Revisiting Old Blogging Articles: Great vs. Questionable Advice

Of my six most “liked” blog posts EVER (displayed on my website’s homepage), three fall in the “Blogging Tips & Tricks” series. A lot of people are seeking the secrets to blogging success! As I spent several tedious hours last week recategorizing some posts, I revisited my old blogging advice articles. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on them. Most of my tips stand the tests of time and experience, but with some of them…well, hindsight is 20/20. 😉 (Ironic given the calendar year)

[I won’t go through every tip from every post, but I will include my best and worst tips. As it turns out, I’ve shared the best tips more than once in slightly different ways, hence the “X/Y/Z” format of the headings under “Great Advice.”]

Great Advice

Provide worthwhile content/WWIR (What would I read?)

The blogs I’ve seen skyrocket are those that consistently provide touching devotionals, funny life stories, insightful/educational content, or anything that teaches me something, entertains me, warms my heart, makes me ponder, etc. Though I prefer a more intentional approach on my own blog (edited text, highlighted and italicized sentences, headings, etc.), professionalism is just icing on the cake. Many wonderful bloggers lean towards a casual approach. The question that matters above all else: do you have something interesting to say? [Sidenote: While perfect grammar is not a requirement for blogging success, exceptionally poor grammar can be a distraction.]

When looking for direction on what to blog about, it helps to reflect on the acronym “WWIR?” What would I think was helpful or fun or intriguing if someone else posted about it? …I should write about that myself!

Incorporate your personality/Don’t put yourself in a box

What motivates readers to come back again and again, perhaps even more than worthwhile content? Your lovely, unique self! It’s such a drag to read blog posts that are dry and impersonal. I want to feel a connection with you when I read your posts, whether you’re sweet as pie, humorously cynical, or anything in between. 🙂

My advising you not to put yourself in a box flies right in the face of this common blogging tip: “Find a niche.” Rules were made to be broken, right? On Retrospective Lily, you will find everything from faith lessons to societal diatribes to life updates. As far as I see it, blogging in and of itself is a niche. So, if you want to stick with one subject, go right ahead–but don’t feel like you must do that in order to build a readership.

There is one commonality between all my blog posts: they were written by me! (I hope) pieces of my personality shine through all my posts, regardless of the topic. The same should apply for you and your blog, whatever your focus(es) is/are.

Reach Out/Engage with the community/Network with other bloggers

As you can see from the three different phrasings of this tip, I constantly include it in blogging advice articles! If you don’t reach out and follow other blogs + read and comment on other posts regularly, your blog will either never take off or slowly die (depending whether you just started or have been blogging for a while). Seriously, reciprocation is THAT important. Most blog readers have their own blogs. Therefore, you need to spread some love to get love back.

Three effective ways to find posts you like and connect with bloggers:

  1. Look up certain tags. For instance, if you love books, look at the hashtags “books, “fiction,” and “reading.”
  2. Use the WordPress search bar (similar to tags–just search a subject that interests you).
  3. Comment hop (my personal favorite and a tip from an old post). Look in the comment sections of blogs you like. Those users will likely have similar interests, and you know they’re active if they engage with other blogs.

Questionable Advice

KISS (Keep It Short, Stupid!)

Maybe this is actually good advice, but I’m not good at following it, haha. I do honestly try to be succinct, but it’s a rare occasion when a Retrospective Lily post falls under 500 words. While it’s important to stay focused and not ramble excessively (one reason I edit), I don’t think long blog posts are automatically a bad thing. My goal is always to stay under 1,000 words, but even that is sometimes difficult!

A point about blog comments under “Reach Out”

As I referenced above, “Reach Out” relates to engaging the community, which is right on track. However, I mention in the original post that it’s great to leave a blog comment, even if it’s just, “Great post!” Don’t listen to March 2018 Lily! Vague comments that don’t address the post’s content come off as spammy. In fact, I wonder if I’m dealing with a person or a bot when I receive vague comments. May 2020 Lily’s advice: if you’re going to leave a comment, say something that contributes to the topic and/or makes it clear you are an actual human being who read the post. For the record, going beyond just “liking” posts and leaving meaningful comments is something you should do as often as possible to build strong connections with people.


I was kinda hoping this would be juicier, but apparently, I know what I’m talking about! 😉 I stand by almost every tip I’ve ever given. Now, I need to get my ducks in a row for more blogging posts. I have some ideas…

  • Features of the Gutenberg editor I hate
  • Features of the Gutenberg editor you may not know about
  • Trying to use the Classic editor with old posts after using the Gutenburg editor for over a year; why the Gutenburg editor is easier when you get used to it
  • Ways I’m a bad blogger
  • Update on how I keep up with fellow bloggers
  • Blogging advice
  • Basic steps when starting a WP site

Thanks for reading! Did you find something in this post helpful? What is your #1 blogging tip? Got a suggestion of a blogging article I should write (and do you like any of my suggestions)? Let me know in the comments.

