WordPress Starter Pack: Blog Tips

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      FIRSTLY, THE ADVICE I suggest is to be taken as you please. Also long-term bloggers might not find much to get out of this.

I have been blogging since 2013. That’s three years of WordPress experience – not major, not minor – and I’d like to suggest some tweaks that will make your blogging experience better and hopefully better for your readers. I’ll also cover some rookie ‘mistakes’ some make when they set up their site:

  1. Have an About page! Your blog is like a mirror of yourself (unless you are anonymous). Going to your blog should be like meeting you, as much as it is possible for that to happen online. Some personality that separates the blog from a multitude of others helps a great deal. A blog without an About Me section, feels like picking up a magazine with no cover, with little to go on except the words and pictures, although sometimes the blog name does hint at the nature of it.
  2. Picture time. I can understand if you don’t want to put your mug out there, but having a face helps make your presence more memorable, more human.
  3. Life is reciprocal in nature. WordPress is no different. So many times people will Follow a blog and never like, comment or go to the About section…and still expect a Follow back and blog visits! Doesn’t work like that. This isn’t Twitter. There’s no point having 1000 followers if only two of them even visit your blog. It’s not a social genitals measuring contest.
  4. Like, totally! Some people on WordPress Like posts and don’t read them: fact. Pointless, but true. Sometimes it is obvious who does and it’s irritating: e.g. three stories read and two other posts in the space of five seconds? Bullshit. Remember reciprocity? Yep. When people do it, I cease to visit their blog (if I ever did) because all they are after is a Follow and blog visits. I can’t be fucked with that. You can be the asshole who Likes and Follows fifty blogs every day without reading them, and sure for a time your numbers will go up across all categories. But it’s a cheap trick and has short-lived gains. Genuine interest in other blogs goes far. There are people I still visit from when I first started.
  5. No comment? Comments are the blogging equivalent of a handshake, whereas a Like is a hello from the other side of the street. Comments are the gold dust of blogging, appreciate every one. Obviously there are so many blogs with great material on them, so visiting every one is impossible, but it’s great to receive and give Comments regardless of depth as it is the genuine feedback mechanism.
  6. Tag you’re it. Tags are crucial to divert relevant traffic to your site. See what tags blogs use for similar posts if you are lacking ideas. Obscure tags can be beneficial in the long run as anyone who searches for it will definitely find your post. Generally, tags that have a wide catchment, like ‘writing’ are best along with more specific tags relating to your particular post.
  7. Be patient. To those starting out it’s a frustrating time. You’ve dropped the post of the century yet seemingly nobody cares. The truth is you simply need time and energy. Your blog is the tree planting. The more blogs you invest in the bigger the tree grows. In the beginning spending 80% of your time building up a followership and interacting is key to kickstart your blog.
  8. Content is king. Blog how you like, it’s a great freedom. But like anywhere else, quality content brings in new readers and repeat readers. Simply, it doesn’t matter what your thing is, but great posts attract readership.
  9. Lastly, have fun with it. Some bloggers post say, once a week and get lots of readers, others like myself post everyday usually. The first six months or so may be slow, but it all depends on how much time you have to invest. Keep at it and good things will happen.

Best of luck!

lion around 2

86 Comments

  1. As a fairly inexperienced although been-around-a-long-while blogger, I’d like to say thank you for your tips and advice – interesting to read and useful to know. I will try and put some of them to good use. Thanks again, Ellie.

  2. Nice summary–I’m always amazed at the numbers of people who visit (from blog stats) vs. people who take the time to like and comment. I’m glad for the traffic, but I’m gladder for those who choose to take the time to interact. 🙂

  3. Just giving you a friendly handshake 😉 Very good and tips. I’ve never really been able to keep a routine to my blogging, but this makes me feel a little better about it. One day, maybe I will!

  4. Very helpful advice, thanks! I, for one, don’t care much with my stats and number of followers. I completely agree with your point regarding reciprocity.

  5. Great tips. The only thing I would disagree with is your “LIKES’ advice. I often ‘like’ posts when I don’t have time to read them so I can easily find them later. Some I don’t always get back to. It happens to my posts too, I’ll have 14 likes and only 8 views, but I appreciate that people have acknowledged that I posted something and perhaps they’ll come back to it later.

  6. I’ve been in a rut about writing, blogging, oh so many things… good to read this as a reminder that I’ve had supportive fellow bloggers out there and I need to “Say hello” once in a while!

  7. Great post. I have my own serial “likers.” I’m not going to run them off or anything, but it is pretty obvious. Now I’m getting all kinds of small businesses. It’s almost like someone wrote a book about following a bunch of random blogs and building a following to sell more kitchen cabinets, or whatever they’re pushing.

  8. Your observations on WordPress life are greatly appreciated. I’ll have to think about an ‘about’ page. And you mentioned tags in an earlier article. I’m going to have to seriously look at this aspect of blogging.

  9. I agree completely with every point (though I’m hopeless at tagging!).
    The About page is the first page I check after clicking onto a blog for the first time.

  10. Thank you very much for the advice! There are definitely tips that I need to work on implementing. I love what you had to say about the use of comments. My blog started as part of an assignment for school, but I’ve tried to keep it up, and I think comments really help. So often I write things and no one ever reads them but me, because sharing what you write seems so personal to me that the idea of letting others read it is daunting. But that’s what writing is for: sharing ideas. I think that people commenting positively or offering constructive criticism and just talking about what’s been written really helps make deciding to post something easier to, at least for me.

    1. You’re welcome.
      And writing is a personal thing, it can feel like an extension of the self, which in itself means publishing for all to see can be a brave choice, but rarely do you get any trouble on WP ☺

      1. That’s very true. I love how Neil Gaiman compares writing to feeling as if you’re walking naked down the street, and points out that when it feels that way, you’re probably doing it right. And the so far everyone here on WP has been very supportive and helpful, which is wonderful.

  11. I’ve been away from my blog for a bit. I got bogged down in my thesis and it sucked all of my time away from other interests. The good news is school ends this weekend, so I will be back on my blog post- haste. Your entry today serves as a reminder of what good blogging should be like. I greatly appreciate the nudge.

  12. Yes! The serial likers who couldn’t possibly have read 10 poems in 3 seconds baffle me. What’s the point? Great advice here.

  13. You were one of the first people to follow me when I started out. You also commented on my post. I really appreciated that you took the trouble to do that. I also took it on board as a way to behave in this mad market place. Thank you.

  14. Great advice – and so true about comments being more important than likes. Having a loyal core following is something I’m so grateful for.

  15. Hehehehe, great advice delivered with a good dose of spunk 🙂
    I have had a couple of occasions where a blog has liked 15 of my posts, each like no further apart from eachother than half a minute and it’s just… not cool.
    I follow a lot of book blogs and I try to give each and every one of them love as often as I can… if I don’t check my email for 2-3 days it will be a major tasks following up with each and every post, but I always do try 🙂

    1. Haha thanks 🙂
      And you nailed it with that example, sometimes I see it happen in real time and I just laugh.
      I’m the same I have a list of blogs I always try and visit, then on other days I might visit them plus a gang of others.

  16. Some good advice 🙂
    Since I learned about the like and comment functions and have been using them I definitely get more feedback than before.

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