Do You Crave More People To Engage With On Your Blog? Check These Settings Now.

How easily can all visitors engage with you on your blog?

Is it as easy as you think it is?

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Did you know that you could be preventing some visitors to your blog from leaving you comments?

After receiving an e-mail from Jean, who blogs at DelightfulRepast.com, who had seen one of my posts at the Senior Salon Pitstop weekly linky party hosted by Esme and Julie, I was somewhat concerned when she mentioned that it wasn’t easy for her to engage with me on my blog.

Jean explained that she didn’t want to leave her e-mail address, create a WordPress account or use social media to be able to leave me comments. I understand why she didn’t want to leave any of those details. After all, our information is private and shouldn’t be given out if we don’t want to give it out.

WordPress offers ‘Discussions‘ options where users can decide how easily readers can engage with them without leaving any personal details. I thought I already had this option switched off, so nobody needed to leave any personal details, and I was right, but it didn’t explain why Jean thought she had to leave her personal details if she wanted to comment on my posts.

Upon further checking my discussion settings, I saw where the confusion was coming from and want to highlight it so those who wish to engage with me without personal details can still leave comments knowing they do not need to give any personal information.

Let’s Look At The Discussion Settings On WordPress.

  • Ensure you’re viewing your blog’s dashboard in the Default view. To do this, click on the View button in the top right of the screen when viewing your blog’s dashboard.
  • Go to Settings – Discussion.
Screenshot highlighting the discussion setting on the dashboard of a WordPress blog
Make sure you’re viewing your blog’s dashboard in the Default view.
  • On the Discussions Settings page, look for the Comments box.
Image highlighting the Comments settings on the Discussion Settings page of a WordPress blog.
Look for the comments settings box.

As you will see from the above screenshot, I have turned off both the ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail‘ and ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment‘ options. So why wasn’t Jean able to leave me a comment?

It seems that, for whatever reason, in their wisdom, WordPress has decided to still show visitors a login box when these options have been switched off. This is what Jean and visitors who are not logged in see.

Screenshot highlighting the login box when wanting to leave a comment on a WordPress blog.
The log in box tricks visitors into believing they have to leave personal details to be able to leave comments.

And this is what WordPress say –

Comment author must fill out name and e-mail: When this setting is on, anyone leaving a comment will be forced to leave a name and a valid e-mail address. If the setting is off, visitors can leave anonymous comments. While your commenters do not have to fill in the e-mail field if you’ve turned this setting off, it will still be visible to them when they comment.

So I understand why Jean thought I wasn’t making it easy for her to engage with me.

If you only want readers to engage with you who must leave their name and email address, ensure you have this option switched on.

If you only want comments from readers who are logged in and registered, ensure you have the ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment‘ setting switched on.

If you want comments from both, ensure both settings are switched on.

However, if, like me, you’re happy to allow anyone to leave you a comment, then switch both of these settings off.

Don’t forget to click the ‘Save‘ button in the Comments settings box if you make any changes.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Switching These Discussion Settings Off?

The main disadvantage is that it could open the gates for spammers and trolls to leave you comments. However, the Akismet antispam software on WordPress catches and places the majority of spam into your blog’s spam folder, so you’ll never see it unless you check what’s in it.

Further down on the Discussion Settings page, there is more help to filter out spam and troll comments.

  • Look for the ‘Before A Comment Appears‘ box, and you’ll see these two options.
  1. Comment must be manually approved: If this setting is on, all comments will go into moderation, and they will need to be approved by you before appearing on your blog.
  2. Comment author must have a previously approved comment: If this option is on, any visitors that have had a comment approved on your blog in the past will get a free pass through approval and only comments from new visitors will go into moderation.

As you will see from the following screenshot, my blog is set for manually approving all comments before they appear on any of my posts.

Screenshot highlighting the 'Comments moderation' settings on WordPress
Decide which level of protection you want to stop the comments of spammers and trolls from appearing on your blog posts.

This helps me stop unprofessional, rude, nasty comments from appearing on any of my posts, even if they’re from somebody who has previously left a friendly comment.

My thanks to Jean for contacting me about discussion settings on blogs. And apologies for the confusion WordPress causes in insisting a login box shows when visitors do not need to leave any personal details when wanting to engage or leave a comment.

If you see a login box or are asked to leave your name and email address when leaving a comment, try leaving a comment without filling in personal details or logging in. If the blogger you’re engaging with has switched off the ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail‘ and ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment.‘ options, your comment will go through.

If either or one of those options is switched on, you’ll need to follow the instructions to be able to leave a comment.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • Check the discussion settings on your blog to see if you’re preventing visitors from leaving comments.
  • Decide whether you want only certain visitors to be able to leave comments or if you’re happy for all visitors to leave comments.
  • The majority of spam comments will go straight to your spam folder. Remember to empty your spam folder regularly.
  • To stop comments from trolls appearing on your blog posts, switch on the ‘Comment must be manually approved‘ setting.
  • Consider whether comments from those who have previously left you a friendly comment do not need to be manually approved by you.

If you have questions about the discussion settings on your WordPress blog, leave them in the comments section.

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9 Popular Blogging Tips To Kickstart Your Blog For The New Year

These 9 popular and easy blogging tips will help bring you and your blog success. Are you missing out on any of them?

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Are you missing out on any if these popular blogging tips?

1. Add Excerpts To Your Blog Posts.

Excerpts are a great way to entice readers to click the ‘read more’ link to your post.

Did you know that WordPress offers bloggers a way to add excerpts to posts?

If you don’t add excerpts to your posts, WordPress takes the first 55 words of the post and uses them as the excerpt. This can often cause confusion to readers, especially when sentences are cut off midway.

If the opening sentence of your post does not entice readers, you could be missing out on many more new visitors reading your posts and engaging with you.

I added the following excerpt to this post.

Are you new to blogging or thinking of starting a blog? Are you already a blogger who wants more readers, followers and success for your blog?

These 9 tips will guarantee you success.

Adding experts to your posts is easy and an excellent way to promote and entice readers to want to read them. Here’s how to add an excerpt.

  • On the draft page of a post, scroll down to the except box in the setting section of the post.
Image highlighting where to add an excerpt to a blog post on WordPress
Add an excerpt to your blog post before publishing it.
  • After adding the excerpt, publish or schedule your post.
  • The excerpt will be displayed on WordPress notification emails.

Tip: When drafting excerpts, ask yourself what excerpt would make you want to read the post.

