Featured on Discover is the blog award given by the WordPress editors. I’ve been honored to win five of these awards. They have brought thousands of views and lots of new followers to the Wild Ride. Today, I’ll let you in a little secret how you can be Discovered on WordPress too!
Editor’s Picks, Freshly Pressed, and Discover
My first Editor’s Pick was out of 375,000 other posts blogged on a day in October of 2011. I stayed on the editors’ radar and received two more in 2012. Back then, the WordPress awards were called Freshly Pressed. Now they are called, Featured on Discover.
Cue the sound of crickets.
One year almost to the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I won another Freshly Pressed for An Open Letter to My Boobs. That was in April of 2014.
Since then, blogging has exploded.
Very few can hear our tiny voices when they are lost in a hurricane of people shouting to be noticed.
“Look at me! Look at me!” I screamed while drowned out by the roaring crowd. “Woohoo! Over here!” I jumped up and down and burned a few calories. Exhausted, I returned to my desk to write instead.
WordPress hosts one-third of the world’s websites.
Billions of people blog. In fact, according to WordPress Facts, 409 million people read 21 billion pages each month! 21 billion?
Assuming my voice would never be heard by the editors ever again, I focused on building my blog readership and community instead. Along with writing about my wild life in Colorado, I studied the craft of writing books. There’s a huge difference between writing essays and novels. I’m still learning!
For a couple of years, I read a lot about how to increase views. Most of the articles said the same thing:
“Write quality content. Your readers will come.”
“The more you blog, the higher your views.”
I have never been a prolific blogger and as far as quality content, I always think my readers will enjoy my posts. Ha! There is no way to predict the hits and the HUGE misses. I continue to write because it’s my passion and I love my blogging community.
I began to promote my blog more consistently through social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest funneled a lot more readers to my blog. I still wasn’t on the editors’ radar.
Here’s the thing. WordPress Editors want to find quality content too.
In 2017, I reduced blogging from two to three posts a week to once a week to concentrate on book writing. It was a helluva year with the death of my brother and then a demon washing machine determined my fate. I traveled for a month while the house was repaired.
When life settled down in August, I wrote my six-year blogiversary post, 18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog and Increase Traffic. I had upgraded to a Business site in January and finally tried a plug-in after scheduling the post for the following week. What I didn’t know was that WordPress.com sites change in structure when Business plug-ins are added. As bad luck would have it, the post didn’t show up in the Reader and the views were a yawnfest. I’d spent a full week writing that article. I cried. Seriously.
I commented on WordPress’s Community Pool (now shuttered) and brightened a bit. Surely, I could at least find some new readers. I left the link to 18 Best Blog Tips in the comments explaining how I’d written the post for WordPress bloggers but very few had seen it. I made sure to comment on a few bloggers’ requests to check out their posts or blogs. That’s what put the Community in the Pool!
Later that day, I got a notification that editor, Ben Huberman, “Liked” my post. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe I had been noticed! How ironic would that be?
Yep. Two weeks later, my views rose. I checked out Discover and there it was. A Veteran Blogger’s Advice on Growing Traffic and Finding Community – 18 Best Blog Tips. I ran around my kitchen screaming. It became a Featured post at the top of the feed for a couple of weeks!
Then I noticed a bump in views at the end of December. First, I checked social media since I spend a lot of time marketing old and new posts. Then I clicked to Discover. Ben Huberman had written a post about the most popular Featured Blog Posts of 2017 – 365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories About Writing and Building Community.
18 Best Blog Tips was #3. I couldn’t believe it! It still hasn’t sunk in.
One of the most interesting takeaways from the other nine posts is that writing, blogging, and inspiration are what resonates with readers.
WordPress discontinued the Daily Post and Community Pool, but you can get noticed by reading and leaving intelligent comments on Discovered posts. Do the same thing with the editors’ blogs. You never know!
Here’s the thing.
Standing out also means standing out from yourself. This totally runs counter to the prolific writer’s opinion.
If you write seven days a week, your super stellar post may not stand out. In fact, your readers may have stopped by the day before and the day after, missing your amazing essay. That would suck. Keep in mind if you start posting constantly on the Daily Post with average work, you risk being passed over for the same reason.
That said, there’s a lot of luck involved in all of this. And there are some amazing bloggers out there who never suck no matter how prolific.
Use your indoor voice.
Following the crowd by writing about the most popular subjects can also place you in an arena filled with louder voices. I hesitated when titling my 18 Best Blog Tips post for that reason. Luckily, Ben read it. He found my perspective after six years of blogging and building a community unique in some way. Thank you, Ben!
I hope this gives you some clarity and lots of hope. In the meantime, keep doing what you love: writing and blogging. You’ll attract more readers, which is the ultimate goal. Perhaps an editor will find you too!
Do you read Discovered posts? Have you participated in The Daily Post? Have you ever been Discovered?
Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!