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proposal, A slight change to the Community Spotlight

  1. I would like to see a change in the community spotlight posts that the daily post writes. At the moment it is a place where people seek feedback of posts, blog style/look and feel etc although a lot of posts are obviously people just wanting other people to visit the blog and follow and only put up a pretence of wanting feedback.

    It would be nice if we could actually be given the green light to seek other followers, be it from the community spotlight or another series of posts that are placed under the daily post banner.

    If one could simply post, this is my blog, it is about X and I am looking for additional followers. Or in the reverse you could be on the look out for additional blogs to read and say something like I am looking for other blogs to read that deal with Y, I am not looking for blogs that are mainly about A, B, C. (for example).

    I think it would be a nice addition to the service and would help bloggers looking for specific people to follow or gain additional readership. I think trawling the tags is hit and miss and the freshly pressed is more specialised, this would be a good middle ground.

    The blog I need help with is cognitivereflection.wordpress.com.

  2. Ugh. How is that different from a spam network, other than you're getting exactly nothing out of it?

  3. How would it be a spam network that you’re getting nothing out of? Let’s say for example you are looking for new blogs to read, what options do you have at the moment?

    You could go through the freshly pressed and just follow people there. The thing is a person who is freshly pressed gets inundated with followers; mostly people that are just following for the sake of it, beside their blog may not be what you are personally looking for.

    You could trawl the top tags, I was doing this recently and it is dire, 99% of the tags but for me at least the tags are not very inspiring, and it is time consuming.

    The community spotlight as it sits is supposed to be an area where you ask for feedback, but really most people just want more followers/readers and they ask for feedback only because that is the rules of that article, I was going through it today, the same people post multiple times, each post is almost predictable, “I’m new to blogging, I’ve a new post about X, I’d love some feedback”

    I think that as a different way to acquire either new followers for your own blog, or to find new blogs to follow we should be allowed (be that on the community spotlight or another post) to say, “I am looking for new blogs to read, I am interested in <such and such> and less interested in <whatever it is>

    Then people who feel their blogs fall under that criteria can post and there is the potential for each person there, a new blog to follow and/or a new follower, by matching interests you are potentially opening yourself up for new blogs, how are you getting nothing from that?

  4. It would be a very unlucrative spam network, but it would be generating spam follows none the less. If you wish spam followers, there are numerous hacker forums where you can purchase or trade for them.

    If you are interested in new blogs to read, use the tag pages or Google and find them. That is not what this suggestion is about, though.

  5. Hmmm, I think you are looking at this in a completely different way to how I am suggesting. This is nothing to do with hackers and the like, although looking at your blog you obviously have extensive interest in that kind of thing so I wonder if you see everything as potential hack/security/spam issue, and as I already mentioned the tags are pretty poor.

    I guess well agree to disagree then, thanks for your comments though.

  6. But my point is, you are not looking for more reading material: you are looking to build up numbers. You are proposing a numbers swap.

    That's not what the community features here are intended for, although they have been abused by some. WordPress.com has a vested interest in making sure follows here are genuine rather than for numbers' sake; if the platform is free of spam techniques, every blog on it gets a boost in Googlejuice (contrary to what many think about numbers).

    I don't like the tag pages myself, there's too much spam on them! So when I want reading material I go to Google. If I want to find WP.com blogs on a topic I put "subject site:wordpress.com" into the search box and it searches just within WP.com blogs.

  7. OK, I was not aware of that search technique I shall give that a go, thanks.

    Perhaps in that case I worded my original post badly if that is what you got from it, It was not intended as a “I’ll follow you if you follow me” suggestion it was more meant as a way to narrow down interests both in what you want to follow yourself and potentially attracting people to your own blog that are interested in what you write about.

    For example the subject of your blog is quite niche, I never knew it existed until you replied, I am not sure if I would find it under the tags section, or by even searching tags that are not emblazoned across that tags page but it would potentially involve a bit of trawling.

