Daily Blogging for Over a Year
My blog is just over a year old, and during that time I have posted almost daily. My readership has grown at a nice rate. I started just before the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers. According to my WordPress insights, I had 949 views in March of 2017. It was my blog’s most viewed month since I started! This year, unless things really pick up, I will not acquire that number of views. My blog has been viewed less than half that amount as of this morning – what I am considering half way through the month and half way through the challenge. More than that, those commenting on my blog is way down this month. I am somewhat disappointed and confused by all this. I gave up posting my photo-only posts on Sunday and Wednesday to be sure I was writing for this writing challenge. Those were a very popular type of post for my blog. I am second guessing my commitment to the challenge, in all honesty. While last year I got a lot of “warm and fuzzy” support, I have felt invisible for the most part for much of this month on the writing challenge. The support is has just not been there for my blog.
Terms of Engagement
Part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge is to read and comment on at least three other blogs that are participating and posting to the forum. Instructions included to be sure to post on those blogs that are new to the challenge. I definitely have done the last, and tried daily to do the first of these requirements. Yet, I have found my readership to be flat this month.
This observation made me wonder how it is going for other writers that are participating in the challenge. So, last night when I went to read and comment on the other blogs, I began noticing how others were fairing. I looked at five blogs and commented on four. Two of the blogs I commented on had no other comments before mine. The other two blogs had 2-3 comments a piece. Certainly, not a lot of comments but at least the author was connecting with readers. It was 8:30 last night when I looked at this. Each of those blogs had been posted for 3-5 hours before I commented. I was not impressed. Where are all the supportive comments? Maybe it is just the blogs I chose to look at or maybe the community of writers is not the same this year.
Engaging readers is a difficult task. You have to write on subjects people can relate to and do it with accessible language. You have to offer an entertaining piece and not have it be too long. Offering a piece of appropriate length, I find difficult. Some of my blog posts are expository, not just reflective, and might be a paragraph or two or three or four longer than other posts who come from authors just struggling to get it done for the day. And, I’ve been there – done that, too. This month has been extra-busy for me with my graduate work and other obligations such as speaking at a local conference.
Ways to Engage: Visuals and Links
One needs to make their blog visually appealing with the use photographs. I usually try to include at least one photograph per blog. Again, I am wondering about the wisdom behind my decision to not have my photo only posts.
Providing links to similar content, references, or resources is also an important way to engage readers. If they think they might like something you mentioned, they will not have to hunt for it, if you provide a link.
Inspirations: Other Bloggers
Aim to inspire others and be inspired by others. There are a few bloggers to which I have connected over the last year that I continually love to read and comment on their posts. One of these is the author of WahooLiteracyTeacher.
Another blog I have enjoyed reading is not from the Slice of Life Challenge but a blogger I connected with over the topics of distance education and anxiety, two topics on which we both have personal experience. This is the writer of AlysJournals. This young writer has found an audience.
Audience is something I believe I am still working on. My posts are varied from things that encompass parenting, travel, gifted education, educational reform, food, volunteerism, photography, and gardening. Perhaps, my blog is too broad. Perhaps, my readers do not know exactly what they’ll be getting when I write. Perhaps, it is just a lull. I will have to give this some thought.
In the meantime, I will finish the Slice of Life Challenge and be interested to know how my “numbers” will fare when they are stacked up at the end next to last year’s challenge. I intend to play by their rules of engagement – after all they are only asking what blogging is about anyway – connecting with others. I will wait on deciding to do next year’s challenge until next year. But, I will continue to write daily because I want to write and maybe, at this point, even need to write. A blogger wants to connect with readers. Ways readers can show they are connected or can relate to the blog or blogger is by viewing, liking, and comments on the blog itself. I hope as I continue to do that for others, the same is done for me.