Blogging: What Works for Me

blog clueless.jpgI was a little hesitant to write this post today.  I’m comfortable (somewhat) when I blog about writing and editing because I’ve been doing it for 13 years.  However, I’m not an experienced blogger by any means.  I’ve only been blogging for 51 days now.  With that being said, a recent blog post I made here has prompted enough views and inquiring comments that I thought I would share my limited experience.

When I wrote the blog linked above (11 days prior to this posting) I had almost reached 300 followers.  As of today, I have 409.  I think it was these numbers that prompted the curiosity.  So here are the things I have been doing.  Like I said, I don’t know if what I’m doing is good or bad – it’s just my process.

Stay true to your voice.  I write my blog as if it is correspondence with a treasured friend who is also on the writing path.  I also write it as a means to compile my own thoughts for future reference (a personal journal or writing wiki of sorts).  In this way, I hope to come off as someone with ideas to share, but not someone who is talking down to you.

Which bring me to…

Ethos, pathos, logos

Sometimes a stern word falls on deaf ears.

Discussion versus instruction.  If a thought or opinion is not mine, I do my best to reference it and link a source for people to find it.  I treat those bits and bobs as instruction.  When I am spit-balling my own thoughts, I try to preface it with words like, “in my opinion,” “I think,” “I believe,” and so on.  I treat those as discussion.  I feel it’s important to not be inflexible in your thoughts – especially when it comes to something artistic like writing.

Now if you are an accomplished author, editor, artist, or whatever – you can pull off a more serious tone that is heavy on instruction.  You’ve earned your stripes, wear them proudly.  As for me, I don’t take things too seriously.  Writing is enjoyable, I want my blog to be as well.

Consistency is key. I mentioned earlier I have been blogging for 51 days.  I have generated at least 51 posts.  The idea is you can fish with a hook, or with a net.

key.pngThis does two things for me.  One, it gets me out there everyday.  I meet new people and collaborate about ideas. Secondly, with the growing library of posts, I can reference old posts into new ones to generate additional clicks and sources of information for readers.  In this way, I can be more concise with writing tips by referencing past material.

I try to limit posting to one a day.  I don’t want to spam peoples screens with tons of decent posts when I can write one good one.  Personally, when I use the reader to browse content I don’t like it when one person has 10 blog posts in a row.  It intrudes and consumes the collaborative space.  That’s just me – sorry if you are one of those people.  If you are going to do multiple posts throughout the day, I recommend using the scheduler to space them out.  This will increase the number of views.

World Builder's Disease Meme

If you like sand, write about sand!

Write about what you are passionate about.  Every day I dedicate time to my craft (writing).  I am writing my own books, editing others, and reading books (fiction and non-fiction).  Now that I blog about writing, I keep a constant eye out for things that could be good blog fodder.  In this sense, I have an endless supply of content to work from.

Additionally, since I only write a single blog post a day, I can take extra ideas and jot them down for reference later (those days when the well is dry).  In the books I read, I toss post it notes into their pages to alert me to possible ideas.  When I edit, if something jumps out at me worth sharing, it gets tossed into the idea journal.

sharing.jpgSharing is caring.  When people comment or like my posts, I make my very best effort to reply back or go to their page and browse their content.  I try to get to know them.  If they took the time and effort to read, why shouldn’t I return the favor?

Also, I dedicate a portion of my day to seeking out posts from new bloggers and leave comments on them.  Why should I expect people only come to me?  Don’t fish with worms, use dynamite!  Search out people who share your interests and interact.  More often then not, they will return the favor.  I start with my followed sights and browse their content, then I use tags to search out subjects that intrigue me.

I really try to target posts that have been sitting for a long time and have no likes or comments.  Especially when they are well-written.  We’ve all been there.  You write this great post and no ones looks at it.  It’s crushing.  Take the time to spread the love.

thick book.jpgTry to limit blog posts to under 1000 words (this one is an exception).  People are busy.  If I can’t relay my writing tip in 1000 words or less, I try to break it down more.  I find when the word count grows, it’s because I don’t fully understand the idea I am trying to relay.  Or it could be that I am trying to cover more than one point (like today).

