If you’ve lost views recently due to loss of StumbleUpon, try Pinterest!

pin-it-button-transparent-download

StumbleUpon, which was bringing me an insane number of views every day (who knew it had that much influence?) recently folded and changed their name to “Mix.”  I don’t like Mix.  I find it confusing, impossible to understand or to use, not to mention the aggravation of creating a custom sharing icon for it.

Why are things that work perfectly well always getting “improved”?   If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!    It’s so frustrating and infuriating!

But I think I found a solution, or at least a partial solution.  I already had a Pinterest account from way back when I started this blog (or maybe even before?), but never used it and never bothered sharing anything to it.  Pinterest seemed kind of pointless as far as social media platforms go, just a bunch of pictures with links on them.   But really, that’s all SU ever was too.   Both are social media aggregators, not really social media sites in the same sense as Facebook or Twitter.

Okay, so since I’ve been sharing to Pinterest, my stats have improved. My views have gone back up.   Alright, fine, maybe they’re not as high as they were during the SU days, but definitely better than they were earlier this month.  My statistics page shows that after Google, Pinterest is now my second highest source for views.

I hope this helps some of you who have also experienced a drop in views and activity since the demise of SU.    It also helps that the Pinterest share button is included in the WordPress sharing buttons, so you don’t have to go to the trouble of creating a custom button for it.

 

Advertisements

Well, this is very surprising (and disappointing).

I was dismayed to check my stats this morning and find my views had suddenly dropped by more than half. Other bloggers have been saying the same thing has been happening to them since August 1. So it isn’t just that people have suddenly decided I have a terrible blog.

One of my first thoughts was that it’s the Trump regime’s net neutrality repeal going into effect, making it more difficult for people to access “small time” or controversial blogs. But apparently that isn’t the reason either.

I was just informed by another blogger that StumbleUpon has changed to something called Mix, and that the SU views probably have to do with the sudden dropoffs in viewers.

That’s surprising to me since I never thought SU had that much impact on blog visibility. I mean, it’s not Facebook or Twitter! But somehow, I must have been getting at least half my views through SU. I knew it had some impact, but I thought it was only a little bit.

I set up a new account at Mix but I had to do it through my Twitter account (it only gave me three choices: Facebook, Twitter or Google). I have no clue how to share my posts here to Mix, and there don’t seem to be any instructions on doing so. I don’t really understand how the site works or what its purpose is. I’m very disappointed and upset about all this.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing (and hoping) that now that I set up a Mix account, since all my posts are automatically shared to Twitter, then Mix somehow picks them up on their site too. Is that how it works?

How to retain your blog’s traffic when you aren’t writing new content.

traffic.jpg

If you’ve been around a while, you probably noticed I post a lot less frequently.  During my first two or three years as a blogger, I posted at least one new post a day, and sometimes several a day.   Now it’s closer to one new article a week.

Over time, you may find that as the novelty of blogging begins to wear off, writing new content may become more of a chore.  That doesn’t mean you no longer like blogging or that you’re burning out,  just that, as with most things in life, the initial excitement eventually tapers off.   While writing new content may still be as enjoyable as ever,  it’s just a lot harder to get motivated.

Don’t abandon your blog!

I try to write at least one original post a week, but I don’t like my blog to just sit around being idle during all those days in between.   People who are in the habit of checking my blog for new posts every day are bound to be disappointed, and it is hard to keep your traffic moving at a healthy pace when you aren’t posting as frequently as you’d like, and  relying on on your older, popular, or once-viral posts to do the work for you.

Share, share, share! 

As an established blogger, several of my older articles have gone viral and have high Google rankings (this happens naturally over time if you’re a dedicated blogger and share your posts a lot — you do not need SEO, just patience and dedication!).   I do rely on these older posts to bring in new traffic, since they are regularly seen on Google when people type in certain phrases or keywords.   Every so often I’ll also share those older articles (as well as other ones I wish to get more views) to my social media to keep their Google rankings high.

