The key to increasing your readership


Yesterday morning was a dark and stormy night that found me in a twist of strange fate. On the way to untwisting it, I discovered the key to increased readership! Yes, it’s true; I have another secret to reveal to the world. And once again, I am providing it free of charge. Second because I care about you. First because I tried selling you Dog and a Half word kits and you ignored me. How sad is that? Sad enough that I couldn’t even put it first.


My morning routine seldom varies: up at 4:30 a.m. for first dose of medicine (p.o., Latin for “per os” meaning “by mouth”); ingest ½ cup of granola, followed by reading/internet time; second dose of medicine, as needed; and finally, morning typing time.


The dark and stormy night started with the typing. The more I pushed on the keys, the more I felt like I was pushing on bruises in my heart. I tried typing softly, but it kept hurting. Certain keys produced  tear drops, which as you know can mess up your computer. So, I stopped and felt better and saved my laptop. It’s what I do.


Are you a Freud of psychoanalysis? (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

During my time at work, my fate remained hideous kinky, which, if you know anything about the movie of that title, has Freudian connections, much like my life. When I left school late yesterday afternoon, I barely got home before night fell. Thankfully I got there first, and watched through the picture window as the darkness crashed down.  Safely ensconced in my recliner, I opened my laptop, only to be gobsmacked. Yes, smacked right on the gob!


Fast backward. A few weeks ago, my blog was in an accident. WordPress reported it on their front page, so a lot of people came over to see it. Most, of course, took one look, felt disappointed, and left. Over the next few days, some came back, but eventually the onlookers tapered off. The graph below tells the sad, sordid story.


Fast forward. Things returned to normal, I produced wreck after wreck, but not very gawk-worthy.


Pause. Sorry, this is a gratuitous use of language. Somehow I got stuck in this tape recorder image.


Play. We left off at the gobsmacking. When I checked my stats last night, I had almost as many views as the previous day. The only difference was that I hadn’t posted anything. This morning I see that the day I didn’t post, I got more views than in the previous five days when I did post. You need a magnifying glass to see the difference, but trust me, the orange arrow non-posting day has more views.


Can you imagine my excitement? I have discovered the key to increased readership: Do Not Post! It seems counterintuitive, but all new discoveries appear that way at first.


Oddly, I must post today in order to share this information with you. However, because I am posting it, you probably will not read it. I am like Hamlet, or since I am female, Hamlette, pondering whether to post, or not to post.


I hope this helps you. I have more to say, but it will have to wait for a day I don’t post. I certainly hope you come back then.



70 thoughts on “The key to increasing your readership

  1. My theory is that those views are from people who didn’t visit the blog the day before, or the day before that, and suddenly said to themselves, OMG, What Have I Been Missing???? Then they read the (old) post, which they enjoy so much that the pleasure keeps them afloat for a few more days (weeks?), at which point they suddenly say to themselves, OMG, etc. My revenge is to post every day (bar total obstruction by students et al.) and let people actually MISS stuff. If you saw my stats you’d see what a successful ploy that is (ha ha ha).

    • RAB, your daily posts are always full of wit, wisdom, and great writing tips. Then you throw in history, literature, and politics, among other things, to make them even more interesting. I have no idea how you do it, but I read your posts everyday and am very glad you are so prolific.

  2. Dear Yearable – I know some of my comments on your post have become spam and so I wonder if there is something wrong with wordpress – obviously this comment is presenting a conundrum similar to the subject of this post – nevertheless as it may squeeze through the cracks perhaps you ought to look in your spam box to see what else is going on? Given that you read this etc etc etc

  3. transplantednorth

    I think there should be a new psychological diagnosis called post-freshlypressed partum depression. It’s a letdown, isn’t it? I got freshly pressed in October of 2010 and I’m still trying to top it. But I do think that overloading people with many posts just to have a daily post is not as effective as putting out less posts that are more thoughtful.

    • WordPress has the power to direct a lot of traffic to a post. In my case, I don’t think I could ever top that.

