Seth Godin has a wonderfully satirical post today that provides 56 tips to increase your blog traffic.
Among my favorites:
11. Don’t write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids.
13. Write about your kids.
10. Encourage your readers to help you manipulate the technorati.
19. Do email interviews with the well-known.
21. Use photos. Salacious ones are best.
31. Write about stuff that appeals to the majority of current blog readers–like gadgets and web 2.0.
37. Keep tweaking your template to make it include every conceivable bell or whistle.
15. Be sycophantic. Share linklove and expect some back.
44. Don’t interrupt your writing with a lot of links.
This is good stuff.
The point is that there is no recipe you can follow to ensure a popular blog. All you can do is write hard, try to write well, join in the conversations and wait.
I am a songwriter, and have been for many years. There is a camp within the songwriting community who believe that writing a song is like baking a cake. You put the right ingredients in, mix it up and bake it for the specified length of time and, presto, you’ll have a good song.
Of course when you listen to excellent songs by Bruce Springsteen or Van Morrison or Bob Dylan, you quickly notice that many of their songs ignore many of the so called rules. I’ve had people who claim to be songwriters tell me all the reasons why some of my songs that have been recorded by more that one artist will never get cut. Normally, I just let them go on, without telling them about the cuts, because the purpose of that conversation is for them to talk, not for me to hear. I know that, more times than not, their strict adherence to the songwriting recipe will keep them from the experimentation that can lead to great art.
Recipes are fine for science. Blogs and songs are not science. They are art. And while there are some basic principles you can follow to make better art, good art is what people who see it like.
It’s the same way with blogs.