only have I found a way to release stress and tell a story; I’ve found a new way to making friends.  In the past two months I have made so many incredible friends through blogging and through one guy in particular, Jester from Jestertunes.com.

Here’s a quick list of bloggers I have recently befriended or have been inspired by their site…

Winterheart/Sunlight Sucks
ToriBlaine
Jestertunes
UncleMonkeyBoy
Blogography
Down With Pants!
Socially Dead
Snackie’s World
SecondHand Tryptophan
Brainporn

I read these blogs regularly and so do a lot of other people it seems.  Snackiepoo seems to average 20-50+ comments on each of her blog posts, and that’s really nothing compared to some other bloggers who are getting hundreds of comments.

So what I’m here to find out is, how do they do this?  I don’t care about monetizing my blog, that would be awesome but I just like blogging.  I love to write and to post my photography out there and my thoughts on whatever comes to mind.  But it seems that my hiatus a while back where I stopped posting really hurt me, I’m down to 50-300 hits a day.  That’s too big of a range and only a comment or three per post?  How disappointing.

I get the most hits on nerd posts.  If I write about Apple or something totally nerdy, especially if I complain about something nerdy, hits galore.

Something personal, not terrible.

Photography… people love it but rarely comment (sad face)

Political (nothing, zero, zilch)

John Mayer Kissing Adam Levine CRAZINESS!  Tons of hits and comments

So what is the key?  What is it that makes people keep coming back and gets them to post comments?  I’d love some input, especially from the guys on my blogroll.

To me, blogging is like High School all over again, we are all battling to make it to the top and we don’t mind shitting on anyone in order to get there.  Well, I don’t care to be on the top, I just want to maybe make it up the bank of the mountain a bit; and I could use your help!

Much love,

Justin

7 thoughts on “I Wanna Be Popular

  1. Thanks for the shoutout, but don’t ask me about this stuff.  I average maybe 50 visits a day on a good day.  I do think I have a higher comments to visits ratio than a lot of people though.  I think the biggest key is to be social, just like high school.  Read and comment on other people’s blogs, respond to comments on your own, do the Twitter thing and generally be around.  I know that when I stop commenting and stop twittering, my comments plummet from already low heights.  

    Brandons last blog post..

  2. Thanks for the link. You’re one of my fave new “discoveries” of late, too. As Brandon said, it takes time to build an audience. Hilly didn’t start getting all those comments overnight. I get a decent amount of hits, around the same as you, and it comes down to a lot of factors, and I won’t pretend to know the science behind all of it.Visit other blogs you like, leave comments on a semi-regular basis, and you’ll begin to build your traffic. It’s kind of a weird thing, trying to figure out what people like to comment on. If you’re getting lots of comments on your tech posts, maybe write one or two of those a week. I’m not advocating obsessing over stats, but you can learn some things by looking at them here and there. I suggest looking at them no more than once or twice a week because all that info can be overwhelming for anyone.Build your blogroll and try to maintain it (I’m horrible at this). Reciprocal links help a lot and that often means you make the first move by adding someone to the blogroll. Different people like different things. It’s no different in the blogiverse than it is in real life. Some people may be attracted to your blog for the tech stories, some may come back for the photos, others may come back for the more personal anecdotes. And others may visit you as a result of listening to Jester’s show, for instance…maybe seeing you in the chatroom.Traffic can be a fickle bitch. Sometimes I’m astounded at what posts of mine get the most comments. REALLY? They like *that*?

    Karls last blog post..Oh No! Jack’s World is Dead

  3. It’s truly a mystery. I get tons of traffic to my site, but very few comments. Sometimes I will work for hours on a post, and get anxious to release it to the public to see the comments that come in, and watch while absolutely nothing happens…Other times, i throw together a post in 10 minutes that says little to nothing at all and all hell will break loose and I’ll get 100+ comments.You’ve made a good first step by calling other bloggers out so they’ll come here to comment. I’ve been reading you for 2 years or more. I’m glad others are beginning to find you. Keep showing up around the blogosphere via comments and twitter and you’ll be a superstar in no time. And if that fails, post naked photos of yourself. That tends to draw visitors.

    jesters last blog post..Go see Snackie

  4. I’ve only been blogging since January but I’ve found blogging to be like any other community on the net… it’s a social thing… reciprocal in nature for the most part. That means that what Brandon and Karl said is very true. I get the most hits on things like:a Thursday Thirteen post where I’ve visited and commented on other TT postssomething controversial, the new hot blog drama BSa contest where I’m giving something awaya post where I’ve bared my soul in a really big wayhot posts, the occasional sexual post, usually something sexy I wrote for The Bara post about some blogger event like Dave DiegoThere’s no rhyme or reason to it really. I’ve discovered that a lot more people read me than comment. When I whined that Britt didn’t read me, she commented to let me know that she did. Usually, if you’re asking your readers a question or have a soul deep dilemma… people will comment. This is a very giving community and people like to show that they support you when you’re in need of it.

    Winters last blog post..More Smoke Than Fire

  5. You are complaining about only getting 50-300 hits per day?  Must be nice to be you!  I’m lucky to get 50 on a really good day.

  6. First of all, thank you for the link and the kind words.  I have been reading and loving your blog as well but I have been a very very bad commenter lately.  I am going to add you to my blogroll today though and uh, what was I saying?  Oh yeah…Would it shock you to know that my average hits per day is only about 200-500?  When Jester saw that, he almost had a “crazy” moment because for the amount of hits I get, my comments are much more than one would expect.  I guess it depends if you want more traffic or more comments.  If the traffic itself is important to you, then I would definitely seek out the advice of Jester, who has tons!  If the comments are important to you, then I would definitely mirror the sentiment that you get what you give.  It is a fucked up weird thing but the more blogs you visit and comment on regularly, the more people that comment on your site as well.Karl is right that it took me a long time to build up my blog to what it is now.  For the first year of blogging, I had maybe 10 comments a day and really never branched out.  I know that there are people who get tons more comments than I do but I am actually quite happy with where I am exactly right now.  And you have the same phenomenon that we all do….I can spend HOURS thinking up something amazing and no one cares.  I can post from my jumbled up mind for a few seconds and bammo!For me, the key is just being yourself.  Do not try to hard to be something else for your blog.  I dunno, it works for me.  Feel free to email me any time you want, by the way!

  7. I don’t blog for comments… but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I wish I had more.I’m like you… a few readers, but fewer commenters… but I’ll tell you, I love the few that I have and wouldn’t trade them for popularity.

    Toris last blog post..I WANT

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