Greetings, Martians! Let’s do a quick quarterly report.
In the next couple of weeks we’ll be looking at classic monster stories from Jack Kirby. Drop by and check them out at your leisure! We just wrapped up a retrospective on DC’s Strange Sports Stories from the 1960s. Thank you for the comments and reminiscing.
Blah, Blah, Stats: This month our meter rang up page view 500,000. Half a freakin’ million! October brought us two new personal records. First, the monthly views hit 52,944 – our second month over 50,000. Two, we had a record day of 7,350. Two things happened that day. One, Google put up a banner about the anniversay of Little Nemo in Slumberland. We have put up an extensive Little Nemo gallery culled from the Digital Comic Museum archives, and boy did it pay off in hits that day. We made all our Little Nemo posts “sticky” and Google obligingly sent us much love. Then, someone on Reddit shared our collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles splash pages by Michael Zulli. That actually brought more traffic than Little Nemo!
Life as an Affiliate: All the traffic is translating into more clicks for our affiliate links at MyComicShop and Amazon. Hey, we worked hard to make it easy for people, creating a little section on (almost) every post clearly labeled “Collector’s Guide.” That way, people know what links are references and what links will take them to stores. We figured that was better than randomly peppering posts with affiliate links, and the readers seem to agree. No one likes being dragged to some store if they want more information, but people do want to know where to click if they want to buy. Fixing that for our readers involved untold hours of going back to old posts and editing them all to make the “Collector’s Guide” consistent, but it was well worth it. We won’t even go into the time we spend tracking down every possible reprint to give you more buying and pricing options!
Speaking of which, thank you for each and every item you buy through our site. You could go anywhere, but when you do it here, we get some store credit (NOT cash) to buy more comics. What do we get? Fun stuff! For example, we recently got a couple Marvel Treasury Editions of Conan and the Jack Kirby Thor one. They are huge and lots of fun. Between the Longbox Graveyard’s review of the Barry Smith Conan stories and a friend’s sending us an original from 1972 (minus the cover), we decided to give the Cimmerian classics a shot. We were not disappointed! Also, Rick Griffin’s collection of art in comic book format The Man from Utopia. It is mind-blowing! Huge Rick Griffin fans, we’ll share some of that with you next year. Normally we don’t buy books in that price range. Thanks to you, our indie comic collection just got that much more awesome!
Reddit Strategy: Speaking of Reddit, let’s share our strategy. We take a different approach than most bloggers, and it seems to be working well. People on Reddit – especially in niche subreddits like r/comicbooks – are sick to frickin’ death of people posting their blogs. So, we take a splash page and post the URL for the image itself, not our blog post. We respect the subreddit by including the issue and the artist name in the post title in brackets. Then, we tag it with ‘comic excerpt’ flair – just so everyone knows this is not blogspam! Images tend to do well in upvotes because they only take a second to view and get that upvote click.
But, as soon as we post, we go in and leave a comment: something along the lines of “Click here to read more of this issue if you like.” Very non-spammy, transparent, and clearly a link to more info. Those links from within the comments get plenty of clicks! Maybe people like the fact that we’re not trying to drive traffic to yet another blog with the post itself. Finally, as a thank you to the readers, we monitor the posts throughout the next day or two. We respond to people, engage in discussion, submit more relevant links if people have questions, and – last but not least – upvote every single comment anybody leaves. Maybe that encourages comments, maybe not.
Readership versus Searchability: One last thing before we wrap up. We really doubt we have that many regular readers. You know: people who jump out of bed in the morning thrilled to see our post of the day. While we enjoy our regulars and their comments and love to engage in discussion, we have really taken an entirely different track on readership. We are not really trying to establish an “audience.” That’s a super-tough goal. Lots of people on the web are clamoring for our attention every day – along with the rest of what we need to get done in life. So, we work towards being the site that comes up when people are searching the web for comic books and related topics. Everything we do is geared for being search-friendly. Here are some ways we do that:
Daily Posts – Search engines love fresh, relevant, consistently posted content on a topic. Posting often says you must know a lot or at least have a lot of information.
Series – If a subject is worth covering once, it’s worth covering a dozen times. Search engines see that you post regularly about a topic, and it tells them you must have lots of relevant information. Rather than writing a magnum opus about Jack Kirby’s monsters, for example, we’re posting daily – and briefly – about them for about two weeks.
Key Words – Not only do we try to use key words people might actually use in their searches, we review what search terms bring people to our page. If we see a few hits on a topic, and we have that topic, we add tags that exactly match the search terms. For example: Back when people were searching for who the creepy guy was at the end of the Avengers movie, we went back to our article on that and added tags that matched some of the searches that were trickling in. After we made our tags match those search terms, the floodgates opened on that post. It rocketed in hits to be one of our most popular.
Image titles – If you are uploading images, pay attention to their file names! Uploading “w554fximg.jpg” serves little purpose. Rename it “jack kirby thor splash page 1.jpg” before you upload it! Then, when search engines crawl your image files, the file names match people’s search terms.
Updates – Every now and then someone gives us new information that would strengthen an old post. For example, we didn’t know a Man-Thing omnibus came out recently until someone told us. We dropped everything to go back and update every single post in our Man-Thing archives with links to buy the omnibus. Sometimes updating an old post with better links and more information has turned a lonely, un-viewed oldie into a flurry of hits.