2. Change This Setting And Watch Your Blog Stats Boom.

  • Ensure you view your blog’s dashboard in Default View (not Classic). To do this, click the View button in the top right corner of your blog’s dashboard.
  • Go to Settings – Writing on your blog’s dashboard and look for the Feed Settings box.
  • Turn on the Limit Feed To Excerpt button. Users will then need to visit your site to view the full content of every post.
  • Click the Save Settings button.
Image highlighting the Limit Feed to excerpt only' button on WordPress
Ensure you slide the Limit Feed to excerpt only’ button to the ‘on’ position

3. Engage With Your Audience And On The Posts Of Other Bloggers.

I recently came across a blogger who complained that everyone ignored her. She claimed that nobody left comments on her posts. However, I’d left comments along with other bloggers. The problem was that she only replied to comments with a ‘thanks.’ No wonder other bloggers and I got fed up with leaving comments.

Engagement is a two-way thing.

If you don’t engage with more than a ‘thank you’ to every comment, then visitors will soon get fed up with trying to engage with you.

Make your comments and replies to comments count. Instead of telling a blogger their post was great or that you loved it, expand on why you thought it was great. Most bloggers want to engage, especially when leaving comments that offer feedback and discussion.

By fully engaging with your readers, you’re likely to get them and more visitors wanting to engage with you. They’ll likely follow your blog if they want to engage and see that you engage with others who leave comments.

However, don’t leave dead-end comments where the only response can be a ‘thank you.’ If you’ve nothing of value to add, click the ‘like’ button and move on. Never feel guilty for not leaving dead-end, pointless comments.

The more you engage with your audience and other bloggers, the more you’ll reap the rewards of your blog becoming successful and a place other bloggers will want to visit and engage.

If English is not your first language, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment in your native dialogue. Free online translation tools, such as one from Systran.Com, are available, so bloggers can translate your comment. My thanks to Renard Moreau for recommending Systran.Com.

4. Reduce The Size Of Your Images Before Publishing Posts.

If a blog post takes too long to download, most visitors will likely get fed up and move on.

One of the biggest causes of a blog post taking too long to download is that the images and photos within the post are too big. They also take up lots of space in the media library.

Before placing an image or photo in a post, reduce its size.

The majority of the photos and images in my posts are no more than 900 x 675 pixels. I’ve found that the quality of images and pictures this size are still excellent, plus they take up much less space in my media library.

Many apps and software allow you to reduce the size of images and photos, but many are not free to use. So be careful when choosing.

To reduce the size of images and photos on an iMac, open the image, click on Tools and then on Adjust Size (both found in the toolbar).

Click here to find out how to reduce the size of images and photos in Windows 10 and 11.

How do you reduce the size of images and photos on your blog? Tell us in the comments section.

5. Categorise Your Blog Posts.

Categorising your blog posts is essential when helping visitors find information.

Never categorise any of your blog posts as Uncategorised. It’s not helpful and only makes the blog’s owner look lazy and not care about their followers or visitors.

However, don’t use too many categories. A long list of categories can confuse readers. Cut categories down by adding sub-categories. Click here to find out more about categories and tags.

Important information: You may have already heard the cardinal tagging rule on WordPress.com, but it’s worth repeating: you should never add more than 15 tags and categories (combined) to your post; otherwise, it won’t show up in the WordPress Reader. This cap is used to keep out spam blogs — you need to ensure that your tags are only those most relevant to your post.

6. Blog Post Titles

I’m always shocked by the many boring and dull titles I see bloggers using for their blog posts. They don’t give me any incentive to want to read the post. Other than those who read every blog post some of these bloggers publish, nobody will be enticed to read posts that don’t draw you to click the ‘read more’ button.

Given that the first thing the majority of readers see is your blog post titles, make the titles count. If the titles of your posts are bland, dull, and uninviting, they won’t entice readers to want to read the post. You could be losing out not only on lots of new followers but lots of engagement.

When thinking of a title for your blog post, ask yourself what would make you want to click the ‘read more‘ button.

If you struggle with thinking of good titles for your blog posts, use a Headline analyzer such as Coschedule.com. It’s free to use and challenges you to come up with the best titles for your blog posts.

The title of this blog post scored 92 out of 100. That’s the highest score I’ve achieved when creating a blog post title.

Important Tip: Never duplicate your blog post titles or use the same titles as other bloggers. Why? Because SEO, such as Google and Bing, rank blogs lower that contain duplicated blog post titles.

7. Ensure Links In Your Posts Do Not Close Your Blog Down.

Do you find it frustrating when you click on a link in a blog post and a new window opens on the same page you are reading? When this happens, most readers won’t return to the page they were reading, thus losing the possibility of leaving a comment.

When creating pingbacks or links in posts, ensure you turn on the ‘open in a new tab’ button by sliding it to the on position.

Image highlighting the 'Open in new tab' button on WordPress
Ensure your readers don’t lose the page they’re reading when clicking on links.

Visitors won’t lose the page they’re reading when you switch on this button when creating pingbacks and links.

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

8. Don’t Become A Blogging Spammer.

What do I mean by a blogging spammer? Somebody who leaves uninvited links to their blogs, blog posts or products in the comments section. This also includes bloggers who leave a link to their blog in all their comments.

Fortunately, the antispam system on WordPress sends the majority of these types of comments to my spam folder.

Only leave links in comments when invited to do so by the blogger you’re leaving a comment for. If you need more clarification, ask first before including any links.

I get comments every day that include uninvited links. Most go straight to my spam folder, and I mark as spam the ones that don’t. You’ll never find comments that include uninvited links in the comments section of any of my blog posts.

9. Slow Down

I’ve witnessed many bloggers become overwhelmed with blogging because they try to do too much in the time they have available to blog. It often results in what is known as Blogging Burnout.

Blog at a leisurely pace. You don’t need to participate in all those blogging challenges. You don’t need to read and leave comments on all the posts of the blogs you follow. You don’t need to follow the blog of every blogger who follows you. Only read and comment and follow the blogs that interest you.

Never feel obliged to read, comment and follow because they read and comment on your blog posts.

Slow down. Enjoy blogging. Never allow it to overwhelm you or make you feel guilty or stressed.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • Rather than allow WordPress to choose what words to introduce your posts, use your own excerpts.
  • If you want people to visit your blog, don’t display your whole posts in the WordPress email notifications. To get more visitors to your blog, switch on the ‘Limit feed to excerpt only’ button. Users will then need to visit your site to view the full content of every post.
  • Engage with your audience when replying to comments and when leaving comments on other blogs. Avoid leaving short, pointless comments that add no value. Always say more than a ‘thank you’ when replying to comments.
  • Reduce the size of images and photos before placing them on blog posts; otherwise, your blog may download slowly and force visitors away.
  • Categorise all your blog posts. Never categorise them as ‘Uncategorised,’
  • Make all your blog post titles count by giving them titles that will entice readers to want to read the whole post. Consider using a Headline analyser for them.
  • When adding pingbacks and links to your blog, always switch on the ‘open in new tab’ button so that readers do not lose the page they are reading when clicking on links.
  • Don’t become a blog spammer by leaving uninvited links in the comments section of other blogs.
  • Take blogging slowly. Don’t try doing too much in a short space of time. You’ll only end up feeling overwhelmed, stressed or guilty if you try to fit everything in when you don’t have the time.
  • Keep blogging a fun and enjoyable experience. If it becomes a chore, step back and take a good look at how you are blogging. Make changes. Only consider quitting blogging if you lose interest.

