Blogging: Ten more thoughts

After all the recent activity concerning the referendum, I decided to have a rest from that this morning, and consider the subject of blogging once again. With lots of new bloggers starting out every day, and many others wondering whether or not to start a blog, perhaps the experience of my own small blogs might be of some value.

Over the last few weeks, my views and followers have continued to increase in number, despite my not really changing anything about how I blog, or what I write about. I had a look through the most-read posts, and checked the views for many that receive a lot less attention too. This is a far from scientific study, and is based purely on personal observations.

1) Write about your local area. Describe the nearest town or city, the shops, surroundings, and amenities. What it is like to live there, and if you would recommend others to do so.
My own posts about Beetley Village and Dereham Town are read every day, without fail.

2) Add photos and images of the things you write about. They will attract twice as many readers as text alone.

3) Think carefully about categories and tags. These will be searched by those looking for similar interests, like Photography, Cats, Pets, Cars, or Writing. Using the tag ‘Blogging’ (when appropriate) will always attract a lot of views too.

4) Like and Follow blogs similar to your own, or about things that interest you. Build a community, and others will search you out, from your comments or gravatar.

5) Use a photo or eye-catching image for your gravatar. Choose something appropriate for your blog, perhaps a national flag, or your favourite photo.

6) Be wary how much you give away about yourself, and your personal details. Don’t include the registration number in any photos of your car, or any address details in photos of your house or garden. Not all bloggers can be trusted, though the majority are perfectly safe.

7) Don’t expect personal thoughts and recollections to naturally attract views or followers. Remember that it is a very international community, and what you did as a child, or how you got on at university, may have no relevance to someone on the other side of the world.

8) Remember to warn of any bad language, subjects that some may consider offensive, or images that might not be thought to be acceptable. State this at the outset, so as not to upset any potential readers. Likewise with reviews of films, plays, books, or similar. If you are going to reveal plot twists or endings, warn of spoilers at the very beginning.

9) If you intend to post fictional stories, or poems, bear in mind that the blogging world, and the rest of the Internet, are inundated with these. Do so by all means, but don’t expect too much, as you may get lost in the crowd.

10) Specific or themed blogs are very popular. Video gaming, cookery, fashion and beauty, all these are very common, and the most widely-read. If you are considering a similar blog for yourself, read lots of the others first, and try to do something a little bit different.

As an aside, I am personally very pleased to see that one of my own short stories has actually achieved the highest views on my blog this week. That was a long time coming, but feels rewarding.

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28 thoughts on “Blogging: Ten more thoughts

  1. Great post Pete! As a new bloggee I’ll try to keep this all in mind! I tried to keep some “local” on my first post as it will be only friends and family reading it I predict! Gonna have a scan through your blog to see can I find any more nuggets! Cheers, Cillian

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    1. Hi, Cillian. Welcome to blogging, and thanks very much for your comments.
      You might like this older post too. https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/blogging-some-things-i-have-learned/
      If you ever get stuck on something with WordPress, feel free to email me at petejohnson50@yahoo.com
      If I can’t help, I probably know someone who can. If you would like me to publish a guest post from you on this blog, please send it to the same email address.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Thanks for the message Pete! A guest post sounds great down the line and visa versa! I read your “Things you have learned post” And will definately take them tips on board. I would really appreciate if you have 5 spare minutes for you to have a quick look at my first post. I would love some feedback and maybe some suggestions to improve. Chat soon, Cillian

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        1. I have just read your first post, Cillian. Bearing in mind our age difference (I am 64) I found a band there that I also like! (London Grammar)

          I have some thoughts and suggestions you may or may not wish to consider.
          Explore other free themes in the dashboard. You can ‘Preview’ your blog in them, and see how it looks without changing it. The theme you have is a bit staid for a young man with a music-centred blog, in my opinion. I do like the separate category for photos. That’s a good idea.
          Remember it is a blog, and not a chat platform like Facebook. You might want to think about writing the post more like an article, than a series of short paragraphs interspersed by images and captions.

          Use fewer tags, and make them generic. Things like ‘Music,’ ‘Dublin,’ ‘Modern Bands,’ will get more attention than a long list of names and tracks.
          Put something on your ‘Contact Me’ page, like an email address, and a warning about the content of contact messages. Something like; ‘Happy to reply to any contact but please keep it clean, and no insults.’
          Try different ways of posting an article by ‘Save Draft’ and then ‘Preview’, on your WordPress dashboard. You can do as many as you want, then delete the ones you don’t like.

