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Cheryl Cole gives bloggers a boost…

November 2, 2010

Cheryl Cole, X-Factor judge

…Merely with the mention of her name.

Cheryl Cole is the most searched for celebrity by Brits according to a new survey by HitWise UK, as reported by Hexus. HitWise found that one in every 5,000 search clicks over a 12 month period was for the X-Factor judge, making her the most consistently searched for name in Britain. An achievement which was no doubt due to her continuing presence in British media and, of course, her spot as a judge on the ever-popular show X-Factor.

This blog post is a kind of ‘journalistic experiment for me’, putting into practice some of the blogging tips that I have picked up from lecturers, fellow journalists and students during my MA course. Bear with me, if you will, as I attempt to unravel a number of the blogging guidelines that have been laid out before me over the last six weeks.

Prior to starting the MA at City, I believed my blog to be little more than an outlet for my excess creativity, a blank canvas that I could fill with any thoughts and opinions about issues that I felt were important.

In part, I still use this site for that very reason. Blogging gives me the opportunity to write freely, to express my thoughts about current affairs, news worthy issues and general journalistic matters. However, it has become clear to me that my blog holds so much more value. Value, which we are all taught to maximize through a number of ‘simple’ methods.

Essentially, we are told to tailor our sites so that they will be found by search engines, so that people all over the world can be sent to your site simply by searching for one popular term, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In all honesty, I didn’t really believe that this method could do much to increase my ‘hits’; it seems to me, that my blog is so insignificant in the immense totality of internet traffic, that even by using this technique, very few people would think to click on my link. My blog post about Cheryl Cole’s appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories proved me wrong and, within a matter of minutes I saw the number of hits to my site soar, reaching dizzying heights (well, to me anyway!) that I never believed possible.

The following post was about my patch work in Hackney… Needless to say I received far fewer visitors to my site than I had done for my Chezza post. So what does this prove? Firstly, people care far more about Cheryl Cole than they do about what I have to say! Secondly, SEO is a much easier technique to implement than I first thought. Surely, then, I can now use my blog to relentlessly push my online ‘asset’ upon unsuspecting celebrity stalkers everywhere? A seemingly simple solution and one that, I fear, could potentially encourage a number of novice bloggers to write about what they believe will bring traffic to their site, rather than writing about topics that they find truly interesting and important.

I am currently facing something of a ‘blogging dilemma’. Do I continue to write about any various topics which interest me or do I find a ‘niche’ for my blog? We were told by our Online Journalism tutors to find a particular focus for our sites, a specific topic that we are interested in and want to write about, be it finance, business, sport or entertainment. This, we were told, would encourage more people to visit our blog as a sort of ‘go-to’ for our chosen field of interest, thereby raising our online profiles and bringing in more and more visitors to our site.

However, it is my opinion that forcing a blog to take on a specific role or niche would be to defeat the very purpose of blogging. I know that many of my fellow students are happy to blog about one particular topic (we have a number of talented sports bloggers, in particular) but there are many, such as myself, who use their blog as a way of improving and promoting their journalistic writing, whatever that writing may be focused on. My main focus at the moment, to be completely frank, is to learn as much as I can about journalism and the many different skills that will enable me to find a good job in the field. I do not see my blog as a demonstration of my keen interest in one particular area, but more as a means for me to share my opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics, and hopefully to engage my readers in some kind of discussion about their views on those topics.

So, I face a choice. Do I continue to blog about anything and everything that I believe will make an interesting post, or do I tailor my blog to fit within the guidelines set by our wise and wonderful lecturers? Your feedback and advice is welcomed……!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2010 4:00 pm

    Brilliant post! SEO definitely works – companies pay a fortune to specialist SEO firms to ensure that their websites appear at the top of the lists on Google, for example. Sadly, I think your conclusion is probably true, many will be more interested in how to attract ‘hits’ rather than writing about genuinely felt issues.

  2. November 2, 2010 4:27 pm

    I have noticed the views on my website soar since my Cheryl post (Cheryl Cole and investigative journalism).

    On the niche/various front…I see no harm in throwing quality posts up on your blog on a range of topics.

    Should a niche come to you in time then you can work on it.

    That’s my plan!

  3. Giles permalink
    November 2, 2010 4:33 pm

    We’ve used SEO and it’s been invaluable for our company, we’re now considering SMO (Social Media Optimisation) as a tool to get more customers to our site and raise awareness. There are specific companies that will set this up for you as well and they are making millions! They use Facebook, Twitter YouTube etc to raise the profile of the business and it’s already proven to be a success and a vital weapon in the advertising arsenal!

    http://www.briansolis.com/2010/02/social-media-optimization-smo-is-the-new-seo-part-1/

  4. November 20, 2010 6:32 am

    Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting, I’ll bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

  5. November 21, 2010 8:39 pm

    Great post, thanks! Maybe you could do a follow up article about this?

  6. November 22, 2010 4:47 pm

    Thank You for the excellent page – I loved reading it!

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