Blogging Insights — The Error of My Ways

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know about our early blogging mistakes. You know, things that we did wrong and what we should have done instead.

She asks…

What mistakes did you make in the first few months of blogging?

My first mistake was choosing the wrong blog hosting site when I first starting blogging in 2005. I went with Blogger because someone told me it was free and it was easy to use. So instead of doing any research on blog hosting sites, I followed that guy’s advice and set up my blog on blogger.

It was free and easy, but it was lonely. After about two years of blogging on Blogger, and pretty much feeling like I was that proverbial tree in the woods that fell but didn’t make a sound because nobody was around to hear it fall (i.e., very few followers and only very rare comments), I figured it was time for a change of venue.

I asked one of my coworkers, who I knew had a blog, what blog hosting site he was using. He said he was using TypePad, which he highly recommended. So I abandoned my Blogger blog and started a new blog on Typepad. That was my second mistake. My blog was an even lonelier place on TypePad than it had been on Blogger.

They say that the third time’s a charm, and when I started a new blog on WordPress, I discovered a highly interactive and supportive community of bloggers, and that made all the difference in the world. People read my posts, commented on them, and started following my blog. It was wonderful.

Then this year WordPress pulled this whole block editor shenanigan, and it’s not so wonderful anymore. But that’s a whole nother story.

The long and the short of it

Another mistake I made in my early days of blogging — at least I believe it was a mistake, although some may argue otherwise — was that my posts were too lengthy. Early on, my posts were typically 1,000 words or longer. Even after I moved from TypePad to WordPress in mid-2013, my average post for the first few years was around 750 words.

It took me a while to realize that ain’t nobody got time for that. So when I started this blog in May 2017, I made a conscientious effort to write shorter, tighter, more concise posts. Now my average size post is around 235 words. And when I started writing shorter, more manageable posts, my blog traffic and readership took off.

So, my advice to novice bloggers is to not drone on and on in your posts. Be concise and try to keep your posts to around 500 words or less. This post is around 475 words and I bet you’re thrilled to have finally reached the end.

33 thoughts on “Blogging Insights — The Error of My Ways

  1. Shweta Suresh September 28, 2020 / 7:48 am

    I too made the mistake of writing extremely lengthy posts when I started off. It took me a lot of time to come up with them but no body was interested, not even my friends and family! Then over the years, I started writing fiction. And that’s when my blog really took off. I’ve never had to look back ever since. I’m glad that you found WordPress, Fandango and even more glad that I found your blog. Don’t let the block editor stop you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje September 28, 2020 / 8:12 am

    This is an important point which some argue otherwise. But I agree with you. Short posts are the way to holding the attention of the readers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mister Bump UK September 28, 2020 / 8:22 am

    It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the posts we write to answer this question are significantly longer than our usual posts. I was exactly the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 2:02 pm

      Some prompt posts require longer responses, but I still try hard not to exceed 500 words too often.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ian Kay September 28, 2020 / 8:54 am

    Paradoxically, search engines rate longer posts higher than short ones, most of which they won’t rate at all. It’s the way they work.
    But as you say, most human readers won’t bother with long posts, preferring shorter reads. We need better search engines. But I think we do all right in the great scheme of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cozy Quiet Corner September 28, 2020 / 8:59 am

    My initial posts were longer too, and a few I had to discard coz they were too long and convoluted. Now, I try to limit by 500 to 550 words.🙈
    So glad you are on WP Fandango, I really enjoy reading your posts. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Inkplume September 28, 2020 / 9:26 am

    I agree that shorter posts get more attention. But I still believe that if you have a good story to tell and you tell it well, people will read it. I hope I’m right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 2:06 pm

      Yes, if you tell your story in a compelling way, word count is less important.

