3 Things I Wish Other Bloggers Did

As a WordPress blogger for about three years, I’ve been around the block with discovering blogs, making connections, and all that jazz. Over the years, I’ve noticed some things not all bloggers do–but I wish they did! Blogging advice posts tend to be popular because they’re informative and fun. I hope this post pushes you to assess your own site/habits/etc. and is also enjoyable to read. 🙂

Use better titles

This one earns the #1 spot because it frustrates me the most. Why? It’s unnecessarily self-defeating. What does that mean? Using vague titles makes your post less enticing. I feel conflicted on sharing a great post with a not-so-great title because, no matter the quality of the content, most people won’t be intrigued to click on it.

When I write a rough draft, I put a nonspecific word/phrase as a placeholder for the title based on what I intend to write. Once I’ve finished the rough draft and returned later to edit, I have a better grasp on what specifically the post covers, so I can tweak the headline. With my more rambling posts especially, the end result is not always what I envisioned at the start; I just go with the flow and type what I want in the moment. Thus, I need to readjust the title once the post takes shape.

For instance, one of my recent rambling posts was titled, “Striking Balances Without Becoming Paralyzed (Coronavirus & Black Lives Matter).” I initially wrote “Striking Balances” as the title because, though I wasn’t sure where I would end up, I started writing with the general feeling of being caught between a lot of strong viewpoints and hostility. After writing and later editing the post, I supplemented the placeholder title with more info. I know too many bloggers who would’ve just left it as is! 😉 But when comparing those titles, you see how one captures the overall point/vibe of the post more effectively than the other.

Clean up your site: literally & metaphorically

Literally

I prefer reading blog posts in the WordPress Reader where they all look the same. This is partially due to our brains’ general favoritism for familiarity…but another big reason is that many bloggers have eye-sores for websites. Dark text on a dark background, light text on a light background, microscopically-sized text, a cluttered mess of different fonts/colors/images…ugh. Just pull up your own site and really reflect–is this aesthetically pleasing and easy to read? Also, I’m not a huge fan of widgets (basically, little plug-ins you add to your site, usually featured on the left or right side of every page). Though the concept and selection of them is great theoretically, a lot of people feel compelled to use as many as they can. More than a handful is excessive, in my opinion, and can even make your site load slowly.

Metaphorically

When I use the phrase “cleaning up your site,” I also refer to its mechanics, namely menu options and social media links. A lot of (usually novice) bloggers choose a theme (website template) that automatically adds social media links to their site. It’s annoying to visit a website, see the social media links, think to myself, hey, I’d like to see what they post on IG, click the link for their IG, and get deposited at instagram.com because the links are still on their default setting. Please, figure out if you have social media links on your site, and either fill out the links with your info or delete them. I have a blog post on this topic if you’ve no idea how to do that: Blogging Tips on Pages, Menus, & Social Media Links (with Screenshots & Step-By-Step Instructions).

Menus should be very straight-forward. My site has a primary menu (Home, About, Blog, My Disability Story, and coming soon, My Testimony) and a drop-down menu of categories (Christian, Classic Works, Blogging Tips & Tricks, etc.). I could go into all my Christian posts and further divide them into sub-categories, but I don’t have the time or willpower at the moment. Anyways, I don’t like websites with non-intuitive, not-user-friendly menus.

For instance, I might visit a Christian blogger’s website and see these options across the main menu–Bible Studies, Prayer, Scripture of the Month, Living the Faith. I have so many questions. Why isn’t there a “Home” link to get back to the homepage? Why isn’t there a “Blog” link so I can just scroll through their posts chronologically? Shouldn’t “Scripture of the Month” be filed under “Bible Studies,” or could they change the menu option to “Bible Related” then file both “Scripture of the Month” and “Bible Studies” under that?

First off, be sure that basic options like “Home” and “Blog” are available in the main menu. BTW, I think an “About” page is also essential so people know who/what they’re even reading. A “Contact” page could also be deemed essential, but I list my email address on the “About” page, so I don’t have one. Either way, put your contact info somewhere easy to find. Secondly, classify your content in ways that make logical sense.

