Anyone who watches soap operas or prime time series, knows how each show ends with a “cliff hanger”.

It’s so compelling, you mark your calender, and watch the show the next time it airs.

Now, that’s not to say, I haven’t landed on a few blogs, that resemble a true life soap opera, but that’s not the lesson for today.

Today’s Lesson

Having studied “how to get more repeat visits to your blog”, I have read many articles about “series posts”.

Writing a “series post”, is like creating a soap opera. You write a post, divide it into several parts, but only post one part at a time, preferably ending each segment, with a cliff hanger.

Some say, by writing a post in a series, you gain repeat visits, and page views.

It is assumed, visitors will come back to read, “the rest of the story”.

The theory makes sense, however, I wonder how well it works.

Would a visitor actually come back day after day?

Or would they come back after a week or so, and read the series all at once?

Getting visitors to subscribe in a reader would help, but……is your “series” compelling enough to get them to do so?

Although this is not a series post, I will try the “cliff hanger” technique.

Tune in for tomorrow’s post, when my “New “Blog Of The Week”, will be announced. To avoid missing the action, subscribe to, or bookmark my site, to find out the latest winner.

Is it working? šŸ™‚

Today’s Assignment

Have you ever tried writing a series post?

Did it work?

Do you go back to a site, day after day, to read a “series”?

Have your say, and share your thoughts on series posts.

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  1. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve tried series – but admitedly not really well thought out. And probably lacking in all the ingredients to make it work.

    I’ve nothing to base this on other than opinion, but I think it’s a good way to get email or reader subscribers rather than people bookmarking and remembering to come back.

    I haven’t however really done anything to boost traffic to either blog.

    The blog for the business is really targeted at clients, and is used as a tool for email campaigns – i.e. a specific page usually to push people to.

    I think it’s probably a real challenge to make a blog break out of the low visitor numbers.

    I suspect commeting and building trust with other bloggers is a good way to get a base audience. But it’s difficult to increase that base without diluting yourself.

    I find it difficult to follow more than 6 or 7 blogs regularly. Those on my blogroll outnumber those that I can spend quality time on.

    I tend to gravitate towards those that regularly deliver quality on topics that interest me (like yours Barbara).

    I am toying with the idea of creating a related blog to our main one. One which appeals to office staff and IT. Something which has returnability.

    Haven’t a clue what that is yet. Because it needs to have an element which is related to IT in the office, but has general interest. Funny stories of IT howlers, emails sent in error to the wrong person etc. Perhaps?

    After thinking for a while that the whole planet is switching to blogs, I still believe it’s early days – especially in the UK.

    So I think it needs to be written for an audience that is purely used to web-sites and the blog terminology is taken out completely.

    Funnies and Facts perhaps – so it can give IT tips, accept tip requests, and blend in some funnies and case studies perhaps?

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Cashflow Nightmares Solved On Back Of An Envelope

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Ian,

    Thank you for including me in your “faves”. I feel honored as I know you are a busy man.

    Your blog #3, sounds like it could be a fun adventure. It is always uplifting to read a joke or see a funny cartoon, in between researching more serious stuff, online. You could be onto something. Plus, it could be a project one of your office staff could maintain, if time permits.

    Like Hunter wrote in his last post, blogs are here to stay…get yours now. That is solid advice, as domain names are being snagged everyday by the millions of blogs that are coming online.

    Ian, thank you for your loyal visits and comments. I do appreciate you taking time out of your day to “pay me a visit”.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Does Your Blog Resemble A Soap Opera

  3. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I started a series post a few months ago. But it backfired. The trouble was – it was a topic a few people were interested in and in the comments section, they gave away my follow up episodes!

    So there was no point in me completing it. And I wish I’d known they were going to do it because the comments would have been great as guest posts instead.

    As for reading series posts, Problogger has ran a few that I’ve made a point of going back and reading, but I don’t recall any others off the top of my head.

    Ian’s idea sounds a good one. But, I’m wondering if it would not be best to include the type of things he mentions in his current business blog? Or maybe he can put another blog on a subdomain so the same visitors will go to both? Or he could make it a website but still put it as a subdomain on the blog? Not sure which would be best.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..20 Things I Wish Iā€™d Known About Business And Life When I was 20

  4. The other way of doing a series is writing articles with a common subject. I’m using a book to learn to draw and publishing the results in the form of a series.
    As to not being a lot of people interested in a subject, with 500 million people on the internet there are bound to be a few interested in you subject. It may take a while for them to find your blog though.
    I would just delete those comments and follow your series. No one will know but the few people who tried to sabotage your blog. (And of course write an article to state that you won’t stand for that kind of behavior.)

