I’m usually silent on Sundays, but today is a special occasion. It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for a year now – happy birthday, little blog! On top of that, this is my 100th post (!), so I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect and impart what wisdom I have gained.
I’ve wandered around a lot over the past year, from local hikes to paradise and around the world. Starting and growing a photo blog has been a journey in itself. I researched when I needed to, but I learned most things the hard way. I’ve come a long way since my first real post, and this is what I’ve found:
Learn your tool
I was six months into posting before I really discovered some of the features of WordPress. Menus, layouts, captions, scheduling… these evaded me for so long, but my site became all the stronger once I tapped these valuable resources. Have an established workflow, and be sure to tag your posts!
It’s excellent if you can push out a post every day of the week. But if you run out of content after three weeks, you won’t gain a following. It is better to be consistent with your posts so your readers know when to expect new material. A schedule also pushes you to keep your site alive and thriving. It has the added bonus of keeping me more or less up to date on my photo editing.
Post as frequently as you can sustain
The more frequently you post, the more likely you are to gain followers. However, this last part is key; don’t burn yourself out trying to post multiple times a day if you simply don’t have the time (or content). Quality is still more important than quantity. Content is what makes readers want to visit your site, and frequency makes you visible.
Post in bulk
When I got into this habit, the stress of maintaining a blog all but evaporated. Most blogs (including WordPress) include a feature for scheduling posts. When I have spare time, I work on my next post and throw it into the queue. Before I know it, I have posts for the next three weeks, and if I have a trip or other plans, I don’t have to feel tethered to my computer.
I put this immediately after the previous for a reason. While it’s important for your sanity to write several posts at once, don’t let this be an excuse to abandon your blog. Still monitor your site to make sure posts go out when you need them to, promote your posts on social media, and most importantly: interact with your readers as much as possible.
It’s tempting to blog about any and everything, but remember: your readers came to your site because they liked one of your posts. You want them to know what to expect (in addition to when); you want to give them more of what they like and keep them coming back. (To be honest, I still struggle with this one a bit, but I’m working on it!)
Make it matter
A very wise college mentor once taught me an incredibly valuable lesson: “so what?” (It was regarding resumes, but it’s applicable everywhere.) Why should your readers care? What is the purpose of your post? Entertainment? Education? With every sentence you type, ask yourself, “so what?” If you can’t answer this question on behalf of your audience, how can they?
Build a spider web to catch your readers
Give what you want to get
I always strive for no zero-view days. I look at my stats every day, and if I don’t have any views yet, I do everything I can to change that. How? By giving views, likes, comments. When you interact with others’ blogs, you’re not only discovering other cool content, you’re letting them know you exist. The more you interact with others, the more chances you’ll have that they’ll come check out your site in return. As a photo blogger, I also discovered photo challenges; these are a great way to get visibility.
Keep it short
I struggle a bit with this one, too. In this day and age, attention spans are painfully short; keeping your posts likewise brief will make them more consumable to your readers.
I also learned a few things from this awesome post by Simon Ringsmuth (and a few points are reiterated here).
I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring and where it’ll take me. Follow my blog to keep up with all my adventures!
Do you have a blog? How long have you had it? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to hear about your experiences and see your blogs. Please share in the comments!