Do you know Christian? His full name is Christian Mihai, and he writes the blog, “The Art of Blogging.” As of this writing, The Art of Blogging has 33,941 followers, and that “1” there on the end is me. I read his posts regularly as a way to improve my craft, and I’ve gotten some good ideas and tips. He recently offered a free 15 minute one-on-one Zoom session with him.
Since free is a price I like, I signed up. I thought it would be interesting to get his take, someone with 33,000+ followers, with regards to my blog. I signed up, sent him the name of my blog and asked for general comments.
I’m old enough that I am still blown away by the fact that I can sit at my kitchen table using my chrome book and see and talk with someone in Romania. But that’s exactly what we did, and the technology worked just fine. Christian came on screen wearing a T-shirt and sporting a tattoo on his arm. I am not sure of his age. He wasn’t real young, but he did have that casual look of success which younger people seem to wear.
His first comments were that he had read some of my posts, and that I should focus on telling stories. He mentioned that my genre was pretty common as he notices there are lots of people who retire and then travel in an RV. I am not quite sure why he said I should focus on stories. It could be his general advice or maybe he thought I was good at telling stories.
In one of his posts, he had written that if a blog was going to be successful, it would “take off” within six months. Ever since I read that, I wanted to ask him, “So, should I just give up?” I started this blog, (first on Blogspot and now on WordPress), about 22 months ago. My blog hasn’t “taken off”. I told him I had 148 followers. Of course, he didn’t tell me to give up.
He said the problem could be several things. Not being consistent with a publishing schedule. Not being consistent in content. Or not networking enough.
As a side note, I am not even sure what “success” means to me, but I’ll get to that more later.
Publishing schedule. I have evolved into a schedule where I try to publish a post on Monday, a Wordless post on Wednesday, and then a post on Friday. One piece of advice I had read was not to publish too often; people need time to find your posts, and no one reads the older ones much. This makes sense to me. Plus I want to publish quality, not just quantity.
So, while I wasn’t consistent early on, I am mostly consistent now. (Is that even a thing – mostly consistent?) But honestly, I am not really sure how important it is to be perfectly consistent. I can see how it would matter if a blogger went away for weeks or months, but if I publish on Saturday rather than Friday, do you get all bent out of shape? Would you even notice?
Consistent in Content. Christian talked about finding a niche and sticking to that, so readers will know what to expect. He said, don’t be funny one day and then sad the next. I can see where that might be unsettling for readers. However, I like to vary my content. I always try to be positive. I want to inspire, so I might write about a hardship but then give it a hopeful spin. So, are you comfortable with my content’s consistency?
Somewhere I had read that readers really like those enumerated lists. Five things I did to make a million dollars. Six ways to attract lovers. Whatever. I tried a couple posts like that for the sake of varying content, give a structure to a story, keep things interesting, see what happens. Christian didn’t seem real hot on using those enumerated lists.
So, then I asked him about…. click bait. I’ve made a conscious decision not to use click bait, but sometimes, when I’m disappointed in my views, the thought of using click bait does cross my mind. Christian thought it might be okay once in a while, but it really isn’t a method to establish lasting connections with readers. I agree, but just for fun sometime, I’d like to use a real zinger to see what happens.
Networking. I never really liked this term. Even when I was working. I guess I am just old school. I want to be nice to people, and if I help them in some way, they don’t need to pay me back. And visa versa. I do know that reading, commenting, and following other bloggers is a good way to get others to read, comment and follow my blog. So, I do that. If I follow a blog, I intend to read the posts, and I don’t “like” a post unless I really do. If someone follows me, I may or may not follow them back, depends on if their blog seems interesting to me. What do you think about networking?
Another way to network he said, is to be a guest blogger on another site or ask someone to be a guest blogger on your site. He basically said to do things to get noticed; although, he mentioned he never does those “award” posts, but it’s okay if you do.
We then discussed, probably the most popular topic, monetizing a blog. I started my blog just because I wanted to write, to be creative. I didn’t have any particular goals in mind. I thought I’d start a blog and see where it went. I’m pretty much still seeing where it leads.
With regards to ads on a site, Christian said you need to have lots and lots of traffic in order to make a meaningful amount of money. I left it at that and didn’t get into any specific numbers.
With regards to affiliate marketing, Christian said the commissions paid are going down. He also cautioned that readers may question your authenticity should you follow this route. He also said if you are the affiliate and something goes wrong with a purchase, the buyer will blame you even though all you did was provide a link to the goods. Thoughts?
Christian said a blogger could sell a book or offer premium content at a price. I don’t see myself doing either of those. I did ask him if readers would get “turned off” if I became an affiliate or had ads. His answer was yes, some might, but that’s just the way it is, and not to worry about it. He did say, you could always ask your readers if you are considering something. Maybe do a poll. I like that advice.
Is monetizing my blog important to me? Not really. I love writing, and I so enjoy the relationships I have built with my fellow bloggers. A day with a lot of views or comments is so fun! But occasionally, I do think, with all the time I put in, it would be nice to make a little bit of extra money. My ego would like that, too.
So, I asked Christian, before I consider ads or being an affiliate, how many followers should I have? He said 1,000 to 2,000. Ha! That’s gonna be awhile for me. So, you all can relax, and I can, too. I’ll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.
Now, if you liked what you read, don’t forget to hit those like and share buttons! And be sure to hit the Follow button, so you don’t miss anything! Ha ha. Just a little blog humor! Enjoy your day!