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.”

***

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.

***

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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13 Free Quick And Easy Blogging Tips For Every Blogger

Are you new to blogging?

Are you thinking of starting a blog?

Have you been blogging for long and fallen victim to some of the blogging traps out there?

Here are thirteen quick blogging tips I’m recommending to get you started, to become a better blogger, and to avoid those traps.

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13 Free Quick And easy Blogging Tips

1. It’s all about me

Do you like to know something about the person behind the blog? I do, as it gives me an idea of what to expect when considering whether to follow a blog.

Every blogger and blog should have an ‘About me’ page.

Why? Because not only do most new visitors to your blog want to know a little about you before deciding whether to follow, it’s also one of the most visited pages of the majority of blogs.

Take a look at how many times my ‘About me’ page has been viewed.

Screenshot highlighting how many views the 'About Hugh' page has had
How many times has my ‘About me’ page been visited?

Yes, over 12,000 times! Now check how often your blog’s ‘About me’ page has been visited. You may be surprised!

Tell visitors a little about yourself and at least give them a name by which they can call you. If you don’t want to use your real name, use one you’d like to be known by.

Make sure your blog does not have the original template for an ‘About me’ page. It will say ‘This Is An Example Of An About Me Page’ and contains no other information. How bad does that look to new visitors to your blog?

My blog post, ‘Why Every Blogger Should Have An About Me Page On Their Blog‘, gives lots of information about what an ‘About me,’ page should include.

I also recommend reading James Lane’s post, ‘How to Write the Perfect About Me Page For Your WordPress Blog.’ It gives essential and excellent information about the ‘About me’ page.

And remember to update your ‘About me’ page at least every 6 to 9 months or sooner if anything has changed.

2. Make some journeys outside of your blog

I’m always amazed by what information is out there in the blogging world.

I’ve learned how to self-publishing a book, how to use social media and make it work for me, how to bake gin & tonic cupcakes, how to take great photos and, of course, picked up lots of blogging tips.

Reading other blog posts often ignites ideas for new posts.

Make sure to also check out the comments section, as this is another place to discover new bloggers and get ideas for future blog posts.

Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, make sure you visit, read, and comment on other blogs.

3. Get talking to other bloggers

When you leave a comment on another blog, other visitors will read and see it and may then come and visit your blog. However, ensure your comments are always relevant to the post and prove that you have read it.

Comments of at least ten words or two sentences long go a long way in showing that you enjoy interacting with other bloggers and your audience.

Don’t overload comments with emojis, as they can come over as spammy. Using emojis in blog posts is also considered a bad habit that can affect your blog’s ranking with SEOs like Google and Bing.

Avoid leaving lazy comments such as ‘Great Post.’ These types of comments add no value whatsoever.

Instead, tell the blogger what it was that made you think it was a great post or why you enjoyed reading it. They will appreciate your thoughtful comments far more and may visit your blog and become your next follower.

However, never feel obliged to leave a comment if you’ve nothing of value to add. Instead, click the ‘like’ button on the post. After all, that’s what the ‘like’ button is for.

4. Treat others how you’d want them to treat you

Don’t ignore anyone who has taken the time to read and leave a comment on any of your posts.

Most importantly, never ignore anyone who has taken the time to leave a comment on your ‘About me.’ page.

Think about it like this. You’ve invited a guest around for a coffee and a catch-up and completely ignore them. That’s like ignoring comments left on your blog.

Try and respond to comments promptly. However, responding a week later is far better than not responding at all.

Treat everyone who visits your blog as a guest and ensure they are made to feel welcome. After all, with millions of other blogs out there, they can always go elsewhere.

Never leave any links in a comment unless you have been invited to do so.

If you want to leave a link to one of your posts or to the post of another blogger because you believe it’s relevant, ask for permission to do so first.

When I started blogging, I quickly learned from other bloggers that leaving uninvited links was frowned upon and seen as spammy.

What would you think if you owned a coffee shop and, without your permission, somebody from a rival coffee shop came in and left a lot of promotional leaflets about their coffee shop without your consent?

It’s not your blog to leave links on unless you have been invited to leave them or have asked for permission to leave them.

Not sure how to deal with uninvited links or pingbacks left in comments on your blog posts? Edit them out by editing the comment first before approving it. Whoever is leaving uninvited links or pingbacks will soon get the message.

6. Take a challenge

There are lots of writing and photography challenges in the world of blogging.

Don’t be shy, have a try.

Not only will it help you with your writing and photography skills, but other participants will come over and read or look at your entry.

It’s a great way to make new friends, have fun, and gain more followers.

Most challenges are held weekly, but some may be held monthly.