Are You New To Blogging Or Thinking Of Starting A Blog?

Click here to read an excellent blog post by James Lane that is full of essential information for new bloggers and acts as a gentle reminder for those who already blog.

What’s the best blogging tip you have? Do you have any questions about the 9 tips in this post? Leave them in the comments section.

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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.

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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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Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help

You’ve written and published your best-ever blog post, yet hardly anyone is reading it or leaving you any comments. What are you doing wrong?

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Struggling to find readers and get engagement?

I remember how disappointed I would get when posts I’d taken days to write got hardly any visits or comments. I felt as if I was talking to myself. I had to find ways to promote my blog without spending any cash.

Here are seven methods that help me promote my blog for free and have bought me amazing results.

1. Linking Up

There are generous bloggers out there who are always on the lookout for links to your blog posts. They want to help you promote your blog posts for free. Yes, for free!

Many run weekly link-up parties where they encourage other bloggers to leave a link to one of their blog posts.

These link-ups can attract hundreds of links. Many lead readers to interesting articles such as recipes, blogging and writing tips, health tips, music, reviews, arts and crafts, and short stories. The list is endless.

By participating in a link-up party and adding a link to your post, you’ll see increased visitors to your blog and comments being left on your posts.

However, the general rule is to click at least one link from another blogger and read and share their post for every link you leave. Leave a comment if you’ve something to say that adds value to the discussion.

It could bring even more visitors to your blog if you’re lucky enough to get your link and blog post featured the following week. As it happens, it’s happened to me this week.

Image showing a comment informing me that the post I left a link for at a link-up party has won and will be featured.
Featured Blog Post

Here are a couple of link-up parties I regally participate in. Click on the buttons for more details.

My posts have been featured several times in these link-up parties, resulting in more traffic to my blog and more comments on my featured posts.

2. Blog Parties

Similar to link-up parties, blog parties are a great way to promote your blog to other bloggers and for you to discover new blogs to follow. The host will ask you to introduce yourself in the comments section, mingle with other participants and leave a link to your blog or to one of your own blog posts.

Unlike link-up parties, which tend to be held on the same day every week, blog parties tend to happen much less regally.

When I first started blogging, I hosted and participated in blog parties. I always found them to be successful and beneficial.

The rule is if you leave a link to your blog, you must at least visit some of the blogs of other people at the party. It’s another free way to promote yourself and one of your blog posts and make some new friends in the blogging community.

3. Pingbacks

A pingback is a link inserted into a post that takes the reader to another web page when clicked. They are used to connect to another website or blog post where the subject is similar to the post being read or when introducing or referring to someone. I’ve used pingbacks in this post.

Search engine optimisations such as Google and Bing rank posts containing pingbacks higher than those that don’t include pingbacks. However, beware of broken pingbacks in your blog posts because they have the reverse effect, and SEOs will downgrade the posts.

If you link to another blogger’s post via a pingback, it will appear as a link to your blog post in the comments section of the post you are connecting to. Here’s an image of a pingback I created that appeared on the blog post I was linking to.

Image of what a pingback looks like in the comments sections of a blog
Pingback

Anybody clicking on the pingback will be taken to the post it appears on.

However, not all bloggers allow pingbacks, so they may not appear in the comments section.

If pingbacks are allowed, the blogger you linked to may come back and thank you for linking to their post. In return, some may link up to one of your blog posts. However, nobody is under any obligation to do so.

You can also use a pingback to link to one of your blog posts. However, only do this if the post’s subject is similar to what you are connecting to.

Never insert links to your posts (or those of other bloggers) if there is no clear theme to the post you are linking to, as this comes over as spammy.

Top Tip: Try and add at least one pingback to every post you publish. You’ll soon see results and benefits.

And don’t forget that you can also add pingbacks to images and photos on your blog posts.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step-by-step guide.

4. Guest Blogging

Many bloggers are often on the lookout for guest bloggers.

I’ve written many guest posts that have put my blog and writing in front of new audiences.

I’ve had people write guest posts for my blog.

It’s a fantastic free way to get you and your blog in front of a brand new audience.

However, ask yourself these questions before you accept an invitation to write a guest post.

  • Are you writing for the right audience?
  • Will their readers find your article interesting?
  • Are there any restrictions on word count?
  • Are there any restrictions on what you can write about?
  • Is the blogger you’re writing the post for asking for anything in return?

When spending time deciding which blogs you’re going to write guest posts for, always ensure it’s going to be published in front of an audience that will want to read more of your posts and visit your blog.

Don’t be afraid of approaching other bloggers to ask if they accept guest posts. You’ll be amazed at how many bloggers take guest posts even though they don’t advertise it.

5. Social Media

The sharing buttons at the bottom of blog posts are free to use, so every blogger should use them well.

Tip: WordPress has a feature that will automatically share your posts to your social media accounts. Click here to find out the details.

I recommend not having more than a couple of primary social media accounts (so as not to spread yourself too thinly). However, you should always share your posts on all your social media platforms. 

Likewise, share the posts of other bloggers on your social media platforms. In turn, some may share your posts on their social media channels. This can result in lots of new visitors to your blog.

Take a look at the following screenshot showing where most of my blog’s traffic comes from.

Screenshot showing the sites where most of the traffic and referrals come from to Hugh's Views And News
This is how powerful social media is at bringing traffic to your blog

I’ve highlighted the social media platforms that have sent traffic to my blog.

It proves that social media is a fantastic place to promote your blog posts and other bloggers’ posts for free.

Social media can demand a lot of time to work correctly (that’s why I recommended that you should have no more than a couple of primary social media accounts). I’ve found that the more time I give a social media platform, the better the results are in getting traffic from it.

6. Leaving Comments

No doubt leaving good quality comments that add value to other blog posts will get readers to your blog. Plus, it’s free to do.

Whenever I see a great comment that asks questions or has added value to a post, I will visit the person’s blog who left the comment. If they’ve left a comment that was interesting to read, they’ll probably be publishing blog posts that are interesting to read.

Beware of leaving too many short comments that add no value because those comments can have the reverse effect. Comments such as ‘Great Post’ or ‘Thanks for writing this’ or just a line of emojis look spammy.

You want your blog to look like it’s a place of good quality and interesting blog posts, don’t you? Then leave good quality and interesting comments on the posts of other bloggers.

