Here’s a recap of each post I covered in the past. Think about this question – WHO ARE YOU BLOGGING FOR? – It really does make sense when you ask yourself that question. I don’t like long posts but this one has to be long to cover all of the parts:
• Look at Your Site – Are you blogging for yourself or your readers?
• Pop-ups, Ads, Optimization, etc – If blogging for readers, stop and think about them
• Comments and Conversations – Stop and think more about your readers
• Social Media – If blogging for your readers, you also have to think about yourself
• Newsletter – Continuing to think about yourself, do you want email subscribers?
LOOK AT YOUR SITE – ARE YOU BLOGGING FOR YOURSELF OR FOR YOUR READERS?
If you’re blogging for yourself then this post is not for you so there is no need to read further.
I know some bloggers who blog for record keeping, recipe compilation, trip and vacation documentation, etc. However, if you’re blogging publicly then it seems to me that you’re blogging for your readers and not just for yourself or family, correct?
I am not a blogging expert but I have tried my best to make my site the best it can be and I have continued that thru the years as I want to make it a pleasant experience for my readers.
This pleasant experience includes easy site navigation, easy to read posts, easy to leave comments, and easy to share my posts on social media. For example, many like to pin posts on Pinterest so they can easily find them later on. With all of this in mind, I designed my site with hopes that my readers would return again to communicate and interact with me.
A public site for potential readers is not a set it and forget it! If you care about your readers then you should care about the quality of your site. Quality beats quantity every time!
I have had the opportunity to visit many blog sites while hosting my own link parties, attending parties hosted by others, and being in blogging groups. Along the way, I have realized a few things.
First of all – have you ever looked at your site from a different browser?
PRETEND YOU’RE A FIRST TIME VISITOR
Look at your site and blog posts on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and cell phone if possible. I’ve visited mine on all 4.
I used Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox via desktop and laptop computers. Via tablet and phone, I used Google Chrome and Safari.
What does your site and blog posts look like when you visit them from different browsers and different devices?
If it doesn’t look good, what is wrong with it, what would make it look better? Finding a solution would probably make your readers appreciative, don’t you agree?
POP-UPS, ADS, OPTIMIZATION, ETC – IF BLOGGING FOR READERS, STOP AND THINK ABOUT THEM
Do you want your readers to enjoy visiting your site, reading your blog posts, and for them to return again?
Consider the following:
• Annoying pop-ups asking your readers to sign up for your newsletter – Get rid of those! Put an email sign up on your sidebar or at the top or bottom of the page!
• Aggravating pop-up ads all over the page or ads that overlap the text content – No one wants to see that mess, seriously!
• Inappropriate ads – When you go to a family friendly blog site and you are immediately hit with ads that are definitely inappropriate for the particular site you’re visiting, it’s so disgusting! For example, you hop over to a food blogger’s recipe that sounds yummy but before you can see the recipe there ‘s a big, annoying ad for either toenail fungus, oozing pimples, erectile dysfunction, bladder leakage, or psoriasis to name a few! I’m a nurse, gross stuff doesn’t bother me but everyone isn’t a nurse. Ads like that are an immediate turnoff especially on a food blogger’s site. Another example, I was on a Christian site reading about scriptures in the Bible and what pops up right in the middle between two paragraphs? An ad for an alcohol brand saying if you get drunk your ugly girlfriend won’t look ugly! I saw another one on a similar site that said to cheat on your wife, not your workout! Yes, both on a Christian site! Then, what about these sites that run the same ad between paragraphs, in popups, or sidebars? Contrary to what some might think, ads like those do not reflect my recent searches! That’s an excuse that some bloggers will use about the inappropriate ads. I can guarantee you that I have never searched for such and I am the only one who uses my computer.
• Posts/pages that take forever to load due to pop-ups and ads, images that aren’t optimized, poor server performance, excessive plugins, unnecessary redirects, etc. – I have high speed cable internet, as well as a custom built desktop computer and laptop that are both supercharged, lightning fast! However, on some sites I just have to give up as they take forever to load. You can do better, you really can!
• Tiny, light-colored, or fancy font, all of which are hard to see and read – If your eyesight is good, you’re so fortunate but not everyone has good eyesight, not even if they wear contacts or glasses. This is so obvious!
What can you do to improve your site of these annoyances? If your site has none of these aggravations then you’re ahead of the game!
COMMENTS AND CONVERSATIONS – STOP AND THINK MORE ABOUT YOUR READERS
Do you want them to leave comments on your posts, do you want to have conversations with them?
Think about the following:
• Easy to leave comments without having to jump thru hoops – A simple name, email, and website (optional) is all your readers should have to do to leave a comment. Maybe a captcha checkbox but nothing more! If spam bothers you, get a spam blocker.
• Replying to comments – Believe it or not but readers who leave comments would really like to know that you read what they took time to write for you! If you’re not going to reply, then take away the comment option!
• An option for your readers to receive a notice via email if you reply to the comment they left for you – Maybe they want to engage in conversation, maybe they asked you a question and maybe you answered it but how will they know if they don’t receive a notification? For example, I use a plugin called Subscribe to Comments Reloaded. It enables those who leave a comment to get an email notification when I reply back…and, I ALWAYS reply back!! There’s probably other plugins that do the same or perhaps the option is built in with your theme or platform, check your settings.
