Can my learning help others on their blogging journey

I’m aware of how quickly my blog has been growing over the past 5-6 weeks ( it took me 6 months to gain 200 followers, and now 327). I have noticed that many of my new followers are fairly new to blogging, so I thought it might be useful exercise to reflect on what lessons I’ve learned in blogging since I started at the end of July 2022.

I’ve put together 6 things I’ve learned during my time blogging that I hope will help other bloggers.

1. Engage with the Community

The community is very important and its one of the best places to develop relationships with other bloggers and through those relationships, attract others to your blog too. You should read other people’s blogs (use the Reader) and leave meaningful comments on their blogs.

I would suggest leaving the comments section open on your own blog so others are encouraged to leave comments, and you should respond to all comments left by your own readers and followers. To me, it feels rude to have messages that you leave not acknowledged. I recently unfollowed a blogger who not only didn’t respond to my comments, but deleted all comments left on his site. I don’t understand such behaviour. Why leave your comments open if you’re going to delete them all, isn’t it better to close off the comments. I also think the “slap in the face” behaviour of deleting comments won’t help his site.

2. Be Realistic

Being consistent is important and you should be posting to your blog regularly. It has taken me a while to identify what pattern works best for me. You need to establish how often you want to publish and decide if that is going to be realistic for you. If you’re like me, you may need a bit of trial and error to find out what works. Many things impact on how much you can publish across a week/month – its a combination of the type of blogs you are publishing, both the content and the length; what other things you have on in our life, if you work or have lots of other activities and commitments. You need to think about everything you have in your life as well as the type of blog you plan to run so that you can decide on a schedule that works for you.

I’m still trying to master scheduling my blogs but initially I found even if I had a pattern – 3 days a week, I would be so excited and impatient to publish and share what I’d written, that my publishing schedule was all over the place. As I say, I’m still working on my schedule, but I’m getting there, and occasionally, I do schedule a post in advance. My key advice here is to stick with your schedule and try to practice self-control to hold onto work until your scheduled days.

3. Planning

This isn’t just about scheduling my posts so I have something to publish on my set days of Monday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday but taking time out to come up with a list of different topics/themes I can write about (currently I have over 200 listed in a notebook). I would also say, from my experience, having more than one piece of work in progress at the same time works for me. Maybe because I’m writing about a range of different topics, but this works for me as I can chop and change between themes if a particular topic doesn’t sit well on a particular day, I can put that aside and still find something else to work on.

4. Blogging is not just about your posts

I love blogging, writing and sharing my posts. However, managing a site is more than just posting your work. There are a range of other things that are important

  • Managing Comments
  • Editing
  • Reading other blogs and engaging with the community
  • Keep your website up-to-date
    • Gravatar
    • Website pages
    • Broken Links
  • Manage your followers (remove inactive ones)
  • Check and manage pending and spam folders (sometimes “proper” comments end up in spam so you want to catch these)

You need to make sure you cover all of the above elements regularly. I try to review at least once a month.

5. Ask for help

There is so much to learn when we’re starting out, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. The WP Community is very supportive and there are some excellent bloggers who write blogging tips and guidance. You’ll find them in the Reader. For me, even now, if I’m looking for something specific regarding blogging I’d go to either Renard’s World or Hugh’s Views and News.

My key point is you shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions or check out blogging as a theme on the Reader for general guidance.

6. Prompts

I write in response to prompts when they speak to me, but I don’t feel obliged to participate every time. I find the WP ones can be quite hit or miss, but I tend to review some of the submissions to support new bloggers, give them some encouragement, maybe I’m returning the support and encouragement I had received but I do wonder if participating in occasional WP Prompts is adding to the traffic to my site. The prompts are a good way for new bloggers to find their feet.

I hope the above tips might be helpful to new bloggers. They are drawn from my own experiences so may not be relevant to everyone. If you have any other ideas or tips, please also feel free to add them through the comments.

Good luck to the new bloggers in the community.

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  1. That’s so strange about someone deleting comments. These are great tips, Brenda. The one tip that occurs to me is to pingback to someone else’s post if it relates to your content.