Interact more

I have over 1,200 followers. Three years ago, I would’ve been jealous of me. But now that I’ve reached this pinnacle, it’s less gratifying than you might think. At least 75% of my followers have never and will never like or comment on one of my posts. Why?! Is WordPress really so overrun with bots and spam accounts? Who are all these people who click “follow” and never engage? I don’t get it. I just cling tightly to the blogging connections I’ve made over the years because I know how hard they are to establish and maintain. I throw in “and maintain” because I’ve watched many great bloggers fall to the wayside over time.

Bonus observation: here’s something that rubs me the wrong way–bloggers who say they don’t have time to read blogs yet post multiple times a week. If the priority is just “writing” rather than “being part of a reading and writing community,” you may as well privately journal instead of blog. Obviously, people can do whatever they want…that’s just my two cents. 😉 Maybe some people have so many fans that they don’t have to reciprocate, but every popular blogger I know is active in the community.


So, there you have it–a few things I wish my fellow bloggers would do. At the root, it all goes back to making it easier for me to support, promote, or get to know you!

Thanks for reading! What do you wish other bloggers would do? Let me know in the comments.

59 comments

  1. A feast of excellent advice!

    My struggle with titles is that long ones look messy on the blog page. So I always try to come up with something relevant and enticing in a few words, which is really hard. But I think, like you, a lot of people read blogs in the Reader where long titles are far less problematic. A good way to come up with titles is to ask yourself “what question (or phrase) would someone put into a search engine that this post answers?”

    I recently updated my main menu and now my Home page is the Blog page. So I no longer have a Home page as such. Controversial, I know (don’t hate me! 😂).

    Great post and thank you for sharing your tips!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Steven! That’s a helpful tip for coming up with titles. I’ll have to start reflecting on that. Also, I just visited your site, and every piece of it is so clean and perfectly aligned that I can’t complain about the “Home” thing, haha! I’m realizing after I published this that a good chunk of sites use templates where the name of the site is located at the top center and essentially serves as the “Home” button.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Lily! That’s true, but novice bloggers and less web savvy people might not think to click on the site title / logo to take them to the homepage, so what you said about having a clearly labelled homepage is good advice. However, my thinking was that if people see the word ‘Blog’ in the menu they know exactly what they’re getting, whereas the word ‘Home’ could link to a blog page, a static page (like with your site), or something else, so there’s a little ambiguity.

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  2. Great post Lily. I find it hard to keep up in the blogging community due to my health….so I’m grateful for those who stop by and read my posts, even if at times I feel they are a bit non-plus.😂I look forward to your posts and continue to pray for you!❤🙋‍♀️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes to every bit of this! Just the other day I was especially wondering what people with tons of ads or images, changing fonts and colors are thinking. Some of them I think perhaps use a computer for their blog and never think of what all this clutter does to mobile users. I instead use Reading View on my phone or click away.

    That said, I’ve been learning a lot after over ten years of blogging, even still going back to tweak posts, titles and such (I’m so grateful that WordPress automatically re-routes people if they click on a changed permalink!) I loved your advice on going back to revamp the title after. It’s something I wish I had done sooner.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, Lord, I’m having flashbacks to some of the ones I’ve seen like that–gah! I hate ads on WP sites. You have a great all-around site–simple but eye-catching color palate, logical menu options, clean and straight-forward template. Great job, and thanks for dropping by! 🙂 I need to go read some of your other posts–the titles pique my interest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you’re using WordPress, you can preview your site from your computer and see how it looks on mobile devices in the Customizer. I think the option is at the bottom left when in Customizer.

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    1. Hey Kevin, sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. I like the straight-forward layout and simple color palate of your site! I suggest you consider having a static homepage (your current homepage is your blog roll). You would do that by creating a page and setting it as the homepage. At the least, I would move your mission statement to a static homepage and expound on it somewhat. You could also add your list of publications to the homepage.

