content consumption

How do you find blog posts to read?

Over the last six months I’ve noticed a topic that has popped into conversations about blog traffic quite a few times and I thought I’d spend a little bit of time talking about it today.

How do you find blog posts to read?

When I first started blogging in 2006 I had a handful of blogs that I read religiously.  I had them all bookmarked and opened them one by one daily to see if there had been any updates.

I was in heaven when I realized there was a way to open every bookmark in a folder at once into multiple tabs, making my job of going to each of these blogs a bit easier.

Then I was introduced to the world of RSS readers and everything changed!

By having a reader I didn’t have to go to blogs that hadn’t been updated, and I would know about a blog that had been updated if I’d gotten tired of waiting for a new post and stopped checking in on them.  It was wonderful.

But then information overload happened.  I was subscribed to literally hundreds of blogs.  And if I missed a few days of going in, the reader told me I had 3,000 posts to read, or something similarly ridiculous.  So I would feel overwhelmed and not read things.  And then I started avoiding my reader completely.

I think  it’s now been about three months since I opened a reader.  That means that all of those blogs I used to read regularly are pretty much forgotten…  ones I really enjoyed reading too!

I now find my content differently.  There are a handful of blogs I’ve gone “old skool” on and have started typing in the url a few times a week to see if there are any updates. There are also a few I’ve signed up for email notifications for, but email notifications and information overload go together really well too!

The rest I go to if I see a link go by on Twitter or Facebook.  That means if you have a blog and you aren’t tweeting and Facebooking the link WHEN I HAPPEN TO BE LOOKING, I am going to miss your blog post.

I wondered if others were feeling the same way and doing the same things so I did a quick and informal Facebook survey.  Here are the results (click on the image to see it more clearly):

By quite a large margin people are finding their blog content by clicking through links.  Some continue to use their RSS readers, and some continue to keep urls bookmarked, but clearly if you aren’t throwing your content in your audience’s face you are missing a key way to get their attention.

This poses a whole other issue though - information overload on Facebook and Twitter.  Content is getting lost there too (especially since Facebook now nests types of posts like Networked blogs and Wordpress).

It will be interesting to see how things evolve because I am sure everything will continue changing. For now, if you’re looking for traffic, I highly recommend finding ways to grab people, because in today’s blog world, you need to stand on the street heckling the crowd to come in instead of waiting for them to happen on by.

How do you get your content out to your audience? What do you find works best?