Filtering by Tag: BLOGGING

The Reverse Cowgirl Rides Again

Over on Instagram, I reminisced about how I ended up being not-referenced-referenced in the movie “Julie & Julia.” At the time, I had a very popular blog on Salon. It was called The Reverse Cowgirl. Subsequently, a less popular blog, which was about cooking, was turned into a movie.

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The Latest, The Greatest

If you haven't already, check out some of my recent posts over on my Forbes blog.

I wrote about a subscription box service for ... strippers. I interviewed a woman who got cancer -- and then got an obscene grill. And I shared my thoughts on Netflix's "I Love Dick." 

Related to that last, I enjoyed Alexandra Schwartz's more negative and cleverly cutting evisceration of "I Love Dick" in the New Yorker. 

She writes:

"That manifesto-like tone is typical of the show. In moments like this, it lands with cocky charm. Mostly, though, it seems as if Soloway and the women of her writer’s room (to her credit, she insisted on an all-female script team) sat around spit-balling sound bites to print on T-shirts or Women’s March posters."

Ouch.

What Is Blogging?

Jason Kottke has an interesting post here in which he compares blogging to vaudeville. 

He writes:

Image via  3:AM Magazine

Image via 3:AM Magazine

"Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on here before, but I often think of blogging as vaudeville to social media’s moving pictures (aka 'movies')." 

His post was inspired by another post by Tim Bray about blogging.

He writes:

"The great dan­ger is that the Web’s fu­ture is mall-like: No space re­al­ly pub­lic, no store­fronts but na­tion­al brands’, no vi­su­als com­posed by am­a­teurs, noth­ing that’s on of­fer just for its own sake, and for love."

I like both of these considerations a lot. Writing this post, a line from one of the world's greatest photojournalists, James Nachtwey, came to mind:

"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony."

Here's what Merriam-Webster says about what it means to bear witness:

"to show that something exists or is true"

That's my experience of blogging. That it's the act of bearing witness to one's life, that writing it down in public is a way of showing that one exists and one's life is true, that to blog is to insist that one is real and that one's existence is deserving of being witnessed by the world.

Forbes Blog Monthly Stats #5

Every month, I review the traffic stats at my Forbes blog. This is my latest.

Last month was terrific. This month was not so much. Last month, I did around 193K unique visitors and 230K page views. This month I did around 115K unique visitors and 140K page views.

Here's what worked and what could use improvement.

The month's post popular post had to do with soft-core lesbian porn. The reasons for its popularity elude me. Another frequently read post was about an MMA fighter on trial for beating up his former porn star ex-girlfriend. The surprise post of the month was about Wonder Woman's armpit hair. Frankly, I wrote that one without thinking much about it, and it caused quite a fuss, getting cited by the National Review and discussed for a full hour on "The Dennis Prager Show." Apparently, armpit hair on female superheroes is a must-click topic. I'll keep that in mind for April. I also wrote a post about some porny YSL ads that upset some Parisians. That post got a nod from the Kansas City Star. The post I thought was the most unique was an interview I did with a lifestyle blogger -- who's armed and dangerous. 

As for what I can work on: post more, be more creative, write better headlines, do more interviews, be more daring, focus more on things that are fun, keep up the regular posting.

I'm noticing that I'm writing more about women-related issues, and I'd like to do more of it. In addition, I'm doing more hot takes, which is good, because that makes you a part of the conversation. And it was nice to get some media attention.

Yo, it's all good in the bloghood.

Final monthly stats: 

Pageviews: 140,725

Total Monthly Visitors: 115,545

One-time Visitors: 112,156

Repeat Visitors: 3,389

Comments: 46

Posts: 12

Current Recency Score: 74.511%

Don't Let the Boys Win

If you're a girl, and you blog for a living, don't just aggregate. Originate. Sometimes it seems like the boys have more balls. They brag about their FOIAs, and they win their Pulitzers. You should be digging up the new stuff, too, not just regurgitating that shit that's already out there.

That's  Lois Lane

That's Lois Lane

Send an email

It takes you 10 minutes to write an email with 10 questions in it. Find someone who interests you, write 10 interview questions, and then push SEND. You just might learning something new that you can add to your story. 

Get on the phone

The other day, I made a call to request permission to use some photos. I ended up doing an interview with the head of the company. Phoners really aren't that hard. Do one a day. A down-and-dirty call can take as little as 15 minutes.

Leave the house

Get out of your apartment/office/house at least once a day. Look around in the world for something you'd like to cover. One time I did this, and I found a guy who was looking for a job from his living room window. 

Forbes Blog Monthly Stats #3

Last year, I started and then stopped a transparent blogging traffic series in which I examined the numbers associated with my Forbes blog, SIN INC, where I cover the business of vice (guns, sex, alcohol, gambling, etc.). That series -- you can read #1 here and #2 here -- went on hiatus for some reason. Now it's back. It may or may not shed light on "blogging for dollars" for you, if that's something you do.

