“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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Why do certain bloggers get so much internet traffic? What’s their trick?

I’m having Alexa ranking score issues and Google Analytics issues. My Alexa score is too high (bad) and my Google score is too low (worse). My Facebook Fan Page has only 3 people talking about it and they’re all behind bars in Rikers. My Twitter feed is anemic. I just had to give it a blood transfusion, which was very difficult because I black out when I give blood and the last time I woke up in an opium den in Chaghcharan, Afghanistan with a Mullah named Armaghan Anoutshirvan, which is now tattooed under my left breast.

I want to make my living as a blogger, but no one will advertise with these numbers and I don’t want to write a bunch of sponsored posts because my readers (which I suppose means you) don’t come here to found out if Summer’s Eve can freshen their prolapsed, geriatric vaginas.

So I made the very proactive choice not to make money from my blog, but rather from my books and my screenplays. Leaving this blog here solely for my own means of creative, personal expression and to form a community for people of like minds.

But I am still SO ANNOYED by the bloggers who boast big numbers. I go to their sites to try to figure out how they did it!  Okay fine, Scary Mommy is funny if you like cursing and self-deprecation (which I do).

Scary Mommy

There’s no way you can’t fall in love with The Bloggess (the Lucy Ricardo of the internet).

the blogess

Jessica Gottlieb takes snark to a whole new level. And Design Mom is one of my favorite people and I want to live in the world her site showcases. Even her ads are gorgeous.

Design mom2

But Single Dad Laughing? Whyyyy?


So here I am, nose pressed to the window pane looking in on the beautiful dining room where the big bloggers eat steak tartare while I try to drink the condensed air from my breath on the window pane in the frigid climes of LA in June.

Tell me your traffic secrets and I won’t tell anyone else. I might even hire you to teach me.  Because I want the golden egg daddy and I want it nooooooowwwww!

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  1. Jasmine Forte
    Jasmine Forte 21 June, 2013, 12:47

    hahahahahaha! Hilarious!!!

    Reply this comment
  2. Desiree Eaglin
    Desiree Eaglin 21 June, 2013, 13:05

    Well, once you get the traffic secret you have to share it with me too.

    Reply this comment
  3. Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers)
    Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) 21 June, 2013, 14:12

    Oh gawd, Shannon–you’re in my mind, aren’t you! Yesterday I learned that the reason my site doesn’t have the huge numbers of another similar site is because they aggregate tons of bloggers, each of whom brings their audience with them, whereas I’m really picky about the quality of the writing I publish. I was shocked. Who knew that’s how it was done. Who knew that quality over quantity would not win the day or the brass ring or whatever prize everyone is going for now. Btw, you’re welcome forever on MidLifeBloggers, ’cause–hey–you’s quality!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 14:58

      Jane thank you. I don’t aggregate at all. Maybe I need to start thinking about doing that? But of course I’d want to writing level to be excellent even when mine falls short. sigh.

      Reply this comment
  4. Tammy
    Tammy 21 June, 2013, 15:00

    Oh, my dear, your numbers are rising. I can just feel it. Who the hell cares about the maddening crowds, the big hunky paychecks, steak tartare? Okay, maybe you do. But you’ve got chops. I know chops when I see, um, read them. Keep doing what you’re doing. Cuz it’s awesome stuff and the maddening crowds and uber money payoffs will happen. When it does…remember the littler people!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 20:44

      Tammy you are so kind to say so. I do keep putting one foot in front of the other, but what I wish is that I didn’t feel so connected to the results. There have been times my traffic has been quite good, the funny thing is that that doesn’t feel good either. What goes up must come down and that’s a fact. And sustaining high numbers really is about blogging, tweeting, commenting and posting all the livelong day and I don’t want to forget to live or frankly I have nothing to say. But I so appreciate all of these wonderful comments and the loving support. xo S

      Reply this comment
  5. joanne
    joanne 21 June, 2013, 15:16

    Shannon, darlin’, just keep up your wonderful writing and don’t worry about ‘monetizing’ this blog. Your talent will attract the people who matter – hopefully, people with money! – and you don’t have to fashion your prose to win them. It wouldn’t be the real you, and no one wants you to change just for the ‘change’. I will do my part and start sharing your site with my more erudite friends.
    Keep up the good work, sweetheart!

