Being Freshly Pressed

Getting Freshly Pressed by WordPress is one of the craziest things that can happen to your blog, especially to a new blog with no established reader base. It comes seemingly out of nowhere, and it can be difficult to understand how to proceed after this influx of new visitors.

At the start of August, I created a WordPress.com site from scratch, zero likes or subscribers, and blogged about my visit to the famous Banksy exhibit known as Dismaland. On August 24th, I received an email from a WordPress editor congratulating me on being Freshley Pressed and letting me know I can expect to see it on the Freshly Pressed page in a week or so.

After about a week, I started getting notifications coming in on my phone about new likes on my post and the occasional subscriber to my blog that had, at the time, 1 post. I decided to add a few backdated drafts I had so that I could provide a reason for more people to subscribe in case they didn’t trust the content of just a single post.

Then it got crazy

A day later, my phone was constantly buzzing with likes and subscribers. It was insane. I was thrilled but also scared at the same time. I have no idea how to proceed. I started out just wanting to document stuff I did while maintaining a cool aesthetic with respect to the photos and content. Now, I have nearly a thousand new subscribers that subscribed to me because of a really cool, once-in-a-lifetime experience…Not exactly the kind of experiences I can have and blog about every day.

freshly-pressed
Visit stats blowing up. Stats below are low because I transferred subscribers and post stats to my self hosted site. But numbers on the Y-axis are correct.

I read about bloggers becoming paralyzed by being Freshly Pressed and too scared to move on. So I decided to brave it and move forward as if it hadn’t happened.

Lessons Learned from being Freshly Pressed

  • WordPress.com beats self-hosted WordPress for new bloggers with no following. The community can help build you.
  • You will get a ton of likes, comments and subscribers for the weeks you are still on that main page.
  • This will taper off after about a month and you’ll have a fraction of the traffic you originally had.
  • Comments die down massively after being Freshly Pressed.
  • Your other posts do get visits as a result of this, but not nearly as many.

I had been sitting on a domain and decided to move it to a self-hosted WordPress, so I could customize the site a bit more. So I transferred the subscribers and put a message on the original WordPress.com site saying I’ve moved just in case. The traffic has died down a lot, and I’m lucky if I get a comment on a post. I’m happy with my decision though, since the look and feel is completely controlled by me.

Tips for Becoming Freshly Pressed

Being Freshly Pressed once does not a WordPress master make. I can only speak for the reasons I felt I was selected and why others I’ve seen were too.

  • Be timely. Writing about something that is happening now is interesting.
  • Be unique. Whether it’s a unique experience, POV or situation you’re in. Dismaland was a unique experience that only a fraction of the world got to see. I strongly believe this was a big factor for me.
  • Use good photography. Photos really do speak more than words. Without the photography, there is no way my post would have been selected.
  • Use tags. Be creative with your use of tags. Use common ones in addition to ones targeting exactly what you’re writing about. High level tags such as “art” get a lot of views.

Deciding a Direction

So now that I had all these new subscribers I was terrified with how to proceed for fear of losing them. After all, they subscribed because of that once-in-a-lifetime post that I would not be able to keep up with regularly.

But I’m going to stick with the reason I started this. Personal experiences living, traveling and experiencing new things while arranging it in a useful way to hopefully provide a good resource for people who come across it. Will they always be posts worthy of being Freshly Pressed? No. And I’m okay with that. Will I lose subscribers? Probably. I work on digital marketing, and my company will lose many subscribers with each email they send out. You move on and keep on your message consistent, and that’s what I have to try to do.

For everyone who joined me because of that post. Thank you! I hope you can find the additional content interesting and a nice diversion. For anyone else, I hope you enjoyed reading about becoming Freshly Pressed and what the effects of that can have on a site.

4 responses to “Being Freshly Pressed

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