Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – June 2022

These 13 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Happy Jubilee.

Jubilee #WordlessWednesday #Photography

June is Pride Month. Happy Pride. Is ‘coming out of the closet’ and telling family and friends that you are gay still as difficult as it was 40 years ago?

Throwback Thursday – True Stories: Gay Memories – Coming Out Of The Closet #LGBTQI #LGBT#PrideMonth

  • Who or what is to blame for almost destroying the world?

Flash Fiction Friday – Who Is To Blame?

  • Are you stressed out by dealing with too many spam comments on your blog? How to deal with spam comments and eliminate the stress without disappointing your readers.

How To Deal With Spam Without Closing Comments On Your Blog Posts

  • Where do you keep your marmalade sandwich?

Perhaps you’d like a Ma’amalade sandwich, Your Majesty? Tea With Paddington Bear

  • How many numbers can you see?

How Many? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • What secret do the stacking stones hold?

Flash Fiction Friday – Secret Of The Stones

  • When did you first meet a gay person?

True Stories: Gay Memories – Meeting Another Gay Person For The First Time #LGBTQI #LGBT

  • What are the signs of the beginning of summer for you?

Waiting For Summer #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • What danger and dilemma lurk on the other side of the door?

Flash Fiction Friday – Dilemma

  • Can you see the mountain range in the sky?

Mountains In The Sky #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Freedom comes in many forms. Are you thankful for your freedom?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Two Faces Of Freedom

  • Which way would you go? Right, left, up or down?

Where To Now? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

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How To Deal With Spam Without Closing Comments On Your Blog Posts

SPAM! It’s something every blogger dislikes and something every blogger will have to deal with.

I’ve seen bloggers close comments off all their posts because of spam.

I’ve seen bloggers telling readers that they only accept email comments because of spam.

I’ve even witnessed bloggers telling readers only to leave comments on social media platforms because of spam.

In all these cases, spam triumphed.

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Don’t allow spam to stop your readers from leaving comments

When another blogger told me, ‘Closing comments off on your blog is like slamming the door in your readers’ faces,’ I had to rethink how to tackle handling spam.

What was I doing? I was closing comments off posts that attracted lots of spam but still attracted genuine comments.

It reminded me of another blogger who told her readers that she tackled spam by closing off comments on all her posts 14 days after publication because of spam. She told her readers that 14 days was enough time for them to read and comment on all her posts. I shook my head in disbelief.

Many bloggers close comments on blog posts that attract lots of spam. But there are ways of dealing with spam without closing comments off.

1. Reschedule the post

Rescheduling an existing blog post gives it a new lease of life, but it also provides the post with a new URL address, thus fooling the spammers.

How to reschedule a blog post on WordPress

  • Open the post you want to reschedule in ‘edit’ mode.
  • In the settings box of the post, click on the date and time link that the post was initially published.
Image highlighting when you reschedule a blog post on WordPress
Rescheduling a blog post
  • A calendar will open. Choose the new date and time you want the post to reschedule.
Image showing a rescheduling calendar on a blog post on WordPress
Choose a new date and time for rescheduling
  • Click the ‘Update’ button.
Image highlighting the Update button when rescheduling a blog post on WordPress
The Update Button
  • Your post will now republish on the date and time you chose.

Here are a few essential things to think about when rescheduling blog posts.

  • Your post will show up on the WordPress Reader list of your followers when it republishes.
  • WordPress does not send out a new email notification when a rescheduled post is published.
  • You won’t lose all the existing comments and ‘likes’ on a post that has been rescheduled.
  • Any links, pingbacks and trackbacks to the original post will become invalid, as will any previous shares of the post on social media. I recommend, therefore, that you only reschedule posts that are at least a year old.

Tip: Rescheduling a post is also an excellent chance to update it and fix any broken pingbacks before rescheduling it.

2. Rewrite the post and republish it as a new post.

If the post is over a year old and requires lots of updating, consider rewriting and publishing it as a new post.

You can do the same with posts that you have published on other blogging platforms but which you now want to publish on WordPress.

Here are a few essential things to consider.

  • All existing likes and comments will be lost.
  • All reblog links, pingbacks and links to the post will become invalid.
  • All links and shares on social media will become invalid.
  • Some readers may dislike reading duplicated content they have read on your blog before, so do consider how long ago the post was initially published.
  • Consider informing readers that it is a rewritten version of a previous post at the beginning of your post.
  • Remember to delete the post attracting too much spam once you’ve published the new post.
  • Give the new post a slightly different title. SEOs rank posts and blogs lower that contain too many duplicated blog post titles.

3. Delete the post

Every blogger should be excellent at keeping their blog up to date. Blog housekeeping is as important as writing and publishing new blog posts.

If you have blog posts attracting lots of spam, consider deleting them if the content is outdated and no longer worth keeping. That will put pay to the spambots attacking the post and causing you stress.

