Twice in the past few weeks, I’ve pulled up my WordPress dashboard in the middle of the day and nearly fallen out of my chair. The dashboard displays statistics on blog and page visits, traffic sources and comments, among many other things. This surprising experience first happened a few hours after I published a post about fried green tomatoes on my Grabbing the Gusto blog and again last week after I published a post about copyright on this blog.
My dashboard revealed I was getting an unusually high amount of visitors mostly from the home page for WordPress. Why? My posts were showcased in the daily Freshly Pressed feature. Both posts set records for visitors and comments.
The WordPress editor soon emailed me to tell me my post was featured in Freshly Pressed, but by then I already knew. I asked, “why me?” She told me to read a post on the editors’ blog explaining their criteria for selecting ten posts for inclusion each day. In short, she said, “It’s our way of saying we like you. We really like you.” Sally Fields, I now know how you feel!
The WordPress tips are good general blogging guidelines. The editor said the existing popularity of a blog (i.e., its page views) or the time a post was published doesn’t matter.
Write unique timely, yet evergreen, content.
Always focus on the content, not keywords. Create content that’s valuable, interesting and timely. In my winning post, I introduced the copyright issue by discussing the recent Cooks Source magazine incident. The magazine printed a writer’s online article without her permission and received a lot of negative attention from both social and traditional media. It was a teachable moment, and the inspiration for that timely post, since many bloggers don’t understand how copyright works.
My other post? If you grew tomatoes this summer, you probably ended the season with several green tomatoes still hanging on your plants. I didn’t want mine to go to waste so I fried them up and wrote about it. My recipe post hit the blogosphere just when many people were wondering what to do with those surplus green tomatoes.
WordPress recommends avoiding plagiarized content, improperly used content and images (copyright!) or self-promotional content.
Use alluring images.
I always include at least one image that I find using the Creative Commons search on Flickr. WordPress says, beating the copyright drum again, to “be sure you properly credit the original source.”
I’m convinced my fried green tomatoes post was picked up because the photo by Becky York was so stunning, particularly the contrast between the kiwi green of the tomato flesh and the toasty tan cornmeal coating. I aim for visually appealing photos that have some connection, even if tenuous, to my content. I spend some time finding these. I want the image to add to the reading experience – either a laugh, an illustration of what I’m writing about, or something that’s just cool to look at.
Start with a compelling headline.
It will either get someone to read that first sentence, or it won’t. Make sure your content delivers what your headline is promising. Avoid profanity and punctuation. WordPress says they like clever headlines. I’m puzzled as to why they chose my posts because neither headline was compelling, although they were straightforward.
WordPress finds the Freshly Pressed posts by browsing the tag pages for common ones, like recipe. Tags are keywords and will also help your SEO or Google indexing. Don’t forget to use keywords in your file name and alternate text on your photo.
That’s a no-brainer. Write your post. Set it aside a while. Go back and read it carefully out loud (whisper if you must), word by word. Read it again for grammar and flow. Use your spell-check, but don’t rely on it or allow it to auto-correct. I’ll never forget an email to a member, Sherm. Well, you can guess how that went.
Now you know the secrets. My blog traffic isn’t at the same record-setting levels of those two days, but it’s definitely trending higher than it was before I was Freshly Pressed.
10 thoughts on “Blogger Basics: How to Get Freshly Pressed”
thank you so much for this advice! I really appreciate it! I just started a blog about three months ago and I was always curious on how to get freshly pressed. I see some things I’m doing wrong, but I also see some things I’m doing right. Thank you..
p.s. If you have the time to check out my blog, I would love to have your opinion: cheapsushi.wordpress.com. Thank you!
It’s all about valuable well-written content. There are a lot of good blogs about blogging. Problogger and Copyblogger come to mind, but there are many others. Subscribe to them, follow the writers on Twitter and keep learning.
I just discovered that jump in traffic today, myself. People were congratulating me for being “Freshly Pressed”, and at first I wasn’t sure why. I then caught on. Your image of the deflated balloons is hilarious, that’s what it’s like after the party’s over! You mention that your blog post was just very straightforward, but you do have a great writing style, and the format of your blog is clean with nice imagery.
Thanks for saying that! Yes, it’s a fun ride while it lasts, isn’t it. Freshly Pressed is a great way to discover new bloggers. I like to check in there every now and then to see who’s featured.
Thanks for the article, it greatly helped.
I really want my blog to make it up there to the ‘Freshly Pressed’. Just a few questions, does the blog need to be popular already, or do the editing staff go through each and every new post and select the best ones to make it to be ‘Freshly pressed’?
Also, does the time of publishing matter? For example if an article is published on a Saturday night, does this affect it’s potential selection?
The editor told me that the blog doesn’t need to be popular. They find the blogs they select by searching tags, not by scanning each post. Also, she said the time of publishing doesn’t matter. They probably adjust their search parameters to include everything since their last search. Thanks for reading!
I have been looking at post on getting Freshly Pressed as it happened to me last week. I was vaguely aware of what this meant and it was a great surprise when it happened. Your post is the most insightful and informative I’ve read on the topic so far.
Isn’t it wild when you discover you’ve been featured? It definitely changes the day! I’m so glad you liked my post, Lynn. Which post of yours was featured? I was reading your Alaska posts. My sister in law grew up there and her parents are still living there. I’ve been twice, nowhere like it. So beautiful in an awesome (original sense of word) way. Thanks for visiting, Lynn.
Nice information… I’m new to blog town, just learning all about freshly pressed!
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