Thursday, November 16, 2006

Traffic Cop

I finally caved into the part of my ego that likes to be beaten to a pulp and posted a traffic meter on the blog. I was curious. And yep: it's just me.

Hi, me.

No, there seem to be a few of you out there, though possibly the same dozen people hitting refresh several times a day (I'm not really sure how the technology works).

So I suppose now it's time to focus on "building traffic." Ah, here are some friendly tips. Let's take a look at a few of them:

1. Use lists.

1. Done and
2. Done.

8. Announce news.

OK. The Dow finished up more than 54 points today. Milton Friedman died. The Pentagon has changed its classification of homosexuality from something like mental retardation to something like bed-wetting. (I guess they're saying that's better.)

You guys can't get that stuff anywhere else, right?

9. Write short, pithy posts.

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised." --Dorothy Parker

11. Don't write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids.

Man, traffic-building is easy. I hate cats, I'm straight, and I can barely support myself, much less children.

13. Write about your kids.

I left out his Rule 12: Place contradictory pieces of advice within an eighth of an inch of each other.

15. Be sycophantic. Share linklove and expect some back.

OK, time to step up to the plate ESPN, Time, and YouTube. Love's a two-way street.

18. Coin a term or two.

Branky. Tarpulent.

21. Use photos. Salacious ones are best.

Easy enough:

22. Be anonymous.

Well, the horse has probably left the barn on this one.

27. Include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.

I still get a few comments, but I'm not sure the volume's large enough to count as one of those big water coolers. I like to think of them more as a can of Sprite that all of us have to share.

30. Point to useful but little-known resources.

Here you go.

35. Dress your blog (fonts and design) as well as you would dress yourself for a meeting with a stranger.

This one's just kind of creepy.

44. Don't interrupt your writing with a lot of links.

Once I figured out the link technology, I found this increasingly hard to do, but I'll give it another shot if he really thinks it will help.

46. Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.

This post got through the self-censor somehow, but otherwise I think I'm decent at this.

48. Be patient.

(tapping fingers)

(checking watch)




Anonymous Nick said...

There's an appealing closed-loop quality about this. The post itself (the list, that is) follows its own rules, or at least some of them, and you have to figure that James Truman here saw his traffic increase after he put it up. This means the rules work. But the rules JT follows most significantly are the ones that say to make lists, to write about blogging, and to cater to an obsessed minority. He's not really aiming at a general reader; he's aiming at other bloggers. So if the post did, in fact, increase his readership, it suggests that the entire (ahem) blogosphere is composed mostly of monologuists trying to trick other monologuists into listening to them talk (present blog-host totally excluded, of course). In a way, this resonates with the very cynical theory that there are now more writers than readers in the world, but it's probably more like sports talk radio: shut-ins yelling through the ether at other shut-ins, who mostly wish they'd shut up. This isn't a new idea, but it seems more evident than usual here.

10:15 AM  
Blogger MAW said...

He he! Good post.

And don't be ashamed of your sitemeter. I installed mine because I'm horribly paranoid about someone from work finding my blog (although that hasn't stopped me from writing about students, using my real name, and making repeated references to where I live) but even after a year it's still fascinating to me that people from India and Kuwait and, better yet, "Country Unknown" are somehow finding their way to my silly little site.

The don't stay long, but - whatever.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Loob said...

I feel both branky and tarpulent.
Can you ever be one without the other?
And I love Sprite.

9:36 PM  
Blogger ko said...

Ha. I almost laughed out loud.
I DID guffaw a bit for sure...
and after reading that post I am totally smitten enough to come back, so please DO count me as a new unique visitor. yay! And by the way, I look at my stats too and find them fascinating...for a while I had more hits from Macau than Canada! Hmm!
Now of course, you are obliged to check out my site:
and judge me accordingly.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Jane Doe said...

Great article.
I will impliment as many of the rules as I can.

If we all shared exchanged links, it'd be like a group hug...

Or not.

Another Unique Visitor

2:14 PM  

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