      You are right that less posting and more thought makes for a better blog. It’s the very reason this is not a better blog. Too much thinking hurts my brain. 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing this *secret*. I now know that what I have to do to my increase my readership. Not writing posts would of course make for an easier life as there would be more time to drink coffee and eat dark chocolate. However I think I might miss blogging so I have decided to keep on inflicting myself on the world by blogging on.

    • Who knew it was so easy to increase readership. And, of course, in order to have days you don’t blog, you must also have days when you do blog; in other words, there’s no point in not doing something, unless you regularly do it.

      When I was writing the above, it made sense to me.

  5. I’m sorry but when I hear the phrase “A dark and stormy night” I can only focus on Snoopy lying on his back atop his dog house. Charles Shultz we miss you.. Where was I,,,oh, so if I don’t send this comment, you still get it?? And if no one sends comments will you get even more?

  6. It is truly a bizarre phenomena — one that I enjoy almost as much as writing itself. What did people do before viewership stats were posted? Did they just write for the pleasure of writing? Just for the helluvit? Imagine….

    • I really have no idea what the statistics mean, but certain things about them strike me as funny. There doesn’t seem to be any real pattern or explanation about why they go up and down.

  7. I have experienced this phenomenon. Additionally, posts I love get lower numbers than posts that I throw together. Don’t people have taste? I guess the moral of the story is to sling the words on that page and return to the chocolate bar as quickly as possible. Perhaps I should hold this comment for a day you don’t post????? decisions, decisions…..

  8. Good grief…that was a huge number of people visiting your post.
    I take it they did not all comment.
    It would be scary to reply to that many people.
    I love your posts.
    Don’t post tomorrow and I shall come and look. 🙂

    • Those were mostly drive-by viewings based on a suggestion by WordPress. I think it says more about the influence of WordPress’ front page than anything. Apparently a lot of people read it.

      Thank you for looking when I don’t post.

  9. I experience this phenomenon all the time, since I only post once a week, tops. Blog stats are funny things — I’ve been forced to try to ignore them, since I just can’t seem to attend to my blog with the same dedication that others do. Is waking up at 4:30 am the secret? (Oh no, I’m doomed!) I’m very impressed with your ability to be so prolific while also teaching. (There goes my main excuse!)

    Keep posting or not posting — my visits will continue to show up in your stats. 🙂

    • Although I think there is a perfectly good explanation for the statistics, I prefer to make up my own reasons. 🙂

      I have to get up early in order to get anything done. Once the sun goes down and I’ve eaten dinner, I turn into a slug. I can barely get out of my rocking recliner. A lot of people I know get all their writing done at night. But all I can do at night is read blogs and comment.

  10. Oh boy, I had been wondering (read: hoping) you would do a meta-follow-up on your Freshly Pressed experience. When mine happened, several people made opaque statements like “Enjoy the ride!”

    I’m so, SO happy that you unpacked this idea in such a fun way. You are a wonder, Yearstricken!

    • Don’t you think people say that because it’s as if you finally got to ride the pony at the arcade, only to find that the ride lasts under two minutes. It’s over so quickly and then you’re back to just sitting on your plastic palomino imagining you are bounding over the plains because you don’t have a quarter for another two minutes.

      • THAT IMAGE IS PERFECT! There’s nothing sadder when you’re a kid than not having another quarter for the pony. Or having to get off because it’s someone else’s turn. (It’s always someone else’s turn!)

        I remember the day my numbers started to drop back down to a “normal” range, I called my best friend and said, “Oh well. Party’s over. Back to work now. I’m taking off my pointy party hat.”

        And we laughed. Then I got back to work.

        (I will say this about the FP thing though– I’ve met some of the nicest, most wonderful folks because of that experience. And WP is so good about presenting an upbeat tone in general that I’m really glad to be here, you know?)

  11. I’m one of the people who visited your blog after its “accident” — I’m very glad I did, and I’m still reading it. I’ve even whispered your name to a few friends…
    Thanks for sharing your secret – I didn’t post today, and was feeling guilty about it until I read your post. I feel lighter!

