10 TIPS FOR THE CASUAL (or not so casual) BLOGGER
I thought I would do a Blogging Tips post today. This is for both the casual and the blogger who wants to take that next step. Both types can use these tips. Many of these are basic and some are what I’ve picked up along the way. I hope you find something useful.
I. CREATE CONTENT PEOPLE WANT TO READ
- You may have a target audience you would like to reach.
- Do some looking around to see what other similar blogs as yours are doing and have had success with. Don’t copy them, but take the idea, put your spin on it. With all original content. This should then spark other ideas.
- When reading or watching whatever type of media is your preference, consider the topics being discussed for posts on your blog.
- When reading a novel there may be something that gives you an idea for a post. This has happened to me several times with tips on how to write.
- If you are a writer, then do posts about writing. A poet? Poetry. A carpenter? Carpentry. Baker? Baking.
II. CREATE POSTS THAT ARE LISTS
- A numbered list like ‘Ten Ways to Paint Your Nails Without a Nail Polish Brush’ will get you visitors/traffic/hits. I don’t mean traffic just for the day or week you post it, but also off and on for weeks and months to come. I have posts from 6 years ago that still get visits.
- Images are a hit or miss now. The pros of blogging and Social Media are saying fewer people want to see your images. If you think about it, it makes sense. I would say most people want a quick and easy-to-read list of information. If they need to scroll down past one image after another, they might leave the page and not visit you again. But if the images are relevant, include them. The list might be ‘The Greatest Album Covers of the 80s’, which would need images.
III. HOW TO POSTS
- You can do a post on a popular topic you know about that. Or you can create one about something on-trend right now. But if you see it’s popular, you’re too late, but give it a shot, anyway. Do a post on something you like. It won’t hurt your blog. And if it’s a real dud, that’s what delete is for. Go to a site like Google Trends to see what’s happening now if that’s what you’re looking for.
- If you choose something outside of your comfort zone, make certain you have your facts right. But I suggest you stick to what you know and what your blog is about unless it’s about random topics. Then I suppose you can go for it.
IV. CREATE A PROFESSIONAL AND QUALITY POST
- After I determine what kind of post I want to do, I spend time with it. For a haiku, a poem of three lines of seventeen syllables, I could spend three minutes, three hours, or longer. I want it to be just as I want it. Sometimes I’ll ignore this rule, rarely, but I do so to keep myself writing. And posting forces me to write. If I’m writing a post about thirteen types of ghosts in cultures around the world, that’ll take a while, because I don’t like to copy another person’s post. I may use part of it for inspiration, and then go off and hunt down more information that I want to use that differs, so mine is unique, or as unique as one can get on the internet.
- If I write my poetry, it can be weird, but for poetry that’s okay. It’s a creative art form to let the crazy out sometimes. It’s the healthiest way you can do so.
- But when I put out a post like this or a How-To post, I want to make sure it looks and reads as what I call casual-professional. The tone may be casual, but when you look at the structure, the grammar, and the spelling, I want it professional.
- If you have Word, go into the settings of the Editor or what most of us call the Spellcheck and customize what you want it to check for.
- Or you can use Grammarly.com which is free and has options to check your Word documents and even your post in your WordPress.com Posts editor.
- There are others, such as ProWritingAid.com/Free, which is like Grammarly. I like the reports you can check out. I may do a post on the sites I’ve found. Both services limit what you can do with the free versions, but they’ve been working for me just fine.
- I’ve noticed my writing has improved. I recognize the problems as I’m typing, not only punctuation but diction, grammar, and sentence structure, just to name a few. Do I always use the suggestions of a site? No, because sometimes it’s in the dialogue of a book I’m writing. Dialogue does not always stick to the rules. If it did, it would make for a somewhat boring and mechanical tone, but sometimes I might want that.
V. CREATE AN ATTENTION GETTING TITLE
- Clickbait? Yes, but in a positive way.
- Use the keyword that people are looking for, then build your title around that. Keep it as compact as you can, meaning use as few words as you can, but still let the people know what the post is about, maybe even why to choose your post over someone else’s.
- Making it unique is including that one descriptive word that you feel stands out about your post.
- Don’t do the bait and switch and have barely a mention of what’s in the title. This is self-explanatory.
- Don’t have a post that has nothing at all to do with the title.
- Have you ever clicked on a great title and ended up reading about two or three paragraphs and been like, ‘This is a lying sack of burning garbage from the backside of a dog?’ Me too. Don’t do that. You’ll lose your regular and faithful visitors that way, not just those first-time visitors.
VI. CHOOSE A FORM OF ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHERS
- Reply to comments on your posts but keep it positive. Don’t argue. You can disagree but keep it professional. I’ve had to do this.
- Visit other blogs.
- Engage with the blogger in the comments of a post you like.
- Engage with other bloggers that make a great comment.
- While on another blog, never argue or be negative. Always be positive.
- Only like, comment, or engage in any way, if you truly like the blog and the blogger. And that brings me to the next point.
