I take it for granted that most people who blog or manage websites have day jobs and other responsibilities. But, heck, even if blogging if our full-time job, we still need to stay organized. I have had some questions about this, so I thought I would share one thing that has really helped me: a spreadsheet.Continue reading “Blogging Organization: Spreadsheets and Other Boring Stuff”
Once in a while, I like to write brief posts that I hope other bloggers will find helpful. In this case, I am going to let my paranoid side show a little bit and encourage anyone getting more intensely involved in blogging to consider investing in a P.O. Box or mail service.Continue reading “Blogging Tip: In Praise of a Mail Service”
I have been regularly choosing my reviews to correspond with theme months since 2013 and I thought I would talk about how I select my themes and why I feel that theme months have helped me expand my knowledge.
I started writing about silent films on the internet in March of 2009. That means March of 2019 will be my ten-year anniversary, which is kind of mind-boggling. Well, I mean, not the fact that such a stretch of time equals ten years, just that I have been at this for so long!
This is a second peek behind the curtain. I’m going to talk about how I go about researching and reviewing films. You can read about how I select films for review here. Enjoy!
This is a peek behind the curtain. I’m going to talk about how I go about reviewing films. I hope you find it interesting!
One of my big goals for my site this year was to improve the pictures that accompany my food posts. Starting with my Anna Q. Nilsson recipe, I started using more professional techniques and equipment and I wanted to share a few things that I learned along the way. Continue reading “Things I Have Learned While Trying to Improve My Food Photography”
With a new year come new film blogs, which is a very good thing. When it comes to opinions about movies, the more the merrier. I’ve been in this business for almost a decade, so I thought I would share seven tips for newcomers. I hope they help and best of success in your endeavor!
“Your review just isn’t fair! You didn’t give the film a chance! You just don’t like the genre!”
If you review films, you’ll eventually get correspondence like this. I thought it would be fun to discuss the process of reviewing and the decision to lay on the snark.
The internet is forever… until it isn’t. Sure, there are a thousand ways to dig up embarrassing posts written by celebrities but too many writers have seen their work disappear without a trace.
Being a blogger with an opinion may be many things but it is not boring. When I hit the “publish” button on a review a few years back, I had no idea it would lead to some of the most baffling correspondence I have ever received.
Are your reviews dull, lifeless and lacking that certain something? Then you need screencaps!
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’ll know that I skew heavily toward mainstream American silent films, which, ironically enough, are now more obscure than European art films.
So yesterday I logged into my computer at about 7:30 local time and discovered some overnight commenting, which is pretty normal. We’re all in different time zones and on different schedules. One of those comments, though, was not exactly in the realm of normal for me.
Readers of this site know that I get more than a little annoyed when silent film heroines are dismissed as screaming damsels tied to the tracks. Not only is this a myth, it is a damaging one, erasing the many bold and brash silent movie heroines from film history.
While film reviews in traditional media must have a limited length, bloggers have no such limits. This leads to an important question: how long should a review be?
I have discovered that generally speaking, people who write about the movies (film bloggers and/or professional critics) generally handle the real world one of three ways.
Today, we’re going to talk about a little pet peeve of mine: lists. Not just any kind of list, no, I’m talking about lists that purport to name off the best films of all time.
I’ve had some weird comments in my day. I am still particularly tickled about that time I was accused of being in the pay of Louis B. Mayer’s family and I have had to deal with infestations of overzealous Valentino fans but this particular comment takes the cake. All the cake. There is no more cake because of this comment.
As is often the case in online writing, one thing leads to another in the comment section and we are left with a dangling question. I don’t like unfinished business and so let’s talk about the difference between importance and enjoyment.
I’m not super open about silent films in the real world. It’s not that I keep my interest a secret, it’s just that mentioning a love of silent films often requires more explanation than I am prepared to give.
I know this will come as a complete shock but it seems that people are actually wrong about things on the internet. And in print. And then they’re wrong when the internet quotes the in-print errors. Sigh.
