There are many gallery blocks on WordPress, but did you know WordPress has added some secret gallery blocks and that you can add captions to them?
Here’s how to find and use them.
On a draft post, click on the add a new block button (the ‘+‘ symbol) and click on ‘Patterns.’
Either click on the Featured box and select Gallery or click on the Explore box. In this post, I’m using the Explore box.
Select Gallery from the new list that appears.
Select one of the galleries. In this post, I’m selecting the Large image and grid gallery.
The gallery and images are inserted into your post. Note – the images already on this block are not downloaded into your media library.
To change the images to your own, click on an image and select the Replace button from the image toolbar that appears.
Click on the Select Image button and the button where your image is located. In this post, I’m selecting images from my Media Library.
Select an image from your media library. Don’t forget to align the image to centre the caption. Click here to find out how to align photos and images.
Do the same for the other images in the block.
Captions will display provided you have added them to the photos and images in your media library.
Your gallery is now complete. Here’s mine.
When readers click on any photos in the gallery, any watermark or copyright information you have added will be displayed on each photo in the slideshow. Go ahead and click on one of the images in my gallery to see the watermark.
There are options available to change the background and text colours in the gallery I have used in this post. Click on the block and then on ‘Block‘ (in the top right corner of the draft page) to change them.
Other galleries available in this gallery block are –
Organic gallery with intro text
Gallery with description and a button
Three images side-by-side gallery
Two images side-by-side gallery
Give them a try, and let me know how you get on by leaving me a comment.
Click here to find out why you should always watermark your photos and image.
If you have questions about these secret galleries and how to use them, leave them in the comments section.
Looking for more blogging tips? Click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ and ‘Block Editor – How To’ buttons on the menubar of my blog.
Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.
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Getting readers to engage with you by leaving comments on your blog posts is something many bloggers crave.
And when those comments clearly show that your post has been read, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
However, once you get visitors reading your posts and leaving comments, you need to do all you can to ensure they keep coming back.
Writing good quality posts that make your readers want to engage with you and each other is one way to keep your readers returning, but you also need to ensure they can easily find your other similarly themed posts, which are often buried deep in your blog archives.
Here are five blogging tools that work for me. Not only do they give my readers a way of finding more similarly-themed content, but these tools have also helped bring me many new readers and followers.
1. The Search Bar
The other day, I was writing a new blog post and wanted to include links to some posts I had read on other blogs.
However, try as I might, I couldn’t find one of the posts I wanted to link to. Even worse, there was no search bar on the blog concerned.
It wasn’t long before I gave up looking for that blog post. I didn’t have the time to find it.
You can make it easy for readers to find what they are looking for by including a search bar on your blog.
Does your blog have a search bar? If not, WordPress has a ‘search’ widget. Click here to find out how to install one.
Once you’ve installed a search bar, open up one of your blog posts and check you are happy with its position. Ensure it’s visible and easy for visitors to find. The search bar on my blog is the first widget on my widget bar to the right of all my blog posts.
Remember, too, that you can use the search bar when looking for your own posts. You can save yourself a lot of time by doing this instead of scrolling through all your blog posts on your blog’s dashboard.
2. The Menu Bar
Navigation is of prime importance on any blog. Make it difficult for visitors to navigate or find more content, and they’ll probably give up and never return.
That’s why it’s essential to have a menu bar on your blog.
A menu bar allows your readers to check out what is on your blog and helps direct them to other parts of your blog they’d like to explore.
Many bloggers can be frightened by including a menu bar on their blog or adding items. However, it’s an easy and straightforward process.
Click here for details on how to set up a custom menu bar on your WordPress blog.
However, don’t overload the menu bar on your blog, as it can look overwhelming. And ensure you keep it updated and check that everything works on it.
3. The ‘Contact Me Page
Just imagine another blogger, a magazine editor, or somebody from your local radio station wanting to contact you to invite you to write an article or appear on a show. How exciting would that be? But they can’t find a way of reaching you privately!
Not everyone wants to leave a comment when they want to invite you to write a guest post, be interviewed, or ask you to appear on a show. If you don’t have a ‘contact me’ page, and nobody can contact you privately, then they’ll probably move on and give that opportunity to somebody else.
On the menu bar of my blog, you’ll see a ‘Contact Hugh’ button. That’s how people can contact me privately.
I get lots of people contacting me every week. As a result, I’ve written guest articles, appeared on radio shows and recorded podcasts, all of which have allowed me to promote myself and my blog. In return, I’ve got hundreds of new readers and followers to my blog.
