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 find a way of contacting 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 and know that many new visitors to a blog will want to find out a little about the blogger behind the blog before deciding whether to follow or not.
When I visit a new blog, I first look for an ‘about me’ page to find out 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 an image 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 or not. 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.
In February 2022, I passed a blogging milestone. WordPress informed me that I’d been blogging for eight years! But that notification asked me questions while I looked back at those eight years.
Eight years? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I started to blog. I know of bloggers who have been blogging for much longer than me and who continue to write and publish posts full of interesting content that are always of the highest quality. Not only do they care deeply about what they write, but what they publish. That makes all the difference – knowing what to publish and what not to publish.
I’ve seen thousands of bloggers come and go in those eight years. Some disappeared without a trace, while others hung up their blogging gloves and announced their departure. The ones I felt the sorriest for were the ones who stopped blogging because they couldn’t get the engagement or the number of hits and followers they craved.
Some came here solely for making money, while others came here more for collecting numbers rather than engaging outside their blog. They don’t last long and end up cluttering the world wide web with abandoned blogs in the blog graveyard. It’s a sad sight.
From the beginning
I can count the number of bloggers on one hand who have been with me since that first year. I often ask myself why they’re still reading my posts and leaving comments, but that lack of confidence in myself isn’t something I will dwell on here. All I will say is that I must be doing something right.
I’ll be honest: I have unfollowed many blogs over the years. Why do some bloggers not like talking about unfollowing blogs? It’s as if it’s a taboo subject.
Unfollowing blogs is something I witness many shy away from speaking or writing about. It’s as if it’s a ‘hush-hush’ subject. Something that gets swept under the carpet. But not me, no. I’ve written about it and had great discussions about it in the comments section of those posts, but never on other blogs. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places?
Why do I unfollow blogs?
For many reasons, but mainly when I lose interest in the content.
One of the biggest mysteries is the bloggers I stop hearing from because I unfollowed them. I probably stopped following them because I was no longer interested in their publishing content. That’s a simple enough reason. But why then go silent? Surely not for the same reason? Or was it a coincidence that we simultaneously lost interest in each other’s content?
The different faces of bloggers
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some bloggers face to face. For me, that’s been one of the highs of blogging. However, I know that some bloggers like to remain anonymous. And they’ve every right to remain anonymous. Being behind a screen can feel like a safe place, but it isn’t always that way. I won’t talk about the trolls here because trolls like being discussed.
Ups and downs
I’ve had my ups and I had my downs with blogging. It’s like being on a rollercoaster that some bloggers can’t get off. I’ve alighted the blogging rollercoaster a few times when taking blogging breaks.
Some of those breaks lasted months, while others lasted a few weeks. But they all had something in common. They helped me step back, take a look at what I was doing, how I was doing it, and most importantly, helped me change the way I blogged. I always came back refreshed and, despite what some say, readers do not stop following you because you’ve taken a break.
Barbara, who blogs at Book Club Mom, has evidence of blogging breaks. She recently wrote a terrific post about taking a blogging break. Read it here.
Like everything else in life, blogging changes. It would be a very dull place if it didn’t change. Can you imagine what life would be like if it never changed?
Since I first started blogging, things have changed massively. I’m talking here about the WordPress platform. I was never a fan of change, but I’m confident that the changes I’ve witnessed here on WordPress have made blogging much more fun and enjoyable. Blogging has finally moved into the 21st century.
Those changes helped propel my blog to an even wider audience. Unfortunately, some bloggers got left behind, but I didn’t want to be one of them. There’s too much at stake when remaining stagnant.
At first, the changes looked like they were going to cause problems, but rather than complain about what I believed were problems, I adjusted to the changes and saw vast improvements for me, other bloggers and readers. It’s like climbing a ladder. The higher you get, the more you see and learn, and the more you can make a difference.
