Blogging – A year in review | For Bloggers

Tomorrow my blog will be a year old. I have learned so much in that year and made such great friends. Setting up the blog was so scary and pressing publish the first time was scarier yet. I don’t know what I was expecting to happen but only good things did.

One of my friends helped me set up. When she showed up at my house I was beside myself because I hadn’t come up with a title. My friend and another friend from work bombarded me with suggestions until I came up with my title.  From then on it was easy.

Other bloggers found me and showered me with “likes” and “comments.” Thank you bloggers! The energy that comes from the readers is what forges us onward. I quickly found my group of blogger friends.

Some of my original blogger friends are gone. Whenever I stop seeing someone visit or post, I get a sense of loss. Fortunately, there are new bloggers who fill the void.

WordPress is a great site for me. At times it exasperates me (just like a spouse) but it’s free and helpful and does what I need. I wish the document builder in it was more user-friendly but I have adapted.

The best thing that WP did for me was to Freshly Press one of my posts. When I read about FP, I decided it was like winning the lottery. There are many, many great writers who blog all the time. I kept my expectations low and was stunned when it happened. I was equally stunned when it was for a post that is not typical of my writing (go figure!). That broadened my exposure and I hope some of those readers have come back.

Here are some lessons I have learned in the past year.

  • Posting Frequency – Despite everyone’s urging, it is not necessary to post every day. If you are composing stories and want them to be meaningful and well written, it is hard to post everyday unless you don’t have a life. Daily bloggers may be tempted to do a diary of their daily activities. These are much harder to make interesting. Some bloggers post daily pictures or inspirational sayings which are very interesting. There are no blogging police to scold you so post as it works for you.
  • Readers’ quirks – I just can’t figure out readers. My favorite posts aren’t necessarily the most popular. My favs are the obituary one, the Starbucks drive-through experience and old people smell. The reader favs are the one about my Grandmother immigrating (Freshly Pressed) and new computers. In response to a blogger contest I composed “The Uninspired Chronicles” which received the most comments next to the Grandmother post.
  • Adding media – Using your own photos is better than any photo site. Zemanta is easy as it is already on the WP site but the photos don’t always work for the topic. I usually had to crop, enlarge, or reduce anything I found on the internet and you are starting with a small file. If I was more talented, I would do my own illustrations. Maybe I will in the future but don’t expect too much more than stick people.
  • Time of Day – Figuring out the best time to post has been impossible for me. From the stats, I could see the most commented time for my blog is 9 a.m. Does that mean a morning post is better than an evening post? When you first post, you are listed on the WP page under your category. Because of the post volume you are only at the top for minutes. You always hope that someone new wanting to read about a specific topic like humor will click on your post, like it and subscribe.
  • Popular post days – Saturday posts are not particularly good. I have done well with Friday and Sunday posts but mid-week is the best. Maybe it’s just my site but the summer seems to be slower. Even regulars don’t read regularly (me too!).
  • Animal lovers are among the most loyal readers. Not a surprise!
  • Statistical craziness – WP gives you all kinds of statistical data on your blog activity. Some of it doesn’t really add up but you get over that. For the first six months I was mesmerized by it. Wow! People are actually reading this stuff. Then it wears off. I can go to sleep without checking my stats now.

Things that turn me off about a post:

  • When the first sentence says, “Excuse my grammar/spelling but I didn’t have time to proof this.” Well, if you don’t have time neither do I.
  • Useless foul language. I am no prude but what’s the point? Somehow the bad words don’t have the same impact in writing that they do spoken out loud.
  • Overly long posts — although there are a few bloggers who can pull that off really well.
  • Don’t tell me what you did today unless there is a good story there.
  • Whiny posts unless they are funny.

What I love about posts:

  • Good writing
  • Sincerity
  • Creativity
  • A post that makes me spit my coffee out my nose (I know, that’s gross but true).
  • Something new to learn
  • Beautiful pictures or illustrations
  • I don’t follow cooking blogs but every once in a while one of my regulars posts a recipe which I will try.
  • Did I mention good writing! 

There are two things you can do to encourage other bloggers – hit that “like” button when you enjoy the post and comment when inspired. Those are gold!

The past year has been fun. I love my blogging buddies and my readers. I learned so much and have received encouragement to incorporate my HR Memories somehow into a book. Thank you all!

Photo credits: Gotjenks (Flicker)

47 thoughts on “Blogging – A year in review | For Bloggers

  1. Congratulations on your 1st anniversary of blogging. Your suggestions are worth following. I run a bit hot and cold with what I am doing. I do keep getting this advice. …. Do it your own way.

