Tips and Tricks After 150 Pages on Wizzley

by JoHarrington

The learning curve goes on and with it comes some amazing insights. But what will work in the long term?

When I began writing on-line, I thought that all you needed to do was open a page and start typing. The readership would come and riches would be made overnight.

It's quite a rude awakening to realize that the real world doesn't work like that.

My on-line writing apprenticeship is being served in the friendly halls of Wizzley. As I explore, discover and learn, I am pausing every fifty pages to share what I know. These articles are both my notes and a bread-crumb trail of useful tidbits for those following on my path.

It becomes second nature after a while.  Waking up, writing, publishing, praying. Will this be the one to go viral? Will this be the one to pay its way?

The more you post, the more chances you get.  Write well and write often is as relevant now as it was before.

Meanwhile I watch the hits rising; and the rows of zeros on the balance sheet turn into pennies. All of the important data is going in the right direction.

Six months in and 150 articles later, there's enough there to remain encouraged.  My little saplings are taking root and growing shoots.

"Are you making much money yet?" Other Wizzley authors ask me, more in expectation than hope. I share their enthusiasm. It's happening.  Slowly, gradually, like continents shift, but it's happening.

Sometimes on my journey, I find ways to rush ahead.  Little tips and tricks that I will share with you now.

Are You Writing About the Right Things?

By which we should first ask ourselves what do we want from each article?

We all have our moments, our flashpoints of meaning, our ways to write our stuff. Sometimes it's vacuous, scribbling down descriptions of what is merely popular, in the hope of attracting readers.

Sometimes it's cathartic, writing our paragraphs to assuage the passion, because not getting it out is inconceivable.

And sometimes it rests there in the middle, following interests into articles, because we might as well.

I should think that it's obvious, which ones belong to which category, for me and for everyone else.

I'm being constantly told by the veteran writers here that there are two kinds of articles.  The first is where the majority of mine are placed.  They are information articles, which don't necessarily pay well.  They answer questions for readers wishing to learn about something; or they raise awareness.

The great money spinners are in the second category.  They tap into people's wish to buy something.  Those reading already have their credit cards out, they are just looking for the best item to purchase.

Before you write a word, you need to work out what you want from this Wizzle.  If it's money, then glorified advertizements in prose form is the way forward.  If it's a lot of readers, then in-depth studies of a particular subject are the way to go.

Fellow Wizzley author Lissie discussed this in far more detail.  I'd like to therefore direct you to her article to really delve into finding the 'right' readers.

This is how my Wizzley adventure began

The ideas and advice given in these Wizzles are still valid!
What have I learned over the past seven weeks of Wizzley writing? Read on to find out!
The first fifty articles on any site are hard work. Yet that crash course provides insights that soon become second nature.

Have You Joined Wizzley?

Your own writing adventure starts here.








     Click me to join Wizzley

And Here is Where it Continues!

My articles are consistently amongst the most popular on Wizzley. But I'm new to this writing game. This is how I'm doing it.

Owning the Popular Category!

One day last week, every article on the front page of Wizzley was written by me.

The first that I knew about it was when Janet21 pointed it out on the Wizzley forum. 

She blithely asked, "Should they rename the popular category to Jo Harrington? Every page listed there right now is hers!"

It was all followed by a beaming smiley face to show that Janet had pointed this out in good humor.

My jaw dropped.  I rushed to the front page and cycled through the articles.  There are three lists there.  I'd recently received an Editor's Choice, so I was at the top of that one.  Lots of people were leaving comments on my Wizzles, so I had three or four in the 'buzzing' list too.

But the 'popular' category was filled from top to toe with only my work. It felt like an astounding achievement. It felt embarrassing.  I was caught between being ridiculously proud of myself, and wanting to hide under a rock. After all, none of the other Wizzley authors could get a look in, while I was dominating the front page.

Even more remarkable was the fact that I hadn't even been here.  I'd been visiting friends near Liverpool for four days.

So how had I done it?  In order to get into the popular category, you need to have activity on your article.  People have to like it, Tweet links to it, send it to Facebook, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and the rest. Moreover, they have to be leaving comments.

Even then, these things take time to rise to the page rank of 100, which would cast it into the popular category.  Four days is the least of it, hence we can discount the fact that I hadn't been here.

I believe that three factors lined up to push seven of my articles onto that list at the same time.  The first is that I tend to write 'information' type Wizzles. This attracts more readers willing to share or comment.  I always respond to comments. It would be rude not to, but it also counts towards your page rank.

The second is that I had been working very hard before going away.  I'd written at least one Wizzle a day, which placed them all in a position where they could rise to that category one after the other.

