L was flicking through my iPhone today, and I watched over her shoulder as she browsed through this very site.
It was interesting to watch her, and read the site as someone who didn’t write it. Looking at it this way, I realised a number of things I could do differently if I wanted to make a site that lots of people read.
I should add – I don’t want to make a site that lots of people look at. This site is really just for me, but it’s always nice when people like what you’d done with the place.
I don’t consider myself an “expert” on social media in any way. Really, I suspect anyone who thinks they’re an expert is a charlatan anyway. But here’s what I’ve figured out today when I was thinking about this.
The first thing you need to do ismake your posts less wordy. Watch as I completely avoid this in this (and basically every other) post. However, you have to think about how people use your site. And most of them time they’re going to come to your page through browsing a Tumblr feed or a WordPress tag or whatever. They’re not looking for wordy things, so they’ll skip over you. Short and frequent is better than long and infrequent.
- Link-bait is a hideous term, but it’s how you make people share your content and start following you. Part of me knew, with my post the other day about quotes, even though it’s long, it is quite linkable and likeable.
If I’d really wanted this to take off, I’d done a series of short posts, each with one quote and why I like it.
- Tags. Tags are important with social media. As most people are going to find you by browsing tags, rather than through Google. Obviously, Google is important for your natural search visitors, but a lot of your followers are going to come from your community.
- Speaking of which, engaging with the community is vital. Which means liking and reblogging other people’s work. I got more followers, more quickly, than anything else just by reblogging things I thought were funny.
- Answer one question. My most viewed and popular post is this one. It’s weird, because it’s short and not really that interesting. It’s just how to list all the tables in a database. But if that’s what you’re looking for, it answers the question perfectly. And concisely. And in one page – you don’t need to go hunting.
- The final thing is, as I saw today – read your posts over someone else’s shoulder. There’s nothing quite like that for seeing how you appear to someone else. It’s amazing how differently your site will look over someone else’s shoulder.