Easing Off

Everyone who follows this blog will know that I have been posting a great deal during the past year or more. Three posts most days, four on some, even five on occasion.

Tomorrow, I start publication of a new fiction serial, and other than any exceptional happenings concerning Ollie, or the welcome receipt of a guest post, that will be the only post until it concludes. I am easing off, and will not be posting so much for a while, as I genuinely feel that I have been churning out too much, for too long. That’s a big ask from my readers, and my dear blogging friends.

So if you were wondering, (and why on Earth should you?) that is why there will not be so many posts from me, starting this week.

I hope everyone in England had an enjoyable Spring Bank Holiday, and that everyone in America was able to remember their fallen, on Memorial Day.

The weather here today was glorious, and we took Ollie to Thetford Forest, for a change of scene. That change of scene was mostly for me of course. Ollie would have been much happier to do his usual circuits of Beetley Meadows and Hoe Rough. But he does enjoy a car journey, so forty minutes each way made him feel good to be in ‘his’ car.

WordPress Strikes Early!

Well it seems that WordPress understands ‘Late 2021’ to be the last week in March. With no warning, the ‘Classic’ option was removed from my blog today.

I am now stuck with ‘their way or the highway’. In other words, the hated and detested Block Editor. Not-so-fondly referred to by me as ‘Mister Blocky’.

Fortunately, I had already completed the final episode of my serial, and I am using the cheekily-named ‘Classic Block’ to produce this post.

I know many of you have come to love Mister Blocky, so there’s no need to rush to its defence in the comments. But I HATE it, and will continue to do so, whatever you say.

I am hoping to receive a ‘work-around’ that will enable me to use the Old Editor again soon. But in the meantime, if I am not around on my blog, you will know why.

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.

Is Blogging Writing?

Some people write very little on their blogs. Perhaps just captions above or under photos, a list of ingredients for a recipe, or a few lines of Haiku.

That’s fine. I say well done to all of them. Blogging should work for you, and be what you want it to be.

Others use their blogs to promote their published books. ‘Real writing’, by real writers.

Occasionally, a blogger will write 2,000-word posts about their predicament. That might be suffering from depression, the break-up of a relationship, or enduring a lifelong medical condition that affects them in many ways.

Good idea. Get it off your chest, connect with others in similar situations. Blogging as a form of communication.

Diary bloggers tell us about their week. What they did, where they went, who they met. That kind of thing. Travel bloggers do something similar, except that it is usually in an exotic or unusual location.

Then there are bloggers like me. Weather reports, dog-walking, nostalgia pieces. And fiction, a lot of fiction. Some of my long serials published as one story fall just short of the accepted length of a novel. But I don’t try to publish them as novels, and have little interest in doing so.

That begs the question. Am I a blogger, or a writer? Is blogging ‘Writing’, or something completely different?

Over to you.

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.
https://beetleypete.com/2021/02/14/blogging-lead-by-example/

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? 🙂

My Blog

Despite the pandemic, or maybe because of it, my blog has never been busier, or more widely read. Most of my readers are still from America, followed by Britain, then India. But other countries seem to be catching on fast, and recent views include Ghana, Finland, Indonesia, Guadaloupe, and Bangladesh.

I have now published 3,922 posts, and had 466,000 views of my blog, from 148,000 visitors.

Jennie, you know who you are, and you are currently number one in comments on my blog. Thank you.

Daily views in excess of 600 are no longer unusual. And even one post can generate well over 350 views, for which I thank all my followers and readers.

Follower numbers, including social media and email only, now total 7,485.

More than I ever thought possible, even allowing for the fact that some 80% of those never actually ‘follow’.

Thanks anyway, to those of you who really do follow this blog.

It is my habit to keep plugging away at my favourite hobby. I try to write stuff you might want to read, and so far I seem to be doing okay.

So it is a big “Thank You” to everyone.

You make my blogging enjoyable, worthwhile, and rewarding.

Best wishes, Pete.

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.

Tumbleweed Blog

It seems that one feature of the start of 2021 is a distinct lack of blogging activity from the 100+ bloggers that I follow.

Some of you appear to have posted nothing at all, others just entries in ‘challenges’, and those usually prolific bloggers seem to have cut down their output drastically too.

With bad weather outside, and an early dog-walk under my belt, I have had plenty of time today to peruse both the world of WordPress, and even spend more time on Twitter than I usually allocate.

But there is not much happening, and I can feel the proverbial tumbleweed drifting across blank screens and unused keyboards. I even got to the end of my Twitter feed, for only the second time in eight years!

I have made a fair contribution, as this will be my third post today. And I have written up part one of my new serial, if only to give myself something to read. That will appear tomorrow morning, for anyone interested.

If this carries on, I will be having a ‘Blogs Followed’ clearout, and following some new people this year.

In fact, let’s all do that, shall we? Follow someone new, in 2021.

Enjoying A ‘Wallow’

Maybe it’s the time of year, the dark afternoons, or just my age, I don’t know.

But for the last couple of days, I have been enjoying a nostalgic wallow in the early days of my blog. (Hence reposting one of my original ‘Significant Songs’.) Picking a header comment, photo, and theme. Never sure if you got the blog name right, or if anyone was ever going to read so much as one word that you wrote.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I got excited to receive as many as two comments on a post, and sometimes even six likes! I would return to my old computer and check on the progress of a post, just to see if anyone else had left a comment.

One of the sad things about revisiting those posts from the first eighteen months of blogging is seeing comments from former ‘regulars’ who just disappeared, or decided to stop blogging. I wish they were still around, and if any of them read this, I hope you are well.

Using the stats page to see which posts are being read is often a revelation. People have been reading posts that I had forgotten about, and in some cases don’t even remember writing. I love it when someone randomly reads very old stuff, as it reminds me of a time when I really didn’t have the first clue about blogging. (Before you tell me, I know I probably still haven’t)

FR (Fragglerocking) wisely counsels me to always look forward, and to never dwell in the past. But I can’t help myself, especially where my blog is concerned.

I am sure you all remember those tentative first steps. Checking your post over and over before hitting ‘Publish’, then wondering if anyone other than your best friend was ever going to bother to read it. The first time you were notified that you had a follower whose name you didn’t know, or received a comment from an experienced blogger who said something nice about your post.

Blogs needs to evolve to survive, and to remain interesting. But there is little to compare with that thrill of those early posts, and the feeling of dipping a toe into the vast ocean of communication and community known as Blogging.

So if you will forgive me, I am going back for another short wallow.