Break up big blocks of text with pictures.  When I am done writing, I try to find photos to compliment the words.  People are more apt to continue scrolling when there are photos to pull them along.  I like funny photos so those are what I tend to provide.  It’s important to note I do my best to only use Public Domain images and I create all of my own memes.  The last thing you want is to get a blog running on high octane only to have some chucklehead sue you.

Your home page is important.   When you Google Quintessential Editor, I pop up first. Most search engines provide only a snapshot of the page.  For me, you see the first two sentences of my home page.  In those two sentences you know what you will see if you click into my website.

headliens.jpg“Welcome to the Quintessential Editor. Here I provide writing tips every day, for everyday writers. You will find information regarding writing, editing, proofreading…” then it cuts off.  The blog has been around long enough that it also lists my most commonly clicked on categories within the top search.  There’s always a chance someone will randomly search a term in a search engine and your page will show up.  You need enough information there for them to decide whether to enter or not.

Tags, categories, and blog headlines are also important.  Categories are what allow people to browse content on your page and you can use widgets to support this endeavor.  Once I had enough posts created I made sure they were in clear categories (and sub-categories) with relevant tags.

Blog headlines are essential.  In reader, it prompts people to check out your post (for me, whatever photo I insert first accompanies this headline in reader).  It’s also important for search engines.  Think of your headline as a search engine term if possible.

Widgets are a powerful free tool.  Once you have someone on your page, you want to encourage them to stay.  Showing off other posts and information is a great way to do it.  You will see in my sidebar some widgets.  One is a drop down list that allows people to, at a glance, see what they can read (again, this only works if you have categorized your posts).  I also use the widgets showing off my top 10 posts, and 10 most recent ones.  This is how I try to chum the water and keep the sharks circling.

social media cloud.pngOther social media outlets should look different than your blog.  I link my page to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  However, I try to make sure all of my social media outlets offer different things.  While all of these roads link together (those other mediums all link back to my blog) each place offers something different.  Instagram is more about fatherhood and life – but links to the blog.  Twitter is about promoting indie authors, geek stuff, writing quotes, and other tomfoolery, but you can get to my blog there too.  If everything looks the same, no one has any reason to look at your other outlets.

missing manual wordpress.jpgTechnical mumbo jumbo.  I am not an expert on this by any means.  I did browse and find a template I liked and I did pay for my own domain and WordPress premium.  The books I used to get set up are the following:  WordPress: The Missing Manual, Smashing WordPress Themes, and Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress 

That’s pretty much it.  There are a lot of things I still need to figure out.  Like I said, I’m pretty new at this.  Hopefully you found something useful.  Some of the more technical things like widgets, categories, and tags you can search online to find more information about.  As for themes, I spent a couple days tweaking and adjusting how mine looked (Youtube helped me here) to get it to function how I wanted it to.

Do you have any tools or tips that work especially well for you?  This would be something I would be very interested to hear about. I think we are all trying to figure out the best way of doing business.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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56 responses

  1. I like what you have to say about keeping it to a post a day. I do my best to do the same. It doesn’t always happen but I try at most to post no more than twice a day. It is hard to hold back, but I feel at times it makes writing all the better when you focus on a post a day.

    Also I agree, if someone is posting 5-6 times a day, it can get overwhelming when you are trying to read other writers content and your reader is flooded by the same writer.

    Keeping to 1000 words or less is a great tip, (I am not always able to follow that one) as I find if you make it any longer, most people don’t have the time to read it. Also if you do this, then the every now and then when you do happen to post an immensely long post, it makes it that much more engaging.

    You offer pretty good advice here.

    Cheers! ^_^

    Liked by 3 people

    • Blog advice is outside of my wheelhouse so I’m glad at least one person found something useful. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad to post multiple times a day, but you would think spacing them out would increase the number of views.

