Times They Are A Changing

Yes, the election is tomorrow and that is bringing some real change. I am not talking about which candidate gets elected or if this referendum or that one passes. No, I am talking about search engine traffic. As we have gotten down into the last few days before the election, I noticed that the search terms used to find my site have been subtly altering. A week or two ago the leading phrase that brought people to my site was “free Obama sticker.” This was closely followed in popularity by “free Obama button.” The interesting thing is that I have only written one post on each of those two topics. By the search engine traffic though you would think that free election paraphernalia was all my site is about.

But now the tides are turning. The elections are upon us so there really isn’t time for people to get buttons or stickers. If you haven’t adorned your car yet you are just too late. With that the traffic is starting to return to the real topics of the blog. You know, things like me, cars, religion and anger. Not so sure about that last one, but it is right there in the statistical log.

So the question remains, when everyone is done searching for election freebies and finished fighting over the candidates, what will become of all that time they were spending on the web? Will you go back to spending time with your family and pets? Will you pick up a hobby like knitting or gardening? Or will you move on to the next web craze and start generating searches and traffic for that? Maybe my next big search topic will be “how to get tickets to the inauguration” or “free presidential inauguration passes”. What do you think?

Testing The Waters

What motivates the traffic to a site? A friend of mine just wrote a blog post and some twitter entries that seemed, on the surface of things, to have increased his traffic suddenly. Does it work that way? Can the simple mention of the bible, pornography, and a porn star in the same article really bump traffic that noticeably? Especially when those subjects are not the normal thrust of your blog?

Jason Bradford, also known as ToneBox, wrote a post about a new movie called “Undersold“. Chrissy Moran stars in the film. She is a former porn star… and a famous and attractive one to boot. Jason says of his friend, “Chrissy’s story has some parallels to the original Bible story and she lives the part daily. That is where Grace comes in. Thankfully Grace is available to all of us no matter the road we’ve been down or are heading.”

So, this article serves a two fold purpose. The first is to get the word out about this movie and one of the great people in it. I think Chrissy Moran’s tale of moving from pornography to religious media is an interesting and compelling one. The second purpose is to try and prove or disprove Jason’s theory that his traffic spiked just because he mentioned the Bible and porno in the same post.

What do you think? Was that the reason his traffic jumped? Or was it a coincidence?

A Few Updates

Tennessee RoofFirst of all I am back, so now the updates should be on a bit more regular basis. I had planned on blogging most every day while on vacation, but it just didn’t turn out that way. I got caught up in relaxing and enjoying the family. And driving and shopping and freezing and eating and taking pictures and generally doing everything else except for blogging. Oh well.

Second, I just upgraded the back-end of this site to WordPress 2.5 this evening. I ran a through a bunch of scenarios on a test site and found no glitches with the way I am operating or my plug-ins. After that I upgraded here on the live site and it all seems to have gone very smoothly. I am having a few hangs with the auto-updating of plug-ins, but other than that I see no errors. That being said, usually it is you folks out there who catch my errors and problems not me. So if you see anything funky, please let me know.

And finally, let me apologize to all of those people on the road that I wanted to kill. I am sorry that you can’t drive without talking on your cell phone. I am also sorry that when you took Driver’s Ed that they didn’t teach you what the gas pedal or turn signals are for. Finally, I am sorry that you cannot buy a real exhaust for your car so that you don’t sound like a poorly tuned lawn mower going down the street. I am sure there are lots more, but that is about all I can come up with for the moment because my medication is kicking in . . .

Is EntreCard A Bust?

This is a serious question for other bloggers and web people. I want to know your real experiences with EntreCard. For those of you who don’t know, you can see the EntreCard widget off on the left-hand side of my page. It is the square box with a picture in it and a yellowish gold bar across the bottom and an “E” in the corner. Think of it as a business card fishbowl for bloggers, much like the business card fishbowl at your local restaurant. Is EntreCard a Bust?

Now, my question for the EntreCard members out there is this – has it done you any good? Have you looked at your traffic or income since you started using it and done any analysis. For my part, I have made a couple of interesting acquaintances through it, seen far too many “Make Money Now” and “Help Me Make A Fortune” websites, seen a lot of widgets with half naked girls on them that have nothing to do with the content of the blog, and gotten a small but non-sustainable bump in traffic. That is about it unfortunately. I was really hoping it would turn into something more, and maybe it will over time, but right now it seems to be just so much spinning of the wheels.

When I go back and really analyze the traffic I am getting from EntreCard most of it is a quick hit for someone to drop their card and move on. They don’t go to multiple pages. They don’t comment. They don’t click on ads or subscribe to my RSS feed. The EntreCard traffic is empty calories. In other words, I get a nice rush that gets my traffic stats up a bit, but no lasting nutritional value.

So, when I compare both the value to my site and the value to myself of EntreCard versus searching out other people’s blogs and leaving serious comments, the result is obvious. Instead of clicking through EntreCard and going to hundreds of blogs per day that aren’t really of interest or in my subject area, I need to go through and only hit the ones in my group that I would have wanted to find without EntreCard. Steve Whitehead’s Inspiring Quotes is one of those. So are ProBlogger, Eavesdropping On Life, and a few others. But in general, the whole drop 300 cards per day just doesn’t seem to work for me.

As always, that is just my opinion and I could be wrong. And things may change over time too. So please, let me know what you think and what you advice is. Is EntreCard working for you?