265678915_b8e3c43dfa.jpg

Have you ever noticed the majority of visitors to your blog only comment on your most recent post? Even your loyal readers aren’t digging to find more of your writings.

If they are, they often don’t comment.

Why is that?

Today’s Lesson

As bloggers we’re continually publishing new posts.

As our new posts are pinged, our RSS feed readers/visitors come on over, may leave us a comment, and leave.

Many may not take time to read more than the current post, leaving our older posts buried in our archives collecting dust.

Much of what may actually be our best writings gets forgotten.

When I look at my blog, I’ve written over 300 posts.

The ones that are most popular (based on comments) are listed in my sidebar under “What Others Are Reading”. I also include my recently written posts, related posts and most recently, random posts (lower left sidebar).

I try to make it easy for my readers to find previous posts, however, it’s rare I get a comment on an older post. When I do, it’s often the result of a search engine “find” or an inbound link (to an older post).

With that being said, I’ve come to the realization if our current post doesn’t hold value, we could lose visitors.

What if your most recent post isn’t your best, or even most popular post?

Might a reader show up, and never come back?

I believe sometimes they do.

Today’s Assignment

If you look at your current blog post from the eyes of a visitor, what do they see? Keep in mind, RSS readers are not necessarily coming in on your home page. Often they are only seeing the “post” page.

How easy would it be for them to find older posts of yours if they chose to “dig around” your blog?

Are you seeing this trend too? Visitors comment on your current posts, but your older posts go untouched?

How do you entice your visitors to “dig”?


Photo Credit: Just Taken Pics’ photostream

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I happened to be analyzing this today. In general, I think there’s a narrow window of opportunity where posts are ripe for comments. At some point, while you could still comment, the buffet was yesterday, or last week.

    An interesting distinction between blogs and Wikis is that wikis are timeless. While you can try to create a timeless blog, fundamentally, time is a first class citizen.

    This sort of sucks for me since I’m using a blog for sharing *timeless* book nuggets. That said, for RSS, I think having “related posts” helps. On the blog, I think showcasing popular posts and making the search box convenient helps. Tag clouds can be helpful and so can well-structured categories, but really I find the dominant scenarios are Web search, or feed reading. For me, since I know what’s inside, search and archives have been priceless.

    Since I use my blog each day with my mentees, it’s forced me to find better ways to share my nuggets. In a recent experiment, I started adding consolidation pages (for example, Feeling Good Nuggets – http://thebookshare.blogspot.com/2008/05/feeling-good-book-nuggets.html). This lets me quickly share a collection of relevant posts with folks at work. I’m still in the process of adding browsing by book to my navbar, but now readers are asking me for browse by author.

    I’m also starting my research to figure out which social tools help rehydrate and share past gems the best. At the end of the day, I think author pages organizing key posts can really help users dig through a blog.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Develop Disagreement Rather Than Consensus

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi J.D.

    “The buffet was last week” may be just the way many feel, as I often see commenters saying, “I’m late for the party…”, but in reality, to the author, a comment is never “late”.

    For anyone who uses an RSS feed reader, they do have the advantage of easily scanning older posts, but I wonder with everyone being short on time, if they even do that. ( I do if time permits, but often will read the post in my reader and not comment.)

    Listening to our readers is important. There is also the issue of blogging platforms and themes (2 or 3 column), some make it difficult to display all we would like to.

    Thanks for sharing the link to your Feeling Good Nuggets. I’ll check that out and see how you’re addressing this issue.

  3. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I find quite a few of my visitors are perhaps a bit puzzled by my blog, and leave a comment on an earlier post because they can’t think of anything to say on the current one! It is also probably because I have relatively short posts and visitors don’t have to click through to read the whole thing, so they can fairly easily see the older posts on the front page.

    Cheers – Robin

    Robins last blog post..Is Death Natural?

  4. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – it is funny you should mention that, as I was just looking at my blog this morning and realised that I need to improve searchability.

    I get a lot of people actually arriving at old posts, but fewer comment on them. I’m wondering if that’s partly because they don’t know that you’ll see the comments if it’s an old post?

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..From PTSD To Success – Is It Possible?

  5. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i guess the best way to get them to digg is to link to those posts in your current post. make it easy for them to “see and read” your previous post. archives is nice, but i rather look at post title names – i made a page of all my previous posts.

    also use related post plugin

    do a part II of a previous post

    Naturals last blog post..Too Successful For A Mate

  6. I agree with Natural and J.D. A recent posts plugin is probably the most effective means to get people to click through to other articles. They probably won’t comment because they believe the topic isn’t really a discussion anymore, though.

    I think that’s the reason why people don’t comment as much on older posts. Yes discussion is still open, but that blog’s community has moved on.

    Barbara – I too have been concerned about this on my blog. I have a site map posts plugin which is viewable through my horizontal menu but am thinking of placing a link to it in my sidebar.

