Blogging Insights — Good Bloggers and Their Trade Secrets

Blogging insights In the #16 edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya asks us, What, in your opinion, are the characteristics or qualities of a good blogger?” And in the #17 edition, she asks, “Do bloggers share all their tips or trade secrets and should they?”

With respect to the first question, that’s like asking about what characteristics or qualities make anyone who creates an art form good. It could be bloggers, painters, sculptors, authors, musicians, actors, comedians, chefs, journalists, and even leaders. The honest answer is that it varies, depending upon one’s tastes and preferences. It’s all about “eye of the beholder.”

For example, there are those who think that Donald Trump demonstrates great characteristics and qualities that make him a good President. And there are those, like me, who think that the characteristics and qualities of Donald Trump make him totally unfit to be President.

So I’m not going to tell you what I believe to be the characteristics or qualities of a good blogger. Because that would be my own personal opinion. And you know what they say about opinions, don’t you? Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. Well, except for mine, of course.

That said, I haven’t been a very good blogger lately. Other than my several prompts that I’d scheduled two weeks in advance, I haven’t had the time to write a whole lot of creative posts due to my move from San Francisco to the East Bay. And no doubt I’ve missed a lot of the comments and pingbacks you folks have made on those posts that I have published. And even worse, I haven’t been able to read most of the posts all of you have published over the past couple of weeks. I will try to do better now that things are finally settling down a bit.

Next Tanya asks about tips and trade secrets. My tip for bloggers is to do your thing, whatever your thing might be. Write posts about whatever it is that interests and fascinates you and you just might find that others share your interests and are fascinated by what you write, too.

Trade secrets? Are there blogging trade secrets? I don’t know that there are any such secrets, but then again, I write posts about this, that, and the other — or whatever pops into my head on any given day. So I supposed, when it comes to blogging, that makes me a jack of all trades and a master of none.

SoCS — I’m Sorry

D999728F-92D8-467A-9BAD-17506BFA2C44I really thought the worst part would be the packing and the physical moving. That got accomplished and my wife and I spent our first night in our new house on Wednesday night. It was a late night and I didn’t get much sleep…maybe four hours…that first night.

But I was wrong about the packing and the physical moving being the worst part. It’s the unpacking and figuring out where things are (i.e., in which boxes) and then deciding where to put all of the unpacked things (i.e.,  organizing), that has been the worst part. And then breaking up all of the empty cardboard boxes and creating bundles of neatly folded packing paper the movers used to wrap almost everything they placed in all those boxes is nuts. I can’t even fit my car into the garage because it’s full of cardboard and paper. And after two days, we’re barely half way done.

Oh, I forgot to mention tasks like getting my cable, internet, and WiFi services up and running. And then attaching my doorbell camera and Nest thermostats to the WiFi. Yikes.

At night I think about all that still must get done, so sleep has been restless at best. The truth is, I’m exhausted. And I haven’t had time to be on WordPress for the past two days. Not even to look at my stats or to read you comments on my advanced-scheduled posts.

And for that I really apologize. I think it will be at least another week before things will settle down enough for me to get back in action.

But the good news is that I also haven’t had time to watch any cable news shows or even the late night political comics. I’m sure I haven’t missed much, right? There’s not much going on these days, is there?

Anyway, I’m sorry for all of your comments that I haven’t had time to read and respond to and for missing so many of your great posts. But I’ll be back soon.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where she has asked us to use “pack” or “unpack” in our posts.

Blogging Insights — Stats Rule

Blogging insightsIn her latest edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya asks us three questions about blogging statistics and traffic.

1. How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

I admit that I check my stats multiple times a day. It’s just another way to get feedback about how many people are visiting my blog and viewing, liking, and commenting on my posts. This kind of feedback enables me to see what people enjoy and what doesn’t resonate all that much.

2. What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)?

Honestly, I don’t have any definitive strategy for increasing reader engagement. I do, though, as I said above, look at my stats and I try to use that data to help me make gain insights about my blog and to take small steps so that others will enjoy reading my posts. That said, based upon my declining views each month since August (see the chart below), I should probably consider coming up with a better strategy.0AE90795-9BE8-46E0-B97C-323B14D42398

3. Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

Not at all. I’m don’t have accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, or any other social media sites other than Facebook, on which I never post anything and only have an account there because my kids post everything they do day in and day out on Facebook.

Please Bear With Me

Dear friends,

4F6571AC-D5A4-4773-81D2-095330481DE3As of yesterday at around noon my time, my wife and I became the proud (?) owners of two homes — the one we are currently living in and the one we’re moving to in about two weeks.

Earlier today I was at our new house way out in the suburbs awaiting some tradespeople that I needed to meet with before we move in. While I was waiting for them to show up, I was looking out of my backdoor, which is actually an oversized sliding glass door, admiring the view. It was a clear morning, and, because our new house is situated near the top of a hill, I could see for miles. It’s quite a different view than we have from our home in the city, which is basically the side of the apartment building behind our house.

But I digress. We have about 10 days to get our belongings all packed up (i.e., our shit together) before the movers show up to empty our current place and move our stuff to the new place. And then, in about a month, after some painting, minor repairs that need attention, and staging, our existing house will be going on the market.

I’m hoping that it will sell within a few weeks and that we’ll close within 30 days of the sale, or about two-and-a-half to three months from now. I don’t relish the idea of paying insurance and utilities on two homes for much longer than that. But, as they say, what will be will be.

Finally, I want to apologize to those of you I follow. With all that’s on my plate right now, I haven’t had sufficient time to go through my reader and read many of your posts. Nor have I been as prolific as I usually am when it comes to publishing my own posts. I’m hoping that within a few weeks of the actual move, we’ll be settled in enough that I can resume reading and posting at my traditional superhuman pace. Until then, please bear with me.

Best regards,


Written for Ragtag Daily Prompt (looking out of my back door), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (clear).

Blogging Insights — Art or Science

Blogging insightsThe latest edition of Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights prompt asks us three questions about the nature of blogging.

1. Is blogging an art or science?

Having a blog requires bloggers to possess the technical skills to use a personal computer, a tablet, or a smartphone and to access the internet and to use the website or app of the blog hosting platform to create and publish posts. That said, blogging, to me, is not a science. You can know how to do all of what I just described, but that doesn’t mean you can put two coherent sentences together or craft a post that anyone would be interested in reading. So my answer is that blogging is not a science, it’s art.

2. Can people without a “natural talent” for writing become bloggers?

I suppose it depends on the nature of the blog. If the blogger is using his or her blog as a personal journal or a diary of their lives, or if it has a very specific, narrow niche, then I’m not sure a “natural talent for writing” is a prerequisite. But I do believe that in order to be a successful blogger, you do have to have the talent to be a storyteller and you have to have a talent for telling your stories in a compelling way that grabs the reader.

3. Have you ever taken or taught a blogging course?

My one word answer is “nope.” Okay, that was actually a six word answer. No wait, now we’re up to 22 words. No, 24 words. Damn. 26 words. Fine, I need a blogging course on how to give a one-word answer. But there’s a pattern here. My response to Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompts are never just one-line. Anyway, my answer is still “nope.” It just took me 71 words.