I wanted to take a minute to discuss a nasty little red herring that shows up now and again in discussions of silent film: the notion that criticizing a silent film from a modern viewpoint is somehow wrong and naughty and will just blow up the earth. (faints) I’ve been wanting to cover this for a while so here goes…
I’m not really a tech blog but I occasionally wander into the technical side of blogging. This time around, I am going to share a trick that should make your blog more attractive and increase page views. After that, we will discuss links in WordPress.
So you’ve built a blog, you’re getting some traffic but you want to take things to the next level. That’s a great goal and I am here to share some tips on how you can grow your blog and your brand.
I seem to have inadvertently caused some confusion. About a week ago, I announced that I was stepping down from a blogathon gig and was taking a hiatus from videos due to health issues. However, the daily posts kept right on coming. How is that possible? I have a reserve of posts at the ready. A reserve? Yes, indeed. If you’re wanting or needing any other help or advice, such as finding domains or which blogging platform could be the best for you, have a look on helpful websites such as Site Beginner and others.
I thought it would be helpful to share my process for blogging. I hope it will clear up some confusion as to how I am able to build up content for daily posts and create a buffer for vacation, illness, etc. Not many solo movie bloggers keep up a daily schedule for posts (Lindsey of The Motion Pictures is one in the classic film category) but if you can manage it, it’s a great way to build up a devoted readership.
How do I do it? First of all, know that even though I post every day, I do not write every day. In fact, I did not write at all for most of the month of October. I was in South Korea and did not have my laptop with me. Instead, I wrote like a maniac in the months before my vacation and planned a post for every single day that I was gone. The WordPress app is not perfect yet but it got the job done and I was able to control the site with relatively few hiccups.
Since announcing my slowdown, I have been dipping into my post reserve. Perhaps only one or two posts since the announcement have been entirely new content. The rest were posts that I had created weeks or months before and kept in reserve. I have a few reasons for holding back posts. First, I may write something that will be more relevant later. (For example, I held back my 1960 Peter Pan review for several months so it would publish just before the recent live broadcast of the play. My William S. Hart theme month was planned almost a year in advance.) Second, I tend to write in bursts and it makes no sense to publish five posts one day and nothing for the next week.
A post reserve is important as my job has unpredictable hours and my health is usually so-so. I don’t know if I will always have the time or energy to create content so I plan for the worst.
There are two exceptions to all this: blogathons and videos.
Blogathons by their very nature are done in real time and require quite a bit of TLC to pull off. Participants need their questions answered, rosters need to be updated and the event needs to be marketed. This is not something that can be done in advance.
Videos take an entirely difference set of skills from written reviews and they do tend to take over my life when I am working on them. Plus, my voice needs to be in shape to narrate. My immune system is not the best and I am prone to throat infections, getting several a year. You see the problem.
So, while I can build a reserve of reviews, GIFs and other goodies, videos and blogathons are not really meant for that sort of thing.
But let’s focus on the positives. I am going to share how I create content for a daily blog.
First, I have two categories for posts and they are very similar to the classifications used to by silent film studios. I have the programmers, the small items, that are much faster to create and I have the specials, the longer content that takes a lot of time and effort. Fun Size Reviews, GIFs and shared YouTube videos are programmers. Specials are full-length reviews, After the Silents, Silents in Talkies, video reviews, long articles and the Cooking with the (Silent) Stars series. Generally, I try to have at least two specials every week and one of them is always a full-length silent film review.
As I watch silent films for review, I keep track of the times of sequences that I think would make good GIFs. After I have watched the movie, I go back and create the GIFs. I generally try to make three GIFs or more from every movie but I always make at least one. These GIFs go into my reserve for later use. At any given time, I have between 50 and 200 unpublished GIFs on hand.
Usually, GIFs will debut in one of my quippy Animated GIF posts. After that, it may be reused to illustrate a humorous point, to embellish a Fun Size Review or be published as a Silent Movie Rule or whatever else I think of.
I try not to publish too many GIFs from the same film in a row because I like to keep variety on the site.
Fun Size Reviews, Trivia Cards, etc.