Here are details of some blogging challenges I’ve participated in. Click on the links for more information.

Link-up parties are a great way to introduce your blog to many other readers and for you to discover new blogs to follow.

This is where the host will invite you to leave a link to one of your own blog posts.

I’ve participated in many link-up parties and have always found them a great success.

The rule of most link-up parties is that you must at least visit some of the other participants’ blogs if you leave a link to a blog post.

If the host features your blog post the following week, you’ll get an increase in traffic to your blog.

It’s a great way of promoting your blog and discovering new blogs.

Here are details of two link-up parties I participate in. Click on the links for more information.

8. Make sure you’re contactable

Can you imagine a TV or movie producer, an editor of a magazine, or another blogger wanting to contact you to invite you to write an article, and they can’t find a way of reaching you privately?

A lot of bloggers dream of making some extra cash with their blog, so if you don’t have a ‘contact me’ page, and they can’t find a way of contacting you, then they’ll probably move on and give that opportunity to somebody else.

Not everyone wants to leave a comment that other readers can see, so ensure your blog has a way for visitors to contact you privately.

Click here to learn how to set up a ‘Contact me’ page.

9. Invite a guest blogger

I’ve contacted and asked other bloggers and writers to write a guest post for publication on my blog. Many have accepted my invitation.

Once published, the guest blogger may reblog the post. Some may ask you to write a guest post for their blog, putting you in front of a brand-new audience.

Don’t be shy. Ask other bloggers and writers if they’d like to write a guest post. You’ll be surprised by how many bloggers and writers welcome guest blog post opportunities.

10. Take up an invite

On the other side of inviting guest bloggers, consider accepting opportunities for writing guest posts for publication on other blogs.

Remember what I said previously about being put in front of a brand new audience? Time for the spotlight to shine on you.

However, don’t fall into the trap of accepting every invite. My blog post, ‘5 Important Points To Consider When It Comes To Writing A Guest Blog Post,’ gives full details.

11. Sharing is caring

I no longer use the WordPress ‘reblog‘ button but, instead, use ‘Press This.’ to share other bloggers’ posts. I also share their posts on my social media platforms, especially if I have enjoyed reading them.

In return, many bloggers will share my posts which mean they are putting me and my blog in front of thousands of new readers.

By sharing blog posts, you are putting yourself in the position of the possibility of having your blog pushed to the front, where you may be discovered by new followers.

The more you share, the more you and your blog get noticed.

12. Social Media: The highway to your blog

Using social media to promote your blog is free and can help bring your blog lots of extra traffic.

But don’t take my word for it; check the following screenshot to see what additional shares social media brought to my blog in 2021.

Image showing social media traffic to Hugh's Views And News
Social Media Traffic

Want to follow me on social media? Click on the buttons below.

13. Get ready to land

Do you know what the first thing new visitors to your blog see when not clicking on a specific post?

What’s the first thing you’d like a new visitor to your blog to see when they visit your blog?

Click on the home button in the menu at the top of my blog to see what new visitors see when they arrive here out of the blue.

Make sure your landing page is something that will persuade every new visitor to stay rather than leave and never come back.

Do you have any other tips for bloggers you’d like to add to my list? Please leave them in the comments section.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Reblog Of The Month: How To Create An Outstanding ‘About Me’ Page For Your Blog

Do you have an ‘About Me‘ page on your blog?

No?

If I told you that the ‘About Me’ page on most blogs is one of the most-visited parts of a blog, would I convince you to have one?

Are you struggling with what to put on your blog’s ‘About Me’ page?

Then head over to Perfectmanifesto.Com, where James M. Lane gives lots of help and advice about creating an ‘About Me’ page and what to put on it.

Click the link below to be taken to James’ post.

How To Write The Perfect About Me Page For Your WordPress Blog.

Are you’re wondering why the title of this post is different to James’ post? SEOs such as Google dislike duplicate information and rank duplicate posts lower, hence a different title.

As with all reblogs, I’m closing off comments here so you can leave them on James’ post with all the other comments his post has received.

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Reblog of the month

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

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

Should bloggers delete, update or republish old blog posts?

That’s a question I had from Michelle, who blogs at Boomer, Eco Crusader.

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Your old blog posts could be damaging the health of your blog

Here’s Michelle’s questions: 

As I move into my fourth year of blogging, sometimes I look back on my early posts and cringe. It’s great that I’ve come a long way as a writer, but I’d love to refresh some of those old posts. Is it better to delete them and republish as a new post, or just go in and update them? Also, does deleting old posts impact SEO rankings?

I’m going to tackle Michelle’s last question first.

