Yesterday, at 10:00am Eastern my article — American Folklore and The Blues Black Cat Bone — was featured on WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed.  It was a great and grand honor to be selected and here’s my reward letter from the Freshly Pressed editrix:

Having my article featured on Freshly Pressed made my day; but how did that exposure affect my blog?

Let’s try to see if we can quantify the “Freshly Pressed Effect.”

Here’s how my blog article was promoted for most of the day on WordPress.com.  The location was perfect:  Upper right corner in the first row.  Easy to find.  Fun to click.  That’s Albert Collins strumming that beautiful Fender Telecaster.

Here’s a closer look at the promotional image, headline, and Freshly Pressed link to the blog article:

Now let’s start the quantifying process.

Boles Blues is a new blog that became alive in December, 2009.  We have been publishing for six months and we don’t publish every day.

Of the six or so new blogs we started in the Boles Blogs Network in the last six months or so, Boles Blues is the most successful by a factor of seven when it comes to the amount of page views and comments.

Before Freshly Pressed exposure, Boles Blues had around 100 articles and, let’s say, 500 comments.  That averages out to around five comments per post and that isn’t bad for a new blog.

In my experience, a new blog takes three years of writing every single day — hitting around 1,000 high-quality entries total — to really take hold and gain mindshare in an ever-growing internet.  A “high quality” entry is an article with outside links, images, quotes, and at least 500 words.

At our current publication rate, Boles Blues will take around five years to fully mature to the 1,000 high-quality articles mark.  I’m fine with that slow progression to greatness, and if we pick up speed on our author and editorial end, we might hit that millennium milestone faster.

Yesterday, at 10:00am, comments started to flow into the blog.  Those were new commenters who had never visited any of our blogs before and they were all being sent to us from the Freshly Pressed homepage on WordPress.com.

New comments trickled in the rest of the afternoon, and then, around 10:00pm Eastern — the other half of the world woke up — and a second wave of comments started to come in from the Asian continent.

American Folklore and The Blues Black Cat Bone currently has 56 comments!  Now, let’s subtract my replies, so that’s around 30 new comments from new visitors to the blog in a single day.  We also received a record-setting FOUR PINGBACKS on that one article.  Before yesterday, we had zero Boles Blues Pingbacks from blogs outside our network.

Quantifying those comments — Freshly Pressed Exposure created SIX TIMES — the average comment count we usually get on a single Boles Blues article.

Astounding.  Amazing.  Awesome.

Commenters are only a sliver of a blog’s popularity and performance.  You also need to quantify Page Views to get a rounder review of your blog’s life beyond you.

I will now share my quick view stats for Boles Blogs from yesterday.  I took the screenshot below around midnight last night, so the graph demonstrates 14 hours of Freshly Pressed Exposure stewing (stewage?).

Remember, these backend stats can vary wildly from hour to hour and it takes a full day to get a realistic view of articles in performance, but as you can see, our average Page Views for Boles Blues were hovering around a 100 a day — again, not bad, and actually quite steady, for a new blog with only 100 posts — but after the WordPress.com Freshly Pressed exposure yesterday, we were jamming on 1,040 Page Views:  TEN TIMES our normal daily average.

Wowser.

Our article fell off Freshly Pressed this morning around 10:00am Eastern.

To get a final nod on the quantification of Freshly Pressed on a featured blog, I took another screenshot to demonstrate the beginning of the aftereffect.  Page Views plummeted from 1,040 to around 500 or so in just a few minutes after 10:00am today.

You can also see the almost-final tally over 24-hours for American Folklore and The Blues Black Cat Bone — 1,033 Page Views — and that single post accounted for pretty much the entire surge in yesterday’s readership.

Yipes!

I’ve never done crack or heroin or cocaine or any illegal drug in my life — but I must imagine that getting promoted on Freshly Pressed feels a lot like the high others try to get “chasing the dragon.”

Freshly Pressed injects you with a visceral blowback that wafts you throughout the day — and all you can do in the midst of the float is wonder if it will ever happen to you again — and what magic you might have to conjure to capture lightning a second time, a third time, a fourth… in the bottle of your blog.