    Let say I was really interested in the kind of things you post about, I may put up a post saying something like, I am looking to add some new posts to read I am interested in computer security, malware, how to protect my online presence etc. You may see that post and think “hey that me” so you reply saying my blog is <blog link> my posts cover the things you are looking to read, hope you find it interesting.

    Ill click on the link see that indeed you cover the subject I am interested in, I gain a blog to read you gain a follower, everyone’s a winner.

    Sure the system could be abused (aren't they all?) but it could also attach people to blogs that they find relevant to them, and make it a little easier to do so than the current methods.

  8. I did that search technique, and whilst it does show my blogs, it only shows me blog titles, not really what a blogger talks about within their posts, again it would involve trawling a list of links just like using the tags page.

  9. Yes, but building a community of like-minded people takes time and elbow grease. Unless you go to a forum specifically for such people, of which millions exist, and explain it there. Special interest forums are your best bet.

  10. Hi @steevjp!

    I think I understand your intention here, however raincoaster's interpretation is what these sorts of things often end up being.

    Have you tried the tag searches in the Reader? I know raincoaster says she's not a fan, but I've found some really great blogs that way. For example, here are sites that are tagged "wellness":

    https://wordpress.com/tag/wellness/

    I understand your frustration with increasing followers. Here are some tips that may help:

    * Utilize popular descriptive tags and categories. Here are the most popular tags on WordPress.com. These are the ones our editors read to find articles to Freshly Press:

    https://wordpress.com/tags

    Remember to keep your total number of categories and tags under 15.

    * Share your posts with your social networks. We have tools to automatically share your posts with your networks. Here's some info about that:

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/publicize/

    The best way to honestly increase your viewership is to advertise your site to communities who are interested in the topics you're discussing. Use honest titles and tags to draw the attention of people who are interested in your content.

    Let me know if I can help out or answer any other questions!

  11. Hi there Shauna, thanks for commenting. I know that things like these can be abused, just look at the daily prompts, there are things in there that have zero to do with whatever that daily prompt is, the community pool too has cases where the posts are thinly disguised attempts to gain additional followers, so yes, I agree with raincoaster in that a system that I suggested could and probably would be abused.

    See, I know that the way that I utilise my blog it will take me longer to gain readership, as I purposely do not use other social networks to promote it, mainly because I don’t like things like facebook and twitter (and I read somewhere that it is little point just posting the exact same material to all these social media places), apart from not liking those other social media aspects I also like to keep my blog away from the eyes of family members (only so I can keep this a place for me and my thoughts etc).

    I’ve used the most popular tags and as I mention in one of my replies I find them uninspiring. Doing my own tag searches, as you mentioned “wellness” is an option, I do have a couple of tag searches saved but ill admit I find it difficult to actually think of anything to search on, although this is my issue rather than anything else.

    Tags of my own, well categories as I only use a few tags based around music. They are generic and uninspiring too and I’ll admit I struggle around tags and categories; I should certainly investigate this side of things more. I used to use tags and categories quite extensively but my OCD for completeness and tidiness kicked it and found that they were getting messy and unwieldy so deleted all the tags and used basic categories and that is how it has stayed, my fear for going back to categories and tags is that they will become messy again and stress me out (I know it seems nuts, but the fact that they were messy stressed me out).

    Apologies on the length of reply, I got carried away.

  12. Thanks for your response! I'll make note of your trouble with tags and categories. And I completely understand that sometimes these little things just cause us stress.

    If you have any other suggestions for ways that these tools could work better I'd love to hear them.

  13. Hi again, on the face of it tags and categories are pretty simple to use. The analogy I used to use with them are that the categories are the filing cabinet and the tags are the folders in the cabinet. For example a category would be Music, the tags could be Radiohead (for example) so I think on that concept tagging stuff should be relatively simple.

    I think that the issue comes especially when you show a tag cloud, you want tags to be relevant and accurate across your entire blog so that Music brings up all music, and radiohead shows all mentions of radiohead (in this example) but then you may have tagged radio head (with a space) a few times and whilst easy to fix is just another pain. This is a low key example but I just found they got messy, so I only use tags for music artists and categories such as thoughts, observations, life etc, they are mundane, but safe.