With shorter posts that follow a particular format, I like to use an assembly line approach. For example, when I make Fun Size Reviews, I generally write anywhere from five to ten in one sitting. I have a master list of all the movies I have covered (no film gets a Fun Size Review before a full-length review) and use it to make sure I do not skip or repeat a film. The trivia cards use the same Photoshop template and I also create between five and ten in a sitting.
My master list tells me whether the film in question has GIFs (some of my older reviews do not have GIfs to go with them so I have been going back and creating them), whether it has a Fun Size Review, a trivia card and whatever other related series I might create in the future. This is a great way to draw attention to older content that new readers may not have seen before without boring established and long-time readers.
Unlike my shorter posts, silent movie reviews are a definite risk when it comes to time spent. Some movies make it a challenge for me to even write 1,000 words (my minimum review length) while others have so much juicy detail that I have to cut myself off. There are also (seemingly) simple films that send me down the research rabbit hole.
Cough cough, Surrender, cough.
Oh, all right. I’ll tell the story. I was happily writing away and decided to add a few details on Ivan Mosjoukine, the film’s leading man. When researching something or someone, I often stop by Wikipedia to see what the average Joan is going to have read on the subject. Something seemed off with the narrative being peddled and down the rabbit hole I went.
Here is the article as it appears at present. I have highlighted the errors in green.
I thought this was supposed to be about Ivan Mosjoukine. Someone has a little Valentino fixation and it sure isn’t Carl Laemmle. (The whole debunking is in my Surrender review.)
The problem is, I don’t know when a Surrender is going to come my way. I generally try to keep at least a month or more of reviews in reserve but if a I fall down a rabbit hole, I burn through that reserve quickly. As a result, I try to keep a mix of films I have never seen before and films I am already familiar with. That way, I know what I am letting myself in for at least some of the time.
Longer articles on myth-busting and general silent film knowledge are written on an as-needed basis. When the topic is fairly non-controversial, I post them soon after they are completed. However, if the topic is a hot-button issue or if it reflects badly on a beloved star, I may hold it back so that it can “cool down” and perhaps be revised so that it is not unnecessarily inflammatory.
Does it always work? No. I did lose subscribers over my discussion of The Wind and its “bastardized” ending (spoiler: Lillian Gish is a great actress and a shameless fibber) but I don’t really think they were the sort worth keeping. While I try not to give offense, there are some fans who definitely prefer a black and white narrative filled with heroes and mustache-twirling villains. I’m sorry to be curt but there’s really no point in conversing with people who hold such a childish outlook.
The Cooking with the (Silent) Stars series is the most expensive and time-consuming series on the site. It involves purchasing ingredients, preparing them, taking photos and videos and finally writing up the article. In order to minimize expense and time, I try to plan out cooking days. Basically, I choose recipes with overlap in ingredients and then I get cooking.
In June, I ended up house-sitting for a friend. Their house is relatively remote and it was just me and the dog. I took it as an opportunity to make some of the weirder foods in the cookbook. I purchased ingredients and had a marathon cooking session. My tummy did not appreciate it, believe you me, but I ended up with a fat selection of cooking posts all ready to go. I still have several in reserve and you will be seeing them over the next few weeks.
Taking the plunge
So, maybe you have decided to try daily blogging. I hope knowing my method has helped you. Here is one more piece of advice, one I give to all would-be bloggers.
Before taking on the task of a blog, don’t post anything yet. Instead, write as though you already have a blog and save those posts. This will allow you to see if you are able to maintain a regular post schedule and it will give you a nice collection of posts to share if you do decide to launch. It also gives you a great chance to research the best time to post content. Just like on other social media where, for example, you need to understand the best time for instagram posts, you also need to know when would be the peak time for your readers to see a new post has gone live on your blog. This can take some time, but the rewards are worth it.
If you are a blogger who wants to pump things up to daily posting, try keeping your current schedule (whatever it is) and also writing the number of posts you would need for daily blogging. Test drive this for a month and see how you do. If you decide that it’s not for you, fine. You have a stack of posts in your reserve and no harm was done. If you decide that it is something that you would like to continue, make an announcement that you are adopting a daily post format and get cracking!
