Hermits Rock

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We Must Become More Popular!

As most of you know, we have a small partnership with Google, which amounts to our using a lot of Google’s services, including Gmail, Analytics, and Google Sitemaps, and if we weren’t all attached, we’d be hooking up thanks to Google Romance—well, Chris and I would, anyway. It’s been a healthy relationship for us, in the way that a parasite grows strong when it sucks life from its host.

Little did we know we were being monitored for it. All the hits we were getting from google.com were not Google’s robot spider. Instead, they were from Google’s human consultant, also a robot spider, who e-mailed Wednesday to say that, given all the services we use, Google has determined we are the ideal candidate for Google Consultant, a service to help small, quality Web sites increase revenue and Web traffic. The service is free, she said, but she also suggested that, if we did not participate, she could strip us of our e-mail address. So I signed us up, and yesterday, I got our first report, an analysis of what Hermits Rock is, and a few suggestions for how we might make Hermits more inviting to readers. The report was a 23-page PDF whitepaper. What I reproduce for you here are the choice parts.

Google is excited to have Hermits Rock join the Google Consultant team. Google Consultant is a powerful tool to help small Web sites increase traffic and become the Next Big Thing. Thanks to Google Consultant, Boing Boing got its first bounce, and we helped Pundit become Instapundit and increase traffic….

We have conducted an extensive analysis of Hermits Rock, its content and code, and we believe that we have identified four key areas that will help increase site traffic and potential revenue.

  1. Simplify your subject. We have seen at Hermits Rock enigmatic essays about everything from religion to employment to cable television to a DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince concert to interminable discussions about Christian education. Yawn! Who are you, Hermits Rock? We are Google. We know readers. They want easy reinforcement for what they already believe. The most popular Web sites, particularly blogs, have a perspective, a subject, and an a mode. Conservatives, for example, have become rich by being beleagured, by railing against the MSM, and by cultivating outrage and shock. Liberals, on the other hand, have lost a lot of money but drummed up plenty of readership by being appalled, by citing science (physical and social), and by developing a wry malaise about the world. The remaining 20% of your content may be miscellaneous musings, but 80% ought to be directed to two or three Issues.
  2. Use more blockquote. Block Quotations drive the Blogosphere. They are the means by which the best bloggers build networks of influence. Block quotations also allow every blogger to create easy, content-rich sites without all the hassles implicit in writing, argumentation, or ideas. Moreover, if you are careful in who you cite, you will automagically build up a set of readers who will help you with #1.
  3. Link to more bloggers. Every blogger runs a Technorati search once per week, and Bloggers are good to repay one kind link for another. The more links you make, the more links you get, especially when combined with #2 and #1.
  4. Focus research says: get more gay, or drop Greg and Jeremy. Even though the gay lobby is the largest lobby group in Washington, one Gay Restorationist does not an “extensive readership” make. Too many Baaaaaby Animals, too many queer studies, too much theater, too much gossip leaves your straight readers confused. You make it difficult for them. Last week Greg renounced his masculinity. Last month, a former reader, when told of a real (pseudonymous) gay man, asked, “Who is he? Is he… Jeremy?” Chris, on the other hand, when he writes, writes about his virility, and as a result his posts command 50% more hits than the rest of the site combined. Ambiguity will only drive your readers away. Greg and Jeremy, either hang up your pants, or come out of the closet.

We believe if you follow these four simple steps, Hermits Rock has the potential to increase its readership a hundredfold. We will be monitoring your progress.


4/2/2006 Update:

April Fool!
King Lear and Fool in the Storm, by William Dyce



that is beautiful.

wish i had time to say more, but am off to go have (virile) sex.

please thank them for me.

i will look for my niche and when i find it, i will not let it go.

do they have a quiz i could take to find out what my niche is?

or is it pointless? will not my dexterity with the kitchenaid, even if it isn’t pink, not save me from getting booted out of our hermitage?

I know. When I got the letter, I felt so… exposed.

Then I thought, how sweet would it be to have that job at Google!

Then I thought, y’know, if we followed these steps, we’d probably drive a lot more traffic here.

Then I felt ashamed, and I don’t even have a KitchenAid!

(Though I do have a CuisineArt, which I use to make cauliflower pie.)

Oh! and J, here is the “Is Blogging for You?” quiz.

When Chris disappears for sex, he does it in virile style: eight hours… and counting!

oh so you are implying that blogging isn’t for me… that’s even worse than whether or not i have a niche… that’s back away from the keyboard, you have no right to write, anything you do write will be held against you.

Anything you write will be held against you, anyway; as long as you’re ok with that, I am too. :) As for your niche… well, a niche is a niche is a niche.

yeah, i need to add… and google will make sure that everyone reads it.

Not everyone—that’s paranoia. Only the ones who put the right search strings together and who then bother to look deep into the long list of results. 75% of the time, it’s probably just students looking to plagiarize a paragraph or two.

you can call me “sting.”

Greg, do you really make cauliflower pie?

Indeed! With a potato crust. It’s really a quiche, if you want to get all purist over it. It’s really good for lunch the day after. I started making it from the Moosewood Cookbook, a recipe which Judith Weinraub reprints here in the Milawaukee Journal-Sentinel. 1) Soy milk substitutes for milk really well. 2) grating potatoes by hand is terribly frustrating, and makes the recipe almost not worth the effort; the food processor is the way to go.

hmm, i think it’s too lumpy to be a quiche (not that i have the ability to define what a quiche can or cannot be). it’s typical moosewood fair: homey and yummy, warms up well at work.

oh yeah, now I remember seeing that recipe in my cookbook and thinking, “yech! cauliflower pie?” But now I look at it and think, “probably yummy, but yech! grating cheese, potato AND onion?” (we don’t have a food processor.)

We buy the cheese pre-grated. But yeah, the processor-assist is necessary here. When I tried grating potatoes by hand, I pulverized them. All water, no potato. BTW, when/if you buy a food processor, buy on eBay.

what a sensible idea. I am going to have to hold off on even a used food processor for the time being, though—and, I guess, cauliflower pie.

You can even get a new one for cheap there, which is generally great for household appliances.

ok, so i just went to look out of curiosity, and had to mention for j’s benefit that they have PINK ones there. not that i have even $5 for a food processor right now. gotta prepare for kid #2, you know.

I had to see it for myself. And for the record, a pink FP totally rocks. (Only 21 hours left, as of this writing!) It almost makes me wish we had waited before we bought—even though a CuisineArt’s nothing to sneeze at, how could one not swoon for the chance to make salsa in a bubble-gum package? Pink, I think, would make the salsa taste precious!