Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blog Tips and Observations from a fairly Newbie Blogger

Blogs are time consuming little buggers - both writing them and reading them.  I've been blogging for a little over a year now, and I must admit, there hasn't been a single time that I've thought about discontinuing my blog.  I enjoy it too much.  I have to admit that it's sort of a heady experience when you start gaining a few followers.  You think, "Hey, someone actually wants to read what I'm writing".  But then you come down a notch when you realize that sometimes people will follow your blog just so you will follow theirs.  I think we all have our favorites.  I follow about 90 blogs, but I only read a dozen or so on a regular basis.  I would love to read them all - every day, but I would be reading 24/7 if I did.  Along the way, in both reading and writing, I've made some interesting observations. Here they are:
  • More women blog than men, especially those "over 50" bloggers.  In that age group, it's probably a mixture of reasons.  A lot of 60 plus men are content to learn no more about computers than they have to know to get by in their jobs and in the world.  Men of that age group also tend to use the "hunt and peck" method of keyboarding, whereas, most women over fifty have either taken keyboarding or typing courses for work purposes.  I'm speaking from experience here.  Example:  My hubby.  But I've found men bloggers to be fun and interesting, for example, Mike, over at Our Little Meadow makes me smile every time I read his posts.

  • More women are blog followers than men.  I think women are just naturally more curious and more eager to connect with people who have the same interests as we do.
I've also recently given a lot of thought to trying to improve my blog and thought I would share just a few things I've learned.
  • How do you get people to read your blogs.  From the blogs I've read, it seems like I keep reading the ones who write about things they know and love.  If you write about something you're passionate about or something that you have a talent for, there will be readers who will follow you.  I love reading human interest blogs, DIY blogs, decorating blogs, farm life blogs, and also blogs about other cultures in other countries.  It's sort of like writing a book - if you write what you know and write it well, you will have readers.  I've also found that linking one of your posts to someone's blog who has lots of followers will attract readers.  Susan, over at Between Naps on the Porch, has a terrific blog on decorating and tablescaping and she has hundreds of followers.  On Mondays and Thursdays, she has a project specific blog that she invites fellow bloggers to link their related subject blogs to hers.  When I've linked my meager efforts of tablescaping to her blog, I've had hundreds of "hits" each time.

  • How to create blogs that get in the google searches:  Blog sites have statistics to help you see where your readers are coming from.  Some of mine come from family and friends, some come from fellow blog followers, but many come from Google searches.  Last Spring, I was so surprised when I saw that I was having hundreds of visitors to my blog each day.  That was puzzling since at that time I was a relatively new blogger on the block.  I had written about the royal wedding and the Disney princess comparison of the clothes worn by the wedding party.  I Googled "royal wedding, Disney Princess Comparison" and lo and behold, my blog was on the first page of the Google search lists.  Since that time, I've had more views of that blog than any other I've done.  If you want to pull in readers that way, write about current trends that are in the news that people are naturally curious about.  Here's that blog post, by the way.

  • Organize your blog for easy reading.  You can have more than one blog and I do - simply because I write about different subjects.  My main blog is Life Happens, which is really more or less human interest items.  I have a blog about my flea market adventures, but recently found that if I had simply created tabs in my main blog and organized it a little better, you would be able to click on the "flea market adventures"  tab at the top of the page and see only those stories.   It's time consuming to do more than one blog, and attracting readers to more than one blog is tiresome. 

  • To pimp or not to pimp your blog and why it can turn off readers:  I know that every blog reader and writer is different.  Some love to what I call "clutter" up their blogs with links, calendars, sparkly gidgets, etc.  I've experimented with all those things too trying to improve the appearance of my blog.  But I'm one of these people who has Attention Deficit Disorder and too many things on a page confuse me and they cause me to not pay attention to the real blog material.  I find myself overwhelmed - like in a candy store that has so many flavors that you can't pick just one.  Most of this stuff isn’t making our blogs any quicker, easier to use, or even prettier. Most of it is simply clutter.

  • Photos:  I love photos in blogs.  Photos tell a story that sometimes words can't express.  People who read your blog and find you interesting also want to see the things you're talking about.   There's a reason for the old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words".

  • Help new bloggers.  If a new blogger comments on one of my blogs, I go out of my way to read his/ her blog and post comments.  If it's good content, I'll provide links to his / her blogs so other's will follow the link and read it.  I appreciate all who did that for me when I began blogging.  That's how I acquired some of my followers.

  • Followers:  I'm not in any contest to gain followers, but it does thrill me when I see that someone new has started following my blog.  A nice thing for seasoned bloggers to do is to try following a newbie blogger occasionally, just to give them a boost.  I know that our blog rolls can get overloaded with blogs that we follow, but we don't have to read all of them every time someone posts. 

  • Comments:  All bloggers want feedback on what they're posting.  If you don't get any comments, you think that no-one likes what you had to say.  When people take the time to comment, I try to do a follow up comment to show that I appreciate what they have to say.  It takes time to read blogs and comment.  But a comment means a lot to a blogger, so pay back your fellow commentors!

  • Be kind and be positive.  No one wants to hear rants and raves when they're reading blogs.  They want to read pleasant experiences.  And no-one wants ugly comments.  It hurts feelings.  Of course, there are some exceptions.  Some blogs are designed for letting off steam.  There are readers for those kinds of blogs too - just stay true to who you are and what type of image you want to project. 
And don't quit blogging!  We, your readers, are disappointed when we no longer see posts from those bloggers we have come to know and love.