7. Take Up A Challenge

Blog challenges can be found all over the blogging world. They are usually a writing or photography challenge (others are also available).

Hosted by other bloggers, not only can they get your creative cogs producing great blog posts, but they also help in that they put you in front of a whole new audience for free!

Using a pingback, you link your post back to the post of the blogger hosting the challenge. Once there, your pingback will attract other readers and participants to your blog.

Many blog challenge hosts will promote those who have participated by including them in a round-up post. Some also reblog some of the entries. Other participants will also visit and comment on the post you published for the challenge. They may even follow your blog!

Here’s a list of some of the blog challenges I participate in. Click on the buttons to find out more details.

Every time I participate in a blog challenge, I get lots of traffic and more comments on my blog and get new followers too.

Let’s wrap it up

  • You don’t need to spend cash to promote your blog. There are lots of free ways to promote it.
  • Never feel ashamed or frightened of promoting your blog.
  • Search engine optimisations rank posts high if they include pingbacks. Ensure every blog post you write includes at least one pingback.
  • Don’t forget that you can add pingbacks to photos and images on blog posts.
  • Make good use of the sharing buttons at the bottom of your posts and other bloggers’ posts.
  • Make sure you share your blog posts on all your social media accounts.
  • Join link-up and blog parties, but remember to visit other participants’ blogs, read their posts and leave them comments. They’ll return your visit.
  • Before accepting an invitation to write a guest blog post, ensure you’ll write it for the right audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers if they accept guest blog posts or if they’d like to write a guest post for publication on your blog.
  • Participating in blog challenges is an excellent way to promote your blog. Plus, challenges can spark new ideas for posts and are a great way of putting you in touch with other bloggers and finding a new audience.
  • Leaving good quality comments on other blogs is one of the easiest ways of promoting your blog. Other readers will be intrigued about who you are and what you write about.

What do you do to promote your blog for free? Have you tried any of the methods I’ve outlined in this post? What were the results?  

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Looking To Save Time When Blogging? Here Are 5 Things That Worked For Me

In my recent post, ‘Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being left On Their Blogs?‘ the most popular reason was – ‘they didn’t have the time to respond to them.’

Do you ever find yourself running out of time when blogging?

Blog post banner for the blog post 'Looking To Save Time When Blogging? Here Are 5 Things That Worked For Me.'
Looking To Save Time When Blogging?

It’s something that used to happen to me. After getting out of bed, I’d sit down in front of the computer and, before I knew it, the time had flown past! I’d feel as if I hadn’t achieved anything.

Many bloggers say that blogging can be very time-consuming. Your work-in-progress will look as if it’s never going to get finished, your laundry basket is overflowing, the house is a mess, and family and friends will start wondering who you are because you seldom join in anymore.

Here are five tips that I implemented to save me time when blogging.

1. Save time by stopping feeling guilty or stressed out about blogging.

I wanted to be everywhere in both the worlds of blogging and social media.

Every time I followed a blog or got a new follower on Twitter, I felt it my duty to read, like and comment on every blog post and tweet of every blog I followed. I felt guilty if I didn’t leave a comment. Can you imagine how much time I was spending reading and leaving comments on those blogs?

At first, that wasn’t so much of a problem (when I only followed a handful of blogs), but I found myself often reading and commenting on posts just for the sake of it. Even if the content didn’t interest me, I still felt I had a duty to read and comment. 

I acted like one of those hamsters running around on its wheel as I tried to get to the top of my WordPress Reader list. I’d spent my days reading and commenting, leaving me little time to do anything else, such as writing!

While some of the bloggers I’d left comments for came back and commented on some of my blog posts, my posts were suffering because I’d rushed them, not put any serious thought into them and published them on the same day I’d written them. Big mistake! I was producing poor quality content.

Unless they’re only following a handful of blogs, nobody can read and comment on every blog post of all the blogs they follow. Don’t feel that you have to read and comment on every single newly published blog post. A loyal, friendly blogger won’t mind if you miss or don’t comment on some of their posts. If they do care, or take offence, maybe it’s time to think about unfollowing them?

Save yourself time by only reading and following blogs that interest you. 

2. Save time by finding out what your ‘high peak’ blogging times are.

What do I mean by ‘high peak’ blogging times? They are the times of the day and the days of the week when you feel that the blogging world is at its busiest for you.

As soon as you have been blogging for a few months, you should start to see when your ‘high peak’ blogging times are. 

If, like me, you start by publishing on different days and times, you’ll soon get a feel for when your ‘high peak’ blogging times are.   

My ‘high peak’ blogging times are –

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 12:00 – 17:00 (GMT).

These are the days and times when I feel the blogging world is at its busiest. I have more interaction with other bloggers during these times. 

However, let’s say that you only publish blog posts on a Saturday at midday. As your audience grows, they’ll soon get used to when you publish posts, so they’ll expect to see new content from you on that day and time. That will be your ‘high peak’ blogging time. 

If you work during the week, you and others may only publish posts and read and comment on other posts during the weekends. Therefore, your ‘high peak’ blogging times will be Saturdays and Sundays.

It took me a while to find my ‘high peak’ blogging times, and they can change.

Now, during ‘low peak’ blogging times, I’m not likely to be blogging very much, although I will respond to any outstanding comments. I use most of the time to get on with other things.

I may also use the time to write blogging posts.

Finding out my ‘high peak’ blogging times helped me cut down my online presence and helped me save time.  

3. Get Yourself A Blogging Routine.

Once you know what your peak blogging times and days are, plan a blogging routine around them. For me, I always begin the mornings by responding to comments left on my posts and those posts where I’ve commented.

Depending on the number of comments your blog gets, this can take up a lot of time. As I’m in my most creative mood in the mornings, if there are too many comments to respond to, then I’ll write first and come back later and respond.

When responding to comments, I’ve implemented the following time-saving rules.

  • I take conversations offline if anyone leaves a comment that has nothing to do with the post’s subject. 
  • If a blog post attracts lots of comments, I delay the publication of my next post (as I did with this post) until comments are at a level at which I can respond to them comfortably without feeling overwhelmed. However, if you run a weekly or monthly challenge, this may not be possible to do. 

My previous blogging tips post, ‘Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being left On Their Blogs?‘ produced lots of comments, so delaying the publishing date of this post helped me save time by not getting overwhelmed with more comments.   

  • I stopped publishing new blog posts just before going offline for a few days (such as going away on holiday). I also stopped publishing blog posts while on holiday. It means I don’t come back to an overflowing comments box that needs my urgent attention.
  • I close off comments on any reblogs I do, requesting that readers leave new comments on the original post. 
  • I close comments off on my Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday posts, requesting that readers leave any new comments on the original post. 
  • Rather than respond to ‘lazy’ comments, I acknowledge them with a ‘like,’     

All have helped me save time when responding to comments.  

