How I’m blogging now

I just thought I’d continue on from what I was talking about the other day – blogging, gaining more followers on my blog and how to go about it.

Well I’ve signed up to follow a fair few more blogs in the hope that that may be a way to gain more followers myself.  And, of course, it’s interesting to read others’ blogs and see how they’re successful, what they do or don’t do that I could learn from.

I’m a bit flummoxed by one thing though.  For a long while I didn’t add tags to my blog posts as I wasn’t aware of how useful they could be.  I think I may have gained a number of followers through tagging my posts.

But the thing that’s puzzling me is this: when I Googled certain words that I use as tags in my blogging, intending to see if I could find other writers’ blogs, it came up with very little that was helpful i.e. hardly any relevant writers blogs at all.

So it got me thinking – how exactly do tags work?  Are they what other people use to find blogs to follow – do other people Google certain words to find a blog they might like to follow, or do other people know something I don’t about tags?

Anyway I’m confused by that.  Any info about that gratefully received.

To go back to the main point of this blog post, as well as working hard at blogging myself, it’s been interesting to see how various other bloggers go about… well blogging.  Some of them list targets they’re trying to achieve (I don’t find this particularly helpful, in fact it’s a bit boring!), others intersperse anecdotes about their non-writing lives (which I find fascinating) and then of course many blog about how their writing is going, their plans for releasing their novels, details of when their novels are being released etc.

I have found that the most successful blogs engage with their readers; they provide good content that others want to read; they ask questions and the blog itself is attractive and looks good.

As for my own blogging – well I’m trying to comment on others’ blogs as much as I can – though I do delete a number of posts as I haven’t got the time or energy to look at them all.  I’m only human!

With this blog, I’m trying to post more often, as obviously that is so important.  I also intend at some point to start linking more to other blog sites.  Some of the most effective blog sites have great links to helpful sites for writers.

Here are some that I enjoy:

Catherine, Caffeinated

Daily (w)rite

Shannon A Thompson

Joanne Phillips

I think I’ll leave it there for now.  But before I go, here’s a question for you.  Do you have a favourite blog that you keep returning to and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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32 thoughts on “How I’m blogging now

  1. Hi Elaine,
    interaction with your visitors and followers is vital, especially if they leave comments (not a hint for you to reply to mine lol) You could try out the different WP themes to see how they look – most are free.
    I notice you only give share buttons for FB and Twitter (because that’s what YOU use most?) – I’d recommend you use every share button WP makes available or your readers to use.
    Only a few thoughts – good luck to you and your great blog :D

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for your thoughts. It’s funny that you mention about the share buttons on my blog – I was only thinking about that today and wondering if I should use more lol.

      The thing is I can be a bit rubbish when it comes to using WP as it’s not always user friendly in my experience and I can’t always work out how to do things with it, such as add more social media share buttons. But thanks for flagging that up, I will definitely look into it. :)

      Again, I’m not entirely happy with my theme either so a rethink on that would be good too.
      Thanks again for commenting. :)

      • Well, can’t say I’ve figured out the whole blogging thing much either. Tags… I use tags that I hope seem best related to the topic I am writing about. I try to keep tags limited (and categories even more so now… though there was a time I had so many categories–too many categories).

        As for the extra sharing buttons.. they can be found in (oddly enough, because WordPress never does something that intuitively makes sense) the sharing tab in your WP Dashboard (toward the bottom of the page). Adding things like publicizing to G+, Twitter, etc is more annoying to setup, and also not usually that good an idea. It’s better to add the post to other social media sites directly for more interaction.

        Because, in the end, it’s all about interaction.

      • Hi Eden, thanks for your thoughts. I will have a look at the extra sharing buttons. I want to have my blog publicised on various social media sites, but I don’t really want to properly join those sites myself. There’s only so much time I have! I don’t if it’s possible to have the share buttons to link to other social media sites without actually being on them??

