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How to Deal with Unexpected Blogging Success

March 19, 2009

Three weeks ago, something odd started happening on my blog. My hits skyrocketed for no particular reason. Usually I average around 150 hits a day; I was tripling that. Thanks to WordPress, I could see what was drawing people to my blog.

It was a photo of Salma Hayek.

Right now if you search on Google Images for “Salma Hayek,” a thumbnail linking to my site will appear as the seventh result (note: it’s a work-friendly photo). It’s been listed that high for a while now. Why that photo? I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s bringing a lot of potential readers to my blog.

This happens to bloggers now and then–you write about something at the right time, and traffic skyrockets. More often than not, hits go back down rather quickly (perhaps when Salma Hayek stops appearing on 30 Rock). So how do you retain those readers? How do you deal with your unexpected–and unintended–success?

I think the bottom line is to continue to churn out interesting, entertaining, and insightful content. But that doesn’t help us. All bloggers think that our content is fantastic. What else can you do–specifically–to turn those one-time searchers into everyday readers of your blog?

  1. Reposition your content to match the audience. If I’m getting 300 hits a day from Salma Hayek admirers and 50 hits a day from other readers, maybe I should be writing about Salma Hayek every day instead of iguanas. My struggle with this is that I don’t want to write about Salma Hayek–or celebrities–on a consistent basis. Sure, that kind of content attracts tons of readers, I simply don’t care that much about famous people. People who obsess over famous people aren’t doing anything to become famous themselves.
  2. Isolate the attraction and profit from it. In this case, the attraction isn’t my writing (or my friend’s writing, as the post in question contained a debate between two friends regarding the sexiness of Mrs. Hayek and Penelope Cruz), it’s the photo. I could alter the photo–perhaps put a big “JAMEYSTEGMAIER.COM” banner over her cleavage, but that would ruin the search results. Plus, you can clearly see my URL when you see the results on Google Images. What else is there to do?
  3. Something brilliant that I haven’t thought of yet. Honestly, I’m a little stumped on how to convert these searchers into readers. I’d love your thoughts. Has anyone experienced unexpected blogging success and turned it into a permanent increase in hits?
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Joan Rivers permalink
    March 19, 2009 4:37 pm

    “People who obsess over famous people aren’t doing anything to become famous themselves.”

    Oh, you are so wrong, buddy boy…

  2. Horace Grant permalink
    March 20, 2009 6:18 am

    It’s OK to sniff Scottie Pippen’s jersey every now and then and to pay the team travel planner a little on the side to make sure your hotel arrangements get “messed up” and you have to share a bed with Jordan once in awhile.

  3. Trevor permalink
    March 20, 2009 6:21 am

    Jaam, maybe you should work Salma Hayek’s name or image into your posts in a humorous way…such as, “I encountered a massive iguana who was ready to feast on my feeble bones. Thank goodness Salma Hayek was there to save me!” (then show another tantalizing pic of Salma warding off evil lizards with some otherwordly glow from her perfectly shaped, barely covered breasts. You keep your accidental readership interested and you still get to write about exactly what you want. Everyone wins.

  4. SFRANK permalink
    December 7, 2009 8:10 pm

    LaurenMLI has a link to your blog, so I thought I’d check it out. I read and commented on your handwriting post. Then, I clicked on your “Humor” tab and read the Salma Hayek vs. Penelope Cruz post. Great fun.

    You have successfully retained this reader.

    • December 7, 2009 8:55 pm

      Thanks for clicking over from the awesome my life incomplete blog. 🙂 I’m pleased to have added a new reader, especially one who comments! Who did you vote for in the Hayek/Cruz poll?

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