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Growth is Trendy: Rants, Stats and New Features at EMP

I was telling Katie just the other day that either I’m the most underrated blogger in our industry or I think far too highly of myself. Neither is true but it was a moment of frustration due to the lack of response we received on the poll I put up late last week, Poll: Would You Digg or Bury Digg.com?

It generated a whopping 14 responses, zero comments and two diggs. WTF? I really thought this was a conversation starter! I didn’t create it as link bait but I swear, if that poll was on anybody else’s site it would have hit the first page of Digg. Or maybe not.

I’m not whining (okay, maybe just a little bit), I’m just trying to look at this whole thing objectively. I know many who have started blogs and quickly gain a participating audience. As much as we try here, we haven’t broken through with that kind of active participation.

But I also know why that is, at least in part. I am simply not a natural socializer. While I’m a heck of a nice guy once you get to know me, getting to know me is difficult. I don’t break the ice well with people. It’s the same for me offline as online. My list of “friends” in the SEO community is small. It’s unfortunate and I’m working to change that, but I’ve got me to overcome.

But not all is gloomy. Looking at our April stats compared to last April, this blog saw almost a 400% growth in readership. Most of that growth happened this year alone, which shows signs that we are gaining in audience. So for that, I thank you.

But our readership community is still pretty small. We’ve done a lot these past several months to make the blog more interesting, including adding several more voices to the mix. It’s not just me anymore!

We love a good conversation (and a good debate) around here so we welcome you to participate in the comments. Speak up and give us your opinions, thoughts, etc., etc. I’d be a very happy person if our readership grew another 400% over the next twelve months! I’d be even happier if we got some active commenting going on.

I’ve added a couple of features here to encourage commenting.

1) I added the Do-Follow plugin. If you leave a comment and link to your site you’ll get link juice for it. No follow really is not an issue for me since I must approve any commenter’s very first post. If it’s spam I’ll know it. I’ve also got a good spam blocker in place which catches about 99% of the spam comments that come through.

2) This isn’t new, but you don’t have to create a login to comment. No hassle commenting!

3) I also installed a comment rankings plugin. For those of you still motivated by getting a gold star by your name–and let’s be honest, who isn’t!–The more comments you leave the more stars you get. (hat tip to Matt McGee for this one.)

In closing, don’t be afraid to join the discussion, my shy yet appreciated audience. We welcome your comments, feedback, suggestions, and the like. If you know of any other plugins that you feel would be beneficial here, we’re all ears!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

One Response to Growth is Trendy: Rants, Stats and New Features at EMP

  1. Matt McGee says:

    I’d vote “underrated.” It makes no sense that you only have 6 Bloglines subscribers.

    Anyway, I think you’re doing the right thing with the 3 items listed in this post. Stuff like that has helped me gain a lot more comments in recent weeks. My only other suggestion would be to show the Recent Comments prominently … may as well borrow that from my blog, too. 🙂 Not like it was my original idea, anyway, right?