Recently I realised that I had been blogging now (if you include my previous blog) for about three years. I can no longer say I’m new to blogging (how am I going to get away with making mistakes now?).
In one way, it’s a long time. In another, I feel like I just started yesterday and, whilst I’m a bit more confident now than I was, bit is the operative word. Every time I hit publish I am excited to be sharing my thoughts and terrified about how people will respond (if they respond at all) in equal measure.
I’m also still daunted by how good I feel some bloggers are and determined to do the best I can to make my blog the best I can. The big difference is probably that I now try and do it my way not the way I thought I needed to do things when I started.
Then, I read a lot on how to blog and found a lot of rules I tried – and have since failed – to follow. I’m sure I’m not the only but for those out there like me, finding my way in this online world, I thought I would share the ones I no longer live by…
…post often, but not too often – I have come across this confusing piece of advice more than once and more than once I have wondered, how often is too much and how often is too little. Apparently it’s enough to keep people interested in what you had to say but not enough for them to get bored with you. A couple of posts put a figure on it, saying four to five times a week was a minimum but every day was better. But only once a day. Starting out, I was lucky to get three posts up a week. Now I’m at the magical four to five most weeks. Every day seems like a goal I won’t reach. And I’m not sure I want to. Where does the rest of the fun of blogging fit in then? Where does the reading go, the reading on other people’s blogs? I know some of the bloggers I follow out there manage it, some posting more than once a day and I admire them, but most don’t and it doesn’t stop me visiting their blogs.
…post early – Again, what is early? Before breakfast, before lunch? And early for where in the world? The idea, I think, is this way you’ll get more visits, more comments, more likes (you get the picture) and your blog will be more popular. Sometimes I follow this rule but it’s not normally that well thought out – occasionally I get posts scheduled but often it’s because I write early before anyone else at home is up and I have peace, quite and space to think about what I want to say. A lot of times I don’t till the afternoon or later (hello this post) and it doesn’t seem to make much difference…in fact, I’ve just had a look at it seems 1 PM is my magic posting number, the time when I get the most hits so it just goes to show.
…don’t look at stats – they don’t mean anything, or at least that’s what they (the rule makers) would have you believe. But they do. They aren’t the be all and end all but the do make you feel good about what you are doing, that you are reaching people with your reviews (which is what it’s about in part isn’t it – sharing your opinion). It’s nice to know you have followers (would you honestly post if you didn’t?). Stats also help you get better at blogging – showing you what posts are more popular you can maybe figure out why. Plus, when it comes to getting ARCS etc. I’m pretty sure they matter there too – though maybe not (others can probably answer this better than I can).
…you must self-host – whilst I do, a lot of my favourite blogs don’t and they are all just as good if not better than some of the ones that self-host. They don’t seem to have trouble getting followers, comments or review copies. There are benefits (which I should take more advantage of) of self-hosting, but platforms like wordpress are more than fit for purpose and they’re FREE. Last time I checked free is good.
….don’t use the “more” function – because people like to read posts all in one go. Now this is something I do do but more because I’m lazy than anything else. Never has the continue reading option stopped me reading a post I wanted to read and I don’t think it ever will. I actually prefer it because I can see more of what people have posted. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I might start using the option myself…
There are more, lots more probably, but I’m over the maximum word count a post can be (700 in case you are interested, though 500 is better) so I had better sign off. What about you, do you follow these rules or others or do you just say rules be damned and do what you want?
This post is part of my discussion challenge.
p.s. Blogging image was designed by Freepik, all other images courtesy of Pixabay.