Blog Action Day involved thousands of bloggers from over one hundred countries. It was the second time I had taken part. My post was the result of a great deal of thought and a certain amount of writing and editing over at least two months.
I was nervous about writing about the topic I had chosen. There is still stigma attached to mental health, although as I wrote in my post, there are campaigns to reduce this.
My post stimulated some interest. I had encouraging comments from new readers. These were some of the best comments I have ever received. I also gained two new followers. I hope they will not be disappointed by my future posts. The number of 5-star votes will ensure that this post is easily accessible for some time.
I was so excited by the quality of the comments that I tweeted about them and Blog Action Day featured my tweet on their rebel-mouse (new to me!)
WordPress used the Blog Action Day topic (inequality) for their Daily Prompt, so once that was published I linked to it for extra exposure. (They expect posts to be written as a response, but more than once their prompt has coincided with something I had already planned.) The Daily Prompt is a good means of attracting readers. It is a good idea to use the category “Daily Prompt” and to link to the page where it was published. In most cases, copying the text of the prompt gives context to a response.
Recently I have been interacting with bloggers and writers on Facebook and Twitter. Some of these are new to blogging and are learning as they blog (just as I did when I started my first blog in July 2012). For their benefit, I’d like to point out a few ways of improving blogs and pitfalls to avoid. Categories and tags help people find what they are interested in. Copyright is a tricky issue. There was recently some discussion on Facebook about it. Both words and pictures are protected. It is a good idea to check what is permitted.
If pictures are included in blogs, formatting posts so that the text appears around the pictures is pleasing to the eye. The first time I took part in Blogging from A to Z in April I suspect one reader did not scroll down to find my text. There was a complaint that my blog was not loading properly.
For new bloggers on WordPress there are support documents and forums containing lots of useful information. I am a bit of a techie and enjoy reading about problems and solutions, but many people just want to write and publish their posts. Presentation is important. I do not often use photos, but many readers are attracted by them. Setting out paragraphs with enough white space matters to me. I sometimes use colour for particular purposes and bold or italic print. For poetry I use single spacing, which is not the default. (Shift and enter is required.) Uploading files from Word, I find that I have to use Control +V to paste the content in the New Post box. A poem then has to be reformatted.
It is not a bad idea to look through all the headings on the WordPress dashboard (or its equivalent on other platforms) and find out what they do. There are lots of ways that we bloggers can choose how we interact with others. The appearance of a blog is something I looked at in my post 20 widgets explained.
If you are a new blogger, what have you found most difficult in getting started and in attracting readers?
And if you read blogs, do you know how to find older/newer posts? I have a page explaining how to find posts on this blog.