  2. Good on you for receiving 327 followers, Brenda.
    I’m curious. How many blogs are you following? I wonder if there’s an effective proportion of followers to following.

  3. Lots of great tips Brenda. I have been blogging for a while, but certainly not consistently. Life does get in the way for me. And you’ve just reminded me to check my spam folder, you’re quite right about good comments finding their way there. And it’s been at least a year since I’ve checked. Eeek! Thanks for all the tips and reminders.

    • Youre welcome Alegria. I’m glad I could prompt you about the spam folder. And yes, life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes

      • You won’t believe this, but I just checked my spam folder, and you’re right, there were a couple of comments from people who follow my blog. One was from you! The one on the Magnolia trees. Needless to say, my apologies on the delayed reply. And again, thanks so much for the tip.

  4. Hi, my friend and I were wondering the same thing about the daily prompts. We notice the views and likes and such go up when one of us do them. As for a suggestion, this I think would be more if a personal one. Di and I (Kitt) sign our posts that we do. This way people know who wrote what. I love this post though. Thanks for the different ideas and insight to what you have noticed. And yes, deleting comments seems really odd. Best of luck, Kitt

    • Hi Kitt. Thanks for reading and sharing your idea. That’s a good idea to sign your posts and comments where there’s more than one contributing to a blog. I think people like to know who they’re engaging with.

  5. Point number four is so important. Blogging isn’t just about posts. It’s the same with writing, where writing is only one small part of the job. And networking is so key on WordPress. We always need to use the innate features, and for WordPress, it’s the comments. Thanks for this useful post!

  6. Great advice. Getting used to the new system introductions is weird. Jetpack calls me Anonymous from time to time and throws my own comments into my Spam. Spam is a strange one. Favourite and consistent bloggers get messages thrown in there! I can also sometimes miss uploads from others with the scrolling ‘toilet/kitchen roll’ that is reader. I do try to go into the drop down option to get to individual favourite bloggers posts in case I missed one. But if the people I follow are uploading many blogs I can miss sometimes. And sometimes a one off catch from a blogger is amazingly insightful too. Building your numbers Brenda is fantastic. It shows your blogs are readable and hit the mark. Brilliant. All the best.

    • Thanks Gray. Yes, spam is strange and I’ve found my own comments ending up there too. I try to go through my followers and those I follow regularly too, so I don’t miss anyone.

      • Friendships grew on Flickr for myself by simply taking time to give proper feelings to what you see. ‘Wow! Great photograph’ is great to read. But doesn’t give any opportunity to expand other than ‘a Thank you’. I had a small number of true friends on Flickr who would exchange with each other in many positive and supportive ways. It wasn’t a business you see. It was for the love of photography. Blogging is so subtly different if you have a multiple themed site. So diverse. So I kind of write any old stuff from my current, past and future hoped for life that pops into my head and enjoy the cathartic nature it brings to exchanged responses and well being. If the aims and ambitions don’t get realised….it doesn’t matter. We can all dream. As my little a Mantra says. ‘And so the story goes. To where? No one knows. Borne from? Self promises. Not worn out wishes’. You can promise yourself the Moon and still dream you’ll get there. Even if you never do, it was only ever a dream. All the best.

  7. For me comments are essential

    I see whether the person is active on their blog, then only I care to drop comment on theirs.

    Then I see what kind of comment they are dropping on my blog. If they are dropping credible comment, I care to follow. Otherwise, No!!!

  8. Thanks for some useful tips, Brenda. I have found, in my short time blogging, that engagement is more important than numbers. Developing a connection with a small number of bloggers can bring better results than having thousands of followers with low engagement.

    I agree with Stuart about the importance of Point 4. I would say as much as my blogging time is spent on things other than writing and planning posts. Like you, I struggle with people who do not respond to comments. I like to think that when I respond to comments left on my posts I am valuing the time they took to read and comment on the post.

    • I agree, but what really irritated me … felt rude … was to delete all comments from his site. I just don’t get that. If he doesn’t want comments, he should close off that part of his blog.

