Ten Guaranteed Tips to Increase Blog Traffic | Top-Rated and 100% Unproven!

How far that little candle throws his beams!

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (Act 5. Scene 1)

Without a doubt, you will recall my post from several weeks ago: “Take Four | Living with a Writer: Modern Applications of Ancient Writing Artifacts.”

It was characterized as “destined for fame … for greatness … for glory … the most historic and historical blog post ever published.”

It received rave reviews:

“Hilarious!”

“Hysterical. I would have laughed harder if I hadn’t been so horrified at your undertaking.”

“This is one of your most entertaining, funniest posts, and I thank you for … sharing it with the world.”

And it was LIKED by a comedian and a college president–two entirely different people, with two entirely different occupations, although the college president knows that humor is a close ally to successful and dynamic leadership.

All right. In the interest of partial disclosure and full but muddy transparency, I’m the one who characterized my post as “destined for fame … for greatness … for glory … the most historic and historical blog post ever published.”

And it was just one faithful follower who called it hilarious.

And it was just one faithful follower who called it hysterical.

And it was just one faithful follower who said that it was my most entertaining and funniest post.

But I believe in the power of one. If it’s good enough for a bank, I suppose it’s good enough for me, especially cents that bank does not have one cent of my money.

The good thing, however, is that those three rave reviews came from three entirely different followers with three entirely different occupations.

But enough of my noncents. I will, post mortem, return to my serious side instanter.

A stand-up comedian really did LIKE that post. Thank you! Please: feel free to sit down. (And, just as an aside to the stand-up comedian: I’m giving up my 25-year teaching gig at the end of this coming fall season. Do you need a jokester–I mean a writer? You know. Just hinting.)

And a college president really did LIKE that post. Thank you! Please: feel free to preside. (And just as an aside to the college president: I’m giving up my 25-year teaching gig–I mean professorship–at the end of this coming fall season–I mean semester. Do you need a Visiting Professor? A Visiting Scholar. Both? I’m good at wearing two hats at the same time as long as they don’t mess up my hair. You know. Just hinting.)

And again, just as an aside to the comedian and to the prez–who must be reading this post, right? I mean, you just don’t LIKE ’em and then leave ’em, do you?–it’s not like I’m desperate or anything, because, hey, I’ve got this blog, and after today’s unviral post, I’ll have talent scouts unlined up my ungraveled, rutted country road all the way to my no-parking space in the uncleared forest, assuming, of course, the scouts have four-wheel drive. Good talent these days is not easy to get to.

And let me not forget to mention what one other faithful follower advised me to do: “Perhaps you shouldn’t discard the legal pad and #2 pencil. …  To help your nightly challenges of writing in this manner, I can offer you … a backlit pen.

Well, as you know from many previous posts, I listen to my followers. So I immediately ordered myself two backlit pens from Amazon. You can get anything these days from Amazon, yesterday. Someone told me day before yesterday that I could even get a husband from Amazon, as soon as tomorrow or three days before. Dayum! Imagine that. I checked immediately. Unfortunately, Amazonian husbands are backordered. Unfortunately, too, they are not backlit.

My pens, on the other hand, were not back ordered, and they are backlit. They arrived just when I started writing this post, so what you see here was written in bed at night on a yellow legal pad that isn’t legal, using a pen that is legally lit.

Wow! Using this pen to write in bed in the dark is amazing. I am transfixed if not transformed. If I had known about these backlit pens decades ago before they had never been invented, by now I would have written the Great American Novel that has never been written. Or not. I’ll be dealing with that topic in a future post.

But I can’t deal with any of that right now. Right now, I am so enamored of this little backlit pen that all I can think about are little light quotes. Most are from songs, so I’m humming–can you hear me? Let me give you the links (below, in unalphabetical order) in case you want to hum along or sing along. It’s a FREE perk for being a FREEloader–I mean follower! Get someone else to follow, and I’ll let you hum along or sing along forever, for FREE.

“This Little Light of Mine.”

“Glow Little Glow Worm, Glimmer, Glimmer.”

“How far that little candle throws his beam.” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. Act 5. Scene 1)

“Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.

Light My Fire.”

“A light unto the world.” (John 12:46)

Well, good grief. Why on earth did Euterpe muse me up like that? Your guess is as good as mine.

So let me hie myself back to the business at hand–sharing with you my ten guaranteed tips to increase blog traffic, top-rated and 100% unproven. Is that a deal or what? But before I do, don’t you just love that word: hie. I do. I love verbs and verbiage. (But I shudder to think about conjugating hie.) Anyway, I love that word. I’m not sure why. Maybe I saw it somewhere once, probably in a romance novel that I never read. Clearly, then, I have no idea who was doing what to whom in the novel that I did not read. I don’t think that anyone in the novel uttered the word either. But I happened to think of it just now, and I thought that it would be an awful lot of fun for me to use it right here. Now I feel funfilled.

