Aug 10, 2011

Outdoor Blogging and Outdoor Blogging Theory

As I prepare to turn the page onto my fourth year of actually caring about Lunker Hunt, it's time to reflect. Is this a good blog? Does this blog accomplish what I think it should? Does this blog provide value to the world? No, no and no. I'm never happy with it and always looking to improve. Perhaps you're the same way and would like a few pointers. Here is what I know...so far....


10 habits of highly effective outdoor bloggers:

To start this discussion I need to lay down a couple claims. I claim that all bloggers are egomaniacs. We all want as many people as possible to read what we say, and we want some feedback that you read it. If that doesn't sound like you, think about it for a moment. When you accept you egotistical ways feel free to proceed.

1) Interaction is the crutch of the entire operation, without it our ego won't inflate and good blogs die. Respond to comments from your readers, it encourages more comments.

2) See number one? It's a two way street. Visit other blogs and feed their egos, they'll reciprocate.

3) Use pictures and video. Eyes glaze over when presented a screen full of text. Bonus points for shoehorning a beautiful woman into your topic. Sorry ladies, but sex sells...especially when it's the first picture in a post.


4) Understand and accept this is a niche market, you're not going to be the next Perez Hilton.

5) Because you are not Perez Hilton, every reader is sacred. Focus on converting each one to a repeat customer. Maybe this means an entire post written for the express purpose of attracting one particular person.

6) Outdoorsy type people don't read blogs on the weekend. They do, however, read blogs while they should be working. So save that post until Monday (prior to 11:00am eastern).

7) Be accessible. Provide a feed and option for e-mail subscription. Get a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account. Everyone interacts with the web uniquely, so you have to cater to everyone.

8) Proof read your posts damn it! Preferably prior to publishing them. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be readable.

9) Save your breath. Few people read long posts. Make your point and be done with it, even if you have to leave something out.

23 comments:

  1. #6 is so true. monday tuesday and wednesday i get the most traffic most likely from those outdoors types at the office.

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  2. You nailed it! The only one I disagree with is #9.

    BTW...thanks to number 3, I have been reading this post for 14 minutes and 33 seconds

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  3. Nice boots.

    Oh, and good blogging points as well. I guess I'd better pay some attention.

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  4. I believe in #9 the most. Not because the principle, but because I'm lazy.

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  5. I think # 4-6 are key to anyone first starting out in outdoor blogging.

    # 1, 2 & 7 are really key for the crew that's been starting to come together on Google+. I read a lot of other people's blogs but just recently starting to comment just to say "good work" or something of the like...btw, good work on this post :)

    #8 - No brainer. I re-read several times, hit publish, then re-read again & still typically find a typo. I blame my time writing technical reports on this :p

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  6. Good points Clif, but that 'lady' should really be pay more attention to the rod tips, she's not going to see that first strike is she now.
    Regards,
    John

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  7. hmmm...maybe my stats would go up if I fished in a bikini, eh? Ah sadly, I know this is true. ;P

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  8. Great list. I think I should pay attention to #9... wait, what about #10? Oh yeah, point well taken.

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  9. You're right on Clifie with one exception. Each rule is made to be broken. My stats run pretty level all week. Fishermen read blogs before or after they fish. Headlines are important...make them draw attention to your post.

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  10. @blake - they all are true...not just 6

    @brookfield - sorry to distract you, get back to work.

    @Mike - I like the boots too, it's why I picked this particular shot

    @Me - Laziness is sometimes a virtue

    @Mat - Us technical types have to be extra careful.

    @Murphyfish - I'm not sure she's interested in fishing

    @The Emb - Sometimes we have to play the cards dealt

    @Jay -

    @Cosifher - It's hard to see the trend until you get more than 3 readers per day. Hang in there.

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  11. Well done Clif...did I actually write that? As you've astutely observed, egos are king...for both the writer and reader. A successful blogger should never forget that.

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  12. Excellent post! 8,8,8 That's my pet peeve. It doesn't have to graduate level literature but a few capitals, periods and paragraphs are always nice.

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  13. @T-Rage: Is that why Yukon is always putting me down?

    @Stevie Z: I believe you meant "It doesn't have to be graduate level literature." :)

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  14. @Clif - yup. ego is king. i gots ta put you down to make me feel so nice.

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  15. " Proof read your posts damn it! Preferably prior to publishing them. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be readable."

    It's cofisher...

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  16. And also because "You run like a girl and you sit down to pee." (c) bloodhound gang

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  17. Clif -- Rich irony. Yeah, I'm a big fan of the edit feature.

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  18. To e.m.b, MY stat would go up if you fished in a bikini!
    --DoM

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  19. Number 6) I shouldn't be typing this comment, but I am -- so true.

    Thanks for the tips, Clif!

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  20. @Cosifher - True story: I almost forgot to misspell your name, but caught it on the proof read.

    @Yukon - wow, a bloodhound gang quote. I'm thoroughly unimpressed.

    @Stevie Z - Edit buttons do have a place and time.

    @DoM - I'm going to let that sit where you left it.

    @Deanwo - I won't tell the boss.

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  21. I am also one month short of my 4th anniversary of blogging and I wish you would have been smart enough to post this approximately 3.5 years ago, because I have not been smart enough to figure them out until about a year ago (after nearly 3 years of blogging), when I made some changes and my monthly pageviews went from about 2500 to 5000 (now at 9000-10000).

    #s 1, 6, and 8 have been my key lessons I learned, too slowly, over the first three years.

    I don't believe in #5, but on NUMEROUS occasions, I've followed up with a "Part II" post on a topic because "part i" (before I knew it was just part 1) went viral or generated lots of traffic.

    Another one, that I heard from either Ben G or Troutrageous, was "if I can't see your new content without scrolling down, I won't read it."

    On #9 - my wife thinks my posts are too long, but I disagree. HOWEVER I am coming around to the philosophy that a post of any length should be at least 50% photos to help keep peoples' attention.

    Great post - wish I had known this all earlier!

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  22. PS I do have a draft post titled "Why You Keep Coming Here" that discusses all of these things. I can't quite get it right (to sound informational instead of ego-boosting) but I've been thinking about how to convey this information. You got it right.

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  23. @Rivmud, its the unique visitor count that counts, not page views...maybe that was #10, I don't remember.

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Clif reserves the right to delete your comment if he is so inclined, but he is a pretty liberal guy so post away and see what happens.