What’s the Secret?


I’ve been blogging in the whacky world of WordPress for a few months now. And in that short time these guys have come up with all kinds of bells and whistles.

Every month there is at least one new theme, which we all have to run out and try. For me, that usually means I spend several hours trying to get the widgets to work right and re-do all the sidebar items only to discover I’m an idiot and can’t do it. Then reverting back to the prior theme.

They have changed the dashboard, made it easier to have multiple blogs, added custom headers, snazzy and fun little widget thingies and all sorts of stuff. As long as it isn’t too technologically challenging I can usually play around with them and get it right.

Then there is the secret stuff. The stuff that I either don’t get or the stuff that is just truly too mysterious. Domain mapping???Eh? What the heck is that and do I want it? Little video gadgets and mp3 widgies, blog surfer, feed stats, other kinds of stats, search terms, referrers, links, the list goes on and on.

But in all the time I’ve blogged with WordPress there is one area I have never been able to figure out. It’s the right side of the dashboard. Top WordPress Blogs. Fastest Growing WordPress blogs. Blogs of the Minute. Latest posts. I mean, I understand the concept but what I don’t understand is how they arrive at who the fastest growing blog is. Logic would tell me it has to do with stats – but no, that can’t be because my other blog gets far fewer hits than this blog and yet it was on the list a couple of times and I think was Blog of the Minute one day too. Is it random? Is it the result of content? Stats? Is there a secret vote? Is a matter of who bothers the tech support guys less? Who bakes the best cupcakes or what?

I really want to know. How the heck do they figure this stuff out? Or maybe I should say make the determination. For example, there was a blogger I knew of who actually hit number one on one of these lists and he’d been doing it for about 2 months – he didn’t seem to get any more traffic than I did, yet there he was. Nothing wrong with his blog or anything but it wasn’t earth shattering or ground breaking either. Just a regular blog type blog. So wtf?

Right now, there is one blog that has been number one on one of these lists since the day it started – now how is that possible? Did he get like 50k hits on opening day? I’m just wondering.

If there is some secret, I really want to know. Does anybody out there have a clue? Any idea at all? I mean I know that in the greater scheme of things, this matters not one whit – but it’s one of those silly things that just baffles me. So, theories? Ideas? Thoughts? Knowledge? Anybody?


11 thoughts on “What’s the Secret?

  1. We’ve talked about this before and for the life of me I can’t figure it out either.
    The #1 WP blog is called “I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER”.
    I laugh at the thought of it.
    It’s a blatant rip off of the “Stuff on my cat” site.
    And it’s #1…
    As far as the domain stuff goes, I think it has to deal with people that have changed their URL’s to eliminate the wordpress.com tag.
    If you wanted, you could change your URL to writerchick.com by paying a small fee to WP.
    I’ve heard it does screw around with your Google juice and people that find you through that search engine. I know, this makes no sense.
    Sorry. We’ll talk about it someday (and you’ll be even more confused. 😉

    Hey Mikey,
    That’s funny I thought that site was about bad spelling tips and grammatical errors. 😆 Although it could verify my theory about the ‘really stupid shit’ tag. In fact, I think it does.So…what do you think…WP just has a giant electronic wheel of fortune that they spin daily and wherever the needle ends up is the one? 😯

    Google juice? Small fees? Yes, more confused.

    Although, writerchick.com has sort of nice ring to it? 😉



  2. Angel,
    I have wondered about the same thing?????? Even visited and couldn’t figure out what they are doing over there, but just figured it was me.
    I’ve only blogged a little over a month now and it really had (has) me stumped. I don’t even know enough about this wordpress stuff to actually understand the problems you are at least were able to identify when you change themes. sheesh. ………… Next Stop Lauderdale

    Hey Steve,
    Aw, how sweet you think I’m an angel. Thank you. 😉

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one out there who is not in the loop. 🙂

    Oh ….the widgets? Yeah, that takes some practice. The widgets are those little things on your sidebar that you can fool around with. Like your stats, archives, calender, blogroll links and they have some new thingies like making your categories like little clouds or doing drop downs so they take up less space. Those are the built in ones. But say you want to put in something like “How Much is Your Blog Worth” you have to get some code from the site then you have to have a text widget (and empty widget that allows you to paste in code) and you have to paste that code in correctly (it only took me 3 hours to figure out how to do that) and then voila – if you’re lucky it appears and displays properly. Cripes, I bet I just confused you more, huh?

    Then there are other issues too – I’ve found if my pics are too big it shoves the sidebar over and down – so it’s really not a sidebar but a bottom bar. That took a while to figure out too. 😆

    I better stop now or I will just end up creating more confusion. But the features are fun and whenever you have a free afternoon to play around with stuff you should – one can eventually learn it – I think. Also, ask Grit, he seems to know all the ins and out of the technical stuff.

    Thanks for stopping by again. Nice to see you.

    WC (aka Annie)


  3. Awhile back my blog was posted on the Fastest Growing Blog list, and I’m assuming it was because I had posted 3 entries that day, and not because of the traffic I had received. Yeah, boredom.
    ‘stats, search terms, referrers, links, the list goes on…’ I understand this stuff, but the Feed stuff and Domain crap, I haven’t a clue. And since my blog doesn’t seem to really suffer from it, I’m okay with not knowing.
    I hope you get your answers, for I am a computer geek as far as the innerds of a computer, though I still can’t completely figger out WP.
    Have a great weekend/holiday!

    Hey Sam,
    Yeah, like you, in some things I’m quite in the know – just not this thing. And WP keeps you on your toes cuz they are always inventing one thing or another. For me, too, the temptation to try it is overwhelming – I love messing around with the stuff – I’m just not so good at doing it.