Make sure you’re contactable. Click here to find out how to set up a ‘contact me’ page.
4. The ‘About Me’ Page
Ever since my early days of blogging, I’ve been told that many new blog visitors will want to learn a little about the blogger behind the blog before deciding whether to follow.
When I visit a new blog, I first look for an ‘about me’ page to learn more about the blogger.
If the blogger doesn’t have an ‘about me’ page or it’s difficult to find, I’m more likely to move on than check out the rest of their blog.
If you do have an ‘about me’ page, ensure you allow new visitors to introduce themselves by allowing them to leave a comment on it. And don’t forget, a friendly reply is more likely to keep that visitor returning to read your posts.
Click here for details on setting up an ‘About Me’ page and what to include.
5. The Gravatar
The image that appears next to all comments is known as a Gravatar. A gravatar is created for you as soon as you leave your first review or comment on the internet.
How many times have you clicked on the gravatar image of somebody who has left an excellent comment on a post and not been able to find their blog details? Frustrating, isn’t it, especially when you think it may be a blog you’d like to follow.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes many bloggers make, as soon as their gravatar is created, is they forget about it. Many don’t realise they can add images and leave links to their blog and social media accounts on their gravatar.
If a reader then clicks on your gravatar, they’ll see the links to your blog and social media accounts and be able to visit them. That means more visitors to your blog and social media accounts which could result in more followers.
Click here to find out how to add links to your blog and social media accounts to your gravatar.
Let’s wrap it up
Many blogging tools can help readers notice your blog and keep them returning.
Make sure you have a Search Bar on your blog to help visitors find other content.
Ensure your blog includes a menu bar, but don’t overload it with too many items.
Ensure the links on your blog’s menu bar all work. Check for broken links at least once a month and fix any that have become broken.
Ensure your blog has a page where readers and visitors can contact you privately. Not everyone will want to leave a comment inviting you to write a guest post or to appear on a radio show or podcast.
Many new visitors want to know a little about the person behind the blog before deciding whether to follow. Tell visitors a little about yourself on an ‘about me’ page.
Ensure your Gravatar has links to your blog and social media accounts.
This is an updated version of a post originally published on Hugh’s Views And News in September 2018
What powerful blogging tools do you use on your blog, and why do you use them? Share them with us by leaving a comment.
Performing housekeeping on your blog has many benefits. After all, who doesn’t want their blog to look like a friendly, easy-to-use and inviting place old and new visitors will want to keep coming back to?
If you’re a blogger looking to expand their readership, performing housekeeping on your blog is something you should seriously consider.
But what blog housekeeping jobs should you consider doing?
During a 4-day heatwave last month, I couldn’t venture outside, so I took the opportunity to do some blog housekeeping. Here’s what I did.
1. Delete old, out-of-date blog posts.
I always feel that old, out-of-date blog posts that can not be updated or rewritten do nothing but drag down my blog.
They hang around like some uninvited members of the family you hardly ever see or have contact with. You know they are there but feel afraid to ask them to leave.
I had over 400 blog posts on my blog, some of which were doing nothing apart from attracting spam comments. They were dead ducks. They were not attracting any new views, visitors or comments.
I ended up deleting over 80 posts. Not only did I feel good getting rid of what I considered clutter, but I was also able to cut the number of spam comments by deleting those old posts.
After deleting them, I felt a lot better about my blog. I felt much more positive knowing I had removed all the deadwood.
Some bloggers claim that deleting old posts is not a good idea because they can look back and see how much they have improved since those early posts. But when you’re somebody who never goes back to read old posts, mainly because you don’t have the time to do so, deleting these old blog posts is like cutting away the string tied to the brick holding your blog down.
2. Fixing broken links.
A downside of deleting old blog posts is that any pingback and links you have to them will become broken.
I used Broken Link Check to run a report showing me broken links on my blog. It’s free to use.
Since SEOs like Google rank blogs lower that have broken links, cleaning up and fixing broken links is a job every blogger should consider.
That first broken link report could be long and overwhelming, but once you start running a broken link report every month, you’ll soon conquer that job.
Fixing broken links was the best bit of blog housekeeping I did because it improves your blog’s overall ranking, meaning more traffic and visitors to your blog.
3. Categories and tags
When I checked how many categories and tags I had on my blog, I was shocked by the number.
