My experience of blogging over the last three months on WordPress – The good and the ethically questionable.

My experience of blogging over the last three months on WordPress - the good and the ethically questionable

This is going to be a review of my experience of blogging and the word press platform, and how I have gone from 0-750+ followers in three months. I will pre-warn you that not everything I talk about is going to be in the realm of good ethical behaviour.

Things I have learned:

  • Tags are important

    • Ethically correct: Use all the tags you can and make them as relevant to your post as possible. This will get you views from the type of people you’re interested in.

    • Ethically dubious: Some tags have more viewers than others, for example, I am PhD student, and I include the tag PhD in my posts; however, this only has around twenty posts in it per day, so if I were feeling roguish and all I cared about were views, I would drop this for a tag with more traffic as views are views right? No – more on this later.

  • Featured images are important

    • Only because it makes your post stand out more; in the early days I experimented by posting with and without a featured image, and sure enough, the featured image posts got slightly more views.

  • Good posts don’t necessarily get the most views.

    • You have all the seen the amazing poets and writers here on WordPress that have fewer than ten followers; and then there are the typical bloggers with their 10 best things you need for x, with a generic list of things, 8/10 you already have. They provide very little and have tons of likes and follows. Hopefully, you already knew the world wasn’t fair or just.

  • I get more views on the days when I post, so more post equals more views.

  • I am blogging from the UK, but the vast majority of my readers are from America, USA! USA! USA!

  • The most important thing – in my experience – for views? Interaction with the community.

I will come back to the last point in much more gory detail in a minute, but first some ‘proof’ of how my blog has grown.

After my last post where is talked about upgrading, I did just that, and now I am on the personal plan. My favourite thing about this is not having any ads on my site. Immediately after upgrading, I had my best day for likes (at the time) ‘BOOM!’.

Site stats - BOOM!

Now, this was not because I upgraded, but because I had got better at creating eye-catching posts and more followers, so I should expect to see many of these types of messages as the blog grows.

Below are a few other milestones that WordPress thought I should be aware of.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Does having more followers equal more views? Yes and no. Yes, I get slightly more views now I have over 600 followers than when I had 100. However, I do not get anywhere 6x more viewers I get perhaps ten more views.

Why the discrepancy? Well, that is because people (mostly) follow you because they think you will follow them back and increase their followers. Therefore, you can end up with a ton of followers, but no one cares about your posts.

I do not know how many people you can follow per hour, but I would bet my entire net worth on the fact that you would gain a huge amount of followers if you followed every blogger you could, just from the ‘follow for follow effect’. I do not do this as I signed up to WordPress with an email address I care about – maybe a rookie error – and don’t want my inbox full of spam. How am I so sure this will work?

This is where we get into the dark arts and the ethical black hole that is marketing. I did a little experiment with likes. I liked as many posts as I possibly could – it turns out you can like 120 posts per hour—and found that from 120 likes I would get roughly five follows and 20 views. This may be a revelation to some of you and to others it may be a secret you wish I had not said.

Looking into this ‘like’ dilemma more, you might wonder if you should do this or not. My question is, why does WordPress set the limit at 120/hour? I highly doubt they think anyone could read 120 posts an hour, so there must be another reason.

Have they not thought about the issue and set an arbitrary limit? Highly unlikely. I think the fact you’re allowed to like this many posts per hour is to keep people on the site, I mean who doesn’t get encouraged when someone ‘likes’ your content? The more encouragement you get, the more you write, the more views you get, the more ads WordPress can serve.

I may be a bit cynical on this, but it does seem to encourage liking random posts to boost your stats. The limit of 120 must be to stop bots driving tons of views. This is the reason I say that engagement is important is largely from my results with the above experiment. I would be interested to know if anyone has tried to see how many follows you can do before you get capped by the WordPress speed limit? Scrap that, I tried it, and found that you can like 60 before getting an error.