As afternoon breaks, and normalcy begins to return to Boles Blues, we’re all left to wonder if the Freshly Pressed Effect will last or if it will wither away as the hours pass?

Have we been able to create new, and actively involved, readers with that single feature shot?  Or was this just a one dollar deal?

Only time will tell — and the good thing about time is that it heals all punctures and can, with the tide, glide you gently back down to earth and into your previous hard-nosed mentality that the only thing that matters is content and creating it forward every single day across a ravenous 13-blog network starving for new articles.

If you are interested in getting your blog featured on Freshly Pressed, I will share my path.

First, I happened upon this lovely invitation from the editor of Freshly Pressed.  I took her up on her public offer and I emailed her my interest in being featured.

Joy was wonderful and kind to me in reply and she asked me to pick one blog out of the 13 for Freshly Pressed consideration.  That was a tough call.

Do I submit a mega-blog like Urban Semiotic that is already wildly successful and might stand a better chance at getting featured because of its previous provenance on WordPress.com?

Or would it be more prudent to choose a smaller, riskier, blog that would likely benefit from possible, massive, overt exposure?

As you know, I picked the new Boles Blues blog and it was the right choice.  No promises were made to me about ever getting featured on Freshly Pressed.

As I continued to research and write and publish new Boles Blogs articles across the network, I also read Joy’s fine blog — where she gives you lots of insight and perspective into the type of post she prefers to promote on Freshly Pressed.  Don’t just take her hints.  Follow her leads.  Publish by example.

The rest is all hard work and grindstones and luck and kismet and wishes upon falling stars — and sometimes you get what you want and it’s just what you need.

33 Comments

  1. Just sticking my head over the parapet again after a rough time – thought I would come and visit my old haunts …… I was delighted to read this and to see that the Boles Blogs franchise is alive and well. My best to you and yours.

  2. It has been quite a journey – older and wiser for the experience – and good to see that some familiar faces and friends are still around and blogging wonderfully 🙂

    I spent 10 days in California about a month ago – my last bit of personal rehabilitation – I did wave at you from Newark Airport ! (not a place to be stuck in for six hours!)

    1. I am so glad things are going better for you.

      We removed all official traces of you — posts and author bio — just to be safe and to help preserve your privacy.

      Newark is super close to us! I would’ve spent the $20.00USD cab fare to come and visit you!

  3. Thank you very much for doing that – much appreciated – the legal matters were settled out of court in the end – in my favor. The privacy issues rumble on ………. every time our esteemed neighbor does anything she is reminded of us next door by some wag who thinks it amusing ( actually I think it brings her a certain cache and they do it on purpose to raise her profile.) It certainly shows no signs of going away.

    Hell I would have paid that to come and see you – next time I will accept the 7 hour delay instead of the five and we can have lunch 🙂

  4. I too wanna get featured on Freshly Pressed but luck too pays.I’ll start a whole new blog with new hopes…

    You get good amount of traffic normally.So because of Freshly Pressed[after 1 week],did you saw new commentators on other posts??

  5. David, I tried that email address and no luck; all I got was what looked like a c&p reply that told me what great job I do, but that there x million blogs on WordPress and I should consult the following (the usual) links about how to attract more audience. As if I hadn’t.

    1. Sorry to hear about your trouble. My article on Freshly Pressed has been getting a lot of play, so perhaps the easiest way for Freshly Pressed to deal with inquiries now is to post links and wish you luck — and then for you to make sure your content is interesting and evergreen. I still think good writing gets noticed no matter what, and even if Freshly Pressed doesn’t feature your work, other sites might pick up on you and send you a deluge of readers.

      I think I received a similar response when I first wrote to Freshly Pressed, and I followed it up with more specific questions that weren’t answered in the provided links and I was able to start a dialogue.

      One of my articles on Slide was linked from GigaOM the other day, and the traffic increase was palapably enormous for a few days. There are many ways to give your readership a boost beyond Freshly Pressed.

      Good luck, and keep writing, and if you have any questions for me, let me know, and I’ll do my best to answer.