I’ve been on WordPress for two whole years, and, like a ruddy moron, I’ve come to realize I have been going at a few things the wrong way. Categories and Tags, to be precise. I’m now getting ready to start on my third year, and, finally, I turned my attention to my stats and the progress (or lack thereof) I’ve had over the course of the time. Given the fact I’ve been here since January 2017, one would think I would have learned a few things.
Important things, I mean. Like Categories and Tags, godsforbid!
I’m shy of 190 followers. Shy of three years, well over 700 days here, and I realize, as far as my reach is concerned, my progress is remarkedly horrific. I’m not good at blogging, am I? No, I most certainly am not. Because, when it boils down to the meat of the issue, I’m an inconsistent moron who doesn’t pay attention.
So, here I am. And, what, exactly am I doing? I’m embarking on a masterpiece among many of my other works in progress, this one I shall title:
Blogging Tips for Idiots: A Self-Directed Guide of Not Being a Moron
The point of this lovely idea of mine? I know what I wanted when I started this blog. I think we all have an idea of the same goal when we start: hundreds of followers and as many likes on our blogs, consistent commentaries, thoughtful insight, debates and arguments and ‘flames’…all which I have failed, miserable, to achieve. Granted, the main force behind my joining was simply to perfect my skills as a writer, but the point remains regardless.
A writer writes with the intent to get noticed. Bloggers strive to draw attention to their ideas and lives and passions through written words. I’m the same. I focused on an area that wasn’t all that logical, considering a large majority of the world doesn’t read all that much. Harry Potter was such a huge success because it got children, and adults, reading once again. It was a miracle in the eyes of many, something which had confused me at the time considering I’ve always had a book to my nose.
So, here I am, at the end of the year, in the cold of my attic that is my bedroom and my studio, contemplating the idea of making ‘Blogging Tips for Idiots: A Self-Directed Guide of Not Being a Moron.’ That’s a mouthful. It’s an honest idea, however, considering I’m in the process of bashing my head through a wall (while also contemplating hurling my laptop across the room or down a flight of stairs) because of the fact I’ve been an idiot.
How Not To Be A Blogging Idiot: Tips & Tricks!
There’s content everywhere for this subject, but this, right here, in front of your face, is, without doubt, relevant for a reason. Look at my followers. I have ~190. For two, going on three years, that’s sucky. My views, as I’m writing this, 31 (and climbing), and the number of likes I’ve gotten is half of that number. The statistics speak for themselves!
There’s a way to not fudge up like I have. I’m gonna tell you and pray each and every one of you will take to heart what I’m gonna say because I’m going to be spending a lot of time going through all of my 100+ posts to fix a grievous error. While most would say the first thing to work on is the actual writing, having content and good posts…
…I say fuck’em. Loudly.
Categories & Tags, lovelies, is where you need to start.
“Why,” you ask?
Because the two serve a vital purpose for the blog you’ll be running and knowing what the two are, and what they represent, will save you time and energy. The categories are the main topics you’ll be writing about – be it life in general, writing, poetry, traveling around the world. Categories are the ‘big picture’ of the blog.
The tags are the small details.
I’ll use myself as an example. My blog centers on writing. Short stories. Flash fiction. The occasional poem. Reflections and quotes and ideas about random, stupid shit. In that way, my blog also covers life, blogging, art (I paint), books (in the making, as I do read but rarely say anything about it), Video Games (I’m a gamer, sue me), Spirituality (I’m pagan with a semi-Christain outlook due to my upbringing, but not in a traditional sense), and YouTube (as I’m on there often and uploading videos all the time).
Looking at that, my categories would be, in a logical sense, as follows:
- Video Games
The last on the list, Other, simply states the topic at hand doesn’t fall into the other eight categories. Those categories would make up my blog, as a whole. Eight topics would I could pick between to define whatever my post is about because, as I know myself and my habits, it would be one of those I would be discussing. Without fail. Those make up the majority of my topics and posts here on Wandering Worlds.
Take a guess how many categories I actually have. Go on. Guess.
Some of you might be thinking: 10 or 15.
You’re wrong, though. Try 25 categories and two stupid, redundant subcategories! Twenty-five! 25! Read that carefully. It’s absurd, how many categories I have. Even more absurd is the fact I can’t delete any of them. They’re there. Forever. It’s maddening, given I’m a rather anal individual and I want to cut them out so they don’t keep staring me in the face. I’m halfway tempted to start from scratch, but I wouldn’t be able to do that. Nope, not with a clear conscience.
Next in the list are tags, which are keywords. Defining words.