44 comments

  1. Hi Lily! Lots of wisdom in your post, as usual! I’ve completely abandoned the Gutenberg editor and it feels a bit like a bad dream to me. I don’t like the way if you select an image block, for instance, you’re really restricted as to changing the size, alignment, etc. Do you use the Gutenberg editor as standard now?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Steven! I started using it in about Jan. 2019, so it’s hard to picture going back now. I’m kind of surprised they still allow the use of the Classic editor, since most websites give a grace period before forcing everyone to switch to a new software. Good on WP for not doing that! I’m not totally sure what you mean about changing size and alignment on an image in the Gutenburg editor–it works fine for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Arghh. Yes, I really don’t like when people try to use my comment section as a billboard for their blog. What’s ironic is that I would visit the person’s blog without them asking if they just left a genuine comment instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lily! Once again another great post! These are super useful tips. I’ve been blogging on and off for a while now and I have never been successful with establishing a following… maybe these tips are the reasons why! Lol.

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think it’s admirable that you’re willing to admit that certain advice you gave was questionable. By the way…great post. 😉 Just kidding around.

    The first three tips you had in this post are good ones. Another piece of advice I’d add is to not give up if your blog isn’t getting tons of traffic right away (because I know of lots of bloggers who give up quickly before their blogs have the opportunity to take off).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Appreciate your consistent support, Brendan. And I enjoy your blog posts, also, so win-win! And that is great advice! It’s taken 2.5 years for me to get to this point. Even now, there are weeks or months where my traffic dips way down for no apparent reason (not that it’s THAT high to begin with, but yeah).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I came across your blog looking at various Christian book recommendations. I was looking for places to connect my book to, but stopped to check out your story and was really impressed by your courage and strength in sharing this journey. I saw you had posted on the subject and was wondering if you would be interested in reading a short Christian mini-book, provided as a free PDF in exchange for an honest review on amazon and perhaps, if you felt so inclined, a share on your blog? I totally understand if you’re not into that, just thought I would ask.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great advice, Lily. By the way, I had a really difficult time getting used the Gutenberg editor, but now I love it. I would never want to go back to the Classic. Though I will admit I would love the ability to change the color of just one word in a block rather than the entire block. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Funny you should mention spamming. So far all my spam comments have been filtered out automatically, but today I had a load waiting for approval. All seemingly by different ‘bloggers’ with different comments but all claiming to be making a video ‘about this’ and ending with a link.
    It would have been more convincing if they had left a single comment on a single post instead of scatterbombing several on my website.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great advice for sure!!! Love your blog! I need to get better about connecting with fellow bloggers! Love reading other’s posts but sometimes I stink at making time!!
    Side note: One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone hits like on my post and I only published it a quarter of a second before that!! It’s like dude I know you didn’t read the post so I’d rather you not hit the like button!! Grrrrr k I’m good now.

    Also this Gutenberg editor deal I am seriously not a fan of so I switch it over to classic editor every single time but I would gladly welcome giving it a try if I understood it better!!! So I’m interested to read this post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Alicia! I also love your blog! I understand about making more time for blogging. I don’t even have kids, though, so Idk how y’all super mama’s have time for anything, haha! Yes, I hate that, too. It was really hard for me to get used to the Gutenberg editor, but now that I am, I feel completely lost when I open an old post where I used the Classic editor! It’s funny how it all depends on what you are accustomed to. 🙂

      Like

  8. Love your blogs because of the personality you share with us. Also like the succinct way you deal with your different topics–you say so much in such a little space. I enjoy reading no matter what the topic is!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great blogging tips Lily. Connecting with other bloggers is an essential element for blog growth. I find it challenging keeping up with every blogger i follow. But i think we have to do unto others as we would like them to do to us. If we want others to connect with us, we have to connect with them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you’re right about people being hungry for advice on how to have a successful blog. No doubt your readers see the great content you provide and view you as someone who they can learn from. Solid tips and thanks for sharing. Keep on blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great information! I ask my followers to provide subjects/topics they are interested in. I research their topics and then work to develop content to match the request. This process gives me a library of topics and keeps my blog flowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Samantha! Funny how we take all these random little paths in life that lead to where we are. I discovered your blog through a pretty popular blog at the time, and I think that blog is defunct now (I think her name was Mikayla?? The blog was focused on millennial success or something like that). Your fun personality and colorful style brighten up my newsfeed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my gosh I remember that blog!!! Mikayla, that’s right! I remember the millennial success posts she wrote – those were great. I’m glad you and I were acquainted through that blog and thank you so much for the sweet words! 💜 Your blog always inspires me; you’re very sweet, intelligent and a brilliant writer!

        Like

  12. I enjoyed reading your post! It was definitely helpful. One aspect I would like to read about in another Blogging Tips and Tricks is how to spark more feedback and comments. In my own blog posts, I’ll ask a few questions but won’t receive any feedback or very little feedback. Any ideas on how to provoke more of a community vibe, participation, etc as this is what I’m striving to create?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Daphne, thanks so much! The first questions I would ask to fix that problem are: 1. Are you spending time daily or a couple days a week reading blogs and liking their posts? 2. Are you interacting in the comments sections of other blogs? The first step is to follow more blogs and like others’ posts. The second step towards building more of a connection is to comment on others’ posts and engage with other bloggers. The more you engage with others, the more you will start to get people engaging with you. If you need help finding other blogs to follow, I suggest using the WordPress search bar or tags to look for certain topics that interest you or look in the comments sections of blog posts, like this one, to find active users. 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s