Bits of blogging wisdom from recently featured writers on Discover.
Four Tips From Seasoned Bloggers
Some of the best blogging advice we hear is from you. On Discover, we publish interviews and profiles of bloggers around the world, who also impart their own tips on how they’ve gotten the most out of WordPress.com. If you’ve missed these interviews, not to worry — we’ve compiled some of the best bits of blogging wisdom here.
Join communities that sustain your interests.
When you start to click around, follow blogs, and fill your Reader with posts to read, you’ll discover that WordPress.com is full of many smaller communities. For example, some participate in black and white photo challenges led by blogger Cee, while others join our multimedia Discover Challenges, hosted every Tuesday.
Novelist Claire Fuller credits two communities on WordPress.com for supporting and influencing her: Friday Fictioneers, a group of bloggers that writes a weekly 100-word story inspired by a photograph (hosted on the blog of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields), and The Prime Writers, a community of writers who published their first book after age 40.
But it’s the community that I love the most — so inspiring and supportive. They’ll give constructive criticism when I need it and encouragement when something hasn’t gone right. And these are people from all around the world, most of whom I have never met.
Get started: Looking for a community like these, but not sure where to start? Learn about supportive blogging groups, or browse the events and challenges on The Daily Post, which are hosted by fellow bloggers and listed by topics — like books, gardening, and music. Or tap into communities through tags, like #weekendcoffeeshare, in your Reader. (You can search for any tag in the Reader — results will appear if someone, somewhere, has added that exact tag to one of their posts.)
Automatically share your posts with the world.
Many of you share your posts far and wide, like Depression Comix artist Clay Jonathan, who casts a wide social net. With Publicize, let us do the sharing for you and push your new posts to Facebook, Twitter, and other services.
“If you build it, they won’t necessarily come,” says parenting blogger Emily Austin, who writes about motherhood and life at The Waiting. In her Discover interview, she gives solid tips on growing your blog and making meaningful connections, from guest posting to cross-posting to getting the word out on social media.
While WordPress.com has a thriving community of bloggers who are engaged and encouraging, I wanted to write the one blog that people who don’t read blogs would read. And to do that, I had to put myself out there via social media. It took me a ridiculously long time to get my act together and set up a Facebook page for The Waiting, but once I did, I realized I was doing myself a disservice not to connect with my community outside the walls of the blog. I now focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. When it came time to interview for my job, I was able to show my organization that I know how to drive engagement and connect with both established and potential readers and customers.
Get started: To set up Publicize, go to My Site → Sharing. You’ll see a list of services we currently support: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path, and Eventbrite. (If you like videos, follow along on this tutorial for connecting specifically to Facebook.) Click Connect next to a service and follow the steps to enable Publicize.
Organize your feeds with Reader lists.
In your Reader, you can keep up with the blogs you’ve followed in Followed Sites, our editors’ picks and features in Discover, and any tags you’ve followed under Tags.
You can also create Lists to organize your feed by topic or group, or create a blogroll of multiple lists, which is handy for people who read a lot, have varied interests, and love to share their recommendations. Ra, the writer and reader at Rarasaur, has built a following of loyal, engaged readers, as well as forged dear friendships offline, compiled in her Reader list, Blokin (short for “blog kin”).
In a recent interview, Ra describes what moves her when browsing and reading new posts.
I am a reader of many things — fictional novels, nonfiction documentations, graphic novels, magazines, poetry, everything — but blogs have the ability to offer perspectives not found anywhere else. I seek that sparkle. . . .
I’ll read something I don’t understand, or something I don’t agree with, or something I would never want in my own life — but I will move on, quickly, if it’s something I can’t feel.
As Ra suggests, there’s so much to read out there, so take control of your Reader to ensure you see the stuff that matters to you. For example, you can follow popular tags like photography (or follow tags on specialized photography topics), but why not curate your own list of favorite photographers? Or, if you’re really into photography, build a blogroll of photography lists across topics and groups, from film and analog enthusiasts to portrait and landscape photographers around the world.
Get started: In your Reader, scroll down to the Lists section. Click on the down-arrow next to Lists and then click on Add, which will prompt you to name your list and take you to the edit page where you can can build your list.
Find a theme that allows your work to shine.
Your site is your online home: a place where you welcome visitors, old and new. Visually, your site should represent you and present your work in the best possible way.
For photographers, this is especially important. At food blog Infinite Belly, husband-and-wife team André and Adélaïde Zollinger use the free and minimal Libre theme, which keeps the focus on their images of culinary creations and picturesque French landscapes.
Strong visual storytellers, André and Adélaïde offer photoblogging advice:
See what formats work best for your blog depending on your design and theme. We used to take a lot of pictures in landscape format but discovered that single portrait formats work really well for us to display large photographs and show details.
