Making Your Blog Hard To Find

This is a post of yet more tips for new bloggers.

I have mentioned not linking your blog to your Gravatar previously, but so many of you still don’t bother with that, I’m giving up.

On this occasion, I am talking about the (mostly) new bloggers who seem to think that style beats substance, where blogging is concerned.

It doesn’t, believe me.

Everyone knows by now that it is my habit to visit the site of new followers, and leave a message or comment on one of their posts.
(That cannot happen if you don’t have any posts, or an unlinked Gravatar image by the way.)

So here is what seems to be happening a lot lately.

The blog has some kind of Home page, or perhaps an ‘Introduction’ page. But neither allow comments. Then to actually find the blog, I have to look in the side menu or top line for the word ‘Blog’. Then when I click on that, I get a selection of small boxes or images with a ‘teaser’ for the posts they contain, but little or no idea what they might be about.

Sometimes as I am trying to figure this out, an image of some kind blots out the text, and superimposes itself on the whole page. That image may well be relevant in some way, and it certainly looks swish and professional to many people. But the truth is, it’s just really irritating. And it’s not always apparent how to get rid of it, to get back to what I was looking at before it turned up.

But by this stage, I am already thinking about clicking the ‘X’ at the top of the screen, and not bothering.

Then there are the bloggers who require a comment to be filled out in a separate ‘Contact Me’ section. Scrolling down, filling in my name, email address, website details, etc. But if I do this, the comment is not on the blog post I just tried to read anyway, so why should I bother? Sometimes, this is caused by the choice of theme. Best to change your theme, if that’s the case.

Take this top tip, free of charge. If you want followers, if you want blogging interaction and comments, if you want to be part of a blogging community, do these three things.

*Allow real comments on posts, including ‘About’ pages, not just ‘Contact Me’ boxes.
*Make each post clear and separate, so we know what we are looking at.
*Cut out the fancy moving images, and the bizarre colour schemes.

Otherwise you are going to be a very lonely blogger.

Reblogs and Featured Bloggers

I have now completed all the posts in the above series that were sent to me by email.

If anyone would still like me to feature their blog or book here, or to reblog one of their posts, the offer is still open.

Please contact me by email at

You have to either be a follower of this blog, or follow me on Twitter.
Twitter name is Pete Johnson @beetleypete

Guest Posts and Book Promotions

I have now completed all the guest posts and book promotions I received via email. If your one did not appear, please let me know in the comments, and I will check.

For anyone who hasn’t sent me one yet, don’t forget that this offer is not time-limited, and I am always happy to present a guest post, or feature one of your books, even if you have been on my blog previously.

Use this email to contact me about anything you would like to promote.

Best wishes to everyone, and thanks to those of you who accepted my offer.

Blogging: A Worldwide Community

I had a big moan about dodgy comments and fake blog followers the other day.

So I thought I would counter that with something really positive about our great blogging community.

Little did I imagine when I started this blog in 2012, that eight years later I would be part of a huge worldwide community of bloggers. Just taking into account the smaller community of my own followers, and those who I follow, it is still an amazing thing to feel included in.

I have followers who comment from over 30 countries around the world. Most of those countries are ones I have never visited, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, The Philippines, America, Canada, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, and Cambodia. (Among others) Yet I am able to connect with people who live there, in English, and learn something about their lives, thoughts, customs, culture; even their hopes and fears.

It has taught me a great deal, especially that wherever we live, we often are just the same. Separated by oceans or continents, most of us are trying to connect, to be decent people, and to share our life experiences, writing, photography, poetry or culinary skills with anyone who might be interested, irrespective of where they live.

The current Covid-19 pandemic in particular has highlighted our similarities, as bloggers write about their experiences of the virus, and how they fear the impact of it on everyday life, and their own future. I have found out about countries where there has been little or no social distancing, and others with far better reactions to dealing with the crisis than we have seen here in England.

With the George Floyd incident bringing racism into the spotlight once again, it is just wonderful to see that this is virtually non-existent in the world of blogging, where tolerance is our watchword.

Bloggers are rarely concerned with the colour of a person’s skin, their religion, or their wealth and influence. Blogging gives you a blank sheet of acceptance, whatever else is going on around us in this troubled world.

Whenever you might be close to losing hope, just think about Blogging. It is not an exaggeration to say that it can ease loneliness, help to combat depression, and offer true friendships from complete strangers who you will almost certainly never meet.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Loss Of Contact.

It made a nice change today to wake up thinking about something other than a virus.

I was actually thinking about people I once knew well, and have not seen in half a lifetime. Starting with someone I called my ‘best mate’ for all of nine years, until he got married, and moved away. I last went to see him in 1980. Since then, some Christmas cards, but never a phone call either way. I can remember the times we shared as schoolfriends and into our late teens as if they were yesterday. But when I see his face in my mind, he is still only 18 years old. Forty years have passed since we met, and it is likely the next contact will be made when one of us dies.