    Reply this comment
  6. Helene Cohen Bludman
    Helene Cohen Bludman 21 June, 2013, 15:19

    My traffic is so low that you don’t even need a stop sign in my neck of the woods. Would love to know the secret!

    Reply this comment
  7. Megan
    Megan 21 June, 2013, 15:25

    I’m not even a bump in the road compared to you. I started with some
    Popular mom bloggers and they took off while I couldn’t get anyone to read. It was a total popularity contest at that point and I wasn’t ‘cool’. Oh well- less people criticizing me.

    Reply this comment
  8. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 21 June, 2013, 15:29

    The secret to boosting your traffic is to spend all day, every day, commenting, sharing, posting, adding to FB groups, tweeting, and on and on. And you have to do it ALL the time. Or else keep writing about sex. That works too.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 20:47

      I think I may have to play the sex card. The truth is I find it a hilarious topic. But Sharon thanks for telling me how you do it, because I am so impressed by how Gen Fab has risen so quickly. A sign that the three founders tapped into the zeitgeist. That there are a lot of wonderful, witty women out there wanting engagement in mid-life. I love to watch you go!

      Reply this comment
  9. Carolyn J.
    Carolyn J. 21 June, 2013, 15:58

    Well, I myself check your blog almost daily, and I don’t read any of the other blogs you mentioned. Hope that helps.

    Reply this comment
  10. Trina
    Trina 21 June, 2013, 15:58

    Psh I have no idea. I’ve always thought you were right up with those all-star bloggers. You’re an amazing storyteller. For me, most of my traffic are twitter referrals. I have a pretty large and active base on twitter. My recommendation is typically to focus on one or maybe two social networks that way you can really engage your followers. Any more than that and you become noise.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 20:48

      Trina I agree. I really do like Facebook. I’m terrible at Twitter, for me it requires too much engagement. Thanks for the excellent advice.

      Reply this comment
  11. Susan Hemingway
    Susan Hemingway 21 June, 2013, 16:25

    I have no idea either. I just keep writing and hope that my writing gets better if for no other reason than I want to be a good writer. I think I have decent numbers but no comments and though I understand all the “to do” list. I keep reminding myself, the blog is for me and the excellence that I intend to reach. Look how many books are published each year, millions. And it takes a good two years for restaurants and other businesses to start to see some light at the end of the tunnel, so I just keep plugging along. It also helps if you have a partner, at least I think so. someone to share the pressure with and to bounce ideas off of.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 20:50

      Hi Susan — I love your attitude. I need to be reminded it’s not about writing what you think people want to hear, it’s about writing what you care about and hoping other people will care about it too. I must go by and visit your blog.

      Reply this comment
  12. Cathy
    Cathy 21 June, 2013, 17:09

    When you learn how to do it, Shannon, I’ll hire you to teach me what you know. In the meantime, you could always write about sex, the Kardashians, sex, The Royal Baby, sex….well, you get my drift.

    Stick to what you know best – quality writing while being hysterically funny. You will attract so much (as I think you already have!)

    Reply this comment
  13. Jessica Gottlieb
    Jessica Gottlieb 21 June, 2013, 18:44

    Come over next week and lay by the pool with me. We’ll chat.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 21 June, 2013, 20:51

      Yes. I will email you for the details but I will not wear a bikini so don’t even think about it!

      Reply this comment
  14. Sarah Auerswald
    Sarah Auerswald 21 June, 2013, 19:10

    Jessica’s offer is the best thing you’ll ever get. If you haven’t taken her up on it, you’re truly missing out.