VII. NEVER FAKE IT
- It’s so easy to spot the fakes. You can tell by the words and tone. I can’t explain it, but you’ll figure it out.
- Whenever you comment, type what you mean with the words that come to mind. Look at them after you type, and you can always change a word here or there that will make you seem smarter than your thoughts might say on their own. Or that conveys your comment in more precise wording.
VIII. DON’T SWEAT IT
- At one time I was doing just about everything to drive the traffic up higher and higher on my blog, but it became too much.
- Unless you have an unbelievable amount of energy and organizational skills and commitment, you’ll burn out.
- Blog burnout is one of the worst feelings. You want to create posts. You have ideas. But you just can’t write put them in post form.
- If you keep writing and you’re doing the other things, then people will visit, it may be slower than on some other blogs, but do what you do and just let whatever happen… happen. Unless you’re looking to be more than a casual blogger.
IX. SOCIAL MEDIA
- This will surprise you to hear, and there will be some who might comment and completely disagree with me, but Social Media, at least Twitter, isn’t quite what it once was. I”m not saying to ignore tweeting your post. I’m just saying you need to cultivate relationships and make friends. Somehow create a connection where a reader wants to come back for more. I, fortunately, made friends before I all but abandoned my blog for a long time. Those friends kept the blog alive until I was able to return not to long ago.
- If you can find a good group on Twitter to be a part of that will help a lot to make Social Media work for you. Or you can grow a group of TRUE SM FOLLOWERS and by ‘TRUE SM FOLLOWERS’, I mean don’t do the follow-for-follow or the follow back trains. I did that recently as an experiment. Then I stopped.
- Each week I’ve seen double digits in the number of unfollows. I still have new people following me without me being required to do anything in return, but often the unfollows are higher, but it’s evening out as of the original writing of this post.
- To find out how many are following or unfollowing, you might try one of the SM hub sites, like TweepsMap.com. It tries to get you to install a browser extension, but I haven’t. I get an email report on how many new followers and unfollowers I had for the week.
- I knew what the results of the experiment would be, but I wanted to speak about it from experience, which is what I mostly do when I do Blogging Tips or How To posts. Before the experiment, I was gaining followers at a steady pace each week, just not massive increases. But they were TRUE increases and in my area of interests, the literary types mostly, but not always.
- Try all the various Social Media possibilities, then monitor your stats each week. If you look at the Referrers section, you can see where most of the clicks are coming from. It’s not bulletproof, but it’s good enough for me.
- I would suggest doing some posts through Instagram and note to check your profile for the link you want them to click on. Have a good image, maybe even a very short few seconds telling people to click the link in your profile/bio.
- I’ll give you an example. For my basic broadcast to other outlets than my blog, including Social Media, on Monday of the week of this post, my usual biggest day, I received one visitor who clicked on a social media link, and that was a Facebook link. Other bloggers will vary based on how much time and effort they’ve put into whichever SM they are getting those referrers from.
- But keep trying until you find your people. I know I’m not a big magnate for Social Media responses. I haven’t ventured into Reddit much, but I’ll try that out to include in a future tips post.
- I’ll finish this section off with something I just checked, from back when I was heavily involved in blogging. Back then I was working the blog about eighteen hours a day. And I was doing number I, II, V from above a lot. Outside of my challenges, my next three biggest posts that year were
- 10 Tips list
- A very Attention-Getting and Timely Titled post
- A How-To post.
- My referrers that year ranked as #1 Search Engines (11 of them), #2 WordPress.com Reader, #3 Twitter, and #4 Yahoo mail. The Search Engines and WP Reader accounted for 85% of the referrers that year. Twitter was 10% a lot of this percentage came from blog shares that were extremely popular at the time. Every Sunday had this one that would trend in the top 10 on Twitter, and Monday there was another one. But as you can see, Twitter is a different animal than it once was.
X. TAKE IT EASY
- If you are like I am now, you want to create excellent posts that you think people will like, post them, and don’t worry about what happens next. Don’t worry about negative comments on your post. You can even deactivate the comments entirely, but that causes some limitations at the time in engagements with the good people. ‘Negative comments’ is my polite way of saying savage beasts who create a diatribe of spittle covered screens. Your friends might give a constructive suggestion, like with your poetry. One did so for one of my recent poems, but they did it in the right way.
- If you create a weekly challenge, make certain to visit the participants’ entries. If you like it, then click like, if you don’t then don’t.
- Honesty. If nothing else, post and be honest. Don’t lie just to keep them coming back to your challenge.
Check out these other posts for more tips:
5 Ways to Grow Your Blog Audience. This one has some of the same information but a lot of different as well.
How to Survive the Blog Life. This is a good one for new bloggers, as well as veterans who are starting to feel weary. 10 things I’ve realized over time that can make you lose heart or lose your mind while blogging.
1 Key to Help People Find Your Blog. Most of us know what Gravatar is but not everyone is using it to their greatest advantage.
© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.