However, do remember that deleting a post will also mean that any likes, comments and shares will also be lost.

Final thoughts on spam

Don’t slam the door in the faces of visitors to your blog by allowing spam to stop them from leaving comments and joining discussions and conversations on any of your blog posts.

Remember that search engines will send visitors to your blog posts for as long as the post is live. If they find they can’t leave comments and join a discussion, they may not return.

Don’t ask visitors to leave comments they couldn’t leave on your other blog posts where comments remain open. That will only confuse visitors reading the comments sections.

Get into the habit of checking your WordPress spam folder every time you log into your blog.

Delete the spam, and mark any genuine comments as ‘Not Spam.’ You can do this by changing the view setting of the comments page of your blog’s dashboard to ‘Classic view.’ My blog post, ‘New: WordPress Screen Options Button – Where, Why And How To Use It,‘ gives more details.

Spam can also be ‘bulk’ deleted when in the ‘Default view’ setting.

Spam comments rarely have an image or photo in the gravatar area of the comment (see image below).

Images highlighting spam messages that contain no Gravatar images
Spam messages often contain no Gravatar image.

Bulk delete comments that do not contain an image or photo on the gravatar.

If you’re not sure a comment is spam, look at the web address of where the comment has come from. If it doesn’t look right, it’s spam.

Image highlighting the web address of a spam comment
If the website address of a comment doesn’t look right, it’s spam!

Don’t allow spam to win!

How do you deal with too many spam comments on your blog?

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – May 2022

These 11 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Have you heard of the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge? How participating can help your blog and photography website gain new followers.

How To Participate In The Wordless Wednesday Photography Challenge And Gain New Followers

  • They were about to be evicted. Would anyone come to their help?

Flash Fiction Friday – Evicted

  • Could you live without social media for 31 days?

Reblog Of The Month: Have You Ever Been Tempted To Switch Off Your Social Media?

  • What strange objects have you found in water?

Strange Objects Found In Water #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • How many old and outdated blog posts do you have live on your blog? They could be damaging your blog.

Throwback Thursday – Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

  • A mother will do anything to save her children, won’t she?

Flash Fiction Friday – A Matter Of Life

  • Be careful. You’re always being watched, even when having breakfast.

Did You Know That Something Is Watching You? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Have you heard of Throwback Thursday? It’s the day you can bring old blog posts back to life. Read on for more details on how to participate.

How To Participate In Throwback Thursday And Help Your Old Blog Posts Get Noticed

  • What is the secret behind the name Buttercup?

Flash Fiction Friday – Buttercup

  • Look closer. You may see more than you think you see.

What Can You See In The Spring Meadow? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Tanya has a secret weapon to help her group. But what do they need help with?

Flash Fiction Friday – Now It’s Your Turn

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Monthly Round-Up May 2022

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How To Participate In Throwback Thursday And Help Your Old Blog Posts Get Noticed

What is Throwback Thursday?

How do you participate in Throwback Thursday?

Throwback Thursday is the day to bring your old blog posts back to life.

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Are you making the most of your old blog posts?

We all have old blog posts in our archives, many of which are like buried bits of treasure that can reward us again. Throwback Thursday is the perfect day to bring out those old blog posts again.

Only use blog posts that are still relevant, although always ensure you first make any necessary changes to the posts you want to highlight.

How to participate in Throwback Thursday

Select a favourite blog post that is at least a few months old.

Share it via a pingback or link in a new Throwback Thursday blog post.

After all, not only will some of your readers not have seen the post the first time it was published, but new followers may also not have seen it.

However, as I mentioned, rather than publish the whole post again, the idea behind Throwback Thursday is to include a link to the post you want to highlight in your Throwback Thursday post.

Here’s an example of one of my Throwback Thursday posts.

Throwback Thursday – Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

What you should do with your Throwback Thursday blog posts.

Only publish the post on a Thursday. That may seem like common sense, but I’ve seen bloggers publish them on other days of the week. Some readers may find it odd publishing Throwback Thursday posts on any other day than a Thursday. After all, the clue is in the title.

However, don’t worry if you miss publishing your Throwback Thursday blog post. You can always delay publication until the following Thursday. There are lots of Thursdays to choose from.

Flashback Friday.

If you’re a day late in publishing your Throwback Thursday post, you can always change it to a Flashback Friday post. Flashback Friday has the same concept as Throwback Thursday, where you are encouraged to highlight older blog posts.

Share your Throwback Thursday posts on social media using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday so that other participants can find your post.

Tag your post ‘ThrowBack Thursday’ on your blog so that other participants can find it.

You can also include the words ‘Throwback Thursday’ or the hashtag in the title of your blog post, but always ensure you add the title of the blog post you’re highlighting. You don’t want to end up with many blog posts simply titled ‘Throwback Thursday.’