What amazed me was that many categories and tags were no longer active. Like some of my old blog posts, they were deadwood.
Checking which categories and tags are no longer active is easy.
Follow this guide.
On your blog’s dashboard, click on Posts and then Categories. (Click on Tags to manage Tags).
A list of all your categories will show how many posts you have under each category.
To delete a category, click on the meatball menu next to the number and click on ‘delete.’
Follow the same process for managing the Tags on your blog.
4. Menu Bar
I also took the opportunity to tidy up the menubar on my blog. Although it was not what I considered ‘top heavy’, I moved some items to sub-categories.
Here’s an example. I moved some fictional stuff to sub-categories under ‘Fiction.’ When you now hover over ‘Fiction‘ on the menu, you’ll see the sub-categories pop up.
Blogs with top-heavy menus can look overwhelming and messy to visitors.
Did you know that a blog can be killed other than by just deleting it?
While not all of the items on the following list will kill your blog instantly, some are what some call slow burners, where the killing of your blog will take much longer.
Are you responsible for doing any of these to your blog?
Don’t have an ‘about me’ page on your blog.
The ‘about me’ page takes visitors more than a minute to find.
The ‘about me’ page starts with these words – ‘this is an example of an about me page…’
The number of followers is more important to you than what you write and publish.
Publishing too many poor-quality posts due to rushing them.
Believe you have to publish content several times daily; otherwise, nobody will visit your blog.
Have links on your blog that you have no idea are broken or can not be bothered to fix.
You do not respond to comments.
You do not respond to questions or queries.
Don’t allow anyone to leave comments on your blog.
Ignore your readers.
Do not treat visitors to your blog as guests.
Don’t give yourself a name by which you can be addressed in the comments section.
Do not read other blogs.
Do not leave comments on other blogs.
Believe that blogging is going to make you rich.
Believe your blog will make money within the first year.
Leave links with no relevance (usually to your own posts) on the posts of other bloggers when not invited to do so.
Don’t believe you need to promote your blog.
Refuse to use social media to boost your blog posts.
Refuse to keep up to date with blogging technology and changes.
Think readers will find you rather than you find your readers.
Do not use enough ‘white space’ between the paragraphs in your blog posts.
The paragraphs on your posts are too long and blocky (more than 5 sentences long).
Have no way readers can contact you on your blog other than by leaving a comment. (No ‘contact me’ page).
Do not thank people for sharing your posts on their blogs.
Do not use images and/or photos in any posts.
Use images, photos and words (including lyrics) on your blog which are copyrighted and not free to use.
Do not ask permission to use photos and/or images owned by other bloggers before using them.
Ignore all copyright advice.
Respond to constructive, negative comments in an unprofessional and unfriendly manner.
Allow other bloggers to spam your blog with links that have nothing to do with the post’s content.
Keep begging other bloggers to reblog your posts, visit, or follow your blog.
Leave worthless comments on other blogs.
Leave worthless comments on other blogs which clearly show you’ve not read the post.
Do not take time to edit posts before publishing them.
Do not preview your posts before publishing them.
Inundate followers with too many posts in a short space of time instead of scheduling them out.
Respond to comments left by trolls in the comments section of your blog, where all can read them.
Allow trolls to leave comments on your blog.
Allow trolls to attack other bloggers who have left comments.
Personally attack other bloggers in the comments section on your own or different blogs.
Steal the ideas of other bloggers and publish them on your blog as if the content is original and has been written by you.
Fail to maintain and house-keep your blog regularly.
Keep reblogging or rescheduling your own posts which are less than a few months old.
Do not have a ‘landing’ page that will keep visitors returning.
Ignore advice and feedback from other bloggers.
Believe that blogging will only take up a few minutes of your time every week.
Wake up and dread opening up your blog because of all the comments you will need to reply to.
Keep telling your readers that you are giving blogging up, and keep coming back.
Allow blogging to stress you out.
Allow blogging to make you feel guilty.
Your blog and/or blog posts are poorly laid out.
Choose a font and background combination that makes it hard for visitors to read your posts.
Fail to categorise all your blog posts (including reblogs).
Fail to add ‘tags’ to your blog posts.
Don’t understand ‘pingbacks’ and how to use them.
Have no ‘search’ bar on your blog.
Have a menu that is too top-heavy, making it overwhelming to readers.
Fail to add your blog details to your gravatar.
Fail to connect your social media accounts to your blog.
