Blogging Insights (17 August 2020)

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.


    • that’s probably me going out of a limb! Actually you’re the person who’d have most difficulty halving your posts! I’m kinda aware that I can waffle so there is always a chopping exercise goes on.


    • I think so. Roughly. My reader in Firefox estimates how long each post will take to listen to. It estimated this one at 3 minutes. The pain of it is that Firefox can only calculate it after the post is live (because presumably the WP “preview” is too complicated for it), so I try to aim for ~ 300 words max. Ish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the fact that your posts are easy to read because of the length and your clear writing style. I find it difficult to read very lengthy posts.
        I used to aim for 700 words, 300 would be a good challenge for me.

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        • Its finding that medium I guess. At the other extreme is seems pointless to write a post and for it not to say anything. I tried that – 1 minute posts – but quickly decided they were a waste of time. I can get away with that for a poem, but anything else, forget it.

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  1. //write as though you had no audience// This has been my rule ever since I started blogging. I think of no one while writing, I am talking to myself, or to invisible ones inside my head.
    Alas, the last point is not my forte, unless there is an explicit rule to comply with, like to write a 55 or 100 word story, or even six word one. I can do those, but otherwise I let my instinct and the desire to express, take the lead. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah that’s my problem too. I tend to waffle so I have to be prepared to prune quite hard. I suppose it’s a fine line because I don’t want to post something which says nothing. There’s got to be some “point” to it.
      When I first started I got something like 20 “likes” just by posting music (just YouTube links) and that was an easy way to get noticed, but it’s not what I wanted the blog to become so I had to cap it. I still post it from time-to-time, but only if I have some story to go alongside.

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