But importantly, other people weren't writing so much.  This was over a weekend, which is always slow.  In my native Britain, it was also the Diamond Jubilee period.  People were at events and parties, or were taking advantage of the two national holidays to go on vacation. Between the two facts, there was little competition for my articles to take over.

Writing well and writing often had struck again; but add to that one more tip - write when no-one else is doing the same!

How important is it to have an article featured on the front page of Wizzley?

It's not important, because...
spirituality on 06/22/2012

I suspect the Wizzley front page mostly caters to Wizzley authors. It's nice to have people show up, but it's not at all essential.

MidgeFragnet on 06/17/2012

right readers always come to right places!

It's important, because...
BarbRad on 06/27/2012

Even if mostly Wizzley readers are likely to see the front page, it still brings new traffic and helps you gain new followers and get read more often. All money doesn't come from sales. Views help, too.

AgingandDisability on 06/24/2012

It strokes my ego.

2uesday on 06/24/2012

Can I answer that if it ever happens to me?

JoHarrington on 06/22/2012

I get a sudden surge of new readers and comments etc, when an article appears on the front page. However, they are mosty Wizzley people.

Where Are You Placing That Wizzley Article?

Experimenting with the categories and sub-categories can pay dividends, when you finally get it right.

One of the major aspects of Wizzley that I have been concentrating on recently is the categories. There are hundreds of them to choose between - so have you made the right choice?

The beauty of this writing platform being so young is that many of the categories haven't yet been populated with articles.  Creating a Wizzle for one of them is like running out over virgin snow. Everyone is going to see your footsteps for some time to come.

Tip number one then is to find sections where no-one has written anything. Then take it over. Just one article there is great for starters. Anyone interested in that subject will only have your Wizzle to read!

There is another bonus in that the parent category takes the topmost article from each of the sub-categories. It determines their position on its front page.

For example, the front page of Social Issues appears to list top-ranking articles in the order in which they were written.  It doesn't, but the difference is one of omission.  It actually takes the top four from each sub-category. The most recent is at the top.  

Right near to the bottom is an article which I wrote about the Mole People back in March. There have been pages which attained top ranking in the meantime, but they've been superseded by others in their sub-category.  The Mole People article has retained its position because no-one's written anything to beat it in the Homelessness section.

If you want an article to remain in a prominent position in the parent category, then consider placing it in an under-used sub-category yourself.

However, this isn't always the best course of action.  Let me demonstrate with another of my articles.

Where would you position this article?

One Million Moms launched an anti-gay marriage boycott. The rest of the store's customers voted with their wallets.

Finding a Place for the Archie Gay Marriage Controversy

There are two likely sub-categories - gay marriage or gay marriage.

Gay marriage is a hot topic right now.  Several countries are embroiled in various stages of debating the issue. Many have finally legalized the union, which means that all of the paraphernalia of weddings has a new market.

This means that Wizzley actually has two sub-categories for articles about it.  The first is under Culture and Society, then Social Issues.  I've interpreted this to be the place for all of those Wizzles discussing why gay marriage is even controversial.  (I struggle to see what the opposition is here.)

My Archie article is an ideal candidate for this sub-category.  Indeed, it's where I originally placed it.  It's where it's one day destined to return.

The reason this was great is because it was the only one there. People clicking into that area only had my article to read.  It also placed highly in the parent category, as the only representative of its section.

But without other articles supporting it, it was more difficult to publicize on tools like Twitterfeed.

I turned to the second option, which is under Relationships & Family, then Marriage.  Gay Marriage here has four more articles around it. I can throw the RSS into Twitterfeed and have them scroll through for nearly a week.

Once I moved Archie there, my hits on the article made a sudden upturn.  One day, I will write more on the political and cultural side, then Archie can return to where he should be.

Optimizing Wizzley for Twitterfeed

Twitter isn't the only platform for promoting your articles, but it's the one that I've been concentrating upon recently.

When Humagaia wrote about the benefits of Twitterfeed, I paid attention. Those who read the Tips and Tricks for 100 Pages will know that I also fell foul of the rules almost immediately, but it's all sorted out now.

Writing the last 50 pages has been the period when I really had the chance to play with this program. I'm impressed. Bursts of internet traffic followed its use. I'm a fan and I'm going to continue to utilize it.

But along the way, I've had to tinker with what I write about and where I position articles. Archie was moved for Twitterfeed convenience. But the rest has been in focus.

Twitterfeed will only fetch ten articles at a time. This is great if you have ten articles there, but when you only have one or two, then it's hardly worth the time to upload the feed.

My response then was to look at the sub-categories with only a couple of Wizzles in them, then write more.

The number of articles in Computer and Electronics suddenly doubled in a short space of time. In History, I homed in on the Edwardian period, disdaining all others, to amass a decent number of Wizzles in there. It's the same story over in Travel & Places, where my solitary article on Cardiff was very quickly joined by another six articles.

