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How Posting a Humble ‘Selfie’ Grew Traffic, Shares and Comments on a New Blog

Two months ago my wife, Vanessa, started to blog.

It is something she’s been planning for some time and with a little encouragement and some design help from Shayne, we set up at Style and Shenanigans.

The blog is in its very early days and Vanessa is still finding her voice but I think she’s a natural. I’ve been excited to see her experiment with a variety of kinds of blog posts.

NewImageTwo days ago saw a new type of blog post on Style and Shenanigans – a post that I watched Vanessa put a lot of thought into. It was the first time she’d shown herself on the blog in a picture with a post called Everyday Style @ Shenanigans Central.

The post included a montage of humble selfie shots of an outfit she wore and a description of the different elements in the outfit.

I totally understand V’s hesitation with the post.

Putting a picture of yourself ‘out there’ for all to see is something I remember pondering for a few days, before I did  when I started blogging back in 2002.

Back then, I had to go and get an image scanned to be able to put my photo up so it wasn’t something I could do on the spur of the moment. I also worried about doing it. I was concerned about privacy but I also felt weird about having my face ‘out there’.

I think I’ve gotten over that… as a quick search on Google Images will show (although I didn’t post all of these shots myself and at least one have been ‘doctored’).

Selfies

While we live in an age of the ‘selfie’ – when people constantly photograph and share pictures of themselves – many new bloggers do worry about their first time.

It won’t be for everyone and you will want to consider issues around privacy and safety however, there are some definite benefits. You can see some of those benefits with Vanessa’s post this week.

V’s blog post statistics were notable for three reasons:

  • Firstly, it was a record day of traffic. While it didn’t go viral it was the best day of traffic so far on the blog and around 7 times the traffic of a normal day.
  • Secondly, the post got shared more than a normal post. Again, it wasn’t a viral post but a greater number of people shared it around.
  • Thirdly, the post had more comments than she’d had previously. I think this was related to more than the increase in traffic.

My reflection upon V’s post was that it was a post that people connected to, a lot more than previous posts. Because of that, it generated more interest and more engagement.

People relate to people. We’re wired to be drawn to others and respond to their faces and stories. It’s no wonder that by injecting some personal touches into a blog – it has a positive impact.

I noticed this same thing when I first started posting images and videos of myself in my early blogging. It felt weird at first – but it helped my readers connect to me.

A Surprise Benefit of Being Personal

I also think that it had another benefit for my blog. It made ME feel more connected too. I noticed this in particular when I started posting videos of myself, here on ProBlogger. The same was true when I first did video streaming chats and webinars.

There is something about creating content that is more personal that makes ME feel more engaged with my readers. Perhaps having been seen and heard by my readers – I feel a little more accountable to them.

Whatever it is, I feel like by putting myself out there and over the years my blogging has improved.

Have you posted pictures of yourself on your blog?

I’d love to hear about your experience of this. Have you posted more personal content on your blog? Pictures, video, stories etc?

Was it something you struggled with or just did? What impact did it have?

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. Alexandra says:

    At first I thought it was tacky to keep taking selfie. But As I started taking them and post them I found that people would like them on my instagram page which was cool so now I am hooked!..

  2. I haven’t posted my pics on my blog yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. I remember seeing Vanessa’s share on Facebook and not so much the fact it was her photos but the beautiful blue colours attracted me to go and check out the post, leave a comment, share, and so on :)

  3. Dash says:

    Posting “selfie” is something I could never get into. No matter what I try, I always end up looking horrible and weird. I guess some people just aren’t photogenic

  4. Sri Varshan says:

    With lot of spam sites all around the internet it’s like playing minesweeper. Posting your picture in your blog makes people more comfortable since they actually know who they are dealing with. You don’t buy a book which doesn’t have an author’s picture or contact information, the same holds true for blogging too. Style and Shenanigans is more of about style where you could ‘selfie’ a lot, I do have a picture of mine in my About Page, but you just left me thinking if there is way to do this more on my blog which is about Technology, any suggestions ?

  5. rutchie says:

    I am still hesitant about posting a picture of myself on my blog. I think about it most of the time but I don’t which will be better either to write a post about myself or put my picture in the “about us” page. It’s still a heavy task to do.

  6. Alva Somoza says:

    I am not beautiful in the picture the reason I am shy to put any profile picture on my page. “Selfie” is in nowadays and I really feel bad to see people enjoying doing “selfie” and post it on Facebook. Any suggestion for a good pic editor so I will look very beautiful on my selfie pic? :)

    • Hi Alva, you can use a great e-tool that is sumopaint.com, it´s just like photoshop but free, you upload a pic, edit it and save it, and later you can download it back to your pc. I hope you find this useful, since this is where I edit all my pics ;)

  7. Riza says:

    You’re right about your observations, Darren. It’s all about being connected to your readers. And with this kind of post, you know with your picture on it, it gives them the assurance that they needed about the post’s writer’s trustworthiness.

    Shared this comment too on Kingged.com, where this post has been curated.
    http://www.kingged.com/how-posting-a-humble-selfie-grew-traffic-shares-and-comments-on-a-new-blog/

  8. RajKumar says:

    I dont like to post my photo on my own blog. Better i used to put my pic in about us page.

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Darren, i have read a few of your articles in the past and i have found them very useful. You are very focused and you must have a very clear type of reader in mind, when you write your posts.

    I am still new to blogging, from June on wordpress and my blog is where I share my thoughts on photography and images i take and other things. I don’t have a lot of time available that is why recently i decided i will spend some time for ‘a photo a day’ project and with the free time left I will focus on practical articles/posts. I am also doing a course on freelance writing, so the practical articles will be related to that. Anyhow after this long expose, i wanted to agree with you on the fact that being personal makes your posts more likely for people to relate to. After receiving a comment to show myself on the blog, i added a picture of me in the About section. It was a bit awkward as the blog isn’t really about me but about what i do/say/think but i did it and i don’t regret.

    I wanted to ask you a question: I would like to engage more with those that currently follow my blog and new people but i find it hard to engage with them often because of time. What i’m after is a collaborative process that doesn’t take a lot of time. Perhaps you have any thoughts?
    Thanks and all the best
    Laura
    http://lauraslittlethings.com/

  10. Julie says:

    I’m a photographer so I’m always posting photos of other people on my blog and Facebook page. I don’t have a huge following, but it is slowly growing. I recently posted a photo that a kind passerby offered to take of me with my family, and that photo got over 3x more attention on FB than my usual posts. Since then, I’ve noticed that whenever I share photos of my own family (mostly of my son) I see an even bigger uptick in traffic than that first family photo.

  11. The “selfie” was really how I started my blog way back when. Even my first videos were done on tape, then time consumingly digitised and up loaded to YouTube. I believe that the realness and reliability of these early posts in a pre blog saturated world, was what gave my blog and my voice it’s initial popularity. It’s also created some lasting real world friendships.
    The point you make about security though, is an excellent one, and one I’ve had to think about since day one. This is why I have always chosen not to publish pictures of my children.
    I became so recognisable that I have ended up with a few scary ‘stalky’ moments when out with my kids, and it just reiterated how important it is to always keep these implications front of mind.

    Thank you for this great post; it’s just given me a great idea for my next one!

  12. Susan says:

    Hi Darren, I think that it depends on the type of blog foe becoming selfie. Not every blog owner can post his/her pic on the blog.

  13. Chris Watson says:

    Yes I put my picture on my blog and I feel like it’s really important that others do as well. I couldn’t agree more with you!