8 Things I Have Learned Blogging

Have a seat. Let’s talk about blogging for a minute.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

1. A Post can be too long.

I started my blog in October 2018, the year Dan and I bought our travel trailer. I wanted to document our journey in this new chapter of our lives. Back then, I planned to have one post for each trip. First, I learned I really enjoyed writing, and I wanted to write more often than one post per trip. Second, I learned that the posts could get really long especially if we were on a longer trip. My current format evolved from where I started and will likely continue to evolve.

In my opinion, there is an optimal post length where it is long enough to craft an interesting story or weave a captivating plot, but not so long as the reader begins to question and then scrolls to see, “How long is this post?” If I follow a blog, I intend to read it. But I will bail on a topic that doesn’t interest me, if the post rambles on and on about trivial matters, or if it is very long and detailed about a place where I won’t be visiting anytime soon. In my opinion, it is better to error on the short side and leave the reader wanting more.

2. A follower does not a reader make.

My post Zooming with Christian brought me the most new followers. However, most of these new followers had words like “affiliate” or “marketing” or “passive income” in their names. I don’t recall any one of these new followers ever making a comment on one of my posts. I’ve thought about deleting these types of followers, but I haven’t. Part of me thinks that there is a real live person behind that “Iwantmoneyfast” name, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll hit the human heart of that economic machine, and somehow, one of my posts will make a positive difference in his or her life. Yea, I am an optimist.

3. You never know what posts will be popular.

Sometimes, I am surprised by what resonates with my readers. For example, when I wrote “Retirement (or Life) Checkup“, I kind of wrote it mostly for myself, as a reflection. I wouldn’t have been surprised if only my most faithful followers read it, but the post garnered a number of comments which, to me, indicated interest and engagement.

My most popular post, Campfire Donuts, received 4,552 views so far. At one point, the post showed up on my Android phone when I swiped right to read stories. I was surprised to see it, and I guess this is why the post had so many views. I don’t know why or how it happened, but for a few days, I enjoyed many more views than usual.

After the surge of Campfire Donut’s popularity, I remarked to Dan, “I miss those days when I had more than 700 views.” His comment back, “Betty, it was one day.” Thanks a lot for keeping me humble, Dan.

4. Lots of views don’t mean more followers.

I’ve had a number of days where my views were really high – for me. It’s fun to watch those numbers go up and feel like people are interested in what I wrote. People really like to read about something that touches their daily lives. So, if you let them know you are doing that, they will read. However, for me, these high points on the views chart don’t translate into more followers. But that’s okay. After all, I do want readers, not just followers. The increased traffic is fun while it lasts.

5. There are two settings for Email followers.

Email followers can receive your whole post in the email, or they can just receive a snippet and then have to click to read the rest of the post. The problem with sending the whole post in the email is that these reads don’t count in your views. Maybe you don’t care about that, but I do like to have a sense of how each post fared. I wasn’t aware for many months that I could change this. So now, my email followers just receive the snippet.

6. However, I don’t like to click.

Apparently, the WordPress Reader also has a setting which can either show the whole post or just a snippet. If the snippet it chosen, the reader has to click to go the the blog’s website. Perhaps it seems contrary to what I wrote for #5, but I don’t like to have to click and go to the blog’s website to read the rest of the post. And I don’t make the readers of this blog do that either.

In fact, I’ve not followed some blogs for this very reason. This format takes away the ease of the WordPress Reader which allows me to read new post after new post of the blogs I follow. It’s a pain to get back to where I was in the thread, so I pass on the posts which require the click to the website. I’ve probably missed following some pretty good blogs and reading some great posts.

But I’ve also missed seeing ads which show up on the website, but not in the feed. Not that I mind ads a lot, but I do prefer the clean, simple view sans the ads.

7. Readers Love Before and After.

I certainly enjoy “Before and After” photos whether it is a weight loss, a room redecorated, or a piece of furniture redone. I think many people enjoy looking at these transformations. My post “Front and Center” was popular, and my readers also liked seeing my dollhouse updates. In fact, they were anxious to see more updates; however, this takes time. But if you have the chance, take the time to get that “Before” photo even if it’ll be awhile before the “After” is a reality. The visual value to your written post is veritable. Yea, I like alliterations.

8. Sometimes Advice Should Just Go Out the Window.

Probably like many of you, when advice is offered, I take what I want and leave the rest. I have read, from more than one “expert blogger” that a blogger should only write about what their readers want to read. While this may be good advice for someone wanting to grow his or her blog big time, it is not for me.

If I only write about what I think people want to read about, then I am shaping who I am in the blogosphere and sacrificing my unique voice to get those numbers. Sorry, but I am not going to take that route. I yam what I yam. Take it, or leave it. It’s totally up to you, but I do kind of hope you take it.

24 comments

  1. There’s plenty of good blogging advice here, Betty. I like to watch the numbers come in a well, but realize this can be a trap. I started blogging as an outlet for the kinds of things I used to do as a pastor: teaching, helping and encouraging people. At the end of the day, this passion of mine if more important than the little red numbers over the WP icon on my phone.

    I agree, it’s best to be yourself as a blogger—just like in real life. People want authenticity, not just hearing what they like. Kudos to you, because I believe I hear your real voice in your stories: funny, frugal and practical.