    Searching for tags to search on is a different ball game, I do know I am a fussy sod when it comes to blogs I want to follow, I think in all honesty I may be setting the bar too high, but again that is my issue rather that WPs

  14. I really do not recommend relying on tag pages for traffic; in the last three years, I think I've only seen five referrals from a tag page on ANY of my blogs, and I have a lot.

  15. I can't remember when the last time I had a referral from a Tag page that did not come from a major search engine - sometimes a search engine will send someone to a Tag page - but I just don't see them in the referrals section

  16. I'm with raincoaster 100% on everything she said in this thread. There are no shortcuts to gaining traffic. You need to know who your target audience is and go to where they can be found them to get results. It's locating blogs with similar content and commenting meaningfully on them that generates traffic back to your blog. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/fun-blogs-to-read?replies=5#post-1932921

    Also it's creating unique snippets for each relevant social network and posting them manually that generates traffic that actually has an interest in your content. It's not the scatter gun approach of using an app and autoposting the same snippet and link through all social networks indiscriminately every time you publish.

    WordPress.com tags and categories are useless when it comes to generating traffic to my blog. Traffic from the WordPress.com tags and categories pages in my niche (blogging tips) goes to the Support docs and The Daily Posts (staff team blog). On Sunday that's also where the same bloggers swim in the community pool week in and week out (some for more than a year) promoting their posts under the guise of asking for blog improvement advice.

    It's not WordPress.com Tags and Categories that generate much traffic to healthy blogs wherein original can be found. It's Google and Bing and duckduckgo, etc. that send significant search engine traffic to blogs. Their search spiders test your tags and categories and can detect whether or not they are supported by your post content. If it isn't then they consider you to be a spamdexer ie.a tag spammer.

    Many bloggers appear to be content to do nothing but participating in awards, challenges, and other memes and featuring many reblogs and even embedding strings of pingbacks from The Daily Post posts into their own posts. Any unique content generated on blogs like that is buried under the kind of stuff which search engines don't place high value on, so the blogs never achieve a decent page rank, nor do the bloggers who keep them become authorities in their niche, because they don't have one. Good on them if game playing is their thing but it's not high quality blogging and it sure as hell isn't writing. I think I'll go answer some more support questions now lest I choose to start blogging a rant in this thread.

  17. @ Raincoaster & Auxclass - In a way I am glad to hear that, I didn't enjoy my experience with tags and categories before so would have used them reluctantly now.

    @ timethief - I think your advise is great for a business. someone selling something, someone trying to build a brand etc. I am none of those things, I am just a guy that blogs random stuff, music stuff, daily prompt, things on my mind, life stuff etc my target audience in terms of who I want to follow me are "anyone that is interested in that" my target audience for me I guess is similar. stuff that gets me thinking etc I've not found a place where I can find those things consistently.

    The tag thing was not even suggested by me, the tags was mentioned later, by someone else, also as I said in one of my replies, I'd rather not use tags and I have no interest in posting to twitter or facebook I am happy being on wordpress and trawling through posts trying to find those gems, my original suggestion, the 1st post in this thread, I think, would help me find those gems more easily, and why shouldn't something be easier, If there are tools to use then why not use them?

    I see the community pool I know how it is in terms on thinly veiled self promotion, I mention it myself above , I don't spam tags or categories in the hope of a bunch of ghost followers that I'll never hear from again. I posted from another blog of mine onto todays daily prompt, I got 5 followers, I dont think anyone actually said anything, just a blanket follow, Ill probably not hear from those people ever, I don't want that, it is not what I am looking for.

    Having a place to go and say I this is my blog it is about X and i am looking for more interesting blogs to follow, or even I am interested in reading blogs about X and people replying I think is a handy way to do just that, ie find relevant, new content... As an aside I used to be on livejournal, I was on there for 10 years, they had "add me" communities where you did just that, they were moderated and yeah there was a little abuse of the system, but nothing massive and wholesale, certainly nothing worse than already exists in the community pool.

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