Sunday, September 09, 2007


Ants in my Kitchen, Traffic to Your Blog

For over a week now a relentless colony of ants have been invading my kitchen. I’ve always been the type who doesn’t like to kill anything. I see a spider and I scream, but will still ask my hubby to take it outside. So this has been particularly annoying! My theory is that if I find the source and get rid of it, the ants will pack up their bags and move elsewhere.

I quickly discovered they were going for the trash, so I made sure not to throw any food in there, instead faithfully taking it outside to the dumpster in back of my loft. Even on nights where my hubby brought home takeout and I was too tired to go outside, I’d put the subway wrappers or whatever in a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge. And sure enough, pretty soon the ants got the hint and left.

Then a couple days later I saw that the same troop of ants had changed their game plan and were now going for my cat’s food. How did I know it was the same troop? They were coming from the same area—and this is the weirdest thing—from fifteen feet up the wall and from behind an enormous oil-painting I have of Alice in Wonderland, from my rave (underground) days. There must be a hole or something behind that painting... but I haven’t gotten out the ladder to look.

So I moved my kitty’s dish to a different part of the loft, and so far so good! But who knows how long that will last.

Like the traffic of ants I had in my kitchen, the traffic to your blog will continue if you keep posting something tasty. (You knew I was getting to something right?) So here are a few tips to keep the steady flow of traffic coming before they move on to the next best thing:

Start with a tasty story!

As writers, we know everyone loves a story. An anecdote about ants in your kitchen may not be the most fascinating story out there, but whatever it is, make sure it relates to your blog post.

Keep it short and sweet

A couple paragraphs will do. Think of it as you would flash fiction, and listen to your inner-editor.

Pose a question

You don’t want to start off by asking a question every time, but readers like to become involved, so keep the dialogue in mind. Many of our blog posts end with a question—that’s because we really do want your opinions voiced. We love feedback!

Say something controversial

It could be an idea that you’ve been mulling over, something in the news, or something that relates to your personal life. I don’t think you should straight-out try and shock readers just to create a stir, but don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Edit before you post

Being yourself doesn’t mean that you should write like you would in an email to a friend. Remember you’re still writing for the public, so be sure to rewrite and check for grammar, and other things you may not want getting out there. One thing I noticed is even if you delete a post, it’s still live on the wires somewhere. And if you have full syndication, readers can still read that post in its entirety on some blog reader websites like bloglines or technorati.

Do what you do best—write that hook!

I don’t have to tell you what to’re fabulous women writers and you already know! For instance, look at Jean’s previous post, Dare I say it? Time to Exercise!!, or that Angela person who decided to tell her story of how Owen Wilson inspired her post How Media Inspires Our Stories or Sue’s post Self-Sabotage Countdown (what a great title! It had me hooked from the start!), or Chynna's very funny post on a Not to Do List.

Now I want to know:

What hooks have inspired the most comments on your blog posts?

Or, what awesome hook in your writing have you recently used?

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Blogger Sue said...

What a fun connection to make between two totally different subjects, Angela. You've found a great rhythm in you blog writing tips that has us all hooked! ;-)

11:11 AM  
Blogger Chynna said...

I was hooked too...even with the ant talk (ewwww.... =oP).

Excellent advice in this post. Got me thinking about what to post on my blog day and how to make it enticing (but "bug free" *shudder*). ;oD


11:28 AM  
Anonymous Marci M. said...

I'll try to remember these once I have a real blog..once I have a real web site! Ah, the technologically and graphically challenged! ;-)

11:41 AM  
Blogger Sarabeth said...

I wonder if it is the title or the opening paragraph or the prior relationship readers have with the blog author.

The title of a post that received 17 comments was All Kinds of Crazy, and I didn't think the first paragraph was much of a hook. However, I did ask for the opinion of others as that is a regular feature of my blog.

Oh, that post is here, if you'd like to read it.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Hi Sarabeth,

I just checked out your post and commented. :-)

I can see why you received so many replies - it's a topic that needs to be discussed. The title is great too! But it's the questions that make readers share their opinions. You asked:

Do you get annoyed when children misbehave at restaurants?

Do you ask to be seated far from the little beasties?

Do beams of burning light emit from your eyes towards the parents?

Those are excellent topic starters! I really enjoyed your post and the comments shared. I didn't have much to add like the moms did, but I still had fun answering. ;-)


2:09 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Hi, Sarabeth,

I just had to check out your blog post. I did leave a comment, but you'll see that my blood boils over a different kind of parenting laziness that displayed itself to me in three different U.S. States. I don't know how parents can choose to be so lazy that it shows within their kids behaviors and cries for help. It's so pathetic. Thanks so much for your post. More like this one need to be written!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Sarabeth said...

Thanks, ladies.

7:37 PM  
Blogger sognatrice said...

One of my most commented-on posts (65) was about a study saying that weight gain/obesity is "contagious" among friends: Weighty Issues.

As we know, people tend to have strong opinions on weight issues, so that would be my advice--write about things you feel strongly about one way or another. Chances are lots of other people have opinions as well.

And also, as you mentioned in this post, people like dialogue, so be sure to join in as well and respond to comments!

12:04 AM  

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