Have pop-up boxes on your blog that can not be removed unless somebody subscribes to your mailing list.
Have pop-up boxes on your blog which keeps popping up every time someone visits or until they have subscribed to your mailing list.
Keep suffering from blog envy when you read a post you’d wish you’d written.
Regularly publish posts that tell your readers to buy your book(s) or other products and services you offer rather than allow them to decide if they want to buy them.
You believe that blogging is all about the number of blog posts you can publish daily rather than what you are writing about.
You think you have the power to read and comment on every new blog post on all the blogs you follow.
Fail to update your readers that you are about to take a blogging break and how long it will last.
Lose motivation and a desire to continue blogging when your blog stats take a nosedive.
Believe that everyone will enjoy reading every post you write and publish.
Believe that all your followers will read and comment on all your posts.
Get upset when your blog loses followers.
Argue with bloggers and readers for failing to read and comment on all your blog posts.
Follow other blogs in the hope that they will follow back before unfollowing them again.
Believe all your readers will agree with everything you say in your blog posts.
Think nobody will dare to disagree with what you have to say by leaving a constructive comment telling you why they disagree.
Criticise other bloggers behind their backs (in the comments section of your own blog or on other blogs) for wanting to help other bloggers.
Maintain too many blogs, thus spreading yourself too thinly.
Fail to take some time away from blogging (knowing that you need to) because you believe the blogging world can not survive without you.
What about you? What would you add to the list? How would you kill your blog other than by deleting it?
This is an updated version of a post I wrote and published in 2017.
You can find the answers to solving many of the above issues by clicking on ‘blogging tips’ in the menu at the top of my blog, but feel free to leave any questions in the comments section. I’m always happy to help.
How often do you click on the reblog sharing button?
Are you somebody who reblogs every day or, like me, no longer uses the reblog button?
When I first started blogging in 2014, I was amazed by how many bloggers used the reblog button. Fast forward to today, and I see little use for it.
It’s one of the reasons why I removed the reblog button from my blog. Not only have I seen a sharp decline in the reblogging of my posts, but I’ve seen the same in the reblogging of the posts of other bloggers.
I remember the first time one of my blog posts got reblogged. It was one of the highlights of my blogging journey. Funnily, it marked the beginning of my believing I’d become a successful blogger.
For years, my blog posts got reblogged almost weekly. It helped put me and my blog in front of new readers and did wonders for the number of followers my blog gained.
When Followers Are Not Followers
Of course, not all followers are followers.
I soon learned that people followed my blog but never returned to it.
I knew that some unfollowed my blog as soon as I followed them back.
I couldn’t figure out why anyone would unfollow my blog as soon as I followed them, but a couple of years into my blogging journey, I discovered that some bloggers are more interested in numbers than content. They don’t hang around in the blogging world for long.
What’s The Most Significant Risk In Reblogging?
When I first heard of bloggers receiving fines for reblogging material that included copyrighted material, my love of reblogging began to dwindle. Seriously? Are bloggers fined for reblogging? Yes, it’s true, and that may be one of many reasons why many bloggers no longer use the reblog button.
When author and blogger Deborah Jay wrote a guest post for me, she shared her story of how a simple reblog ended up with her being threatened with legal action and a fine. Click here to read the post.
But it’s not only Deborah who has faced legal action and a fine for reblogging another blogger’s blog post. Several bloggers have been fined for reblogging blog posts that included copyrighted photos or images.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It can happen to anyone who shares copyrighted material on their blog.
Removed The Reblog Button From Your Blog? Your Posts Can Still Be Reblogged!
Did you know that just because I have removed the reblog button from my blog posts doesn’t mean nobody can no longer reblog them?
One of the few flaws of WordPress that annoys me is that readers can still reblog any of my posts from the WordPress Reader. That doesn’t make sense to me when I’ve removed the reblog button from my blog.
Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to any of my blog posts since I removed the reblog button.
However, I am still delighted when somebody shares my blog posts via a ‘pingback‘ the ‘Press This‘ marketing (not sharing) button or on social media.
Feel free to share this post via one of those methods.
How Do I Remove The Reblog Button From My Blog?
If you decide you would rather not offer the option to reblog your posts, you can disable the button by navigating to My Sites → Tools → Marketing. Then click on the Sharing Buttons tab.Disable ‘Show reblog button’ under Reblog & Like, and the Reblog button will no longer appear on your blog posts.
Did You Know This?
