I’ve been exploring Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and now WordPress as discovery tools. We all know how to get to what we already like on all of these platforms. (Therefore, we know how to be found by people who already like us.)
In terms of my AK Anderson fanpage, Facebook allows for discovery by my few fans clicking the “share” button. They also have to like and interact with my posts enough for those to appear in their feeds at all. Then, someone among their friends has to get curious about what they’ve shared. Sometimes, if a fan’s “comments and likes” are still available in the ticker or somewhere, that curious person I’m trying to reach has a shot at seeing something interesting. I believe Facebook is a lousy discovery tool.
Twitter is a little better – Retweets are more common, and tweeting links can often lead down rabbit trails. But still, you’re relying on people who already follow you to get your message further afield.
Pinterest is even better at discovery, because it’s essentially a discovery engine. (Have you ever tried to get BACK to a pin on your own boards to actually do one of those recipes? It takes forever!) But most of the clicks stay on Pinterest.
WordPress, however, has a few avenues of discovery that I don’t hear many people talking about.
First, it has its own discovery tool built right in with their “Freshly Pressed” section. Freshly Pressed blogs are arranged into groups. Those groups correspond to the tags on the given blog post. (Tags are important.) It seems like most Freshly Pressed blogs also have great images. (Images are important.) And they actually have something to say. (Message is important.) Oh, and they pretty much do mean Fresh. (Freshness is important.)
Once a blog has been added to the “Freshly Pressed” collection, it is surfaced to dozens if not hundreds of readers. People who might like a post, or better yet – follow your blog in the WordPress reader and come back for more.
Of course, inclusion in Freshly Pressed is a carrot – most bloggers never will be included there. But getting into people’s readers is a worthy goal. You get more comments, more ongoing discussion and more return visitors by getting people to follow your blog.
Being “Freshly Pressed” isn’t the only way to get into other blogger’s readers. There is another way: becoming part of the community yourself. Liking other posts, following blogs (adding them to your own reader), and commenting thoughtfully on posts will get other bloggers over to your page to check you out. Linking back to other bloggers’ posts will also get you a bit of attention from other WordPress bloggers.
I know that SEO and search as discovery are the best bets for any blog. But I also know that as a member of the WP community, it makes a lot of sense to play well with my neighbors. My goals for the author blog are ridiculously small. I want to average out at about 10 PV per day. So far, I’m close to that, but not quite there.
I’m not selling anything on this blog. There is no ROI for the traffic there. I’m just trying to ensure that when I do have something to sell, I’m not starting this from scratch.