Since I have a newly large-ish Twitter following due to my online political activity,  I like to share my older articles a lot on Twitter and this way, they get even more views and shares — by a brand new audience who had no idea my blog even existed!   My posts about narcissism and narcissistic abuse dovetail nicely with my newer posts about Trump’s psychology because there is a lot of overlap between narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy and the rise of Trumpism in America right now.   Learning about narcissism prepared me for what I write about now, and my new Twitter audience is interested in all of these topics since they are so interrelated.

But I digress.  There are other ways you can keep your blog active and keep the traffic coming besides sharing your older posts on social media.  You can also

— reblog someone else’s post.   Don’t do this too often if you aren’t adding original content — you are not a clearinghouse for other people’s blogs.

— post memes, cartoons and photos (don’t do this too often though, because eventually people will be able to pick up on the fact you’re just too lazy to write anything original and they’ll go elsewhere.

— reblog your own posts.   There are bloggers who insist this is a no-no because it annoys people.    While I can understand it becoming annoying if you reblog an article only a few weeks or a month after you first posted it (that makes you look desperate),  I see nothing wrong with reblogging a post that is several months to several years old.   You can turn it into an “anniversary” and add a phrase to the reblog’s title such as “This Day Last Year” or “Blast from 2015” to disguise the fact you just want this particular article to get more views that it did the first time around.    It’s also a good idea to add an original intro to your reblogged post, which gives the reader some perspective into how the feelings expressed in your old article have changed for you over time — or even how you changed since then.

Ways to reblog your own or other people’s stuff.  

On WordPress, there are two ways to reblog an article, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.   The first way is to simply hit the reblog button at the end of the article.  This is the easiest method, and it allows you to write an original intro, but does not allow you to change the content of the actual post.   This benefits both of you by making potential plagiarism impossible.   However, you will need to add categories and tags.   I try to use the original blogger’s own categories and tags.

When you use the reblog button, the entire article will not appear on your blog, but the first few paragraphs will, as a sort of “teaser.”  A link is then provided to the original post where readers can read the whole thing if they want to.

The other way to reblog an article is to simply copy and paste it into a new blog post.   This is a good method if you’re reblogging your own post, because you can edit or change the article, or add different graphics or other content, so that it’s less recognizable to others as a “recycled” post.   You can also update the article if that is necessary.   When I reblog my own material using this method, I like to add an “originally published on…” date at the top of the reblog (without actually linking to the original post).

I don’t recommend using this method if you’re reblogging someone else’s material, unless they are not using WordPress.com and you do not have the reblog button option.  Make sure to give the author credit and be sure to link to their post.   This is extremely important, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget to do!  If you want to add your own graphics, photos, or edit the post in any way, be sure to check with the original author first.

Annnnd…it’s confession time.

One reason I occasionally like to use the reblog button for my own posts instead of the copy/paste method (I use this method if there have been no changes or updates to the original post) is that it helps my traffic!  Because I run ads (no, I do not choose my own ads), it means more impressions which means more money.  I don’t make very much but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this is a factor.   With a reblogged post, you have to click on a link that takes you to another page on my blog.   The more clicks, the more money I make!  I try not to overdo it though, and I’d say most of my self-reblogs are actually done the copy and paste way.

So, to sum up, my traffic isn’t quite what it used to be, but it’s remained pretty steady and hasn’t really declined, as long as I continue to:

— post something original at least once a week

— share relevant older posts — both viral and not — on social media

— reblog or recycle my old stuff

— reblog other people’s stuff

 

New share buttons.

whatsapp-telegram-skype-icons

I noticed WordPress has made three new share buttons available: Skype, Telegram, and WhatsApp (which I have never heard of).   I added the Skype and Telegram buttons.  I wonder why there isn’t an option for Instagram, with it being as popular as it is right now.