Blogs that are full of reblogged posts are known as ‘Reblogging Farms.’ Is your blog a reblogging farm?
Do you still use the reblog button? If so, what do you reblog?
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SPAM! It’s something every blogger dislikes and something every blogger will have to deal with.
I’ve seen bloggers close comments off all their posts because of spam.
I’ve seen bloggers telling readers that they only accept email comments because of spam.
I’ve even witnessed bloggers telling readers only to leave comments on social media platforms because of spam.
In all these cases, spam triumphed.
When another blogger told me, ‘Closing comments off on your blog is like slamming the door in your readers’ faces,’ I had to rethink how to tackle handling spam.
What was I doing? I was closing comments off posts that attracted lots of spam but still attracted genuine comments.
It reminded me of another blogger who told her readers that she tackled spam by closing off comments on all her posts 14 days after publication because of spam. She told her readers that 14 days was enough time for them to read and comment on all her posts. I shook my head in disbelief.
Many bloggers close comments on blog posts that attract lots of spam. But there are ways of dealing with spam without closing comments off.
1. Reschedule the post
Rescheduling an existing blog post gives it a new lease of life, but it also provides the post with a new URL address, thus fooling the spammers.
How to reschedule a blog post on WordPress
Open the post you want to reschedule in ‘edit’ mode.
In the settings box of the post, click on the date and time link that the post was initially published.
A calendar will open. Choose the new date and time you want the post to reschedule.
Click the ‘Update’ button.
Your post will now republish on the date and time you chose.
Here are a few essential things to think about when rescheduling blog posts.
Your post will show up on the WordPress Reader list of your followers when it republishes.
WordPress does not send out a new email notification when a rescheduled post is published.
You won’t lose all the existing comments and ‘likes’ on a post that has been rescheduled.
Any links, pingbacks and trackbacks to the original post will become invalid, as will any previous shares of the post on social media. I recommend, therefore, that you only reschedule posts that are at least a year old.
Tip: Rescheduling a post is also an excellent chance to update it and fix any broken pingbacks before rescheduling it.
2. Rewrite the post and republish it as a new post.
If the post is over a year old and requires lots of updating, consider rewriting and publishing it as a new post.
You can do the same with posts that you have published on other blogging platforms but which you now want to publish on WordPress.
Here are a few essential things to consider.
All existing likes and comments will be lost.
All reblog links, pingbacks and links to the post will become invalid.
All links and shares on social media will become invalid.
Some readers may dislike reading duplicated content they have read on your blog before, so do consider how long ago the post was initially published.
Consider informing readers that it is a rewritten version of a previous post at the beginning of your post.
Remember to delete the post attracting too much spam once you’ve published the new post.
Give the new post a slightly different title. SEOs rank posts and blogs lower that contain too many duplicated blog post titles.
3. Delete the post
Every blogger should be excellent at keeping their blog up to date. Blog housekeeping is as important as writing and publishing new blog posts.
If you have blog posts attracting lots of spam, consider deleting them if the content is outdated and no longer worth keeping. That will put pay to the spambots attacking the post and causing you stress.
However, do remember that deleting a post will also mean that any likes, comments and shares will also be lost.
Final thoughts on spam
Don’t slam the door in the faces of visitors to your blog by allowing spam to stop them from leaving comments and joining discussions and conversations on any of your blog posts.
Remember that search engines will send visitors to your blog posts for as long as the post is live. If they find they can’t leave comments and join a discussion, they may not return.
Don’t ask visitors to leave comments they couldn’t leave on your other blog posts where comments remain open. That will only confuse visitors reading the comments sections.
Get into the habit of checking your WordPress spam folder every time you log into your blog.
Throwback Thursday is the day to bring your old blog posts back to life.
We all have old blog posts in our archives, many of which are buried bits of treasure that can reward us again. Throwback Thursday is the perfect day to rekindle those old blog posts.
Only use blog posts that are still relevant, although always ensure you first make any necessary changes to the posts you want to highlight.
How to participate in Throwback Thursday
Select a favourite blog post that is at least a few months old.
Share it via a pingback or link in a new Throwback Thursday blog post.
After all, not only will some of your readers not have seen the post the first time it was published, but new followers may also not have seen it.
However, as I mentioned, rather than publish the whole post again, the idea behind Throwback Thursday is to include a link to the post you want to highlight in your Throwback Thursday post.
What you should do with your Throwback Thursday blog posts.