Many blogging professionals agree that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts reduces your blog’s overall SEO (search engine optimisation) rating. Even if you regularly publish new blog posts, your blog will suffer if you have old, out-of-date information on it. Your new blog posts will also receive a lower ranking.

SEOs dislike out-of-date information and will redirect readers to sites that have up-to-date information. This is one of the reasons that I recommend every blogger updates their ‘About Me‘ page at least once every six to nine months, especially if it includes pingbacks and links. 

Old, out-of-date, and irrelevant blog posts and pages (including your out-of-date ‘about me’ page) serve no purpose on your blog or to your reading audience.

I have a clearout of old blog posts at least once a year, usually in December, when I find the blogging world a lot less busy.

Do this first before deleting any blog posts

Before deleting any old blog posts, there are a few things to consider. I’ll cover these in my answers to Michelle’s other question: Should bloggers update old blog posts or rewrite them and delete the older post? 

If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, I’d recommend that you update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs and websites. 

Don’t forget to also check if the post has any incoming pingbacks from other blogs that are still valid (you’ll find these in the comments section of the post).

I recently deleted a pingback from a blogger who had deleted the post that included a pingback to one of my posts. SEOs dislike broken links. They don’t look good on your blog, and if your blog contains too many broken links, readers will probably not come back.

When should I rewrite an old blog post?  

If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it. Don’t forget to delete the older version before publishing your new post.

When rewriting the post, give it a new title. Think of a title that would make you want to find out more or make you want to click the ‘read more’ link.  

If you have content that is out of date, irrelevant and/or poor quality, but you feel it can be salvaged – even if that means a complete post rewrite – then you should do that!

After you delete any old posts, I recommend that you also check for any broken links on your blog.

You can do this by running a report on a free broken link checker site such as Brokenlinkcheck.com. However, beware! If you’ve never performed a broken link check on your blog before, the report you receive could be rather overwhelming. I’d recommend pausing the report once you get to 20 broken links, fix them, and then run another report.

WordPress also offers a broken link plugin, although this will only be available to those on certain WordPress plans or to bloggers that have a self-hosted blog.

Once you have run a broken link check, I recommend you perform one at least once a month, or whenever you delete any old blog posts.

Another good practice is to delete any pingbacks in blog posts you’re about to delete first, before deleting the post.

Can re-written blog posts become successful?

Yes, defiantly.

I have rewritten and republished many of my earlier blogging tips posts. Not only had they received few views, but I felt the quality was poor, and they had poor quality images. As I rewrote them, I updated procedures and added better quality images that did not slow down my blog. I also added pingbacks to some of my other most successful posts.   

Many of these posts have since become my most successful and best-performing posts.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Delete any old blog posts that contain out-of-date information and can no longer be salvaged.
  • Before deleting old blog posts, deactivate any incoming and outgoing pingbacks on the post first.
  • Run a broken link report on your blog at least once a month or whenever you delete any old blog posts.
  • SEOs will rank your blog and new blog posts lower if it contains out-of-date informnation.
  • If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs. 
  • If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it and give it a new title.
  • Always delete older versions of rewrtitten posts before publishing the new post.

Thank you for your questions, Michelle. I hope I have answered them for you.


Photo of Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader Blog

Michelle is a boomer with a youthful outlook seasoned with a dash of wisdom.

She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada with her husband and one of her two young adult daughters. 

Michelle works full-time in financial services and has a passion for learning new things.

When she’s not working, studying or blogging, you might find her on stage singing rock music, or enjoying a walk in the great outdoors. 

Visit Michelle’s blog for tips on environmentally-friendly living, decluttering and living your best life. 

Connect with Michelle

Pinterest

Twitter

Facebook

Blog: Boomer Eco Crusader

If you have any questions about this blog post, please leave them in the comments section.

Do you have any questions about blogging? Leave them in the comments section. If I choose your question to feature in an upcoming post, I’ll also feature you and your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

New To Blogging? These Free Tips On Leaving Comments Will Help Bring New Visitors To Your Blog

Are you a new blogger? Have you recently started following my blog or thinking about following it?

I’m honoured that Hugh’s Views And News has gained a lot of new followers. What’s even better is that some of those new followers are already engaging with me.

But it seems there’s a big difference about what engagement is. 

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New To Blogging? Read This Post First

If you’re new to blogging, there’s a long learning curve ahead of you. So allow me to share some advice about engaging with other readers and bloggers in the comments sections of blog posts. 

Don’t leave uninvited links or demands in the comments section of any blog post.

I received that vital piece of advice from some professional bloggers at the beginning of my blogging journey.  

Examples Of Comments You Should Never Leave

I’ve recently had a rash of first-time comments from readers that had me shaking my head. They include comments likes these.  

