After six years of blogging, I’ve compiled eighteen of my best blog tips for you including how to promote blog posts and ways to increase traffic. I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Maybe this will help keep you going until 2023!
The first time I hit publish was in spring of 2011 as an attempt to build an author’s platform. I had an idea for a snarky book about living in Boulder and was told I needed to blog. Back then I was a hunter who pecked each key with her index finger and spent days typing each post. Editing killed me.
18 best blog tips learned through six years of blogging:
All of these tips may help you to engage readers and increase traffic. Most of them I learned by trial and error. I’m still learning, believe me.
Write in your own voice.
I write the way I talk. This includes slang when appropriate which is pretty much in every dang post. I have omitted profanity where I didn’t think it would add anything to the story and have *included cuss words when I needed to be truthful about how I felt.
Try not to over polish your writing since it kills the natural tone. Your readers will find it harder to get to know you if your words sound like an encyclopedia.
I mean, Wikipedia.
There will be highs and lows.
I started high by winning three Freshly Pressed the first year and another two years later. For you new bloggers out there, Freshly Pressed was the original WordPress editor’s pick before Discover replaced it. The rush of comments and views exhilarated and inspired me. The awards gave me confidence in my writing.
Low: At the end of December 2014, my views were exactly the same as 2013’s. The year’s top post was An Open Letter to My Boobs, and of all time was What’s in Your Future? Both won Freshly Pressed. I wrote a satirical post combining them with the complaint about my flat views called, I Predict More Stories about Boobs in 2015.
High: When I awoke the New Year’s Eve morning, I already had 100 views. I wondered if my lurid title drew readers. I felt guilty about the bait and switch title until I checked my top posts. The new one had less than twenty hits, but an old post about the song, Happy Birthday being owned by Time Warner was shared on Reddit in the TIL (Today I learned) category and blew up with 49,000 views in one day. It went viral!
An entire year worth of views on the day I complained about it. Ironic or what?
Then came the resounding sound of crickets.
WordPress blew up with millions of new bloggers. Everyone has a blog. The number of editor picks diminished. I have yet to be Discovered. *drums fingers on keyboard*
The spotlight swung from blogging to Pinterest, Snap Chat, and Instagram. Podcasts and YouTube share the stage. With so much quick entertainment out there, bloggers have to throw an elbow to compete for time.
Can’t beat ’em? Join the fun!
Share your blog on social media.
Join Facebook blog promotion groups, Pinterest group boards, and Twitter hashtags and that’s only naming a few ways to promote your blog. Make sure you have your social media linked up to share when you post, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.
Be sure to link up your social media under Sharing in your dashboard, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.
Ask to join Bloggers Supporting Bloggers or search for other blogging groups on Facebook. Be sure to read and follow the rules. Never drop a link and run without reciprocating.
I have a Pinterest group board and could use a few thousand pinners, starting with you. Drop me a comment (below) with your user name and I’ll add you to the group. Have fun pinning!
Popular Twitter hashtags:
#SundayBlogShare, #MondayBlogs, #lbloggers, #bbloggers, #blogchat, #bloggers, #blogs, #amwriting, #bloggerswanted, #Tuesdaythoughts, #WWWblogs, #ThrowbackThursday, #Weekendblogshare #Fridyay
My Twitter handle is @SusieLindau, which is the same as my blog.
Tags are another way to be seen in the WordPress Reader. Combined with categories, use fifteen or less. Too many and you won’t show up in the Reader. Not sure what I’m talking about? Click to your Reader and click Search under Discover. Type in a topic and voila! This is where everyone ends up when they post according to their tags and titles. Click on Relevant for popular posts or Date for most recent.
Blog parties and Social Media Saturday
Participate in blog parties. They can be found by searching the Reader and in hashtags on Twitter. My next party is coming up soon, so be sure to follow me!
I also started Social Media Saturday. I’ll host those monthly. You can still drop a link to one of your social media accounts and follow three others.
Writers are in the entertainment business.
Whether writing a book or a post, writers want their voices to be heard. I wrote the last sentence and immediately thought of myself standing on a mountaintop yelling out into the canyon with a responding echo. That’s not what it’s all about for me. I share my life, thoughts, and life lessons in order to inspire you in some way. So when horrible stuff happens to me, I won’t blog about it until I come up with a positive slant or a new tool I’ve added to my life hack toolkit.
The idea is to post something others might enjoy in some way. I don’t post about boring days at home, apologize for not blogging for a while, or write a total ramble and publish it without proofing. Man, do I hate reading an unedited post. It’s important for your words to sound like you, but bad grammar throws me out.
*This is one of those times when I have to cuss.
Before I publish a post, I ask myself, “Will anyone give a shit?” If it’s all about how great my life is, I won’t publish it. We did a remodel in the mountains and I could have chronicled that whole fiasco, but I didn’t feel comfortable about it. I have 56 drafts right now. Many essays haven’t made through the WAGAS cut.
During that first year of writing, my subject matter was all over the place. I started at Open Salon with a blog called 300 Sunny Days in Colorado. One day, a commenter suggested I write about my adventures since most writers don’t ski, bike, or hike in the mountains. I switched to WordPress and the Wild Ride was born. In the last two years, the term Wild Ride has become so overused. I wished I’d patented it.
