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

In February 2022, I passed a blogging milestone. WordPress informed me that I’d been blogging for eight years! But that notification asked me questions while I looked back at those eight years.

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What are your thoughts on the world of blogging?

Eight years? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I started to blog. I know of bloggers who have been blogging for much longer than me and who continue to write and publish posts full of interesting content that are always of the highest quality. Not only do they care deeply about what they write, but what they publish. That makes all the difference – knowing what to publish and what not to publish.

I’ve seen thousands of bloggers come and go in those eight years. Some disappeared without a trace, while others hung up their blogging gloves and announced their departure. The ones I felt the sorriest for were the ones who stopped blogging because they couldn’t get the engagement or the number of hits and followers they craved.

Some came here solely for making money, while others came here more for collecting numbers rather than engaging outside their blog. They don’t last long and end up cluttering the world wide web with abandoned blogs in the blog graveyard. It’s a sad sight.

From the beginning

I can count the number of bloggers on one hand who have been with me since that first year. I often ask myself why they’re still reading my posts and leaving comments, but that lack of confidence in myself isn’t something I will dwell on here. All I will say is that I must be doing something right.

Unfollowing blogs

I’ll be honest: I have unfollowed many blogs over the years. Why do some bloggers not like talking about unfollowing blogs? It’s as if it’s a taboo subject.

Unfollowing blogs is something I witness many shy away from speaking or writing about. It’s as if it’s a ‘hush-hush’ subject. Something that gets swept under the carpet. But not me, no. I’ve written about it and had great discussions about it in the comments section of those posts, but never on other blogs. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places?

Why do I unfollow blogs?

For many reasons, but mainly when I lose interest in the content.

One of the biggest mysteries is the bloggers I stop hearing from because I unfollowed them. I probably stopped following them because I was no longer interested in their publishing content. That’s a simple enough reason. But why then go silent? Surely not for the same reason? Or was it a coincidence that we simultaneously lost interest in each other’s content?

The different faces of bloggers

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some bloggers face to face. For me, that’s been one of the highs of blogging. However, I know that some bloggers like to remain anonymous. And they’ve every right to remain anonymous. Being behind a screen can feel like a safe place, but it isn’t always that way. I won’t talk about the trolls here because trolls like being discussed.

Ups and downs

I’ve had my ups and I had my downs with blogging. It’s like being on a rollercoaster that some bloggers can’t get off. I’ve alighted the blogging rollercoaster a few times when taking blogging breaks.

Some of those breaks lasted months, while others lasted a few weeks. But they all had something in common. They helped me step back, take a look at what I was doing, how I was doing it, and most importantly, helped me change the way I blogged. I always came back refreshed and, despite what some say, readers do not stop following you because you’ve taken a break.

Barbara, who blogs at Book Club Mom, has evidence of blogging breaks. She recently wrote a terrific post about taking a blogging break. Read it here.

Like everything else in life, blogging changes. It would be a very dull place if it didn’t change. Can you imagine what life would be like if it never changed?

Changes

Since I first started blogging, things have changed massively. I’m talking here about the WordPress platform. I was never a fan of change, but I’m confident that the changes I’ve witnessed here on WordPress have made blogging much more fun and enjoyable. Blogging has finally moved into the 21st century.

Those changes helped propel my blog to an even wider audience. Unfortunately, some bloggers got left behind, but I didn’t want to be one of them. There’s too much at stake when remaining stagnant.

At first, the changes looked like they were going to cause problems, but rather than complain about what I believed were problems, I adjusted to the changes and saw vast improvements for me, other bloggers and readers. It’s like climbing a ladder. The higher you get, the more you see and learn, and the more you can make a difference.

When I look at some of the blogs I’ve been following for years, I’m amazed by the changes that have taken place. That shows me how far they have all come on their blogging journey. They’ve adapted, welcomed change, and become better writers and bloggers. But they have also updated and improved their blogs. It’s made them blogging figureheads with their readers and in the blogging world. They have my utmost respect.

They continue to adapt to changes and continue to roar on their journey. That roar is one of achievement rather than the cry of complaint while refusing to adapt to change.

Change can make some problems frustrating, but you become stale by taking no action or hoping others will tackle your issues. Don’t allow your sparkle to dim by not adapting to change.

The biggest blogging trap to look out for

Most of the people I have encountered in the blogging world are friendly. However, some don’t help themselves. By this, I mean that some bloggers seem to believe they have to be everywhere all the time to not upset anyone. It’s one of the biggest blogging traps bloggers fall into that can turn blogging upside down, inside-out, and become something that causes stress or a feeling of guilt. It’s a horrible place, yet it is easy to escape – if you allow it.

Many bloggers fall into the guilt and stress trap during their first few years of blogging. I was one of them, yet some don’t seem to learn the lessons of falling into that trap and continue slipping through the net, making blogging a not-so-lovely experience.