Hi, check out my blog, follow me, leave me comments and tell all your followers to follow my blog.

Hi, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Help me get to 50 followers. Follow my blog now! 

I’ve followed your blog, now follow mine.

Follow for a follow?

Then there are the demand comments that don’t include links.

Screenshot of a first-time comment considered demanding
Demanding comment?

Yes, I’m interested in novels (not so much poetry), but don’t demand that I follow your blog, read your books, press ‘like’ on your blog posts and leave comments when you can’t even be bothered to mention anything about the contents of the post you’ve left your demands on. Did you even read my post?

I never responded to the comment because I doubt very much the blogger who left it would have seen it.

Although the blogger didn’t include a link to their blog, in my opinion, it’s just as bad as the comments that include uninvited links.

What’s worse is that some bloggers tried leaving the same demanding comments on several of my posts. All of them were bloggers who had never left comments for me before and probably wondered why their comments weren’t showing up. 

How To Get People To Visit Your Blog

If you want your blog to get noticed in the blogging world, read some posts and leave comments that add value to what you’ve read. 

However, while people are far more likely to check out your blog if you leave good valuable comments, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will follow your blog. 

My advice has always been to only follow blogs that interest you. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time following them.   

Leaving demands in a first time comment without ever having engaged with a blogger before is like going on a first date and demanding that your date buys you a drink and dinner. 

As for leaving uninvited links, providing you’ve set up your Gravatar correctly, your blog details are left within the comment box when you leave a comment anyway, so you don’t need to leave any links to your blog. It’s already there.

 

Screenshot highlighting where to find a link to the blog of somebody who has left a comment.
Where to find a link to the blog of somebody who has left a comment for you

Be friendly: Be nice.

Addressing a blogger by their first name in a comment (especially a first comment) goes a long way to getting you noticed. If it’s obvious what the blogger’s first name is, use it in your comment. If their first name isn’t apparent, check out the ‘about me‘ page of their blog and find out what it is.

Or is all of that just too much like hard work? I’m shaking my head at you if you answered ‘yes’ to that question. 

Be friendly and courteous in your comments, even if you disagree with the post’s contents. Don’t come over like a troll or somebody who will always disagree with the contents of every post.  

I don’t expect those examples of poor comments I mentioned to stop coming in. Why? Because many of those who leave them probably never read the post they’ve left them on anyway. 

I’m expecting similar comments to get left on this post, but you’ll never see them here or on any of my posts. Why? Because I moderate all comments before they appear. Comments with uninvited links or demands get marked as spam. You’re wasting your time if you leave me demanding comments or comments that include uninvited links.

Am I being too harsh? 

There is a chance that some of those leaving demanding comments or uninvited links are at the beginning of their blogging journey. They may not know they shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re one of those people, then take some time to check out, read and ask questions on the thousands of free blogging tips posts found all over the internet. 

I’m one of those bloggers that don’t charge for the blogging advice I publish, so don’t be afraid to leave any questions you have about blogging in the comments section of this or any of my other posts. 

I’m always delighted to help. 

Other bloggers that give free blogging advice

Renard at Renard’s World.

Natalie at Natalie Ducey

Janice at Mostly Blogging

Take it from somebody who has learned a lot about how the blogging world works, that you’ll get yourself and your blog more noticed if you read posts and leave good, valuable, friendly comments on them. 

Happy Blogging!

Are You New To Blogging? Do You Have Any Questions About Blogging? Leave Them In The Comments Section.

Looking for more blogging tips from Hugh? Check out these posts.

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Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Don’t Have Enough Time To Draft Blog Posts? This WordPress Feature Helps

Would you like to save some time when drafting your blog posts?

Do you participate in a daily, weekly, monthly or annual blog challenge?

Do you get frustrated with or dislike having to copy and paste from one blog post to another?

Do you have reoccurring blog posts that only need minor changes?

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Blogging Tips

If you participate in weekly blog challenges or publish posts that have the same layout every month, the ‘copy post‘ feature on the Block Editor is an excellent tool. It relieves all the stress and frustration of copying and pasting and finding the time to draft blog posts.

How To Copy A Blog Post

Here’s an image that will outline some upcoming vital points.

Image showing 3 key-points on how to copy a blog post on WordPress
How To Copy A Blog Post On WordPress

1. Go to your blog’s ‘Posts’ page and find the post you want to copy. In my case, I’m copying a post I wrote for the weekly 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

2. Click the kebab menu (three vertical dots) next to the post.

3. From the dropdown menu that opens select ‘Copy Post.’

  • Open your draft folder, find the newly created blog post and make changes to it.
  • Essential changes you’ll need to make to the new post you’ve copied.
  • Title of the post
  • Content
  • Excerpt for the post
  • Other changes you may need to change.
  • Images/photos
  • Pingbacks
  • Categories
  • Tags

In some cases, such as the copied post I’ve used as an example, I didn’t need to add or change the categories or tags, so I saved myself even more time. However, I did need to update the pingbacks and images on the post.