When I look at some of the blogs I’ve been following for years, I’m amazed by the changes that have taken place. That shows me how far they have all come on their blogging journey. They’ve adapted, welcomed change, and become better writers and bloggers. But they have also updated and improved their blogs. It’s made them blogging figureheads with their readers and in the blogging world. They have my utmost respect.
They continue to adapt to changes and continue to roar on their journey. That roar is one of achievement rather than the cry of complaint while refusing to adapt to change.
Change can make some problems frustrating, but you become stale by taking no action or hoping others will tackle your issues. Don’t allow your sparkle to dim by not adapting to change.
The biggest blogging trap to look out for
Most of the people I have encountered in the blogging world are friendly. However, some don’t help themselves. By this, I mean that some bloggers seem to believe they have to be everywhere all the time to not upset anyone. It’s one of the biggest blogging traps bloggers fall into that can turn blogging upside down, inside-out, and become something that causes stress or a feeling of guilt. It’s a horrible place, yet it is easy to escape – if you allow it.
Many bloggers fall into the guilt and stress trap during their first few years of blogging. I was one of them, yet some don’t seem to learn the lessons of falling into that trap and continue slipping through the net, making blogging a not-so-lovely experience.
Some bloggers apologise for dealing with life outside of the blogging world. I don’t know why they believe they need to apologise, but it’s sad to see. Some apologise if they publish a post a few minutes late. It’s as if their readers’ lives depend on those posts going out on time; otherwise, something awful will happen.
Of course, the truth is that nobody cares if a post is published a few minutes late. Nobody cares if a post is a day late. But if it goes over a week late or your absence is out of character, care becomes a concern. Another lovely element of the blogging community is looking out for each other.
It’s my life
Something I’ve never been comfortable with on my blog is revealing everything in my life. Why? Because there are so many scammers out there looking for information they can use when they steal your identity. Plus, do people really want to know every detail of my life? Would I give that information out to total strangers?
Those are tough questions, but I decided to only give out a limited amount of information, most of which can be found on my ‘Meet Hugh‘ page.
Some bloggers pour their hearts out on their blogs, telling readers every bit of detail of their lives. Years ago, life was different, and many of us wanted to keep our lives private, but now it seems to have been turned on its head, and people complain if nobody reads their blog. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this tweet.
Be careful when giving information out about yourself. You don’t know everyone who reads your blog and the information you are giving out on it.
That’s my quick look at the last eight years. There will be more posts like this because I’ve lots more to share.
How long have you been blogging? Is blogging all that you want it to be? Let me know in the comment section.
‘One hundred posts! That’s far too many in eight months,’ I told myself.
One hundred posts over eight months mean that, on average, I’m publishing 12 posts per month or around three per week.
I was rather shocked by the figures, but told myself that it shouldn’t be about me but my audience. That’s where I hope you will step in by answering some questions and leaving your answers in the comments section.
Are 12 posts per month too many, too few, or just right on Hugh’s Views And News?
How many blog posts did you publish between 1st January and 31st August 2021?
Do you think you’ve published too many, too few, or the right amount of posts so far this year?
What are your reasons for the answer(s) you gave to the last question?
If you blog on WordPress.Com, you can find out how many posts you’ve published by going to your blog’s ‘Stats And Insights‘ page and click on the ‘Insights’ tab.
You’ll find the information towards the bottom of the page under ‘Annual Site Stats.’
Join the discussion and let me know your answers by leaving them in the comments section. You don’t need to answer all of the questions if you don’t want to, but I’d be interested in reading the answers you do give.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering what I did on my unplanned blogging break, here’s a clue of one of the places I visited.
Doesn’t it look gorgeous?
Over the coming months, I’ve lots planned for Hugh’s Views And News. In the meantime, if you’d like to follow me on my other social media platforms, click on the buttons below.
Follow Hugh on Social media by clicking on the buttons
Have you noticed the new WordPress ‘Screen Options’ button on the dashboard of your blog?
At first, it wasn’t very noticeable to me, but I now find myself using it everyday because it has some great features.
