Brave and Reckless has been visited by a lot of new bloggers in recent weeks and they have asked me a lot of really good questions that I didn’t address in Brave and Reckless’ Advice for New WordPress Bloggers– Part 1 and Part 2. I decided to create a FAQ post that I plan to update on an ongoing basis to house the most common questions that have come up. Plan on revisiting this blog post—I have more content lined and will continue to answer new questions as they come up
Q. What should my first blog piece be about?
A. Some bloggers write very nice, clear introductory first posts introducing themselves and outlining what they will be blogging about. I was NOT one of those bloggers! I simply hadn’t thought enough about what I was doing here and how I might want my blog to evolve. My first post was What Every Woman Knows, which is a piece I originally posted on Facebook. Not at all a typical first post but it did set a tone and tell the readers a LOT about who I am as a writer and as a person. It is a piece I continue to revisit and refine.
Q. What should I write about?
A. One of the best pieces of advice I can give a new blogger is write what you know and what you are passionate about. I always try to write things that I personally would enjoy reading. I firmly believe that you should “do you” when you blog. Your truths is your truth. People are either going to like your writing voice or they won’t, but there are millions of readers on WordPress and you will really resonate for some of them.
Some bloggers are very focused in what they write. I am pretty eclectic and that works for me. Poetry is my preferred language but I also write essays, fiction and passionately love music. I also have fallen in love with making Spoken Word versions of my poetry and sometimes will post these as standalone blogs. I also am very comfortable reblogging other writers who rock my world.
Categories and Tags
Q: What are tags? What tags should I put? Should the tags have hashtags?
A: When you are setting up a new post, you should set your categories and tags. I keep my categories broad– Poetry, Fiction, Daily Song, etc. Tags, or hashtags, are more specific keywords that help people search in browsers for subjects that interest them. I usually only use one or two categories (e.g. Poetry) but five to ten tags to help people find my writing. I was pretty clueless about hashtags when I started out and did not use them effectively. I learned a lot by reading more experienced bloggers tags and just asking myself: what words would I use to search for this piece on Google?
For this piece, I plan to use the following tags: amwriting, WordPress, blogging, new bloggers, tips, guide for new bloggers, and FAQ. WordPress will automatically add the hashtag symbol. Most tagging is functional, but my friend Ward Clever has made tagging an art form. I like to read his posts just to see how he’s tagged them!
Q: Should I moderate comments to my posts?
A: Some bad experiences on Facebook influenced my decision to start moderating my comments. I did not want to wake up in the morning to nasty or stalker-ish comments on my blog posts. I have actually found the WP community to be super supportive and have only had the occasional weird/argumentative/unpleasant comment that I have decided not to approve. I do, however, write a lot about depression, PTSD, rape, sexual abuse, and loss and attract readers who have wrestled with these issues. I have decided to continue to moderate my comments to give me some control over comments that might be upsetting for my readers. Moderating comments to my posts also ensures that I notice ever comment because they are flagged until I approve them. That said, moderating my comments is time consuming and causes delays in them appearing on my posts. For me it’s worth the inconvenience So my answer is, do what feels most comfortable for you and your readers.
Q: It is not safe/comfortable/practical for me to post under my real name. Is that unusual?
A: Lots of WordPress bloggers use pseudonyms. If I had given it more thought when I was starting out. Maybe I would have used a pseudonym (I am partial to Indigo Dragonfly but that I digress. . . ) For for first month or two that I was on WP, I kept a pretty cryptic About page without my name or my photo. As I got more comfortable with my identity as a writer and with the community, I decided to really live being Brave and Reckless.
Q: I am uncomfortable talking about myself on my About page. What should I do?
A: Lots bloggers just write a sentence or two, write something humorous or just delete the page, completely though I do find that I get a fair amount of traffic on my About page. I think it helps readers feel more connected to me as a writer and I certainly have visited my fair share of About pages just wanting to know more about someone whose writing I have just read. I have also rewritten my About page, many, many times and suspect I will continue to. My favorite biography on WP was written by a writer named Nathan McCool. I think his response is brilliant and ended up revealing a LOT about who he is:
“A biography? What would I tell you? That I am a drunk miserable sod that writes and plays music and wanders nomadically? That I try fruitlessly to scatter around whatever goodness is in me in hopes that maybe someone else wouldn’t feel as miserable as I do? That I’m just some dumb, angry man that cares too much despite wishing I truly didn’t give a damn?
Do you really think that would matter? Anything I could tell you would just be what I think and feel about myself. Is that really who anyone is?
The point I’m making is that it doesn’t matter what I tell you. Anything anyone needs to know about anyone else doesn’t come from some shit they say about themselves. What people are and the way that they choose to exist as a conscious human is what a biography should say, but those things are actions and reactions and the outward representations of what is inside someone. You can’t tell that in words.”
Drop the mic.
Monetizing Your Blog
Q: Can I make money from blogging on WP?
A: Completely not my area of expertise! I defer to the experts on this one. I found this helpful article in the WordPress Support Pages: Monitize Your Site
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