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September 11, 2010 / Mike Biggs

Getting featured on WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed; an opportunity.

The ride is over; a brief look at a small win in publishing.

Recently my post about the WordPress plug-in for Google Chrome was featured on Freshly Pressed. If you are interested, the post was about how the plug-in will revolutionize the way I plagiarise the internet, you can view the post here.

In this article I would like to report the ups and the downs of being featured.

Firstly everything about being featured is good, but in order to make the most of it, the timing must be right. For me it came a little early in this blog’s development which meant that I could not capitalize on it as much as I would have liked.

A screenshot of my fantastic post on the Freshly Pressed page:

freshly pressed first page of wordpress web

Here are the stats:

First Day: 4696 hits

Second Day: 3158 hits

Third Day: 3528

Fourth Day: 3405

After that the hits dropped off drammatically and have returned to their normal range of under 100 hits per day.

It looks like we were on the Freshly Pressed page for around 4 days. I believe the page is updated with fresher presses each day so I am pleased that I lasted more than just one day.

Being selected

Apparently there is a fine art to being selected. I got on there using sheer dumb luck, but it turns out my natural way of approaching blogging was exactly what they were looking for. I write this blog because I am passionate about thinking, systems, technology, and related topics that affect my blogging. This post luckily was about technology that affects my blogging. The post wasn’t just a techo review, my spin was to talk about how the tool changes the quality of the content, which is more about behavior and the struggle between systems and content.

After doing a search, I found that there are a number of bloggers talking about how to get ‘Freshly Pressed’. Again I thought ‘how lucky’ I was to fluke my way in.

The best and most accurate information on the subject is from WordPress themselves. Here is the link to the blog post by Joy who writes for WordPress and I assume I have to thank for my 15 minutes of traffic fame.

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/five-ways-to-get-featured-on-freshly-pressed/

Here is the summary of what they are looking for if you want to be featured:

1. Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.

2. Include images or other visuals.

3. Add tags.

4. Aim for typo-free content.

5. Cap off your post with a compelling headline.

In secret, I do think that my article was selected because it talked about a WordPress extension, which is why WordPress was happy to promote it. Nevertheless, I’ll take what I can get.


What were the opportunities?

Driving this much traffic to my blog offered a great opportunity. Some of these I was not prepared for, and others I am not interested in exploiting. What are the opportunities?

  • To engage new regular readers. When a reader comes to the site, they will click around to see what you are about, and read any other articles that are of interest to them. I had not been blogging for very long when I got all this traffic, meaning there was only a small selection of content for readers to browse. This is simply bad timing, and if I had been featured in 12 months, there would be much more for them to dig through.
  • To secure subscribers. Following on from the first point, if a reader is impressed with the first article, and subsequent articles after browsing, they might consider getting updates by email or RSS. To ensure the best chances, you should make sure the RSS and email signups are in plain view on the site.
  • To promote a particular idea, service, product, event, etc. Once the traffic land on your site to read the article of interest, you could advertise a relevant product or service. This may be relevant to the content, or another project that you are working on personally. For me this was not something I am interested in as this blog is mainly about thinking. The only third part item that I am interested in promoting on this blog are the Thinking Lessons which you can signup to  and receive everyday for free! go here if you are interested.
  • A general sense of achievement. Being selected by a publisher to feature your work is not a small thing. With blogs being self published by every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there, it’s reassuring when a credible third party endorses your work. This is an opportunity to not only showcase your work [by virtue of being selected] but also a noteworthy example of being published.

Next time I will be more prepared. So I suppose the key to making the most of opportunities is to always be prepared. As someone once said: Success is the intersection between preparation and opportunity.

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