  2. Hi, I can never find a follow button on a WP blog, although it has just popped up in the bottom right hand corner. A big idiot proof one, for readers like me would be great ;-)

  3. Hi Elaine, thinking about your question, although I follow a lot of blogs, the ones I always check out are: those where I’ve found the writing is consistently good (be it fiction or fact), and those by people who have been helpful and encouraging to me. Often these are the same! But yeah – I guess I’m looking for a good read, or a chat with a friend – or both! :-)

    • Hi Karen, thanks for your thoughts, that’s helpful. Reading everyone’s thoughts, I realise that there are lots of different aspects to a good blog – one of the main ones being content. And of course it helps if you post more often, as I’ve found! ;)

  4. Hi. Glad you’re blogging more and finding good blogs to follow. All you can do is what you have time to do. It’s all about balance and what you’re interested in.

    • Exactly Linda – I can only do what I can do ultimately! At the moment I’m not finding it too difficult to keep up with everything, but of course that may change… Thanks for your comment. :)

  5. Thanks for the shoutout–glad that you enjoy my space.
    Taggging is great for a wordpress blog, because WordPress ‘Find Friends’ page has a way to access blogs according to tags.

    I wish I had more time to interact with my audience, but I do try my best.

    • You’re welcome and I do! Ah, that’s very interesting what you say about tags – as I mentioned in my post, I was wondering about them. I may take a look at the ‘Find Friends’ page.

      I think you do really well to keep up with all the comments the followers of your blog make. It can’t be easy when you have so many. You’ve always replied to mine, which I appreciate!! :)

  6. Elaine,

    I follow a lot of blogs, and I tend to swap out favorites, depending on what’s going on in my inner and outer lives.

    The ones I love best are real. People sharing their experiences,wisdom, thoughts, emotions, imaginations. People sharing themselves. It’s not always pretty or even easy reading, but it connects.

    Maybe that’s the key – offering connection.

    As for tags – I’m not sure whether I really use them as intended, or not- but, mostly, I employ them to help me categorize my posts into lists…so, if I want to encourage readers to check out my poetry, for instance, or my unschooling or Star Trek or Trueborn or whatever, I’ve tagged what pertains to that topic. People can read just one post, or more…

    WordPress does give you a rundown on your dashboard that shows which tags are most often viewed. I tend to approach blogging intuitively and organically, but, every now and then, I look at the tags. It seems that the things I felt the most strongly about when I wrote them do very well. Over time, I’ve shifted to posting mostly those types of posts, and it’s made a big difference in my connection level.

    I hope you’ll post updates on some of the things you’re exploring and what you discover! =)

    • Hi Shanjeniah, thanks so much for your thoughts. It’s interesting the approach you take to blogging. I may well use some of your tips – they’re helpful.

      I will definitely post updates on how things are going – this post is actually kind of the third in a series where I’m blogging about making my blog more successful. And so far it’s been… well a success! I’m getting more comments on my blog than before for sure, so I’m going to keep plugging away at it.

      Have a lovely weekend. :)

  7. I am confused by tags too, Elaine, and don’t actually use them! And I know nothing about share buttons. I might be able to help with the rest of it, though.

    I think the key to getting your blog followed a lot is simply to write interesting pieces, and tweet them well – when posting your latest piece on, say, #MondayBlogs, the key to getting it read is to make the tweet interesting – think of it as a newspaper headline. “Check out my latest blog post” will just get it passed by. Obviously it’s your blog and you must write what you want on it, but I think it’s best to think of your target audience. If it’s other writers, then yes, write about writing. If you want to attract readers from outside that world, write about the sort of things they might enjoy. Two of my biggest viewed posts ever are nothing to do with books and writing; they’re about relationships. One is about how to deal with a relationship break up, and the other is a a series of ‘soundbites’ called Love Truths. The funny ones attract a lot of views and comments, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and write an amusing post if that’s not your writing style. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Terry, thank you so much for your thoughts, that’s so helpful. You may not remember, but quite a while ago you suggested to me that I do approx 20 retweets a day on Twitter to make myself more visible on it.