      Good luck finding your own rhythm and thanks for stopping in. I will swing by your space and check out your rantings once I’m back behind my desk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your time, and for commenting back. I think you are right, spacing helps. I also think much of it depends on how long the post is. Also, no worries on reading what I write, it will be there whenever you have time.

        I’m always looking for more to read, and Sunday’s are my day I catch up on what I have missed. I’m just happy to have found my way to your page.

        Cheers! ^_^

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh boy, I feel like I’m one of those people who post multiple times a day. It’s mostly because I’m on my phone a lot, and I get bored easily. I’ll try to limit how much I post in one day. Also, I do agree about responding to every comment. I hate when popular writers don’t respond to their reads.

    Ah, like you I try to take the time to search out new blogs and post to people. I also set aside time to read and write. Sometimes I’ll read published books or read stories on another story sharing site. I used to be so engaged on Wattpad, but it didn’t work out for me. I’m hoping I’ll have a different experince on WordPress.

    Great advice as always!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Don’t stop writing multiples. Your content is great, share it. I just feel if you space out the posts (using the scheduler) you will increase views. It’s too easy for someone to scroll past a block of posts in the reader.

      I’m glad you search out new bloggers, it’s hard to start blogging when you don’t get any love. I need to check out Wattpad still, I’ll add it to my list.

      Thanks for stopping in as always.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for the book advice! I’m launching a new site that will focus on our ministry as we travel the US. Trying to get WP to do what I want has been a little frustrating. Hopefully these will help clear the muddied waters.

    Regarding one post a day. I like that idea. I usually write my serial post to be published in Friday. The other posts are in response to the postaday prompt or the weekly photo challenge. Maybe I should have a thurd blog to respond to the challenges etc.? What do you think?

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading. You might be able to stitch it into one blog. I think finding a format/theme and clearly establishing categories when you post will help viewers navigate to what appeals to them most. The first book, The Missing Manual, should help you sort this out.

      Good luck with the outreach! It’s nice to live in an age where we can reach out so widely to others.

      Like

  4. The danger with all of this is that it can become such a time suck that it distracts you from your own writing or whatever it is you do to generate positive cash flow! 🙂 Hungry mouths to feed and all.

    As for me, I try to only write when I have something to say…. but then I’ve never been at a loss for words so……………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, time dictates everything. I just made my schedule allow for the 30 minutes to one hour it takes for me throw these together. And some days I write more than one and just save them for later.

      One of my friends (an indie author) has spent thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns and saw little increase in sales and numbers. I saw that and decided I would take charge of an aspect of my marketing by creating a blog page that also served as my author page. I will convert aspects of this page over time to accomplish this.

      Also writing about writing, helps my own writing/editing immensely. It keeps my brain working. When many aspect of life are built around the act of writing, the work seems to prosper. This again, is just my own experience.

      Thanks for swinging by today. I hope those words are coming easy to you as your tear into your own projects.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is why I have this wordpress blog too!! Though, I plan on trading in my free one for a professional one. My lovely mother, who is more techie than I, is working on it as we speak! That sounds odd, but she is my editor too…. With my TBI from the Late Unpleasantness in Mesopotamia I need help sometimes translating my ramblings into cogent Queens English.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have friends from my time traveling through foreign lands who suffer with TBI as well – that is a monumental challenge to say the least. Having the support of family and friends surely makes a world of difference.

        Good luck getting the new page up and running. Make sure to post when it fires up so we can check it out!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post!! The picture of the Storm Trooper with his head in his hands is me before each post…lol. Also, you are right. The scheduler is your best friend and I absolutely love using it. I am also that annoying person who sometimes does mass blog posts…lol. Not intentional. Like today, I had one scheduled and had to write 2. I forgot to use the scheduler and all 3 ended up publishing one after another…whoops….lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hah! Glad you liked the wayward trooper.

      I think everyone does the bulk blog every now and then, at least you try to space yours out. To be honest, as long as I know there is a human on the other end (and not an evil spambot) I normally don’t care so much. Like I said, these are more the rules I apply to me – not what I expect others to do.