I give myself blogging breaks during the day but always stop blogging after 17:00. Occasionally, I will respond to comments during the evenings, but this is very rare. 

I recently decided to stop blogging at weekends because that’s when the blogging world seems to be much quieter for me.

Set yourself a ‘switch-off blogging’ time, and stick to it. 

4. WordPress Reader or Email Notifications?

Because I compared myself earlier to a hamster running on a wheel, I seldom use the WordPress Reader anymore. Instead, I receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

I have created a folder in my email box and named it ‘Must Read.’ I move all the posts with eye-catching titles and which I want to read to that folder. The rest get deleted. It stops my email box from looking like it’s been on a bodybuilding course which, in turn, prevents me from stressing out about there being too many unopened emails in my inbox.

I no longer feel guilty about deleting emails of blog posts I’ve not read or those that have unappealing titles.  

I do like leaving comments, but I no longer allow myself to waste time thinking of something valuable to say. If I can’t think of something that adds value straight away, I may leave a ‘like’ before moving on to the next post. It helps take away the guilt and stress feelings that spoilt blogging for me. Plus, it ‘s saving me time. 

5. Follow For A Follow

Don’t fall into the trap of following every single blogger who follows you, especially those that follow you, without leaving a comment.

Unfortunately, not only will some of these bloggers unfollow you as soon you follow them, but there’s no simple way (as far as I’m aware) of finding out whether they have unfollowed you or not. 

All those bloggers want are as many followers as possible – often without visiting and interacting with any of the blogs they follow. Stats drive them more than content does.

By all means, do check out some of the blogs of the bloggers who have followed you but never feel obliged to follow them back. Only follow the blogs that publish content of interest to you, especially if they are likely to get you leaving helpful valuable comments.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Stressing out or feeling guilty about blogging won’t save you time. All it will do is make blogging less appealing.
  • Save time by not following and reading blogs that do not interest you.
  • Never think that you have to read and leave a comment on every newly published blog post.
  • Find out what your ‘high peak’ blogging times are.
  • ‘High Peak’ blogging times are the times you feel are the busiest for you and often when you interact the most with other bloggers and readers.
  • Use ‘low peak’ blogging times to write or do other stuff.
  • Get yourself a blogging routine and stick to it.
  • Think and implement ways of saving yourself time when answering comments.
  • Set yourself a ‘switch-off blogging’ time, and stick to it.
  • If you’re spending too much time trying to get to the top of your WordPress Reader, consider getting new blog post notifications via email.
  • Move the new post notifications that have appealing blog post titles to a ‘Must Read’ folder.
  • Delete the new post notifications that have unappealing blog posts titles. Never feel guilty about deleting them.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of following every single blogger who follows you.
  • Some bloggers will unfollow you as soon as you follow them back.
  • By all means, check out some of the blogs that follow you, but only follow those that publish interesting content you know will make you want to join in with the conversations by leaving comments.

What do you do to save time when blogging? Share your blogging time-saving tips in the comments section and help those bloggers who are always finding themselves running out of time when blogging.

Looking for more blogging tips? Check out these posts.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

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

I’ve always believed that leaving and responding to comments is the very heart of blogging.

I won’t repeat what I’ve said before about bloggers who do not respond to comments. You’ve heard it all before. But imagine my surprise when I recently read that some bloggers are turning off comments on their blogs for good.

Banner for the blog post 'Why are some bloggers killing off comments being left on their blogs?'
Are you thinking of killing off the comments on your blog?

Hold on. What? A silent blog? No comments? No place to discuss what you’ve just read and interact with other bloggers? Will these blogs become known as ‘library’ blogs? A place where you can read but not talk?

Are some of the bloggers that don’t respond to comments the people turning off comments for good?

What are the reasons for turning off comments?

The number one reason seems to be time. Some claim that responding to comments is a waste of their time; time better spent writing more blog posts. I got really hot under the collar when I read that statement.

If you’re lucky enough to get lots of comments left on your posts, then responding to them can become overwhelming. And I agree that the time it takes responding could be put to better use, but if we manage our time correctly, it should never become a problem in the first place.

How many is too many comments?

In the seven years I’ve been blogging, I’ve approved and responded to well over 40,000 comments. I don’t know if that is too many, but I’m a blogger who craves even more comments.

Sometimes it takes me a whole morning responding to them. I could have spent that time writing more blog posts or short stories. However, I’ve always had the attitude that if somebody takes the time to read one of my posts and leave me a comment, then it’s only polite to acknowledge them with a response.

“Treat every visitor to your blog, as you would any guest in your home.”

Those were the words I read very early on in my blogging journey. Written by a blogger who had a follower number I could only dream about, she responded to all the comments left on her blog. Her words have forever remained etched on my mind.

One of the first jobs I do every morning when opening my blog is responding to comments. Not only does it makes me feel good (because I know people are reading my posts), but I like to think that the person who left the comment will see that I’m a friendly guy who doesn’t ignore his audience.

Are comments all the same?

No. Comments come in all shapes and sizes. There are the comments where you know your whole post got read. There are the ones that spark new ideas for future posts. And then there are the comments that say little if nothing and get you wondering if all they did was click the ‘like’ button without reading your post.

I acknowledge lazy comments by pressing the ‘like’ button next to the comment. It, at least, shows I’ve read what they’ve had to say.

Do I have a good quote about comments?

I think so, yes. I published this quote on my blog many years ago – one which many readers seemed to like and agreed with.

“Not answering comments left on your blog is like inviting somebody around for coffee and ignoring them.”

Other things comments do.

Comments can often open up debates between readers. I always enjoy seeing two or more bloggers commenting between themselves about the subject of my post. I refer to it as ‘healthy debate.’ Somebody once told me that getting a discussion going on a blog post you’ve written and published proves you’re engaging with your audience, even if some of the comments are not directed at you.

But what about the question I posed in the title of this post? Should bloggers kill off comments on their blogs? I can certainly see why some bloggers would temporarily disable comments. But to disable them all together is something I don’t believe is a part of what blogging is about.

After all, don’t comments allow the reader to communicate with the author, and isn’t that what most bloggers and writers want? – to engage with their audience?

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?

Join the discussion. Let’s get talking.

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How A Comment Left On One Of My Posts Got Me Questioning A Previous Life

Do You believe in life after death? What about life before life? Have you ever written yourself into a piece of fiction without knowing it?

Check out my latest post, ‘How To Write Yourself into A Piece Of Fiction Without Knowing It‘, on my column, Diversity with a Twist, at the Carrot Ranch. Find out how a comment left on one of my blog posts got me asking questions if I’d lived before and witnessed one of the biggest disasters of the Twentieth century.

Click the image below to read the post.

Diversity with a Twist Banner showing some coloured straight lines and pens on a white background
Diversity with a Twist

Many readers have already left comments, some of whom have shared glimpses of former lives.

