Many WordPress bloggers wonder what it takes to get Freshly Pressed, and those who have been Freshly Pressed wonder why a particular post of theirs was chosen over others they have written. In order to try to ease your wonderings, not mine you understand, yours, I have done some research. I have gone through a consecutive block of 100 Freshly Pressed posts and analysed them for you. You can thank me later in whatever way you see fit; I accept all major credit cards and most brands of chocolate.
“What?!” I hear you cry. “100 posts! You really did this wonderful thing for us Vanessa?” Yep, that’s right. I decided that if I was going to do this, then I needed to do 100 to make the statistics in any way meaningful, plus it makes it so much easier to calculate percentages. It was a bigger and more difficult task than I had imagined though, and there were times I wished I had never started, but I carried on regardless. I will take you through the stats in a minute, but first, I can exclusively reveal, that to have the best chance of being Freshly Pressed you need to…
Be a female blogger, based in the USA, who has been blogging for between 1 to 2 years, and has written a post about current affairs, politics or world issues, which is between 500 and 1000 words long, and contains one image.
Da daahh! Ah, but if only it was as simple as that. Even though 100 posts was a pretty good sample, it is effectively just a snapshot. I could have done this analysis 6 months ago, or in 6 months’ time and ended up with completely different results, or not, I don’t know. But more importantly than that, where is my control group? For the statistics to really mean anything, we would have to compare them to all the other non-Freshly Pressed posts that were published over the same time period as my sample, to see if the percentages on the Freshly Pressed are representative of the published blogs as a whole. And I’m sorry but I ain’t got time for that level of research! And so I fear that my research is probably nothing more than an interesting exercise, but now that I’ve done it, please stay with me as we go through the stats on those 100 posts…
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Location of blogger
I didn’t use any kind of technical way of ascertaining their location, mostly because I didn’t know how to do it in a technical way; from what I understand, it is possible to disguise your IP address to look like you’re in a different country so I didn’t think IP addresses would be reliable. I based this on where they said they were in their ‘About’ page, or if they didn’t mention it there, then I looked through their last two or three posts to see if it was obvious from that. That’s why there are quite a lot in the ‘Not sure’ slot. I was surprised there was only one from Australia, but maybe the Australians are reticent about revealing where they are located, and therefore several of the ‘Not sure’ ones could be them:
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Gender of blogger
A pretty even split here, could be completely even depending on where my ‘not sure’ ones fall. This is one of the instances where it would be good to compare it to the active WordPress blogging community as a whole, to see if WordPress perhaps deliberately aim for an even gender split on the Freshly Pressed, or whether the blogging community as a whole is evenly split like this:
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How long their blog site has been going
I mainly did this one because I have heard it said on more than one occasion that WordPress favour new blogs when Freshly Pressing. That doesn’t appear to be the case particularly from here, but again, we would need to compare it to the active WordPress blogging community as a whole to be sure. This one was particularly time-consuming to do; where blogs had a nice ‘archives’ widget on the page, then it was easy to find how long they’ve been going, but where they didn’t, I had to keep going to the bottom of the page, and clicking ‘older posts’ which sometimes only added another two or three posts on the bottom, and if they had been going a while, and posting several times a week, it took a really long time to get to their oldest post! If there’s a better way to do it than that, then please tell me…actually don’t tell me now, I don’t want to know:
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Number of words in their Freshly Pressed post
You may be interested to know that the average word count calculated across all the 100 posts was 1018 words, which is perhaps higher than I would have thought. In blocks, it looks like this:
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Number of images in their Freshly Pressed post
This is only the images within the actual post, it doesn’t include any general images on their blog. Where it says ‘Gallery’ that is where the post was itself a gallery of photographs, as opposed to say, the ones in the 4+ where the text is the main thing. In addition to the images, six of the posts detailed below also included videos – one of the ones with no images had three videos, two of the ones with one image had one video, one of the ones with one image had two videos, one of the ones with two images had one video, and one of the ones with four images had one video. I could have put all that into a table too…but I didn’t:
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Was the Freshly Pressed post written as part of a WordPress challenge?
I had to base this purely on whether they had tagged it as being so:
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Category of the Freshly Pressed post
This is probably the most important section, and it’s the one I anguished over the most. I didn’t want to use the categories that the bloggers themselves had assigned to their posts because people can name categories whatever they like, so some are fairly meaningless in terms of understanding what the post is about, things like ‘my thoughts’ or ‘random’, and also some posts are given several categories, and some none. So I had to come up with my own categories. I didn’t decide on them ahead of time; they evolved as I went through the posts. I naively thought they might all fit neatly and obviously into about 6 categories, but I’ve ended up with 21. Yes, I could have grouped them up further to end up with fewer categories, but I wanted to ensure that I properly reflected the range of different topics and types of posts. I had to make tricky decisions because some could have fitted into a few different categories, so I focused on what I thought was the main crux of the post. 10 people could do the same exercise on these same posts and end up with 10 different ways of categorising them, so I’m certainly not claiming this is any kind of exact science. But this is what I ended up with:
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Were there any surprises? Well, I only dip into the Freshly Pressed pages occasionally, so I didn’t really know what I would find. However, for me, the biggest surprise was how few of the posts were light-hearted or humorous; a much higher percentage of them than I expected dealt with serious issues. Out of my own circle of blogging buddies who have been Freshly Pressed, it has been mostly with light-hearted or humorous posts, so I wrongly assumed that was the norm, however I now realise that is just because the blogs I choose to interact with tend to be the light and funny ones (it seems so obvious now!). I was also surprised that there weren’t more food posts; I’m pretty sure that a while back, you couldn’t go on to the Freshly Pressed page without seeing a picture of a cheesecake.
Ultimately though I don’t think I can provide any definitive answers here, and so I’m afraid the workings of the WordPress Freshly Pressing gods will, for now, remain a mystery…