Why do they allow 60 follows an hour? Well, they do need a limit, to discourage bots, and it needs to be high enough that you never run into a barrier and can’t follow someone you want to under legitimate use. Again, I imagine this number has been arrived at by a lot of data analysis, rather than someone saying ‘errr what shall we set the follow limit at Jeff?’, ‘just make it half the number of likes’.

Comments… As I have stressed, engagement is key to views. Leaving comments on other peoples sites leaves a persistent portal from their website to yours. This too is to be abused by the fiendish marketeer.

I have only had one comment marked as spam on my site by WordPress so far, and it was quite suspicious. It was very generic ‘hey I like your content!’ and then I clicked on the profile of the site who commented and I saw that the site had well over seven thousand followers and was much less than one year old. The content was entirely average. Well… don’t hate the player hate the game. Once again please leave a comment if you know the speed limit for comments,

I may make a fake profile and test it for myself before this gets released. Comments are my favourite metric for how well a blog is doing as this is the ultimate engagement on the site and it is the only notification I receive. Due to all the dark arts, I have described in this post, I no longer receive any notifications other than comments as the others do not mean anything to me. The reason I started this site was to get feedback to learn, so comments are all I need.

Regarding visitors and views, I have found that I get a 50 % difference. For every two views, I get one visitor; I am guessing this means that half of the people come to my site look at more than one page. I don’t see anything wrong with this statistic so I shall move along.

My feeling toward the dark arts is somewhat conflicted as it is clearly encouraged by WordPress by the fact that from the reader tab you can like, comment, follow and share a post without even reading it. All you will see is the image, the title and the first few sentences. This surely can’t be enough time to form an opinion on the post? Ethically I don’t think you should disingenuously like, comment, follow etc. On the other hand, if you want your blog to grow, you cannot just expect good writing and time to get traffic.

Now I am going to talk about one of my biggest hatreds that I have found about the community, it is actually my only hatred: blogger awards. I recently got ‘nominated’ for a sunshine blogger award. I can understand the people who made these ‘awards’ as they have created something to drive traffic to their site, with only idiots thinking they have achieved something. However, it seems that 90% of the community values these things, I see posts all the time where people are genuinely thanking the people who nominated them. I have even seen people proudly display these awards on their blogs! I guess most people do not see through these thinly veiled devices that drive traffic.

All I have spoken of above are symptoms of problems rooted in the larger society, where people see celebrities make a post about some product and earn loads of money from doing so. This inspires everyone else to do the same and suddenly everyone is trying to sell anything, including their dignity, for a punchers chance at fame and fortune. And me? I’m the worst of all, I tell myself I am better than them by disguising my attempts to get that passive income as a learning opportunity. I’m cognisant of the problem and still buying the ticket for the ride.

You may think that I haven’t enjoyed my time on WordPress, but this is not true, I have had many great engagements with people commenting on my blog and best of all have been the book recommendations. My reading list has increased massively, and I hope this continues. I can’t stress enough how much enjoy reading your comments; thanks for that!

I have not seen any other bloggers address these issues so it would be great to get your opinion (engagement bait). Feel free to ironically link your blog in the comments.

 

P.S

I have just seen this in notification settings. This a button that contains an ethical conundrum! A deal with the Devil I wonder?

no email button

I guess that is how you follow everyone and don’t get spam in your inbox.

 

Author: Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

350 thoughts on “My experience of blogging over the last three months on WordPress – The good and the ethically questionable.”

  1. I used to blog on Live Spaces and when it was going away we were offered the opportunity to carry our blog over to WordPress. I didn’t do it the prescribed time so I lost everything. I loved Live Spaces, it was like a cross between Facebook and WordPress. I miss the engagement between people. I eventually got a WordPress blog but I hardly ever post because of exactly what you talked about people following my post but not engaging by leaving comments or asking questions etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did that too! I thought I was the only one 😅 Live Spaces was nice. Although, I went ahead and moved to WordPress, hence why I’m here… although I also took a foray into many other platforms, none if which were great, hence why I’m here… again.