      So you just keep trucking! As a fellow parent, I know trying to keep up with the blogosphere is hard enough without having to remember all the little things that go into it.

      Thanks for reading and happy blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I laughed when I saw it because it described me perfectly. What he needed, though was a toddler hanging off his arm, two preteens arguing and a kitten (we have 3 5 week old kittens right now, I foster) attacking his feet…lol. And thank you for your kind words :).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for such a great post. I have been at this for three months but only post weekly. I also learned the hard way that doing a series, while it can be a great learning experience, is not the best way to gain followers. In the end it is about staying true to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, staying true to your voice and style lets return readers know what to expect. It’s jarring to find a writer you love and when you come back their style has changed significantly. Plus you don’t have to try to sound smart, funny, or whatever – you just write how you normally would speak. Makes the writing much faster.

      Good luck pushing forward with your blog and thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Honestly, I’ve made a huge leap in interaction with my readers since you’ve taken me under your wing. What makes you stand out is your earnestness and your relentless effort. You put in all the right kinds of work at all the right times. It’s inhuman no matter how you look at it. You’re doing fantastic. You’ve helped me be better, and I’ll always open the ear holes when you have something to say. This advice is essential for people trying to get their names out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the ego boost Matt. I do what I do for you not just because we are good friends who have spent years trudging along the same paths, but because you write with a full heart.

      You don’t just talk the talk, you put in countless hours and dedicate yourself fully to the craft. Much of your life has been sacrificed to the pages you write and the pursuit of your goals. If I can be a force in helping you meet those goals – it’s a huge personal success for me as well.

      Regardless, thanks again for the ego boost! I was stoked to see the progress report on Caught post on your blog today.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha! I second the absolute appropriateness of that exasperated storm trooper. That’s how I feel as I read over what I’ve written before posting. Thanks for that–and for all the excellent advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a storm trooper helmet in my office (because…insert fanboy statement). Sometimes I toss it on and wander around. My baby boy loves it. In a literal sense, I have looked just like that storm trooper before posting. So I get where you are coming from.

      Thanks for reading and the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for swinging in and leaving this comment. Good luck getting into a nice rhythm with your blog. If you do you, you’ll be solid gold. I will be sure to swing by and check out your content today. Happy blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post. I also try to write something daily, and to keep them short, but mine are not as professional and businesslike as yours 🙂
    I guess this is partly because of the aims – my objective is to try to reach the people that I will really connect with, and maybe not necessarily throw my net as wide as possible. To stretch your metaphor, I imagine myself as spear fishing. Each post reveals or elaborates on something I care about, and I’m hoping it will hit at least one target that cares about the same thing.
    The key learning I take from your post above is the importance of pictures. I’ve been resisting that somewhat, since I know it will significantly increase my blogging time if I go hunting for the perfect picture for each one, but it’s hard to deny the extra impact they provide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the fact you have this idea of targeting, “ideal readers,” prior to posting is really important. It’s not something I covered in this blog, but knowing your audience and thinking about how your words will resonate with them is essential. I use stats to see what people are reading and drive content in this direction. Great point!

      Good luck finding photos! It’s always something I do after writing (unless I find an image with enough power to create a post around it). I spent some time as a photographer so I believe in the power of an image.

      Happy blogging and thanks for reading.

      Like

  10. Corey,

    Excellent post! Like you, I’m a long-time writer / editor but fairly new to blogging. For me, the idea of blogging felt a bit like splashing around in a wading pool while I was trying to learn how to swim. The scariest part was knowing that the pool was out in the open, where anyone can see. Five or so months of pretty much daily posting later, I’m having a great time. Still splashing. Just for the joy of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still just dipping my toes in the water while wearing oversized yellow floaties on my arms. One thing is certain, I also enjoy this sort of open world collaboration. It’s always great to meet some kindred spirits on here. I’ll add you to my list of editor/bloggers I keep an eye on 🙂

      Thanks for dropping in and reading today!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you so much for sharing. I am trying to build my following and plan on putting some of your strategies in place. I think I have a great blog but until recently it was virtually unnoticed. I am starting to pick up followers and this has been due to my checking out other bloggers that share my interests as you stated in your post. Like their posts and leave comments and they will most likely check you out. If you have something to offer, they will stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to hear you are starting to build a following. Your content is always well-written and it would be a shame if people didn’t see it.