Only publish the post on a Thursday. That may seem like common sense, but I’ve seen bloggers publish them on other days of the week. Some readers may find it odd to publish Throwback Thursday posts on any other day than a Thursday. After all, the clue is in the title.
However, don’t worry if you miss publishing your Throwback Thursday blog post. You can always delay publication until the following Thursday. There are lots of Thursdays to choose from.
If you’re a day late in publishing your Throwback Thursday post, you can always change it to a Flashback Friday post. Flashback Friday has the same concept as Throwback Thursday, where you are encouraged to highlight older blog posts.
Share your Throwback Thursday posts on social media using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday so that other participants can find your post.
Tag your post ‘ThrowBack Thursday’ on your blog so other participants can find it.
You can also include the words ‘Throwback Thursday’ or the hashtag in the title of your blog post, but always ensure you add the title of the blog post you’re highlighting. You don’t want to end up with many blog posts simply titled ‘Throwback Thursday.’
When creating the pingback to the post you want to highlight, ensure you turn on the ‘open in new tab‘ button so that readers don’t lose the page of your blog they’re on.
Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for full details.
Is there anything else I should consider when publishing Throwback Thursday blog posts?
Yes, I recommend closing comments on the post and asking readers to leave any new comments on the original blog post you’re highlighting. That way, they can see and read comments already left on the post you’re promoting. They can join any ongoing discussion. It makes more sense to have comments on the same post rather than scattered across several blog posts.
When selecting which posts to promote, choose the ones you believe your readers will benefit from and think they’ll enjoy reading again.
And that is Throwback Thursday.
Do you participate in Throwback Thursday? Do you have any questions about Throwback Thursday? Please leave them in the comments section.
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It’s a photography challenge I became aware of when I started blogging in 2014.
The purpose of the challenge is to allow photos or pictures to tell a story without using any words.
I’ve no idea who began the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge, but my hat goes off to them. It’s an easy and simple challenge to get involved with that’ll bring new followers to your blog.
The more you participate, the more new visitors your blog will get. However, it does help if you do the challenge correctly and ensure you promote your Wordless Wednesday blog posts on social media.
You will also gain new visitors and followers if you visit and leave comments on other Wordless Wednesday blog posts.
Fact: Participating in the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge ignited my long-lost passion for photography. I have also discovered some wonderful new blogs by participating.
Are there any rules for participating in Wordless Wednesday?
None that I can find. So I’m sharing some of the rules I believe the originator of Wordless Wednesday would have set when creating the challenge.
Those interested in participating can take or leave these rules, but remember that the key feature of the challenge is for your blog post to be wordless.
Published entries only on a Wednesday.
Other than the title of your post and any captions and copyright information, don’t use any words in the main body of the post. Remember, the theme is ‘Wordless.’
Your photo should not contain words or letters (other than copyright information).
Use the hashtag #WordlessWednesday when sharing your post on social media. That way, other participants can find them.
Tag your Wordless Wednesday posts ‘WordlessWednesday’ on your blog so that other participants can find them.
Can I use ‘Wordless Wednesday’ in the title of my blog posts?
Yes, and it’s something I recommend you do.
Warning: Do not use just ‘Wordless Wednesday’ as the title. Why? Because as you publish more and more Wordless Wednesday posts, you’ll build up many blog posts with the same identical title. SEOs such as Google and Bing dislike duplicated blog post titles. As a result, your blog will be ranked lower for using duplicated blog post titles.
Using the same blog post title also renders the search facility on your blog useless. For example, let’s say somebody wants to find a photo of a boat I published on a Wordless Wednesday post five years ago. If I’ve titled all my blog posts ‘Wordless Wednesday’ they’ll have to search through all those posts to find the one they’re looking for.
However, if I titled the post ‘Red boat’ #WordlessWednesday‘, a search result for ‘Boat’ will feature that particular post.
So, always give the title of your Wordless Wednesday blog posts a different title. Here are some examples.
A Day at the beach #WordlessWednesday
In the park #WordlessWednesday
Hills and Mountains #WordlessWednesday
Go with a title that fits the photo(s) theme you’re sharing, and add the Wordless Wednesday hashtag to it.
Using images and photos that are not your own
If you’re using an image from the internet for your post, remember to credit the originator or the site where you got the photo/image. You can do this by adding a caption which you can turn into a pingback.
If the photo/image is completely free to use at all times, you don’t need to credit it. However, check the small print before using any photos or images from the internet as they may only be free to use for a limited time.