  9. Great tips Brenda! Your #1 is definitely #1. You have to be willing to engage and that takes time so blogging is definitely a commitment if you follow a large number of blogs. After doing this for so many years I think you fall into a rhythm and you also know your core group well so the engagement part can change up a bit as can the other parts.

    • Thanks Deb. I agree about the commitment. People need to understand how time consuming blogging can be. Each personnel’s to decide how much they’re willing to put in. I also think you’re right about a rhythm. It takes a while but I think I’m feeling a lot more comfortable than I did even 3 or 4 months ago

  10. ‘Experience makes one perfect’.
    You have proved this with this post with excellent points.
    Congratulations for getting 300+ followers in a very short span.
    I say, it’s an achievement!
    As far as interaction with fellow bloggers, I am intrigued with one particular tribe, that interacts with fellow bloggers only via ‘likes’ and swear to themselves never leave a comment.
    Another tribe is famous for unfollowing if one fails to follow them.
    It’s a wonderful world, Brenda.
    Every blogger knows the fact that making suitable comments in others posts makes all the difference in the blogging world, yet they miserably fail in this basic test.
    All the best!

    • Thanks Philo. The community are great, but as you say, so many don’t engage and get the most out of the relationships we can have. But I guess it’s because we’re all different and everyone will have their own reasons

  11. Thanks for the mention, Brenda. And thanks for sharing these tips.

    Engagement with other bloggers is so important. And by engagement, I don’t mean leaving the same pointless comments all the time, such as ‘This was great’ or ‘Great post.’

    Some bloggers will tell you they don’t have time to leave valuable comments that add value to the post and prove they’ve read it. Instead, they’ll leave short comments that add no value. As you and I have discussed before, expand on why you think it’s a great post, or the tips are great. Or ask questions and get into a discussion. As writers, we all value feedback and enjoy the type of comments that develop into discussions. We can only say ‘thank you’ to a comment so many times.

    And as others have already said, #4 is so important. I’ve witnessed some bloggers who don’t maintain their blogs. And they wonder why they’re not getting engagement or any new readers.

    Congratulations on your upcoming milestone in blogging for one year.

    • Thanks Hugh. Still a few months before that milestone, but im sure it’ll be here before I know it. We’ve already got the week’s counted out until the end of term 😁

      You’re welcome for the mention. Your posts go into some of the more technical aspects that are so important for maintaining a healthy blog/website.

      Have a good day. I’m off to take some photos in my local park 😁

  12. I didn’t realize how new you were to blogging. I’m glad I found you. I like what you’ve suggested here. I’ve written a personal blog forever and if there’s one thing I can say with certainty it is that how you treat other bloggers has a direct impact on who befriends you along. I know some people have a difficult time leaving and replying to comments, but ignoring commenters or replying with a terse “thank you for sharing your thoughts” isn’t how you make bloggy friends… if that’s what you’re trying to do.

    • Thanks Ally. I agree, you won’t make friends, or even just get to know people if you don’t talk to them 😁. Which is why I made a cuppa and got comfy before reviewing and responding to my comments.

  13. Thank you for your insight Brenda. It’s tough to balance everything that goes into a blog. Even more so if you work full time and have a family with a crazy schedule.

    I always wondered if other bloggers wrote for each WP prompt, or just the ones that fall in line with their blog.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Justin. I agree, blogging with other commitments, such as a full time job, is challenging

  14. Incredible blog post Brenda. I love this post and your blog is very neat and I will continue reading it and supporting it as well. When it comes to blogging, I am touched♥♥ because I am passionate about writing and expressing my creativity through writing blog post which are engaging and educational to other avid readers💯💯💯

    Also, I agree with the advice here related to the new blogger rockies which they must take note and the best way to grow as a Blogger it is to engage with the community by reading other’s work, leaving comments in the comments thread section and also do a bit of editing, managing and proofreading your blog posts before hitting publish on the block editor🙏

    • Thanks Mthobisi, for your engagement, encouragement and ongoing support.

      I agree, new bloggers should focus on producing well written, edited and quality posts and make a commitment to engaging with the community. It’s a great group to be part of

    • Thank you so much. It always makes me happy when I’ve been able to help someone 😁 I’m glad you enjoyed the post

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