Back, But Not Quite Back

Well, I am back from my holiday week by the sea, and delighted to report that I am smiling! The weather was perfect; nice temperatures combined with blue skies and a sea breeze. The one shower we encountered was when we were driving back from somewhere, and it only lasted for ten minutes.

All in all, the perfect English seaside holiday.

Ollie enjoyed his change of scene, and made new friends too. He even got to sample a special canine ice cream, and there will be a photo of him enjoying that in due course. As we have been to that same place on four previous occasions, there will not be many new photos other than some of our accommodation, and Ollie relaxing.

But returning home to a house left closed up for seven days means there are jobs to be done, so I will not be back to blogging until next week. Meanwhile, I have had to delete hundreds of emails and post notifications, so apologies for not being around your blogs. However, I will do my best to reply to all comments left during my absence, and will get on that starting from Monday.

My thanks to everyone who continued to read this blog while I was away, ensuring that I had steady numbers of views even when I wasn’t around.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Just Back

Hello to everyone. I have just returned from my four day holiday in gloriously hot and sunny weather.

During that time away, I did not look at any emails or blog posts, did not turn on my mobile phone, or watch anything on TV.

After unloading the car, I have just logged on to find 96 posts, and around 30 comments on some of mine. I cannot possibly catch up on the posts I have missed, so will be starting from scratch from tomorrow. My apologies if that means I have missed something crucial or important. If so, you can let me know by email.

The latest fiction serial ‘A Good Runner’ will continue from tomorrow. Sorry to have interrupted it, and I hope that hasn’t ruined your enjoyment.

I will do my best to reply to all comments on my posts as soon as possible.

Best wishes from an unusually sunny and warm (hot) Beetley.

Pete.

Blogging: Content Is King

This post is mainly for the information of new bloggers. The rest of us already know about it.

I have recently reduced the amount of time I spend blogging. Going from 4-5 posts a day down to 1 or 2 has given me lots more time to do other things that were being neglected in favour of writing and blogging.

Reaching a peak of over 800 views some days, my own blog was tying up a great deal of the day, mainly spent replying to comments on posts. Then I had to read and comment on the posts of bloggers that I follow.

Many new bloggers ask questions about why so few people read a post on their blogs. They write something, put it out there, and they are then disappointed when hardly anyone reads it, or engages with it.

My answer to them has always been that they have to keep providing content for people to read. I have often used the phrase ‘content is king’.

Now my recent experiment offers solid evidence of this theory.

After cutting back on posts, I saw daily views drop considerably. As that was my intention, it wasn’t an issue. Views were averaging less than 200 a day, with a peak ten days ago of 450, for two posts. This Monday, I was very late posting.

With nothing new to offer the readers, my views dropped to a dramatic low of just 47. After posting late, that jumped to 210 views by midnight.

There you have it, proof positive. Content is king.

Easing Off: An Update

I am now two weeks into my plan of easing off the blog for a while. Some of you will recall this post, at the end of May.

Easing Off

Since then, I have been publishing my fiction serial, and adding one other post most days. That has dropped my output from 4-5 posts most days, to one every day, two on some days.

The effect on the blog stats has been dramatic, proving that to a large extent that the more I posted, the more views followed. I have gone from 750-800 views a day, down to 325-360. This has freed up a considerable amount of time answering blog comments, and I have still been able to follow other blogs and comment on those posts as I did before.

Because the hot weather arrived, I have been walking Ollie earlier than usual, and the extra free time before and after those walks has meant that I have been able to tackle routine housework more regularly, and keep on top of cutting the grass and doing some weeding in the garden.

Easing off seems to have worked out well, and as long as the good weather is with us in Beetley, I will continue to do that.

Thanks as always to everyone who has stuck with me, the new followers who are still arriving daily, and the regular readers of my latest serial, one that I am very much enjoying writing.

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.