Using your own images and photos is a much safer option.
What you shouldn’t do with the Wordless Wednesday photography challenge
Use images and photos that are copyrighted and illegal to use and share.
Add lots of text to your post. I’ve seen many bloggers use Wordless Wednesday in the title of a blog post and add loads of text to the body of the post.
Likewise, I have seen some bloggers use the Wordless Wednesday hashtag on social media for a post containing lots of text. Those searching for Wordless Wednesday posts and taken to a blog post that contains lots of text won’t return to your blog.
The whole idea of Wordless Wednesday is for the blog post not to contain any text about the photos or images. Allow the photos or images to tell the story.
The comments section of the post can be used to give out more information about the photos or images you are using.
Here are some examples of some of my Wordless Wednesday blog posts. They’ll give you an idea of how to participate. Click on the links to see the posts.
Are there any advantages and disadvantages of belonging to blogging communities?
When I started blogging, I had no idea that blogging communities existed, but it wasn’t long before I found myself a part of them.
What are blogging communities?
There are many different types of blogging communities. This post features my experiences with what has become known as ‘Facebook blogging communities’ – a name I recently discovered. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to belong to one of these communities.
How it all started
Within a few weeks of becoming a blogger, I was lucky enough to attend an online blogging course that WordPress ran. It was an online, live event rather than something you could do at your own pace.
Along with over 50 other new bloggers, I soon became a part of a blogging community that gradually built up. We helped each other out by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts.
Not everyone on the course became a member of the community. By the time the course finished, around 15 of us had kept in touch by reading, liking and commenting on each other’s posts.
It didn’t matter what we published or what comments we left for each other; the main thing was that all our posts got read.
During the first year, three things happened.
I built my own blogging community.
I became a member of other blogging communities.
Some people gradually dropped out of the first blogging community for various reasons.
What are the advantages of blogging communities?
The most significant advantage of being a blogging community member is that all my blog posts were getting read and commented on.
Apart from whoever first visited a newly published post, visitors saw my posts had ‘likes’ and comments.
I had an audience. I was not writing (speaking) to an empty auditorium.
I always found it sad reading excellent blog posts with no ‘likes’ or comments. But then I asked myself if the bloggers publishing the posts belonged to any blogging communities. Probably not!
However, regardless of what I was writing and publishing, my posts were all read and commented on. I was delighted!
Friendships formed with many of the members of my blogging community, and as more and more people joined, those friendships spread.
The same thing happened in other blogging communities. When we struggled, we all helped and supported each other. When things were going well, we all celebrated with each other. These communities were like brand new worlds outside of my everyday life.
My blogging community encouraged me to put my short stories and pieces of flash fiction into a book. If not for their support and encouragement, I’d never have self-published my books.
A few years later, I became one of the founding members of ‘The Bloggers Bash’ – an event where bloggers met up in person. Five events took place in London between 2015 and 2019, all a big success.
I can’t express enough how delighted I am to have met many blogging friends at these events. I’d never have met these bloggers if it had not been for blogging communities.
Sadly, I’ve lost touch with some of the bloggers who attended those events. Some stopped blogging, while others moved away from WordPress into areas of blogging that were much more exciting. Some stopped responding to comments on their blogs, while others left blogging communities I belonged to.
Blogging communities are a big triumph.
They are places where you can talk, and people will listen (if that is what you want). They offer help, support, guidance, free advice and friendship.
I witnessed many blogging community members meeting up all over the world. These were all people who would otherwise never have formed friendships and met up had it not been for them to start a blog, many on WordPress.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, blogging communities were even more critical, especially for bloggers who lived alone.
Of course, not every blogger wants to be a part of blogging communities. It’s their choice, and I fully understand why they may not want to participate.
Are there any disadvantages to blogging communities?
Yes. But only if you create problems.
During the first years of blogging, reading, liking and commenting on each other’s blog posts helps propel you on your blogging journey.
However, as you become a member of more and more communities (and your community grows), you’ll find you have less time to read and leave comments.
As blogging communities become more extensive, they can eat away at the time you have put aside for everything else outside of blogging unless you stick to a strict rule of how much time you spend reading and commenting. Adhering to any limitations can also create problems.
I’ve seen many bloggers forced to change the comments they leave because of a lack of time to read posts. Instead of leaving genuine comments that offer feedback and discussion and prove they have read the post, lazy ‘Facebook’ type comments appear.