However, overall, I saved myself time by copying an existing post and making amendments to it.

Screenshot highlighting a copied post on WordPress
Copied Post
  • Schedule or publish your post.

That’s it! You’re done and will have saved yourself some precious time and got rid of the experience of frustrations that copying and pasting often bring when drafting blog posts.

Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

Have you used the ‘Copy Post’ feature on WordPress? Do you have any more time-saving tips when drafting blog posts? Share them with me in the comments section.

Looking for more blogging tips from Hugh? Check out these posts.

Join Hugh on social media. Click on the buttons below.

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Pinned Tweets: Why Every Blogger Should Have One To Help Drive Traffic To Their Blog

I see a lot of Twitter users who don’t have a pinned tweet set up on their Twitter account.

The main reason may be that they don’t know what a pinned tweet is, how it works or how to set one up.

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Pinned Tweets: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Pinned tweets help drive traffic to your blog or website and are a brilliant way of getting you, your books, your blog and your writing some free promotion.

What is a pinned tweet?

A pinned tweet is a tweet that users attach to the top of their Twitter timeline. It’s the first tweet people see when they visit your Twitter profile and is often the tweet that gets the most attention.

You can pin any of your tweets for which you want to get more attention. For example, upon publishing a new blog post, you may want to pin the tweet for the post to your Twitter account.

How do I create a pinned tweet?

  • Click on the meatball menu (the three horizontal dots in the top right of the tweet).
Image highlighting the meatball menu on a Tweet.
Click on the meatball menu
  • A new window menu will open.
  • Select ‘Pin to your profile‘ from the dropdown menu that appears.
Image highlighting 'Pin To Your profile' on Twitter
Pin To Your Profile
  • Press ‘Pin‘ on the window that opens that asks ‘Pin Tweet To Profile?).
  • You’ve now created a pinned tweet that will stick to the top of your Twitter timeline until you either replace it or remove it.
Image highlighting a pinned tweet on Twitter
Pinned Tweet

How often should I change my pinned tweet?

At least once a month.

Pinned tweets over a month old can look out of date and may contain out of date information.

Old pinned tweets can also make the user look lazy because they are not changing or updating their pinned tweet. Visitors who have visited before will see the same pinned tweet and may not want to retweet it again.

I always share fresh pinned tweets, whereas I don’t retweet pinned tweets I know I have shared before.

I update my pinned tweet at least once every couple of weeks. Doing so encourages visitors to my Twitter account to share and retweet my new tweet. This results in lots of new referrals to my blog or blogs where I’m being featured.

It acts as free promotion for my blog, books and my writing.

As a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those that share my blog posts via Twitter, I retweet their pinned tweet. However, if I’ve retweeted it before, I won’t retweet it.

Ensure you change your pinned tweet at least once a month.

Can I pin the tweets of other users to my Twitter profile?

No. You can only pin your own tweets to your own profile.

Do you have a pinned tweet on your Twitter account? How often do you change it?

Looking for more blogging tips from Hugh? Check out these posts.

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Reblog: How To Upload a PDF File In WordPress For Viewing And Easy Download

Have you ever wondered if there is an easy way to add a PDF file to a blog post on WordPress?

With the Block editor, it’s as easy as ABC.

Blogging guru Natalie Ducey shows us how to upload a PDF File on WordPress using the Gutenberg Block Editor. Click the following link or image to read her tutorial.

How To Upload a PDF File In WordPress For Viewing And Easy Download.

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Reblog Alert

Comments are closed here. Please leave any comments for Natalie over on her post.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Deciding Whether To Follow A Blog

How many blogs do you follow?

How many of those blogs do you never visit?

How many of those blogs do you regally visit and comment on?

I used to follow over 500 blogs! I merely followed many because they followed me first.

What a big mistake that was!

New blog posts were continually dropping onto my WordPress reader list and into my email box.

It wasn’t long before I started to feel overwhelmed by it all and realised I couldn’t possibly read and comment on every new blog post.

I started feeling guilty about not having enough time to visit and comment on every blog I followed.

Something had to change.

I decided to go through all the blogs I followed and start unfollowing some of them.

Today, I’m following 129 blogs, and I’ve set myself a target of never exceeding a total of 150.

For some, that may seem like a lot of blogs to follow. For others, not enough. But it’s the perfect balance for me.