Some bloggers apologise for dealing with life outside of the blogging world. I don’t know why they believe they need to apologise, but it’s sad to see. Some apologise if they publish a post a few minutes late. It’s as if their readers’ lives depend on those posts going out on time; otherwise, something awful will happen.

Of course, the truth is that nobody cares if a post is published a few minutes late. Nobody cares if a post is a day late. But if it goes over a week late or your absence is out of character, care becomes a concern. Another lovely element of the blogging community is looking out for each other.

It’s my life

Something I’ve never been comfortable with on my blog is revealing everything in my life. Why? Because there are so many scammers out there looking for information they can use when they steal your identity. Plus, do people really want to know every detail of my life? Would I give that information out to total strangers?

Those are tough questions, but I decided to only give out a limited amount of information, most of which can be found on my ‘Meet Hugh‘ page.

Some bloggers pour their hearts out on their blogs, telling readers every bit of detail of their lives. Years ago, life was different, and many of us wanted to keep our lives private, but now it seems to have been turned on its head, and people complain if nobody reads their blog. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this tweet.

Be careful when giving information out about yourself. You don’t know everyone who reads your blog and the information you are giving out on it.

That’s my quick look at the last eight years. There will be more posts like this because I’ve lots more to share.

How long have you been blogging? Is blogging all that you want it to be? Let me know in the comment section.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

These 7 Methods Will Help Get More Readers To Your Blog

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked how to generate more readers, comments and followers to a blog.

Make no mistake about it, with limited amounts of time, millions of other blogs to read, readers have a vast choice of not only which blogs to follow, but which posts to read and/or comment on.

Here are seven methods I use as a blogger which have produced great results.

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These 7 Methods Will Help get More Readers To Your Blog

1. Eye-Catching Post Titles

I’ve said it before, and I’m repeating it again, but the title of a blog post is the first thing readers and visitors see before deciding wether to read your post or not.

Make your blog post titles count! I always look at the title of a blog post first before deciding whether to read it or not.

The title of the post has to really grab my attention and make me want to click the link to open it. If it has no appeal, then I move on. Take, for example, these two titles –

Some Blogging Tips.

Why My Blogging Tips Will Bring You More Readers.

Given you only had the choice to click one of those titles, which one would you choose?

Think about it this way. What makes you click on a title of a blog post?

What is it that makes you want to find out more?

Make a list of the blog post titles you click on, and analyse the results.

Look for keywords in the titles that are repeated continuously and make you want to click on the ‘read more’ link.

Start creating blog post titles that you would click on.

And if your WordPress account has it, use the free headline analyser when creating titles. You’ll find it when creating titles. A headline score of 70 or more is best for clickbait. Reanalyse titles until you get a good score. The title of this blog post scored 81.

Screenshot showing a result of 81 for a headline score for the title of this blog post
Headline score

Click here to access the headline analyser tool if you do not use WordPress.

Always ensure your blog posts have a title before publishing them. Nobody wants to see a blog post title that is a line of numbers (that is what happens when a post is published that has no title).

If you add hashtags to your titles, don’t use more than two. Google and other search engines consider blog posts titles containing more than two hashtags as spam.

My blog post How To Write The Perfect Titles For All Your Blog Posts has lots more information.

2. Scheduling posts

Once you’ve got yourself some followers, you need to do all you can to keep them and ensure they keep coming back.

You may have blog post titles that will have readers clicking on them, but overload your followers with too many blog posts in a short space of time, and you’ll probably overwhelm and loose some of them.

Scheduling blog posts, to ensure you have large enough gaps between each post, is something every blogger should consider.

Did you know that WordPress condenses blog posts on the WordPress Reader? Publish too many blog posts within a short period of time, and your posts are condensed to allow content from other bloggers to show up. It isn’t a particularly nice look, and many readers consider it as ‘blog spamming.’

How much time should you leave between each newly published blog post?

My advice is at least six hours. This is a broad enough gap to stop overwhelming your readers. Plus, your posts won’t get condensed by WordPress.

However, if you’re somebody that does lots of reblogging (and don’t forget to tell your readers why you’re reblogging a post), then a three-hour gap between reblogging posts is a good approach.

Not sure how to schedule a blog post? Click here to see how to do it.

3. It’s all ‘About Me,’ isn’t it?

Yes, it is, and one of the first places most new visitor to your blog will want to visit is your ‘about me‘ page.

Most new readers like to know a little about the blogger before they decide whether to follow or not.

Ensure you have an ‘about me’ page which is not only easy to find but also tells your readers a little about yourself, what you blog about, and why they should consider following your blog.

Don’t forget to tell visitors your first name. And if you want to remain anonymous, give them a name by which they can address you in the comments.

Not sure what to put on your ‘about me’ page? My post ‘Why Every Blogger Should Have An ‘About Me’ Page On Their Blog‘ gives full details.

Don’t forget to update your ‘about me’ page at least once every six months. Nobody wants to read that you’re publishing your next book or going on your next adventure in October 2016, when it’s already 2021! This just shows visitors that you’re not bothered by the details contained on your blog.