What do I mean by lazy, Facebook type comments?
Short one-line comments. Comments like ‘Great post’ or ‘Great story.’ Comments that never explain why it’s a great post or a great story. In other words, comments that lack any feedback. Comments containing nothing but emojis (something I am especially not a fan of) can also pop up.
I noticed (and this is where the Facebook blogging community name comes from) that the comments I was leaving became much shorter as I joined more blogging communities. My time to read and comment became even more minimal with the increasing size of some blogging communities.
My comments were of no value to the blogger I was leaving them for other than to say that I had visited their newly published post (although not necessary read all or some of it).
Rather than read all of the posts, I skimmed over them because I didn’t have enough time to read and comment on everyone’s posts.
I found myself leaving the types of comments seen on Facebook. Many bloggers refer to them as guilt-tripping comments because you feel guilty for not proving that you have visited the blog post if you don’t leave a comment (regardless of whether you’ve read the post or what the comment says).
Along with other bloggers, I began to find blogging become stressful. It made me feel guilty, and blogging burnout hit me because I could not keep up with reading and commenting on other community members’ blog posts. I was overwhelmed and wrote and published the following post.
It was not long before I realised that belonging to large blogging communities stopped other members and me from expanding our horizons by discovering new blogs and bloggers. We didn’t have the time to search. It usually happens when blogging communities reach a certain number of members.
I began to see community members’ blog posts lacking comments from new bloggers/followers. Instead, the comment sections of their blog posts were full of the same short comments from the same bloggers.
But it wasn’t always short comments. Sometimes, the comments section was full of longer comments, but always from the same bloggers. Rarely did comments from new readers appear.
You may think there is nothing wrong with that, but one blogger recently told me that close-knit blogging communities often look like uninviting scary places, so they never left comments. ‘It was like being a new kid on the block, where outsiders would not be welcomed’ — my heart sunk when I heard that.
Duplicated blog posts filled my WordPress Reader and email box because some community members keep reblogging each other’s blog posts.
Some of the blogs of close-knit communities had conversations in the comments section that had nothing to do with the blog post’s subject (usually something much better discussed offline or on Facebook).
When I realised that I was suffering from blogging burnout, I had to change how I was blogging. The most significant action I took was to step back from many blogging communities.
Instead of skim-reading and leaving lazy comments on every blog post of other community members, I selected which of the posts I was going to read and comment on.
If the blog post’s title was of no interest or did not entice me to click the ‘read more’ link, I did not read it.
If a community member published more than one post daily, I selected one or two of their posts weekly, although the titles had to be enticing enough to make me want to read them.
I stopped leaving comments on all posts I read. If I did not have anything of value to add, I clicked the ‘like’ button and moved on to the next post (although if I had enjoyed reading the post, I shared it on social media).
I stopped feeling guilty for not reading all the blog posts community members published.
I cut back on some blogging communities by leaving them – something I have never regretted.
Balancing writing with reading and commenting on blog posts should never be a problem.
Some blogging community members may feel frustrated or upset that you are not reading and leaving comments on all their blog posts (especially if they read and leave comments on all your blog posts). Never allow it to become your problem or make you feel obliged to read and comment on their posts. That’s not what blogging is about.
If any blogger realises you are not reading and commenting on all their posts and sees it as a problem (as a handful of community members have told me in the past), ask yourself if you should be following their blog.
Final thoughts on blogging communities.
Being a member of blogging communities offers many incentives. Many bloggers are happy to have the same readers leave the same comments week after week. Some won’t care about gaining new followers or promoting their writing elsewhere, especially if what they are doing gives them a lot of fun and enjoyment.
Some bloggers don’t care about feedback. They see their blog as a place where people can pop in and say the occasional ‘Hello.’
Some bloggers are happy with their close-knit blogging community and won’t care if nobody else joins in.
Yet, seeing the same short comments on all blog posts of a particular blog day after day doesn’t inspire me to want to leave comments, especially if it’s a close-knit blogging community.
Should you join blogging communities?
Yes! I recommend that every blogger be a member of at least a couple of blogging communities. However, everyone should beware of the pitfalls blogging communities can bring (if you allow those traps to open).
Stick to no more than a handful of blogging communities, otherwise, you’ll find you will need to spread your time thinly between them all.
Do you belong to any blogging communities? What are your experiences with blogging communities? What advantages and disadvantages have blogging communities bought you? Join the discussion by leaving your comments.