How To Become A Successful Blogger: Part 3 – How To Ensure Readers Will Keep Coming Back

If we were inviting people around to our house for dinner, a party or just for a coffee, most of us would want to ensure that our home was clean, tidy and looking good, right? If that’s the case for our homes, then shouldn’t it also be the case for our blog?

After writing a new blog post, WordPress allows us to preview the post before we publish it. If you haven’t noticed it then the ‘Preview’ button sits right beside the publish button. I’m always surprised by how some blog posts look as if the author never previewed the post before publishing it. One of the most common errors I see is when large gaps appear between paragraphs or when there is a large blank space at the end of the post. Another error is a sentence being interrupted by an image or photo.

Another off-put for me is when there are large blocks of text within a post. These should either be split into smaller paragraphs or broken up with images or photos. That way it makes reading the post easier and the post is easier on the eye. In this particular post, I’ve only used one image but I’ve split the post up into several paragraphs. Just imagine what it would look like had I only used two or three paragraphs!

Another annoying feature I come across when reading some blog posts is how small the text within a post is. Some would almost need a magnifying glass to be able to read the post. Tiny text is not good to read and will put many readers off from reading your post and even following your blog. Think about increasing the size of the text on all your blog posts. It also goes without saying to ensure that people can read what you are publishing by making the text clear. For example, dark coloured text on a dark background is not good, as is a light coloured text on a light background.

To increase the size of the text on your blog, go to dashboard and click on –

Themes – Customize – Fonts

Depending on the theme you use, you can then select the font type and size for the heading of your blog and the font used in your posts. Play around with the different styles and sizes of font and preview them first. Then, once you’ve made your decision, don’t forget to click the save button.

Get into the habit of ensuring all the links on your blog work. Check the links on your menu bar and in any widgets on your blog. For some reason links can become redundant and not work and many readers will leave your blog almost straight away if they come across too many links that don’t work. Those using social media should always ensure links to their social media accounts work.

First impressions always count so ensure you have a theme and colours that you like. There’s no harm in asking for advice from other bloggers of which theme and colours to choose but always go with your gut instinct. If you are not happy with the theme or colours of your blog then you’ll be more likely to stop blogging altogether.

How To Become A Successful Blogger

Is there a subject you would like me to cover in my ‘How To Become A Successful Blogger’ series? Do you have any questions on what I have covered in this post? Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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145 thoughts

    1. Very true, Norm. Both Dan and Andrew mentioned in earlier comments how scheduling posts helps them as they can come back and check the posts before they go live. I don’t tend to schedule posts much but I do often sleep on a blog post so I can make changes the following day before pushing that publishing button.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Whew! I do 95% of those things regularly. I’m now going to check my social media links. Haven’t done that for a while 🙂
    I’ve had big issues this week with images. I had a clean out not realising it mean it also cleaned them out of my posts! So I am restoring them. Ugh! An article on the use of images, storage capacity, compressing etc would be really appreciated. I understand there are probably differences between paid and free themes. Mine is a free one. Thanks for these posts. Much appreciated 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve made the same mistake when deleting images. I’ve also done the same thing when rescheduling older posts. When that happens any links from the original post will no longer work.

      Using images from the web is a very sensitive subject. Here’s a couple of posts from a very good blogger friend of mine, Debby Kaye, about the subject.

      http://dgkayewriter.com/listen-up-5-tips-protect-copyright-infringement/

      http://dgkayewriter.com/clean-illegal-images-blog-its-late/

      I recommend you read them. They make quite scary reading, but don’t let that put you off from continuing to blog.

      I’ll cover images and storage in another post in the series. Thank you for suggesting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, much as it hurts, I am grateful you have brought this to my attention. I’ve started from scratch tonight. Am I correct in assuming that any licensing information will appear next to the photo on Pixabay with all the other technical info – eg
        Image – Pixabay
        CC0 Public Domain
        Free for commercial use
        No attribution required
        Image type JPEG
        Resolution 5248×4076
        Created Dec. 24, 2012
        Uploaded 4 months ago
        I couldn’t see where else to look ?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not necessarily, I’m afraid. In her article Debby says to check any small print. Often the expiry date of a free image can be hidden in there. She also mentions a site you can go to where you can upload the images and check more details about it. Here’s what she says –

