For the past few months, I’ve been getting queries with regards to blogging. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I frequently write about blogging and how I find many aspects of it baffling. Still, I suppose, I have reached some sort of a blogging comfort zone. And maybe that shows, which is why people sometimes ask me for advice. I find myself repeating again and again and so, I decided to put together all my wisdom in a post. There are many, many things I don’t do right or often enough or at all. But, I suppose, my greatest achievement is to have created something of continual value, so that when people come in, they find ideas they may find of use. Even that may see difficult to make, so, here are some ways to help you achieve it.
1) Be patient and put in the work first. The reason I gave up on all my previous blogs, including this, was because I didn’t get any readers at first. It seems logical to quit, but that is where you are wrong. When I gave this a second shot, my only agenda was to write. Which is what worked. My blog didn’t get many views, follows or likes in over a month. I only got one or two comments. But, I kept writing whenever I felt like it. I didn’t add pictures or tag properly. But, when I did start getting a greater response, these posts that had been unread started getting read as well. Sometimes, if a previous post bears any relation to a new one, I link it, though I always make it a point to make my new post complete and independent by itself, not needing other material to put the point across. Your blog has to be something by itself first, before it attracts people to keep up with it. Also, your style for that blog will find itself only after you publish a few posts and start getting feedback. It is great to get attention but, you have to have material first that warrants it.
2) Make your blog layout reader-friendly. Whether you write a Photography or Philosophy blog, the former being visual and the latter being text-based, almost the same rules apply. Make your layout – background, font, design – simple yet inviting enough for your work to show easily. For me, a white background, with a large enough font preferably in black, and some bright but not shocking colours is enough. You want to make your reader work as less as possible while reading your blog. People, as an unspoken rule, skim much more on the internet than they would with a physical book. There is just too much going on. You have to pare down everything else for your work to shine.
3) Decide on regular days to post. It is fine if blogging is purely a hobby for you and you post whenever you feel like it. I actually prefer following blogs that post less, as opposed to, say, news blogs that post multiple times a day. Again, it becomes too much for the reader to take in. However, if there is a more regular rhythm to your posts, you will end up having more regular readers. I try to post on 3 scheduled days. I don’t always stick to it but, if I didn’t push myself to do it, I might end up not posting at all. Don’t be too hard on yourself on making your posts publishable. You can hit Publish when it is more or less okay to you, and make changes later.
4) Tag properly. I don’t have any idea about publicizing on other platforms, so I will only talk about the WordPress Reader. Go to the Explore Tags option on your reader and find tags that go along with the content of your post. For example, a tag for this post will simply be “blogging”. If you have made categories for your posts, be sure that the sum total of your tags and categories does not cross 15. It won’t ensure a lot of readers, as there are millions of blogs publishing everyday using the same tags but, you will find other blogs that deal with topics similar to yours. Which brings me to my next point.
5) Read other blogs. I can share no advice on things like SEO or advertising or making posts go viral because I have no experience regarding them and I have no idea how they work. But, I’ve found a substantial part of getting more attention as a blogger is to read other blogs. I’ve learnt a lot, consciously and subconsciously, about how blogs work simply by reading different ones. The ones that have great reader participation, the ones that seem a little unsure. Also, you may actually discover writers or artists or photographers whose work you really like, enriching your blogging experience further. If you ‘like’ their posts, add thoughtful comments, even if it’s a little note telling them how much you enjoyed their post, you would have encouraged them to keep going, and maybe inspired them to come check out your own blog. One word of caution though. Do not plug your blog. Something like “I am a new blogger. Come check out my blog!” is NOT good blogging manners. If you’ve written a post yourself on a similar topic as on the one you are commenting on, you must still provide a gist with your link to the post, not your blog. If the blogger finds your comment thought-provoking, there is a strong likelihood of them reading your post.
That is all I’ve learnt through my experience of writing Of Opinions. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask them. However, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve no idea how publicizing works on other platforms.