The aim is to have at least ten articles in a number of sub-categories. It has already paid off, especially as they are supporting each other. I've seen a jump in readership, which appears to be holding.

History is just one of the sub-categories that I'm optimizing for Twitterfeed

Note how I'm targeting a particular historical period (currently Edwardian). Ten articles later, I'll switch to another (probably Victorian next).
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If you've ever wondered what the fourth dimension looks like, ask a historian. We live, breathe and work there. (by JoHarrington)

My Wizzley Stats at 150 Pages

I reached this milestone on June 10th 2012, just under six months after signing up for Wizzley.
Image:  Wizzley Stats After 150 Articles
Image: Wizzley Stats After 150 Articles
Jo Harrington

My daily traffic has lingered around the 500-600 a day mark for the past three months.

For a while there, in April 2012, I was gaining many more readers. Between 700-800 people came to read my articles every day. However, there was a reason behind that.

I play Runescape and this was the period when micro-transactions had been introduced into play. As player protests raged in every forum and site connected with the game, people sought as much information as they could find.

Each of those spikes correspond to yet another fan-site finding one or more of my Runescape related articles.  Nearly 2000 people read my Jeff Horing article in a single day, on April 22nd, when the link was posted to Reddit.

By the end of the month, I'd been invited to visit Jagex studios in Cambridge, but by then the Squeal of Fortune controversy had been all researched out. There was little more information to add, just arguments to hone.

Yet the steady stream of traffic thereon held reassurance for me.  I went on holiday and it barely registered in the number of people coming to read my articles.  The bottom line held!

The final spike was a little more surprising. It was a reaction to a fairly unremarkable article (at least in my view!) about cleaning computer screens. A reader had posted it to Reddit, but many of my articles have found their way onto that website before. It's never attracted quite so many readers!

Unfortunately, the next day Wizzley experienced server problems and went down. The surge of traffic immediately halted.  Que sera sera.

Writing About a Controversial Hot Topic Caused a Sudden Surge of Readers

This was discovered accidentally, as I was writing about something which I cared about a lot!
Anyone who plays for long enough will develop strategies for winning Settlers of Catan games. Let me guide you through some of my Catan tactics for victory. (by JoHarr...
Your buddies become valued trading partners, or sworn rivals, as you battle it out for domination of the map one city at a time. (by JoHarrington)
Want to inspire the whole family to help around the house? Or to establish for once and for all who actually does all the chores? A really fun PC game can help! (by Jo...

Onward and Upwards! Wizzley Gets a Lot of Traffic!

By comparing my current stats with the 50 and 100 page milestones, it's easier to chart how my readership is growing.
Image:  Comparison of Hits on Wizzley.
Image: Comparison of Hits on Wizzley.
Jo Harrington

It's been twelve weeks since I reached the 100 page milestone.  That makes the time frame roughly approximate to the 90 day statistics.  In that time, the number of people reading my Wizzles has nearly doubled. 

Time has always been a factor in gaining traction with these articles.  The longer they are out there, the more people find them.  They settle into the search engines, or readers link to them from their forums, e-mails and websites.

In addition there are more Wizzles for people to find and read; and no reason why this onwards and upwards pattern shouldn't continue with more of the same.

Joining Wizzley is Worth the Click

Join Wizzley today!

I Wrote a Book About Wizzley...

A Writer's Guide to Wizzley

Wizzley is one of the youngest and brightest writing platforms on the internet today. Online livelihoods are made in writing articles there. Jo Harrington is one of its foremost...

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Updated: 04/17/2013, JoHarrington
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


JoHarrington on 03/05/2013

Thank you very much, Vikk. As for the Twitterfeed thing, clicking onto Humagaia's article should clarify what to do there.

vikksimmons on 03/04/2013

Another good article. I Pinned, etc. I like the Twitterfeed reference although I'm not sure I totally understand it yet.

JoHarrington on 07/12/2012

I strongly believe that hard work does get you ahead in this game. I've been averaging an article a day since December. It is possible. <3

Pinkchic18 on 07/12/2012

Very neat! It's always inspirational to read of other's successes to show it's possible ;)

JoHarrington on 07/11/2012

You're welcome. I hope that the tips and tricks prove useful for you. :)

cabmgmnt on 07/11/2012

Thanks for the tips and insights. I love to learn from others who have a proven track record.

JoHarrington on 06/27/2012

Please do write another Wizzle, Barb. Wizzley is a lovely place in which to write. :D

BarbRad on 06/27/2012

This is timely advice, since I'm considering writing a new Whizzle.

JoHarrington on 06/24/2012

Thank you. And I would, if I was you. :D

AgingandDisability on 06/24/2012

Amazing stats. Taking note of Twitterfeed.

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