Well, gracious me. Now I have to hie myself back once more. I guess all this is going down because my muse likes the fact that my pen is lit. That’s right: my pen.

As I was saying, the initial accolades calling my post historic and historical and the initial reviews hailing it as hysterical and hilarious and entertaining and funny got me all pumped up and gave me great expectations that my viewer stats would jump off the charts.

I had such high hopes, especially since the views on the day that I published the post were 555% higher than the day before. Talk about being pumped. I was beyond pumped. I had such heightened expectations that I set my alarm clock to awaken me hourly throughout the night for the sole purpose of watching my stats skyrocket.

Sadly, nothing skyrocketed. Nothing. Not one thing. Except my blood pressure and my stress from waking up every hour to check on my stats. My blog stats, mind you. I don’t need to check my personal stats. My Fitbit does that for me without even asking. And let me tell you: my personal stats dropped big time, especially my sleep score and my readiness to exercise score.

They were so low that I vowed that I would never do such a wired stunt again. I doubled my vow–Never, Never–when I charted my blog stats over the course of the next few days. It goes without saying that you can’t increase your blog traffic unless you chart it. Right?

So that’s precisely what I did on a flip chart–using royal blue and royal purple magic markers–to capture how the traffic plummeted. Those lines went so low that they fell all the way down to the floor where I continued to chart them all the way across the room.

When I finished the chart, I taped the unfloored part of it to my office wall–I write my blog in bed; I chart it in my office–and since then I have been waiting ever so patiently for my blog traffic to increase. It should. Right? I just charted it, and as I said in the preceding paragraph–or somewhere–you can’t increase your blog traffic if you don’t chart it.

And if you don’t believe me, you surely believe Kevin Costner. Who doesn’t? I know that I sure do, so much so that emblazoned on my chest–not too unlike Hester’s scarlet letter A–is the famous line from his Field of Dreams: “If you chart it, they will come.”

Now, listen up. Without further adieu–you wish, but not yet!–I am proud to share the ten hollow tips that lured you here, just like a moth lured to a flame. Yep. Ten tips. Guaranteed to increase your blog traffic. Top rated. 100% unproven. Trust me. They are unreal doozies.

Tip #1. AERIAL ADVERTISING. I cannot guarantee that this would work for you, but I am fairly uncertain that it would work for me because my mind is always up in the air. Why not skywrite my blog URL up there, too, maybe all up and down the California coastline where folks are more unwired than they are on the East Coast.

Tip #2. BILLBOARDS. Again, this might not give you more blog traffic at all. But, after I float down from my aerial habitation and walk once more upon terra unfirma, I am fairly certain that billboard advertising will be worth the cost. I plan to keep it short and simple, the same way that I keep my weekly blog posts short and simple.

I’m thinking something along the lines of:

Feeling WIRED???

Me, too. I’m here to help! Check out: thewiredresearcher.com

FREE Lifeline Subscription

Tip #3. DOLLAR BILL PROMOS. This tip would probably work for everybody, but only the bold and courageous should try it. Actually, it’s been around for years. I’ll bet you’ve seen one: a dollar bill with a Biblical reference written on it? Maybe even a phone number–call me? What I’m thinking is simple: Write your blog URL on the edge of a dollar bill. A dollar bill changes hands about 110 times a year. Wow! Write your blog URL on the edge of lots and lots of dollar bills and see how your blog traffic increases. I wonder, though, whether your increased blog traffic will be following you directly to jail. If I am not mistaken, writing on money is considered defacement under Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Blogger beware!  

Tip #4. BUSINESS CARDS. These can’t be just any business cards. They need to be all glamour and glitz and gimmick. Maybe something like: Limited time only. FREE Access to a blog destined to be featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the defunct Saturday Evening PostTrue Grit, and the 1931 first edition of The Joy of Cooking. But it won’t be enough to just have those cards printed. You’ll need to find someone to hand them out. In my case, my Linden (VA) and Front Royal (VA) correspondent–Yes. No s. She’s one and the same person–has been given the right of refusal to pass them out at all the unlarge stores in our unmetropolitan area as well as at the five churches located at each corner of a four-cornered crossroads in one of our unknown villages near us both.

