Blogging Observations

2022 seems to be a rather quiet year for blogging. After the surge in new bloggers during the pandemic lockdowns, WordPress appears to have less new bloggers than ever before. Not that I am concerned, but this year has seen less new followers than I would have got in one month in 2021.

It could be that they tried it, and didn’t like it. Or the recent changes to WordPress plans with far less space allowance and higher charges for upgrades might be putting off potential new bloggers.

Perhaps it is just my blog that feels quiet? Is anyone else noticing this trend?

Luckily, we already have a well-established community, developed over many years. But it does seem a shame not to see so much ‘new blood’ appearing on WordPress.

With that in mind, if you are hesitatnt about staring a blog, or feel it is all too complicated to tackle, reach out and ask for help. Bloggers are friendly and helpful people, and most are hpapy to offer advice and tips, as well as supporting new bloggers with guest posts or features.

You can always contact me by email if you have any questions, so I will start you off with an email address.

If any others in our community feel they are willing to help new bloggers, please add a link or contact details in the comments.

Gravatars and Site Links: Here I Go Again

In the last month, I have had 33 new followers who had no link to their blog or website attached to their Gravatar image or graphic.

That is 33 people I am unable to thank for following, and 33 blogs or sites I am unable to view, comment on, or perhaps follow.

Regular readers will no doubt yawn, as I try once again to advise you how to do this.

But if you do not take my advice, your blog will remain unknown, impossible to find, and you will be wondering why nobody ever comments, or leaves a ‘Like’.

Please read these posts and links, and connect your Gravatar to your blog or website. It is not difficult, even I managed it.

You can thank me later.

Bloggers and Gravatars: More advice

New bloggers: Following Back

This is some advice for all new bloggers who think it is ‘normal’ to ask other bloggers to follow back, once they have followed someone’s blog.

Try to remember that many of the blogs you decide to follow have been around for a very long time before you discovered them. That means it takes up a great deal of time to not only produce content for the blogs, but also to reply to comments, and read and comment on the blogs they already follow.

Imagine my own blog, with 8,000+ followers. If I had followed back every one of those, I would need to live five lifetimes just to read their posts and leave comments.

When we have been blogging for five years or more, it usually means we have already followed as many bloggers as we can possibly cope with. In my case, that is close to 120, and some other bloggers follow as many as 300.

So when you follow another blogger, PLEASE do not automatically ask them to ‘Follow Back’. I try my best to help any new bloggers with advice and tips, and always comment on the blog of any genuine blogger who follows me. I am also happy to receive emails asking for help and suggestions. But that doesn’t mean I will automatically follow you back, so presuming I will do so will leave you feeling disapointed. Especially when you ask me directly, and I decline.

If you only follow my blog because you want to boost your own follower numbers, then perhaps it is best not to follow me in the first place.

Blogging is not instant social media, and that’s just not how it works.

Blogging: The Time Of Calm

Not yet halfway through 2021, blogging on WordPress seems to have calmed down. I haven’t been put in Spam for some time now, and I am really pleased to still be able to use the Classic Editor for the time being.

Checking out the revised Block Editor, I found it was a lot easier to create a basic post, even adding photos and links. Many bloggers have completely embraced it now, and wouldn’t return to the old editor even if it was an option. Some of them are also producing excellent tip posts and video turorials which are a real help to those of us who find the technical changes daunting.

It seems we have found some middle ground, with those of us still clinging on to Classic currently able to do so, and some who hated the Block Editor coming around to see the benefit of its extra features. I don’t blog on a phone or tablet, I use a PC. So I cannot speak for those of you blogging on mobile devices. However, it does all seem to be going a lot more smoothly than expected in 2021.

And no, I am not going to say anything negative this time, I’m trying to be positive about my blogging hobby from now on.

Another bonus has been the number of new bloggers who seem to understand not only what to do, but how to do it well. They leave nice comments, reply to comments, and don’t expect everything to happen overnight. Well done to all of you who can recognise yourselves in that category. I hope you carry on blogging, and soon become part of this great community.

So that’s all really. After more than two years of constantly slagging off everything to do with ‘Mr Blocky’, I have finally stopped.

New Bloggers: A Helping Hand

It seems that a lot of the new bloggers who have arrived on WordPress this year are keen to read about some tips and advice to help them get a start in blogging.

My three recent posts on the subject have received well over 2,300 views in a very short time.

Now we all have different ideas about what makes for good blogging, and also different views on blogging ‘etiquette’. For the new people to become part of any community will take some time of course. Meanwhile, we can all help them along the way with any useful tips and advice that might spring to mind.

I won’t be asking everyone to put up a post on the subject, don’t worry. You are all busy with your own blogs and lives, so another suggestion from me is the last thing you need.

That said, adding a comment to this post won’t take you long. It might help a new blogger, encourage them to continue to blog, and eventually grow this wonderful community that we all enjoy being a part of.

So all I am asking is that if you have any blogging rules you swear by, or some valuable tips that you have yet to share, just add them as a comment below.

The post will stay up, and hopefully be found by many of those new bloggers.

Thanks in advance, and best wishes to everyone. Pete.

Blogging: A Question Answered

Many new bloggers ask what they are doing wrong. They get few views, almost no comments, and feel unhappy about the lack of followers.

With that in mind, I wrote this ‘advice’ post on the 14th of this month.

So far, it has been viewed over 500 times.(Update on 27/2/21 Now 900 views!)
It has received 256 ‘Likes’.
Comments on the post number more than 115. (231 if you count my replies)

More than 30 bloggers have followed my blog as a direct result of reading this post.

It seems to me that this post has provided the answer to your question.

