This is another reason I love March.
This morning I shuffled into the kitchen and was blasted with light from the snow-covered limbs of all the trees in the woods beyond our windows. It is truly astounding to see, and I wish I could bring it to you here, but photography has its limits.
I consider it a birthday gift from above. Mother Nature has dressed herself up to celebrate the day I came into the world. Isn’t that nice? (A big egotistical, perhaps, but a nice thought.)
I’m as ready for spring as anyone, as you might as noticed from the recent post that won me great notice and acclaim, but I don’t know if there is anything more beautiful than a fresh snowfall that coats the limbs of the trees.
But this post is about being freshly pressed, not about fresh snowfalls.
Thursday morning I was putzing around on my computer as I do every morning, creating and publishing a post, reading emails, responding to comments, you know the routine, when I started noticing several new people visiting and commenting on my blog. At first I wondered, “Did one of my good blogging friends like Julia at wordsxo (whose post today makes a nice companion to my famous, award-winning, best-ever, post-of-year) tweet my post again?”
Sometimes it happens that someone retweets my post and I see new faces on my blog. Always nice.
As I was reading my email, comments started filtering in from my loyal followers. In fact the first eight comments were from the familiar faces, or in some cases, icons, of friends. Then two new names showed up. Then Susie Lindau, another new face, cleared up the mystery when she congratulated me for being freshly pressed.
It was like when I got a bad mammogram result via registered mail and I double-checked the address thinking, “I got somebody else’s letter by mistake.”
Then the “likes” and the comments started rolling in like a tsunami.
Being freshly pressed blew my stats right out of the water. My blog does not have a huge following, but I very much appreciate the loyal supporters I have as well as the occasional random visitor who may be searching for “gote I know” or “foyer white delta light.” On any normal day I am happy to get between 80 and 150 hits on my blog. This number has steadily increased over the year that I’ve been blogging, and I hope it continues to do so.
If you’ve been freshly pressed, you know. If not, check this out. My stats went from my normal 100 or so hits a day to 2389 on Thursday and 2851 on Friday. I am still experiencing the aftershocks as I have already had 287 hits at 8:00am today. I’m not complaining. I am here to tell you, that yes, being freshly pressed really does drive visitors to your site. And I’d like to thank each and everyone of them who stopped by.
The important question is will there be any lasting effect?
This was actually the third time I’ve been freshly pressed. The first time was exactly a month after I started blogging when I posted “Hopping Hilltop Towns in Tuscany” on February 21, 2011. I had taken my computer to Dayton to be able to keep track of my stats which I was still obsessively checking at the time. I think I was getting about 20 hits a day. When I got to my mom’s there were 100 hits. I didn’t know what happened. Someone congratulated me for being freshly pressed and I still didn’t know what had happened. I watched the hits rise that day to over 1000, enjoying the thrill of the ride. It was nice that my mom was able to enjoy it with me.That post got a total of 2595 hits if I can trust my stats page. It received 53 comments.
Less than two weeks later another post about our trip to Italy, “The Soft Footprints of St. Francis in Assissi,” was freshly pressed. It received a total of 2000 hits and 62 comments. The comments number includes my responses, I think.
After each of these posts, I also gained new subscribers which greatly increased the number I previously had (which may have been around 2). In fact, I think several of my loyal readers, and now friends, may have come via the freshly pressed page. On Friday night I had gained over 50 new subscribers to my blog and they keep trickling in. So that’s all good. I don’t know how many subscribers actually continue to visit and read my blog. But it can’t hurt.
Right now I’m just trying to figure out how to get my book freshly pressed.
What’s my secret for getting freshly pressed? Like many things in life, a good dose of luck. Was my “Welcome March” post the best one I’d ever written? No. Not even close. So far I’ve found that the quality of the posts I write, according to my system of evaluation, has little to nothing to do with the popularity of the post. Sometimes it just has to strike somebody right and they want to share it. That’s what happened here, I’m pretty sure. But I did do a couple of things right.
First, a couple of weeks ago I visited the freshly pressed page to see what tags the editors were reading to use as freshly pressed. I think if you visit this page from time to time you will see there are certain categories of posts that they promote. I think my first two posts made it in under the “post-a-day” tag last year. I don’t think they particularly emphasize that tag anymore. The tags I noticed being freshly pressed, that I post about, are life, photography, travel, photos, and nature. If I want the editors to see one of my posts, I’d better have a tag on it that they’re looking at. There are millions of posts out there every day. (Actually I think it may be only hundreds of thousands.) I think “Welcome March” got picked up under the “photos” tag.
The second thing I did, I learned in feature-writing class. I put a catchy title on it. When I was writing the post I thought, Is this Shakespearean title a little over the top? And then I thought, Oh, what the heck, and I clicked publish. I think the title helped to get it noticed.
I try to write posts that are enriching in some way. Maybe they’re informative, or insightful, or something that the readers can relate to. Maybe it’s just something I found interesting or beautiful. But I try to keep the reader in mind, and post something that may be of interest to the reader. I’m sure you do the same. With my Welcome March post, I think my timing was impeccable and I hit a nerve. We are all more than ready for spring.
And then I just got lucky.
I’d like to thank the editors who selected my post for the freshly pressed page.
I hope this experience will bring me a couple of new friends. I’ve already found a few blogs that I intend to follow. But what I realize is that you all who read my posts week after week, and who came back today when I’m no longer
rich and famous, are the true gems. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.