Tilt Away From Technorati To Flash Your Blog Forward

I was very honored on Friday to be quoted by my friend Rich Becker on his Copy Write Ink blog. As I commented on a discussion over at BlogCatalog about Technorati authority, Google Page Rank and other measurments of a blog’s success

“… most bloggers who have not yet established a large readership and built a solid base of well-tagged content for search engines get very distracted by all of these measurements and allow themselves to become [too] focused on these metrics …”

So when Rich invited me to expand on this as his guest on Blog Straight Talk, I jumped at the chance. Since starting The Thin Red Line in June I’ve spent a great deal of time online meeting and talking to other bloggers, particularly at BlogCatalog, which is a great community site for bloggers. I’ve also looked at and read A Lot of blogs. And all too often what I see are bloggers who have not invested the time and work into creating useful content, who invest a great deal of their time and energy into worrying about their metrics and monetization.


Talk about cart before the horse. If you create a product and don’t sell it you won’t make any money. But you can’t get serious about selling a product until you’ve actually created it. And so many of the metrics and monetization obsessed bloggers I’ve met seem not to get this at all.

My more metrics-focused friends and indeed anyone reading my traffic reports and adsense statements might be shocked to learn that I am operating this blog according to a carefully considered business plan and I actually expect it to produce meaningful cash flow within two–three years.

When I first started I was writing this blog as a personal message to a couple of
friends whose lives I kept up with via their blogs. I included book reviews in my posts because I am passionate about books and reading and wanted to share the books I discovered in my work at the library. Then I noticed something in my SiteMeter reports. There were people reading my blog whom I’d never met and they appeared to be coming in just to read the book reviews.

And then I stumbled into BlogCatalog where I met all kinds of brilliant bloggers and took some good advice and moved my personal journaling elsewhere and focused this blog on presenting books. And it’s starting to take off.

When I’d reviewed only a handful of books, I only occasionally got search engine visitors. Now that I’ve posted a couple of dozen book reviews I regularly get search engine visitors. When I get to a point where I have written and posted several hundred book reviews, I expect to see significant traffic from search engine results. I also work very hard at forming relationships and getting meaningful links from high quality blogs to build up my regular readership, those who come back again and again to see what I am writing now. And my posts to this blog are at different times primarily intended for search engine visitors who want to know about a particular book OR for my regular readers who may sometimes indulge me with their attention when I post off topic, as today.

I also try to be sure no one leaves disappointed so I have taken to making my off topic-posts more and more resemble book reviews, so those readers will still feel they got their daily visit from ‘that guy at the library who knows about all those books’. Which leads me to

One of the things I do as I am shelving books all day is to neaten the stacks and make sure each book is placed evenly in its row so that the title and call number can easily be read by anyone who needs to find a book. But there is just no way to get Tilt to stand up straight. This cleverly designed history of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy has been cut on an angle so that the spine of the book leans inward towards the back of the shelf rather than standing up straight. Just like the famous tower that is its subject Tilt has a permanent slant. You may or may not actually want to read the history of this famous structure and learn about the many unsuccessful efforts over the years to right the Leaning Tower. But even if this is too dry for you, it is worth checking out the book just to admire and appreciate the very clever design. At my library Tilt can be found at 945.55.

I think that "flash fiction" or Very short stories is something you either love or hate. Trouble is I can’t decide which side of that I am on. Flash Fiction Forward is a collection of 80 very short stories. Some of them were quite clever and truly impressed me while others left me thinking the very short form is useless. Love it or hate it, Flash Fiction Forward can be found in the adult fiction stacks, in the F’s for Flash.

If you’ve written 100 well-tagged posts and found a niche and theme you can really run with, by all means check your Technorati authority and Google Page Rank and do what you need to do to improve your metrics. But don’t ever forget that you’ve got to actually Create high quality content before you can monetize it.

My thanks again to Rich for having me as his guest on Blog Straight Talk.