In the one short year I've been blogging, I've learned a lot.   I am still learning every day and still experimenting with my blog subjects.  I don't have a lot of followers, but I enjoy and appreciate the ones I have.  If you have any pointers you would like to share, please do so in your comments.  We should never quit learning.  There's always room for improvement.


  1. So many thoughts, I have on this post. 1st it's a very good, informational piece that I found to be accurate. I've noticed a lot of the same things you have.

    I had to step back for a second or two when I read 'MY' sentence. When I was younger, to tear up was not in my vocabulary. As I reach the twilight years, I find my eyes watering on several different ocassions. It is always nice when someone mentions you in a blog post. It's unbelievably heart-warming when they say how much they like what or how you write.

    I've been blogging a little bit longer than you. And yes, I "LIKE" the follower numbers. But, numbers don't mean a thing when there isn't interaction. I "LOVE" the comments and like you, I do my best at answering. Not all generic comments, you know the type. I always question which is the better way to reply. I like to reply in a personal email. Others in the comment form.

    I knew this commment would turn into a blogpost, itself. So I'm going to cut it short.

    Just for the record. I am not one of those that 'hunt and peck'. I'm faster than Victor will ever live to be. haha

    1. Mike, I think maybe the men over 60 category which my husband falls into are the ones most apt to be a little behind on their keyboarding skills. My hubby gets so frustrated, but at least he tries and he's getting much better. Typing 101 was taught in high school back in the "land of long ago", and there was only one male in my class, and he didn't mind sharing that he was there strictly to be in a room with all girls, lol. A secretarial job was an honorable profession for those girls who didn't plan on getting a higher education, so typing was a must. So glad I learned the old fashioned touch method of typing! My grandchildren can fly around on the keyboard, but they don't do it the way I learned to type.

  2. Nice post Glenda - although I'm not sure about the truth of more women bloggers than men - just maybe the subjects we are interested in is more women than men. For example I never visit blogs about cars, guns, or any other laddish pursuits.

    I'm thinking of consolidating my blogs I must admit. Will have to look into your TABS - is that the same as Pages?

    1. I suppose you're right there Jane. Maybe I'm just not searching out the types of blogs men are writing. To be fair, I'll have to do that sometime in the future.

      And yes, the tabs are creating pages which you can organize across the top - like the About Me, Home, etc kind of tabs (pages). It's a little time consuming but not so much as trying to maintain more than one blog.

  3. Great post! I came to you through Mike, who I thoroughly enjoy reading also. I too will have to look into tabs for different aspects of my life.

    1. Thanks for visiting from over at Mike's blog. I slipped on over to yours and found myself wanting to start crocheting again. But where would I find the time! I am retired, but the projects that I put off 'til retirement are still out there waiting to be done. My passion is writing and I feel rather guilty with my "growing larger" posterior sitting here in front of the computer typing away, but not enough to keep me from doing it.

      The tabs are simply creating pages and organizing them across the top. I'm so glad there's people out there who create youtube videos to help us non-techy people out, because that's how I learned to create the pages. If you can search and find someone who's good at it, it's easier than following the Google Blogger instructions.

  4. Hi there. Good post today, although I think that my Blog would probably come under your 'cluttered' description above!!! Up until just before Christmas, I always answered every comment individually on my blog page, but the trouble is, as you get more and more Followers, this does become very time consuming. I actually wrote a post about this, and a lot of people actually said that they didn't go back into a blog once they had left a comment. There just wasn't enough time! So that is why I then decided to reply to comments individually by e-mail, and it's working out very well.

    1. Hi Diane, your blog design is always delightful! It has just enough glitz to be fun, but not so much to be overwhelming. We all have to have a little eye-candy in there. I'm wondering if the new Reply feature on comments goes directly to the blogger who commented? I'm trying to reply now that Blogger has made that available. You have been an inspiration in your wonderful responses to your followers comments! I can see how with all your followers that would be extremely time consuming. My few comments are usually easy to respond to, lol. P.S. I love getting your email responses. They're so personal but must be even more time consuming.

  5. Good morning Glenda. What a great read, so informative and like others have said....quite accurate. I try very much to leave a personal comment after people have taken the time to leave me one. It might take me a few days, but it is my goal to connect and strengthen friendships. Comments are so encouraging. It is not the reason I write but it is definitely a perk.
    I will also usually go and visit the blog site of new people that I see on my "followers" listing and offer a "welcome".

    I have to say that I remember when you and I first connected. You had jsut started blogging and sent me an email of friendship. You said you were new to blog land and asked for advice. That got me started on your blog and then you personal demeanor has kept me here. Thank you for typing out pieces of your heart here. And thank you for being so patient with me. You have given me so much grace as I have worked through deep times. I can always count on your conversations to make me smile.

    Have a blessed and wonderful week in all you do.

    1. Jules, It always makes my day when I get a comment from you. I think you were the first blog that I followed and it was because everything you said touched my heart. It takes a little extra time to encourage new bloggers, but it is so-o-o worth the outcome. The time and effor you gave in being so nice to me when I asked your advice is the reason I gave that advice in this blogpost. Thank you always for your sweet comments, my friend.

  6. Hi Glenda. See! I popped back in to see what you had to say, and I was so glad to hear that my Blog isn't too bad for you to look at! Hee Hee!! I don't think the comments go directly to the blogger who commented. Now that really would be brilliant, if that was the case!! I don't think Blogger is quite that clever! Take care.

  7. Glenda, you so bless me. Thank you. That just really blesses me.


I love to hear your comments!