When creating the pingback to the post you want to highlight, ensure you turn on the ‘open in new tab‘ button so that readers don’t lose the page of your blog they’re on.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for full details.

Is there anything else I should consider when publishing Throwback Thursday blog posts?

Yes, I recommend closing comments on the post and asking readers to leave any new comments on the original blog post you’re highlighting. That way, they will be able to see and read comments already left on the post you’re promoting. They can join any ongoing discussion. It makes more sense to have comments on the same post rather than scattered across several blog posts.

When selecting which posts to promote, choose the ones you believe your readers will benefit from and think they’ll enjoy reading again.

And that is Throwback Thursday.

Do you participate in Throwback Thursday? Do you have any questions about Throwback Thursday? Please leave them in the comments section.

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Throwback Thursday – Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

How many old and outdated blog posts do you have live on your blog? If you don’t know the answer, you’re probably already damaging the success of your blog.

Find out more by clicking the link below.

Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It Happening

Throwback Thursday – The day to bring older blog posts back to life.

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Throwback Thursday

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How To Participate In The Wordless Wednesday Photography Challenge And Gain New Followers

What is Wordless Wednesday?

It’s a photography challenge I became aware of when I started blogging in 2014.

The purpose of the challenge is to allow photos or pictures to tell a story without using any words.

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Have you participated in Wordless Wednesday?

I’ve no idea who began the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge, but my hat goes off to them. It’s an easy and simple challenge to get involved with that’ll bring new followers to your blog.

The more you participate, the more new visitors your blog will get. However, it does help if you do the challenge correctly and ensure you promote your Wordless Wednesday blog posts on social media.

You will also gain new visitors and followers if you visit and leave comments on other Wordless Wednesday blog posts.

Fact: Participating in the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge ignited my long-lost passion for photography. I have also discovered some wonderful new blogs by participating.

Are there any rules for participating in Wordless Wednesday? 

None that I can find. So I’m sharing some of the rules I believe the originator of Wordless Wednesday would have set when creating the challenge. 

Those interested in participating can take or leave these rules, but remember that the key feature of the challenge is for your blog post to be wordless. 

  • Published entries only on a Wednesday. 
  • Other than the title of your post and any captions and copyright information, don’t use any words in the main body of the post. Remember, the theme is ‘Wordless.’
  • Your photo should not contain words or letters (other than copyright information).
  • Use the hashtag #WordlessWednesday when sharing your post on social media. That way, other participants can find them.
  • Tag your Wordless Wednesday posts ‘WordlessWednesday’ on your blog so that other participants can find them. 

Can I use ‘Wordless Wednesday’ in the title of my blog posts?

Yes, and it’s something I recommend you do.

Warning: Do not use just ‘Wordless Wednesday’ as the title. Why? Because as you publish more and more Wordless Wednesday posts, you’ll build up many blog posts with the same identical title. SEOs such as Google and Bing dislike duplicated blog post titles. As a result, your blog will be ranked lower for using duplicated blog post titles.

Using the same blog post title also renders the search facility on your blog useless. For example, let’s say somebody wants to find a photo of a boat I published on a Wordless Wednesday post five years ago. If I’ve titled all my blog posts ‘Wordless Wednesday’ they’ll have to search through all those posts to find the one they’re looking for.

However, if I titled the post ‘Red boat’ #WordlessWednesday‘, a search result for ‘Boat’ will feature that particular post.

  • So, always give the title of your Wordless Wednesday blog posts a different title. Here are some examples.

Clouds #WordlessWednesday

A Day at the beach #WordlessWednesday

In the park #WordlessWednesday

Solitude #WordlessWednesday

Hills and Mountains #WordlessWednesday

Go with a title that fits the photo(s) theme you’re sharing, and add the Wordless Wednesday hashtag to it.

Using images and photos that are not your own

If you’re using an image from the internet for your post, remember to credit the originator or the site where you got the photo/image. You can do this by adding a caption which you can turn into a pingback. 

Not sure what a pingback is or how to create one? Check out my blog post How To Create A Pingback On A WordPress Blog.

If the photo/image is completely free to use at all times, you don’t need to credit it. However, check the small print before using any photos or images from the internet as they may only be free to use for a limited time.

Warning: Bloggers get fined for illegally using copyrighted photos and images on their blogs. Check out Deborah Jay’s guest post, ‘Why I Was Threatened With Legal Action After Reblogging On WordPress‘ about being threatened with legal action and a fine for using a copyrighted photo on her blog.

Using your own images and photos is a much safer option.

What you shouldn’t do with the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge

  • Use images and photos that are copyrighted and illegal to use and share.
  • Add lots of text to your post. I’ve seen many bloggers use Wordless Wednesday in the title of a blog post and add loads of text to the body of the post.
  • Likewise, I have seen some bloggers use the Wordless Wednesday hashtag on social media for a post containing lots of text. Those searching for Wordless Wednesday posts and taken to a blog post that contains lots of text won’t return to your blog.