    You should go, and then blog about it – or write a screenplay…

    Reply this comment
  15. Robin
    Robin 21 June, 2013, 22:05

    IIRC, Dan from Single Dad Laughing posted once about just how hard it can be to make a living off blogging–I don’t recall if he had any suggestions for how other people can do it, although a couple of years back things were bad enough for him financially that he put out a plea for money via PayPal, not really expecting much, and was blown away by the support he received. (He’s paid it forward at least a couple of times that I know of, once to the family of a woman dying of cancer, and the last time I checked was in the process of giving away some of his profits to readers who were as badly off as he was when he hit bottom.) A lot of the attention he gets is due to his discussing topics such as bullying, the various ways men and women mess each other up, or parents doing a number on their kids, and his own struggles dealing w/various issues; he picked up a lot of readers (and, alas, lost a lot as well) when he came out as bi–not an easy thing for a Mormon. (He’s currently seeing a woman, which is getting him a lot of grief from people who don’t seem to get that bi people are attracted to both genders…) My apologies for coming off as a fangirl of his, but I did want to let you know that (a) he’s basically a decent guy, and (b) neither life nor blogging has been skittles and beer for him, either. (Call me weird, but I like reading your and his blogs, and let’s not forget Jenny while I’m at it…)

    I’m not sure there’s really a good explanation for why some blogs hit the stratosphere and others don’t, in the same way that some music/movies/books/etc. do well and some don’t–you can run amok on Facebook and tweet until your fingers fall off, but in the end it’s out of your hands. I’m tentatively starting to blog myself, and have been stuck in place trying to figure out exactly what I want to say and how (does the world really want to hear about my weird take on life, or my misspent youth on the fringes of the alternative rock scene in the ’80s & ’90s, or my culinary and costuming pursuits?). Now that I’ve bent your ear off, I guess what I’m really trying to say is “hang in there, and hopefully readers will come to you.” (I’ll link to your blog, if you think it would help at all…)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 22 June, 2013, 09:33

      Robing — you are such a love. First of all I’m just jealous of Dan. I think part of the problem is he posts his traffic numbers where all can see and we just get a little bitter. Or at least I do. The few times I’ve read his blog I can see that he knows what he’s doing. I’m not a fan of his content but I can certainly see why some people are big fans. So thank you for commenting in his defense. And secondly I appreciate your support and all my reader’s support. I try not to get competitive with my blog — and letting go of using it for income has helped a lot — but sometimes I go there. Numbers, number, numbers be damned.

      And kudos to you for starting a blog. I’ll be happy to come over and read. I am especially interested in the alternative rock scene in the 80s and 90s. There was recently a great article in Vanity Fair about the beginnings of the punk rock scene and info about a movie coming out soon based on that era, I’ll be first in line since I was always nervous about going to clubs and mosh pits so have to view from the safe seats of a theater.

      Reply this comment
  16. Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered)
    Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) 22 June, 2013, 13:32

    I get this, I totally do. A friend of yours that I’m friends with shared this post on FB and I had to come over immediately.

    So, see, to me, it’s all about WHAT you write. What you write and have to say and share will get you the people. From what I hear it totally takes TIME. Lots and lots of suckky time!!

    Good luck to you! In the meantime, I’ll hang out with you in your ‘hood if you hang out with me in mine. We’ll share friends and before you know it we’ll take over the INTERNET WORLD!!! bwahahaha!!!! (Evil and so not true laugh!) 😉

    Reply this comment
  17. Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered)
    Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) 22 June, 2013, 13:33

    Also? The fact that you, a. have a book and b. have yourself in ALL of those places at the top of this page? Yeah, your neighborhood is WAY higher class than mine is. You’ve w/o a doubt got good presence and recognition and peeps who know who you are. Go with it!!

    Reply this comment
  18. Janet
    Janet 22 June, 2013, 13:36

    From what I’ve seen there’s a lot of collaboration between successful bloggers. I read a book about a popular Pinterest pinner and the key was (besides getting in early) was being on group boards with others in her niche who were popular.
    There are a ton of blogger groups on Facebook. Also networking in person at events/conferences.

    I think you should auto post to Twitter even if you can’t spend loads of time on them. I found you through a Facebook post.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 June, 2013, 11:13

      Hi Janet — I can’t believe how great all of these suggestions are. Yes, I should auto-tweet on Twitter and frankly on Facebook too. I really need to make a daily schedule for myself just like one would do for a regular 9-5 job.

      Reply this comment
  19. Tricia O.
    Tricia O. 22 June, 2013, 15:17

    I always wonder about this. I have okay numbers, but I know I’m way better than 80% of the bloggers out there. It sounds conceited, but whatever. It’s true.

