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.