The whole idea of Wordless Wednesday is for the blog post not to contain any text about the photos or images. Allow the photos or images to tell the story.

The comments section of the post can be used to give out more information about the photos or images you are using.

Here are some examples of some of my Wordless Wednesday blog posts. They’ll give you an idea of how to participate. Click on the links to see the posts.

Have You Ever Seen A Hippopotamus In Your Coffee? #Wordless Wednesday #Photography

Fresh And Fruity #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Sunrise Over Swansea Bay #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Feel free to leave me a link to your Wordless Wednesday post in the comments section. I’d love to see them.

Do you participate in Wordless Wednesday? Do you have any questions about the Wordless Wednesday Photography Challenge? Leave them in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you.

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – April 2022

These 9 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Time is running out for Adam. Was he killed or murdered? Can you solve the mystery?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Last Of Adam

  • Sometimes, photos do not come out as expected.

Strange Photos #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Help me raise £250 for the British Red Cross Ukrainian Crisis Appeal by writing and publishing a challenging blog post.

Are You Up For the Unfollow A Blog Challenge? Help Me Raise £250 For The British Red Cross Ukrainian Crisis Appeal.

  • What do you see in the green shadows?

Shadows Of Green #WordlessWednesday #Photography #WordPrompt

  • Do the eyes of the waterfall see the truth? Miranda is about to find out.

Flash Fiction Friday – Eyes Of The Waterfall

  • Can you spot the missing hippo?

Have You Ever Seen A Hippopotamus In Your Coffee? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Is there a reason why Bill never published his book? His wife is about to find out the shocking truth.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Death And Life Of Bill

  • Are blogging communities a good or bad thing? Read my experiences about the advantages and disadvantages of the blogging community.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Member Of A Blogging Community?

  • Karl is trapped. Can anyone help him escape his prison cell?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Prison Cell

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Monthly Round-Up – April 2022

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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Member Of A Blogging Community?

What are blogging communities?

Are you a member of any blogging communities?

Are there any advantages and disadvantages of belonging to blogging communities?

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Do you belong to a blogging community?

When I started blogging, I had no idea that blogging communities existed, but it wasn’t long before I found myself a part of them.

What are blogging communities?

There are many different types of blogging communities. This post features my experiences with what has become known as ‘Facebook blogging communities’ – a name I recently discovered. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to belong to one of these communities.

How it all started

Within a few weeks of becoming a blogger, I was lucky enough to attend an online blogging course that WordPress ran. It was an online, live event rather than something you could do at your own pace.

Along with over 50 other new bloggers, I soon became a part of a blogging community that gradually built up. We helped each other out by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts.

Not everyone on the course became a member of the community. By the time the course finished, around 15 of us had kept in touch by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s posts.

It didn’t matter what we published or what comments we left for each other; the main thing was that all our posts got read.

During the first year, three things happened.

  • I built my own blogging community.
  • I became a member of other blogging communities.
  • Some people gradually dropped out of the first blogging community for various reasons.

What are the advantages of blogging communities?

The most significant advantage of being a blogging community member is that all my blog posts were getting read and commented on.

Apart from whoever first visited a newly published post, visitors saw my posts had ‘likes’ and comments.

I had an audience. I was not writing (speaking) to an empty auditorium.

I always found it sad reading excellent blog posts with no ‘likes’ or comments. But then I asked myself if the bloggers publishing the posts belonged to any blogging communities. Probably not!

However, regardless of what I was writing and publishing, my posts were all read and commented on. I was delighted!

Friendships formed with many of the members of my blogging community, and as more and more people joined, those friendships spread.

The same thing happened in other blogging communities. When we struggled, we all helped and supported each other. When things were going well, we all celebrated with each other. These communities were like brand new worlds outside of my everyday life.

My blogging community encouraged me to put my short stories and pieces of flash fiction into a book. If not for their support and encouragement, I’d never have self-published my books.

A few years later, I became one of the founding members of ‘The Bloggers Bash’ – an event where bloggers met up in person. Five events took place in London between 2015 and 2019, all a big success.

Photo of the bloggers who attended the Bloggers Bash 2015
The Bloggers Bash – 2015

I can’t express enough how delighted I am to have met many blogging friends at these events. I’d never have met these bloggers if it had not been for blogging communities.

Sadly, I’ve lost touch with some of the bloggers who attended those events. Some stopped blogging, while others moved away from WordPress into areas of blogging that were much more exciting. Some stopped responding to comments on their blogs, while others left blogging communities I belonged to.

Blogging communities are a big triumph.

They are places where you can talk, and people will listen (if that is what you want). They offer help, support, guidance, free advice and friendship.

I witnessed many blogging community members meeting up all over the world. These were all people who would otherwise never have formed friendships and met up had it not been for them to start a blog, many on WordPress.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, blogging communities were even more critical, especially for bloggers who lived alone.

