I’ve seen responses to Dr Tanya’s (Salted Caramel) Blogging Insights questions many times, but have never been motivated to join in, until today. I hope you don’t mind my jumping in, Tanya.
She asks this week about tips for noobs. Well, I was once one myself, so have some views. Here goes:
- Understand the purpose of your blog. Understand the purpose of each post.
- When writing, write as though you had no audience. If people enjoy your posts, they’ll interact.
- Understand how you define success. If it is by having lots of followers, I suspect you should write for a magazine instead. The blogging medium is unique.
- Before you start, think carefully about anonymity. If your identity is known, some subjects are off the table. Plus, in real life, it could be riskier if someone can look you up in the phone book. And, if you ever “come out”, that’s it. No going back.
- Perversely, blogging is 90% reading. To gain followers, make friends. To make friends, take the time to read/comment, on their posts. Sensible comments. I have turned off notifications about follows and likes, so I will never know. If you comment on my post, I will notice and will try to respond (including looking at your blog).
- If you respond to a prompt, take the trouble to read other people’s responses. You just published the most interesting post ever, so why do you think they didn’t do likewise?
- If you do respond, keep your response short. Prompters will say “any length”, but if you have twenty responses to read, are you going to focus on the 1-minute response or the 60-minute response (yes, they exist. That’s two full episodes of Friends)? It’s less important when you’re not answering prompts but it is still good to be aware of length.
For that last one, next time you write a post, look at the word count. In the Block Editor, that’s in the “i” box on the top of the screen. Now, before you publish, go through your post and halve that count. You might not succeed, but do your best -it’ll take 3 or 4 passes even so. As a rule of thumb, 100 words = 1 minute. Before I edited this post, it was just over 500 words. Just before I publish, it was 350ish. I could still do better.