          I hope that gives you a different viewpoint, and something to think about.
          Have a look at this music blog, from Thom Hickey. The music may be different to the things you like, but the blog is very well-written, and has lots of loyal followers.
          https://theimmortaljukebox.com/
          Best wishes, Pete.

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          1. Pete, thanks so much for all that advice. I have reduced the tags. I also had planned on changing my theme. I checked out Thom’s blog. It’s minimal and simply to navigate. Thanks again

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      1. Well my friend you’ve help me out a great deal.. I’ve struggled with my older blog that I ran for almost 4 years, before starting fresh with Bluebird4udaily… The older blog only drew 5 to 6 people on a regular basis and made me wonder why I began blogging in the first place… I think my down fall was going to the stats page on a daily basis too… It became maddening for me to see no progress.. Until this new blog I’ve begun a few months ago… I’ve not been to the stats page once, and I don’t have a follower counter on my blog like I did with the older one… This time I’m just blogging about this and that even though my son tells me to just blog about one thing, like cooking or just crafting etc.. But, I can’t limit myself to just a cooking blog, I’d become too bored with it in a short time.. Perhaps, blogging is not for me in the long run.. I pondered for a spell….Then I said No, it is for me and if only I see the written words on my pages so be it.. I do enjoy the process of planning what to yak about on my blog, or what pictures I want to include..

        Your ideas are good ones and I will be trying them out for a spin.. tags too.. I never really know what to put there in that box, I liked the one you wrote about “Blogging” what a simple but grand idea.. wish me luck and thank you again for all of your support with this new blog of mine and the older one too…. Take care , Laura

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        1. There have been times when I have been down with blogging, and thought of giving up. But lots of people urged me to carry on. When I thought about it, I never expected anyone to read my blog when I started. I thought it would just be a record of things that I liked, things that I did, and things from the past. If even one person left a comment, I would get incredibly excited. It took four years to build any sort of community, during which time many of my original followers, and bloggers I loved to read, either gave up, or disappeared. New ones came along eventually, and many have stayed right from the start.
          I have recently started to follow a few more blogs. I once set a limit of 20, and stuck to that, but it is now closer to 40. Many of those hardly ever post, so it is easy enough to keep up with that number. I also have many followers that I do not follow back, as their blogs are so different to mine. It is hard to get the balance right, but I keep working at it.
          So don’t stop, keep doing what you do, if only for the pleasure it brings you, and the fact that a few people like me are always interested in your life and thoughts. Carry on ignoring the stats, and treat it as just another hobby. It can do no harm, and often gives enjoyment. And it’s free!
          Best wishes as always, Pete.

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          1. Thank you most kindly, Pete for such a wonderful uplifting pep talk… I suppose I needed one today.. The loss of my sister via suicide has hit me so hard, even when at times I try my best to keep an uplifting message inside of my posts, it’s still overwhelming at times when the tide of emotions roll in like a tidal wave. I know she enjoyed reading everything I would post and that in its self calms me just knowing for a short time I made her day just a little better, offering her the needed smiles she needed for a short time. I know in my heart blogging here and meeting such fine people as yourself and others has helped me so much. I shall continue if only to smile when you comment on something I’ve posted.. even if at times I’m sure it’s not your cup of tea.. That’s the measure of a blogging friend I believe, they never alter and always surprise.. Bless you my dear friend.. Tomorrow is yet another day .. Happy Blogging to ya, from Laura ~Oh and I made egg rolls for dinner tonight with fresh green onions straight out of my garden.. I’ve eaten so many radishes I’m actually happy they bolted and they are toast.. Swiss Chard now resides in their place .. Stir fry here we come again..

            🙂

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  2. It’s a bit difficult to know what will resonate. Habitual readers seem to respond to questions and to personal posts better (I definitely had the most support and comments to my post about my father’s death) but it’s true that they wouldn’t be of general interest. But then I guess not everybody blogs for the same reason, and some might have very personal blogs to express themselves, whilst other share more technical things, how to, tips, or local information. I agree that sharing stories and writing, unless you have a big following, is unlikely to get much new response.

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    1. Thanks, Olga. This was the second part of a series to give tips and helpful advice to new bloggers. All things will not apply to everyone, naturally. The response to your Mum, although not relevant to your literary blog, is exactly what a ‘blogging community’ is all about, and a great example of how we feel close to people we have never met.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Good point in number 8, too many blogs use foul language and have explicit adult content, however, they generally don’t warn people about that.

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  4. I would add that reciprocity is important. Don’t forget to take the time to respond to the posts of your community if you are hoping they will come to your blog to like and comment. You are exceptional at this, Pete.

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