Of course, not every blogger wants to be a part of blogging communities. It’s their choice, and I fully understand why they may not want to participate.

Are there any disadvantages to blogging communities?

Yes. But only if you create problems.

During the first years of blogging, reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts helps propel you on your blogging journey.

However, as you become a member of more and more communities (and your community grows), you’ll find you have less time to read and leave comments.

As blogging communities become more extensive, they can eat away at the time you have put aside for everything else outside of blogging unless you stick to a strict rule of how much time you spend reading and commenting. Adhering to any limitations can also create problems.

I’ve seen many bloggers forced to change the comments they leave because of a lack of time to read posts. Instead of leaving genuine comments that offer feedback and discussion and prove they have read the post, lazy ‘Facebook’ type comments appear.

What do I mean by lazy, Facebook type comments?

Short one-line comments. Comments like ‘Great post’ or ‘Great story.’ Comments that never explain why it’s a great post or a great story. In other words, comments that lack any feedback. Comments containing nothing but emojis (something I am especially not a fan of) can also pop up.

I noticed (and this is where the Facebook blogging community name comes from) that the comments I was leaving became much shorter as I joined more blogging communities. My time to read and comment became even more minimal with the increasing size of some blogging communities.

My comments were of no value to the blogger I was leaving them for other than to say that I had visited their newly published post (although not necessary read all or some of it).

Rather than read all of the posts, I skimmed over them because I didn’t have enough time to read and comment on everyone’s posts.

I found myself leaving the types of comments seen on Facebook. Many bloggers refer to them as guilt-tripping comments because you feel guilty for not proving that you have visited the blog post if you don’t leave a comment (regardless of whether you’ve read the post or what the comment says).

Along with other bloggers, I began to find blogging become stressful. It made me feel guilty, and blogging burnout hit me because I could not keep up with reading and commenting on other community members’ blog posts. I was overwhelmed and wrote and published the following post.


Back to blogging communities.

It was not long before I realised that belonging to large blogging communities stopped other members and me from expanding our horizons by discovering new blogs and bloggers. We didn’t have the time to search. It usually happens when blogging communities reach a certain number of members.

I began to see community members’ blog posts lacking comments from new bloggers/followers. Instead, the comment sections of their blog posts were full of the same short comments from the same bloggers.

But it wasn’t always short comments. Sometimes, the comments section was full of longer comments, but always from the same bloggers. Rarely did comments from new readers appear.

You may think there is nothing wrong with that, but one blogger recently told me that close-knit blogging communities often look like uninviting scary places, so they never left comments. ‘It was like being a new kid on the block, where outsiders would not be welcomed’ — my heart sunk when I heard that.

Image showing tightly packed books on a book-shelve
Blogging communities with too many members can look over-crowded, scary and uninviting places to other bloggers.

Duplicated blog posts filled my WordPress Reader and email box because some community members keep reblogging each other’s blog posts.

Some of the blogs of close-knit communities had conversations in the comments section that had nothing to do with the blog post’s subject (usually something much better discussed offline or on Facebook).

When I realised that I was suffering from blogging burnout, I had to change how I was blogging. The most significant action I took was to step back from many blogging communities.

Instead of skim-reading and leaving lazy comments on every blog post of other community members, I selected which of the posts I was going to read and comment on.

If the blog post’s title was of no interest or did not entice me to click the ‘read more’ link, I did not read it.

If a community member published more than one post daily, I selected one or two of their posts weekly, although the titles had to be enticing enough to make me want to read them.

I stopped leaving comments on all posts I read. If I did not have anything of value to add, I clicked the ‘like’ button and moved on to the next post (although if I had enjoyed reading the post, I shared it on social media).

I stopped feeling guilty for not reading all the blog posts community members published.

I cut back on some blogging communities by leaving them – something I have never regretted.

Balancing writing with reading and commenting on blog posts should never be a problem.

Some blogging community members may feel frustrated or upset that you are not reading and leaving comments on all their blog posts (especially if they read and leave comments on all your blog posts). Never allow it to become your problem or make you feel obliged to read and comment on their posts. That’s not what blogging is about.

If any blogger realises you are not reading and commenting on all their posts and sees it as a problem (as a handful of community members have told me in the past), ask yourself if you should be following their blog.

Final thoughts on blogging communities.

Being a member of blogging communities offers many incentives. Many bloggers are happy to have the same readers leave the same comments week after week. Some won’t care about gaining new followers or promoting their writing elsewhere, especially if what they are doing gives them a lot of fun and enjoyment.

Some bloggers don’t care about feedback. They see their blog as a place where people can pop in and say the occasional ‘Hello.’

Some bloggers are happy with their close-knit blogging community and won’t care if nobody else joins in.

Yet, seeing the same short comments on all blog posts of a particular blog day after day doesn’t inspire me to want to leave comments, especially if it’s a close-knit blogging community.