    I am one of those bloggers who have a 2 column blog template. I wish I had more room, however, I feel the custom design which blends with my actual website is too good to give up for another template.

    Oh, and what plugin do you use for your “What people are reading” widget? Thanks.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..Google’s ReadAir Allows You To Read Your RSS Feeds Like Emails

  7. I get a few comments from older posts, but most only comment on the latest one. I put a related articles list at the bottom of each post and it has helped. I think a lot of people who dig through our blogs, checking out everything we write depends on how timeless it is. It’s very hard to create timeless content.

    I’ve only dug through one blog in my life because I wanted to read everything they wrote. Most of the time I just add them to my RSS feed and follow them from that point on. If other readers are like me that means we must constantly improve and put out good content because if we don’t have a great post out when they first visit they won’t be coming back.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..Be the Change You Wish to See in Others

  8. If I’m late to a post, I often won’t comment because I know most people won’t see my comment. True, it’s never too late, but I’d rather use that time to comment on a recent post. I do sometimes read older posts, but I’m less likely to comment.

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..The Millionaire Mindset

  9. [...] You’re Only As Good As Your Current Post [...]

  10. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I agree. I have a section in my sidebar for my favorite posts. I am going on vacation in July and instead of writing posts for future publication I’m planning on re-posting some of my older posts that I liked. Since I’m new at this I’ve gotten a lot of readers that may not have gone back and read my old stuff. It’s a gamble, but I’m hoping it will bring some traffic to some posts that may have been lost in the shuffle. I don’t have time to write some future posts right now and I don’t want my blog to just sit dormant for over a week.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Potpourri

  11. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I think it’s very true. I installed the WordPress plugin that adds “similar posts” at the end of each of my posts, and it looks like it brings the older posts some traffic, though rarely comments. I agree that part of the blogosphere culture is that you are only as good as your last post.

    Vereds last blog post..When Two Bloggers Write an Almost-Identical Post

  12. I’d also point out, that the vast majority of visitors to a blog do not comment. A very small minority do. This is demonstrated by looking at the sheer number of subscribers the most popular blogs have, compared to the number of comments they receive.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..How to Squash Negativity with Your Bare Hands

  13. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Robin,

    That is a good point. Often a visitor will comment on an older post if they don’t have an opinion on the current one. I’ve done that, especially if the current post is of no interest to me, but I want to let the blog author know I’m supporting their efforts.

    Hi Catherine,

    It does make you wonder, what some readers may be thinking. If they think you won’t see their comment, they may very well hesitate to leave one. Or…are they just shy about leaving a comment?

    Hi Natural,

    Linking to older posts is an excellent way of getting them more attention. Listing them helps as do plugins like “related posts”.

    I like the “part two” idea too. That will at least get the previous post some hits.

    Hi John,

    Using a two column template does limit our space. Now I’m seeing a lot of themes that have more information at the bottom (in the footer), but with those, you have to hope people will scroll to the bottom of your page.

    Like Catherine said, we need to see how we can improve search ability on our blogs.

    The plugin I use for “What People are Reading” is called “Top Posts By Category”. Here’s a link to a post where I wrote about it (with the link) Show Popular Posts On WordPress Blog

    Hi Karl,

    Using a related posts plugin helps. Like you said, most people won’t take the time to dig through all of our old articles.

    If we know our current post isn’t our best, the next best thing we can do is provide a link to other posts within the text of the current one.

    Hi Hunter,

    What you said reiterates what’s really happening. We do want our comments to be seen, so even if we are reading older posts, we don’t comment.

    Hi Debbie,

    Having to leave our blog for an extended period of time does pose a problem. If we don’t have time to write posts in advance, reviving old posts is a good way to stay active as long as it’s done in a way that doesn’t create duplicate content (a big issue with WordPress blogs).

    Hi Vered,

    I’ve seen your related posts plugin in action and that is a great way to bring attention to previous posts.

    It’s unfortunate that the culture of blogosphere is such that our old posts get buried, but by using plugins we can draw a little traffic to our earlier writings.

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Bamboo Forest,

    That is VERY true. When you look at blogs that have thousands of subscribers, you assume the posts are getting read (by some of the subscribers), but yet the number of comments don’t reflect the readership.

  15. I’ve become even more aware of this now that CommentLuv is popular.

    I try to remember to link within my posts to other related posts on my blog in hopes that will encourage some exploring.

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..My Rocks are in a Row

  16. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, like Natural I think linking to older related post in your current one may send readers elsewhere showing them you have really good stuff to offer. I like your “What others are reading” section. That is a good tool.

    The similar post plugin seems like a winner. I might just have to check into that one. I’ve seen it used a lot.