Tip #5. FOOD TRUCK. This one seems perfect for me since I like to bake. You might get a rise out of it as well. I’m thinking about renting a food truck for a few weeks and customizing it, using temporary paint. A pale tan, maybe, about the color of lightly browned, crusty bread. With a slight stretch of anyone’s doughy imagination, the food truck might look like a loaf of bread. And for those who don’t have a doughy imagination to stretch, I plan to paint on one side of the truck, Oh, No! Sourdough. And on the other side, Baking Up My Past. On both sides, of course, I’ll paint my blog’s URL. I’ll offer up my full range of sourdough baked goods–regular sourdough bread, multigrain sourdough bread, as well as parmesan and black pepper sourdough bread, along with doughnuts, scones, biscuits, and dinner rolls. I’ll also offer up my full range of cakes including, but not limited to, my Chocolate Weary Willie Cake and my Chocolate Prune Cake. But here’s where the sweet part comes in. On both sides of the truck, FREE will be prominently lettered. Yep! Anyone who stops, gets one of my goodies FREE, with absolutely no wires attached–absolutely none, not one–other than signing up as one of my blog followers right then and right there on the spot while I watch. If this works, I promise to keep the FREE in subscription. (“Say whaaat? Are you lit?” Nope. See Tip #1.)

Tip #6. CHAIN EMAIL. Chain emails go all the way back to ye olden days of 1990. They waned but then returned with a boring resurgence during the pandemic. Their predecessor, of course, was the famed, infamous, and ancient artifact known as the litterae. Chain letters go all the way back to the 1930s when people included a dime in their chain letters. Later, they included recipes. And one of my Virtually (Anywhere) but nonetheless trustworthy correspondents tells me that chain emails these days often focus on sourdough starters and that she is certain that she unraveled the original Egyptian sourdough starter recipe cryptically hieroglyphed in the soon-to-be-famous post Oh, No! Sourdough. Well, to be honest and to be as transparent as the windowpane test that dough must pass, I’m not sure how a chain email could be used to promote blog traffic. I’m told, though, that chain emails are “Unstoppable.” If you figure it out, come back to my blog and send me a reply. Ka-stats, ka-stats, ka-stats!

Tip #7. CHALK WALK. I like this one a lot. It’s so cheap that it’s nearly FREE. Plus, it brings out the kid in me. Chalk my blog’s URL on sidewalks, using glow-in-the-dark chalk. It would bring an unsensational light unto an unliterary world. (I’m just kidding.)

Tip #8. CUSTOM BUMPER STICKERS. I am probably the only one alive who remembers this. But maybe not, so I will ask.  Do you remember the streaking craze that struck the nation in the 1970s? I’m reminiscing about one super special, balmy spring evening in 1975. I had a hard time keeping up with the others–1,000 or so, all of us students–streaking our their stuff across the USC campus. It’s a wonder that I didn’t get trampled or worse. The best part came a few days later. It was hilarious to see genteel Southern ladies and gentlemen in their 70s and 80s driving around Columbia, totally unaware that a “I’m a Streak Freak” sticker had been proudly stuck on their rear

bumpers.

I’ve often wondered how they got there. (I probably still have one of those stickers somewhere in my loft.) Mind you: I’m not suggesting a streaking revival, but bumper stickers promoting a wired blog would certainly stop some traffic. (Hopefully, not the traffic headed to your blog.)

Tip #9. PENCILS PACKAGED WITH YELLOW LEGAL PADS. This is another one that would be perfect for me. I could go to all the bookstores at the colleges and universities where I don’t teach and hand out #2 pencils embossed with my blog’s URL packaged with a yellow legal pad, referencing my Take Four | Living with A Writer: Modern Applications of Ancient Writing Artifacts, destined to go down in the annals of history as the most historic and historical blog post ever published, all because it was written in bed on a yellow legal pad using a #2 pencil.

Tip #10. DO NOT SEARCH FOR GUARANTEED WAYS TO INCREASE BLOG TRAFFIC. This is the most important tip of all. That’s why I saved it for last. Articles claiming to have ten guaranteed, top-rated but 100% unproven tips for increasing blog traffic are nothing more than bogus attempts to increase traffic to their own blog. Such hyped-up, sensational articles seem to be the unnormal norm these days. Don’t look for them, and, for God’s sake, if you do look for them, don’t tell anyone that you looked. Such articles lack the unmuddy transparency needed to be included in Wikipedia.

Please, though, finish reading this post before you wisely decide to follow my advice.

And–please, please–if you enjoyed this post, send the link to seven of your unfriends and ask them to do the same, starting with you at the top.

And–pretty, pretty please–if you enjoyed this post, share it via WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and Reblog. And, for God’s sake, LIKE it. (I’m Beggin’.)