Should you join blogging communities?

Yes! I recommend that every blogger be a member of at least a couple of blogging communities. However, everyone should beware of the pitfalls blogging communities can bring (if you allow those traps to open).

Stick to no more than a handful of blogging communities, otherwise, you’ll find you will need to spread your time thinly between them all.

Do you belong to any blogging communities? What are your experiences with blogging communities? What advantages and disadvantages have blogging communities bought you? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.

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Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – March 2022

These 7 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Are you feeling fresh and fruity today?

Fresh And Fruity #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Are you farming your blog correctly? The blogging genie has the answer.

Are you farming your blog correctly? The blogging genie has the answer.

  • You may be surprised by what it was that gave my guest Stephen Havard the confidence to write and publish his first book. A very warm welcome to author and writer Stephen Havard.

How I Boosted My Confidence To Write And Publish My First Book – A True Story And Guest Post By Stephen Havard @StephenHavard

  • A brief, honest and to the point look at the world of blogging over the last eight years.

Blogging – Is It All That You Want It To Be?

  • Have you fallen into this blogging trap? I did. And this is how I got myself out of it.

Are You One Of The Victims Of This Time-Wasting Blogging Trap?

  • Shanaya Simmons was looking for a change in her life, but was ‘change’ ready for her?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Other Side Of Change

  • Have trouble getting visitors to your blog or to read and leave comments on your posts? Here are 7 methods I use that have resulted in thousands of readers reading my posts and leaving comments.

7 Methods You Can Use To Make Visitors Want To Read Your Blog Posts

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7 Methods You Can Use To Make Visitors Want To Read Your Blog Posts

Have you ever spent hours researching and writing a blog post for it to then get very few (if any) reads or comments?

Disheartening, isn’t it?

Have you ever been deflated when all your hard work and time put into writing a post ends up giving back little if any reward?

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

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Struggling to get your blog posts read?

Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve used seven methods that have not only helped me get my blog posts noticed but have helped get readers to leave comments and follow my blog.

Try them out and see if they work for you.

1. Blog Post Titles

I can’t express enough how important the titles of blog posts are. They are like the shop window to your blog.

The title of your blog post can make or break whether it gets any attention. It’s the most critical element in whether somebody will read your post or move on to another blog.

I’ll be honest and tell you that in the past, I’ve given some of my blog posts terrible titles. No wonder they weren’t getting any attention, or any new visitors leaving comments on them. All they did was make my blog posts flop.

If the title isn’t eye-catching or enticing enough to get visitors to click on the ‘read more’ link, then you’ll be losing hundreds of potential new readers and followers.

But first things first! Always ensure your blog post has a title before hitting the ‘publish’ button.

That may seem like common sense, but I often see blog posts without a title, resulting in WordPress giving the post a random number as the title. It not only looks strange, but it looks unprofessional.

Of course, it’s easily fixed, but too many blog posts without titles can put readers off from reading any new material from you.

At the very least, you should be previewing all your posts before publishing them, so make sure the preview shows a blog post title.

If you’re stuck for a good blog post title, ask yourself what title would make you want to click the link to read the post. It can sometimes be as simple as that.

Once you have your title, try inserting it into a headline analyser and see what score it gets. The higher the score, the more likely your blog post title will attract search engines and readers. I use CoSchedule for this. Click here to try it out for free.

And finally, do not use blog post titles you or other bloggers have used before. Why? Because search engines rank blogs that use duplicated titles lower than those with original titles.

2. Add An Excerpt To Your Post

For those followers who get an email notification of your new blog posts, adding a captivating excerpt can also entice readers to then click through to read the post.

If you don’t add your own excerpt, WordPress will use the first 55 words from your blog post as the excerpt. This can often make the post sound confusing, or give no incentive for readers to want to click the ‘read more’ link, especially if the excerpt cuts off midway in a sentence.

Where possible, I always ask a question when writing an excerpt. For this post, I’ve used –

Having trouble getting visitors to your blog or to read and leave comments on your posts? Here are 7 methods I use that have resulted in thousands of readers reading my posts and leaving comments.

The more you make an excerpt intriguing, the more readers your post will get.

The excerpt box can be found under ‘Featured Image‘ in the settings menu that appears on the righthand-side of your screen when composing a post.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Excerpt' box on a WordPress blog
Creating enticing excerpts for your blog posts will make visitors want to read your posts.

3. Opening Line/Paragraph

Just as the excerpt to your post should be enticing, so should the opening line or paragraph. If your opening line or paragraph is not engaging and appealing, then readers are more likely to move on or skip over the post without leaving a comment.

I often begin my blog posts by asking a question. If you ask a question that poses a problem, readers will want to find out more because you’ll likely be helping solve the problem. Your post then has a greater chance of getting read.

Again, ask yourself what opening line or paragraph would make you want to read more and comment on the post you’ve written.