    Have a good weekend too. I’m cooking, writing and gardening this weekend. 😉


  4. I was the blog of the minute about a month ago, and I have no idea why. It was for like, a day, and it was weird. I had one external link from the post that was on there. The only thing I can think of is that my hits went from around 2 per day, to 50 in that one day.
    Who knows.

    You could be right, Jess. Maybe it’s just a sudden upswing of stats. Still, I think there must be something more to it. I’m still hoping someone in the know will stop by and clue me in. 😉


  5. Once I dominated the haiku catagory on WordPress now I have been tagged as adult and not listed on any WordPress catagories. I guess that I am no longer ready for prime time.

    Tagged as adult? So, that means you can’t be in any of the category thingies? That seems unfair. I’m telling you Evyl, it’s time for your own talk show. And I’ll be your first guest. 😆 I cwack myself up.


  6. Hey, WC, I have no clue about any of it, neither on wordpress or on blogger, which is where I live. I dont even know what a widget is. Give me strength. I actually just dropped by to say hi…. HI! 🙂

    Hi Sweetie,
    Jeez girl, I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays. How the heck are you? Doing any cool artpieces lately. I’m come by and catch up soon. Good to see your pretty face around here again. 🙂


  7. Hello Chick,
    Long time (in the blog world anyway).
    Here’s my two cents.
    I’ve been on fastest growing, Top Blogs, Top Posts and been blog of the minute. Before I moved my blog away from WordPress (I still use the software I just have a different host), I was listed in the top ten blogs consistently for about a month.
    Right when my traffic started to take off I was listed as the #1 fastest growing, but of course,once the traffic leveled off I dropped off that list.
    At that time (February and March) I was getting around 3000-5000 visits a day. It stayed pretty consistent, and so did my wordpress rank (normally between 5th and 7th).
    So I stayed on the top blogs list for about a month and a half.
    It was pretty cool because I would pickup anywhere between 200-700 hits a day just from wordpress, plus a fair amount of blogroll links.
    So I couldn’t be more certain that Top Blogs (and Top Posts) is a traffic thing.
    My experience was that “Blog of the Minute” thingy was always picked from the top 100 posts (based on traffic). Usually it seemed to favor a post in the top 10, but not always. I think I remember seeing a post ranked 75th once show up there.
    But alas, WordPress wouldn’t let me capitalize on the traffic so I chose to move my blog (and domain) from their server. Which means I can no longer be listed as a “WordPress” blog.
    Anyway, one HUGE learning curve, my first deposit from Google, and couple of months later –I’m still plugging away.
    Anyway, for what it’s worth imo, all that stuff really has absolutely no reflection on QUALITY. I’ve seen some gastly writing ranked on those lists.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging isn’t about the numbers anyway. It’s about the writing. . . which I’ve done way too much of already in this comment.
    Sheesh–somebody cut me off . . .

    Hey Chris,
    Interesting – you may be right – although when I hit that list I had nowhere near the kind of hits you’re talking about.

    I don’t think I understand why WP wouldn’t let you capitalize on the traffic it sent you – you mean because you couldn’t post ads? Yeah, I guess they wouldn’t like that part and since they let us have blogs for free it seems only fair.

    Oh I agree, the lists don’t necessarily have anything to do with quality – it’s just a fascinating puzzle to me. I’m always curious about things I can’t figure out – because I have quite the knack for figuring things out – so the challenge tempts me.

    Certainly for me, blogging is about the writing – though I’m not sure that’s why all people do it and go to them. It’s a mixed bag.

    Okay, you’re officially cut off. 😆 bye bye…


  8. Hi WC,
    From our brief experience as a WordPress blog, all of their lists are based on traffic. Since being on one of the lists tends to send people to your blog, this is to some extent self perpetuating. While it is nice to have that free advertising, I have to agree with Christopher that not being able to capitalize on it is a shame.
    As to the widgets and such, you should see what is available when you move to private hosting! There are so many add ons available that I am waiting until I can get high speed access before tackling more than the basics.
    As to what drives traffic to your site, that is mostly from the various search engines. If you happen to get a high rank on a hot search topic, the surge in visitors can be astounding. Your rank on any given search is based on several factors, that differ slightly between the different engines, but generally highly include the number of links to and from your blog, and where those links go. Taken in general, your combined ranking factors are referred to as your “juice” or “mojo,” which, besides being easier to say than my weighted average of ranking factors, sounds a lot cooler
    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    I think I understand but the mojo/juice thing still evades me. After reading this I think you may be right about the linking to and from – that probably has much to do with it. I dunno…


  9. You know, I’ve been asking myself all the same questions for some time now… And here I thought I was the only one…
    I’ve read the comments but I have to confess I still don’t understand…
    And since I don’t have all the time in the world to blog and read blogs (I wish I did) I really don’t have an opinion as to the content on those on the list.

    Hey St. J,
    Nice to know I’m not the only one wandering around going, ‘eh?’ 😉


  10. i have had over 200 hits in one day but i’ve never been the ________ blog of __________. it’s ok though, i don’t really care! i have you guys and that’s all i need!

    Aw, see you have a much better attitude than I. 😉


  11. Hi WC,
    Mojo/juice is just a term that means, the summation of all the factors that search engines use to rank you site. It includes a large list of things such as, number of in coming links, out going links, frequency of content change, and, well, I’ll write a post on it when I uncover all of the deep dark secrets. Think of it as your Internet Credit Score. If you have specific questions, feel free to email me.
    the Grit

    Hi Grit,
    If I had specific questions, I would email you – but I’m still in the weeds trying to digest what you just said. Although, it sorta kinda makes some sense. Guess I’m just not the hip little chickadee I used to be. 😉


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