      Like

  2. Really enjoyed this…I have been plodding along not too concerned about likes or follows but reading your info and experimentation with the site was great information to have. Spent some time wandering around your site and reading some of your posts. Had me smiling, love your sense of humour and outlook.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree with you as regards your comment on likes. I have had bloggers like dozens of my posts in a matter of a mia few minutes. Granted some of my poems are brief (in fact most are short), however I can’t believe that someone can truly engage with over a dozen posts in a matter of a few minutes!

    I (fairly recently) thanked a blogger who had asked me to engage in a competition. It was the kind of thing where one has to write a number of things about oneself, then invite a number of bloggers to do likewise. I politely refused, as I don’t want to anoy other bloggers by asking them to participate in such exercises. Also I have better things to do with my time (writing poetry and promoting my books), rather than engaging in trivia.

    Best – Kevin

    Like

  4. Thank you for this post, Between this one and your post “Let’s talk sponsorship” you addressed a lot of questions I’d pondered. I began my blog about my Parkinson’s journey in January and have only acquired 34 followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi there, so after you liked my post lol I decided I would love to go read some of your posts. This is the first one I ended up reading and I really love this blog post. You have officially earned my follow and you seem to be doing great in the blogging world. I do have a question for you that might be a little unrelated to your post- personally, do you think it is worth paying a monthly or yearly fee for a wordpress blog and if so which one would you recommend as someone being a new blogger? Thank you so much!!

    Like

    1. Hi Brittany I am still trying to find the answer to this myself!
      I paid for the ‘personal’ plan, so that I could choose my url and remove adverts — I assumed moving adverts would make my site more appealing, but I can’t be sure about this. The ‘blog’ plan didn’t exist when I upgraded otherwise I would have gone for that.

      To justify the plans where you can place adverts on your site I think you need hundreds of thousands of views to actually make back the money you’re spending, so I doubt it is worth doing. The only way I can see it being worth it is if you seel stuff from your blog.

      You raise a good question and I haven’t seen anyone write about it anywhere on WordPress. I would like to Interview some of the bigger blogs on thier opinion of this.

      I hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Louis! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As someone who has had a WordPress blog for ~5 years, engaged fairly heavily with it (meaning ~1 or 2 days a week for me following, liking, and commenting on others’ blogs) for ~3 years, and having not done much of anything other than post for the past 2, this was super interesting and reflects my experience as well.

    Hopefully my writing drives most of the traffic to my blog now, along with tags and the photos, since I rarely am online and when I am rarely read others’ stuff (tonight is a nice exception!) I hope you enjoyed my poetry! And kudos on your blog idea. I was a writing tutor during college and respect that drive to improve. You are a skilled writer in my book!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In spite of the many other comments I thought I’d throw in my two cents:
    I love that you went into depth about your experiences with WordPress, likes and followers. We can choose to be cynical and try to hoard knowledge or we can be curious and explore how things work, I think life is more interesting when people stay curious.
    The difference between making a successful site pre-Web 2.0 and now really comes down to the whole botting that’s involved because a small number of people are finding such immense financial success and since we all have thoughts and a general inkling that our thoughts are interesting and novel it makes sense that there’s such a rush to try to follow some formula to success. But, mostly engagement, time and luck are what creates success. The thing I miss the most about pre-Web 2.0 was how much easier it was to use search engines, I would spend hours upon hours combing through search results but I often found wonderfully obscure sites and content. It is much harder to do that now with the algorithms even as the promise is that it will be easier to find what you’re looking for. It makes it much harder to find the obscure and that always makes me a bit sad 😦

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your expereince! I must admit that I am one of those people who only used the internet for games and work (studying). I never really expereinced the more frontier-like interenet. It has been the very commericial in all the time I have known it unfortunatly.

      Like

  8. Sorry I can’t go over all the comments in case someone mentioned this, but I’ve read on WordPress that inside visits (WP members) do not count at all (for the stats that we see). So that tells me that Likes and Comments are the only way to manually count those visits that come from WP members.

    Interesting post, BTW! I found you because you engaged my last post, so mission accomplished. Especially since I blog from a similar place in my heart. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply to HarleyQ2 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s