Using StumbleUpon to boost your traffic.

stumbleupon_Logo (1)

About a month ago, at the suggestion of another blogger,  I added a Stumble Upon sharing button to this blog.  This blogger said they got a huge upsurge in traffic just from sharing on StumbleUpon.  I didn’t believe it though.  I never thought of SU as being one of the “big” social media sites, but apparently it’s a bigger player than you think.

stumble

My  “trending pages” from StumbleUpon.

 

WordPress used to make the SU sharing icon available, but discontinued it for some stupid reason last year.  But it’s possible to make your own custom sharing button, which is what I did.   You can do this by saving the SU icon to your media file and resizing it, and then go to Sharing –> Custom Sharing and following the instructions there.  Now I “stumble” all my posts, as well as sharing to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google +, and LinkedIn.   And I have to say, my blogger friend was right.  I’m actually getting the most activity from StumbleUpon.  It’s actually trumping Facebook and Twitter for views.   Don’t believe me?  Here are my “referrer” stats from today:

 

stumble2

 

 

 

Why this blog is becoming successful and how yours can too.

grow

The beginning: Taking that first, scary leap of faith.

When I started this blog in September, my intention wasn’t to have a “successful” blog. My initial aim (and still my primary aim!) was to heal myself from PTSD, severe anxiety and depression caused by many years of victimization by narcissists. The healing isn’t finished yet, and probably never will be completely.

Deciding to make my personal diary a public spectacle seems rather narcissistic, but my reasoning for doing this was (a) as an alternative to traditional psychotherapy, which I could not afford (and still can’t afford); and (b) my belief that complete honesty on the Internet with complete strangers was the key to my healing and overcoming my many fears, especially my fears of social interaction.

It’s a lot like that first venture into the deep end of a swimming pool. At first you’re scared to death, but soon no one can keep you away from it!

deep_end

So far, it’s working. I can honestly say these past five and a half months have proven to be the best therapy I ever had. Yes, putting my heart and soul and vulnerability out there on the web was incredibly scary at first, and I hesitated much about posting some things about my past (and still do sometimes), but I went ahead and did it anyway, then held my breath and waited for the psychopaths, bullies and trolls to descend on this blog like the wicked witch’s flying monkeys descended on Dorothy and her friends in The Wizard of Oz.

That never happened. The few trolls are easily controlled–I just don’t approve their comments. I guess I’ve been lucky: there’s only been about two on this blog so far. I learned not to take what they say personally. I’ve already been the victim of Internet bullying, and feel that with my own blog, I have a lot more control and I know how to handle the bullies and trolls.

My first mentors.

The word Mentor in magazine letters on a notice board

Early in my blogging experience, I was fortunate enough to have three very different people from completely different backgrounds help me obtain more visibility. These people were my first mentors, before I learned the ropes of blogging or how to get it seen.

As a brand new blogger and a person not known for being patient, when my first week passed and I had a measly 12 followers, and was getting practically no likes or comments after slaving away for hours on a post that was painful to write, I expressed my frustration in this post (which is still one of my most popular). I couldn’t lie anymore–although I started this blog as an online journal, dammit, I wanted people to actually read my thoughts! Opinionated Man, known for his kindness to newbies, reblogged that post on his blog HarsH ReaLiTy the next day, and I spent the entire weekend fielding so many comments and new followers that I never had a chance to do my laundry or go grocery shopping!

I consider that my first big win, or maybe my second. My next big win was writing an article about “I, Psychopath,” Ian Walker’s documentary about Sam Vaknin, and that attracted the attention of Sam himself (who admitted he found the article by Googling himself!) For awhile he was sharing every article I wrote about him (and I kept writing more not only because of my interest in him, but I have to admit, to keep my momentum going, since every article I’ve written about him has become wildly popular, even if not shared by Sam himself.) He’s been doing less sharing of my articles and that’s perfectly alright, because now I know how to build my own momentum.