4. Images

Like many others, I believe that blog posts that include photos and images look far more inviting to read.

Did you know that blog posts containing images are over 70% more likely to get clicked on and read than those that do not include any images?

Adding images or photos help break the post up and creates white space, which all help to make the reading experience more comfortable.

However, be careful when adding any images or photos. Large images can slow down the speed at which your blog post opens. If your blog takes too long to open, many readers will move on rather than wait for everything to download.

Always reduce the size of any images or photos before adding them to your media library.

I use an iMac and am able to reduce photo and image sizes by clicking on ‘Tools – Adjust Size’ on the toolbar of my computer.

5. Be Kind To The Eyes

You may have a brilliant blog post title and great excerpt to entice readers, but if the body of the post isn’t kind to your readers’ eyes, or not attractive to look at, many will move on quickly.

A few things to consider about the body of your posts –

  • Is the font the right size so that your readers do not have to squint or enlarge the page to read it?
  • Can the font be seen clearly? Black font on a white background is the safest combination to use.
  • Is the background colour of your blog gentle on the eyes?
  • Are paragraphs too long, thus making them blocky. Keep paragraphs to no more than four sentences long. This helps creates white space on the post.
  • Is the spacing between each paragraph correct?
  • Does any of the text run into any of the images you’ve inserted on the post, resulting in paragraphs breaking up in the wrong place?
  • Have you lined up images correctly, so they are in line with the correct text?
  • Is there anything in the post or on the page (such as a gif) that can distract from reading the post? If so, consider removing it.

As I mentioned in the above points, I’ve found that a good rule to apply to a paragraph is to never have more than four sentences in it. This helps break up a post nicely and makes reading it a comfortable and pleasant experience.

Finally (and this is something you should always be doing), always preview your post before publishing it so you can correct any issues.

6. Add Sub-Headings

Inserting sub-headings, especially in long posts, break up a post nicely, giving readers a more enjoyable and comfortable read. They’ll be more likely to keep coming back if they’ve found reading your posts a pleasant experience.

As you’ll see from this post, I’ve changed the colour and the size of the font to the sub-headings I’ve added. This helps make the post look inviting and friendly to read.

7. When To Publish Your Posts

As you publish more and more posts and visit more and more blogs, you should get an idea of when are the best days and best times to publish your blog posts.

For example, if most of your readers are based in the U.S.A (and you’re based in the UK) the best time to publish your posts is between 12:00 and 17:00 GMT. Why? Because the mornings are peak-reading times for many.

Remember that your posts will appear on the WordPress Reader of the bloggers who follow you, but will slowly disappear as more and more posts drop onto the reader.

I’ve read many articles about when is the best time to publish blog posts, and most of them claim the best publishing day and time is Monday at 11 am EST. However, until you know where most of your audience is, this will differ.

Let’s Recap

  • Blog post titles are the shop window to your blog. They can make or break your blog.
  • Make the titles of your blog posts enticing enough to make visitors want to click the ‘read more’ link.
  • When creating a blog post title, ask yourself what title would make you want to click the ‘read more’ link.
  • Never use duplicate blog post titles. Search engines rank blogs and posts with duplicate titles lower than those with original titles.
  • Adding your own excerpts to your blog posts are far better than allowing WordPress to use the first 55 words of your post as the excerpt.
  • Hook readers by making the opening lines of your blog posts enticing to make them want to find out more.
  • Blog posts that contain images or photos are 70% more likely to get read than those that do not contain any images or photos.
  • Reduce the size of images and photos before adding them to a post. This will help your post download more quickly.
  • Make sure your blog posts are kind to the eyes. Avoid glary colours, tiny font, and combinations of colours that make the font hard to read.
  • Use no more than four sentences in each paragraph, as this helps breaks up blocks of text that can look intimidating to read.
  • Use sub-headings in long posts to help break the post up.
  • Find out where the majority of your followers are located, and schedule posts to publish during the morning in the timezone they are in. Mornings are peak-viewing times.

What do you do to entice readers to read and leave comments on your blog? Please share your tips in the comments section.

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Are You One Of The Victims Of This Time-Wasting Blogging Trap?

Over the last eight years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned a lot about the blogging world, which I like to share and discuss. 

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Are you wasting time when blogging?

My recent post, ‘Blogging – Is It Everything You Want It To Be?‘ got lots of you talking. And I’m hoping this post will get you all talking again.

What Do You Not Like Talking About On Your Blog?

Many bloggers don’t particularly like talking about certain subjects, such as why they unfollow blogs or feel guilty about unfollowing a blog they’ve been following for years. 

Another subject that has occasionally come up in the comments sections of some of my posts is feeling obligated or obliged to continue following blogs. You usually have no interest in these blogs, but you return the favour because they read and comment on your posts.

There are many other subjects, but I’ll keep those for another day.

