Occasionally I like to let you know what I have learned from blogging since my last post. It’s a nice change from thinking about pandemics and so on isn’t it? It also seems that even though I don’t blog about how to be a blogger – my posts about blogging have received the most views. Who knew that bloggers like to read about blogging?
While I consider myself a beginner blogger, I have now been at it for a little while time-wise. It’s just that I’m not a social media whiz or an SEO expert. I really just started this because I enjoy the “wordiness” of blogging. It’s a form of self expression – and I tend to be a “verbose” type in writing, even though I’m more of a quiet type in person.
So that said, I am happy to create content – one of the key ingredients to blogging success apparently. It’s important to be honest with myself about blogging – why do I do it exactly and what am I trying to achieve?
Self Expression and Social Connection
Well for me, as I said blogging is a form of self expression, it’s also a form of social connection. I have made new social connections by interacting with other bloggers. That’s really awesome in these times, where we are all physically isolating or distancing!
Learning and Brain Exercise
One of my primary goals in this is to learn. Being an early retired – (sometimes) empty nester, I feel that I need to keep learning about what the world is doing (so I read blogs), about the technology itself (how to best use it), and staying current. As they say – “USE IT OR LOSE IT” – I am hoping to exercise my brain to keep it working in the future!
Zillions of Dollars
Since Millions of dollars wouldn’t be enough, I’d love zillions, but really, my husband and I are retired, and although I’ve been poking around with Ads and Affiliate links, I think that this is a personal challenge to figure out for me. I would really like to know if other people are really making zillions with blogs, and if they are why can’t we all? I have the time to figure this out (especially now that we are all at home Coronanesting) so I’ll let you know if I ever do!
Those Numbers and Personal Validation
I have a secret numeric obsession. I love numbers – so I really like the stats page in WordPress. I also feel that the numbers – Views, Followers and Visitors give me personal validation about blogging. I feel good if people Visit, View, Follow or Like. The bigger the numbers are, the better I feel about blogging. Recently though, I have found that the greatest personal validation is in the comments. It’s nice to interact with other bloggers.
Back in the olden days, it used to be that if you had content, Google would find you. This isn’t true anymore. Now we need to have content, but we also need to have these evasive links from other areas of the internet and we need to use SEO tools apparently. I’ve honestly had it up to here with trying to figure out SEO tools. I have looked at Google Analytics, and can’t I’m sorry to say find anything useful in it that I couldn’t see in WordPress stats and insights already. It seems that keyword searches tend to be masked now so they don’t get through to WordPress, and I’m not seeing them in Google either.
I have also read that it’s important to find out what the best keywords to put in my blog writing, Tags and Catergories – but other than throwing in Tags and Categories to each post, I’m not going to worry about that for now. Please let me know if you have advice for me in this area. I have only upgraded to the WordPress Premium Plan, because I didn’t want to lose the Follow button, and so I don’t have WordPress’s Business Plan SEO tools or Plugins! I have enough to keep my brain busy for a while!
WordPress and the WordPress Reader
I am using hosted WordPress for this blog using a paid Premium plan. At first I liked the blogging format of Blogger (Google Blogs) better, but I dont’ like that Google controls everything (do I worry too much about conspiracy theories? – perhaps) – so I opted to blog in WordPress. It has taken a while for me to get hooked on this platform – but now I’m a fan. I started at first with a free plan, and then when I felt that I needed to learn about affiliate links and ads and so forth – I tried one paid plan. My other blog, still evolving is a freebie so far!
As everybody but me probably figured out from the beginning, WordPress has an awesome Reader where I can see the sites that I follow, and can search for topics of interest. This is still where most of my readers come from and the personality of WordPress readers seems to be generally thoughtful and interested. That’s how I would characterize this internet genre! Not the same as some of those social media sites.
Google Blogger used to offer a Reader, but it seems to have disappeared – Where did it go? Does anyone know?