Now I write about travel, outdoor adventures, inspiration and general lifestyle topics. I always get creepy in October. I’ve witnessed a lot of paranormal activity over the years. My first novel is based on some of those experiences.
When you are seeking a brand for your blog make sure it covers subjects you’re passionate about.
Write what you are passionate about.
What excites you? I post about the events in my life that rile me up or touch me in some way. I also enjoy reading great stories. Ones that move me to tears or that make me think differently about a subject. Ones that open my heart or make me laugh. There used to be a lot more laughter here in the blogosphere.
How much are you willing to share? I draw lines when considering other people, but anything that happens to me personally is fair game. Being self-effacing is who I am.
What are your hobbies, interests or activities? What starts your motor? Maybe you’re into cars.
The biggest mistake is copying what others are doing. Being unique is a gift. Reflect that in your blog and stand out from the crowd!
Use quality photos.
Pictures are worth, well, you know the cliché. Take time to edit them with Picmonkey. It’s hard to appreciate the view when the horizon line is tipping over. WordPress has a slide show and collage option too.
Learned which posts work and what doesn’t.
The posts where I recount the heinous events in my life in a brutally honest way, like going through breast cancer or my brother’s death after trying to revive him, resonated most with readers. I always include humor or hope to offset the negative aspect because that’s how I ride through life.
Blog posts that help other bloggers have also earned lots of views. An Open Letter to WordPress Bloggers is one of my most successful blog tip posts. I wrote it to all the bloggers who follow me and never stop by again. Where are you guys, anyway?
Photo essays and celebrity meetups have also been successful.
The stinker posts:
Anytime I write about music or a television series, it’s a disappointment. Get ready, dear reader, I plan to blog about my visit to Culloden House and its tie in with Outlander in the fall. Love that show. I’ll lower my expectations when checking those stats.
For some ironic reason, the posts I spend the most time on often receive lowest views like, How Seneca, Attracting Positive Energy, and Happiness Heal Grief. Which brings me to…
Spend time coming up with a good title.
This can be a problem for me. I usually struggle for a title at the end of a long day of writing. I schedule my posts for the next morning. If I were to give myself advice I’d say, “What the hell are you thinking? You spend all that time on a post. Focus on creating a title to draw people in! Sheesh.”
Don’t bait and switch.
It’s a problem all over the web, so cheeky titles about how the plumber caught you naked and afraid, but you were just watching the show Naked and Afraid may frustrate readers. It frustrates me too, not that I would click to see you naked and afraid.
Blogging builds a community of real friendships.
I can’t say enough about my blog community. My readers have come through for me big time when my life got tough, but they read about my fun adventures too. I’ve made so many friends here. How? Through commenting. It’s a form of conversation. I read their blogs and comment too. Sometimes it carries over into social media. Check out mine in the sidebar. I’ve met lots of bloggers when traveling. Friends for life!
Here’s a real problem. Many new bloggers click to follow, but never return. That’s not a great way to build community in my book. If you have followed for followbacks and you get tons of comments and views and have built a humongous community, I’d love to know how you go through your Reader to keep up with everyone. Leave me a comment. I’m always open to suggestions.
Most bloggers will quit.
It’s sad when my friends quit blogging, but I understand. Blogging can be super frustrating. It’s tough to sustain a following and attract views with so much competition out there. SEOs go up and down. Trying to promote on Twitter and Facebook can be another time suck. It’s a conundrum. We want people to read our words and are forced to market our blog posts, but it keeps me from doing what I love: writing. Then there are the times when we spend days on a post and it becomes a huge swing and a miss. *whiff*
So why do I keep blogging?
For practice –
Remember how I started? I moved on to writing thrillers and screenplays. Writing of any kind is practice. It’s a craft where we are always in search of elusive perfection, in my case, it’s elusive, all right.
For community –
I continue to reach out to build community. If find a blogger through topics in the Reader or through reading comments on a blog post, I’ll check them out. With so much attrition in blogging, it’s the only way to keep my community growing. It’s a constant flow in and out.
For sanity –
It’s where I come to hang out with friends. Posting is still a rush and so is reading and commenting on other bloggers’ stories. I like keeping up with my friends’ latest adventures too.
It’s my passion –
When I started six years ago, someone asked, “Do you want to be a blogger or an author?” You can be both. I’m still working on achieving that published author tag. There’s a lot to be learned. With my early success, I thought writing a book would be cake. Nope. It’s a completely different animal with a skeletal structure and nervous system all its own. It’s like learning about amebas and believing I would ace human anatomy.
But I love the short essay format. There’s terrific gratification in publishing something and receiving instant feedback. Novels can take years. Book writing can be an isolating endeavor. Blogging is the opposite. I love the interaction with old friends and new. I have a few blog to book ideas too.
I’ve come a long way from being that keyboard hunter. I’m still not fast, but I’ve learned to slash and burn entire chapters of my books. I’ve shared my voice through blogging and have touched people around the world as they have touched me. It’s a creative expression I can’t live without.
Can you add any blog tips? How long have you blogged?
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