Tag Archives: writing

Blogging Buddies – snap descisions

Last week your responses reminded me that there is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ correct answer as to how to make a post interesting. One person liked people to leave a question at the end of each post whilst another specifically singled this out as something they didn’t like. I find this reassuring as some of it is down to personality. That takes some of the pressure off.

Earlier this week I thought about another factor related to this – how do you start your post off? I ask this because in my reader I only get a few sentences at the beginning of a post and, especially when I am looking for ‘new’ blogs (like I need anymore to read!) I do sometimes decide whether to continue reading based just on these brief snippets.

When I stopped to think about it I was quite upset with myself for being so superficial but I am sure that I am not the only one.

It gets even worse when you look on google. I put in ‘wire mesh jewellery WordPress’ to see what came up:

knitnrun4sanity.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/wiremeshjewellery/

23 hours ago – I have been experimenting with wire mesh and making some different necklaces with it. 1. Simple celtic knot. 2. Netted Pearls 3. A Fair Trade 

That’s it. Would it make you want to read it? I guess it depends what you are looking for.
I have no magic answers to this except that I have been a bit more mindful as to how I start my posts off. I have been trying to cut the waffle and get to an interesting point very quickly.
What about you? Do you have any tips or suggestions that you use? Do please share.

What to write on your About page.

Following on with the initial re-vamp of this blog I have had a go at my ‘about’ page.  In Michael Hyatt’s Book

“Platform. Get noticed in a noisy world”

he points out that the About page is one of his blogs top ten most visited pages.

So What about yours?

I checked mine and guess what? It is hands down the most visited page on my blog. Ever. To date it has had 5,654 views. The next most popular post has ‘only’ had 738! Now go and have a look at yours. Is it similar? If so then the next scary thought is:

Just how much time and thought do you give to this, your most visited page/post on your blog?

I have to say, put like that, nowhere near enough! I expect that on setting up your blog you spent about half an hour typing in a bit of info about yourself and the blog. I know I did. I have revisited it since the very beginning and re-wrote it as my blog evolved but I didn’t give it anywhere near the amount of time that I probably should have done now that I know just how visited it is.

If your aim is to get more followers then this page is arguably THE most important page on the whole blog. Luckily Michael Hyatt does go onto give some tips as to how to optimise this important space on your blog.

This is how my About page used to look:

Hello,

Thank you for taking time to look at my Blog. I am a  Mum of three who runs, knits and crochets in an attempt to stay sane (when I have the time!). Over the last year this blog has also become a huge part of who I am and  helped me to claw back some of ME!
On the creating side I like to be  a bit different and aspire to have a shop selling my unique jewellery as well as some kits so you too can have a go at something a bit different.

Share my passion, the highs and lows of my journey and along the way pick up some tips to help you on your very own journey. Go on, you know you want to. It will be worth it  :)

Happy Crafting, blogging and running,

Alice

This version ticks the first two of the suggestions:

1. It is written in the first person

2. It is written in my style.

The next suggestions I am not so sure about:

3. Start with the reader’s priorities. What do they want to know? Or. in other words what do you want to find out when you read other ‘about’ pages? I know that I want to know what the blog is about. Will it interest me. These are the most important things. I also want to know a bit about the person behind the blog as, as many of you know I am someone who likes to connect with others.

4. Tell them about yourself. As in number three, it is important for the reader to know a bit about you but this was the bit that I found the hardest bit when I started out. I didn’t want people to know too much about me – I was simply too shy. All I can say is that you give as much as you want to give. I believe that my writing style says a lot about me and the type of person I am (indeed my friends say that this blog is like me talking to them) so my advice is to take things as slow as you wish to. You can always make adjustments as you progress.

5. Tell them about your blog. Not in huge detail – more of putting it into a theme. Again I find this tricky as I have quite a varied content on my blog. Having said that it does seem to be working for me so far.

6. Set their expectations. On average, how often you post.

7. Invite them to subscribe.

8. Point them to your top posts: He describes it like being a hostess and giving them a tour or taste of what they will get if they follow your blog.

9. Provide a full Biography. I am not sure that this is totally relevant except if, like him, you are selling your expertise and your training is an important part of it. For most of us ‘hobby bloggers’ qualifications are not usually related. A bit of information however is always going to interest some.