I hope all of this has clarified how the blog runs behind the scenes. Thanks for reading!
I blog about a niche topic within a niche topic. Classic movie blogs are niche enough but I specialize in silent movies.
Want to know my favorite kind of comment?
“I have never seen/wasn’t interested in seeing/only have seen a few silent movies but I want to see this one.”
It makes me so happy to read this. But how do you get people to take that first look at your site? I am going to share some of the tricks that have worked for me. Some of them have already been covered in my post on increasing your blog’s traffic but I am going to revisit them with broadening blog audiences in mind.
How widely do you want to spread your blog?
That is the most important thing to consider is how far you are willing to spread your blog’s topics. If you blog about cooking, would it make sense to add sections on gardening, entertaining or travel? Only you know the answer to that.
Let’s cover some risks of stepping out of your niche:
You risk alienating your core fans: If your most devoted fans only want to read about cooking, suddenly adding a lot of semi-related posts will make them less likely to return.
You risk unfocusing your blog: If you add too many new topics or topics that are not closely related to your main theme, you risk losing focus on your blog. A new visitor must be able to immediately know what your blog is about. And if your blog is purposely eclectic, say so on the landing page.
Here are some rewards:
You might get readers who may never have visited your blog otherwise: Sure, you have loyal readers for your articles on French cheesemaking but adding reviews of supermarket cheeses will give you access to a much broader readership.
You might find yourself having fun: Writing a regular blog is a challenge, even for the most passionate. Thinking of ways to expand your topic can make your blog new to you once again.
Eclectic content and off-topic posts are fun to write and read. However, when you are expanding your content, never forget the original purpose of your blog. Venture out but don’t forget to come home again.
(Of course, there are cases of blogs changing their purpose entirely but that was a decision made by their creators, not the result of too many topics. And, again, some blogs are purposely eclectic.)
Adding new topics and features
What new topics and features? Again, it depends on your blog. In my case, I wanted to make silent movies more real and relevant to modern viewers who may not necessarily be film buffs. Figure out your target and then try to come up with ideas that will appeal to them.
You have a blog on classic English literature. You decide that you want more non-readers to take a look at your site. You decide to start reviewing modernized film versions of the classics.
You have a blog on fine cooking. You decide that you want to appeal to the busy mom/dad reader. You decide to start posting about quick and easy shortcuts that bring gourmet food to a busy household.
In my case, I started reviewing modern sound films that featured silent movies in their plots.
Varying post length and branch into other media
If you are regularly writing 1,000+ word posts, consider interspersing smaller, more digestible posts. Someone who is new to your blog may hesitate to commit to a 2,500 word review but will be more than happy to look at a 350 word feature. Plus, the challenge of having fewer words available is a great writing exercise.
Also consider varying your content. What do I mean? Well, if you are a passionate blogger, you are using the written word. Have you considered adding images to the mix? Movie stills, vintage illustrations, animated GIFs…
By the same token, if you are an image-centric blogger, maybe consider adding a small amount of written content to mix things up.
Videos are powerful and search engines love ’em. Just be sure that the video is either in the public domain or is otherwise authorized to be posted. Of course, your own videos would not have copyright issues, assuming you follow the rules of your video hosting service. (Here is the official word on Fair Use; the actual definition of it varies from site to site.)
Test drive your content
I’ve mentioned before that I belonged to a small writers group and that it helped my writing a lot. Here’s why.
The group consisted of four women, not including me. We were all from different backgrounds and were different ages. We all wrote on different topics. Only one of the ladies had ever seen a silent film. What did this mean? I got to test out my reviews on an audience who did not know Wallace Reid from Sessue Hayakawa. If my references were too vague or too obviously intended for insiders, they would tell me so.
You see, as a fan of your subject, you may take for granted that your audience will understand your references and jokes. Am I advocating talking down to your readers? Heavens, no! What I am saying is that it helps me a lot to try to imagine a newcomer reading one of my posts. Would it be clear and fun to read? It should be.
While I no longer belong to a writers group, I think I benefited from my membership. In addition to helping with the basic craft of writing, it also helped me to see my work with fresh eyes.