Where can I find the ‘Screen Options’ button?
You’ll find the ‘Screen Options‘ button in the top righthand corner of your screen when viewing ‘Posts,’ ‘Pages’, ‘Media’ or ‘Comments’ on the dashboard of your blog. Please note that It doesn’t yet seem to be available on the WordPress App.
I am able to see the button when using WordPress on my desktop computer, laptop, iPad and iPhone using Safari and Chrome.
What does the ‘Screen Options’ button do?
It’s a quick way to switch between the new WordPress ‘Default’ view and the old ‘Classic’ view of your blog’s dashboard.
Clicking on the button gives users two choices when viewing information on the ‘Posts’, ‘Pages’ and ‘Comments’ section on their blog’s dashboard.
‘Default’ view is the one I’ve been using for the last couple of months. Here are two screenshots of what my blog’s ‘posts’ page looks like with the ‘Default’ view and the ‘Classic’ view.
Many users may recognise the old-style ‘Classic’ view. However, did you know that it now contains more options? Clicking on the ‘Screen Options’ button again will disclose the options. I’ve highlighted some of them on the following image.
Not only can you choose which columns to display under ‘posts,’ but you can also choose how many of your posts you want to see on the dashboard.
If you make any chances, click the ‘Apply’ button to save them.
What does the ‘view mode’ option do?
Changing the ‘view mode’ option to ‘Extended view’ will show a little more information under your posts.
In my case, I was able to see the excerpt for each of my posts.
Reminder – click the ‘Apply’ button if you make any changes.
The ‘Classic’ view also has a gateway to the old Classic editor, where you can draft new blog posts. However, WordPress may remove this at any time.
Struggling with spam? Use the Classic option
As I use the Block editor, I use the ‘Default’ version. However, I use the ‘Classic’ option for specific functions that the ‘Default’ option doesn’t yet do. For example, I use the ‘Classic’ option for deleting all spam from my WordPress spam folder with just one click.
Don’t allow spam to cause you any problems or to allow you to make any harsh decisions. It can easily be dealt with.
Although the ‘Default’ option offers an option to bulk delete spam, you can only delete 20 spam comments at any one time.
So using the ‘Classic’ option helps save me time when dealing with hundreds of spam comments daily.
I’ve not yet discovered a way of marking comments that end up in the spam folder by mistake as genuine (not spam) in the ‘Default’ version. So, again, I use the ‘Classic’ version for performing this task.
While using ‘Classic’ view, if at any time you want to go back to using the new ‘Default’ (WordPress.com view) option, click the button.
The ‘Screen Options’ function may only be available with specific WordPress plans.
Let’s wrap it up
The new ‘Screen Options’ button can be found on the ‘Posts,’ ‘Pages’, ‘Media’ and ‘Comments’ pages of the dashboard of your WordPress blog.
‘Classic’ view option has more options when viewing posts and comments.
Delete spam with one click when using ‘Classic’ view.
‘Default’ view only allows bulk action (20 comments) when deleting spam.
Works on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.
Does not work via the WordPress app.
Have you been using the new ‘Screen Options’ button? Have I missed out anything you’ve discovered it does? If you have any questions about the ‘Screen Options’ button leave them in the comments section.
Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.
Click the ‘Diversity with a Twist’ image to check out my latest post over on my column at the Carrot Ranch
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To unfollow the blog, click on ‘Following Site’ in the new mini-window that opens.
You’ve now unfollowed the blog.
3. Click the ‘Manage’ button (situated near Followed Sites).
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.
You’ve now unfollowed the blog.
Does WordPress notify bloggers you’ve unfollowed?
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.
How many times have you clicked on the Gravatar image of somebody who has left a comment on a blog post and not been able to find their blog details? Frustrating, isn’t it?
The image that appears next to a comment is known as a Gravatar.
Here’s an example.
If I hover my mouse over Debbie’s image on her Gravatar, the following happens.
