Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Judging by the numbers, people only want to read about me being an idiot

I've been doing this blog thing on and off for nearly 12 years, and for a long time I couldn't figure out what made some posts more popular than others.

The headline is a key difference-maker, of course. Much like the subject line of an email, the headline is the first thing people see when I put up a new post. It goes a long way toward ultimately deciding whether someone clicks through, so I always try to be thoughtful about it.

As I looked over some blog metrics recently, it dawned on me the posts that get the highest number of page views are the ones in which I am portrayed as either:

(a) stupid


(b) strange

Whenever I find a way to combine "dumb Scott" and "weird Scott" into one post, I hit the reader engagement jackpot.

Actually, I also do OK with "sweet and endearing," like when I point out how awesome Terry is and how much I love her. But in the long run, the heartfelt posts and the ones where I offer practical advice like how to get rid of bad habits  don't hold a candle, in terms of page views, to the ones in which I am the object of my own ridicule.

Speaking of Terry, I mentioned this insight to her the other day. I told her, "I guess I need to find more examples of me being dumb or ridiculous, because that's what people most want to see on the blog."

Without looking up from the book she was reading, she dryly remarked, "Well, you have a long list of stories to choose from."

I may need to revisit the part where I mentioned how much I love her.

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