Comments are closed here. If you’d like to join the discussion, please leave your comment on the original post.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?

Unfollowing blogs. It’s something many bloggers don’t like talking about and is something many fear.

However, unfollowing blogs is a great way to free up time. Your WordPress reader and email box (if you subscribe to new post notifications) become a little more uncluttered from stuff that no longer interests you, and you get back some time you’d have otherwise wasted.

Blog banner for the blogging tips post Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?
Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?

Have you unfollowed or not followed a blog for any of these reasons?

1. No ‘About Me’ page or one that hasn’t been updated

Did you know that the ‘About Me’ page is one of the most visited pages of a blog? Go on, check your stats. You may be surprised by how many visits that page has had.

One of the first things I look for when visiting a new blog is an ‘About me’ page. If there isn’t one, it takes more than 30 seconds to find, or the contents of it are not interesting, then I won’t follow.

Likewise, if there is an ‘About Me’ page that hasn’t been updated for many years, I’ll also not follow.

Of course, if you don’t have an ‘about me’ page then you could be missing out on hundreds of new visitors and followers every month.

Don’t have an ‘About Me’ page or don’t know what to put on one?

My blog post Why Every Blogger Should Have An About Me Page On Their Blog gives full details.

2. Broken links

From time to time, we all encounter problems with broken links on our blogs.

Broken links are no good to anyone and can spoil the enjoyment of reading blog posts and pages that contain them. The ‘404 – Page Not Found‘ message is one of the most frustrating messages readers come across.

If I find a broken link, I’ll notify the blog owner of it. If it doesn’t get fixed and there are many other broken links on the blog (including those in the email notifications I get from WordPress), I will unfollow the blog

Check the links on your blog’s home and ‘About Me’ pages at least every couple of months to ensure they’re still working. If they’re not, fix them immediately.

Don’t lose followers by not fixing broken links on your blog.

Not sure how to create a link or pingback?

My blog post How To Create A Pingback On A WordPress Blog gives full details.

3. Not responding to comments

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but if somebody has taken the time to read any of your posts and leaves a comment, then how are they going to feel if you ignore them?

Would you ask somebody around for dinner and ignore everything they had to say? No!

So never ignore or take readers for granted.

If bloggers do not respond to comments, I will unfollow them or stop leaving comments if the content is still of interest.

4. Unfriendly and uninviting blogs

Would you shop on a website that’s not easy to use or navigate around? Probably not.

Do you find the layout of my blog or my blog posts messy? Are they not particularly nice to look at or hard to read? I hope not.

Now, ask yourself the same question about your blog. Does it look inviting and friendly? Is it easy to navigate around? Are all the links working? Is the menu too top-heavy and over-cluttered?

If my first impression of a blog is any of what I’ve mentioned in the above paragraph, then I’m not going to waste my time trying to find posts I may be interested in reading.

Likewise, if a blog I’m following becomes over-cluttered, unfriendly, no longer easy to get around or takes too long to download, then I’ll unfollow it.

So ensure you keep up with your blog’s housekeeping. Keep your blog an inviting and friendly place to hang out on and make all your blog posts engaging.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

One of the first things every blogger should decide is how often they are going to publish posts. If you choose to publish posts three times a week, then stick to that schedule. However, do not, without warning, change your posting schedule or not publish anything for a couple of months.

There’s nothing wrong with changing how often you publish blog posts and informing your readers why you’re doing it, but try and stick to the same schedule. If your readers expect a blog post once a week, they will probably not stick around if you don’t publish anything for months. Out of sight, out of mind.

Every six months, I check for blogs I follow who haven’t published any new content for at least six months. I’ll unfollow those blogs because it’s likely they’ve either abandoned their blog and will not publish any new posts.

If your readers expect a new blog post from you once a month and don’t get anything for six months, then you’re going to lose followers.

6. Uninteresting content

I’ve followed many blogs by mistake. In the early days, I fell into the trap of following every blogger who followed me. Have you fallen into that trap?

Then again, and this is something I think many bloggers don’t like talking about, I’ve unfollowed blogs because the content they are publishing no longer interests me.

Doesn’t it make sense to spend the precious time you have reading content that interests you rather than read content that doesn’t interest you simply because the blogger who publishes it follows you?

And I have no problem with people unfollowing me if my content no longer interests them. However, I take a different view of people unfollowing my blog simply because I don’t follow them.

I follow many bloggers who don’t follow me. Why? Because they publish engaging content I am interested in and which motivates me to leave comments.

Never be afraid to unfollow a blog you’re no longer interested in. It will free up valuable time, which you can put to better use, such as writing or reading and commenting on the remaining blogs you follow.

Not convinced? Click here and read some of the answers James, who blogs at Perfect Manifesto, gave in a recent interview. He hits the nail right on the head when answering the question ‘Do you have any advice for bloggers starting or struggling with blogging?

7. Annoying popups

Do you have any annoying popups on your blog? Do they keep popping up because they don’t give readers the chance to say ‘no thank you’ to what you’re trying to offer them? Or do they not go away unless I do subscribe to your newsletter? What if I don’t want to subscribe? Will I keep seeing that annoying popup?

Then I’ve probably unfollowed your blog.

I don’t mind discrete popups that do not cover the post I’m reading, but when my reading is interrupted by the same popup every time I visit, then I’ll unfollow.

Get rid of annoying popups. If you do need them on your blog, chose a design that is discrete and one that does not interrupt the enjoyment of reading.

Do You Know How To Unfollow A Blog?

The simplest way to unfollow a blog is to click on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the WordPress email notification you get when a new post is published.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the unsubscribe button on a WordPress email notification
Where to find the unsubscribe button on a WordPress email notification

WordPress.Com users and those choosing not to receive email notifications can use the following methods.

1. Click the ‘follow’ button that appears in the bottom righthand corner of a blog you’re following. It appears when scrolling up on the device you’re using.

Screenshot highlighting the Following button when reading a WordPress blog
The Following button on a WordPress blog

The ‘following’ message will change to ‘follow‘ when you click it.

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

2. Click the ‘Reader’ button (situated next to ‘My Sites’ in the top left corner of your blog).

A list of newly published blog posts from the blogs you follow will display.

If the blog you want to unfollow is listed, click on the toggle menu button next to the post.

Screenshot highlighting the toggle button on a blog being followed from the WordPress Reader list.
Where to find the toggle button

To unfollow the blog, click on ‘Following Site’ in the new mini-window that opens.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the Following Site button on a followed blog on WordPress
The Following Site button

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

3. Click the ‘Manage’ button (situated near Followed Sites).

Screenshot highlighting the Manage sites button on a WordPress blog
The Manage sites button

You’ll now see a new page that lists all the blogs you follow.

