A couple of days ago, I noticed that a reader had liked one of my posts from February. Now that’s a great thing because it wasn’t one of the stories that was “pinned” to my home page then. Generally speaking, our older posts drift backward in time and out of the spotlight as we write new ones. So the reader had to take a little time to hunt this one down. Or maybe they just stumbled upon it. Either way, I was happy they found it.
And then I noticed that this particular piece, Coffee, had one of the highest number of likes of all of my posts.
I don’t always look at the stats on my posts, but when I do it helps me to see just what is resonating with my readers.
And I’ve come to recognize that my readers do like personal, heart-felt stories. Stories that carry images and raw emotion with the writing. Most people can relate those stories to events that have happened in their own lives. We make a connection. Bridge cyberspace and become friends in the true sense of that word. Almost as though we were in the same room, having coffee, and sharing some of life’s moments, bitter and sweet.
I also realized, when looking at this post, that the themes we chose for our blogs can really have a big impact. Not only because they allow us to showcase what we think are our best works, and display them in such a way that makes them easy to access, but because this visual image is like the first impression we have when we meet someone. It may determine if we want to see them again.
Maybe we shouldn’t place so much emphasis on first impressions, but we do.
You might compare our home page to the table of contents in a book. An anthology of stories. The ease with which a reader can thumb through the pages and find a title that excites their imagination really affects what they choose to read and how long they hang around. Maybe they won’t read all of the chapters, but just pick a few that really stand out to them.
I think we chose formats that represent something about ourselves. Our taste in design, color, flow. How much we want the reader to see when they arrive on our home page, and what we want them to see first. What we hope will ensnare their attention. Keep their minds trapped for a few moments in time and space.
I picked a format that seems to blend nicely with showcasing my photos and my theme of Walking the Earth. And this theme allows me a select number of pinned posts for my home page – six “post-its” to be exact. So, I’m faced with the dilemma of what should my headlining pieces be? How can I attract readers? What may they find that captivates their interests and imagination?
And we may not always be right in that regard. Sometimes I’m really surprised by what hooks my readers, and even more so by what doesn’t.
Sometimes, I pick what’s visually appealing to pin to my home page over what I think is my best writing, because you need to have some sort attraction or draw for your fellow bloggers. Something to quickly catch their eyes. Something to make them want to stop and hang around on your page.
But the formats we use are necessarily limiting.
Attention spans and space only go so far. And as I’ve acquired new followers, they may be arriving at a time where they won’t see my best writing, or, at least, what I think is my best writing. Or they may never see some of my posts at all.
After all, I’ve taken down over a hundred old posts now.
The solution is to shuffle the deck once and a while. Sometimes I pick topic themes. But this time, after looking at the stats, I went with the six posts that have received the most likes.
Now that’s not necessarily a fair appraisal of my writing because, like I said, new followers may never see old posts. Plus, by showcasing those, it increases those posts’ exposure and readership. It becomes self-fulfilling that they will remain at the top.
Nevertheless, I like this format a lot and will probably stick with it. But I will shuffle the deck from time to time and hope my writing keeps people coming back.
While this format works for me, a few other formats I really like are on the following blogs:
I Lost my Lens Cap. Great way to showcase photography.
Victoria Ray. Perfect match for the author’s work, original fiction, book reviews, fun stuff.
The Feathered Sleep. Draws you in with a dramatic title page, and then provides easy scrolling through it’s literary posts.
Make It Ultra Psychology. Great layout for professional writing – very user friendly.
Balles World. Shows how you can really showcase your cooking page.
35 Chronical. Again, another great format to display one’s photo art. Each display draws you to the next, whether your read the text or not. I always read it. 🙂
Cosmic Holly uses a great format, visually appealing, a little more business like, to highlight her writing and other products.
Similarly, Stuart Aken uses an easy access format to showcase his works.
Eliza Waters uses another format that works great for her photography and journaling.
And, High Lumen is one of the most unique blogs I’ve seen – imagine all things in light.
If you like abstract art, check out Lucid for some great abstract digital artwork.
And for that matter, Word Press is not the only great blogging platform out there, a good friend of mine uses Weebly for his digital artwork. A great, user-friendly layout that you can find at DamnPhotoArtist. 🙂
There are really too many great examples out there to mention them all, but one thing I think is key is that the blogs must be user friendly. When I have to struggle to find the blog itself on the home page, and then again to find the post on the blog, well, lazy as I may be at times, it registers as too much work. And given there is so much to keep up with out there, the easier access we have the better.
Another detractor is when a page has been monetized and it just has way too many adds shooting out from all directions. I think it’s ok to have adds, but too many is simply too many. Too much distraction. Too many flashes that pull my eyes away from the text. I won’t revisit those pages often.
As for my blog, next time, I think I’ll shuffle up some of my older posts to use as headliners and see what happens. And if any of you have suggestions, or want to tell me what you like to see when you land on a web page, any particular features, please let me know.
Photo: A simple screen shot of my home page. I hope you like the layout of my blog. And yes, I stole the quote from Casablanca for the title – seemed to fit. 🙂