• Those of you on WordPress (.com not .org), Weebly, Squarespace, and some other sites – Is there possibly a better solution than what those platforms offer? The constant email reminders to subscribe to comments, confirm follow, confirm subscription, and confirm request are all extremely annoying! Believe it or not but one of the best I’ve seen for easy commenting and receiving notices of a reply is Blogger/Blogspot. The only problem with that site is if Google decides to retire it, like it has so many of its things in the past, then there goes all of your posts!
Have you ever thought about any of these? Do you engage and have conversations with your readers? If not, why not?
SOCIAL MEDIA – IF BLOGGING FOR YOUR READERS, YOU ALSO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOURSELF
You put a lot of time and effort into your site. Do you want traffic for your site and for your blog posts to be shared?
• Making it easy for others to share your blog posts by installing share buttons – There are many social media sites. Among the most popular for sharing onto are Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can have share buttons for each and make them visible on each blog post!
• Sharing your own blog posts on social media – You can do this once you get your share buttons installed and get social media accounts for your blog! At the least, get Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Don’t forget about TikTok, very popular now! Although you can’t share directly to Instagram and TikTok from a share button on your blog post, you can have your site represented on those two platforms as well as others, then you can share your posts manually! I share each post that is published onto Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
• Traffic – I’ve heard bloggers whine about not getting any traffic, yet they don’t put the time and effort into letting others know they have a site or that they’ve published a new posts. You have to put yourself out there. Let others know about your site. Let others know you’ve published a new post!
• Avoiding particular sites – I’ve also heard bloggers say that certain social platforms are too political for them or that they don’t visit them for whatever reason. So, they avoid those platforms. Just because your blog has a presence on a particular social site, it doesn’t mean you have to scroll the site and read the postings. Avoiding particular platforms means that some people will never see your posts. That’s only hurting your site as you’re losing out on potential traffic.
• Post titles – Another thing, you need to think about is how you title your blog posts. If you saw a post on social media titled Upcycle, would you be interested in clicking on to it and reading about it? I wouldn’t. However, if the title read as Upcycled Thrift Store Headboard or How to Upcycle an Old Headboard, it would definitely be more enticing to potential readers. Do you agree? Here’s a couple more examples – Cake or Scrumptious Chocolate Layered Cake Recipe – and Bottle Caps or 10 Easy Bottle Cap Crafts – Which ones would you click on to read?
• Post images – Oh, one more. In addition to your post title, put some effort into the main image for the top of your post and the image that will be shared on social media. Not only will a good title interest a potential reader, so will an interesting image. And, don’t forget to optimize your images.
So, are you good to go with social media? What social share buttons do you have on your blog? Does your blog have social media accounts? Let me know and if I’m not following you, I will.
NEWSLETTER – CONTINUING TO THINK ABOUT YOURSELF, DO YOU WANT EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS?
Email newsletters are a great way to connect with your readers. You can let them know what you’ve been blogging about if they can’t consistently follow you or catch all of your blog posts.
Think about these points:
• Getting an email newsletter is easy – Not only are they easy to get but some are free if you’re just starting out, and there are lots of platforms to choose from.
• Newsletters can be in 2 forms – You can make it as personalized as you wish, and you can send it out however often you wish. I’ve seen some newsletters that would make great blog posts! Why not put all of that time and effort into a blog post so everyone can see it instead of just your subscribers? If you don’t have time to compose a newsletter, the best thing to do is set up a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed so that when you publish a blog post it auto sends an email notice to your subscribers!
• Make it easy to sign up for your newsletter – Don’t make your readers search all over for the form, make it easily visible on your site!
• Those of you on WordPress (.com not .org) – Is there possibly a better solution than what that platform offers? The emails from WordPress that deliver your posts to your subscribers, in my opinion, isn’t really a newsletter! Do you have any control over it? Sure, it’s RSS but their constant and aggravating emails to subscribe/confirm follow are too much! Same as with using them for your comments, very aggravating for readers who subscribe to get your replies to the comments they leave for you! WordPress (.com) is not a one stop shop. Having a blog requires work on your part to make sure your readers have a pleasant experience.
• If you do send out an email newsletter, be sure to display your mailing address, usually in the footer of the email. Some so-called blogging experts will tell you that isn’t required and playing dumb or acting like you weren’t aware is not an excuse if you are fined thousands of dollars! No legal advice here but I personally would rather be safe than not. For your own protection, look up the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States. For other countries, check the local regulations. As for the address, if you don’t want to reveal your home address, get a post office box or a box at a commercial mailing outlet such as a UPS store.
Do you have a newsletter?
This is not my first website. I’ve had a few with different themes/topics starting back in the early 1990s for personal and business use. I’ve used and tested GeoCities, Angelfire, Dreamweaver, Homestead, Blogger/Blogspot, PageCloud, WordPress (.com), and finally this one on WordPress (.org) which is the best platform I’ve used so far.
You quickly learn what each platform will do and won’t do. If yours has limitations, you might want to upgrade by starting new or transferring your files over to a better platform.
The bottom line is what YOU WANT out of your site and THE EXPERIENCE you want for your readers IF YOU’RE BLOGGING FOR THEM! So, who are you blogging for?
Is there anything I missed, are there any questions? I’ve helped many bloggers thru the years and am happy to help you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it and get back to you.
** DO YOU ATTEND BLOG PARTY LINKUPS?
We’d like to invite you to ours. See current link parties here!