I was overwhelmed by the success of my previous post on blogging. The kind words from my readers were really a treat! So, like any good Hollywood producer would do, I have decided to opt for a sequel.
These are mistakes I have made myself and have seen others make. I use WordPress and will be heavily referring to their tutorial section but I think most of these ideas can work for any blogging platform. Here goes nothing!
Not using tags and categories
Uncategorized. What does that tell you about a post? Nothing. Thanks to social media platforms like Twitter, the hashtag (you know, #topic) has been helping people organize and comment on their content. That’s what the tags and categories in WordPress (or Labels on Google’s Blogger) do for you. Simply put, tags and categories make it easier for your readers to navigate your blog and read posts similar to the ones that they already enjoy.
What’s the difference between a Tag and a Category? Well, according to WordPress, a category is for the general topics of your blog, while a label is more specific. For example, if you run a craft blog and want to post an easy wool scarf pattern, you might use the Categories of Crafts and Knitting and use the Tags of Scarf, Easy, Wool and Knitting Pattern.
Don’t sweat too much about which is a tag and which is a category, just use a system that makes sense to you and that you think will make sense to everyone else. The main thing is that you not neglect your tags and categories.
Also, do not go crazy and overtag. This is a red flag to Google and it looks silly. If you’re worried about making such a serious error, then don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Whether you are looking to use the services of an SEO Company in Tamworth or one closer to home, just know that they aren’t there for no reason. You can always ask professionals like these for some assistance, especially if you are new to the world of SEO.
You may find that this could help grow your blog more than you think. There’s a reason that a lot of small businesses and bloggers who don’t have SEO experience rely on companies like Raleigh Digital to optimize their sites for them. If your budget allows for it, this is a route you may want to consider.
Not paying attention to site analytics
Site analytics are a powerful tool. They tell you how many visitors came to your site, how many pages they viewed and which ones. If you want to know what gets counted and what doesn’t, WordPress has a handy guide. Almost every blogging service offers some sort of stats.
Here are some things that you can do with your site stats:
You can measure how engaged your readers are. How? Well, if your blog got 100 visitors but only 102 page views, that means the readers are only reading one or two pages before leaving. If your stats consistently show this, it may be time to consider livening up your content or providing interesting links that will encourage your readers to stick around.
Find out what features are a hit with your readers. A store owner would be a fool not to check what items are selling and what items are gathering dust on the shelves. Your site stats will tell you which post has received the most hits. Should you be a slave to your stats? Of course not, but why not to follow up a particularly successful post?
Discover who is referring people to your site. Sometimes, you will have a new fan outside of your blogging ecosystem and you won’t even know it until they link back to you. Follow up on referrer links and see if you can make new friends.
Pinpoint your blog’s slow days. Some bloggers report that they have low traffic on a particular day (often Saturday). I enjoy a healthy readership in time zones that are 8-9 hours ahead of me and this seems to prevent me from having a Saturday slowdown. However, it is worth checking out. After all, there’s no point in posting big news on a low traffic day.
But! (This is important) Don’t drive yourself crazy by constantly checking your traffic. Sometimes, you will just have a slow day because that’s how the world works.
Leaving on the default banner for your template
Okay, this may seem pretty minor but let me put it this way: If you buy a pretty picture frame, do you leave the generic images inside?
The banner is the first thing people see when they visit your blog. Even if your visitors don’t notice that it is generic, that banner is taking up prime real estate and not doing anything for you. Wouldn’t it be better to have a banner that communicates what your site is all about?
You can make a banner with Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, GIMP or even MS Paint! You know, the freebie that comes with Windows. What if you don’t have these programs and do not wish to learn? Just search for “banner maker online” and you will find numerous websites that can generate a custom banner for you. Or you can bribe your sister’s kid to make you one. Some brownies or a frappucino should do the trick.
WordPress has a handy tutorial for this too (the header, not the kid bribing.
Greetings! I have been active on WordPress for 6 months so I thought that now would be a good time to talk about traffic.