        If you aren’t sure about where a photo originated from, use the site Tineye.com to upload the photo in question, and it will show you where the photo came from and where it’s been used and it’s licence permissions. Here is a link to a post I wrote about this last year http://dgkayewriter.com/clean-illegal-images-blog-its-late/

        She also goes on to say –

        Coincidentally, I came across 2 articles this week that cited some excellent photos sites to use FREE on our blogs. There is also some excellent information about paying attention to the licence usage. The new photos I’ve added to this post were obtained from Pixabay.com Just remember that FREE doesn’t always mean there’s not an expiry on the licence. CHECK THE FINE PRINT!

        https://blog.bufferapp.com/free-image-sources-list

        http://viralsweep.com/blog/free-stock-images-for-commercial-use/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. This issue has come up in Writing 201 which I am currently doing. This is what Michelle W has to say –
        FWIW, we stand behind any sites we recommend, and we use images from all those sources regularly. You should definitely always check the fine print, but there are no “gotchas!” on these sites

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I just admit that I do prefer text to be black, but I have seem some images where the author has used white text and it did look good against the dark background.

      As for the ‘sign up’ widget, I think many bloggers rely on the WordPress follow button that appears in the bottom righthand corner of a blog when the reader scrolls up. WordPress changed this feature about six months ago and it caused a lot of uproar. I think the old method they had (where a static follow button was at the top of a blog) was a far better idea. It’s a shame they replaced it with what they have now.

      Like

    1. That’s so nice that somebody took the trouble to inform you, Tess. All too often readers won’t tell a blogger if they find broken links on their blog. I certainly always let a blogger I follow know if I find any broken links..

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on jemsbooks and commented:
    Hugh Roberts has Part 3 of his great post How to Become a Successful Blogger. This part is about how to keep your readers coming back. Thanks, Hugh, for the helpful hints!

    Like

  3. A most excellent post my friend. Very helpful, I hope many take heed to the ‘using larger fonts’ and appropriate colours against dark or light backgrounds. It is hard on the eyes. I plan on reblogging this Hugh in the next week or so. I’ll ping you. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Debby. I’ve actually sent two links to your posts about copyright and images to another blogger as she was asking for some information. I’m going to cover the subject as well at some stage so will link back to your posts.
      Hugs,
      Hugh
      xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hugh, always good information in your posts. Agree with everything! I work up a post in a Word.doc first then copy and paste it to WordPress. Do the spacing, photos, and straightening up there. Seems to work okay. I do skip a lot of long posts with no photos. Too time consuming! Sometimes will only leave a post with a like, as there are too many comments to read before the comment space. Great post as always! Have a wonderful Sunday! Elizabeth

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I’ve learned so much over the two years I have been here and I love sharing the information.
      I don’t read all the comments on posts if there are hundreds of them, I just read a few. However, if I have something of value to add then I will always leave a comment (even if it’s already been said). That way, somebody who hasn’t read all the comments may read mine and get some help from it. 😃
      Happy Sunday.
      xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Hugh. Useful information. Matters can get very confusing if you’re not very technically minded, especially with the many changes they keep making (by they, I mean WordPress). Of course the different themes have a lot to do with the looks of the actual posts. I try and remember to preview posts before posting them, to check that everything works and links and pictures appeared as they should, but with my change to a new blog and different theme (that it’s not the definite, but still exploring) I’ve discovered many of the things and sizes are different…
    There are readers and readers. There are people who’ll get upset about the smallest thing and people who will be happy with the post if it brings them something they’re happy about or interested in.
    People might be careless or genuinely not realise or know how to do it…
    I’m always grateful when people spot something I have missed and let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, Olga. If anyone points out to me that I’ve a broken link or that the pingback did not work, I’m always very grateful.

      I realise that new bloggers have a huge learning curve ahead of them and that’s why I highly recommend the Blogging 101 and 201 courses WordPress run. What I get concerned about is when people don’t seem to be bothered how their blog looks or how their posts looks. Links remain broken (after you inform them), font remains too small or unreadable (after you inform them). They must see it themselves when looking back at the post yet they carry on making the same mistakes. I always say never be afraid to ask a question if you’re not sure about something. I did it myself (after been told to do so after a few weeks here on WordPress) and was amazed with the support I received.

