Zooming with Christian

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!

15 comments

  1. If you want to turn your blog into full time work and not just something you do for fun. – take Christian’s advice. I have no desire to sit for hours and comment on 2,000 blogger posts. I follow about 40 or 50 people I really liked and that is enjoyable. It does not matter when or how often you post – just do it when you want to. It is extremely hard to make money from a blog unless you want to spend most of your time on your blog. I have had several blogs for in the last ten years. I do believe that Christian is a person who spends most of his time on his blog and considers himself an expert. Personally, I did not care for any of his suggestions. But, that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post! I think it will help many people.
    My blog has been around for 6 months, but only a week ago I was able to figure out how to enable comments from WordPress. I missed a lot in that time period.
    I like the idea of less posts in a week. It gets to be a bit much with a well over full time job and posts everyday. Salaried positions are a killer.
    As for marketing, I did virtually no marketing lol. However, it was hard to do without people being able to leave comments.
    One thing to keep in mind is what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. I bought a blogging book before I started and it told me to put up posts every 1-2 days. It also encouraged affiliate marketing. It’s worth it to get a few opinions before making your final decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I agree with you. Even being retired, it is too much for me to write a post every 1-2 days. I aim to write 2 a week, plus the fun Wordless Wednesday picture. I enjoy taking a picture or picking out a past picture for Wordless Wednesday, and that’s enough for me! And you are right in that each person has his or her own reasons for having a blog. And even that can change over time. I appreciate you reading my blog, and I look forward to your next post! Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I started my blog because I was told if I wanted to be an author, I had to make myself available on social media: a website, blog or something. I’m like you. After a few years, I finally got over 100 followers. Over time, I kind of changed my perspective about all this.I enjoy writing so I write on my blog for fun, not to reach goals. I write about whatever I want, when I want. If I have nothing to say, I don’t say anything. What I’m trying to say is that you have to figure out what you want from your blog. If you have goals you want to achieve, then use it for that. If you just enjoy posting and sharing about whatever inspires you; then do that. My blog is about several different topics; basically whatever I want to write about. That may be why I don’t have a bigger following, but I’m enjoying it and I’ve met a lot of interesting, fun and remarkable people from doing this, and that makes it all worth it right there! Keep on blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mary. I enjoy reading your blog. And I agree. I have met some really nice people, and I’ve learned so many things from reading other people’s posts. I love writing, and I enjoy having a blog. I look forward to your next post! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Christian about your ability as a story-teller. You have a knack for using a story or event when introducing a post. I’ve had the same advice about a regular posting schedule but have ignored it as I write for pleasure. I’m not interested in monetizing my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. I do like a regular schedule as I have lots of idea, and having a schedule helps me to actually turn some of those ideas into posts. I look forward to your posts, and I always enjoy reading them. You are a talented writer, and I often reflect on something you’ve written about. Happy Blogging!

      Like

  5. Thanks for the play by play about your Zoom with Christian. There was so much helpful advice it’s hard to pick the most important.
    In response to a few of your questions, I think your blog content is remarkably consistent. Sure, there are lots of retired RV bloggers out there, but they are not you and Dan. I find your posts are usually funny, uplifting and contain helpful life advice.

    As far as networking goes, I simply refuse to lose myself in social media—like I’ve done before. My time is more valuable than my desire to be a super blogger who spends most of his time promoting his site. Like you, I like to write and want to share my thoughts with others.
    I think you’re on the right track, Betty. Keep doing what you’re doing and grow your readers one by one.
    Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. I appreciate your kind words. I agree that time is most valuable and shouldn’t be wasted by spending too much time on social media. I also don’t want to spend too much of my time on my blog and not enough on Dan, family and other interests. It’s a balance. I just know that I feel led to blog, though I am not sure why or where it lead me. Maybe it is a situation kind of like you wrote about in your post, “What’s that, God?” Blessing to you and your family as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel your pain. Wanting to grow your readership, but not feeling comfortable with the monetizing route. I will check Christian out, but agree with you on many levels. Life is all about balance and I’m fully aware that our time is finite and I don’t want to spend it all on social media. Thanks for another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I started writing my blog to document my travels and keep my friends and family up to date. I didn’t care about monetizing then or now. Actually I was surprised when other people started reading my blog (really it’s only a few). I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I had to say, but it’s a good feeling to see some do. Unlike most bloggers who say they love to write, it’s a struggle for me. (I had to take freshman English five times to pass.) It takes a lot of time and effort, so I have to keep reminding myself why I started doing it. I like the results more than the process.

    Whatever your reason to blog is, I enjoy reading it. I like that you have a variety of content. “I wonder what Betty is writing about now?” From retirement advice to black tank woes, it keeps me looking forward to your next blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I enjoy reading your blog, too. How interesting that you blog but writing is a struggle for you. Good for you for overcoming that challenge! You know, I actually started my blog to document our travels, too. I was going to have one post per trip. Obviously, I’ve changed my original plans. I do really like having a record of our travels. I think that could be one of the top reasons for having a blog. Thanks for reminding me of that! Enjoy your travels, and stay safe!

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  8. So I had to ask myself “Why do I write a blog”? I’m not a writer. I’m not in it for the money. I’m not looking for a large following. I guess I do it because “I can”. My blog started out as a way of documenting our travels and the ups and downs of full time RV life. It was also a way of letting family and friends know where we are and what we are doing. So it was and so it shall be now and in the future. Thanks for making me stop and think about what I am doing. It is always good I believe to stop along the way for a self examination. Keep writing, keep sharing I so enjoy reading of your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started my blog for the very same reasons – to document our travels and to let friends and family stay updated if they wanted. I also wanted to share any “tips” we learned along the way. My original plan was to write one post for each trip. I changed that. I like to write several shorter posts about our trips, and I like to write about different topics. I enjoy the writing process. I enjoy the interactions. And I enjoy all I’ve learned from reading other people’s blogs. I also get some good laughs and smiles. Lots of good things! I am also glad to have a chronicle of our travels. Blogging is a joy in my life, and I hope it will be for a very long time. Thanks for reading, safe travels and enjoy your day!

      Like

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