Go now with heartfelt thanks from the bottom of my blog. May the traffic be with you.

The Story of Angel Falls

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

from “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

This is a story about a weeping pine.

But it’s not just any story. It can’t be just any story, because this isn’t just any weeping pine.

This weeping pine is a special weeping pine. It’s one of a kind. It’s unique.

I bought it about four months ago. Actually, I bought it on March 17. In case you’re wondering why I remember the exact date, here’s why. It was my late partner’s birthday.

I had not planned to buy anything that day. I was just browsing the local nursery’s new arrival of plants, mainly West Coast conifers.

As I walked past one conifer, it looked like a stunning, younger version of a stately, older weeping pine right outside my kitchen door. “Gorgeous!” I thought. “But no need for another one.”

At about the same time, the manager walked past and saw me looking. Lingering. Pondering. Wondering.

“You don’t want to miss out on this one, Dr. Kendrick. It’s super special. We only have two, and they’ll go fast.”

I’ve known John since he was a youngster, when his dad owned the nursery, and I trust him just as implicitly as I trust his dad.

“Oh, yeah?” I teased. “What makes it so special?”

John started telling me all the details, reassuring me that it’s mature size would be perfect for the small area where he knew that I wanted a unique conifer.

I leaned in close to take a closer look at the tag, and as soon as I saw the name–Angel Falls–I knew that this tree was going home with me. It had to go home with me. Aside from being Allen’s birthday, I had written a blog post about him two months earlier, “Honoring an Angel.” But this story is not about Allen. This story is about a special weeping pine.

I had an immediate plan. This tree would become one more focal point in the garden that I had designed for Allen. But, again, this story is not about him. This story is about a special weeping pine.

I had just one concern. Even though the tree was small–no more than three feet tall–it was in a large tub, the size, perhaps, of a bushel basket. I knew that John would help load the tree into my Jeep, but could I manage to unload it alone?

I decided to figure out the logistics after I got the weeping pine home.

And figure it out I did. I stacked bags of mulch below my Jeep’s lowered tailgate. I slid the tubbed weeping pine onto the top bag, and, then I continued stepping it down onto the ground.

From that point forward, I knew that dragging it downhill to its intended destination would be as easy as stepping into the future.

And, for a second, I stepped off the sharp edge of now into the softened expanse of tomorrow. I stood there–looking beyond the spot where I would plant the weeping pine–gazing ahead into years, each stretching beyond the next, further and further and further into the memory of forever.

And there it stood, as majestic and as grand and as unique as I ever dreamt or hoped that it would become: days, months, seasons and years melting into fluid time.

Then, suddenly, a March wind blew me back to my present reality, and I pushed the tub right beside the spot where, tomorrow, I would dig the hole that would become forever to my Angel Falls weeping pine.

The next day, I did the early, chilly morning needful. I dug the hole. I measured it precisely, making certain that it was the perfect width and depth. I added loam to loosen and enrich the soil. And I had my water hose at the ready to give a good soaking once the weeping pine was in place. I wanted to make certain that I did everything within my power to get the weeping pine off to the right start.

Then I locked the unsheathed blade of my utility knife and cut the sides of the tub so that I could free the weeping pine and anchor it to its new earth home.

The heave-ho that I gave was far more than needed. I found myself standing there with the weeping pine mid-air, with little more than a 5-pound ball of clay securing the roots of its foundation, the roots of its future, the roots of my hopes.

Where was the balled and burlapped bundle that I had always seen before whenever I gave a heave-ho to lift a tree from its tub? Where were the tender, wondrous roots pushing through the burlap? Where were the reassuring signs of life?

As I stood there, decades of gardening whispered to me, telling me to take this one of a kind, unique weeping pine back to the nursery and get a refund. The root ball was wrong. All wrong.

But I had dug the hole. I had freed the weeping pine from its tub. And I really wanted that tree in that spot. Now. Forever.

I sighed a sigh of hope, and I planted it. Now it was mine. All the worry about its well-being. All the responsibility of taking care of it. Today. Tomorrow. Beyond. Mine. All mine.

Nonetheless, I was so convinced that my weeping pine was a loser that I stopped by the nursery the next day and told John all about my experience and my misgivings. He was more optimistic than I, but he agreed to put my name on the second weeping pine as a replacement, just in case.

When I drove back home, I stopped beside my weeping pine. It looked stunning with its twisting, green-needled, falling branches contrasted against the fresh mulch.

As I looked, I wondered whether my morning assessment had been too harsh. I wondered whether my morning  conversation with John had been too direct. I wondered whether I had been too stern.