    Jennifers last blog post..What’s Holding You Back? Part 2…Moving Forward

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ann,

    Yes, CommentLuv does help to bring readers to our blogs. Fortunately, as our posts change, so does the link it provides.

    Internal linking is important. It really helps to inform our readers of our previous writings.

    Hi Jennifer,

    As bloggers we do need to use whatever means are available to help our readers find our earlier work. If it’s not being targeted by the search engines, it could be lost forever.
    Hi Jennifer

  18. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    1) Ha! I don’t think I have actual ‘visitors’… but the occasional poor chap that stumbles across my blog see the posts, and a pager. That and a list of to the side.

    2) It’s pretty easy, they just keep hitting on the next page link… I don’t use the “preview” or “teaser” function, I list the full post so you see it all with out needing to go a step deeper from the page that lists them.

    3) I think, with the ever increasing pool of blogs and sites people like and want to read you’re writing style really has to grab someone to make them go through your archive and read your old things.

    Often this isn’t just because they are busy, but because a lot of bloggers write about topics that have a time context to them. Not many people are going to go back and ready your musing about how some political race or sports game is going to turn out when it’s already…um… turned out.

    Though one way you can encourage people to go back and read older post is when you write on a similar topic you can refer to a previous post and even link to it. Don’t go overboard mind you, but perhaps when you are writing about something in more detail, point back to the quick list you did on the topic a few weeks ago. Or pull a “told you so/wow I was wrong” and link back. You could also at the end of the list (or in a block on to the side of the post) list posts that were on the same or similar topic.

    That way if they enjoyed your view on some topic they can get more of it, with out having to trogg through the stuff that they don’t know if they will be interested in yet. After all why would you go through a bunch of old post that may or may not be on the same topic when you’re only half way through RSS reader or (if you’re like me and don’t use RSS readers) blog bookmarks lists…

    hyrcans last blog post..Change?

  19. Happy Monday Barbara

    This is actually something I was thinking about last night as I read the ProBlogger’s book for tips on how to enhance my site. I am trying to find a way to create “sneeze pages” which are pages or sections that showcase relevant, useful posts you’ve written in the past. Sometimes I get comments on old posts but that’s because someone usually found it on Stumble Upon or via the search engine. Nevertheless I try to make every post a personal best so that whoever finds the site and does dig around finds a treasure trove of info they can use whenever.

    I do also try to link older relevant posts in new posts and those get a good number of clicks. Hmm.. I’m still brainstorming how to get more digging to happen so I’ll keep you posted! :)

  20. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: So far my experience has been that some people will find my blog, comment on the most current post, and then they go on to leave comments in some of my other posts. I guess that’s because I’ve only written about 30 posts so far so my blog is very is easy to navigate. I’m planning to write a book based on the material in my posts, so sooner or later that information is going to resurface anyway :-)

    Marelisas last blog post..Decide What You Want

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hyrcan

    You’re right. If a blogger is writing about time sensitive material, most readers won’t dig through their archives to read “yesterday’s news”.

    I think the “I told you so/wow I was so wrong” would be a great way to entice readers to check out a previous post.

    Hi JEMi,

    Ah, so you bought the book.

    “Sneeze pages”, that’s a new phrase.

    Please do keep us posted if you come up with any other great ideas you would like to share. We’re all ears/eyes. :)

    Hi Marelisa,

    That is the advantage of a newer blog. Most of the time they are easy to navigate and readers don’t get overwhelmed by hundred of articles.

    Writing a book that encompasses your blog posts is a great idea. Even though people could dig and find the same information, having it all in book form would be ideal.

    Make sure you notify us when it’s published.

  22. Jason MNo Gravatar says:

    I have noticed the same thing. Its good to refer to old posts sometimes though and this can get some interest in older ones. I have done this and it seems to work well.

    Jason Ms last blog post..ignition lock breathalyzer

  23. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jason M,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Yes, often referring our visitors to older posts is the only way they (the posts) will get noticed/read.

  24. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    This may be the most frustrating thing for me. It’s hard to face the truth that each post has its moment in the sun, and it will rarely get a second shot. “Related Posts” sections are usually what get me clicking around another site. If the related title looks like something I’m interested in, it’s like finding buried treasure!

    Saras last blog post..Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

  25. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I’m already in the process of immitating your section on “What Others Are Reading”, I will also include “Similar Posts” …

    Man, I can’t miss a day of your blog, it’s all great stuff.

    chriss last blog post..Haaaaarvard

  26. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara,

    It is very much like buried treasure. We can only hope others are will to dig. :)

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you!. I’m trying to look at blogging with different eyes so we all can get our blogs and post found and discovered. To me it’s a shame so much good writing gets buried.

  27. Hi Barbara- Back from my vacation! Hooray…

    I have a few things to say about that, some that might be helpful, and some that others may be able to suggest a solution for.