Cousins that I used to spend most weekends with, go on summer holidays with. Some not seen now for twenty years, and their children don’t even know who I am. One moved to Canada. Is he still there? What happened in his life? I have no idea, because ‘Merry Christmas’ on a card tells me nothing. Does he ever think about me at all? I was his older cousin who he met at our grandmother’s house. I went to his older sister’s wedding, but the last time I met his younger sister, she asked who I was, and how I was related to her.

Splits in families will do that. You tend to pick a side, like it or not. And because my dad left my mum, we picked her side. By the time we tried to resume contact and build bridges, it was too late. Life had passed by like traffic on a motorway. I was a face on a photo that nobody recognised.

Work colleagues, male and female, can often become great friends. But if the girls get married, what if their husband is jealous of your closeness, suspectng something else? You do the decent thing. Step away. Give them a chance. And what if your male friend marries someone who doesn’t like you, or you can’t stand them. Do you hang around and cause friction? No, you disappear.

I sat up in bed thinking about all the people I had once been very close to, and had not seen since. I stopped counting at fifteen, then added the more distant relatives to arrive at a total. Twenty? Thirty? I am sure it must be more than that, if I think harder.

In an age where communication has never been so widespread, or more instant, it seems no easier to keep in touch.

Blogging: Basic Errors

For years now, I have been banging on about new bloggers who embark on the process of blogging without really trying to understand anything about how it works. Regular readers and followers can look away now, as I will be repeating myself here. A lot.

Everyone loves to get genuine new followers. After all, building that community is an important part of being a fulfilled blogger. Yet despite previous posts from me, and many others, so many new bloggers continue to make the most basic mistakes, both in communication, and etiquette.
At the risk of being very boring, here I go again.


You do not follow someone’s blog by adding the words ‘Please follow back’
For the thousandth time, be told that this is not Twitter or Facebook.

If you decide to follow a blog, try to occasionally read and comment on a post. Clicking ‘Like’ in the Reader is not following.

If you are too busy to follow so many blogs, then just ‘unfollow’ them. It’s easy.


There is very little point being a blogger if other bloggers are unable to see or read your posts. If you do not link your Gravatar image to your site, then you will be impossible to find, and end up wondering why nobody ever reads your blog.

If you only want to follow a blog by email, that’s fine. It probably means that you don’t want to have your own blog.

Making your blog accessible ‘By request’ seems rather superior, and also totally pointless to me. I am not about to fill in lots of personal details for the privilege of being able to view your blog, believe me.

Sort out your comments thread. Having to add name, email, website, etc every single time I want to leave a comment is tiresome.

If someone takes the trouble to leave a relevant comment on one of your blog posts, then have the decency to acknowledge that.


If people have decided to be religious, that has usually happened by the time they are writing a blog. By all means enjoy your religion, but please stop telling me that I am doomed because I have none. There are so many evangelical blogs out there, and they all look and sound the same.

Be nice.

If you don’t agree with a point of view, or just want to criticise a writing style, that’s fine. Healthy debate is to be encouraged in blogging. It would be a dull life if we all agreed all the time, I get that. And ‘banter’ can be fun. But avoid harsh sarcasm, sniping, or deliberate rudeness. There is no place for such things in our community.

Blogging can be such a rewarding activity. You can make lifelong friends, expand your knowledge, and discover so much too. But just like so many other things in life, there are some ‘natural rules’ to follow. You should not have to be reminded what they are, as they fall under the category of commonsense and decency.

Best wishes to you all, and happy blogging!


Many of you will be familiar with this company. I know that some of you take the book-reading challenges, and write about them on your blogs. I checked it out, and found that I could leave book reviews, choose my favourite type of genres, and receive suggestions for books I might like to read.

That sounded pretty good, as it is also free of charge. Since I have been determined to read more, after buying the Amazon Kindle Fire, I concluded that joining Goodreads might be worthwhile. So I created an account, using the app on my Kindle Fire. I soon received confirmation, along with some suggested titles, and an invitation to participate in a challenge. (Which I declined)

Early days, but it looked like something I would come back to in the future, and might make some use of. Either way, I didn’t see how it could do any harm. Two days later, and I have started to receive emails from them, advising me of new followers to my profile, others wanting to read my reviews. I thought this was strange, as I haven’t posted any reviews, but I checked one out anyway, by clicking on the email sent by Goodreads.

I was surprised to discover that the woman in question claimed to be a ‘Chef’, and was looking for ‘good sex’. There was a link to her private contact page, which of course I didn’t click on. A few more arrived, all with nice profile pictures, and a variety of ‘occupations’. Each offered something different, from ‘Private contact’, to ‘Hook-ups’, or access to ‘More photos’. I know better than to click on any of their links, but I wonder if others might be fooled?

After all, it comes from a literary site with a solid reputation, (owned by Amazon) and on the surface may seem innocent, if you don’t read the ‘small print’. I am not suggesting Goodreads encourages or facilitates this. It would appear to be outsiders using the ‘follow’ option to facilitate contact with genuine members.

But sadly, it seems like the scammers have found yet another way through, making me ever more convinced that this stuff will never end.