    Have a great weekend! Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good Morning, David. I totally agree that the numbers can be a trap. And I wondered if this post talked about those numbers too much. Like you, my writing is a passion. I’ve kept a gratitude journals for years and still do. However, being authentic here, I do enjoy seeing the numbers on my blog posts. I find it encouraging that at least a few people enjoy reading what I write. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very helpful thoughts on blogging. I have also found that it is hard to know which posts are going to be the most popular. I had a post in July called “Outlander Inspired Tie Shawl”, about a knitting project similar to accessories seen on the TV series Outlander. That post has received the most views of any post, and I continue to get more views. The TV series has quite a following, so I wonder if there are some people just googling for anything with the word “Outlander”. I did not know that if the followers see the whole blog post in their email, then it is not counted as a view. Hmmm…I may have to fix that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I bet you are right about that word “Outlander.” I appreciate you reading my blog and commenting. I look forward to reading your posts. Your yarn projects are very beautiful. Enjoy your day!

      Like

  3. Great post, Betty! I like the tip about before and after photos. We’re currently renovating our condo (in lieu of traveling south for the winter) I’ve taken the “before” pics and will definitely do something with them “after” we’ve finished. Thanks again for your post and have a fab day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My blog is for my enjoyment. I like shorter posts and writing about things that interest me. I do delete those that never comment or chose to interact with me. I have had several blogs over the years. I do not like to click to finish reading someone’s blog posts. I do not worry about how many likes I get or how many view a certain post. I love interacting with people from all over the world. Nice post Betty – Just be yourself – you are special and unique.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi, Betty. Great post. I am one of your readers who LOVED the ‘Retirement (or life) Checkup’ post. It stayed with me a long time.
    Isn’t the most common writing advice to write what you know??? And nothing like a husband to keep us humble.
    It’s hard not to look at views etc., but in the end, we just have to be happy with what we put out there.
    Thanks so much for some things to think about.

    Like

    • You are exactly right. (Don’t you love it when someone tells you that? I do!) We have to be happy with what we put out there. I love to write, and since I retired 2+ years ago, I have the time to write, and I do so enjoy it. The bonus is sharing it with others – and enjoying their writing as well. Thanks for reading, and Enjoy your Sunday!

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  6. Thanks again for sharing. I’ve read and reread your entire post more than once. I found it most insightful. However, I would probably have to say I’ve broken every one of the “points” that you mentioned. Which then got me to thinking “why do I blog”? As I thought about it I would have to say my answer is “For my own pleasure and to keep our family informed as to where we are and what we are doing”. I know I’ll never have thousands of followers, heck I don’t even know how to link the blog to an email. I don’t even know yet how to use “blocks” in WordPress. I guess I have a lot to learn this year. Or maybe I’ll just try and stay “old school”. Yet, thanks again for getting me thinking. Who knows this old dog may just learn some new tricks in this New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bill. I’ve broken all those points, too. That’s how I learned about them! This post was just some thoughts I’ve had or things I’ve noticed along the way. I do so enjoy blogging. I enjoy the process of creating and writing, but I also really enjoy interacting with others. And I’ve also learned so much! Now, with regards to your blogging skills. How about when (let’s get rid of “if”) we meet I will give you some lessons? I am far, far from an expert, but I can show you what I know. Barbara and Dan can play some Mexican Train during our lesson. We can order in Chinese. Now, that sounds like a good day to me!

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  7. Good observations! Too often we don’t take time to analyze our blogs and our viewers without realizing that doing so will lead to a better quality writing experience. I’ve always felt that I am not writing to please a particular person or group – these are my words and my thoughts. I respect others and am very happy that all the people I follow also feel the same respect! I’m glad you discovered blogging and the joy of writing!

    Just to note in reference to item 6 – I click to read the whole blog (yours included), but the whole blog opens in a new window and after I read and comment I close the window and I go right back to my blog reader.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Beth. I like how you wrote “these are my words and my thoughts.” Those words make me think of the phrase “the joy of self expression.” And yes, respect is paramount. I learn so much and am often inspired when reading other blogs, yours included.

      With regards to #6, sometimes in the reader, the post will have me click to the blog’s website to read the entire post. Maybe I am being too fussy, but I just find it annoying. And I am not sure it always opens in a new window for me.

      I appreciate you commenting, and I hope you have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lots of good advice here, particularly your #1. I never knew how verbose I really was as a write until I started blogging. It’s made me wonder about what my business correspondence was like during my career. I remembering always trying to aim for the “KISS” (keep it simple, Stupid) crowd, but now I wonder if I was nevertheless writing memos, emails, etc. with too much information. I do know that my early blog posts were way too long. Huge paragraphs! Over time, I’ve tried to reacquaint myself with the KISS principles. Sometimes I’m even successful. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of my early posts were way too long, also. I do think there is a balance. Sometimes a short post is not long enough to be engaging, but a long post can cause someone to break it off. Thanks for your comment, and have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the list of what you have learned while blogging. I don’t like to click either and it’s my habit to avoid advertisements at all times, so I only click if the subject matter appears interesting. Writing posts encourage me to learn more about the places we visit through research and the blog is like an album of memories for my family and me to enjoy. It’s great to get views and likes, but they are not why I publish my posts, so I don’t pay much attention to the numbers. I only have control over what I write and the photos I include. The rest will happen, or it won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I very much like your attitude about your blog. I write for the joy of it, but I do look at the views and likes. I should pay less attention to the stats. It’s nice to have the “encouragement”, but you are right. Better to just focus on my writing and what I can control. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

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