But what mistakes was I making when following blogs?

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1. Following Blogs That Publish Content I Had No Interest In

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But have a look through the list of blogs you follow and count how many of them publish content you’re not interested in reading.

Then ask yourself why are you following them.

Many of the blogs I unfollowed were blogs that followed my blog first. I felt it polite to follow back even though I had no idea what content they published.

It was like buying a car without having test driven it first.

Before following a blog, check out some of the posts and ask yourself these two questions.

Does the content interest me enough to keep me coming back?

Does the content motivate me enough to leave valuable comments? 

If you answer ‘No’ to the first question, then don’t follow.

Some of the bloggers you unfollow may unfollow you but don’t get yourself all worked up about it.

My blog loses followers almost every day. If readers don’t find my content interesting anymore, then they have every right to unfollow.

However, I take a different view on unfollowing a blog simply because they unfollowed me. That’s just plain silly.  

2. Following unfriendly blogs

Two things that I dislike in blog posts are lots of swearing and belittling others.

I’m adult enough to know that most adults do swear, but when there’s too much of it in blog posts, or there isn’t any need for it, then I won’t follow.

The same goes for bloggers who publish content that belittles other people or criticises them for how they live, look, write or talk.

By all means, warn readers at the beginning that a post contains swear words or may offend, but never swear at or criticise others in the post or comments section.

If you think you’ll be offended by the content on a blog or in its comments section, don’t follow it.

3. Following one-way blogs.

While looking through those blog posts, don’t forget to also look through the comments section and see if the blogger responds to comments. If the comments are all one-way, think seriously before deciding whether to follow.

If they don’t respond to comments (especially on their ‘about me‘ page), ask yourself if the blog is worth following.

If the content is interesting, then, by all means, follow but think hard about whether it’s worth leaving comments.

If they do respond, look at the way they respond.

Are they lazily interacting with their readers? Do they respond to all comments in the same dull manner (e.g. ‘Thanks for reading!’)?

Even though a blogger may respond to all the comments, if they are not actively engaging with their readers, ask yourself if it’s worth leaving comments and following their blog. 

4. Following blogs that could damage your health

There are lots of things that can damage your health when online. For example, too much screen time, becoming addicted to social media, reading too many negative articles or comments.

One of the worse things that can happen to a blogger, is feeling overwhelmed or guilty. This usually occurs when they can’t keep up with reading blog posts.

Feeling stressed and guilty for not reading posts is something every blogger should avoid.

If you’re following blogs that you believe publish too many daily posts, think about either unfollowing them or turning off notifications for those blogs when new posts are published.  

Of course, we can ignore all those posts, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you could be missing out on something if you don’t read or leave comments on them all.

Thinking you’re missing out causes guilt and stress. I’ve suffered from it myself, and know of many other bloggers who also have. Keep blogging fun.

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling obliged, guilty or stressed just because certain bloggers comment on all of your posts. 

If it’s not going to cause you any guilt or stress, feel free to press the follow button, but only if you know that future content will be of interest to you and you can cope with the number of posts they are publishing.

If you believe you are following too many blogs, don’t put off unfollowing some of them. Take immediate action. You’ll feel much better for doing so.

And don’t forget to make the most of setting up receiving notifications on a daily or weekly basis rather than every time somebody publishes a new post.

5. Following ghost blogs

I’ve mentioned it many times before, but the first thing I do before deciding whether or not to follow a blog is to visit the ‘about me’ page of a blog. If there isn’t one, then I consider it a ‘ghost blog.’

If there isn’t an ‘about me’ page, it isn’t easy to find, it’s out of date, or it doesn’t contain any interesting information, I won’t follow.

Why? Because I want to find out about the person behind the blog first before deciding whether to follow or not.

If it’s out of date, then they probably don’t care about updating any content. You could be wasting your time by reading out of date information.

6. Following uncared for or neglected blogs

If a new blog I’m visiting is eye-catching, well organised, easy to navigate around, has excellent content, feels friendly, and seems a great place to be, I will press the follow button.

After all, if it looks and feels good and the content is of interest, I’m likely to read posts and leave valuable comments.

If the design of a blog is poor, takes too long to download, uses a font that is too small to read, has a brightly lit background that produces stars in front of my eyes, hasn’t been updated in years, or has lots of broken links, then I’ll move on quickly.

If a blogger doesn’t care about their blog, they are unlikely to care about their audience.

7. Following the blogs of trolls

We talked about checking out responses a blogger leaves to comments on their posts, but are those responses written in a friendly manner? And do they leave unfriendly comments elsewhere?

Because we blog or leave reviews, not everyone will agree with what we have to say.

I’ve witnessed many rude comments left by the host and by readers on many blogs.