So, for the purpose of the running examples, I’ll expand on the categories I listed for myself and tack on tags for them. I’ll put them in a different color. That way we can all see how this works from a bird’s eye view. Red will be categories, as they are the big picture and encompass a broad range of ideas and possibilities. Dark blue will be the tags, as they work with the categories to bring in the big picture.
- Writing: Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, Flash Fiction, Short Stories, Tips, ETC…
- Blogging: Tips & Tricks, Writing, Inspiration, Ideas, ETC…
- Art: Painting, Acrylic Painting, Acrylic Pour, Acrylic Pouring, Weaving, Crafts, ETC…
- Life: Decluttering, Healthy Eating, Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness, ETC…
- Books: Book Reviews, Lessons Learned, Books to Read, Recommended, ETC…
- Video Games: Legend of Zelda, Skyrim, Harvest Moon
- Spirituality: Paganism, Meditation, Oracle, Runes, Druidry, ECT…
- Youtube: Videos, Links To Videos, Favorite YouTubers, ETC…
- Other: Food, Photography, Quotes, Movies, Random Events, ETC…
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, some of the tags are also categories, which makes sense. It isn’t unusual to have them overlap or to have several categories in one post. This post here, that you’re reading, has three Categories: Writing, Blogging, Life. The reason for this is easy enough – I’m writing, obviously, this is about blogging, and it is also a big part of my life as a writer and blogger. Three categories. The tags for this would be tips, tips and tricks, inspiration, blogging tips, and mindfulness.
There’s a generally understood rule of ‘no more than fifteen,’ by the way. Meaning it isn’t a good idea to have more than 15 categories and tags as a whole. Meaning, as I have three categories, I should limit my tags to twelve (12) to make sure things work as well as they possibly can. Fun tip to keep in mind. This is something I’ve just learned, so you know. After two years, I stumbled upon that rule of thumb.
Other Blogging Tips
This is what generally makes it to the top of the list for newbies. Content is a must for anyone who is running a blog, either for general purposes or for a website. Content draws readers. Content engages readers. Content is not an easy thing that can be overlooked. Regardless of the content in question, there are rules that should be obeyed at all times.
No Bulky Paragraphs: No one wants to read an entire wall of text. Try and limit each paragraph to a range of 5-7 sentences (reasonably sized sentences, might I add). A post that had broken in it allows readers to engage with the content and not get a ruddy mirage while staring at a paragraph that’s over a thousand words long. Just don’t do it.
Spelling, Grammar, & Transitions: For content, this is, perhaps, the biggest point that can be made. Bulky walls of text can be overlooked, but if the spelling and the general Laws of English aren’t obeyed…the chance of anyone reading the post are slimmer. Simple, clear language is needed. Transitions between one point in a discussion to the next (like my rant to the tips and tricks marked by a clear scene break) is a good thing to use, too.
When blogging, the only way to draw a following is through consistency. It’s so very important to have fresh, current topics and writing out. If there isn’t, the posts will fade into the background in the Reader. By uploading posts, at least once a week, is a good way of developing a body of writing to read and also to keep drawing the eyes of other WordPress users.
On the same note, it’s also good to respond to comments left by those who read your content. It doesn’t hurt to go back and read their stuff, a post or two at the most if they do. It’s an Equilivant Exchange. This is the polite, respectful thing to do, as each reader who does take the time to respond are taking time out of their possibly hectic lives to leave some feedback. Respect That.
There are thousands of other posts and websites and books out in the world that discuss whatever you’re writing about. There’s no getting around that, either. It’s best to accept that as a Univeral Law. Even if the topic you are covering has been done a thousand-times-and-one, you can still discuss it. Try and bring a new light or view to it. Discuss how it resonates with you, talk about lessons you gleaned from the topic, why you think it’s wrong or right. There’s always something that can be added to the topic in question.
Above all else, have courage. Everyone knows it can be difficult to put our thoughts, ideas, and our creative, written inventions out for everyone to see. It takes considerable courage to discuss controversial subjects. It’s hard to discuss the low points in our lives, to hand it out to others to digest and offer feedback.
There are, undoubtedly, hundreds of other tips and tricks for writing on a blog. These are the ones I know of, the ones which I’ve known, to a degree, but didn’t grasp until it slapped me in the face and spit in my eye. There’s probably stuff we all can do with our pages themselves, such as our Contact and Homepages. We can likely add pictures and videos into the posts themselves to make them prettier to look at. Give the readers a break from all the reading they have to do.
WHat counts, for the moment, is what I know. What I know is above.
Take it or leave. The choice is yours.