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Tips for Writing Hardworking Posts – Part 1

JohnevansNext in the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tip Series is a post from hard working blogger (I keep losing track of how many blogs he writes on) John Evans who will write about Writing Hard Working Posts. This will be a 2 part mini-series with his second post coming next week.

Merry Christmas! I’m John Evans and I write Windows Vista and Microsoft Weblog for b5media. My personal blog is SYNTAGMA.

Most book publishers who have been around for a while will tell you that more than half their income comes from the backlist. These are older books no longer found on bookshop shelves but which are listed at the back of every publisher’s catalogue (catalog). It’s classic Long Tail stuff, because buyers usually order by post and sales are typically small and steady rather than spiky, as with new books. The high profit margin comes from the obvious fact that reprinting old titles is much cheaper than setting up a new book.

Bloggers too have their backlists. These are archived posts which have been indexed by the search engines and continue to draw search traffic months and even years after they were written. Many bloggers will have forgotten all about them. Some will be unaware that all manner of folk are still poking around in their archives. These posts cost you nothing in effort, but continue working for you long after they’re done. They are the hardworking posts : the carthorses of your trade.

One example from my own experience was a post I wrote on Blogsmith, which is the in-house blogging software developed by Weblogs Inc for all its blogs. I noticed it was still in beta and asked Jason Calacanis if the blogware would ever be put on the market. He replied that an announcement would be made in the autumn (fall). I wrote a very simple post about this tiny scrap of information.

Months later I was still getting scores of visits each day to this post, particularly from Technorati and Google. I could never quite work out why it was so popular (See Part 2). Then Jason announced that the blogware was being offered to businesses. Naturally, I did a short follow-up post.

But the endless stream of traffic to the old post continued, and one day it occurred to me that if I inserted a link to the new post in the old one, visitors would get two for the price of one. Almost all of the visitors clicked the link onto the new post.

It’s good to have a stats package which gives you this information and allows you to follow the pathways of search traffic to your blog. Sitemeter is particularly good as it includes all the details of a visit on a single page.

So to turn a post into a hardworking one look at the interconnectivity of your old posts and link them in a network of clickables. A good blogger’s backlist could then be as valuable as it is to an established print publisher.

Part 2 will look at why the Blogsmith post was “hardworking” in the first place

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. This is really good. I understand long tail, but never even considered linking to the powerhouse posts. What a great idea…

  2. jesse says:

    I had a post like that a while back and the blog, which is now defunct, still gets several hits a day to that post from google/yahoo

  3. Hsien Lei says:

    This is especially true for science and health blogs where much of the information is relevant and still important. I try to interlink/trackback to my old posts whenever possible.

  4. Kami Huyse says:

    The new Google Analytics tool (which is free) also tracks all kinds of stat per page. I have really been liking the power of this tool. I think there is a wait list to get it if you don’t have it already.

  5. Stewart says:

    I liked the comparison with the book’s back list. But having read till the end I still do not get it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Day 1 – Writing Gooder Day 2 – Ethics for Science and Health Bloggers Day 3 – It’s all about the Lifestyle Day 4 – Fund Your Love of Blogging Day 5 – Get a Little Bit Personal Day 6 – Tips for Writing Hardworking Posts – Part A Day 7 – How Pictures can Sell Your Post (and Your Product) Day 8 – Niche Blogging Benefits. Day 9 Overcoming Intimidation Over English Skills in Blogging Day 10 [...]

  2. [...] Tips for Writing Hardworking Posts (Part 1). This covers the goldmine that is your archive. [...]