Perhaps you should be writing about blogging? 🙂

Blogging: Lead By Example

A lot of new bloggers arrived in 2021, and I am grateful that quite a few chose to follow my blog. Some of them wrote on their own blogs about how they are struggling to get to grips with blogging, had few followers, and little or no traffic. A couple even contacted me by email, asking for suggestions on how to build up their readership.

Of course, we all know that two months of blogging is too soon, and no indication of how your blogging experience might turn out. But excited new bloggers can find that initial lack of interaction very disappointing, especially if they have arrived here from fast-paced platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

So once again, I am offering some tips about how to make blogging work. Whether they bother to use them is up to them.

1) Lead by example. Blog how you would be blogged to.

2) If you follow another blogger, then at least comment on their posts occasionally. Once a month is adequate, if you are busy. Once a week is better though.

3) If you find you are not enjoying the content of a particular blogger, unfollow them. It’s easy to do that.

4) Never ask anyone to follow you back by writing ‘Please follow my blog’ as a comment.

5) Definitely never ‘tell’ anyone to follow you by writing ‘Follow my blog’ as a comment.

6) Engage and debate by all means, but never Troll or be rude. If you don’t like someone’s opinions, stop following them. And then ask yourself why you followed them in the first place.

7) Avoid boasting. Things like ‘I have already published six books’. ‘I have sold 1,000 copies of my e-book’, etc. Nobody likes a bighead. Of course this does not exclude you from promoting your own work on your blog, it’s a great way to do that. Just be nice about the way you do it.

8) Don’t try to upstage a blogger writing about illness or grief by stating that you are worse than them, or have more to grieve about. That’s tacky.

9) Be polite, and do not use swear-words in comments.

10) Thank people who follow your blog by leaving a thank you comment on one of their posts.
(Not required for people just trying to sell you things, or promoting their own religion)

11) Don’t expect all your followers to read everything you post.

12) Don’t expect any followers to leave a comment, but be pleased when they do.

13) Reply to those comments, to show them that you appreciate the time and effort. Even if only to say ‘thanks for commenting’.

14) Don’t expect a regular readership if you don’t post any content. You can’t put up a couple of posts, then sit back and not bother to add more content. Followers will disappear like ice melting if you do that.

15) Keep going. Two months is not enough time to see if your blog will be popular. It might turn out to be, but you must not be impatient.

There you have fifteen easy to follow suggestions that may help you enjoy blogging more than you are at the moment.

A Strange Year Of Blogging

Who could have guessed that 2020 would turn out like this? Six months on, the world of blogging has been increased by the huge number of ‘Virus Bloggers’, those who have started blogging to make their own record of this memorable year. I have read a great deal of blog posts about Covid-19, from heartbreaking personal memoirs, detailed record-keeping of the spread in certain countries or cities, through to those that have a feeling it never really existed.

In the last few weeks, Twitter has started to see many people who have had enough of lockdowns, and want to quickly get back to real life, as they see it. Some of those tweeting are also bloggers, but not all of course. In the main, I am happy to see that most of you in our well-established community are content to still fear the effects of the virus, and the possibility of that second wave. You are keeping safe, and so am I.

But we have all seen images of crowded beaches, parties, and other gatherings on the news media. Predominantly younger people who still regard themselves as being immune, for some inexplicable reason.
But I digress.

As far as blogging is concerned, those ‘Virus Bloggers’ are providing an amazing resouce for future historians. Just imagine if there had been the Internet, or other forms of widespread communication, at the various times the Black Death ravaged Europe, and other parts of the world? We might have even been able to learn something, about surviving a pandemic.

Or maybe not.

‘Invited To Follow’

In case you didn’t know, WordPress has a feature that enables you to invite other bloggers to follow your blog.

Admin Dashboard>
Invite New

Since I started blogging in 2012, I have never once ‘agreed’ to follow anyone who has contacted me in this way, and I still get around five a week on average. The people who use this facility are usually innocent of the implication, I am sure. But nontheless, they expect me to follow their blog without so much as a ‘Like’ or comment on even one of my own posts. In many cases, the blogs are brand new, with little or no content, so I have no idea what I might even be following.

I think WordPress should remove this general facility. If I want to follow a blog, I will find it eventually.

I have ignored no less than three of these already today, though part of me feels sorry for those bloggers who think it might be the normal thing to do.

Lockdown: #followonenewblog

Most of us already follow too many blogs to keep up with, I know.

I follow 112 other bloggers, and more than 60% of those are active, and posting regularly. Making sure I read their posts and make a relevant or pertinent comment takes up a lot of time. But it is important to me to be a ‘good follower’, and keep up the community spirit in our circle of bloggers.

I get asked all the time to follow new bloggers, and sadly have to decline. Sometimes it is because they are blogging about hair and make-up, something that is of no interest to me, or their blog might be evangelically religious, something else I have always avoided.

But the main reason I don’t follow when asked is because of the amount of blogs I already follow, and the time that takes. I am sure that this applies to everyone else too, in different degrees. However, following on from my earlier post about all those new bloggers who have decided to start blogging, ‘The Blog Explosion’, I have decided to do something.

I will choose one of those new bloggers, and follow them, starting today. This is the one I have chosen at random. It is a new blog, started by a lady in Russia.

Lucky Day . Journal of one dreamer.

And I am making a friendly suggestion that all of you who are able to do so, should do the same. Imagine the encouragement they will get from having even one new follower, especially if that follower is an established blogger who is already part of a great community on WordPress.

And at a time when we are unable to meet new people face to face, what better way to communicate something positive, to a complete stranger?


Let’s hope the idea catches on. 🙂

Best wishes to everyone as always, Pete.