4. Leaving Comments

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to get some free promotion for you and your blog is by commenting on other blogs? It makes sense, doesn’t it? Leave comments that are interesting and helpful, and readers will probably want to find out a little more about you and your blog.

Don’t have time to read and leave comments on other blogs? Make some time, even if it’s setting yourself a target of reading and commenting on a few blog posts a week. It’s better than leaving nothing at all.

And try and leave comments on new blogs every week rather than keep leaving comments on the same blogs.

Always ensure your comments are friendly and interesting and clearly show you’ve read the post. As a general rule, I won’t leave a comment unless it’s at least a couple of sentences long.

Don’t become a ‘comment spammer’ by leaving the same comment on lots of posts.

Avoid leaving comments such as ‘great post‘ or ‘nice photos‘ or ‘I love this.’ Tell the blogger what it is that made the post great, or what it was that you liked about the photos, or what it was that made you love the post.

You’ll reap the rewards when leaving interesting and helpful comments. The blogger whose blog you’ve left the comment on will not only be delighted that you left a comment but will probably come and visit your blog, too.

Avoid long conversations in the comments section that have nothing to do with the post. Take those conversations offline, rather than inflict them on your other readers. They’re probably not interested anyway.

And, never leave any links in a comment (not even to your own blog) unless you’ve been invited to do so.

5. Let’s Be Friends

Always ensure you respond to and/or acknowledge comments left on your blog, especially comments left on your ‘about me’ page.

Readers who take the time to read and comment don’t like being ignored. Some may decide it’s not worth leaving any more comments on your posts but, at worse, some may even choose to unfollow you.

If you don’t have the time to respond to comments, then consider switching them off. Click here to find out how to switch off comments.

Even if somebody doesn’t agree with what you’ve said in your post or in a comment, always respond in a kind, friendly and professional manner. Don’t get yourself into any arguments with readers who have left comments. It’s a sure way to attract internet trolls; a visitor nobody wants to welcome.

6. How Do I Look?

Finding the right theme for your blog can be time-consuming. However, once you have found your ideal theme, ensure you dress up your blog so that it’s easy to navigate around, easy to read, and there is no broken links on your homepage, ‘about me’ page, or in any widget bars.

Don’t be afraid to ask readers if there is anything on your blog that they don’t like. For example, some of my readers informed me they were not keen on live moving images that distracted them when reading. That’s why you’ll never see a ‘gif’ on my blog posts.

If you spot a problem on a blog, let the blogger know. Many will be grateful that you’ve highlighted a problem that they probably knew nothing about.

Make your blog posts easy to read by ensuring the text is not too small and that the colour of the font does not make it hard to read. Spilt the paragraphs up into smaller sections. As a general rule, don’t have any more than four sentences in each paragraph.

7. Keeping It Fun

Why did you decide to start a blog?

For me, it was because I wanted to write, share my work, and get to know other like-minded people. However, I also saw blogging as something that would be fun to do. When I started to get stressed out by blogging, and it started to make me feel guilty, I knew I wasn’t blogging correctly.

I was faced with the choice of either discontinuing blogging or changing how I blogged.

I had to work out what it was that was making me feel stressed and feel guilty. Once I identified the problems, I set myself a plan and have stuck to it. It wasn’t long before I found the fun in blogging again. Readers can often pick up how you feel when they read your posts.

Taking a break from blogging can also help get rid of any stress you’re experiencing with blogging.

Author and blogger Mae Clair recently wrote and published a great post about the advantages and disadvantages of blogging breaks. It got a lot of people talking. Click here to read it.

If you’re thinking of taking a break from blogging, don’t forget to inform your readers and give them an idea of when you expect to return.

You may be interested in reading my post ‘How To Stop Feeling Guilty Or Stressed Out About Blogging‘ if you are suffering with blog guilt or stress.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Your blog post titles are the first thing readers or visitors see. Make them inviting so that readers want to find out more.
  • If you blog on WordPress, use the free headline analyser tool when creating your blog post titles.
  • Aim for a score of 70 or more for blog post titles when using the analyser. The higher the score, the better.
  • If you publish a lot of blog posts on a daily basis, space them out by scheduling them with at least a six hour gap between each one.
  • The ‘about me’ page of a blog is one of the most visited pages of your blog. Make sure you have one and that you update it at least once every six months.
  • Try and read and leave interesting comments on at least a couple of blogs a week.
  • Challenge yourself to leave comments on new blogs instead of leaving comments on the same blogs all the time.
  • Always respond to comments left on your blog posts as quickly as possible. Never ignore your readers or take them for granted.
  • Choose a blog theme that you like and which fits what you blog about.
  • Make sure your blog is easy to read, easy to navigate and is a friendly place to hangout.
  • If you become stressed or made to feel guilty about blogging, change the way you are blogging.
  • Keep blogging a fun and interesting thing to do.

What do you do to generate more readers to your blog and keep them coming back? Please share your tips by leaving me a comment.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.