A little more information about Debbie appears. If I wanted to find Debbie’s blog, I need to click on the ‘View Complete Profile‘ button.
When I do that, I’m taken to her full Gravatar page.
Debbie’s websites, including her blog, are listed towards the bottom of the page. I’ve marked them in the above image. All I have to do is click on the ‘Deb’s World‘ blog image (under ‘Websites’) and, hey presto, I’m taken straight to her blog.
But how do I add my blog and social media accounts to my Gravatar profile?
Using a search engine, search for Gravatar.
Sign into Gravatar by using your WordPress sign in details or by clicking on the ‘sign in’ button (top right of the page).
You’ll be taken to your Gravatar page.
Click on ‘My Profile.’
If necessary, add or update your profile details on your profile page before clicking on the ‘Websites’ button located in the righthand menu. Remember to save any changes.
On the next screen, click on the ‘Add WordPress.Com Site’ button to add your WordPress blog.
Select the WordPress blogs you want to add and click on ‘Add Checked.’
Your WordPress blog has now been added to your Gravatar.
To add other websites such as your Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, click on the ‘Add Website’ button and complete the details under ‘Add a Website.‘ However, you must ensure you’ve connected them to your WordPress blog first, otherwise, it won’t work.
To remove a website, click on the ‘X’ next to the account you want to delete.
Why is it necessary to add my blogs, social media accounts and other websites to my Gravatar?
So that people can find you easily. Most people won’t bother looking for your blog or social media accounts if they’re not easy to find. Help yourself. Help your readers.
Let’s wrap it up.
Anyone who leaves a comment on a blog post will have a Gravatar.
Your Gravatar gives you the chance to advertise your blogs, websites and social media accounts for free, so make sure you’ve added them.
Adding links to a Gravatar is easy to do and helps people find your blogs, websites and social media accounts.
Just like the ‘about me‘ page on your blog, don’t forget to keep your Gravatar updated and check regally to fix any broken links, add new links or to remove links to accounts you no longer use.
Is your blog attached to your Gravatar? Are you sure? Check now and let me know if you had to add it. If you have any questions about Gravatars, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.
Click on the image to check out my first post, How Blogging and Rod Serling Helped Me Conquer Dyslexia, on my new column at the Carrot Ranch.
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?
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 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.
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.
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?
Today, not only will I take you through a step by step guide on how to reblog a post on WordPress, but I’ll also cover some of the pitfalls of reblogging.
For the purpose of this post, and because I use WordPress, some of this information will only be relevant to WordPress.Com users.
The first thing you need to do is find a blog post that you want to reblog.
Usually, this will be a post that you have thoroughly enjoyed reading and/or will have left a comment on. However, some bloggers use reblogging as a way to promote other bloggers, authors, writers, books, etc.
Let’s get started
At the bottom of a post are the sharing buttons.
In some cases (depending on the WordPress theme) the sharing buttons can be found elsewhere such as towards the top and just to the left of a post.
The screenshot below shows the sharing buttons I have chosen to appear under my blog posts.
Beneath the sharing buttons is where you will find the ‘Reblog‘ button.
Click on the reblog button, and a mini-window will open.
The next step is optional, but I recommend you tell your readers why you are reblogging the post. After all, you wouldn’t recommend a book, movie, product or hotel to your readers without saying why.
Tell them what it was that you liked about the post and why you’re reblogging it.
Just below the text box you’ve filled in, is a list of your blogs. If you have more than one blog or are an author of more than one blog, this will show a list of blogs you can access. Select the blog you want to reblog the post too.
Click on the ‘Reblog Post’ button.
The post will now be reblogged to all your followers.
For some bloggers, this is all they do after reblogging a post. However, there is still more important work to do if you want the reblog to be found by more visitors to your blog.
Go to your blog’s dashboard navigation bar and click on ‘Posts’.
Find the post you’ve just reblogged, and click on the edit button.
Add categories and tags to the reblog.
Why do you need to add categories and tags to posts you’ve reblogged?
