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How to Get the Most Out of Your WordPress Blog
Posted on July 29th 2013
A good blog can bring you so many benefits, but that leads to the question:
What makes a blog "good?"
Obviously the content has a big part to do with it, but so many blogs with great content are never even browsed. Allow me to help with that!
Have a real "About Me" page
This is my biggest pet peeve with bloggers. While I hate when people don't have an "About Me" page at all, I don't think anything makes me more mad than seeing the default filler page.
I have literally seen it on blogs that have been running for months. Why would you post every week and allow yourself to care about your blog, but then not care enough to take five minutes out of your time to either change the default text or delete it? When you blog, your goal is to get followers. For every follower you have, you get a guaranteed pair of eyes on every post you create. How awesome is that? People only follow bloggers who produce great content regularly and care about their blog enough that they won't just stop posting. When you didn't bother to change the default "About" page, you're pushing people away from the start.
Now, most of you probably changed your About Me page, but I bet you can do better. Let me push you. People want to know you. They want to see you. Some of you right now probably scoff at the idea and you probably scoff at social media too. Take this into mind: Blogs are social media. These are real people who are reading your blog and these are real people who you are hoping come back to read your next post. You have to make them want to come back and giving your blog a face and back story is a great way to do it.
I personally think every About Me page should have at least one or two real pictures of the blogger. Nothing screams "Hey, I'm a real person just like you! I just happen to write on a blog!" quite like a real picture. Make one professional and make one fun, maybe of you doing a hobby. Remember that this isn't your LinkedIn profile. You don't have to be suit-and-tie and 100 percent professional here. Open up a little and tell the reader your pets' names. Share your dream or details from your life. It doesn't have to just be your education and experience!
Put yourself as your blog's profile picture
I literally would argue about half of the blogs I visited today had the gray Wordpress "W" as their profile pictures. When you go through the Wordpress Reader or you're looking at comments, the only thing you can see are blog names and their profile pictures. I would imagine most people don't even go to blogs with the "W" pictures because they assume they are either bots or just not good blogs. On the other hand, a bright smiling face can invite people in. That tiny picture can humanize your entire blog. When people are commenting, they feel like they are having a conversation with a person and not a website!
In case you don't know how to change that, you can go to the Wordpress Dashboard, then to Settings. From there, click on General and you can upload your picture all the way on the right.
Utilize your tagline
"The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!"
I have seen that tagline over five times today. Why? I don't know! While it is slightly humorous, most Wordpress users will immediately detect it as one of the default taglines. You can just scroll up a few inches and read everything I wrote for the default "About" page. This tagline makes it obvious you don't care enough about your blog to change it from the default. Either that or you don't know how to change it.
If that is the case, I apologize. Go to your blog's Dashboard, then use the left menu to go to Settings, then click on General. It will be right there under the Site Title.
Include pictures in your blog posts
Nothing scares a blog reader more than a block of 1,000 words with no pictures in between. Pictures are nice, informative and sometimes pretty. Even more important, pictures give the readers a slight break from just reading words. The pictures don't have to knock it out of the park, but they really help. Sometimes you can't find a picture for your topic and that does happen, but try to avoid it. You might get a sympathy like, but that doesn't mean the person read your post. Some of you need to break your words up with pictures, or at least with page breaks.
Pictures tell a story on their own. They are powerful and it is even better when you are the person who took the pictures. If you go to an event or you are writing about a hobby, get a picture of you there. It shows a connection between your writing and the picture. Readers love pictures. At least I do!
Answer comments on your posts
Hundreds of people will look at your posts and only a few will comment. That is just how it is. The few that comment usually really like your post or at least agree with its point. So few readers actually take the time out of their day to comment and you have to acknowledge them. Commenters are almost always genuine people who want to interact with you. Ignoring them is basically slapping them in the face and not appreciating the energy they put in to read and comment on your post. Hundreds go by without commenting. Please reward the few that do it. Better than that, I think if someone reads and comments on your blog post, you should try to go to one of their posts you like and comment on it. They are blog owners just like you. Don't you feel good when you get comments on a post you worked hard on? Well, return the favor! I love and appreciate every comment I get. Every single one.
Interact with other blogs
The Wordpress Reader is absolutely wonderful. You can see which blog categories are popular and you can even view them. If you have a tech blog, you can see all of the recent blog posts that were labelled under the "Technology" category. Then, you can read through the posts and like the ones you find interesting. You can even comment on the posts you really like. This interaction usually causes the other blogger to return the favor or at least visit your blog to see who you are. Commenting on similar people's blogs can possibly end in you getting an interested follower.
I'll say it again. Blogs are social media!
Just remember that readers like knowing you as a person. Pictures of yourself and little tidbits about your personal life can help the reader see you as a hard-working blogger and not a faceless website.
That being said, your blog should be your pride and joy. If this information conflicts with how you want your blog to look, simply ignore my advice. You being passionate about your blog is much more important than what someone else thinks is the "right way" to make a blog.
Do you have any comments or other tips? I would love to read them! Tweet me with them or write them below.