    However, I want you to know that I’ve seen your posts shared several times and I always enjoy them. So, I think that means I should add you to my Google Reader. Except just kidding, GR is out of biznaz in a few days, so I’ll add you to my newfangled reader and try to figure out how to use it. That way I won’t miss any of your awesome.

    Now I’m going to go tweet blindly asking for some sponsorships to conferences so I can go and follow around people more popular than me. Later.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 June, 2013, 11:15

      Hi Tricia — now I must go check you out. Also, I need to figure this readers thing out. What is that?? I’d love to add some of my favorite bloggers to a reader that would let me know when they post. Have to google that.

      Reply this comment
  20. Lindsey
    Lindsey 23 June, 2013, 05:44

    I can’t even get my own family to comment on my blog yet they yell at me if I skip a day. Ungrateful so and sos. But anyway, point is….I think you’re doing just fine my dear. To give you some context, I almost stroked out when a semi-popular blogger commented on a post where I mentioned his blog. I was BEYOND excited and I think that borders somewhere between lame and insane. Dammit – I suppose I have just inadvertently provided further fuel to your blogging self esteem issues. At any rate, you’re better off than yours truly is what I’m trying to say. When I fixed my blog to NOT track my visits, I wanted to institutionalize myself….so.very.sad. 😉

    Reply this comment
  21. Lindsey
    Lindsey 23 June, 2013, 05:46

    (UGH – And apparently I can’t even post comments correctly…wrong website address. Please use this one instead)
    I can’t even get my own family to comment on my blog yet they yell at me if I skip a day. Ungrateful so and sos. But anyway, point is….I think you’re doing just fine my dear. To give you some context, I almost stroked out when a semi-popular blogger commented on a post where I mentioned his blog. I was BEYOND excited and I think that borders somewhere between lame and insane. Dammit – I suppose I have just inadvertently provided further fuel to your blogging self esteem issues. At any rate, you’re better off than yours truly is what I’m trying to say. When I fixed my blog to NOT track my visits, I wanted to institutionalize myself….so.very.sad.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 June, 2013, 11:19

      I know –it’s a bummer to get addicted to analytics. If they’re up you pray they’ll stay there, if they’re down it’s Funkyville-time. Sigh.

      Reply this comment
  22. Ambaa
    Ambaa 23 June, 2013, 07:57

    And here I thought you are so hilarious, you must have tons of traffic!

    I have been trying to figure out how to be a more viral blog, but I think both my subject matter and my rather serious nature will always hold me back :-/

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 June, 2013, 11:21

      Hi Ambaa — Just glad to know you think I’m hilarious. Oh how I needed these comments (now that is a little sad, isn’t it?) But I appreciate them. Onward into the fray I go.

      Reply this comment
  23. Ellie
    Ellie 23 June, 2013, 12:15

    Wow! Like Ambaa I would consider you a big-time blogger and am surprised to hear that no one will advertise with you! I’d advertise with you, if I had a product. 😉

    I just started my own blog and this is a good reminder that I have to just keep plugging away and not to count on it as an income stream. Keep doing what you do (please, it makes me laugh!), and thank you for not doing a bunch of sponsored posts. I’m not opposed to a sponsored post here and there but it’s frustrating when blogs I used to love seem to become one long, erratic commercial.

    Reply this comment
  24. Tabitha Crow
    Tabitha Crow 24 June, 2013, 06:42

    I just started a blog a couple of months ago. I think I have 2 readers. I obsessed for the first few weeks on how to get myself “out there” but now I just write for me. I check your blog every day for new posts and just love what you have to say and the perspective from which you write. I have also tried to find your books at the local libraries but to no avail. I don’t have an e-reader and can’t afford to buy them. So, can you send a copy of the books to my local library so others can see how awesome you are? Thanks for being great!!! XOXOXO

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 24 June, 2013, 09:20

      Hi Tabitha — my books aren’t in libraries yet, but I’m working on it!

      Reply this comment
  25. Megan
    Megan 24 June, 2013, 11:17

    If I only knew, if I only knew.

    Reply this comment

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