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      1. Lily, thank you so much for that suggestion I was thinking of doing that for the longest time where I got lazy. I never thought my say would take off Lake it has

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  4. Some really good points. I think I’m dropping points on the layout with mine. It looks a mess but I can’t get full length post titles on individual posts in the grid so I’ve got writing on the cover art, which then looks like a huge mish-mash on the homepage. I also don’t have much in the way of menus, though I do have categories for navigation in the side bar. I’ve actually just re-done the header, which I’m not sure if I like or hate, or whether anyone else will like it. I’ll have to work on layout next to see if there’s anything else I can do. I feel like sometimes I know what I like and what I’d want the blog to look like, it just doesn’t seem to translate when I attempt to change it. And I agree with post titles, it’s good when they’re more specific and actually related to the content!
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just visited your site, and I love the new header! The calligraphy one was cute, but this one looks more “you.” And I personally don’t think it’s too cluttered. There’s a lot of colors and words going on with the titles and featured images, but with the black and white color palate + the font consistency in the featured images, it looks fun yet not overbearing to me. The minimalistic background + the consistent look of the images pulls it all together to feel like “organized chaos.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Organised chaos”, I like that. Better than just “chaos” (or as I’d go for, ‘crap’) 😂 Thanks very much for taking a look and for your feedback, it’s much appreciated!! xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You made me go to my front page and look at all the widgets I had. I removed some and found one not working, so thank you!

    I have a book blog and I have it because I enjoy discussing books with people. There are several other book bloggers I follow who don’t answer their comments, so I stopped either following them or posting comments. I agree with you, if someone posts a comment that is thoughtful and has to do with the post, be kind. They took time to read and respond to what you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you were inspired to declutter. We bloggers forget to check up on out sites sometimes! And, yes, I agree with you. We really should value those who take time out of their day to read our posts and go further to write a thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved this post!! 🙂
    Oh my yes I have a lot of widgets. I changed my theme a couple of years ago just so I could have widgets on the sidebar. I liked sites that had them accessible instead of having to scroll all the way to the bottom so that’s why. I tried to put ones that would actually be used on the sidebar and then have ones less used at the bottom, out of the way so less clutter.
    How to organize posts in my menu has always confused me. I never did figure out sub-categories. I should sometime and spend the time to fix it.
    “At least 75% of my followers have never and will never like or comment on one of my posts.”
    Same! Or, at least it was. The past year or so, I haven’t been as involved in blogging as I was, therefore probably don’t have as many people following anymore. I’ve had a lot going on. X) I miss blogging.
    ” I throw in “and maintain” because I’ve watched many great bloggers fall to the wayside over time.”
    I relate to this. I’ve seen people gradually stop posting until they are gone, and lately, I’ve wondered if I would join them. I really don’t want to but getting back into blogging became intimidating. I really should just jump in and see what happens. I miss interacting with the community. Shyness sometimes prevents me from saying much on other people’s blogs (especially if I don’t know them) so I end up liking them to death and then I wonder if people think I’m just going through spamming the like button on all their posts. But I truly am reading. X)
    “If the priority is just “writing” rather than “being part of a reading and writing community,” you may as well privately journal instead of blog.”
    YES. And this is one reason why I feel weird in posting right now – I’m not activating reading a lot. Why should I expect others to read my stuff if I’m not reading other people’s stuff?! So I decided to wait until I had more time to read and write, both. And in doing so, I sort of fell off the WordPress planet. Oops.
    Okay I think this is long enough. Going to end this here. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the thoroughness of your comment, dear! I understand what you’re saying about sidebar vs. footer widgets. Another thing to bear in mind is that all widgets come at the bottom on a cellphone, so even the sidebar ones should be placed in a strategic order of the most important to least (hence my follow buttons being the top two). It’s too bad you fell off the WP wagon, but I hope you’ll start posting again! I understand the shyness trait, but it’s comforting to remember that many bloggers are introverts and otherwise weirdos and nerds, lol! If you want to find some new people to connect with, try comment-section-hopping. 🙂

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  7. Just started my blog and I feel like I’m in blogging pre-school and I need a tutor. Lol. Still figuring out the kinks in how to organize my menu/categories… thanks for the tips!

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  8. Thank you for this post! I’m just starting out and so much to learn! I think I have social media links so I’ll need to watch your video- they for sure aren’t linked to my pages 😂😂
    Loved your story too- beautiful writing.

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  9. You make a lot of sense in what you say. I try to be inovative with my titles though I really haven’t had anyone comb through and critique me yet. I like the last point the most. I associate that point with community. The one guy on the block that is always willing to take but never shows up at community functions. Or the guy that will eat at the bbq but hadn’t brought anything in the last three years lol. I agree, go write a journal if your not willing to contribute.
    Good read 🙂

    Like

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