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Lessons from the first week

March 8, 2013

This week I pushed out a lot of half-baked articles and two gems.  That’s not to say that the other five articles were bad; they were thoughts I wanted to get out, and they were written pretty well… but they went almost straight from my brain to the page, with only a few quick information grabs in between.  Here are the four things I’ve learned from my first week:

1. Quality matters

My favorite two posts (mere exposure and communi-tease) also happened to be the two most trafficked.  When I look at the underperforming posts, I see some obvious ways in which I could have presented the ideas better if I had more time to think and research.  The post about napping should have linked to actual sleep studies and included solutions for how to make a city more nappable.  The post about the dangerous and isolating effects of urban sprawl was named confusingly.  I like the style I created in the post about memrise, but it hand-waved technical details and had some poorly chosen examples.

2. Luck matters

The top post (mere exposure) got eight times as many views as the second most trafficked post (communi-tease).  I see their quality as being very similar, though the top one was more research-based.

3.  Reddit is fickle

Most of my traffic came from Reddit.  I make it a habit to crosspost each article to the two most relevant subreddits, and I noticed something interesting… the article’s performance in each subreddit was pretty much unrelated.  My karma scores for two articles: 61 vs 3, 7 vs 0.  While reddit may be pretty good eventual judge of quality, lots of good stuff gets knocked out in the early voting, and thus there is a high variability.  I’m now looking for new ways to push my word out to interested parties, so i’m not beholden to the whims of the first few voters.

4.  100 is standard

Each article, aside from the one that went big, got 100-200 views.  I’m pretty happy with that for a first week.

What I will do now

Instead of posting daily, I’ll be posting 2-3 times a week.  This will give me time to research things properly and give ideas the proper time to germinate.  I hope you enjoy.  Any more experienced bloggers who want to give tips:  fire away in the comments, or hit me up on twitter @jeffreybiles

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