My third big win (but really my first) was Fivehundredpoundpeep’s wonderful blog. Prior to starting this blog, I’d been reading hers religiously and was astonished how much I could relate to this woman, who is an Aspie like myself abused by a truly evil family of narcs (even more so than my own). I added her blog to my blogroll and started commenting on her posts and soon this was a mutually beneficial arrangement where she added my blog to her blogroll (and hers is a pretty popular blog).

All these things have helped my visibility enormously. OM reblogging several later articles has helped too, as well as taking advantage of his regular invitations for bloggers to “pimp their blog” on his website.

Getting over my fear of social media.

facebook_fear
Would I really sell my soul to this devil? Well…yes.

Even with all these fortuitous events, I was still terrified of sharing my articles on social media, Facebook in particular, because of my fear of my FOO (family of origin) and other people from my past I prefer to keep a distance from finding this blog. There’s only so much visibility you can attain through the help of others. To become really successful and for your blog posts to move up to the top of search engines, you can’t rely on other people to do all your disseminating work for you. Eventually you will need to promote your blog yourself, and that doesn’t take into account just writing posts people want to read (which I will get to in a minute).

I didn’t have too much of a problem sharing my posts on Twitter or Stumble Upon, since none of my FOO use those services (except my son, who’s a Twitterholic), but ignoring Facebook is a bad idea for a blogger who wants to grow their visibility and have a successful blog. So I held my nose and first signed up for a LinkedIn account, which seemed less “dangerous” than Facebook. A few weeks later, I finally threw in the proverbial towel and decided to start sharing my articles on Facebook too, even though I use my actual name there instead of my psuedonym, as I do here.

At first nothing much happened. But soon I found I was friending and following people on both Facebook and Twitter who may be interested in a blog like mine. I started paying attention to the “who to follow” section, which always annoyed me before. I followed or friended a number of groups and organizations too that were relevant to the subject matter I write about. By following organizations and groups, you get a lot of new people at once seeing your shares instead of just one person at a time.

Within the past two weeks, my Twitter followers have increased from about 80 to about 130. Every time I sign into Twitter now, I have more followers. That was never the case before.

I’m still wary about Facebook, but I’ve noticed my posts always get the most shares on that site (sometimes in the double digits), so I make sure to “like” relevant groups and organizations, as well as friending a lot of individuals in the narcissistic abuse community.

I recently was able to start running ads on this blog because my traffic was sufficient to do so. I doubt I’ll ever become rich with this blog, but I may earn a bit of pocket money anyway. I sure would love to earn enough to be able to quit my day job, but that’s probably more likely to come from writing a book at some point and selling it on Amazon than it is from this little blog. But that’s okay. Things are happening at the rate they’re supposed to, and not before I’m ready.

Reaping the harvest.

harvest

Due to my becoming far bolder about sharing this blog on social media, it’s been attracting attention from professionals and other people I’m surprised found it. Last week I posted a video of Christian singer-songwriter Danny Gokey’s hit “Hope in Front of Me” and I got a direct message from him on Twitter thanking me for doing that. I got a thank you and several retweets from film director Eric Casaccio, the maker of the upcoming movie, “Narcissist.” I have received a private email from two academic researchers from the University of Georgia who asked me to link to their survey about parental narcissism on this blog. I was more than happy to help them with that project. (The survey is still open and the link to it is in the sidebar; the deadline for that is February 28th). I’ve also been asked to review a new book for abuse survivors and am currently working on that too.

In the past week, my followers have increased by more than 100, and this doesn’t include random readers who are not following my blog at all. As OM says, it’s not about how many followers you have or how many “likes” you get, it’s about how many hits you get. Several of my articles are now on Page One of Google. Other search engines are appearing in my stats now too, including obscure ones and AOL (does anyone actually use AOL anymore?) This is all kind of shocking to me, but the more stuff you have appearing at or near the top of search engines, the more hits you will get. It’s a self-perpetuating mechanism.