    We all do have a style of some sort. We are not going to please everyone and we are not going to like everyone’s blog. I like the comments I get that establish a back and forth. I try to make comments that are meaningful and get a bit of conversation going.

    I like your cat. I started writing about my neighbor’s cat early in my blog because I was looking for something to write about. :) I try to include Nikkie every once in a while.

    Here’s to another great year for you!!

    • Doing your own thing is key. At first the advice I got was to pick a target audience and structure for them. Heck, I like variety myself so I guess my audience has to like it too. Most of us blog our ourselves first, then hope someone else likes it.

  2. awww yay! happy birthday to your blog! :D

    I am riatarded, well I used to be! :p

    I seriously envy people who can post every day! I MEAN HOW! LIKE SERIOUSLY!

  3. A year milestone is really a grand accomplishment. I know when I first started blogging I didn’t really think down the line to making it a year. Personally I didn’t really know what I was doing! But isn’t it fun to have made so many new friends. I enjoyed the analysis of how WP works. You’ve more insight into it than I ever had, so it’s good to read some specifics. And yes, I think summer has cut into all of our readerships. I know I’m definitely so busy I’m always at least a day and a half behind! Others have said the same thing. Fall should begin to move us all back into your regular slots! :-) Congratulations, Kate! Debra

    • I don’t really know if I am WP savvy. Recently, on the dashboard WP started showing only icons on the left instead of the words. Can’t figure out if I did something that changed it or WP did. I am not good at remembering what icons really mean and the comments icon doesn’t show the number of comments. If you have any thoughts on that I’m all ears.

  4. As a comparatively new blogger( three months) I was intrigued by your summings up, and I also LOVE the pictures of your cats… found your mystification about what people like to read really interesting… I did one on Bloggers Complexes a few weeks ago, that got more traffic than anything else,. and yet the things I thought would hit the spot didn’t really …
    Anyway, congratulations on your year of blogging… I can’t even visualize it yet!

    • Keep on blogging! I am always surprised that many bloggers quit after a few months — even some who write really good blog posts. Maybe life intervenes. I also love that you named your blog after yourself. Had I really thought about it long term, I would have done that. It’s easier for people to remember than any other name you use.

      • Thank you Kate for your kind comments. Funnily enough, I cringed when I saw my blog was named after me, I thought it was going to have the name that my printer asked me to think up at point blank range, so i said Great days… don’t know where that’s got to…
        I felt it seemed rather egotistical, but it seems to have worked anyway!

  5. Standing applause here! Congrats on the blog-o-versary. Interesting to read your thoughts on the year – good insights there (Love the coffee out the nose comment – it’s so true!)
    OK you’re committed: we’ll be waiting for the stick figures…just stick them in anytime…real coffee snorters, those! (and you know we are sticking around here!)

  6. Congratulations on your “Birthday!”

    However, now that I know what you don’t like in a blog, I gotta ask – why do you read me again?

  7. Congratulations, Kate. I usually read around 9 because that’s when I’ve got all the absolutely-must-do’s done for the morning. Your blog is a welcome break.

  8. Happy Blogging Birthday, Kate! To think I knew you way back when. I look forward to reading your posts each week and enjoy the variety of topics you offer up.

    The information in this post was a great for beginning bloggers and encouraging for those of us who’ve been doing this for a year. Here’s to another year of great posts!

  9. I love your blog! I come to a blog to entertain me, inform me, get myself out of…”myself!”. You are well written, and your sense of humor makes me wish you were a friend in real life. Never stop… Please!

  10. Don’t ever stop. It is like a breah of fresh , entertainingly fresh, air to read your blog. So many that we read are flat and mean nothing. They, like some people we all know, are not the ones to move us and make us think. I come to a blog to inspire myself, rejuvenate my self, and entertain myself. You accomplish that job nicely. Thank you!

  11. I don’t like the long posts. Some of the writing is very very good but I can’t spend time on more than a five or so paragraph read as there is so much traffic on my blog and even more so on the many blogs I follow. Part of supporting each other on one’s particular network is the obligatory return visit(actually it is not so obligatory as I look eagerly to news posts of most) and people feel slighted if you don’t visit and comment but I can’t use the time for long posts and actually feel a bit guilty and a mere like just doesn’t feel complimentary enough without comment. I have never used profanity on my blog and I am not interested in blogs that report the hourly events of one’s day. I don’t give a hoot that your cat is sick, grandson Timothy lost a tooth and your hair dresser has a cold. I really do try to make people spit their coffee out their nose and have been somewhat successful. I my create a line of blog napkins for readers. I also don’t like long comments like this one.

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