Keeping In Touch

For all of my adult life, I have been good at keeping in touch with people. Whether it was with school-friends, former colleagues, or friends and family, I always managed to do my best to ensure that I knew how they were, and to tell them any news about my own life, and what I was up to. As we get older, are married, and move around the country, it gets harder to keep this up. Lives and priorities change; children arrive for some, others have issues with busy jobs. Many people just don’t see the point of what they consider to be meaningless communication, with former acquaintances that they hardly ever see.

This also happens in families, however close they once might have been. They tend to congregate at funerals and weddings, travelling from various parts of the country, for a shared purpose. I have often heard mention of the fact that we only ever seem to meet at funerals, and should try to do something pleasant, and see more of each other. We have all said it perhaps, and most have had it said to them at some time. It doesn’t happen though. Life takes over. Some, like myself, move to places that are too far away, and involve planning to get to. Others move to countries on the other side of the world, like Canada or Australia, with us all knowing that we are unlikely to ever meet again.

Before the age of the text message, and the arrival of electronic e-mails, I used to write letters frequently, although I rarely got replies. The standard method of communication remained the Christmas Card. You might resign yourself to not seeing those concerned, and might also have accepted the fact that you will not get letters, and rarely speak on the telephone. But every year, between the end of November, and the 24th December, contact was restored, by the arrival of those simple colourful cards. They might contain some news written on the blank side, or have a personal letter inserted within. Sometimes, there were photos, of new children, new homes, or smiling family groups. The names of partners might have changed, different careers had been embarked upon, and sons remembered as small boys had become soldiers, or were going to university. Once irresistibly cute young daughters were now mothers themselves, or proudly clutching degrees. This annual deluge of good wishes, and much-anticipated news was always something to anticipate with great pleasure. If I heard nothing at all from someone all year, and might have feared the worst as a result, the comforting card full of news and cheer re-established that much needed contact, and made me feel as if the links of the chain that was my life were once again joined. I always made sure that I sent my own cards too, imparting the news of what was going on, in my often turbulent life. I usually had a change of address to inform of too, and I generally had my own address book ready as I opened my cards, to alter the constantly changing details of the correspondents.

As modern technology became widely accepted, I started to notice a worrying new trend. Generic text messages appeared, wishing compliments of the season from so-and-so and their partner. This was all very well, but failed to supply me with any news. What about their family? Were they still at the same address, working in the same jobs? Were they both healthy and happy? I couldn’t possibly hope to glean anything from a message that read simply ‘Happy Christmas.’ This got worse, once more and more people embraced e-mail, and owned computers. They began to send a short seasonal e-mail, to everyone in their address book, offering greetings for the festivities. Rarely was any extra information added, and I was still left none the wiser. I don’t know about you, but that is far from my definition of ‘keeping in touch.’ These developed into the more elaborate E-Cards. They might have a timely picture, with a snowy background, or even take the form of a short video. But they were commercial products, lacking any personal touch, leaving me feeling sadly lacking in any concrete knowledge about the lives of my former colleagues, or friends that I was unable to meet up with.

As time moved on, postal charges became a real issue. The cost of sending scores of cards in good time for the season soon doubled, then trebled, until it is now ten times what it was not that long ago.I immediately noticed that I had been dropped off the card lists of quite a few people. I was not surprised. When you haven’t seen someone for perhaps twenty years, it may seem pointless to them to continue to tell you what they are up to, where they are living, or how their children are getting on. I realised that I was unusual in this respect. It still seemed important to me, to retain that annual contact, to keep going that small part of my life that they once inhabited, however briefly. So I continued to send cards to those that did not reciprocate, hoping that they were still at the same address.

By the time I moved to Norfolk, the cost of stamps was becoming something to warrant serious consideration. Sending one hundred plus cards was costing over £50, and that was without the cost of the cards themselves, or the hassle of going to a post office, and queuing to buy the stamps in the first place. But I couldn’t stop myself, and still sent them anyway. As more and more people dropped off the ‘card radar’, I resolved to trim down the number I sent out too. Allowing for those I no longer heard from, and some whose address I was certain was incorrect, I arrived at my revised list. It was still eighty cards though, I could not bring myself to send out less. That moment of yearly communication was still far too important to me.

This year brought even fewer replies. Most have simply had enough of the high charges for stamps, and many are donating money to charity instead, stating this fact on social media. This is laudable of course, but still fails to address the problem of getting all the news, and keeping in touch on a personal level. One of my friends then advised me that she gets all the news about me from my blog. I realised that she was not alone. A lot of my family and friends are regular readers, so they are fully aware of what I have been up to, and what we have been doing as a family. Another suggested that I create an account on Facebook, (something I have always resisted) as ‘That is how people keep in touch these days.’ It finally dawned on me that I am still in touch, one way or another. History has finally caught up with me, and my methods are slowly becoming little more than a quaint old tradition. Perhaps in a hundred years, sending paper cards will be laughed about on TV programmes, or discussed fondly as an oddity.
I for one hope not.