My best posts that got no attention

By Philip Brewer on 12 July 2009 10 comments
Photo: Philip Brewer

A few times I've written a post that I thought was good, but that seemed to vanish into the blogosphere without a trace. On my two-year anniversary of writing for Wise Bread, I'm going to link to five of them and suggest that you take a look at them. For a few long-time readers it may be a second look. (But, judging from the number of reads these got, not many.)

A year ago I wrote an anniversary post called What I've been trying to say that tried to synthesize a unified message out of the posts I'd written in my first year of posting. As the time approached to write a second anniversary post, though, I realized that I was still pretty happy with that summary of my basic message--I didn't have a lot to add.

So, you're getting this instead.

And did you do it with respect?

Due to a posting glitch, this particular post never got its turn at the top of the front page, so a lot of people never saw it--and I've always been bummed, because I thought it was really good.

I never liked the aphorisms "Always do your best" or "Anything worth doing is worth doing well," because I never found them to be useful guides when I was trying to decide what to do or how hard to try. A while back, though, I found an alternative that works for me.  That's what this post is about:  And did you do it with respect?

Fix energy in tangible form

I wrote this long before last summer's energy price spike, but it didn't seem to draw much interest. I thought it was important, though--and I thought the energy spike might have given readers a new perspective--so, when energy prices fell again, I wrote a new post on the same topic:  Invest some of this cheap energy

If you want to do one thing that won't cost much now but will raise your standard of living for years to come, this is it. Energy prices are rising again, but it's not too late to permanently capture some of this still-cheap energy: Fix energy in tangible form.

What would da Vinci have paid?

There are certain things (like fountain pens and mechanical watches) that used to be incredibly expensive miracles of engineering--but nowadays something as good or better can be made so cheaply people give them away for free. The point of this article was to get people to think about the implications, but I guess it looked a lot like a "deals" post--and as a "deals" post, it's a pretty lame one. So I suppose it's no surprise that it didn't get many reads or comments.  Give it a second chance as a "think" piece:  What would da Vinci have paid?

How low interest rates might save the world

This last one, I guess, was just too wonky--it's about present value and the discount rate. But present value is the key to making smart economic decisions--both personal economic decisions (like how much more to pay for something that'll last twice as long as the cheap one) and big policy decisions (like whether interest rates are too low). Understand this and every economic decision gets easier:  How low interest rates might save the world

You don't have to fear a series of posts like this--those are the ones that I thought were worth more attention than they got. I'll be back to writing new posts as usual in a couple of days.

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Guest's picture

It's great to rehash your older posts. With so many posts and topics, one possibly cover them all. Heck, I think I have some great posts, if only people would read and comment.



Guest's picture

I've started repostings (2 so far of 78)

There is a big difference in blogs that present articles rather than news stories. An article presumably would be something to read and remember, and to perhaps gather up more information for a later update to an interesting topic.

Occasionally new information will arrive or ideas surface that will be a substantial improvement on the subject. It can still be added but the post may have worked its way down the ladder and will no longer get the attention it deserves.

It can advantageous all around to consider reposting.

For the reader, reposted articles can be:
More current.
More comprehensive.
Increased content.
General improvement in wording, style, images etc.

Benefits to the blogger:
Takes the pressure off producing a solid, satisfying article the first time.
Posts can improve. Blog gets better.
An important article need not fade into the sunset of time.

Posts as 350-400 words can reappear as 500-600 word articles. Carried forward once again (perhaps unpublished) the reposts could even eventually form the chapters of a book.

A problem I have with this is that any links to the old post will no longer work. I'm wondering about redirects or if there is some other way to handle this. For now and with my programming skills I will just place a link to the updated article which will have a new date and sit at the top of the blog.

What do you think?

Guest's picture

Not only have I noticed that the posts I like the best seldom get any love, but the posts that are more off the cuff, the ones that I perhaps don't feel as strongly about, always end up doing a lot better.

Go figure.

Guest's picture

Happy 2 Year!

Your posts are The reason I keep coming back here. Even if I am a relative newbie and haven't clicked on all those links. Yet.


Philip Brewer's picture

@Grandpa Ken:  I can see it both ways.  Posts that don't change provide a useful snapshot of the writer's thinking at a moment in time--and, because it is possible to update without republishing, it's possible to write new posts with new thinking, and make that information accessible to people who find the old posts, by adding an "Updated: see my new post on this topic" with a link.

@Ryan: I usually have a sense as to whether I've hit the mark with a post.  Sometimes the readers will surprise me and a piece will draw much more interest than I'd expected.  (My post Creating an artificial windfall generator, for example, drew a lot more readers than I'd expected.)  I suppose that balances out the ones, like these, where the piece draws fewer.

@Spaces:  Thanks!

Carlos Portocarrero's picture

I'm going to echo Ryan's thoughts. The post I've written on my site with the most amount of traffic was something I decided to throw together at the last minute. Someone scooped it up on StumbleUpon and it took off. I still get traffic from it today.

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Guest's picture

On my old blogs. I often had good posts that were ignored. I think I will try to repost like you did and see what happens.

Guest's picture

Happy 2 years, Philip! You're my very favorite WiseBread contributor.

Philip Brewer's picture


Thanks for the kind words!

Guest's picture

posts disappearing into the blogasphere never to be seen with the eye of a clean soul happens to the best of the bloggers. it is called information overload. no one person can keep up with everything that a blogger churns out. i also retweeet past posts when i have bloggers block