How Guest Posting is Like a Personal Loan (Problogger)
Around the week of March 28, I integrated an aWeber pop-over email sign-up form on my blog, with no delay (i.e., it popped up immediately, not a few seconds after a visitor arrived.) My verified sign-ups (the subscribers who clicked the opt-in link in the follow-up email from aWeber) increased by about 350%. However, my bounce rate increased by about 3 percentage points since I integrated the pop-over form. This makes sense; many web users absolutely detest pop-up forms and will immediately leave a site rather than just click the close button on the form. So, did having the form result in a net gain or loss?
Sasstrology gets a lot of comments on its blog posts, particular the popular ones in its archives. Frequently, the conversations have little to do with the original blog posts anymore. Rather, conversations have taken a life of their own.
Yet everyday I sift through up to 17 pages (in the WordPress dashboard sense of the word pages) of comments daily to skim for spam, abuse and mentions of my name (usually @jeffrey or mr. kishner).
I am grateful that the blog community is so active, at the very least because a blog post with over 2000 comments provides social proof. (‘If these posts elicit so many comments, they must be good!”) Yet I find it odd that I spend a chunk of my day moderating the output of way less than 1% of my readership. That is, if Sasstrology regulars just stopped commenting, I do not think it would have a discernible effect on traffic.
Or would it?
There is something as important as traffic. Namely, community. After all, it is an active community that gives a blog life. If you think of any website as a living entity, the amount of activity on it provides a measure of how vital it is.
For example, if a reader has benefitted from the blog, it is oftentimes thanks to her interactions with other readers, not from what a professional astrologer has written in a blog post. Readers help each other out with their relationship struggles much more frequently than I offer any useful input. Sometimes I think all I’ve done is created the space where readers can support each other, and that blog posts are just placeholders where that can happen with regards to a specific topic.
And that results in a more engaged readership, including readers who tell their friends about the blog.