Who am I to give you tips? No one, from nowhere. I have, though, been blogging for over ten years. And during that time, I’ve been a reader of blogs. I’ve looked at hundreds, and I know what I like and what I don’t.
Following are things that I notice—things that determine whether I come back. Yes, they are my opinions. But a reader’s opinion is important, right?
- Posts should be well-written.
I know that everyone says that. I also know that many bloggers don’t seem to care.
At least read your draft slowly a couple of times before posting. I go as far as to read mine out loud. It’s amazing how much easier it is to find problems when reading aloud rather than reading silently.
- Posts should be broken into small paragraphs.
A reader is intimidated by long posts with no paragraph breaks. When I click through and see a block of writing that goes on and on with no breaks, I rarely continue reading. It’s just easier to read smaller blocks.
- Posts should have a purpose.
Even if the purpose is to entertain. If you have nothing to say, it’s okay not to post. If you have writer’s block, just don’t write. You don’t have to write daily posts saying that you have nothing to say. And you don’t have to begin a post with the acknowledgement that you haven’t written in a month. That signals, from the beginning, that you still have nothing to say.
- Pictures help.
Pictures help but aren’t as important as some people say. If your writing is good, I don’t need a picture to come back. Sometimes, though, the picture is what makes me click on the post when scrolling through WordPress reader.
Mind the quality and content of the photos if you do use them. A middle-aged guy like me will find no benefit from posting pictures of himself; stock photos of nicer looking people, or kittens, work better.
- For recreational blogs, domain names don’t matter.
Unless you want your blog to become a money-making business (which is a valid goal and another story), it doesn’t matter if you are BillyBobBadass.com or Billybobbadass.wordpress.com. If you want the more professional domain name and can afford it, go for it. Just don’t feel like you must.
I made the mistake of paying to drop wordpress.com from my previous blog. When I lost interest in it and decided to no longer pay for it, someone else purchased the name. They then copied all my old content and added lots of embarrassing advertisements. There was nothing I could do; my creation became an advertisement for some creeps hiding in a basement in a dark corner of the world.
- Increase traffic by interacting.
I was better at this when I had my first blog, God rest its soul. Nowhere Tribune came to life in 2012, kind of. Well, no, not really. I created it in 2012, and for the next six years never visited other than to publish something once every three months or so. Nor did I visit other blogs. The result? Unless someone happened to find my blog through a Google search, no one knew it existed.
In the last year, I’ve started interacting, through WordPress reader, with other bloggers who have similar interests or writing styles, and I’ve built my own community. I read and comment on their blogs, and they do the same here.
When you leave an honest or sincere comment on another blog, that blogger, and others, will often visit yours. If they like the content, they will come back.
I like to search posts that use tags I commonly use: satire, hiking, running, weight training, humor. By doing that, I find people with whom I have something in common.
- Don’t ignore your readers.
I will only comment on another blog two or three times if I don’t get a response. I’m looking for other writers to interact with; if they are unwilling to interact, then I quit trying. That’s friendship building 101.
If you get a notification that Little Sally Two Shoes followed your blog, at least check hers out. If it’s decent, reciprocate by following. Later, if you realize that she only blogs to promote her hatred of the Golden Cheeked Warbler, you can unfollow.
And yes, you can have “blog friends.” In real life I don’t know the bloggers who I routinely interact with on WordPress. And, for me, that’s a good thing. My wife says I’m not very likable. Also, they may all be crazy. But it’s readers like them who make me want to write. And it’s writers like them who have blogs I follow.
What are your tips?
Do you have any tips for this site in particular?
Thank you for reading!