- There are thousands of bloggers out there (maybe millions); you’ll never get around to them all. I choose to focus on a handful of blogs that I, personally, enjoy reading. My favorites may change from time-to-time, which is OK. Life is about seasons, after all.
- Write in your own voice. To me, that’s what makes blogging interesting. The best way to find your own voice is to write as if you were chatting with your best friend.
- Use photos. Pictures make blogs more interesting. Period. And if that cute font is hard for me to read, chance are I won't.
- Be friendly. Leave meaningful or funny comments. Interact with other bloggers. If you don’t visit other people’s blogs, why should they visit yours?
- To serenade or not to serenade, that is the question. I’ve never used music on my blog and prefer blogs that have no music. The reason is twofold. I’m retired and often blog hop late at night, and it’s not pleasant to be blasted with a stanza from Chicago’s Greatest Hits at two o’clock in the morning. Quite frankly, it nearly gives me heart failure and causes me to click out of the blog immediately. In addition, music is such a personal thing and your taste in music isn’t necessarily anyone else’s. I’ve actually stopped visiting a few blogs because the music that greeted me was music that I simply couldn’t tolerate.
- Many bloggers use what’s called “word verification,” which means anyone commenting on their posts must fill out a field that contains strange letters like, "faSlkPj" before a comment can be posted. Can I just say UGH! It’s believed that such safeguards cut down on any spam comments, but I’ve tried it both ways and never had but a few spam comments in the last six years—with or without using “word verification.” That may not be a universal experience, but it has been mine.
- Using (or not using) “word verification” is a personal decision, of course, but if I have to enter strange letters in a field, in order to leave a comment, I may just let my two-cents go without saying. In fact, I'll just go ahead and say it. If I get the first set of letters incorrect, I may try the second time, but I'm not feeling good about it. If that doesn't work (and it often doesn't), it's pretty much over for me. If you aren’t willing to let go of the “word verification” feature, then may I suggest that you set your “Comment Placement Form” to be “embedded in post,” instead of a pop-up window. To change this, go to your "dashboard," under "Settings" tab to the "Comment Placement" area. Having the comment embedded in your post makes it a little more tolerable, as the reader can see, prior to posting a comment, that he or she must complete “word verification” before the comment will be posted. If the word verification box pops up after I've commented, I often just click out of the blog and let it go unsaid.
Another option is to use "Comment Moderation." This allows you to view comments before they're posted.
- Too many bells and whistles and flashing ads are not my idea of blogging, but of attempting to make money while blogging. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s why you blog, but understand that it’s a real turn-off to many readers. I’ve stopped visiting a significant number of blogs, due to the fact that it was hard for me to actually find their post, because of so many ads and banners littering their wall.
- Just because someone hits a button that claims they are now "following" you doesn't mean they actually read your work, else you'd be seeing thousands of comments on the blogs that have thousands of followers, and that just doesn't happen (at least not any blogs I've ever visited; there may be some exceptions). For example, a blogger I visited recently boasts over 15,000 followers (yes!), but her average number of comments runs less than a hundred per post, which proves my point. So, if your goal is lots of comments, don't count on that increasing with your number of followers. My opinion is if your typical number of comments is at least 10% of your number of followers, I'd say that's a great return. Again, I don't blog for the numbers, but I've run into so many who do.
- Have fun! In summary, blogging should be fun. Blogging should not be a competition, nor a means of personal validation, as in how many followers you have, or how many comments you receive. If you have a faithful few in the audience, at least you don't feel as if you're talking to yourself. I'd rather have three faithful readers, and I'd rather read three bloggers faithfully, than have a host of "followers" that, in reality, mean nothing. Blog about what you love, and say it in your voice. Concentrate on the faithful few. It will simplify your life, and, in my opinion, that's what it's all about.
If your blog has ceased being fun and is, instead, a burden or source of anxiety, consider giving it up for awhile. The world won’t come to an end. I promise.
Photo source: Google image search