Somewhere along the line – after wondering why no search engine had ever found my free blogs so far, I read that if I don’t own my own top line Domain Name, my blog will not have a Domain Age – (the time since it was created), which is apparently important to search engines. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO KNOW AT THE BEGINNING! I had just been holding off on buying a domain until I learned a bit more, and figured out which direction or niche I was taking. I was indecisive as ususal.
Now after 2.5 months of owning the domain, I do receive about 1% of my visitors from search engines, so not many – but some!
Followers, Views and Visitors
It’s easy for people to press Follow and Like and it’s nice, and I had read before that more Follows don’t necessarily add up to proportionately more Views. This is true for me. Follows result in my posts being visible in someone’s reader for a short period of time, but that doesn’t mean they’ll read the post. A post has to appear at the right time of day, or day of the week, and has to catch someone’s interest too, and that’s how it should be.
It was nice receiving the Sunshine Blogger’s Award, and nice doing the work to award other people for this. Other than making us feel good, it really creates links to other peoples blogs, which I suppose is helpful for SEO optimization. It does though, create work for other people who may not have the time to do the work too. I still think it’s a great idea, but I can see how other’s might not participate.
I read that it’s important to publicize my blog on Social Media, and I was grumpy about this, as I felt that the blog itself is the format that I enjoy, and that should be enough for the world. After a little while though I thought that I was being a bit curmudgeonly with this, and so I thought that should experiment with one little bit of Social Media at a time. I am happy with this approach.
WordPress has a publicize button, which allows me to automatically post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumbler. I can also PIN to PINterest and link to Instagram. At first I saw that there were a lot of “How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog with Pinterest Courses”, and while I think that they may be a great idea, as I set up Pinterest (badly), I could see how “visual” and multi-layered that it can be, and I decided to STOP and deal with the easiest thing first. I also saw how beautiful the imagery is in so many people’s Instagram sites, and I thought – that can wait until I’ve got the hang of it. It’s always the easy way out for me. So I settled on Twitter!
Not to get too political – but if politicans can handle Twitter, then so can I!
My initial perception of Twitter is that it’s all about making a simple statement of announcement and backing it up with a catchy picture. It has the same Followers, Views and Likes idea as WordPress, but it’s a little more aggressive. People like to debate and may be a bit critical here, and ReTweeting is a really big thing. When I publish a blog post, WordPress is now set up to automatically create a Twitter post. It’s important for it to have a catchy feature image and a catchy customized message – so that it looks Twitter-worthy. I frequently hit the publish button in WordPress before I think this through, so I am not a Twitter whiz yet (obviously).
I would like it if I could maintain Tweets, but it appears that all you can do once a Tweet has Tweeted is delete it and try again. I’m not so happy about this. I like to edit! Twitter people also seem to have a philosophy of trying to aggressively gain Followers by Following – it seems to be more of a one to one ratio than in WordPress. By Following interesting feeds in Twitter, I’ve gained more followers in Twitter than I have in WordPress in a short period of time – and I KNOW that I’m much less interesting in Twitter.
I now receive about 2% of my views to WordPress from Twitter, but some of my Tweets about grocery store employees during Coronavirus got more views in Twitter – so I need to figure out how to do a better job of using Twitter! People in Twitter like issues!
If you don’t currently use Wordads, it’s quite interesting. I thought that if I was going to pay for my domain name, I might as well go for WordAds. You make money for impressions of ads in WordPress. Each time a user looks at a page that has ads on it, then you potentially could make money – but just a little at a time. So Followers and Likes aren’t the issue, you need people that actually like to look through the pages,and you need a good volume. Some WordPress themes allow more ads to be fitted on a page, and users from North America seem to be more valuable to WordAds (which seems unfriendly, but that’s how it works). If I look at the math of my views and theme and pennies earned so far and extrapolate I would need page 87,000 views per month or 30,000 visitors per month to earn $10 per month! Then we’d be rolling in the dough wouldn’t we?
Note – that these numbers are based on my own viewer profiles and I’ve got lots to do to improve my blog, but I definitely need a project to get busy with right now!
Stay safe and healthy at home everyone!