      Yes, what theme you also use makes a big difference, but what I like about WordPress is that they seem to design special themes for certain subjects. However, as I said in the post, we should stick to a theme we like because that way we’ll keep coming back to our blog and enjoy the experience. If we don’t like what theme we use and don’t change it then it’s likely the blog will become abandoned or deleted.

      This subject always raises a lot of comments and I always enjoy all of you joining in the debate.

      Like

      1. lol, I have used the zoom feature, Teagan, but I started to get a little fed up using it when knowing that the font could be increased in size. I know I sound like a really grumpy man, but it does do my head in when the font is so small that you really do need a magnifying glass to read the post.😁 Maybe it’s my eyesight, but I always do wonder if the author can read the post themselves without having to squint? However, as Olga mentioned in her comment, it could also be down to not knowing how to change the size of the font. That’s why I decided to add ‘how to’ to the post.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Great advice, Hugh, as always. I’m always previewing my post as I’m writing, but I tend not to use the spell check any more as it just throws up all my Irish words and names. I would love to find a quick and simple way of checking for broken links, though… any ideas? I have so many links on my blog to sources, for example, that if I was to check them all, I’d never have time to write!

    Like

    1. Hi Ali,
      I’m here in Hugh’s place while he’s doing that thing he’s doing. https://validator.w3.org/checklink This link will work for you. It will take a while to run the whole site. I checked it using my Author site since I just created it. After it runs, scroll down and you’ll see the report. It’s going to show you things like what it can’t report on such as images and things of that nature. I did a bad link in one of my posts on the author site to see if it caught it and it did. I then took the link and pasted it in my search on my site, just like anyone would search for something and it went right to the post. It’s FREE, and would be good for an occasional check. It’s not like you would do this every day or even every week, but if your site is important to promote you as an author, then you do want to know things, such as who doesn’t have your guest posts or reviews up any longer that you are linking people to.

      Like

  7. Wonderful post on blogging, Hugh. I have to agree with the one about checking whether links are working on our blogs. I was checking out my Linkedin link the other day and to my horror, it lead me to a page that was unavailable. Got that fixed up, along with some links on my portfolio page.

    Small text on blogs is something that bothers me too. It is annoying to have to squint to make out the story and lessons, let alone the words. As for blog themes, I chose to keep mine simple so that readers can focus on the content and not get distracted 🙂

    There will be times after I publish a blog post with photos, I’d go back to the Media section of the dashboard and change the URL of the photos to something that describes the photo. Then I’d have to go back to my post, re-insert the photo into the post again for the image to properly link to its new URL. I would do this before publishing in the first place, but it seems WP only “attaches” the photo to the post after you’ve published it – and this is when I can create the unique, informative URL if you get my drift…

    Like

    1. Thanks Mabel. I didn’t realise that about photos and attaching your own URL to them. I’ll have to give it a try.

      The only real thing that distracts me from a blog post is when there are GIFs attached to it. Very rarely do I get to the end of a post because my eyes are forever being distracted by the movement they contain. I know many people like them but I find them quite off-putting.

      Like

      1. I too am not a huge fan of GIFs. There are some blogs where I don’t mind them when they go together with the text, but too many of them is a huge turn off for me – they make the blog slow to load on my computer. Same goes for a post that has many photos and I have a slow internet connection.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Makes good sense to me. Appearance and readability are critical if you expect people to pay attention to your posts. For my writing excerpt blog I use a clean, uncluttered theme with no ads and seldom an image. The fonts are good and the size readable. On my other informative and eclectic (writing tips, essays, humor, some political, etc.) blog I do use images but keep them properly sized.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good ideas, and I agree with Sacha about “attention to detail”. I think a lot of people who blog aren’t really inclined to be writers, so they don’t think the quality of their writing matters. On the other hand, I know that people whose first language is not English who blog in English will, of course, also not write perfectly.