First, a little background. My site actually started in 2009 but I started the migration to WordPress in 2012. Life interfered and I did not return to the migration until January of 2013– spurred on by the imminent expiration of my contract with my former host. When I was self-hosted, my traffic was stagnant but I decided that when I launched on WordPress, I would do it in style! Aggressively court traffic, is what I mean. There was so much to learn when I started my blog in 2009, but not as much as there is to understand today. There are now many ways to generate traffic, you simply need to find what’s right for you. One option is voice search optimization. It might be worth your time to click here to learn how to generate traffic from voice search optimization. The more you learn, the easier it will be for you when it comes to starting your blog and any additional features you want to include. I was advised to look into a company like PPCnerd for Adwords, which you’ll find to be a really useful tool when it comes to gaining traffic and building your audience.
Here are the most effective methods for me. Keep in mind, though, that I blog about a fairly niche film topic (silent movies) and different methods work for different blogs. I do hope you find some of these techniques useful. Also, some of my techniques are WordPress-centric. What can I say? I am brand loyal.
Also, it goes without saying, but some of these tips just involve being a good, active citizen of the blogosphere.
Follow fellow bloggers and do not assume that you must only follow in your genre
Following other blogs is a powerful way to generate traffic for your own blog.
Start with browsing blogs that write on similar topics to yours. Use the Topic Search in your WordPress reader tab and start looking. For example, I started my search with topics like “movies” “films” and “classic movies” as well as the all-encompassing “entertainment” topic. Don’t just follow willy-nilly. Select the blogs that are interesting, informative and currently updated. After all, why would you want to follow a blog that is boring, dull or no longer maintained? Also, some blogs may be well-written but are just not something you are interested in. That’s fine. Don’t just follow blogs for what you can get as a blogger, follow them because you enjoy them as a reader.
Next, think about your other hobbies and interests, the ones you are not blogging about. For example, I also like to read about crafts and tea. Follow some blogs on those topics as well. Worst case scenario, you get to read more about subjects you already like. There is a good chance, though, that the folks you are reading may have interests that overlap with yours. They may not blog on the topic but they are happy to read about it.
Finally, when you read a particularly good post, check the bottom to see who “liked” it or left a comment. Visit the users’ blogs, if they have them, and see if they are someone you would like to follow. Active bloggers who visit other sites are often a blast to read and can become your loyal readers in turn.
To sum things up, what does following other blogs get you? Followers! If someone follows me, I almost always visit their blogs and I will often follow back.
I cannot emphasize enough, however, that I follow blogs first and foremost to enjoy their posts. The traffic boost is the icing on the cake.
When you are first starting out, it is essential that you network if you are serious about driving visitors to your site. If you don’t like to network, fine. Can you still grow? Sure. But it is a whole lot slower.
What should you join? I get a lot of traffic from blogger associations and blogathons.
A blogger association is a club for bloggers who write on the same topic. I currently belong to two movie blogging associations and have applied for a third. The type and number of blogging associations you can join depends on the topic you write about. Most associations maintain a site where member blogs are listed. This in itself will drive traffic to your site and it will also give a to-do list of blogs to visit and network with. Be a good citizen and promote member blogs that you particularly like.
A blogathon is an event that involves numerous bloggers writing posts on a chosen subject during a particular time frame. Blogathons have been very kind to me. They have won me loyal readers, introduced me to wonderful blogs. They also opened me up to writing on topics that I never would have dreamed of covering.
What makes a blogathon so powerful? Well, all of the participating blogs are driving their traffic toward one another. You may read Blog A’s post for the blogathon and then be led to Blogs B, C and D, great blogs you never even heard of before the event!
Most of all, though, blogathons are fun and they allow you to grow as a writer. That’s reward enough, even if you do not get a traffic boost.
Tweet as you have never tweeted before!
Twitter is a very powerful traffic driver. WordPress has a handy tutorial on linking your Twitter account to your blog.
Here are a few tips on using Twitter:
- Follow interesting folks, but not too many at once. If you are following 2,000 people and only have 25 followers, you might want to consider cutting back a bit. There are lots of tools that let you monitor new followers, unfollows and non-followers. I use Just Unfollow but there are many, many choices.