Confident that my assessment was correct and my conversation on target, I drove a little further up the hill and turned left into the driveway.

March melted slowly into April. Every day I visited my weeping pine. I was so proud. I wondered whether my neighbors admired it, too, as they drove past daily.

No one had said a word. Not one neighbor. Not one word. Finally, I asked one neighbor what he thought.

“You just planted it? You’re joking. I thought that it had been there all along.”

I thanked him for what I took to be a compliment. It was a compliment in my mind, because I like my garden plants to look as if they are growing in forever.

It was too early in the season for me to see new growth. But even so it was now my responsibility to water my weeping pine weekly during times with no rain or no snow.  And that’s just what I did.

By mid-May, my world was a mountaintop of spring growth and spring blossoms. Bleeding hearts. Clematis. Daffodils. Dogwood. Peonies.

More important, all of my specimen evergreens were putting out new-growth candles, especially my white pine outside my kitchen door: candles six inches long, if not longer.

Sadly, my Angel Falls looked exactly as it looked the day that I planted it.

“Well,” I thought, “at least its needles are still green.”

I checked, every day, attentively. It became my routine.

By the start of June, something started happening: yellowing, browning needles appeared on the lowest branches of my weeping pine.

Armed with a cell-phone photo, I stopped at the nursery the next day to show John the death that I was living.

He grimaced. “Not good.”

“Yeah. I know. Maybe I should go ahead and replace it with the one you’re holding?”

“Hmmm. Not yet. Try cutting off the dead branches and wait two weeks.”

My weeping pine looked better with the dead branches removed. Actually, it looked rather healthy once again. I was cautiously hopeful.

One of my neighbors agreed, reminding me that my weeping pine was probably in shock just from being transplanted from the West Coast to here.

“But you know,” he said, “It’s gonna do what it’s gonna do. It will all work out the way it’s supposed to work out. That’s how life is.”

Two weeks later, more branches had died.

Armed with more photos, I went back to the nursery.

“Should I give it some fertilizer?”

“That would just stress it more. It’s probably a goner, but let’s wait a couple more weeks, just to see.”

I had never lost a tree before in all my years of gardening. I kept replaying everything that I had done since planting my weeping pine. I couldn’t help but wonder whether what was happening was my fault. What had I done wrong? What could I have done better?

When I weeded the garden where I had given my weeping pine a home, I talked to it, encouragingly and out loud, especially as I sadly cut off more and more branches.

When neighbors walked past, I lowered my voice, hoping that they would lower theirs. I didn’t want my weeping pine to hear them as they bluntly asked whether I had noticed that it was dead. Dead. That’s exactly what they said. I was shocked.

“I’m not so sure. It’s still trying. It’s a fighter. You’ll see.” I know how to put up a front when I need one.

My weeping pine kept fighting, all the while that its branches kept dying.

“How long do I hold on?” I pondered.

Two more weeks passed. My weeping pine was an embarrassment, to me and to neighbors who, by then, didn’t know what to say. Sometimes, saying nothing is the best thing to say.

I resolved to take one final photo, show it to John, and drive back home with the replacement weeping pine.

The next morning, when I got up close to my weeping pine, I witnessed a few short candles, no longer than an inch. Not many, but enough to make me believe that my weeping pine was alive, that it really was fighting. I zoomed in really close on those candles, determined to capture their bright green.

“Dr. Kendrick, you’re holding on to false hope. Let’s get that replacement loaded into your …”

“But look!” I took my fingers and stretched the image as far as John was certain that I had stretched my hopes. “Look at how green those candles are. See? Look. Right here.”

“All right. If you insist. Maybe give it another couple of weeks.”

Every day, I visited my weeping pine, witnessing more and more green candles of life in the midst of more and more brown needles of death.

A little more than a week after that, I was ecstatic when I made my daily visit and discovered that all the green candles all over my weeping pine had unfurled into short, stubby, vibrantly green needles. At this point, my weeping pine was certainly not much of a specimen. In fact, it was just a shadow of what it had been. But it was a livng witness to life’s fierce determination to keep on holding on, against all odds.

By then it was near the end of July. One morning, I stopped by the nursery just to check out their inventory.

John approached and inquired about my weeping pine.

I beamed as I shared the recent turn of events. Beam begets beam.

“Here’s the deal, John. Go ahead and sell the replacement pine that you’ve been holding for me.”

“You’re sure?”

“I’m absolutely certain.”

“Okay. I will. One thing’s for sure. If your weeping pine doesn’t make it after all this, at least you have a story.”

“You bet,” I thought, as I walked away. “It’s a story of survival.”