    Another issue that I think many bloggers have is not being tech savvy. My kids’ dad is taking online classes, and one of his classes is English Composition. He keeps asking me for help with both the technical side of his class, as well as asking me to proofread his work – I don’t mind proofreading or answering a tech question, because I’m very tech-savvy and I make a good editor (people in the blogosphere have told me this, too). What bothers me is that at least three times in a row, he’s told me, “You should do my homework for me,” which kinda pisses me off. (Anyhow, I digress.) I think, like him, there are scores of people who are competent at other areas of life who just don’t really “get” the technical side of things and understand that you have to really be knowledgeable about both writing/grammar and technical web-related things, and that you have to learn both to keep improving, for your blogging.

    There are so many facets to blogging and so many “invisible” details that the reader doesn’t see that oftentimes, also escape a blogger. Before we were bloggers, we were all readers, right? I think it takes a little bit of a learning curve to switch hats.

    I’m an introvert in “real life,” and maybe that extends to my internet life. I enjoy connecting with others who are likeminded, but I have trouble connecting with general audiences who I’m unsure will dig what I have to say. I’m sad to say, social media is my only social life, though. Blogging is kind of my only connection to the outside world, but it tires me out to be on social media all the time. That’s another aspect of blogging that I think a lot of people don’t really recognize until they start blogging. I certainly didn’t. I realized that once I published a post, and no one was reading, I had no comments and hadn’t stimulated a conversation with anybody. Truth be told, even though I’m now on a slew of social media sites, publishing my content, I still don’t really stimulate a lot of conversation with readers/followers. Maybe I’m just not good at that part of blogging, I don’t know. haha.

    Anyhow, this actually reminded me of a post I read a few weeks ago. It was called something like “Why I Hate Your Blog” and detailed “blogging mistakes” that person perceives bloggers make. I found it ironic, because while I was on that blog, they made the same mistakes they were complaining about in the post. The typeface was too small and hard to read, the design was funky, they had these “annoying popups,” as they stated in their post….I thought, why are you doing the same thing you’re telling people NOT to do in their blogs? And I stopped reading about 1/3 of the way into the post. For me, the quality of the writing is a big deal. If your voice is not authentic, I stop reading. If your voice is not relatable, I stop reading. If your voice is all about “buy this, click that, list/list/list,” it loses its value for me. Maybe that’s just me, but I grow tired of writers I follow who only produce “lists” and not much else. I also hate those click-bait articles so much that I’ve stopped clicking on any I see that are worded that way.

    Anyhow, I might have rambled and gone off on a rant. Sorry about that, I’m sitting right next to a 3-year-old who won’t sleep and keeps being loud, so it’s distracting me and I can’t focus on what I’m writing.

    I liked the article. It brought up some very good points.

    Like

    1. Hi Juana, thank you so much for your comments.

      Language can be a huge problem when blogging but I was always told to write as myself and not to try and write as somebody else. I think that works and I love reading blog posts where I can truly see that everything is coming from within the author and they are not trying to write as somebody else.

      I agree that Blogging has a huge learning curve. I remember how very thankful I was, when I first started to blog, whenever I came across a post that included blogging tips and any technical help for posts and the look of my blog. I’ve learned a lot over the two years I’ve been here and I really enjoy sharing what I have learned with others. In fact, my blogging tips posts are amongst my highest most read posts. People seem to enjoy reading them and I’ve had many wonderful comments of thanks for them. To be able to blog successfully we must learn the technical side of blogging. Those that don’t bother with it usually, in my opinion, give up blogging after a few years.

      I’ve been asked a lot recently on how I get my readers to connect with me and to comment on my posts. I’ll be writing a post on that subject as part of this series. I’ll also be including Social Media as a part of the series as many people seem to be either frightened by it or end up spending far too much time on it.

      I would never criticize anybody personally for what they write, but I do offer advice on how people can become successful at blogging. Of course, mistakes can happen and that’s why I’m always thankful whenever anyone points out there’s a broken link on my blog or if a post fails to show up from an email. Giving advice that one does not follow themselves is a sure way of losing followers.

      I’m very pleased that you enjoyed reading this post and I hope you enjoy the others once they are published.
      Best wishes,
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great tips as always, Hugh! I smiled at the reference to the font clarity. Because I’m having issues with my contact lenses, I’m always afraid that my font will be shouting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Always learning something new from you! I will say, I’m forever ‘previewing’ my posts. You wouldn’t believe how many errors I catch!!! This usually takes longer than writing the post itself, but it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

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