      Like

  7. bikerchick57 September 28, 2020 / 9:44 am

    I also started on Blogger, but it was short-lived. I knew two other bloggers from my area that were on WordPress and both encouraged me to join them. WP is truly an active community, but I am concerned about new bloggers who may come here and wonder WTH? when they try to use the block editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 2:08 pm

      Yeah, it’s not exactly intuitive or user friendly, is it?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marleen September 28, 2020 / 10:01 am

    😂

    Maybe “that guy” will answer you on needing a server or not. Do I remember the right question, that you had in response to him? About using a dot org?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen September 29, 2020 / 11:26 am

      Oh, here is the wording: domain and hosting

      Liked by 1 person

  9. RuthScribbles September 28, 2020 / 10:04 am

    Hey, I complained on a wordpress blog, and he said I could switch to classic on my phone. And I did. ah, but I use the app. sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 8:06 pm

      Yes, there is a version of the classic editor on the WordPress app for the iPhone and that’s what I’ve been using recently, but I call it “classic lite” because it has missing functionality that was available on the now gone classic editor.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Melanie B Cee September 28, 2020 / 10:29 am

    I have to respectfully disagree. My very first post (in 2013) was probably about fifty to 100 words and there are still crickets chirping and dust on it. These days the word count varies wildly from (at least) 500 words to over a thousand and sometimes pressing on two thousand. This is an area where an individual might have a lot more to say (even if it isn’t thoroughly read) than can be said in 500 words. Kudos to the spare ‘talkers’. If a blog post grabs my attention, the word count is the least of my considerations in reading it. I’ve found boring ‘short’ posts, and enthralling ‘long’ posts (I’m thinking of folks like the departed Ursula, whose post lengths often exceeded even my own wordiness). If people find the subject matter interesting enough, they’ll read the post. In my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Melanie B Cee September 29, 2020 / 10:32 am

        I don’t know Mel, one day she just stopped writing. She had mentioned that her s.o,.and she were undergoing a massive renovation of their ‘castle in Spain” (I don’t know if it were a castle, I’;m conjecturing a little). Maybe the stress of trying to write AND do DIY renovation was a bit too much?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 8:14 pm

      You are certainly welcome to disagree. I read most of your posts, Melanie, but I have to admit that I do tend to skim the longer ones, which means I may be missing some of your what you’re trying to say. I still stand by my ~500 word target, but it’s your blog and you can write your posts at whatever length you wish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie B Cee September 29, 2020 / 10:33 am

        I appreciate your taking the time to read/skim even the really wordy posts. Thank you! Usually I have too many stories in something, and should learn to edit more rigorously. You have the knack! Great talent to do that!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Taswegian1957 September 28, 2020 / 3:11 pm

    It is odd that the “blog for money” experts tend to tell you to write long posts because they rank higher in search engines even though readers generally prefer shorter ones. However, those people don’t really care about the content as long as the keywords bring in the dollars.
    I can’t write a short post to save my life but I have learned to keep them to a manageable length I think. I agree with Melanie that if a post is interesting it will be read even if it is longer but it has to make sense and not be a ramble. It took me a while to learn that. My formatting was horrible too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 9:26 pm

      I don’t really pay any attention to all the so-called SEO (search engine optimization) experts. But I don’t blog for money, I blog for fun. And my motto is “my blog, my rules.” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeff Flesch September 28, 2020 / 9:01 pm

    Great post. I am a new blogger, 6 months in, and I sometimes struggle with word count. I try to not let it get in the way of the idea, which, for me, is key. I just checked and I have an average of 835 words per post. A little lengthy mabe. Ah, the fun of learning! Thanks for the insights! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2020 / 9:46 pm

      I think it depends upon what kind of blog you have. If you have a specific niche — and yours seems to be in personal and professional development — the nature of you blog might warrant longer posts. I just blog for grins and giggles, so I tend toward shorter posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. leigha66 October 7, 2020 / 12:06 am

    I some days find longer post too long, other days I can read a 1000 word post with no problem. I think I agree with what everyone is saying, that it comes down to content and your interest in. If it is good, on a subject you like especially, it will be one you read.

    Liked by 1 person

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