    First of all, my advice is to link new articles to your most popular posts. It is a great way to show off an article that other people really enjoyed. I try to hide something for a reader behind a post that people will likely comment on. I find when I answer readers questions, they are very popular search engine wise but since they don’t pertain to everyone, it is stupid to put them as the top post on the page.

    I also found that while I was on vacation without internet, my numbers stayed pretty consistent regardless of the fact that I posted 4-5- blogs twice a week instead of two every other day. Usually the top blog is the “showcase” blog for the very reason you are discussing in your article. I think it is really important to have something that is helpful to everyone at the very top for grabbing random traffic.

    My problem with this dilemna though is that I REALLY wanted to have an everyday coaching tip along with answering people’s questions. I can’t do that unless I flood out my email subscribers. If I post too many in a day it then floods out the RSS readers. It is tough to find that balance between the random passer by, the RSS, and email readers. What formula would you recommend for my site when I am trying to post about 10-14 per week, while also hosting fun discussions on a daily/every other day basis?

    Dr. Nicole Sundenes last blog post..The Top Eleven Laziest Foods to Grow

  28. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I try to link my current to older posts. I also use a plugin for my most popular posts. Thirdly, I created a page where I put all the links of my personal favorites. I’m not sure if they really help all that much; I see an ocassional comment (though not that many) on my older posts.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..Five Hindrances To A Successful Meditation

  29. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    So that’s where you were Dr. Nicole,

    I hope you had a great time. We missed you around here.

    Yes, linking to a popular post is a great way to draw even more attention to it.

    With regard to search engines, yours is a blog that search engines love. With you writing on natural medicine, herbs, etc, you have an advantage over bloggers who are writing about the same subject as thousands of others.

    10-14 posts a week? I guess my question would be, “how do you do it?”. I would say if you’re putting in too much time on posting and not being able to host fun discussions, cut back on your weekly posts to give yourself more time to participate in the discussions.

    Hi Evelyn,

    I like your idea…having a page of personal favorites. That’s another great way of highlighting posts that may not get a lot of traffic.

  30. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    Such a good post. I need to use the related posts plugin!

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Why Children Should Use the Appropriate Names for their Private Parts

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    You’ll love the plugin. It helps your readers find more of your writings without having to dig too deep.

  32. Hi Barbara!

    I agree that sometimes the older posts get lost and today I am getting mostly spam comments on my older comments.

    One thing I have been doing lately is to take an older post and expand on it in a new post, linking back to the older one. This gives me “new” content to write about when I am facing a ‘brain fart’ and helps interlinking of my pages on my site with SEO benefits.

    It seems to have helped on the one blog of mine that I have experimented with in so far as increasing PR on older pages that pretty much had none.

    Elliott at blogexplosion.net

    Niche Bloggings last blog post..How to Find Your BANS Niche

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Elliott,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    That’s an excellent idea. With older posts getting ignored, like you say they could give a blogger more topics, and the link back to the older post could work wonders.

    Thanks for sharing.

  34. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara-

    Help. I’m going crazy! I can’t get related posts from the past and Most popular posts to work on my wordpress theme. I downloaded the plugin, activated and configured them as well. Did you have to hack to loop to get it in the sidebar and below your comments? Or did you just place the code in a text box in your widgets options. (which BTW I tried and nothing!)

    Thanks so much.

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Why Children Should Use the Appropriate Names for their Private Parts

  35. JayNo Gravatar says:

    You are right … I’m on holiday right now, so I’m not posting as much as usual, and this is the first time in two weeks that I’ve had time and/or the connection to read other blogs and comment on them. My hits are definitely down, as are my comments. But I was pleasantly surprised to have my readers and comments back pretty quickly for the few posts I have made.

    As a blogger you really do have to ‘keep up the good work’, that’s for sure!

  36. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jay,

    I hope you’re enjoying your holiday.

    Being away from a blog will often result in a decrease in your numbers, but we have a life to live too, so we shouldn’t worry TOO much about it.

    With visitors using readers, if you do publish a new post, they get alerted, so even if you’re not there, they are.

  37. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    What version of WordPress are you using?

    Never mind, I’ll email you and see if I can help you get it figured out.

  38. Mike FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Great tips! On those rare occasions when someone comments on an older post (like I am doing now), I often wonder what motivated them not to read and/or comment on my latest post. I am going to use some of your suggestions. Thanks.

    peace,
    Mike

    livelife365

    Mike Fosters last blog post..Brain Food…and Other Good Stuff

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mike,

    The BWAB community welcomes you.

    In response to your question, for me, often if I don’t have an opinion on the current post, I won’t comment on that one, but like you just did, I may find a post that I feel I can add value to, or ask a question.

    Hope the suggestions help.

  40. [...] Monday we discussed the importance of your most current post. It was decided our best work may be buried in our [...]

  41. [...] You’re Only as Good as Your Current Post [...]