An Alphabet Of My Life: W

W=Wordpress.

WordPress to me means blogging, but I used something else for ‘B’.

I came late to blogging. It was not until after a suggestion from my friend Antony that I even considered starting a blog. He thought it would be something for me to do once I retired from work. I looked into it, and decided that WordPress was the platform to choose. At the time (2012) it was the easy option. The process was laid out in a way I could understand, and it was free too.

Those first few posts were very short. I let my friends and family know that I had started a blog, and they encouraged me by leaving occasional comments. Some of them even followed my blog, and I started to become aware of other bloggers, and followed some.

A year later, I was having interaction and engagement with a selection of followers, and starting to feel like I was part of an international community. I even started a second blog with a very different theme, though I don’t post much on there.

Since then, I have added photos, written fictional stories and serials, told the world about my life in a small village with my dog Ollie, and reflected on my past in London. Although follower numbers increased dramatically, and I have now published 5,257 posts, it is usually the same core group of committed and much-valued followers who read and comment on my blog posts.

Blogging not only keeps your mind active, and allows you to express your emotions and opinions, it also introduces you to some amazing people from all around the world. You gain an insight into the lives of people from other countries that you have never visited, and different cultures to your own. Blogging is great, but you have to stick at it, and engage to get the full value from it.

I’m so glad I started a blog. My life has been enriched by blogging, despite the glitches, frustrations, and occasional annoyances.

“Invites You To Follow…”

One feature available on WordPress is that a blogger can ‘Invite you to follow’ their blog. During the past ten years of blogging, I have received an ‘Invite to follow’ email on more than sixty occasions. The latest one appeared on Sunday evening.

To this date, I have NEVER followed a single blogger who sent me an invitation asking me to follow their blog.

I might be ‘old school’, (and occasionally grumpy) but to me that is somewhere between begging, and bad manners. The bloggers I follow work hard to create good content. Most of them also follow my own blog, but not all. They write about things I want to read, publish photos I want to look at, or just ooze the kind of personality and character that makes them irresistible to follow.

Not one of them, to my knowledge, has ever emailed a complete stranger asking them to follow their blog.

Blogging is a community exercise. We look after each other, care about each other, comment on posts, make suggestions, offer useful links. We share experiences, whatever our differences of age, location, politics, or beliefs.

A good blogger DOES NOT email someone out of the blue, and ask that person to follow their blog.

So if anyone else is thinking of asking me to follow their blog by sending me an unsolicited WordPress email, I have two words for you. (In bold type.)

DON’T BOTHER.

Has Blogging Reached Its Peak?

With new followers as rare as hen’s teeth, and many of the ‘Lockdown Bloggers’ disappearing as quickly as they arrived in 2020, I am left wondering whether or not Blogging has had its day.

From limited research, it would seem that Instagram and You Tube have attracted people who might otherwise have been blogging. The instant gratification of a photo or video is a lot less work that an 700-word blog post or a fiction serial, let’s face it.

Over the past few months, I have noticed that comments on my posts are almost always from the same group of people. No complaints about that, as they are my blogging friends, and I value their input and contribution to our community more than I can say.

But casting my eye over other blogs, there is definite evidence of a ‘slowdown’. Many are receiving fewer comments, and no replies to replies. The Reader seems to be being used to just ‘Like’ posts almost immediately, and the amount of comments generated by most posts is falling all over WordPress.

So, does this matter? Personally, I would blog to online tumbleweed, comments or not. But many bloggers are becoming frustrated by the lack of engagement in 2022, and I understand that frustration. I confess that I am lucky. I have amazing followers, regular comments, and daily blog views are usually around 300 since the ‘slowdown’.

Becoming part of such a community takes commitment, and a lot of time at the keyboard. Content is king. So if you do not post regularly, you will get sparse views of your old ones.

Let’s all agree to keep up with the blogs we follow. Show some encouragement, leave comments as well as likes, and keep the circle of blogging alive.

If not, what was it all for?

Comments Changes On WordPress

Since posting recently about not being able to leave comments on blogs I follow, I have managed to cure that problem by using the Reader to comment on posts where that was happening.

However, there seems to be something else happening with WP, double comments.

When someone comments on my blog posts, I get an email notification. That’s as it has always been. But now when they reply to my reply, I get two emails containing that reply. One is notified as a reply to my comment, the second one notified as a ‘new comment’ on my blog post.

To add to that, I am also getting notifications about my own comments, as if it is not my blog. “Beetleypete has left a comment”.

This has trebled the amount of emails I receive in the space of two weeks, as sometimes there will be six email notifications about one comment and a reply.

Has anyone else noticed this development, or is it just affecting me?

Comments Glitches Again

It looks as if WordPress has put me on the naughty step again, for reasons best known to them.

On some blogs I follow, my comments are coming up as ‘Anonymous’. On some others, I am being asked to ‘Fill in required fields’. But there are no required fields to fill in, so my comment will not appear. This is happening on a few blogs at the moment, but may well spread. As we all know from experience.

So if you spot one of my ‘Likes’ on your blog post, but no comment, at least you know I tried.

Best wishes, Pete.

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.

petejohnson50@yahoo.com

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

Spam And Trash Folders

It is only Thursday, and so far this week I have had to recover 17 genuine comments from either the Spam or Trash folders.

None of these comments contained any ‘banned words’, and none had any links, suspicious or otherwise. It appears that WP is dumping some comments randomly again, so you may all want to check these folders before deleting them in bulk.

A Small But Irritating Change

This morning, I noticed a different style in the email notifications I receive for comments on my blog posts.

They now appear as shown below. However, when I click on ‘Reply’, it no longer goes straight to the comment as it did before. Instead it takes me to the top of the post itself, and I have to scroll down to locate the comment. Another small change from WordPress, and a minor irritation in my blogging enjoyment.

New comment on beetleypete

Stevie Turner

commented on A Real Spy Story: Part Twenty-Eight

In response to beetleypete:

This is the twenty-eighth part of a fiction serial, in 897 words. Helen was ready for me the next morning, reasonably well …

Hurray! She’s free!

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Plan Changes: The Official Word From WordPress

Thanks to Audrey for the link.
https://wordpress.com/blog/2022/04/05/introducing-wordpress-pro-one-plan-infinite-possibilities/

WordPress breaks its silence on the lack of information concerning new plans, and also makes some changes since announcing them last week.

You can read the full post from the link above. Meanwhile here are some sections that might help us all calm down (again).

No changes to paid plans already in place, and now 1 GB of space on any new Free plans. (Up from 0.5 GB last week.) Traffic limits scrapped.

We’re listening to your feedback, and want to be clear that it will, as always, shape the future of WordPress.com.

With that in mind, we’re committing to:

No traffic limits on either the Free or Pro plan. You’ll enjoy the same unlimited traffic you’ve always had.
The new Free plan storage limit will include 1GB of Free storage, and existing Free users will keep the 3GB they already have on hand.
Additional storage will be available for purchase at a very reasonable price, very soon.
As-you-need them add-ons for both plans, to give you a la carte upgrades. Coming soon.

Existing users before 1/4/22 keep the current deal.

How This Affects Your Current Plan
While we’re making a few changes to the Free plan, rest assured that if you’re already signed up, nothing will change for you. Ditto, if you’re on one of our legacy plans, nothing will change unless you want it to.

Going forward, new signups and sites will integrate smoothly into our new Free and Pro plans.

So, new bloggers have either 1 GB on a Free plan, or the option of Pro, prepaid at $15 a month. Everyone else who was blogging before April this year should remain unaffected.

Now we have to wait and see if they stick to those promises.