One of my blog posts appeared on Freshly Pressed a few weeks ago and, as I know there is a reasonable amount of interest among WordPress bloggers in how you get on there I thought I’d explain how it happened for me and what the effects of it are.
For those who aren’t aware of it I suppose you’d describe Freshly Pressed as the front page of WordPress – it’s the display page where blog posts chosen by editors appear and if one of yours appears there it suddenly becomes very visible indeed.
Getting on there has been described as like winning the lottery since around half a million new blog posts are created each day so the chances of yours getting picked up are pretty slim. But it happened to me – so it could just as easily happen to you.
My post which was chosen was ‘Do you Have a Writing Routine?’ Which you can read if you click here.
So what was the effect for me of appearing on Freshly Pressed? Well – I think you can break the effects down into short term ones, which are dramatic, and long term ones, which are probably a lot less so.
The first thing you start to see when your post appears on Freshly Pressed is a big spike in views – and this goes on for about a week or longer – but gradually falls away as your post drops down the Freshly Pressed pecking order as new ones are added at the top. I would say, over the period, I had around 1000 more views than I would have expected – which is a lot for me on a blog where I normally average a few over 50 hits a day. Being on Freshly Pressed didn’t actually give me my best ever day for visits to my blog – but it damn sure gave me my best week, wiping the floor with any other.
The second thing you find is that your email inbox goes crazy with all the alerts from people interacting with your post – I had getting on for a thousand emails to clear. I suppose if I’d known what I know now I might have turned off the email alerts from WordPress so save myself the bother – but it’s nice to be popular.
And what those alerts are telling you about of course is all the likes, comments and reblogs your post is receiving.
- My post was reblogged by 50 other WordPress bloggers, which gives it some kind of a legacy in that I might get views back through their sites.
- It was liked by 433 people.
- It was commented on 169 times.
- And my blog now has more than 800 followers, I think from memory I had a few over 200 before my post appeared on Freshly Pressed.
Now ok, this was a post which had been around a while – it had a handful of comments and likes already – but the vast majority of these interactions came through Freshly Pressed. Appearing on there made me very visible for a short while.
Why do so many people bother to comment on Freshly Pressed posts? Partly just general interest in the topic of course, but also because they are linking their blog to a popular post in the hope of getting SEO benefits and people clicking back through to their blog.
Longer term effects? Well, I doubt those will be so dramatic. My daily views have dropped back to what I would expect now. Though you could say of course that there is a legacy for me in that I now have many more followers – all of whom will see my blog in their reader or get an email every time I put on a new post.
Oh – and I do get a nice little ‘Featured on Freshly Pressed’ badge to stick on my site and, you know, we all like a badge don’t we?
So it’s not a life-changing event in blogging terms but it is an exciting ride, as you watch your stats climb and read the new comments as they come in. Normally I’m fairly scrupulous about replying to everyone who comments on my blog and following back those who follow me, but those rules had to go out of the window temporarily such was the pressure of incoming traffic.
It’s also a nice little pat on the back for someone like me, who’s been blogging away in relative obscurity for a couple of years.
So how do you get on there? Well, there’s no way to apply, your post has to be chosen by the editors, and as I said at the top, they have a lot to choose from.
I think it helps if you can make your post visible to a lot of people, then you have a chance of a WordPress editor being among them. That’s how it happened for me.
I take part in #MondayBlogs on Twitter which is an initiative started by author and book marketer Rachel Thompson. It’s a useful thing for all bloggers I would say. Basically you tweet your post with the hash tag – then retweet some other people’s #MondayBlog posts which take your fancy. You can also follow @MondayBlogs there is no guarantee your tweet will be retweeted but it has worked for me. I have around 19,000 followers on Twitter and I find #MondayBlogs well worth using to reach new people.
My #MondayBlogs tweet linking to the writing routines post was retweeted 28 times and when my email arrived from the WordPress editor Cheri to say she had chosen it for Freshly Pressed she told me she’d seen it on Twitter that morning.
So that’s how it was spotted. But, once the eye of the WordPress editor had fallen and rested on that particular post, why did she pick it?
Well there are some general guidelines about what they pick for Freshly Pressed if you click here, but they are necessarily vague given the whole aim must surely be to provide a wide variety of posts in both themes and styles.
Cheri did offer me this little explanation in her email, she said that, despite it being one of my older posts: “I think it’s a timeless read on writing that still resonates.”
I think maybe that last word is the important one. For a post to get chosen for Freshly Pressed there has to be plenty in it for the reader, it has to resonate.
Don’t forget if you get a moment to take a look at my book Song of the Sea God.
You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.