I was delighted to find myself “freshly pressed” at WordPress.com Tuesday. About 11:15 a.m. comments started rolling in and page views started climbing.
Let’s just say that over 13,000 page views in 24 hours is pretty amazing when you are used to about 45. So is 120 comments in a day, when you are used to three or four.
My wife told our neighbor that I was “ecstatic.” “What does that look like?” our neighbor asked, who couldn’t imagine it. Well, I can’t describe or explain the emotional impact of this yet. But I can respond to it: it’s what writers want.
The holy grail of blogging is being noticed by someone who has the power to drive traffic to your blog. All bloggers want this but are not actually prepared for. When it happens two questions spring to mind. What is going on? And, what am I going to do next? Finding the answer to the first question is quick and easy. The second one is not.
It can be immobilizing, actually. What should I write next? How will I get some of these people to come back? You check the stats over and over again, haunted by the promise and frozen by the obligation. So here are my suggestions for surviving the experience.
Don’t overthink it. You don’t know why they picked you and they aren’t going to tell you. Write good stuff, use better pictures, think of better headlines, chek your speling errors and use lots of tags, WordPress tells you. But how do they decide, you wonder. Dice? Logarithms? Chance? Luck? Fairy dust? It doesn’t matter, so
Go to bed. Yes, it’s tempting to sit up all night and watch the rising column on the stats graph shrink your previous totals into oblivion. Tempting, but not helpful, my wife pointed out. When I got up I had 1200 more page views, the same number I would have had if I stayed up. Rest is important. You are going to need energy so you can
Stick to your plan. Nothing much has really changed, except your ego. (See “Humility and how I achieved it”.) But you still need to do what you were noticed for in the first place. Be consistent and focused. Post regularly, collect ideas, be thoughtful. Stay on track as you absorb the implications of new readers and new responsibilities. After all, you still have to
Serve your readers. The best part about being freshly pressed is that you are reminded of how much depends on the people who read your blog. It’s humbling, really. Or should be. People give you moments of their busy lives. Respect them. Honor them. Thank them. Message is always connected to motive, so you only serve your readers if you
Remember who you are. I was surprised that almost 1000 readers looked at my “about” page. It tells them who I am and what I meant to do in the first place. I wish I had looked at mine more often, not to celebrate who I am but to remember my promise. Not everyone shares or even appreciates this vision, but the ones who do are the ones likely to come back.
In marketing they call this your brand.
But in life we call it integrity, the sense of purpose that defines our character and generates trust. Writers need this— a sense of purpose that motivates them to write and motivates others to read.
If we have this integrity every post can be freshly pressed.
Even if no one notices.