It helps more readers and visitors find it.
You can have a category called ‘Reblogs’ if you like. However, try and categorise the reblog to whatever it is relevant to – e.g. recipes, books, blogging tips, social media, book reviews, etc.
What happens if you don’t categorise a post that you’ve reblogged?
It will show under ‘Uncategorised’, which is of no help to anyone. Did you read my blog post, Are You Making Any Of These 7 Simple Blogging Mistakes? Then you may recall that I compared not categorising blog posts to walking into a library and finding none of the books has been sorted into categories.
Many visitors won’t stay long if they can’t find what they are looking for or your posts are not categorised.
What about adding tags?
You can use some or all of the same tags as the blogger who wrote the post, or you can use your own.
Like categorising, tagging your posts correctly will help visitors quickly find what they are looking for.
If you do not use tags, then it makes finding your post and/or reblog harder to find, and the reblog is less likely to get seen by new visitors.
Press the ‘Update’ button.
Should I disable comments on posts I’ve reblogged?
Yes. Why? Because readers then have to leave comments over on the original post. It’s far better to have comments all in one place rather than being scattered across varies reblogs.
Untick the ‘Allow Comments‘ box (which you’ll find under Discussion). You can do this after pressing ‘Update’, but remember to press the ‘Update’ button again.
Finally, check your reblogged post to ensure that it looks good, is easy to read, and that any pingbacks you’ve included also work. If you’re happy with everything, then you’re done.
Are there any pitfalls to reblogging?
There are a few I am going to list below, but don’t allow these to put you off using the reblogging feature. If you reblog sensibly, then you’ve nothing to worry about.
When you reblog a post, any images on that post are added to the media library of your WordPress blog.
This takes up valuable free media space. The more images in a blog post, the more space they will take up. You can buy more media space from WordPress, but not everyone has the funds to do this.
We all know that we should never use images and photos that are not ours or free to use.
Before you reblog a post, check any images included in the post and ask yourself if they are free to use.
My blogging friend, Debby Kaye, was fined for having a copyrighted image on her blog from a reblog that she did.
It didn’t matter that Debby never wrote the original blog post because, by reblogging and downloading the image to her blog, she was fined for copyright infringement.
You can read Debby’s post about it by clicking here. If you reblog posts, I recommend you read it.
If you’re not sure if images are free to use, ask the blogger whose post you’re reblogging where they got the images from and if they are free to use.
If you’re not convinced or are still not sure, then don’t reblog the post.
As crazy as it may seem, some bloggers get upset if you reblog one of their posts without asking their permission to do so first.
It’s very rare that this happens, but I wanted to mention it because it can happen. They may have a reblog button on their posts, but it doesn’t mean they want their posts shared.
If you’ve not reblogged one of their posts before, ask for permission to do so.
However, the majority of bloggers will be delighted that you’ve reblogged and shared their post. You’re less likely to come across someone who does not like any of their content being shared.
Just for the record, I welcome my posts being reblogged.
Leave them in the comments box.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share about reblogging? Share them in the comments section.
Originally written and published in 2017. Updated to take account of new procedures on WordPress.
Have you come across any of these 7 simple blogging mistakes I’ve recently come across? Or are you making any of these mistakes? If so, they’re simple to fix.
1. Not giving readers enough ‘white’ space.
What is ‘white’ space? It’s the break between paragraphs that helps give the eyes a bit of a rest, making reading your blog post more comfortable.
Opening a blog post and being faced with vast blocks of paragraphs isn’t an attractive look unless you enjoy looking at brick walls that have no top or bottom.
How to fix the problem.
Split your paragraphs up, so they contain no more than four sentences. This gives visitors a more comfortable read.
Inserting images between paragraphs is also considered ‘white’ space. Your blog post will look more inviting to read.
2. Not adding a link to the next part of a post/story.
Have you ever wondered why some parts of a blog post don’t do as well as previous parts?
