Yes, so I decided to do another post about things I’ve have learned whilst blogging, even though it’s been a really short while. I’m constantly learning new things (as is my ethos). People from around and about the tinterwebs give me these tips on how to do things, and I always think it’s good to share information. So, without further ado, here are 5 More Things I Have Learned About Blogging…
(You can read the first 5 things over on this page!)
For some unfathomable reason, the powers that be at WordPress decided to kill the weekly Community Pool feature at the beginning of June. I thought this was a massive shame as I loved going through everyone’s links and finding new blogs to follow/articles to read. I thought it was a fantastic way of getting your blog out into the community and to get feedback on it. They don’t really seem to have thought of a decent way to replace that either. Anyway, that’s enough of my whining about the seeming lack-of-logic behind the decision. One blogger decided to try and fill that gap, and you can check it out here: Swimmers. Every Monday there is a new thread to share blog posts and ask for feedback. It doesn’t have as much traffic as the old Community Pool feature, but I figured if we can get the word out, the more the merrier; eh?
2. Reply To Your Comments
I always try and reply to people who comment on my blog posts. The only times I won’t is if they’re rude (in which case they get deleted – only had 2 of these so far so I reckon that’s pretty good going!), or if they’re trying to promote/spam something. Thankfully the inbuilt spam filter seems to be pretty good at catching these (and some legit comments as well – as I mentioned in my first blog lessons post!).
I think it’s just polite to reply to your comments. If someone has bothered to let you know what they think of your work, and possibly provide some feedback, then it’s only good manners to acknowledge it – even if it’s just a smiley face, or a quick ‘thank you!’ it doesn’t hurt. If I comment on people’s blogs, I usually am expecting a reply, so I try and do the same for my readers. The only time I would err from this, is if by some miracle, I ended up with 1000’s of followers and it just became unpractical to reply to everybody. Seeing as that is unlikely to happen any time soon, I’ll try and practice what I preach!
3. Use The Save-able Search Function
I recently discovered that when you use the search function on the ‘Reader’ tab, it gives you the option of saving whatever tags you search for. Might seem kind of obvious to people who’ve been on WordPress for a while, but it’s made my life a lot easier! It now means that I’ve got 20+ tags on my Reader stream feed, so I can find all my favourite topics really easily.
Aside from doing that I do also just click on the search tab from time to time to see what it comes up with. I think the WordPress algorithm tries to work out what you’ve been looking at lately and give you similar things, but I’ve not had this confirmed to me. For example at the moment, the first six articles when I click on Search are:
- An article about Glyn Johns (who he?).
- An article about St Paul and where he travelled to in his missionary work (definitely haven’t been looking at anything to do with St Paul. I’m not a big fan).
- A book review of Cosmos by Carl Sagan.
- An article regarding upcoming New Zealand fighters (as a BJJ practitioner/occasional UFC watcher this is to be expected).
- A book review of Stones of Venice by John Ruskin.
- An article regarding the internet storm around boycotting travel to Iceland due to their involvement in the whaling industry.
So, a fairly eclectic mix – some of which I will look at, others which I will avoid like the plague. It’s interesting to take the occasional look though; you never know what you might stumble across!
4. Use Headings & Images
It kind of goes without saying that massively long tracts of text are off putting to a reader. Sometimes if I just see paragraph after paragraph scrolling on down the page, I do actually click off. It’s not something I’m especially proud of because I imagine some of those posts are extremely interesting. It’s just well… effort. A blog is not supposed to a be a broadsheet newspaper… although that would be a very niche blog area to go for, and one that most of the broadsheets have now abandoned. Most people like their information broken up by headers and images.
I find that if I’m trying to focus on black text/white background for too long, my eyes start to go a bit funny and I end up reading the same sentence repeatedly. Very annoying and not especially useful. By breaking up articles with images and headers it gives readers a bit of break from just plain old text. Obviously you don’t want too many – I don’t want to have to hunt for the article in amidst loads of flowery nonsense – but a couple here and there are nice tools for formatting an article.
(Side note – I’ll probably do another blog post at some point about formatting, because DEAR GOD it matters. It really does. But that’s a story for another time.)
5. Write Longer Pieces
This is just another quick tip, but I recently learnt that if your post is 1,500 words or longer (unlike this one!), then it has a higher chance of appearing further up on the google/search engine rankings. I’m not entirely sure what the science is behind that, but it sounds pretty legit.
Do you have any tips and tricks around these ideas for bloggers? What did you learn when you first started?