Turn a one-hit wonder into a rock starHow a popular (but off-topic) blog post can boost the rest of your content

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Off-topic blog post 45

 

Stories abound of rock bands who produce hours and hours of music that deepens the soul, challenges the psyche and redefines human existence in a new, profoundly meaningful way.

And then they write one frigging novelty song, and that's the one that chews its way to the top of the charts. You spend years writing songs about social justice and the human condition, but I Just Choked on a Tic Tac is the song that defines your life's work.

This can happen in blogging, too. You'll write post after post about your interests and passions, posts that draw on your unique expertise... but it's that one post you dashed off about how to get gum out of your sofa's upholstery that gets all the search engine traffic and inbound links.

Well, if life's sending traffic to your lemons, why not let that traffic know about your lemonade stand?

That's an issue near and dear to me, because I'm facing that exact situation. I've been blogging on my personal site as well as on Social Signal, and I've written a few tech how-tos that get an inordinate amount of search engine traffic. Four or five of those posts - about Firefox, Drupal, the iPhone, WordPerfect and Mac OS X - are especially popular.

People visiting those pages tend to take the information they need and then leave. After all, my blog really isn't a tech troubleshooting site, and they're here on a mission. But I also know there's stuff I could show them that they might find interesting - especially from my cartoon.

So here's what I've decided to do on those pages: add a few thumbnail images of relevant cartoons, link them to the cartoon section of the site, and invite visitors to check it out. (A related-content plugin could generate that material automatically... but I want to control exactly what I'm offering to the visitors on these pages, and gauge how they respond. Hence the manual approach.)

Most of the people visiting probably won't click on those links. But my bet is that some will.

I'm trying this out today on the Apple-related pages. I'm annotating Google Analytics, and I'll let you know in a few weeks how this worked.

 

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