I’ve been the victim of rude and unfriendly comments on other blogs where I’ve left a friendly comment. If the host of a blog responds to me in an unfriendly manner, I’ll unfollow their blog.

If the host of a blog allows other followers to attack readers without taking any action, I will unfollow.

I always respond to comments in a friendly, courteous and professional manner, even if a reader disagrees with what I’ve said.

If there’s evidence of a blogger attacking somebody in an unfriendly manner because they have not agreed with all or some of the contents in a post or in the comments section, then consider whether it’s worth following that blog.

Hosts of blogs should do all they can to stop trolls leaving comments on their blog posts. If they don’t, then they probably don’t care much or have any concern about the welfare of their readers.

By all means, if the content of that blog still interests you, you can still follow and never leave any comments, but be careful when reading negative responses to comments as they can often affect your mood.

Whatever you do, though, never respond to unfriendly comments by attacking the person who has left them. Leave trolls well alone. 

#blogging

I use all the above seven tips before deciding whether or not to follow a blog. And they all help me keep my blogging under control. 

What factors are important to you when deciding whether or not to follow a blog? How many blogs do you follow? Is it too many or too few? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.

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Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flashback Friday: Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being Left On Their Blogs?

Would you consider turning off comments on your blog?

Are there any reasons why you turn off comments on specific posts?

How do you manage the responding to comments process on your blog?

What do you feel about those bloggers who turn off comments on their blog posts?

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Flashback Friday

Click on the image below and join the conversation with hundreds of other bloggers who have already had their say.

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Comments or no comments?

Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being Left On Their Blogs?

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New: WordPress Screen Options Button – Where, Why And How To Use It

Have you noticed the new WordPress ‘Screen Options’ button on the dashboard of your blog?

At first, it wasn’t very noticeable to me, but I now find myself using it everyday because it has some great features.

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New: WordPress Screen Options Button

Where can I find the ‘Screen Options’ button?

You’ll find the ‘Screen Options‘ button in the top righthand corner of your screen when viewing ‘Posts,’ ‘Pages’, ‘Media’ or ‘Comments’ on the dashboard of your blog. Please note that It doesn’t yet seem to be available on the WordPress App.

Screenshot highlighting the Screen Options button on WordPress
Screen Options Button

I am able to see the button when using WordPress on my desktop computer, laptop, iPad and iPhone using Safari and Chrome.

What does the ‘Screen Options’ button do?

It’s a quick way to switch between the new WordPress ‘Default’ view and the old ‘Classic’ view of your blog’s dashboard.

Clicking on the button gives users two choices when viewing information on the ‘Posts’, ‘Pages’ and ‘Comments’ section on their blog’s dashboard.

Screenshot highlighting the menu under the Screen Options button on WordPress
Screen Options Menu

‘Default’ view is the one I’ve been using for the last couple of months. Here are two screenshots of what my blog’s ‘posts’ page looks like with the ‘Default’ view and the ‘Classic’ view.

Screenshot showing the Default view of blog posts on a WordPress blog
Default View
Screenshot showing the Classic view of blog posts on a WordPress blog
Classic view

Many users may recognise the old-style ‘Classic’ view. However, did you know that it now contains more options? Clicking on the ‘Screen Options’ button again will disclose the options. I’ve highlighted some of them on the following image.

Screenshot of the options for blog posts on the Classic view options
Classic option features

Not only can you choose which columns to display under ‘posts,’ but you can also choose how many of your posts you want to see on the dashboard.

If you make any chances, click the ‘Apply’ button to save them.

What does the ‘view mode’ option do?

Changing the ‘view mode’ option to ‘Extended view’ will show a little more information under your posts.

Screenshot highlighting the Extended view option on WordPress
Extended view

In my case, I was able to see the excerpt for each of my posts.

Reminder – click the ‘Apply’ button if you make any changes.

The ‘Classic’ view also has a gateway to the old Classic editor, where you can draft new blog posts. However, WordPress may remove this at any time.

Screenshot highlighting the gateway to the old Classic editor on WordPress
Gateway to the old Classic editor

Struggling with spam? Use the Classic option

As I use the Block editor, I use the ‘Default’ version. However, I use the ‘Classic’ option for specific functions that the ‘Default’ option doesn’t yet do. For example, I use the ‘Classic’ option for deleting all spam from my WordPress spam folder with just one click.

Screenshot highlighting the WordPress Empty Spam Button
Emptying Spam

Don’t allow spam to cause you any problems or to allow you to make any harsh decisions. It can easily be dealt with.

Although the ‘Default’ option offers an option to bulk delete spam, you can only delete 20 spam comments at any one time.

