Fear of going first

On my wanderings on the internet and specifically on observation of certain blogs I have noticed that there is this a psychological fear of going first. Many people are like this in real life, avoiding going first because they feel they can learn from those who’ve gone before or are just crippled by not taking action.

Call to action: I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below. This time I’m asking.

Image from Wikkicommons

Make that first step, break the virgin sands.

Somebody always has to go first. It’s a universal fact!

  • Someone decided to eat an oyster
  • Someone decided to beat someone to death with a tree branch or the business end of a rock
  • Someone decided to start singing for social enjoyment

There was always someone who went first, took that important first step. They are the courageous person that is willing to take a chance. What was bizarre becomes commonplace.

 

Ways of managing people who go first.

There are a lot of situations where you may really need someone to go first.

  • The white player on the chessboard
  • A pitcher in baseball
  • The bowler in cricket
  • The fencer who strikes first in fencing

Without the initiation of the person to go first, you have no game. Someone has to make the first move.

Asking isn’t always enough, sometimes you have to incentivise by other means, find some way to capture commentary or social acceptance.

Comments emerge on subjects that evoke some form of personal connection, something that the audience can relate to. In my short time blog writing those articles that do best are the ones that help.

 

Situation in terms of blogging involve the following:

  • Being the first to comment on a blog post
  • Being the first to like a blog post
  • Being the first to +1
  • Being the first to comment
  • Being the first to re-share or re-blog
  • Being the first to like

Numbers symbolise trust and a collective of like minds. People become drawn to surging numbers. Notoriety drives more notoriety (good or bad).

 

Comments are needed for credibility and trust.

Comments help expand the content beyond the original conversation, they allow others to share views and opinions on the topic and comments allow the reader to ask questions of the author.

Likes and +1s are needed for signs of shared approval. The crowd always looked to the Emperor for a sign of approval at the Colosseum. His thumb was often the decider when it came to a Gladiator’s survival. Perhaps one of the failings of some of the big social media sites is the lack of opportunity to dislike or show disapproval apart from reporting a post.

In YouTube there are positive and negative thumbs and I can’t help but feel that these would be of use on Facebook and Google+. Of course, you can always report people for abuse but there should be some form of balance.

 

Google Ranks your post on how your content has been viewed.

Besides backlinks, Google ranks posts on how many comments, plusses, shares, re-shares, likes and tweets it has. They are called social signals.

The image below is an excerpt from Neil Patel’s Quicksprout.com blog and refers particularly to what is classed an “In-depth article” algorithm. Google have many complex algorithms to calculate search engine results based on readable content.

This excerpt came from “How I increased My Search results by 13.15% in Just 30 days through Google’s in depth articles” dated 14th November 2013

Qsprout quote NP 001

 

I term this factor as social reckoning.

Comments are important for other reasons.

Comments allow the audience to provide you with objective, and sometimes biased, feedback. The audience can provide critical information that can be rectified quickly by means of the comments.

Comments allow others to share links to similar topics which may help broaden the discussion and help the audience further. You’ll be known as the person who in part helped to provide the answer. Whilst it may seem counter-productive to allow these links, Google will like you more but you have to be careful of spam creeping in, moderation is key.

Debate can take the contents of the original post beyond its original horizon and chart new depths. These new branches of ideas may lead you to be inspired to write more future posts along these lines and this will help stave off writer’s block. Review these comments to see if you can spin them further.

You can identify interested parties and if you are a marketer; “leads”. Some audience members often ask questions from lack of knowledge or an expressed need. You might be the person to provide that help whether it be free or not.

High fives may follow. There’s nothing like the exhilaration of being congratulated on your work, especially if many praise you, all is graciously received.

If you receive a stream of negative comments, this is a warning sign that something is wrong. The root cause could be technology failing, the product or service you are selling, the content and nature surrounding the article, a troll or something else. Investigate these comments to learn more.

Most importantly, visitors may follow. If you are setup with a Gravatar, which can be acquired from WordPress pretty quickly, you are universally recognised with all blogs (well almost, those people who use Disqus or one of the Social Media comments may be different, because, you know, some people want to be different). From one site I have consistently tried to comment and I’ve received numerous visits just from my Gravatar profile on the comment sections.

Permission

I spent some time in thought over permission whilst away on my vacation in November 2013. I feel that there is a psychological imperative to wait for permission especially on subjects that require you to invest a small amount of time in something. Expanding this theory, most people of decent upbringing like to be polite, have manners, carry themselves in a socially delicate way. They are respectful.

In the situation of leaving a comment you should leave all of those ideas behind. Ideally the author would have disabled the comments if they didn’t want you to comment. There are many videos on Youtube that trump this fact because trolls live out there.

When considering whether to comment ask yourself a question:

What’s the worst that can happen?

I believe that a lot of people are wrapped up in being self-conscious over how people may take the comments. Obviously you’ve got to try to be on topic but in most cases you should be free to fire and forget. If the moderator doesn’t approve your comment, what’s the problem? As long as you didn’t invest too much time in writing your comment it shouldn’t mean too much time.

Paranoia

Part of the psychology behind making a complex decision can equate to paranoid delusions.

