Sex, boobs, toddlers, tiaras and serial killers

There is a reason that I have chosen this headline today. You see, although I have been writing for Chicagonow.com for nearly two years, my blog has not had what I would say is the success I had hoped for. Maybe it's because I am so random in my thoughts or that I just don't write about certain subjects often enough. I am sure it's more the latter. Here's why.

Recently my father who pens the blog Chicago Then wrote a story called Sex and the 16 year old boy. A creature of checking his daily stats he mentioned how his "hits" have risen sharply since he wrote that blog. I had told him once that if the word sex were in his title he would most likely get landed on more often. True dat.

When the scandal over Kate Middleton's topless photos was all over the news, I blogged about it. Title? Kate Middleton: Leave the girl and her boobs alone. Whoa. It was in the top two posts the week it was published and the number one blog read everyday in my reports. All because I said the word boobs.

Our blog manager talks often of the importance of headlines and how to attract readers. Sometimes we attract them by accident which in these two cases WAS the case. We are able to view the top search phrases or words that people enter into Google or wherever to land on our story/page. Since my blog about Kate, nearly every single search list since mid September has the word boobs in it. For my Dad, he has two blogs that are read over and over. His one noted above and another on William Heirens, a serial killer in Chicago in the mid 20th century. His searches all include the words sex and Chicago serial killers. What's happening in our world?

In the past I have written about Toddlers and Tiaras. Mostly my disdain for the program and all that it's about. Little did I know how that would become a popular blog to those searching "I masturbate to Toddlers and Tiaras" and other tasteful phrases.

When I started blogging I was really excited to write about my thoughts on many different subjects. To have a voice that maybe would make a difference to people. Points of view that others may enjoy or agree to disagree. The whole idea behind "When you put it that way" was to put a spin on a subject and maybe, just maybe have people see things a different way. I'm an opinionated gal and I love to write.

So, today I have purposely filled my headline with search words that will most likely bring more readers to my blog. This is an experiment of sorts - the people who are doing these searches aren't what I'd hoped for in an audience. I just want to see how this changes the statistics of my readership.

I'll keep you posted. Or if you are a person that just landed here from those words, I hope you'll read some of my other blogs. Ones that don't talk about those subjects.

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    Ahh, Teppi, I am late to the game, but I read because i like you, find you so very interesting and fun. I read your dad, at first, because I know him, and then because he amazes me with what he has experienced "then".
    Can't say I ever googled any partticular words, etc. to find something I want to read. I am obviously the minority.
    I also love to write, but would be hard pressed to find the diverse topics that seem to come up, being I live in small town America.

  • In reply to Barbara McMahon:

    I love to write so much, it's just very maddening sometimes determining what people will find interesting!! BUT, I have to keep writing because it makes me happy. Thanks for reading my REAL blogs :) This was really a commentary on the state of our world and what some people find most interesting. Kinda sad actually. Just watch the news, you'll have plenty of topics!!!!

  • Take heart, Teppi, and keep writing. I think in general it is hard to make it as a writer. As for blogs, my impression is that unless they are focused on a particular social issue like parenting or racism or politics or conservation and the like, people are not sure what to "peg" you as. The flavor of your blog is generally uplifting and, in my opinion, full of surprise - I never know what you will write about next! But I do wonder if your blog would be more successful if it was more scandalous or had more gut-wrenching suffering or something like that. My opinion - be yourself! My favorite posts of yours are when you write "letters" to some recipient or other (especially the one to your old house). They are crisp and witty and, sometimes, touching. So hang in there, and you're die-hard fans will stick with you and continue to appreciate your writing style :)

  • In reply to jiyer:

    You are one of the reasons I continue to write, you are always so encouraging. I will hang in there, I am quickly approaching my 200th post so I need to reach that at least!! Big hugs for your continued loyalty to my blabbering :)

  • Teppi, great post - something I think about a lot myself as a fellow CN blogger.

    Google Analytics is helpful, but it misses that one key ingredient - how many people actually read the post AND enjoyed it. I think the Facebook like figure is probably the most useful in that regard. For someone to say "hey, I read this and thought it was..." is the best measure of the impact of a piece.

    I just fell into that hard data trap myself. I had a post that received nearly 5 times as many visits, but 1/2 as many likes as a previous post on the same topic. Neither received any comments - mainly because I continue to use this commenting system and haven't made it easier to comment through Facebook. Without soliciting a lot of comments, I really can't tell if what I wrote hit or missed the mark.

    I'm not going to lie, it's very ego-flattering to refresh the Google Analytics browser and see it going up by the hundreds each hour. But did I just hit the right keywords to grab attention or did I change hearts and minds or add something relevant to civil discourse?

    It's nice to have this soapbox - especially during times of interesting current events like the election or Sandy. It's like commenting on the Huffington Post with one of those Super-Duper User boxes in fancy script that always remains at the top of every comment page. It's good to have earned a voice that is a little louder than the others.

    At the end of the day, it's still about expressing yourself and creatively revealing it to others. If you keep writing what you care about and expressing it well - which you do! - the right people will read you.

  • In reply to Brent Cohrs:

    Thanks so much for your comments. I need to stop worrying so much about the reports and readership. Sometimes I find it takes the joy out of writing! I bet we'll all have a lot of things to write about on Tuesday.

  • Writers like painter just do what they have to do....even when there seem to be no audiences...but there often are more than we know....and besides, Teppi, you write because "you have to" and there's just no substitute

  • In reply to Jack Spatafora:

    So very true Jack, thanks.

  • Your title covers a lot of ground, but you left out the kitchen sink. Just joshin' you. I always enjoy reading your blog. Keep writing.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Haha, the kitchen sink doesn't get the interest!! Thank you so much for the support and encouragement, I really appreciate it!!

  • Looking forward to hearing the results of your experiment. You can get a sense for how many people actually read the post by looking at the time spent on the page compared to past posts. My guess is that if your suspicions are correct about how people find the post you will see your level of engagement decline dramatically. However, you may not see that because, like me, a lot of people will want to read this just to find out what all the topics in your headline have to do with each other.

  • In reply to Gary Lucido:

    Thanks Gary, I am curious to see as well. I will be checking my analytics. Thanks for reading all the way through!! :)

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