    • I considered going for quality, but that requires a lot of time and effort. I go for quantity: the shock and awe of steady drivel, which I hope numbs the reader like that blaring music in stores.

  12. My apologies for not buying your “Dog and a Half word kit.” Our lease says no pets, not even half a pet! My brother, the veterinarian says that even if you affix a dog, he is still a dog and doesn’t qualify as a non-pet.

    Did we ever get the post that got way-laid? I’m still curious about it.

    • Please don’t worry about me, my feelings, or my pocketbook. We’ll manage somehow.

      The post that was waylaid was the one about thanking your word surgeon. I started writing about the suffix -ist and that led to two other posts about affixation. I had to write a couple of unrelated posts before I could get back to it.

  13. It I wasn’t having so much fun reading your posts, (or checking your blog when their are no posts), I would say it isn’t fair for one person to have the ability to write from both ends of the spectrum. When you are funny, I nearly hurt myself laughing, and lately I’ve been in a world of pain. But then when you type things like this: “… I felt like I was pushing on bruises in my heart. I tried typing softly, but it kept hurting,” my heart feels this odd little ache that only happens when truth squeezes it tight. Ouch. I really wish you would quit writing so perfectly, so I could go back to checking empty pages and increasing your stats.

    I’ll be sure to tune in tomorrow when you won’t be here so I can NOT leave a comment.

    p.s. I already have a Dog and a Half, so I was not in the market for yours. Sorry. The way I figure it, Bruiser, my Akita, (110 pounds), plus Ozzie, my terrier mix, (25 pounds), qualifies this as a Dog and a Half household. Ozzie counts as a dog, and Bruiser counts as the half, because he is half dog and half two year old child. No, really. Now if you had been offering a half dog package, I might have taken you up on your offer. (since I prefer even numbers).

    • Had I know that people were in the market for half-dogs, I would have given people the chance to order a prefix, root word, or suffix separately rather than as a set. I will consider it.

      My poetic license requires that I include a modicum of truth in every post, so I felt it necessary to include the part about bruises. You are a good writer and I know you read carefully, so I am not surprised that caught your eye. I am always honored to know you read this blog.

  14. Hallelujah! You had to know that as a daily poster (or Poster Girl for Posting) I would be thrilled at news like this!!! You are a constant source of support and wisdom, and I can’t thank you enough (though the chocolate stash is here waiting, whenever you show up) for all of the useful and amazing information and training you supply here.

    By the way, should your spirits need lifting at any moment, I’ll offer *my* bit of very useful technical information to help you through it: open your page to any person’s photo, preferably a shot of a person who’s been a bit of a pest to you (I found the portrait of Freud especially apropos for this exercise, myself, for reasons you will undoubtedly discern without any prompting from me), move your cursor over the page, and if you’re lucky and have a pointing-finger cursor like I do, stick the finger up that person’s nose. An arrow will do, but giving it the finger is more satisfying. I find that this simple exercise clears my mind as efficiently as a Dyson vacuum, and as a bonus, makes me snort with immature laughter. A seriously useful combination, don’t you think? See, I don’t think either! It’s wonderful how much we have in common, we geniuses.

    • Kathryn, you realize I have family in Texas, so someday I may just knock on your door and ask about that chocolate!

      From out of the storehouse of your many talents, you post daily, now enchanting, now jesting, now delighting. And yes, the finger in the nose is something I have done and do. One of life’s simple pleasures. 🙂

  15. millodello

    Some years ago my wife tired of my prattling and said, “Don’t you ever shut up?”. I did. Soon she was back with “What’s wrong?”. So it goes with blogging I guess. Now I talk and if she listens its a bonus.

  16. I had a hard time reading this post. It took me a while to get past “the up at 4:30 am” part. But I am here so there is 1 number for your stats.

    BTW what time do you go to bed? I go to bed 3 or 4 hours before you get up–not that you asked or care but I felt the need to share.