      I see on your page you have months worth of content. I would recommend utilizing the “Recent Posts” widget and increasing the number of posts that stream along the sidebar. If you look at my sidebar (right side of my screen), you will see “My Blogroll!” and a big ol list of older posts underneath it. Since adding that I have seen a large increase in views on my page.

      While I have the categories available for people to browse and my “Top 10,” the big list seems to really bring people in. The idea is the more topics we have that people can readily see (without having to search) the more likely they are to continue exploring.

      It’s just an idea (honestly, I don’t know if all the widgets are the same for every theme – so it may not be an option). Regardless, best of luck. You can count on me to swing by often!

      Like

  12. Thank you for posting your tips and advice — it’s always helpful to have pointers and encouragement from others. You’ve shared a lot of great material — good food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely appreciate you swinging by and reading. Knowing my blog posts help in some little way (someone other than myself at least) keeps me motivated to continue pushing them out.

      Good luck with your own work, I will swing by and check out your musings.

      Like

  13. This is such a helpful post – thank you! I found your blog because you found mine, so there’s some proof that seeking out other blogs is helpful in expanding your own readership. It’s also great just to see another person’s perspective. There is such a wealth of knowledge out there.

    Like you, I am pretty new to the world of blogging, and I’m learning something new every day about doing it well. It’s a fun and interesting journey. Best of luck to you!

    Like

    • Very cool – thanks! I glanced at it and it looks like something right up my alley. I will give it a more thorough stare down later tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It helped me figure out what the main theme of my blog will be once the new site is up and running! 🙂 Going to do a series of interviews with other authors about how they manage their writing life and their home life. Finding time to write and treat things like a real job without neglecting the family is HARD…. why not see how others do it! This would apply to anyone that works at home though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a very interesting subject you are going to start tackling and I believe there is a large audience for it. The balancing act is ever present, and trying to find useful tricks and methods to create (or maximize) time is essential.

        I’m looking forward to seeing your webpage and picking up a tool or two!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Funny how when we’re on the right path looking for answers, we stubble upon keys needed! Well not stumble always, sometimes we’re giving suggestions from friends. One such friend suggested your blog today!
    You have no idea how much I needed this exact post for my own questions! Thank you for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck getting into a rhythm with your blog. I hope you found a couple useful nuggets. I will make an effort to swing by and check out your work.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you found some use in my rantings! Good luck to you as you take the blog universe by storm. I will try to swing by and see what you are posting about when time makes itself available to me (it’s elusive sometimes).

      Thanks for taking the time to read and leave some thoughts .

      Like

  15. Pingback: Weekend Maintenance #1 « Quintessential Editor

  16. I agree with the post flooding! I’ve done 3 posts in one day twice … mainly because on those days I had lots of ideas so I spewed them out. That was before i realised you could draft and schedule posts lol … I now have a few post queued up waiting to be published at the write time.

    I found this really useful. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad this post resonated with you, Madison. When I first started blogging, I also kind of just posted them as they came. I noticed a tremendous increase in views when I began spacing them out, and finally settling on a one-a-day standard has increased repeat viewership. When there is consistency in posting, much like a daily newspaper, you begin to get repeat viewers who stop in expecting something new and fresh to look at each day.

      Speaking of scheduling…when I first started scheduling out my posts I didn’t go into settings and adjust my website time-code. So I would schedule for a time and it would post some five hours early. It was making me crazy! Once I got that sorted, life got a little easier for me.

      Thanks again for stopping in, reading, and leaving some thoughts. Good luck with your blogging!

      Like

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