Find the blog you want to unfollow in the list and click the ‘following’ button next to it.

Screenshot highlighting the Following Blog button on a blog being followed on WordPress
The Following Blog button

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

Does WordPress notify bloggers you’ve unfollowed?

No.

Of course, nobody wants anyone to unfollow their blog, but do consider unfollowing some of those blogs you never visit anymore. All they’re doing is cluttering up your WordPress Reader and email box.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • Unfollowing blogs you’re no longer interested in frees up your WordPress Reader, email box and time.
  • Rather than wasting time reading and following blogs you’re not interested in, use that time to write or read the blogs that motivate you to leave comments on.
  • It’s easy to unfollow blogs on WordPress. Follow my guide in this post.
  • WordPress does not notify any bloggers you’ve unfollowed.
  • Don’t want to lose followers? Then make sure your blog is inviting, easy to navigate around, has an updated ‘about me’ page and is a friendly place to hang out on.
  • Never ignore or take your readers for granted. Consider unfollowing bloggers that do not respond to your comments.
  • If you’re going to change your blogging schedule, inform your readers about it.
  • Don’t leave long gaps between publishing posts. Stick to your schedule. Once a month – great. Once a month, but don’t publish your next post for six months – not good. Out of sight, could mean out of mind.

Join the disussion

Do you unfollow blogs? If so, what are the main reasons why you unfollow them? If you’ve never unfollowed a blog, why not?

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

Are you reblogging correctly on WordPress? Check out my post for full details.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged?

Many bloggers agree that having their blog posts shared is one of the best things that can happen in the blogging world. After all, whoever is sharing the post is putting your work in front of a new audience. 

I remember when, for the first time, another blogger reblogged one of my posts. As a new blogger, it was one of the most exciting moments of my blogging journey. Even today, I still get a lift whenever one of my blog posts gets reblogged.

But is there anything you should do when one of your blog posts is reblogged?

Yes!

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged?

Unless you’ve switched off your WordPress notifications, you will get an email notification from WordPress when one of your posts gets reblogged. It gives the following information –

  • which post got reblogged
  • who has reblogged it
  • the number of followers it’s been reblogged to

Here’s an example of a recent reblog notification I received after Sally at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, reblogged one of my posts.

#WordPress #bloggingtips #blogging #reblog #reblogging
WordPress Reblog Notification

WordPress also notifies users of reblogs in the notifications area (the bell symbol in the top right-hand corner of a WordPress blog).

What should I do when one of my blog posts gets reblogged?

The first thing to do is to thank the blogger who has reblogged your post. 

The easiest way to do this is to reply with a ‘thank you’ to the reblog notification in your post’s comments section. 

If the person who has reblogged your post has not closed off comments on the reblog they have done, you can also leave a ‘thank you’ in the comments section of their post. Not only is this polite and seen as friendly to do, but you will also get notifications from WordPress of any further comments left on the reblog.

You can then respond to those comments. However, don’t forget to tick the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box to ensure you get the notifications.

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress #reblog #reblogging
Don’t forget to tick the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box

However, some bloggers, Including myself, choose to disable comments on posts they have reblogged.

Why do some bloggers disable comments on the posts they’ve reblogged?

Because they prefer comments to be left on the original post where they can get seen by everyone reading or leaving comments.

Should I follow the blog of somebody who reblogs one of my blog posts?

If the blogger who reblogged your post is new to you, you may like to look at their blog and consider whether to follow them. However, you should never feel under any obligation to do this.

For example, a beauty blogger once reblogged one of my posts. As I don’t have any interest in beauty products, I chose not to follow her blog, but I did thank her for the reblog.

Should you return the favour and reblog a post of the blogger who has reblogged one of your posts? 

Many do, and it can lead to the blogger reblogging more of your posts. However, never feel under any obligation to reblog a post because somebody has shared one of your posts. By all means, please share one of their posts on one or more of your social media accounts but, providing you have thanked them, there is nothing else you need to do.

If they publish content you’re interested in reading, then by all means read some of their posts and leave them some comments. However, don’t fall into the trap of following a blog that does not publish content you’re interested in reading.

Why Do Some Bloggers Reblog Their Own Posts?

Mainly to update and promote older posts that some new followers may not have read.

I use blogging features such as Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday to promote my older posts.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • If you have email notifications switched on, WordPress will email you whenever one of your blog posts gets reblogged.
  • Reblog notifications also appear in the notifications centre of your blog.
  • Always thank bloggers who reblog any of your blog posts.
  • Thank them by responding to the reblog notification in the comments section of the post they have reblogged .
  • If they have left comments open on the post they have reblogged, you can also thank them there.
  • Don’t feel under any obligation to return the favour and reblog one of their posts, especially if they blog about a subject you’re not interested in.
  • Don’t feel under any obligation to follow the blog of somebody who reblogs one of your blog posts. Only follow the blogs you’re interested in reading.

Any questions?

Leave them in the comments section.

Is there anything I’ve not mentioned that you do when one of your posts gets reblogged? Do you reblog the posts of other bloggers and, if so, do you expect anything in return?

Not sure how to reblog a blog post? My post How To Reblog A Blog Post Correctly On WordPress gives full details.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How Do You Respond To The Comments Left On Your Blog?

I recently asked the following question on Twitter. 

Blogging question

And I got great answers back. 

Suzanne at Life At No. 22
Bree from 3 Sisters Abroad
Caroline from BellesMot200DotCom
Debbie at Deb’s World
Liesbet at Roaming About
James from Perfect Manifesto

I love James’ reply because he refers to something called a lazy response. We’ll look at those further on in this post.

Chris at BoomingOn
D at ShiftnShake
  • Gilda said

I’ve been involved in some great discussions on Twitter. This one inspired this post.

How did all this start?

It all started when I came across a tweet from an indie author advertising one of his books.

While checking out his Twitter profile, I noticed that one of the right things he’d done was to include a link to his blog. His books looked interesting, so I decided to check out his blog and engage with him.

However, several weeks later, he had not acknowledged or responded to any comments or questions left on his blog posts. Yet he remained active by publishing new blog posts a couple of times a week.

This got me thinking not only about bloggers who do not respond to comments, but some of the responses I often see – those lazy responses that James referred to.  

Now I know it’s up to each blogger how they handle comments left on their posts, but am I the only blogger who finds that not responding to comments is a strange occurrence?

After all, leaving good meaningful comments does seem to work. Take a look at Marsha’s response to some comments I’d left on one of her blog posts.

Short comments – do you like them?

What do you think about comments such as  Great PostNice Story, or Lovely photos? Have you left comments like those or asked yourself ‘why don’t they tell us what made it a great post, nice story, or what it was that made those photos lovely ?  

How to respond to short comments

Reader – “Great post.”

Me – “Thanks!”