It’s okay to be afraid!

But you shouldn’t let it stop you from living your life the way you want to!

Paranoia in leaving a comment can spring from many concerns. I’ve listed a few below but you might be able to think of more.

  • Releasing your details to randoms
  • Fear of being out of your depth with the topic
  • Fear of offending the author of the article
  • Fear of the moderator not approving your submission

In those rare cases maybe something bad might happen. Driving a car in the modern world is statistically dangerous yet millions of us do it every day. I’ve had 3 incidents in 15 years so on average 1 every 5 years. Think of how many days there are in a year and think of how many hours you spend driving every year. 3 bad events doesn’t mean a whole lot in the scheme of things. Just think about the thousands of times we got to the place we were going.

To Conclude

I reiterate my call to arms; my call for your duty, the CTA, the business end of the rifle.

I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below.

But just one thing before you do, consider some guidance before writing if you have no sense. Step back and Think: Social engagement is a post I wrote to cover the basics.

Best wishes to you all!

This post was submitted to the Daily Prompt writing challenge.

 

Shout outs!

A Personal thank you to Michelle Huang at Michellebikeandbuild.wordpress.com for being the first to comment.

 

Best day to publish a blog post

In this article I’ll be taking a look at my past history in order to determine what days do best for my publishing and when my readers generally tend to take the time out to read. You may wish to perform a simple piece of analysis yourself to understand your audience if you haven’t already!

The important question to answer is what is the best day to publish a blog post? It is an important question because you can base some strategy around your best publishing day to at least meet the basic requirement for a week. Whilst many experts claim that sometimes you should defy convention, there are some benefits to being consistent.

Days of the Week

A week is a linear concept, depending on where you draw the line between the start and the end.

A traditional 9-5 goes Monday to Friday with Saturday and Sunday as rest days. Not everyone fits this mould (flexible working and shifts to name just 2 scenarios). You also have to take into account varying time zones around the world. The time at which you publish may have no correlation to when people in other countries are awake or active.

How I have assembled the data

My data is put together from a series of information provided by Google Analytics. The base element of Analysis 1 takes data from the perspective of unfiltered data. Analysis 2 uses filtered data, filtered by viewing times of less than 30 seconds and not from Crawley (my home town). Analysis 3 is simply a date list of all weekdays that I have posted month per month.

Analysis 1: Mega days

At its most basic level, I’ve gone all the way to the beginning and recorded the number of visitors and pageviews for that day. I then dictate the best day of the week based on the best numbers. I’ve assigned this day as a “Mega” day to give it some ego.

Analysis 1: "Mega Days" - Good Tuesdays, Bad Fridays

Analysis 1: “Mega Days” – Good Tuesdays, Bad Fridays

As you can see above, Tuesday performs extraordinarily well whilst Friday performs incredibly poorly.

Analysis 2: Performing days

Zero Second Bounce is a topic I’ve covered a number of times. It is essentially what I class to be enough time to read an article and get something from it. Any views below 30 seconds are worthless because anything less than 30 seconds is not enough time to take anything away from what is shown.

an1nzsbbdtp

Days of the week displaying positive views (No Zero Second Bounce).

The chart above marks all the days that had a positive output . This is where quality is better than quantity. Tuesday is once again a very positive day. Monday, Friday and Saturday don’t provide as good results overall. I’ve highlighted Friday and Saturday in particular because they both produce poor results.

Analysis 3: Days that posts were published

The next thing to look at is when I have published posts (that have produced real views) and throw this into the mix. I always have to consider with an international audience that there is some lag involved with the actual reading of posts.

an1dopbdtp

“Day of Post” in the week.

The totals here are a bit more deceptive than for the other two forms of analysis because it appears that I have consistently posted on Wednesday but according to my analysis have had a poor return on time for those posts on Wednesdays.

Opening it up to the floor

I put this question out to the Google+ community to see how people responded.

When do you post

Kray‘s method works for a brand new blog, its good to have a few blades of grass under your feet when starting so as not to appear like you haven’t got much to say. I found having prepared posts harder at certain points during my study and work so I had to prepare posts on the fly and be a bit more flexible. Whilst off on my short study vacation I’ve got a good 6+ posts on the slate and have plenty of ideas at the moment but it doesn’t always work that way.

Johnnie Jazz has a slightly different frame of thought and not a bad one either, posting when you are done with you most recent piece is a good thing if you are post has a short shelf life. If you hold onto it too long you could miss the boat and it is much better to be working on the next piece of work rather than continuously agonising over what you push out of the door. I’m concerned over one particular post that is growing to epic proportions in my draft zone but is not seeing the light of viewers. I’m concerned that I don’t have the audience to make it a stand out winner and I would hate to launch it into empty space without better understanding how to part the waves to success Moses style.

Conclusion

When is the best day to publish a blog post? The answer for me is a Tuesday based on how most of the data lines up. My data also supports Wednesday as being an okay fall back if I miss my Tuesday deadline but Ideally earlier is better. Friday is my least likely day to get action, if my blog post wanted to figuratively get laid on a Friday it would have a long wait.

Some interesting experiments may include increasing my post frequency on days that I don’t normally post to see if this has an effect.

