At the end of July 2019, I came back from a six-week blogging break. It was, without a doubt, the most rewarding blogging break I had ever taken.
Here are the actions I implemented upon my return to blogging.
1 – Extending the time between writing and publishing posts.
Do you ever come across blog posts that you know have been rushed and published too quickly?
Looking back at some of the posts in my archives, I felt exactly that. When I reread them, I thought I had not given most of them enough time between the first draft and the publication date.
Had I taken my time and not published them for at least a few days after beginning them, I could have added so much more content and made changes to the post that I thought would have made it an even more interesting and engaging read.
Now, instead of writing and publishing a post on the same day, I’ve introduced a five-day window between the first draft and pressing the ‘publish’ button.
I’ve been amazed at how I can now transform a post I consider to be excellent, to one that goes even further in making it stand out from the thousands of other posts all published on the same day.
Has it worked? Yes, with great results. Since coming back from my blogging break, my recent posts have generated lots more traffic and comments to most of those I published before my blogging break.
I believe that much of that is down to the time I now give to drafting new posts.
How long do you take to write and edit a blog post before publishing it?
2 – I have unsubscribed from receiving emails from bloggers who publish more than one blog post a day.
It may sound harsh, but as somebody who does not particularly like reading posts on the WordPress Reader, I’ve always preferred getting emails when new blog posts are published. However, this can often have the result of making me feel overwhelmed by all the new emails coming into my email box.
I decided to unsubscribe from receiving emails from bloggers who regularly publish more than one blog post a day. This has drastically cut down the number of emails I now have in my email box.
Now, I catch up with those bloggers via the WordPress Reader. I do have to be on WordPress and scrolling through the WordPress Reader at the time of their publication to catch most of them, but it’s working for me, and that’s what’s important.
Why has this helped? It’s taken away that feeling of being overwhelmed by emails from WordPress.
I admire those bloggers who can churn out post after post, day after day, as I know it’s something I couldn’t do.
How do you deal with reading and commenting on the blog posts of bloggers who regularly publish more than one blog post in a day?
3 – I only read and comment on blog posts that interest me.
‘By far, the most crucial part of a blog post is its title.’
Well, that’s according to me. But, why?
If it doesn’t make me want to click on the link to read more, then I’m unlikely to read it. It’s a little like choosing which cake to eat with my afternoon cup of tea. If it looks good, I’ll try it. If it doesn’t, I’ll move on and have my tea with a cake that looks good.
What do you consider to be the most important part of a blog post to get people to read it?
I was spending far too much time reading blog posts that either did not interest me or that had titles that were not appealing enough.
I put down much of this in believing that I had to read and leave a comment. I realised what I was doing was something just for the sake of doing it. Where’s the fun in doing that?
Blogging should always be about fun and enjoyment, shouldn’t it? It should never become a burden or make us feel stressed.
Not only did I find myself not enjoying reading some blog posts, but I realised it was also wasting a lot of my time – time I could have spent doing stuff I enjoy doing.
It was only when somebody said to me ‘would you read or continue to read a book or magazine that didn’t interest you?’ that something clicked with me. Shouldn’t I be treating blog posts the same way?
One of the results is that I now have much more time to read and comment on the posts that do interest me.
Just like a book that I can’t get into, I’ll stop reading a blog post if it does not interest me. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But why would anybody read something that they were not enjoying?
For the first time since I can remember, I’ve actually started searching for blog posts about subjects that I know will interest me by searching for them on WordPress.
The result – I’m discovering more blogs and blogging communities, some of which are publishing content that I enjoy reading a lot.
Do you continue to read blog posts that don’t interest you regardless of who has published them? If so, why?
4 – I’ve stopped commenting for the sake of leaving a comment.
Connected with the previous point, I’ve taken the pressure off myself by thinking that if I don’t leave a comment, then I will be upsetting somebody who may think I haven’t read their latest post.
I saw too much of that on Facebook. It was one of the reasons why I left. WordPress isn’t supposed to be like Facebook, where everybody likes and comments on each others posts, is it?
Take the following comment from Chris at Twenty-First Summer, left on my post Is Now The Time For WordPress To Remove The Number of ‘Likes’ From View On All Blog Posts?
Chris wasn’t the only one to mention in the comments on that post that WordPress is becoming too much like Facebook.
Do you think WordPress is becoming too much like Facebook?
But what was it that possessed me in thinking that I had to leave a comment on every blog post I read? Nobody expects that, do they?
While I have always recommended that one of the best ways to get noticed in the world of blogging is to leave good, meaningful comments on the posts of other bloggers, nobody should ever feel the need to have to leave a comment of any kind on any blog post they read.
For me, one meaningful comment every now and again is worth a hundred comments that add no value to the posts they’ve been left on. I certainly never get upset with anyone who doesn’t leave a comment on my blog posts.
And, if somebody gets upset because you didn’t leave a comment on their new post, are they somebody whose blog you should be following?
There will always be readers and bloggers who don’t mind getting or leaving comments that add no value to a post, but I’ve decided that by stopping commenting for the sake of commenting, I’ve become a better blogger.
I feel much better for it.
Do you feel obliged to leave a comment on every blog post you read or of those of certain bloggers regardless of what they’ve published? If so, why?
5 – I’ve cutback the number of blogs I follow.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve cut back on the number of blogs I follow; that list always seems to increase again quickly. Now, however, I’ve introduced three further guidelines when choosing which blogs to follow.
- They must have an ‘about me’ page that tells me what I can expect if I read their blog posts. Otherwise, other than reading lots of their blog posts, how will I know what to expect?
- They must respond to all comments. After all, there’s no point leaving comments if they’re not returned or acknowledged, is there? And, as somebody who enjoys interacting with people, I don’t particularly enjoy being ignored.
- I must be interested in at least some of their content. Probably, more importantly, I don’t want to follow blogs that I never return to and which clutter up my email inbox or WordPress Reader. If I don’t go back, I will unfollow.
What guidelines do you use when deciding whether to follow a blog?
What could you do to become a better blogger? Let me know by leaving a comment.
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