      I don’t always manage 20 a day, but I wanted to tell you that it’s definitely helped and I’m getting more followers every day. What you say about making the tweets advertising my blog more interesting also makes sense. I will definitely give it a go.

      Although my blog is aimed more at other writers, I have written blog posts about other subjects in the past. Until fairly recently, I participated in a blog hop called ‘Thursday’s Children’ where we wrote about what inspired us to write – but this could be anything really and I found it so helpful to think about aspects of my life not confined to writing.

      I’ve been thinking for a while now about doing a non-writing blog post so I think I’ll experiment. And I’ll let you know how I get on with those tags!! Have a lovely weekend. :)

      • Thanks for replying – just saw it on my emails! Just wanted to say also that some of my regular readers (for my novels) have come via my blog; this doesn’t happen if you only write about writing, because it’s not of much interest to non-writers, so yes, good idea to do non-writing blog posts as well!! Glad my advice about RTs helped! x

    • Thanks once again for all your advice Terry. I’m looking forward to putting all the advice I’ve had from various people into practice! Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday. :)

  8. Tags are best used in the WordPress Reader. People using the Reader can search posts by tag to find the subject matter they like. “Writing,” “fantasy,” and “science fiction” are the three most popular tags at my blog.

    I’ve gotten the most out of blogging from the relationships with other bloggers that I’ve developed. Leave sincere, thoughtful comments on posts you like and get to know the writers. It’s awesome.

    • Hi, thanks so much for your tip re tags, that’s great, I’ll check it out. I’m trying to follow and comment on as many blogs as I can, but obviously I can’t comment on every blog post I receive via email – I’d never be doing anything else lol !

      But you’re definitely right about developing relationships with other bloggers. I’m gradually doing that more and more.

      Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday. :)

      • I have nine blogs that I follow regularly. That’s about as much as I can handle. Sometimes it’s just leaving a “like.” People still appreciate the support. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday too :) !

    • I know what you mean about handling your blogging. I certainly can’t comment on as many blogs as I’d like. But as you say, it’s perfectly acceptable to just hit the like button – it shows that you’ve taken the time to read the post.

      My Sunday’s been very nice thank you. The weather turned out OK in the end so I’m happy! :D

  9. Elaine! You do a really great job visiting and commenting on other blogs. Your sincerity in supporting other writers will go far. You just be you and keep building relationships. One of my students gained two thousand followers in less than two months. She had good content, but most of all she spent a lot of time on other blogs! This big act of caring led to many followers. :)

    Great post!

    • Ah thanks Chloe. I’m trying hard to make the effort to connect with people in the blogging world, but it’s not always easy as there are just so many and I can’t keep up with all the blog posts I get in my email!!

      I do try and vary whose blog I comment on a bit, so that I’m commenting on various blogs. What your student did sounds like a good idea. I’ll bear that in mind. :)

  10. I have seen a massive difference in your blog over the last couple of weeks Elaine and you are generating great content and fantastic comments so I would just say to you, keep doing what you are doing! Tags.. I have no idea! I think that they are only used in WordPress and I never know what to put in them. I read somewhere that you should never put more than 15 tags on a post and ideally you should keep it below 9, but whenever I use the reader and search tags, I don’t tend to find much that I am wanting to find. Discovering other blogs that I want to read is something that I find really hard to do, because I just don’t know how to search effectively.

    Good luck with your blog and as I said, keep doing what you are doing! :-)

    • Ah thanks so much for that Jade, it’s great to have your support and feedback on how I’m doing with my blog. :D

      If you want to know a bit more about tagging, see some of the comments above, some other bloggers have been telling me a bit about how they work. But I can definitely understand you being confused – I was too (and still am a bit if I’m honest!!).

      And yes, I will most certainly keep on doing what I’m doing. :)

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