Brave and Reckless’Advice for New WordPress Bloggers– Part 1

It wasn’t so long ago that I was a brand new blogger at WordPress. I started my blog at the beginning of October with no real goals in mind other than making one particular piece of writing publicly available for sharing. I chose WordPress because we use it at work and several friends spoke highly of the community.  It wasn’t until I saw my first piece of original writing on my blog that I started thinking what next?

I knew nothing about blogging. But I did know that all communities have their own unique culture and through a combination of trial and error, generous mentors and reading several really good guides to WordPress, I found my footing here. This past weekend I hit 500 followers.  I remain just as flattered today that someone has read and responded to my writing as I did the first time.

Recently I have had numerous new bloggers approach me asking how to grow their blogs.  I have no magic insights but I am happy to share what worked for me.

  1. Read guides for new bloggers. WordPress offers some great guides but some of the most useful information is from other bloggers.
  1. Make writing a daily habit and post frequently. You will become a better, more confident writer and it will be easier for readers to find you.
  1. Subscribe and respond to the Daily Post. Responding to and reading the Daily Posts is a great way to find other writers who turn you on, push yourself creatively and bring new readers to your blog.
  1. Tag wisely. Good tags make it easier for people to find you.
  1. Remember that many WordPress readers are following you on a SmartPhone or tablet and reading you at lunch. Shorter posts are more likely to get read.  You can always divide a longer post into sections that you can publish separately if you have a lot to say.
  1. Look for writing that excites you/resonates with you/makes you smile/fits your interests and FOLLOW those blogs.  Reading good writing makes you a better writer.  Writers who write what you like to read have followers you have something in common with.  Check out their followers- very often these are also people you will want to follow.
  1. If a blog you love has the option of subscribing by email, do it. When I first started it was easy to keep up with new posts.  I am currently following a hundreds of other writers and I really appreciate those emails that keep me from missing posts from my favorites.
  1. Reply to blog posts that are meaningful to you.  There is no greater compliment to me as a writer than hearing that my writing resonated for a reader.  If you are shy or don’t know what to say, “Wow,” “loved this,” or “This spoke to me,” says volumes.  I have been known simply to reply “Sigh” to particularly beautiful writing.
  1. New bloggers tend to be very enthused about promoting their blogs. There is a fine line between posting “Hey, I’m a new blogger. Come check out my blog/follow me” and “Your writing really resonated for me.  I think we have a lot in common.”  If you ask me to check out your blog and you haven’t followed me, I tend to think that you are more interested in numbers than in my writing.
  1. I am a really busy person—I have a day job, kids, spouse, elderly dog with a bladder control problem and I am a managing editor for other blogs. If you say “Check out my site and tell me what you think” I may put that off until that mythical moment when I have more time.  If you say, “I would really appreciate your feedback on my post X” and provide the link, I feel less overwhelmed and am more likely to do it right away.
  1. Don’t think of this as a numbers game. We post our writing because we want to be read, but 15 really engaged readers can sometimes give you a lot more than 200 disengaged readers. Numbers are a funny thing on WordPress.  It took me a really long time to hit 300 readers.  It took about 6 weeks to go from 300 to 400 readers.  It only took 3 weeks for me to go from 400 to 500!
  1. Remember that when you reply to a post you are doing so in a public forum.  Sometimes the discussions we get into here are really not for general consumption.  It is always okay to ask to take a discussion offline.
  1. Unless someone specifically asks for your constructive criticism, don’t offer it on WordPress. Support and respect are the culture of WordPress.  Writers are putting their heart and souls on the screen here.  If you don’t like or love a piece of writing, quietly move along and find something you do to comment on.
  1. If someone takes the time to comment on one of your blog posts, RESPOND. Even if it’s just to say thank you. Most relationships on WordPress develop in replies.  I have met wonderful people here on WordPress and what keeps me here is the incredible community of writers.
  1. Learn where your Comment Spam folder is on your Dashboard and check it regularly. It is really good at capturing spam but sometimes it gets overzealous.

Other experienced bloggers: What important tips have I forgotten?

 

To read more blogging advice, visit:

Brave and Reckless’Advice for New WordPress Bloggers– Part 2

Brave and Reckless’ Advice for New WordPress Bloggers– FAQ

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

1,459 comments

  1. This is so useful! I started my blog at the end of March and have been struggling to keep my 20 readers a day so I constantly wonder what I’m doing wrong when other “new” bloggers are throwing up numbers in the thousands.
    Some of the tips are simple yet I never thought of! And I can easily implement them into my daily routine. Thanks for creating this comfortable learning atmosphere too, I find the wp community intimidating to such a novice! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I am glad I was able to flatter you, but I really just found it to be useful and very concise. I thank you for making this resource available to us all. I plan to use it to make my blogging experience here much more well-rounded… thanks to you =)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for all your advice. It seems so very personal to share your writing and I had never considered myself as a ‘writer’. For me it has been a way to get my thoughts down and in order (I hope). It has taken me 5 posts to explore the rest of WordPress so thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You can and should follow people. If you click the Reader link it will allow you to search by topics that interest you. If you explore Discover, you will most like find writers you like. Almost everyone on WordPress has a Follow widget on the side or the bottom of their home page. If you don’t see it, it should appear in the bottom left hand side of the screen when you start to scroll back up, like it does on your page. If you like my content, you might want to check out my regular readers (in the like and comment section) and see if their content interests you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. very informative, thanks so much. I started my blog a couple of years ago but didn’t actually update it regularly. I left my day job for almost a year, still i did not update my blog regularly eventhough I want to. but reading your post, i know I can do it!! I can and i will. Thanks again for the advice 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. THANK YOU FOR SAYING “IT’S NOT A NUMBERS GAME” – so much of social media seems like it is all about getting the most likes, such as on a Facebook post (in order for your post to feel validated, you know?) It means a lot to hear someone say that having a smaller number of engaged followers is stronger than a bunch who are not engaged. I get really excited when my posts get liked or commented on because it shows me that people in the world appreciate my thoughts!