10. Tell them how to contact you: Twitter, Facebook, e-mail ….

So there you have it. It all makes perfect sense to me now. I like structure and order and this certainly provides that. The headings are a useful guide and also break the writing up nicely. People can easily skip any sections that they are not interested in.

Whether or not you apply this format directly I think that there are some useful points to get you thinking. Do you agree? What information are you interested in when you visit an about page?

(If you are wondering how my About page looks now you will have to go and increase the visitor numbers to that page now and have a look :).

Beginning Blogging – Writing a Post

I do believe that we are now all ready to actually write some content onto our blog (otherwise known as a post). There are several ways to do this:

1) When you log into WordPress you may see something like this.

The blue ‘menu’ bar along the top gives you a variety of options:

READER: shows you the latest posts from the blogs you follow or allows you to search the blogs according to your choice of categories or key words.

STATS: Will take you to a page that will give you all sorts of information about your blog, how many people have visited, from what country, how they found you etc.

MY BLOGS: Gives you an overview of your blog along with some quick links.

FRESHLY PRESSED: Gives you a selection of blogs that have been chosen by the ‘powers that be at WordPress’ giving you a selection of the best current blog posts.

Over to the right you will see a pen and the words NEW POST. I hope that I do not need an explanation to this?

If you click on this you will get taken to a page looking like this:

I refer to this as the quick posting page. It gives you the choice of format you wish to use. This is useful as it shows you that a post does not have to be long and complicated, a simple photo or quote is enough. I will not go through each option as I think that they are fairly self-explanatory.
2) The way I usually go to get to the correct page in order to write a post is by going back to this page:
Click on the posts link and you will be taken to a page like this (from your Dashboard)

Down the left hand side , under POSTS you will see ADD NEW. Click on this and you will go to a page like this:

This is also the page you go to using the quick post method from above.
You will see that this page is a bit like word.  At the top, just under the words ADD NEW POST you can see a blank box. This where you type your title. The large blank bit is where you write your text. See, simple :). If you are familiar with word you will recognise the images for bold, italic and crossed out writing. You can either type, highlight and click on the symbol or click on the symbol before typing. Next there are the options for bullet points and quotes. Following this comes the text orientation
Left                                                              central                                                                               right
This can also be used for pictures. Highlight the picture and then click on the orientation button required. I usually use the central one.
The symbols that are not easy to see are the link and break link buttons. These are very useful. They can be used to link back to posts that you have made and other sites on the web. All that you need to do this is the web address of the page you wish to use. If, you wish to create a link to a previous post such as the one I wrote last week on widgets. Simply highlight the word (or picture) you wish to use for the link, go up and click on the link symbol. This will bring you a window like this:
All you need to do is paste the web address into the URL box. (I often have several tabs open so I can easily move between several pages). This is all you need to do although you can add a title. Simply click the add link box and the word you highlighted will become underlined like this. If you then click on it you will be taken to the new page. Should you make a mistake then all you need to do is re-highlight and then click on the broken link symbol.
The abc tick is spell checker.
The next few symbols I have managed to not use up until now as I had never really explored them. Oh I do wish I had!!! The box with the arrows in is DISTRACTION FREE WRITING MODE. Quite simply this gets rid of all the bits around the side (including the top menu) and allows you to type your post as it will appear on your blog. A really useful tool especially if you are juggling photos around etc. If you do need the basic tools all you need to do is move the cursor up the page.
This ….
……..instead of this:

The final symbol (again something I had not used) is the KITCHEN SINK  show/hide symbol. This gives you more options such as text colour, layout, underlining. The rest of the tools you would expect from word really (and I had been wondering why they weren’t included. DUH. I am so glad I am writing this series! Thank you 🙂

The bottom row is the kitchen sink row.

Again I have twittered on long enough. Next time we will look at adding photographs, a very important part of blogging and also tags and the other bits around the page. (For now you can copy and paste pictures for ease if you wish.)

Finally please, please do not make the same mistake that I do – SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. You can save it as a draft and come back to it later, even another day so there is no pressure to publish it at all. Wait until you are ready.

Have a good week and do please leave any links to posts that you write below so I can have a look (I will leave a comment, I promise 🙂 )

 

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