I am fairly convinced that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the times that most people are open to new reading and their behaviour towards reading dies off towards the end of the week. Other forms of entertainment take over such as being sociable with family and friends or going out for a movie or restaurant. Speaking generally, Friday has a lot of competition, and I have to up my game to be spotted amongst the volume so for now Friday proves to be illusive.

End of Month Traffic Report: October 2013

I was looking for a Golden October and I think I may have found one. October has been a great month for me, I’ve seen the highest page views since the launch of the site and through continued efforts in the community I’ve been able grow a bit more in terms of my confidence and reach.

My September traffic report performed best for the month, appearing to be a successful page turner. I am happy to see that the numbers viewing this report have remained steady from month to month. I hope that you are able to take something away from the data and of course if you want to see more then please leave a comment and let me know!

A referral from Smart Passive Income effected my numbers dramatically this month with an Indian lady or gent viewing my content no less than 74 times over the span of two visits which had a massive impact on my stats. The 22nd October was a very good day in fact and I can identify that the visitor came from the city of Pune in India.

AplacecalledPune

Pune-tang

I feel a lot more confident and because my studies are at a pause I’m feeling much more upbeat about the site and my move forwards in blogging. I’ve tried to leverage a bit more of my network to try and drive traffic more effectively. I’m particularly pleased about the posts I wrote on Google recently even though they didn’t generate massive interest, I still feel they are good value posts.

traffic-jam-blur

End of Month Report

EoMTR GAF

This nomenclature is the norm from month to month. This is repeated for your benefit. I’ve termed an acronym to Google Analytics with my Actual Traffic Filter so as to save on some real estate for words below. This is displayed as GAF. GAF represents the truest figure based on what Google Analytics has recorded as a true page indent. The filter removes a phenomenon I’ve termed as ZSB or Zero Second Bounce where the visitor has made no page indent or 0 seconds on page.

Pageviews

  • WordPress Stats = 174 (last month 64) +110 inverse (171%) wowser!
  • GAF Stats = 128 (last month 44) +84 inverse (190%) wowser!

A glorious pageview increase this month. This was partly down to one particularly frantic day but also partly to a general increase in interested parties driven by a number of sources.

Visitors

  • WordPress Stats = 60 (last month 40) +20 inverse (50%) Yay !
  • GAF Stats =  15 (last month 10) +5 inverse (50%) Yay!

Up by 50%, excellent! Yes, it could be higher but I’ll take those figures over last month’s.

Average time on site

GAF = 508 seconds or 8 minutes 28 seconds (last month 1055 seconds or 17 minutes 35 seconds) -508 seconds or 9 minutes 7 seconds adverse (-51%)

A sharp drop back to traditional figures seen in June, July and August. Clearly September saw some better readers. I’m not overly concerned by this figure although I would like to see more visits averaging higher in future. I was aware that September had exceptional figures because I had received an after shock from a poor August and had put more effort in to raise the standards accordingly.

Demographics

WordPress Stats Demographics for last 30 days.

2013octdemog

2013 demographic information for October – Click to enlarge.

Traffic Source

I don’t get as deep a field of view from WordPress.com Stats although it does give a lot of good information on referrals and search terms. Direct is best supplied by Google Analytics.

2013octtrafficsource

Direct

GAF = 6 (last month 3) inverse +3

Referral

WordPress stats last 30 days shown below (30)

GAF = 8 (last month 7) inverse +1

A small change from last month. A move in the right direction.

Search

Search is performing better. I’ve had a favourable upswing in successful searches over the past month and for the first time Google+ referrals have been overtaken by search results. This could mean that I am either better at finding keyphrases that are easy to find and/or better at providing content that people take decent information away from.

Content

It never looks inspiring when I visit here and a large majority of visits were on pages rather than posts.

2013octcontent

October Content

As can be seen, the previous iteration of this traffic report performed well. It will be interesting to see what golden post may shine in November.

Conclusion

In conclusion, October has been golden. It has been uplifting to watch viewing numbers go up.

My site has remained fairly consistent over the month and I have kept the site unchanged in terms of the theme and the structure. I have been doing a lot more around the outskirts including keeping in with Google+ so as not to fall too far behind. I am still somewhat unhappy with the font style in the Twenty Thirteen theme and am soon contemplating a move away from it, for now, whilst I am able to concentrate on content I am keeping these changes to the bench for now.

I will be in search of more avenues to exploit in the continuing months. During November I shall be away from the 11th – 18th in sunny Barbados so there will be a week without content on interaction as I plan to have a relaxing technology break. I will still be working on my development journal during this time and hope to write out a number of post ideas during my time away but it will be nice to kick back.

I can’t rest on my laurels though. I need to work harder on the direction of this blog and work hard on understanding the type of content that I enjoy writing and which provides the best draw to the site. At present I agonise over the types of post that I generate and feel it could be a lot easier if I laser target my designation.

On another note, I hit 10 years service with the current company I work with, it was scary to think that I started the work I was doing in 2003 on the 28th October. I’m not sure that I will go another 10 unless my position improves with the organisation. For now I’m happy with my health and happiness.

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