Reader – “You’re welcome.” 

Are those comments beneficial or should they be deleted?

Why do readers’ leave ‘Great post’ comments?

  • Is it because they’re trying to read and leave comments on too many blog posts in too little time?
  • Do they feel guilty if not leaving any kind of comment on a post they read so short ones will do?
  • Is it because they haven’t really read the post? 
  • Is it because they don’t have the time to get into any discussion about the topic of the post?
  • Is it because what they were going to say has already been said by somebody else?

What are lazy responses?

For me, they’re the types of responses that let all the air out of your blogging balloon. You’ve left a great comment that opens up for a discussion about the post you’ve just read, but all you get back is a ‘Thank you for your comment.’

How deflated does that kind of response make you feel when you left a comment that asks questions and opens up a discussion?

I believe this is what James was referring to in his answer to my question on Twitter. But is a lazy response any better than no response at all?

  • Maybe you’re somebody who doesn’t mind getting and leaving short comments. Are there any reasons why you leave them?
  • What are the benefits of leaving short comments?
  • Maybe you’re somebody who doesn’t like getting into discussions on your blog posts?
  • Are there any benefits to leaving lazy responses?  
  • If I told you that I delete any comments that only include emojis or words such as ‘Great post‘, would you think I was being too harsh?

Finally, this reply to my question on Twitter really got my attention. 

What do you think about Lydia’s answer? Do people really care whether you respond to their comments or not?

How would you respond to the question I asked on Twitter? Do you like getting into discussions when replying to comments on your blog posts? Let’s cary on the discussion here. Join the conversation by leaving me a comment.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

8 Things You May Not Know You Can Do On The Posts Page Of A WordPress Blog

WordPress Blogging Tips

Have you ever noticed the three horizontal dots next to each of your blog posts and wondered what they are for? 

These three dots are known by numerous names, my favourite being a ‘Meatball Menu.’

“Not sure what I’m referring too? Here’s a screenshot pointing out the meatball menus. 

The Meatball Menu

But what happens when you click on a meatball menu? This –

The Kebab Menu

The three horizontal dots change to three vertical dots (known as a Kebab Menu), and eight options appear. 

Let’s investigate each option. 

Edit

  • Click this button to edit or update a post. Don’t forget to press the Update button to save any changes you make. 

View

  • This button does so much more than just show you a preview of your post. It also shows a preview of the post as it appears on a desktop computer, tablet and phone. 
The View Option
  • And if you click on the Search & Social button, you’ll also to be able to preview your post as it will appear on Facebook, Twitter, and as a Google search. 
  • I recommend you always preview your post first to ensure that it’s mobile-friendly, especially given that the majority of people view blog posts on tablets and phones. 

Stats

  • Click this button to check the latest daily, weekly, monthly and yearly stats of a post. 
  • You’ll also be able to view which other bloggers have pressed the ‘like’ button on the post. 

 

View who has liked a post
  • Hover your mouse over any of the profile icons to display the name of that blogger’s blog.
  • However, a name will only appear if they have a WordPress.Com blog. It does not work for self-hosted blogs.
  • Click on an icon to view a list of all the blog posts of that blogger, how many followers they have, and a follow button (WordPress.Com bloggers only).
  • If you’re already following them, the ‘follow’ button will be replaced with the word ‘following.’ 

 

View more details of a blog
  • Press the Settings icon (under the follow button) to display and set notifications settings for that blog. 
Notification settings

Comments

  • Along the top, you can view the following information for a post. 
  • How many comments it has received.
  • How many comments are pending (waiting for approval).
  • How many comments have been approved.
  • How many comments you or WordPress has marked as spam.
  • How many comments you sent to the trash bin.
  • Your replies to comments also show on this page.
  • You can also sort comments out by newest first and oldest first.

There is also a ‘bulk edit‘ button that allows you to perform a command (approve, unapprove, send to spam, send to trash) with just one click. However, the ‘bulk edit’ is only done per page, so if you have lots of comments, you’ll need to bulk edit each page.

Sorting out the comments
  • You can also perform the following –
  • Approve a comment.
  • Mark and send a comment to the spam folder.
  • Send a comment to the trash bin.
  • Like a comment.
  • Edit a comment.
  • Reply to a comment.
Comment administration

To the right of each comment, is a ‘User Info‘ button. Clicking on this button reveals the following information. 

  • The name of the commenter’s WordPress blog. 
  • The commenter’s email address.
  • A link to their blog.
  • The I.P address of the commenter.

On the following image, I’ve blurred out the email and I.P address as this is personal information which should never be revealed on a blog post.

The User Info button

Did you notice something else in the above image? Did you see the ‘Block User‘ button? This is my most significant discovery when clicking on ‘User Info.’ If you press ‘Block User,’ any further comments from that user on any of your blog posts are sent directly to your WordPress trash folder. 


Share

  • This is a neat button which allows you to share details of the post to all the social media accounts you have connected to your WordPress blog. 
  • Click on the ‘Share Post‘ button to share the post.
The Social Media share button
  • The preview button displays how your post will look on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr.
  • You can also manage all your social media connections by clicking on ‘Manage Connections.’  

Copy Post

  • This is my favourite of all the options on the Kebab Menu.
  • Not only will clicking on this button duplicate your post, but the categories and tags of the post are also copied over. 
  • This is especially beneficial if you run a daily/weekly/monthly blog challenge, series, or promotional posts on your blog.
  • It’s saved me lots of time in not having to copy and paste or reenter links, images, text, tags, and categories. 
  • I also use the ‘copy post’ function for posts which have the same layout (such as my ‘Wordless Wednesday’ and ‘Flashback Friday’ posts). 
  • However, if you write excerpts for your blog posts, remember to change the excerpt before publishing the post. Otherwise, (as I discovered on one of my posts) the excerpt may not make sense. 

Copy Link

  • A link to the post is copied to the clipboard of the device you are using. You can then paste the link into an email, message, website, blog post, etc. 

Trash

  • Clicking this button will send your post to your trash folder.
  • If you click it by mistake, you can reinstate the post from the trash folder.

Let’s wrap things up

  • There are eight hidden options available to WordPress.Com users on the page that displays all their blog posts.
  • The options are hidden behind a menu known as a meatball menu.
  • When opened, the meatball menu opens up a kebab menu that lists all the options available.
  • Some of the options do exactly as they say on the can.
  • However, other options lead to lots more options and functions.
  • The comments option has an hidden ‘Block User‘ button – great for blocking comments from those you don’t want leaving comments anymore.
  • No need to copy and paste anymore – The copy option not only copies an existing blog post, it also copies over the categories and tags you have on that post.
  • It’s worth checking out all of the options, especially as some of them are time saving functions.

Have you ever used any of the options and functions behind the meatball and kebab menus?

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

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