From the beginning 

When we first start blogging, most of us will follow many blogs simply because they followed us first. As time goes on, the number of blogs we follow grows, and before long, we find ourselves with a massive list of blog posts to read. 

When I first started blogging, following all the blogs that followed me was something I did. If another blogger left a comment on any of my posts, I’d heard it was common courtesy to read and comment on one of their posts. It was a big mistake!

As time went on, I soon felt guilty if I didn’t read and comment on all the blog posts of all the blogs that followed me. 

Although I was publishing much less, some of the blogs I followed published up to five posts a day. It wasn’t long before the reasons why I started to blog soon began to disappear.

The time-wasting blogging trap 

Some days I found myself reading and commenting all day long, with little time left to write any blog posts. Blogging soon lost its sparkle, became a chore, and made me feel guilty and stressed.

I soon realised that I was reading and commenting on blog posts I didn’t particularly find interesting. Why was I doing this? Was it because those bloggers always read and commented on my blog posts? 

The honest answer to the last question is ‘Yes.’ Because they were reading and leaving comments on my blog posts, I felt obligated and obliged to read and comment on their blog posts even if I didn’t find their posts interesting.

Do you feel guilty if you unfollow a blog? 

I then started worrying that the owners of blogs I unfollowed would get upset with me for unfollowing their blogs. But I needn’t have worried about that. I found out that WordPress does not give bloggers a list of those who have unfollowed their blogs. 

The only way somebody may know I have unfollowed their blog would be the sudden lack of hard to write comments I was leaving. 

I then realised how much time I’d be saving myself by unfollowing all the blogs I often felt obligated to read and comment on because they had followed my blog first or were reading and commenting on my posts. 

It wasn’t long before I cut the number of blogs I was following from just over 500 to 130! However, some of the decreases were down to unfollowing blogs that had remained dormant for over six months. There were lots of those too. And I also unfollowed some blogs for different reasons.

Are you one of these bloggers?  

I occasionally hear from bloggers who tell me they feel obligated to continue reading and commenting on blogs they don’t find interesting simply because those bloggers read and leave comments on their posts.

I’d feel so guilty unfollowing them,’ are the words I hear often.

It’s a situation that shouldn’t happen to anyone in the blogging world.

When I cut down on the number of blogs I followed, it wasn’t long before some of those I had unfollowed stopped leaving comments on my posts. They must have been in the same position as I had been, or had it simply been a tit-for-tat situation? In any case, I wasn’t going to allow it to make me feel guilty.

What did matter to me was that I had finally admitted how silly I had been by continuing to waste my time reading and commenting on blogs I had no interest in reading. 

What also mattered was that I had freed up much more time to write, read, and comment on the blogs that publish content I am interested in reading. 

Goodbye guilt and stress – Hello Fun and enjoyment

The overwhelming guilt and stress feelings I’d been experiencing soon disappeared, and the fun and enjoyment I got from blogging were back.

Don’t fall into the trap of following, reading and commenting on blogs that publish content you’re not interested in reading. And never feel obliged to read and comment on someone’s post because they’ve just left a comment on one of your posts. Only leave a comment if you’ve genuinely enjoyed reading a post. 

You’ll be surprised by just how many bloggers can spot ungenuine comments.

And finally

There are no rules in the blogging world that you have to read and leave a comment on every blog post a blogger you’re following publishes. Never feel guilty for missing their posts or not leaving a comment on every post they publish. Nobody cares if you miss some of their posts. If they do, then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself why you’re following them.

Do you feel under pressure to read and comment on blogs that you are not interested in reading or on the blogs of bloggers that read and leave comments on all your posts? Do you feel guilty if you don’t read and comment on all the blog posts of certain bloggers? If so, why? 

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Flash Fiction Friday – How To Farm A Blog

February 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about the farm life. Where is the farm and who are the farmers? What are they farming and why? How is the farm life? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


How To Farm Your Blog – by Hugh W. Roberts

“Have you tried farming out your blog posts instead of cluster-publishing them?” asked the blogging genie.

“Farming them out?”

“Yes, another word for scheduling. Instead of publishing too many blog posts and overwhelming your readers, farm them out by scheduling them over a more extended period. Your readers won’t feel swamped.”

“I like that idea.”

“And don’t forget to farm out the posts you want to reblog. Instead of reblogging them the same day the original post is published, allow them to grow and farm them out a week later. After all, farming and blogging are all about growth.”

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Image of a farmer showing a small boy how to plant plants.
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

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Notes

The definition of a cluster-blogger is somebody who publishes many blog posts within a short timeframe and then does not publish the next batch of blog posts for many days/weeks or months. It can result in making readers feel overwhelmed.

Scheduling blog posts in advance and leaving at least six hours between the publication of blog posts decreases the sense of overwhelmingness, resulting in a more manageable and enjoyable reading experience. 

Click here for information on how to schedule blog posts. 


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love Glimpses

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

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