Those tempting blog stats

When I started blogging, I joined WordPress without knowing the difference between a blog and a website or what a header was. I found WordPress very user-friendly and it didn’t take me long to start posting my little thoughts to the world. It was awesome.

Then I found the stats page.

WordPress presents the amount of people that visit a blog in a neat graph with all sorts of stats from what country they came from to what post they liked. Any and all activities get recorded and counted as they happen. It’s not only incredibly informative, it’s very precise.

As a math nerd, I loved the stats page on sight. I went on the page over and over until it became an obsession. I knew checking that page over and over wasn’t a great idea but the temptation of knowing how many people had visited was too great and back to the graph I went.

I’ve always wanted to write for me, for the joy of it and because I enjoy it. The blog was an extension of that idea and checking those stats over and over changed that focus for me. I don’t want to write with the sole purpose of trying to generate traffic. I want to do it for the joy of sharing my two cents with the world.

So, I’m trying to stop.

I’m a big believer in ‘baby steps’, so I started by only checking the stats page once a week. A few months later and those graphs have already lost a lot of their attraction. I post but I don’t find out how ‘successful’ the post is until the weekend. By then, I’ve posted other things or I’m thinking about next week’s post and, slowly, my focus is changing.

How about you? Do those stats tempt you? Do you check them often or can you resist?

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Posts I loved this week

10 Amazing Pictures of Libraries was a post that I adored. Not only was it a countdown (something I love) but it had great pictures and they were of books! The only thing better would be to be there in person. A huge thanks to Interesting Literature for that wonderful post!

All About Romance, one of my favourite book sites, picked the top books of 2014 and they’re not to be missed. Here is the post if you’re looking for the best of last year in romance. And if you’re looking forward, here’s their post on Eagerly Awaited January books.

The annual report from WordPress for this humble blog. I loved all the stats and numbers.

Another countdown of romance books comes from Book Chick With Kick and it counts down the best 20 from 2014. If you’re like me and can’t get enough great books, check it out. She’s also included the cover, links and summaries to help you find another great read!

Margarita Morris shared what she read in 2014 and I loved it. One because I love hearing what someone likes to read and also because it gives me ideas for books. Yeey!

Need to waste some time? Check out this site with free Jigsaw puzzles that you can do on your computer. For free!

I love annual reports and none is more thorough than Sourcerer’s. It describes how the year went, then analyzes it with graphs and goals for the upcoming year. And while you’re there, check out this new announcement and this one and this one from Sourcerer! My favourite authors and bloggers are all in Sourcerer! This is going to be sooo good!

A fantastic take on those tough reviews, this post by D. Emery Bunn made me admire him even more. What an absolutely awesome point of view!

If you, like me, love coffee, reading and meeting new bloggers don’t miss this great share link-up from Part Time Monster. Good times coming our way!

Check out this book review by Infinitefreetime and see exactly why reading this blog is an obsession for me. When I write a review, I think about the book and that’s it. Infinitefreetime manages to bring his quirky humour into it and turn the review into a story I can’t stop reading.

And finally, here’s hoping 2015 makes your dreams writing or reading or blogging come true!

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In which I give #WordPress advice

Absolutely so true! Great post, Luther! Let’s hope WordPress listens!

Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be…

View original post 634 more words

Thank you!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been so incredibly kind and supportive of my book. I thought of the Surprise idea as a sort of fun post/free gift but I really had no expectations. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the outcome.

People got my book. They bought it even though I explained I would give it to them for free. They bought it even though they don’t even read romance! They Twitted messages, made banners for Facebook, they re-blogged the post and basically shouted out support for my book everywhere.

I was overwhelmed. I shared it with my hubby, who was amazed, and my mother-in-law who forgets things and asked: “You wrote a book?”

It was really incredible and I wanted to say thank you so very much. You guys are so kind.

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The importance of Tags: limits on tags

I wasn’t very clear yesterday when I posted that WordPress will penalize bloggers for using too many tags. I wasn’t clear because I didn’t know what they meant. I looked into it (and got some help from Gene’O) and finally found this in the WordPress help:

“However, you don’t want irrelevant content showing up on the topic listings or search, and neither do we. That’s why we limit the number of tags and categories that can be used on a public tag listing. Five to 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is a good number to add to each of your posts. The more categories you use, the less likely it is that your post will be selected for inclusion in the topic listings.”

Here’s the link to where I found this quote: http://en.wordpress.com/help/search/tags.

Please note, the warning is in bold. I didn’t add it, WordPress posted it like that. Personally, I think they mean that more than 15 rags will be penalized by not including the post in searches and they want bloggers to understand the consequences (therefore the bold). I don’t think they’re very clear as to how they’re going to do that and if it’s a 15 tags you’re okay but 16 and you’re cut off (No more soup for you!—Ah…Seinfeld) and I’m too chicken to do any tests or runs and see how it works.

Using tags is completely optional. WordPress says this several times but they also encourage bloggers to use them.

“Your posts will appear in the topic listings of any tags or categories you use. Therefore, assigning tags and categories to your post increases the chance that other WordPress.com users will see your content.”
Link: http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/tags/#topic-listings.

I think they just don’t want people to abuse the system. And that sounds fair to me. I’m still a little scared. I mean, what can they do? Could they delete someone’s blog? Or put them at the end of the search algorithms? No! Noooo!

The horror.

(credit:petsbest.com)

(credit:petsbest.com)

One more note on tags.Veda’s Blog has this great post on questions and answers about tags. Answered a lot of my questions.  http://joinvedahorner.com/category/blogging-tips-2/

The importance of Tags: for bloggers

I used to think tags just came on clothes…ah, the innocence. Tags are an important part of  blogging. A very important part. Apparently, the search engines out there use tags to send traffic to blogs. Sooo, if you want to have people come to your blog, you want to tag your posts very carefully. In fact, you want to tag your post under the topics people are most interested in.

WordPress can help. It has a Tag cloud with all the most popular tags in different sizes. The larger they are, the more popular they are (I honestly didn’t know that at first. No laughing).

If you want more traffic, you can go to the cloud and ‘tag’ your post under one of the largest categories. Be warned, if you have a post on baking chocolate chip cookies and you tagged it under ‘Top Stories Travel’ just to get traffic, that same traffic might get ticked that you’re misleading them and your idea might backfire.

If you want more traffic, you can also use more tags but there’s a catch here too. WordPress will penalize you…more on this later.

Now, you might be wondering how on earth does a newbie blogger like myself come to know this great info? Well, I can’t take any credit for any of this. Nope. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants (or one giant as it happens). This all comes from a great post by Gene’O in his great blog: Sourcerer. He has a post with the link to the WordPress Tag Cloud, a clear explanation on the number of tags you’re allowed and great tips for bloggers who have no idea (like me!). Here’s the link: http://sourcererblog.wordpress.com/tags-are-your-friends/

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