All this may sound like bragging, and it probably is. I can’t become too narcissistic about all this as vanity is one of my character flaws. I still have a long way to go. I still have a lot of healing to do, and healing is still–and always will be–the main focus of this blog.

The best reward of all.

help_yourself

More encouraging and exciting than anything else, though, are when I get emails or comments from abuse survivors who tell me this blog or my story of abuse has helped them. I used to feel so incompetent and useless in the world, so testimonials from people who tell me they feel less hopeless and broken because of something I wrote feels like winning the lottery. Better than winning the lottery. It makes me feel like I have a purpose, that I wasn’t put in this world just to be narcissistic supply to others. I used to actually believe I was put on this earth as an example to others of how not to be.

God, how wrong I was about that. If you feel that way and you are emmeshed with a malignant narcissist or psychopath, you have been trained to believe you are nothing and can offer nothing good or useful to the world. Please believe me, that is wrong. Your abusers are projecting their own self-hatred and worthless feelings onto you.

Tips on writing a blog people want to read.

blog_tips

Besides taking that leap of faith to finally promote my blog and share articles on social media (and getting a lot of help from others, especially in the beginning), if you want to grow your blog there are several other things you really need to do:

–Include ALL the social media buttons under every article. Even if you don’t use them (but you should), others will. That will help your visibility even if you don’t promote yourself.

–You don’t have to be a Shakespeare or a Poe or have great writing ability. If you know how to string together a few sentences and have halfway decent grammar (grammar and spell check will help), you can still write a blog post people want to read. The key is to make it conversational and personal. Don’t overload the reader with too many facts or pedantic language. And always, ALWAYS be honest. People can tell when you’re lying or leaving out pertinent information. They will finish reading your article feeling unsatisfied and cheated and may never return.

–Use graphics for long posts to break it up. No one wants to read a wall of text, no matter how well written it is. Pictures are easy to find on Google images–just type in a phrase that describes what you’re looking for, or even use pictures you took yourself. Quotes and block quotes work well too at breaking up walls of text, and never be afraid to use humor!

–If your blog focuses on one or two subjects as this one does, it’s okay to add in an occasional article or post about something unrelated. In fact, I think it makes your blog fresher and more interesting. Another benefit of posting unrelated material is that you will attract readers who may not otherwise be reading your blog. I have had a number of foodies and furries reading this blog (and even following it in a few cases) because of articles I wrote about those subjects. It helps to be versatile, but be careful not to lose your original focus.

–If your blog is about a serious or dark subject (as mine is), watch the negativity. People won’t feel helped if all you do is complain or act pessimistic. It’s great to be honest, but people want to feel like you’re giving them some hope for their hopeless situation too. That’s why I include inspirational memes and quotes, happy or cute photographs, cartoons, jokes, and lots of music. (Music has been major in my healing, second only to writing). Sometimes I find that if I post something positive even when I’m feeling like I want to jump out a 16th floor window (it happens more often than you think!), it actually improves my own mood.

–Make sure you post frequently. You don’t have to go crazy like me and post 3-5 new posts a day, but if you publish one post per day, that’s enough to keep readers interested. If you can’t think of anything to write about (and I do have those days), sometimes just a funny cartoon, inspirational meme or pretty photograph with one or two sentences will do. There’s nothing that will kill a blog faster than abandoning it. If you don’t appear to care, your readers will go somewhere else.

–Use as many links as possible in your articles. Doing this will create a pingback or a trackback: Blogs you link to will see the pingback and in return, will most likely follow your blog and recommend it to others.

–Link to your own articles too. Doing this not only adds depth and background to your article, but it also encourages readers to not stop with the article they’re reading–they might click on your links and read your other articles too!

–If you have the time, comment on or at least “like” posts by other bloggers. Follow as many other bloggers as you can, too. Most people are polite so most likely they’ll follow you back.