I'm going to focus here in on January 2017, which I hope is the last month that my traffic on the blog there will suck. I had put a pause on blogging on the Forbes website for a few months prior, in order to work on another project, but this month, February 2017, is really banging so far, traffic-wise, and I look forward to detailing that next month.

Let's talk about January. So January 2017 will be, I hope, the last time I post the minimum number of times required, which is five, at least for me. Historically, I've not infrequently procrastinated until the end of the month, and then posted during the last five days of the month. What a bum. Thankfully, in February 2017, I started posting five times a week, every weekday, and that's been working great. I'll detail how that happened in next month's post.

In any case, I did a post on a firearms coloring book that I thought was interesting. I enjoyed interviewing the woman who created it. That post got 2,833 views, which is not that great, but whatever. I also wrote a post about a new Playboy Club that's coming to New York. That got 1,806 views, which is way meh. Since I sometimes work as a copywriter, I like to write about ads, and I wrote about the Mr. Clean sexes up the Super Bowl phenomenon. That got 6,018 views, which is better than the others. A post about an autographed copy of Playboy signed by Not My President really shit the bed with 724 views. I also watched the new Warren Buffett documentary and extracted five tips for women. That got 6,000 views. So, in all, not a great month, but lots of room for improvement.

Thoughts: My headlines aren't strong enough. Thankfully, the Forbes CMS has a funny little widget that reviews your headline, grades it, and helps you make it better. I didn't post more, but I'm working on that this month. And I offered little in the way of "hot takes." The closest thing was the Buffett post, because part of my point to women was good luck turning into Buffett if you weren't born a white male, because that's what Buffett points to in the documentary as the equivalent of winning the "ovarian lottery." But the post should've been stronger in tone and funnier.

Final monthly stats:

Pageviews: 66,116

Total Monthly Visitors: 51,135

One-time Visitors: 49,431

Repeat Visitors: 1,704

Comments: 0

Posts: 5

Current Recency Score: 35.967

In any case, come back next month for a far-more impressive tally. I'm also going to talk about finding better story ideas on what I've come to refer to as "the grey web." It's where everyone else isn't hunting for fodder.

Forbes Blog Monthly Stats #2

You can read Forbes Blog Monthly Stats #1 here.

The month of June was a real fail whale of a month for my Forbes blog. In May, my total monthly visitors was 98,340. In June, it was 62,925. Shakira's hips don't lie, and neither do those numbers. What went wrong? Let's discuss.

In my last post, I wrote: "In June, I'm aiming to post five times a week, as a way of building my traffic." Instead of doing so, I posted a grand total of seven times out of a possible twenty-two times. Simply put, when the initial posts I wrote didn't "pop," traffic-wise, I got frustrated and wandered off in another direction. Another reason this didn't "work" is that "quality over quantity" is probably the better mantra here, not "quantity over quality." Most of the posts I wrote got crap traffic. The one that got the most traffic was one about Trophy Wife Barbie, which was fun to do. 

Of course, one can always look for things to blame. Blogging is slower in the summer! My mojo was off! I was too busy working on my book proposal! And yet when one blogs, one has no one to blame but oneself, and so I shall bear the burden of my blogging failure.

A couple days ago, I put together a short list of five posts that I thought could do well traffic-wise. More "interesting ideas" than "churn and burn." The first of those posts will run next week. I think it will be a good one.

Let's hope for a better performance in July.

Final monthly stats:

Pageviews: 80,648

Total Monthly Visitors: 62,925

One-time Visitors: 60,673

Repeat Visitors: 2,252

Comments: 18

Posts: 7

Current Recency Score: for some reason my recency score isn't appearing on my dashboard

So come back next month and see if I can get quality over quantity to get this thing going again.

Procrastinate Better!

"Flogging the Freelancer" is a blog post a day on freelancing in the gig economy. Browse the archives here.

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about in medias res journalism that I'm working on improving my blogging game at Forbes, where I've been underperforming.

As a Forbes blogger, I'm required to post a minimum of five times a month. For several reasons, I was procrastinating, waiting until the final days of the month, and then doing them all at once.

Here are some ways I'm resolving my procrastination problem:

Set the bar low

I've asked myself to publish one post a week this month. That's very doable. So far, I'm on track.

Make yourself accountable

This blog helps me hold myself accountable. Without it, the failure is private. With it, procrastination will lead to public humiliation. Faced with a choice between doing it and admitting to not doing it, I'd rather just get it done.

Figure out what your procrastination is telling you

I really enjoyed a recent post by my friend Damon Brown at Inc.: "Why Procrastination Is the Key to Your Business." Typically, we pathologize procrastination. Damon suggests otherwise:

Procrastination is usually viewed as the absence of work (and, therefore, the loss of profit and productivity), but what if it was a compass to your true calling?

Damon says you should ask yourself: "What are you doing now that you're doing to prevent you from going back to the work you claim to enjoy?"

For me, the answer is: blogging.

You can connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and you can email me here.