    Henk ter Heide’s last blog post..Beautiful and unusual art sites found on 2008-01-27

  5. Hi Barbara,

    How do you get my last blog post in your comments?

    Henk ter Heide’s last blog post..Beautiful and unusual art sites found on 2008-01-27

  6. Barbara, your cliff-hanger didn’t make me do anything, because I’m already subscribed! If I was just now seeing your blog for the first time, it’s likely that I would come back just to see the new blog of the week. I guess cliff-hangers do work on me, but just temporarily. Of course, there has to be good enough content for me to keep coming back after the cliff-hanger effect wears off.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Consider Having A Blog, No Matter Who You Are

  7. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I never thought of a series post backfiring, but now that you mention it, I can see how that could happen.

    I’m waiting to see which way Ian goes with his third blog idea. I already read his other two, so it would be very easy to tie a third into one or both of the others.

    Hi Henk,

    It’s been awhile since you visited. Good to have you back.

    It sounds like your drawing series will be a good one for you.

    With regard to Catherine’s series backfiring, she has lots of loyal commenters and the post conversation really takes off in her comment section. They weren’t trying to sabotage her. They were just adding their thoughts and ideas. You’ll have to check out her great business blog….make sure you read through the comments too. It’s a great read.

    With regard to your questions on how I got your last post to show, I am using the CommentLuv plugin, which I wrote about last week. A link to the post is at the top of the sidebar, under “What Others Are Reading”. I love how it’s working.

    Hunter,

    Thank you for subscribing to my blog.

    I agree, cliff hangers can have a temporary affect. I think a blog has to have the content to support them, as well.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Does Your Blog Resemble A Soap Opera

  8. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I feel a little bit scared of airing my thoughts now!

    I agree with Cath about a sub-domain or something like that.

    I need to understand the pros and cons and dig a little deeper. I am trying to play with blogs a bit more and understand them better.

    For example, I’ve been playing with Blogger and Stumbleupon. The code I tried and had verified as correct from several sources simply didn’t work.

    So I was feeling a little deflated.

    Then all of a sudden, it started working today (without me doing anything!).

    But later it stopped working again.

    So I’d rather take on board Cath’s ideas about a third blog. And research the technical stuff first.

    I am thinking of a separate domain though – something which just links to our main blog and that alone.

    But something which can start a less formal conversation with people who work in small businesses in our area.

    I was thinking of driving traffic with brochure drops, emails, interviews etc to try and get a conversation going on IT within small business.

    I doubt it has the interest alone which is why I think it needs to blend in some “funnies” or something else which can build an audience.

    I struggle to maintain interest in constantly selling IT support, so it’s as much of a distraction for me as it is the potential audience.

    I may acutally ditch the idea if I can’t get excited myself or believe an audience would want to come back for more.

    I suppose it would be more of a branding and awareness exercise than to get volumes of click-throughs to our main site.

    Maybe even try to use a blog as a more user-friendly version of a newsgroup?

    Have reader questions on anything IT which we answer?

    Try and find guest bloggers who can share their IT secrets for getting more done in less time by clever uses of Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Powerpoint, Groove, Microsoft Accounts etc.

    Get subscribers who get a regular newsletter appraising snapshots of each funny, tip, interview or article?

    Sorry! Just realised I;m hijacking your blog for my own “thinking out loud”.

    Just realised, I probably haven’t got the time to do this!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Cashflow Nightmares Solved On Back Of An Envelope

  9. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi everyone – Henk, what Barbara says is true. I am lucky to have loyal readers and this inspires great discussions on my blog. The same thing happens on this blog.

    I think Ian – remembers which post it was! It was going to be a series on chasing up debts. I posted it one Saturday morning so not everyone saw it. Now, Ian gave his input which was good and very much appreciated. But, a so called business coach suddenly turned up at my site also wrote a long comment on chasing up debts.

    She did get up my nose. When I started my new business I paid her over Ā£5000 ($10,000) for only a few hours work – an initial meeting then 4 one hour meetings. She was part of a franchise and I made it clear to her that I needed someone who had a lot of business experience, as I particularly wanted help on my areas of weakness – eg: recruitment and training.