    • I go to be between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m., but by 8:00 p.m. I am good for nothing. I’m like a balloon, in the morning I am filled with energy, which slowly dissipates throughout the day, until at night I just lie around, unable to do anything. 🙂

  17. This is good wisdom. I actually appreciate it when people post a little less, it gives me time to start missing them…builds value. When they haven’t posted my next treat, I am like a dog forced to lick once again the empty bowl. I kinda like that.

  18. Instead of Hamlette perhaps you would get more readers if you go by “Omelette.” Me I only seem to get lots of readers if I write about guns. That could simply be that folks want to shoot me, or there could be something else happening there.

  19. Stats are a funny thing, aren’t they? Of course, my numbers are no where near yours! I am always interested in what gets comments and views and what doesn’t, especially when it goes against my expectations (which is often).

    One thing I noticed is the stats will be off for items people can read completely in email. Sometimed I read but don’t come by.

  20. Margie

    Thanks for the insight to increasing views! It reinforces my decision to only post 2 or 3 times a week!
    I’m kind of glad I have never been Freshly Pressed. I think the after Pressed rejection would make me feel kind of unhappy.

    • I mentioned above that I think that the number of hits that follow being Freshly Pressed is more a reflection of the power of the WP front page than the blogs selected. The vast majority who visit one of those blogs are there just to view it, but I think all of us would agree that ten readers are better than a thousand viewers.

  21. I’ve had this, too! I didn’t know you were Freshly Pressed, that just means that I liked you BEFORE YOU WERE COOL and that I like you for who you are, not because you’re famous 😀

  22. Oh me, oh my… this is such a complicated post. I almost gave up on it… but then, ah… a graph. Even if it doesn’t make sense, it gives me the feeling that I can handle it Now what was it you wanted? Universal appeal? And what do you intend to do once you get it? And how well would you want to get to know all your readers…? Sometimes it takes a while for the word to get around… it could be that some of your readers will only arrive in a decade. Seems to me, it would be a mistake to think that ‘everyone’ checks the blogs they like every day… and so on. Love your writing, by the way.

    • ShimonZ, you must take everything I say, at least when I make attempts at humor, with a grain of salt. One of my private jokes with the universe is my uncanny ability to be forgotten, to be out of the room when the pictures are taken, and to be ignored in the kindest ways possible. Several of my posts deal with this and I am always on the lookout for these kinds of things. When I find things like this, it strikes me as funny and then, as you know, I tend to do a bit of exaggerating. But please don’t tell the others.

      • Okay… but just so you know, year-stricken. Having read your splendid post, and seeing that quite a few people had already appreciated it, and written very appropriate comments, I thought I’d try a little humor, if just for the change of pace. And I added that short sentence about loving your writing just because I’ve had the experience of inadvertently insulting someone, when I was hoping to be amusing… and I didn’t want it to happen with you. Please accept my humble admiration.

  23. riatarded

    This made me chuckle and it does seem to be true! why though, i will never understand.

    Maybe my posts stink so much that people just can’t take it, and they just come over to check if I have come to my senses? :p

  24. Huh…well, I came by before you were FP’d (is that a new term now?) and I come back for the writing, not the “not posting”!! The stats are a bit addicting-kind of like checking your blood pressure every hour, just to see if you are still here. I have never had the FP honor, so it may be sour grapes, but it would seem that you’ve got what it takes, FP or not.
    Please don’t try to get your stats up by not posting! 🙂

  25. hello, yearstricken,

    i was laughing very hard with this post… now that you have unraveled the mystery, the host site might take you to task for spreading this secret. don’t you think you would have profited more had you dangled this discovery to WP first? lols! ^^

    btw, i’ll try to come by on your non-posting day, boost the findings some, huh?
    warm regards :):)

  26. 2 weeks after, and I am finally getting to this post! And I am going to go backward chronologically to read through every single one, and I bet I know what will happen! Your stats are going to be UP! And if you didn’t post today, guess what? Your theory will be even more *correcter*!

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