Carpool Candy secrets revealed

After blogging for more than a year, getting people to read it is always more challenging than writing.  Some of you are extremely loyal readers whom I adore, others are passersby who stumble onto Carpool Candy from a Google search and stay to poke around.

But I’ve realized that people don’t always understand how the blog works.

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I used to write a regular weekly column for an AOL/Patch website that was also called Carpool Candy, but I stopped writing that almost three years ago. I wanted to keep writing and sharing my stories so Carpool Candy the blog was born, hosted by WordPress.

One way to gauge a blog’s popularity is by how many followers it has. If you like Carpool Candy and hate to miss a post, you should become a follower. Look on the upper right corner of your screen and there should be a box that either says “you follow this blog” or asks you to sign up to follow it. All that means is you provide your email address and choose whether you want to receive an email every time I post (2-3 times a week) or once a week.

WordPress provides a stats page, which is a fascinating window into who’s reading my blog. I admit, I’m obsessed with my stats. I check them 3-4 times a day. I like to see what time of day people read posts most (usually morning,) and where they come from ( I get readers from all over the world, from Singapore to Ireland to Dubai, but 80% come from the US and Canada.)

I can also tell who found me on Facebook and Twitter, and who did a Google search. I have a list of detailed search terms that helps me see which posts are hitting best and which have longevity.  A post I wrote in March of 2012 about my son’s scavenger hunt birthday party is very popular and gets multiple hits every single day. My most popular post of all-time was the recent one I wrote about yoga, which got close to a thousand views in one day!

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The craziest story about my stats is when I wrote a post last summer about our family trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I mentioned a beach we went to that has a clothing-optional section. You’ll notice I’m not using certain words here because for several weeks after that post I was getting many hits a day from people searching the web for “(other words for) clothing optional and kids.” Creepy!

Thus far, I’ve made no effort to sell ads on my site. That’s partly because I thought I needed to bank content, and get a significant following before I went out and sold my product. But it’s also because the idea of marketing my work scares the snot out of me. My goal was never to make big money off the blog, but rather to write meaningful pieces that kept my writing muscle active, and could either help me get a paid entertainment/lifestyle writing job, or maybe a book deal.

A girl can dream, no?

My number of blog visitors and how many posts they viewed have increased significantly most months  (August/ December were my slowest)  but I wish they were higher.

When I see people I know, they frequently apologize for not being up-to-date on my blog.  That’s crazy!  I don’t expect anyone (except you, Mom!) to read every post. I have many blogging friends whose writing I love and I wish I had the time to read every word of every post, but it’s not realistic.

One of my fav bloggers at BlogHer12

One of my fav bloggers at BlogHer12

It’s more helpful for you to spread the word if you like a post, than read each one. My goal is to provide great content and find new readers and you can actually help with that. Here’s how:

Become a follower! Sign up for regular emails. It’s free!

“Like” my new Carpool Candy Facebook page, which you’ll find right here.

SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!   Please share any posts you like on your Facebook page or forward a link to a friend. That’s huge.

Tell me how you find the blog most often. Facebook? Email? Friend?

Tell me in the comments (or Tweet me @carpoolcandy)  which topics you click on most. Sappy kid stories? TV analysis? Social media stories? Party ideas? Books? I’m always surprised by which stories get play and which fizzle. Tell me why!

I’m attending a giant blogging conference this week in Chicago called BlogHer, where I hope to get more ideas for making CarpoolCandy even better and reaching more people.  5,000 opinionated women (and a few brave men!)  in one space should be informative… and loud.  Will report back next week.

Thanks for being the people who read CarpoolCandy!

5 responses to “Carpool Candy secrets revealed

  1. I
    I really liked this post- found it so interesting! My other favorite posts of yours are the ones about your family. ❤

  2. Congrats Claire! What’s your site called? I’d love to read it. Writing every day is impressive. I don’t know how u do it. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Patrick Tuite

    An idea : Rather than selling ads,have any friends who have small businesses place ads for free on your blog with the understanding that if they get sales from the ads(they would ask the consumers how they heard of their business) they,on the honor system, would send you a part of their profits. They get exposure and possible sales and you are doing a service to your readers and maybe make some money to boot. If they are good friends like Julie it would work and there are others like her who may want to try this inexpensive way to get their business known. Enjoy Chicago.

    Sent from my iPad Pat Tuite

    • It’s a bit more complicated than that bec I use WordPress as my host so they regulate ads and want to take a cut. At some point ill figure all that out.

  4. I started blogging this year. I write everyday. That was my goal for myself. Some days it is difficult to find something to write about, but other days, the words flow freely. I really do enjoy reading your blog and I’d be interested in hearing how the conference is and how to build up readers. Thanks for sharing!