In this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know…
What has your blogging experience taught you?
My first blog started back in 2005 and this blog is my fifth iteration. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the past sixteen years. So here’s my two-cents worth. Take it or leave it.
- The blogging platform you choose is critical. I started out on Blogger (aka Blogspot), and was never able to establish much of a blogging community. Then, at the recommendation of a co-worker, I went to TypePad. Same experience. Not much of a community. Finally, I migrated my blog to WordPress and, bingo, I discovered an active and supportive blogging community. So, for better or for worse, WordPress seems to be the best blog hosting platform if you wish to be part of a broad blogging community.
- Size matters. Now bear in mind that this “insight” might be due to the blog hosting sites I’ve been on before WordPress, but when I first started blogging, my posts were long. Well, long by my standards. They often exceeded 1,000 words and one post would cover multiple topics. Very few people read or commented on these long, meandering posts. But since coming to WordPress, my average post length is less than 250 words and my readership has soared. Of course, this may be due to the fact that I had few readers on Blogger and TypePad, where my longer posts used to be housed. But I find that a lot of people (myself included), don’t have time to read a lot of really long posts, so if I can be concise and say what I want to and need to say in relatively few words, people seem to be more inclined to read (and not just skim) my posts.
- Images help attract attention. Blogging is all about words, but I always add an image (mostly one, but sometimes more than one) to each post. In some cases the image is used to illustrate my words. In other cases, it’s the image that prompts my words. Either way, having one or more images imbedded in a post adds interest and improves its appearance. In my opinion, anyway.
- Participating in prompts is fun. Sometimes you need a little inspiration to come up with something to write. And that is where writing prompts can be lifesavers…well, blog-savers. There are daily prompts, weekly prompts, word prompts, photo prompts, music prompts, question prompts, silly prompts, and provocative prompts. For those of us who enjoy posting at least daily, these prompts offer us a way to express ourselves in so many different ways and to ensure that we’re never at a lost for words.
- Hosting prompts is fun. I never intended to host a prompt when I started blogging, but when WordPress abruptly ended its daily post prompt in 2017, I was pissed, so I decided to start FOWC with Fandango, a daily one-word prompt. A number of other bloggers did the same thing. Now I host one daily prompt, and four weekly prompts and I am thankful that many of you have embraced them.
- Interaction is what makes blogging special. I used to say, back when nobody read my posts, that I blogged for myself and it didn’t matter to me that no one read or commented on my posts. That’s bullshit. I was thrilled when someone actually read a post I had written and left me a comment. So to all of you who say that you blog for yourself and that you don’t care about your stats, about your views, about your likes, or about your comments, I say get your heads out of your asses. If you want to write for yourself alone, keep a diary or a journal. But if you are a blogger, it’s all about interaction with other other bloggers and readers.
- Do you. What I’ve learned through my experience as a blogger is that I am who I am and my blog reflects that. I can’t be…and don’t try to be…someone other than who I am. Write about whatever makes you happy, whether it’s about your activities of daily living, flash fiction, poetry, current events, your photography, your hobbies, the world around you. But be genuine. If you try to be someone you’re not, it will eventually catch up with you.
- Have fun. If blogging ever becomes a chore, take a break. Blogging should be a fun and rewarding experience, not a burden.
Okay, there you have it. As I said at the outset, these are my opinions and I’m not an expert at blogging. So feel free to ignore everything I’ve written in this now 777 word post.