Get started: Explore hundreds of themes to find a design that’s right for you. Go to My Site → Themes to browse the Theme Showcase, and filter by “free” or “premium” or click More to narrow your search with filters (type of site, feature, layout, etc.). As André and Adélaïde advise, experimentation is key: consider everything from the orientation of your featured images to the number of columns (one, two, multiple) in a theme.
At Discover, we profile writers, artists, and photographers doing great things on WordPress.com. Read the latest interviews and stories in our Features section.
I am an Elder and am really really struggling to understand the new Techno world. Even very clear communications, as on this site, are too much for me to assimilate. It really is another language a lot of the time – a mass of unknown vocabulary that was not around all the time I was learning and growing when young. This comment is just to let you know there are intelligent ones out here, lost in this new world.
Wow Cheri, thank you so much for the tips about blogging. We are wanting all the help possible at Gastradamus. If you have the chance, then please check out a few of our stories, and comment. That way we can know what you think. Our latest story is called, “The Bald and the Brestless”.
I didn’t know how to reply directly to a comment but I did want to say that, for me, making lists is not about leaving people out or shutting myself off. I constantly look for new bloggers, new topics, new expressions.
Lists are about finding a way to prioritize in this big world, and about being the sort of blogger that doesn’t just scroll past– about being able to match my mindset with my reading lists– and about introducing others who share my interest to others. I’m a Virgo, pretty much everything in my universe gets sorted if I have the capability to do so. It allows me to explore in depth, and has never once stopped me from reaching wide.
And, thanks, Cheri, for the shout out. 🙂
Very timely and informative post! We’re relatively new here, and while we’re thrilled with WordPress, we have not mastered using the Reader to engage with the WordPress community. We’re getting there, though. That function for enabling WordPress to do the online sharing of posts also seems intriguing. Thanks for writing this.
I have been blogging for less than a year. I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has not spread far and wide as I expected. I do use publicize to take full advantage of social media. However, I believe there is no magic bullet to attract followers but the advice given here is sound and I plan to follow some of it. That is the advantage of being part of a community that consists of such talented and seasoned bloggers. I love this format and it gives me a platform to share my writings with the world and to read about varied topics I may never come across anywhere.. I hope as time moves on to reach a larger audience and become a better writer.
Absolutely LOVE this!!!!!! I started blogging in October 2015, and started out very fresh, not sure what I was doing, and now I have 1000 followers!!!! I think because I am so passionate about general wellbeing, people and I can talk about topics such as beauty and fashion so much!!!! I hope to keep this as a reference, as I continuously want to work to be a better writer…. It is ONLY the BEGINNING!!!! I want to do things with my life, and blogging has changed me so much for the better! It has opened up a whole new world for me, and I would like to do my own blog on tips for bloggers – you have inspired me! Thank you very much for this post.
My time at WordPress has been very sporadic the last couple of years due to long working hours, and keeping the family happy and the house clean, but I do stop by now and again to do some overdue visiting and reading… I’m afraid I may not have the opportunity to blog on a regular basis until I retire in about 10 years, so beware – y’all may wish I would go back to work! 😉
But on a serious note, I really enjoy the few moments I do have to read up on the happenings of the blogs I follow, and to learn new blogging techniques to help my own style become more engaging. Thank you!
It’s been two years since I started blogging and it’s the wait that got me going again. Preparation went into it sure, but having a easy-going attitude and consideration for what my blog would become helped me find what I wanted to talk about and share. Now it’s just a matter of finding an audience.
Thank you for this! I’ve just started blogging not too long ago and even until now I’m still quite unsure of of writing style and how I should improve. Would really appreciate some feedback 🙂
Also, as my interests lie in theology and faith, perhaps I can get acquainted with people of the same interests?
Thank you Cheri for this article and the tips. I am new to blogging, like 1 week I to it new, and your suggestions are helpful. I have the Publicize set up on my site and have been reading up on how to contribute to writings in other ways. I am committed to sticking with writing and helping my blog gain momentum.
I’m 77 years old and not very tech savvy. My 45 year old daughter started a blog for me to widen my audience — I write non fiction short stories about growing up in a small town in Illinois. I’ve been amazed how fast my audience has grown organically through friends and family on social media. What amazes me the most is how many international visitors I’ve had. It’s been fun to watch.
I based my blog on missing people and was on blogger for years until I finally leaped over to word press. It took a bit to get used to and now I am so glad I moved. The look is sleeker and after a month my stats increased. I have also noticed that readers are staying longer, which in turns increases my stats. Something I was struggling with at blogger. I think it is because of the layout and the top news columns I have.
Have made some changes to our blog based on these tips. Very helpful. Just changed to the Rowling format, but am already considering another, one that allows for a short text intro to the post. Also, learned the hardware when switching themes – save all of your text first! I lost the text in my About widget. There may have been a way to recover it, but I couldn’t figure it out.