    I wrote a blog while I was completing my teacher’s certificate in grad school and it soared quite quickly when I joined a teacher’s writing challenge. However, with my new blog (hannahshappenings.net), it isn’t have the same effect – getting followers takes time, and I only started my new blog in February so it is understandable.

    I look forward to reading other posts and following your tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great advice Christine. One thing I’ve noticed on WordPress as well as other social media sites is more engagements occur and posts read if their is a visual (photo, drawing, video etc.) that accompanies the piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve just started my blog, I’ve had about 4 others in the past and I never really got into it. Hopefully, I can build up an audience. Thanks for the tips! I can guess from this that your free time may be limited, though, if you do get time, I would really appreciate it if you could give my blog a read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hello,
    I am so much inspired by your blog ( although I have gone through only part 1 yet), your words are direct and soft at the same time. i truly wish to be a writer like you.
    I am an absolutely new blogger with just 1 blog post till now; and being very honest even after compiling my post, it took me 25 days to finally publish it on wordpress, just because I was not confident whether my writing will be appreciated or not.
    i would like to be in touch with you and welcome your feedback and guidelines for my posts.
    thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ChasingChelsea- The first time I guest blogged was when I was completely brand new and the person who asked me for the guest blog was completely brand new. It wasn’t a bad experience but I don’t think that either of us benefited much because neither of us had a following at the time. I have since submitted guest blogs on Whisper on the Roar and frequently solicit guest submissions for the collectives I work with (Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, Secret First Draft, Go Dog Go Cafe and Blood Into Ink.) Guest blogging for other sites that are established, whether their following is small or large exposes you to potential followers who you might not have otherwise met. As long as you are properly cited, retain the rights to your guest blog and you feel that the blog you have been invited to guest blog for is one you like enough to follow, I’d say go for it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. This is great advice. I have bookmarked the page so I can print it out at home and put in my Sunday Journal where I do all of my planning for the upcoming week. It will be great to review this advice often. You’re right, authentic relationships with a few fellow bloggers are worth a lot more than inflated stats.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Here’s a tip from an old blogger…Have something to say. People are unique because they have unique experiences, and those experiences help form your voice. Capture that voice, and use it to share something with the world that wasn’t there before. If you are telling me something I can get from 50 million other places, you’re just filling the ocean with a garden hose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is so complicated. I think that new bloggers are so self-conscious and so self-critical that they often don’t recognize that they have a unique voice– I would hate to have someone give up completely because they think they are boring. The brilliance of Paterson was focusing on the poetry of everyday life. I also think that writer’s voice is about experience but also just as much as how we view those experiences. Our writer’s eye I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely agree with the “self-critical” part. I’m continually trying to encourage young and/or new sports writers to use that voice as a “fan” when writing about sports rather than pumping out more SportsCrap.Net stuff anybody can get everywhere else. In other words, don’t tell me that Joe Bagadonuts struckout with the bases loaded, tell about how you almost threw your beer through your TV because if it.

        Don’t edit and write…just write.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a great post! I really appreciate the advice you lay out. As a new blogger myself, it is encouraging to see how much positive support there is for those trying to get started in this format.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. what you said , is really true.
    i was once the victim of a negative and bad comment , in public post. i felt so bad it really shook me. from then on i really try to find genuine and inspiring people to follow , or accept them as followers. less hassle that way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I completely get it– I once had someone tag one of my pieces just so he could insult it in front of his readers. Our writing is a part of our soul and I moderate all of my comments. I just always wonder why I personally let one negative comment get under my skin more than 20 positive comments.

        Like

      2. Yaa exactly
        You understood what iam trying to say . Iam here in blog world for 2 months now and i faced that problem. Eventually i explained him not to insult anyone coz people write from heart. It matters. If you don’t like something then it’s your point of view. No need to insult anyone like like this. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this blog, I have been writing inconsistently for a few months and am now trying to make this regular. I particularly loved your point about why bloggers write – I was so happy when I got my first like, that someone actually took the time to read what I had written

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I joined wordpress about 5 months ago, I never truly had the courage to post anything, as I believed no one would be interested in reading it. I genuinely thank you for changing the thought process of my mind slightly. I feel a little more confident and am glad to tell you that because of this post I have had the courage to post my first ever blog, so thank you for that. I believed that it was all about the numbers but fortunately you busted that myth. This is an ideal advice a novice writer like me requires. Thank You!
    love, lucunaliberosis.

    Liked by 1 person

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