I recently read the first part of a short story split up into several parts because of its length. However, there was no link to part two, so I had to hunt the post down. I had to do the same for the next four parts.
Given that many readers have limited time, not all of them will be like me and hunt down the next part of a blog post.
How to fix the problem
When you publish a blog post you’re splitting into parts, go back to the last part and, at the bottom of the post, add a pingback to the next part. Then, readers can click through to the next part after finishing reading the part they’ve just read.
You can also add pingbacks to previous parts at the beginning of a post.
3. Creating pingbacks to the ‘home’ page of a blog
Have you ever wondered why somebody has not thanked you for linking to one of their blog posts? It’s probably because you’ve linked to the ‘home’ page of their blog.
When creating a pingback to the ‘home’ page of a WordPress blog, no notification is sent. Therefore, the owner of the blog may be unaware that you’ve linked to their blog.
How to fix the problem
Don’t create pingbacks or links to the ‘home’ page of any blog. Always create them to a blog post (unless it’s the home page).
Not sure what the ‘home’ page of a blog is? Most bloggers have a link to their ‘home’ page on the menubar of their blog. Click on mine and, in the comments, tell me what the ‘home’ page of my blog is.
4. Allowing WordPress to close down your blog post when clicking on pingbacks.
Do you get frustrated when you click on a pingback, and the new page opens in the same window as the post you’re reading?
Okay, you could click the back button to go back to the post you were reading, but how many of us do that?
If the pingbacks you have created open in the same window as the blog post they’re on, you could be missing out on people sharing or leaving a comment on your post. And how many of those people will click on any more pingbacks on your posts, knowing they’re going to lose the page they’re reading?
How to fix the problem
Ensure you tick the ‘open in new tab‘ box when creating pingbacks.
5. Inserting full HTTP addresses in the body of blog posts
We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? And we probably have all inserted them in blog posts or on websites before learning about pingbacks.
Not only do full HTTP addresses make blog posts look untidy, but they also make blog posts uninviting to read, especially if there are lots of them.
How to fix the problem
Create a pingback to the page or website you’re linking to instead of inserting the full HTTP address. The pingback can be one word in your post or even a whole sentence and looks much better than seeing the full HTTP address.
Imagine going into a library and finding none of the books are categorised. Instead of going to the history section to find a book on the six wives of Henry VIII, you have to hunt through all the books in the library to find it.
Now imagine somebody coming to your blog to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, only to find there are no categories. You’ve filed every blog post under ‘uncategorised,’ and there are hundreds of posts to look through.
A blog with no categorised posts looks messy. It gives the impression that the owner doesn’t care about it or anyone who visits looking for information.
According to Janice Wald of MostlyBlogging.Com, you should always categorise blog posts. Janice says, ‘Too many bloggers overlook this simple tip that can result in benefits for both you and your readers. Picking a category results in more traffic for you and a boost in readability for your blog visitors.’
I recently came across some blog posts where the owners had made it difficult for visitors to read all or parts of their posts.
One blogger had a dark green background and was using black font. I could hardly read any of their posts.
Another blogger had coloured the blocks on their post dark blue and changed the colour of the font to dark green. While the rest of the post was easy to read, the colour combination they’d used in the blocks spoilt my enjoyment of the post because I couldn’t read them.
Which one of these is more easy to read?
Can you read this?
Can you read this?
How to fix the problem
The best colour combination is a white background with black font.
If you want to change the background and font colour in your blog posts (or in blocks), make sure the colour combinations are suitable for visitors to read. Preview the post first before publishing it. If you can’t read it, then nobody can.
If you’re unsure which colour combinations to use, stick to using a white background with black font.
What are the most common simple blogging mistakes you keep coming across? Join the discussion and leave details in the comments.
Layout, content, and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.
Looking for more blogging tips from Hugh? Check these out.
Do you know how many more people read the titles of your blog posts than read the contents of your posts?
Once you know, you’ll want to write better titles for all your blog posts. Let me show you how.