    Well she made out she had heaps of business experience but it soon became apparent that the only experience she had was this so called coaching. It was a complete waste of money, and I really should have asked for a refund. So, when she turned up at my blog – I was quite unhappy.

    I really appreciate the contributions people make on the blog, but not that woman dropping by to try to scam a few more people.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..20 Things I Wish Iā€™d Known About Business And Life When I was 20

  10. Vegan MommaNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve done a few series on one of my websites. They were initiated by a few of my readers. They’ve done well.
    If I’m interested in the series I’ll come back if not I’ll usually bypass the series.

  11. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    That’s quite fine if you want to “hijack” my comment section for awhile. I would rather have you feel you can “have your say”, then to make you edit your comments and keep them to a certain number of words. I want all of my commenters to feel “at home” on my blogs. šŸ™‚

    In the blogging community, we can all help each other. You are giving others a great opportunity to share their opinions with you.

    As far as a third blog, that is something I, too, have been considering, but time restraints are currently my biggest concern. Although I have a domain name registered, I have yet to go public. It’s a tough decision as I want all of my blogs to provide valuable information, however, if I can’t find the time to keep a constant blogging schedule, I worry that #3, may fall flat on it’s face, or….my other two blogs will suffer. And….I feel I have too much invested to let that happen.

    I really admire those who can maintain a lot of good blogs at once. It’s a lot of hard work, and something most don’t see, or realize.

    Catherine,

    I’ll have to come by and dig up that post you are talking about. Now you have me curious.

    You must have been torn as to whether you should approve her comment, knowing you had the rest of the series ready to go. That would be a tough call. I would have to believe your readers “saw through her”, as you do have a group of very smart individuals frequenting your blog.

    Hi Opal,

    Thank you for sharing your success with series posts. It’s not often readers will initiate a series, but when they do, you know those loyal readers will be back to read “the rest of the story”.

    Like you, I don’t always follow a series. I would be more apt to read the whole thing at once.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Does Your Blog Resemble A Soap Opera

  12. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still not sure on the series idea. I can now see the point that it could be counter-productive if the topic didn’t appeal.

    I’m still interested in the 3rd blog idea, but feel as though it’s too early.

    I do worry about dilution. I’ve had a number of periods now where the blogging side suffers when things get busy in the business.

    But I suppose that’s because the site/blog is generating directly and indirectly new enquiries.

    Recently, it’s been fascinating to see some very old prospects coming back to us. I can only put it down to the site/blog.

    I did two surveys recently with a prize – not selling at all and not directly receiving an enquiry.

    But over the last week, I’ve had a number of blasts from the past – people we quoted a few years ago suddenly asking for a fresh quote.

    And the guy who won the prize from the second survey rang up on Friday to say he wants to switch his IT support company! And that’s someone else my colleague Steve remembers visiting a few years back, but who never came through back then.

    So I’ve now got a counter-argument which could justify the time!

    I’m having fun using blogs as a very indrect method of marketing a company. I’m not in-your-face selling, just writing stuff, emailing people and asking for opinion, and then getting traffic from local people via the circulars.

    So there’s a very good argument for generating another “not selling” conversation-starter.

    “Not selling” has been written on the whiteboard behind me in red letters. And I’m going to focus on that for a while. Just starting relevant conversations with absolutely no sales spin in it.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..For Blog Addicts Only: Putting Pictures In A Blog Post

  13. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    Series posts aren’t for everyone. I think they would probably work best for a well read, popular blog, that has lots of visitors who return on almost a daily basis.

    Isn’t it amazing how your company blog has generated more interest in your business? I think your “forfeits” is part of it, and you all admitting you want to receive “all greens”. That was an ingenious idea. (Maybe a great blog post on your personal blog???-a teaching lesson)

    I realize we are totally off subject, but I think sometimes people are assessing us when we’re “off”…not selling to them. If they like our personalities, and see that we are genuine, they are more apt to give us a chance. Just like the potential customer of yours from years ago, who is now reassessing his existing IT company and thinking of coming over to you.

    I think your company blog shows that you are transparent…and you are not trying to hide anything. Customers love that.

    And then, as we say, if you walk your talk, you have no where to go, but up.

    Isn’t it amazing how you have figured out that by not “selling”, you are gaining more business. Are you onto something?

    Sounds like another blog post in the making…you think?

    Barbara’s last blog post..Does Your Blog Resemble A Soap Opera