–Unless you are in a situation where you have potentially dangerous people stalking you on the Web, never, ever, EVER require people to sign in to read your blog. I know if I see a blog that requires me to sign in or use a password to read posts, I’ll bypass that blog, even if it’s about a topic I’m jumping out of my skin to read about.

–Probably most important of all: always reply to your comments! It might seem like a chore, but if you fail to reply to your comments, your readers will think you’re ignoring them and no one likes to be ignored. I also don’t understand why some people don’t allow comments. Interaction is necessary for a blog to be active and dynamic. Replying to comments will keep your readers around and make you seem like you care about them.

There’s a lot of other blogging advice that’s more technical than what I have offered here, and I don’t consider myself any kind of expert on how to run a successful blog. I’m nowhere near OM’s level of viewership and probably never will be, and that’s okay. Besides all the above things I suggested to improve your visibility and readership, I strongly suggest adopting his blog HarsH ReaLiTy as your blogging bible–and in return he just might reblog something you posted!

For more about increasing readership and popularity of your blog, see this article (told from an earlier–and more humorous–POV–I wrote it in early December): https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/12/08/this-blog-is-growing-yours-can-too/

The drudgery of blogging

ohmygodineedhelp

As writers, we get excited about getting a new idea out there on our blogs. I know I do!

After I’ve spent an hour or two laboring lovingly over a new article, then editing it about 30 times to make it as readable as possible, then finding and adding the perfect photos and illustrations, and finally adding tags and categories (which, to me, is the most boring part of writing a blog post), I get a huge rush when I finally get to hit “Publish” and see my hard work in its final form, the way the world will see it.

I take pride in my posts (well, most of them), especially when they seem to get popular. A few have. It’s fun getting comments, lots of likes, and watching your stats go up. It’s cool as hell to see how many countries my lowly little blog post has touched.

But blogging has its dull side too, the side that seems more like work than play. If, like me, you have decided you want your blog to grow and get lots more views, and be replicated and reposted many times on other social media for maximum exposure, then that requires linking every post you want to be seen to various social media.

I don’t really like social media, even though I have accounts on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, and now LinkedIn. But like it or not, it’s necessary to use it if you want your blog to be seen.

I refuse to post anything to Facebook (except for my silliest fluff posts) because my FOO and other people from my past I prefer to avoid have all found me there–and I do NOT want them to read my blog. I should probably just delete that account and start another one under a fake name, but I don’t like Facebook anyway because it’s become like fucking Big Brother so I probably won’t bother doing that.

Instead, I rely on you guys to share my posts (if you want to) using the Facebook button that’s under each post. That makes things easy for me! The buttons are there for you to use!

All my blog posts are automatically linked on Twitter, which doesn’t scare me like Facebook does because the only relative I know of who posts there is my son and I can trust him with my life. He never reads my blog anyway, but a friend of his does.

StumbleUpon is something I stumbled upon while here at WordPress, and it’s a cool way to share posts and it does seem to bring me more viewers. I don’t use that service for anything but sharing my posts. When I look at my stats, SU has brought me more viewers so I have no complaints.

I just joined LinkedIn today and spent the last two hours sharing every blog post I’ve written (with the exception of a few that I don’t think were that good or were just announcements or something) on that site. That’s the part of blogging that’s drudgery. I would much rather be writing a new post than sitting here pressing buttons for two hours, but that’s part of what it takes to get visibility.

I hate it when I see my stats going down. Today they weren’t very good at all, and I thought to myself I should be doing this when my stats are up and write a new post right now with a super-grabby title to get everyone’s attention.

There was one advantage to this boring task: I got to see old articles that I’d forgotten I’d written. I’m up to well over 200 blog posts now so it’s impossible to remember all of them. I think my writing has improved since the beginning.

It’s not like I had any great blog ideas tonight anyway.