Tweet old posts as well as new. Your newer followers may have missed your posts when you first tweeted them. Remember, though, that you can come off as spammy if you are not careful.
Periodically search for new people to follow. Also be sure to see if the blogs you already follow have Twitter accounts. You will also want to check and see if your Twitter followers have blogs.
Be sure that your Twitter profile clearly defines the topic of your blog and that it includes a link to your blog. A shocking number of people forget this important step.
Do not let your blog go inactive
How often should I post? Is a common query for beginners. A good rule of thumb is at least once a month. More often is better but you need to do what is realistic for you.
How does this drive traffic? Well, when I visit a blog, I often look for the latest post. If it is three months old, how urgent is it for me to return? In a few months or so. Maybe.
But what if I see that the blog is updated monthly, weekly, daily? I am much more likely to return frequently to see what is new.
Updating often also means you will appear in the blogrolls of linking sites and on the reader page of WordPress.
If you like it, say it!
If you enjoy a post, leave a comment complimenting the author. It’s a nice thing to do and is universally appreciated. It makes you a good citizen and it will help you make friends with fellow bloggers. A side benefit is getting your own blog’s information in the public eye.
How to compliment a blog post:
- Be sincere. Don’t just comment to win followers. You don’t want to be like those spammers who leave hilariously generic comments.
Be specific. Say what you like about the post and why you like it. It will make your comment more interesting to read and will be useful to the blog’s author.
Consider your audience and how to expand it
Is your blog aimed at devotees of your subject? Consider adding posts that will attract a more general audience. Does this mean that you abandon your core followers? No, of course not. But everyone is new once. Adding posts that are aimed at newcomers will make your blog more attractive to dabblers and readers who are unfamiliar with your topic.
Another way to expand your audience is to consider posts that relate to your overall topic in a way that is of interest to a more general audience. For example, my animated GIFs and After the Silents posts are some of my most popular features.
A word of caution though. If you post on too many subjects, your blog may seem unfocused and disorganized. This is fine if your blog is meant to be eclectic but it can turn off your readers if you stray too far from your original purpose. A few off-topic posts are fine but week after week of them will drive away loyal readers. If you are finding a lot of success with your off-topic posts, consider rebranding your blog or launching a new blog that covers those subjects.
Exploit you pet peeves
No matter what topic you blog about, there are sure to be misconceptions about it. You know, that annoying question everyone asks every time you mention your hobby or passion.
For me, it was this:
Me: I like silent movies.
Them: Aren’t those the movies where women get tied to railroad tracks?
Me: … (hits them with bagel)
So I took my frustrations and wrote a blog post on the subject. It remains one of my most popular posts and pulls in a lot of search engine traffic. I like to think some of this traffic is from smartypants who are trying to win an argument by proving that lots of women were tied to railroad tracks in silent movies. Mwahahaha!
If a lot of people believe a myth, a misconception or a rumor then your post will likely draw in traffic and entertain your readers. Everyone likes a good debunking, the popularity of Snopes proves that.
Work on your craft
All of these tips are worthless if a blogger has poor writing skills. A poorly written blog may get traffic but it will not likely get repeat business. How do you improve? Read, read, read and then write, write, write.
Ideas to improve your blogging:
Join a real world writer’s group and get critiqued. This may seem odd for blogging but it is quite effective. Here are some tips on locating a good writer’s group (they are not all created equal).
Ask a fellow writer to exchange critiques one-on-one.
DON’T think that reading your post to your mom, boyfriend, best friend is the same as a critique. It’s not. Unless one of these people is a ruthless editor. In which case, go ahead.
Grab a copy of Strunk & White.
Read your work out loud. It is amazing how many awkward phrases and repeated words you will catch.
Remember, writing can be technically correct and boring as all get-out. Check for flow, rhythm and be prepared to cut if it seems like there are dull bits.
Check your writing with an outsider (someone with little to no knowledge of your topic) to see if it is understandable to a casual reader.
Well, those are just a few of the things that helped me increase my traffic. I hope you enjoyed the article!