Screenshot highlighting the Bulk Edit button on WordPress
Bulk Edit

So using the ‘Classic’ option helps save me time when dealing with hundreds of spam comments daily.

I’ve not yet discovered a way of marking comments that end up in the spam folder by mistake as genuine (not spam) in the ‘Default’ version. So, again, I use the ‘Classic’ version for performing this task.

While using ‘Classic’ view, if at any time you want to go back to using the new ‘Default’ (WordPress.com view) option, click the button.

Screenshot highlighting the Default view (WordPress.com view) button
Default view button

The ‘Screen Options’ function may only be available with specific WordPress plans.

Let’s wrap it up

  • The new ‘Screen Options’ button can be found on the ‘Posts,’ ‘Pages’, ‘Media’ and ‘Comments’ pages of the dashboard of your WordPress blog.
  • ‘Classic’ view option has more options when viewing posts and comments.
  • Delete spam with one click when using ‘Classic’ view.
  • ‘Default’ view only allows bulk action (20 comments) when deleting spam.
  • Works on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.
  • Does not work via the WordPress app.

Have you been using the new ‘Screen Options’ button? Have I missed out anything you’ve discovered it does? If you have any questions about the ‘Screen Options’ button leave them in the comments section.

Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

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Click the ‘Diversity with a Twist’ image to check out my latest post over on my column at the Carrot Ranch

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5 WordPress Photo Editing Tools Available To Use On The Block Editor

Did you know that WordPress has added some basic photo editing tools to the ‘Image‘ block on the Block editor?

Some of these tools are available in the WordPress media library, but some of them aren’t. But what are they, and how do you use them?

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5 WordPress Photo Editing Tools Available To Use On The Block Editor

Let’s get started

First, open up a new draft post and, using the image block, add a photo or image from your WordPress media library. I’m using a picture of my dogs Austin and Toby. 

Now let me take you through each tool and how to use them.

1. Add Text Over Image

  • On the image toolbar, click on the ‘Add Text Over Image‘ button.
Screenshot showing the location of the 'Add Text Over Image' button on the Block editor
Add text over image button
  • ‘Type/To Choose A Block’ will appear on the image.
Screenshot showing where to add text on a photo on the image block on the Block editor on WordPress
Where to add text
  • Click on it and add your text.
Screenshot showing text being added to an image on the WordPress Block editor
Adding text to an image on the WordPress Block editor

But that text is in the wrong position. How do you change it?

  • Easy. Click on the ‘Change Content Position‘ button and choose where you want the text to appear. I decided bottom right. 
Screenshot showing the 'Change Content Position' button on the WordPress Block editor
Changing the position of the text on a photo

2. Toggle Full Height

  • On the image toolbar, click on the ‘Add Text Over Image‘ button.
Screenshot showing the location of the 'Add Text Over Image' button on the Block editor
‘Add text over image’ button
  • Click on the ‘Toggle Full Height’ button.
Screenshot showing the position of the 'Toggle Full Height' button on the WordPress Block editor
Toggle Full Height

3. Zoom In And Out On An Image

  • On the image toolbar, click on the ‘Crop‘ button.
Screenshot showing the position of the 'Crop' button on the WordPress Block editor
The ‘Crop’ button
  • The image gets divided into nine squares (see next image).
  • Click on the ‘Zoom‘ button (see the next image).
  • To zoom in and out on an image, move the slider button forwards and backwards (see the next image). 
  • Click the apply button to save any changes.
Screenshot showing the 'Zoom' photo editing functions on the WordPress Block editor
Zoom

4. Rotate The Image

  • On the image toolbar, click on the ‘Crop‘ button.
Screenshot showing the position of the 'Crop' button on the WordPress Block editor
The ‘Crop’ button
  • Click the ‘rotate‘ button to rotate the image.
Screenshot showing the position of the 'Rotate' button on the WordPress Block editor
The ‘Rotate’ button
  • Click the ‘apply‘ button to save any changes.

5. Change The Aspect Ratio

  • On the image toolbar, click on the ‘Crop‘ button.
Screenshot showing the position of the 'Crop' button on the WordPress Block editor
The ‘Crop’ button
  • Click the ‘Aspect Ratio‘ button and make your selection. There is a lot more choice than when you perform this task in the WordPress media library. I have chosen the ‘square‘ option (see the next image).
  • Click the ‘apply‘ button to save any changes.
Screenshot showing the position and functions of the 'Aspect Ratio' function on the WordPress Block editor
The ‘Aspect Ratio’ function

All these functions are very basic, but will suit many users who do not want to edit their images too much.

Do you use the WordPress photo editing tools? Do you have any questions about them? Leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you. 

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