Hi! Since my last post on blogging featured some things I wish other bloggers did, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my bad blogging habits. Even those of us who’ve been doing this a while have our flaws. Maybe this exercise in introspection will convict me to implement some positive changes. 😉 (See a note on the Gutenburg Editor at the end**)
Taking forever to reply to comments
This is my worst blogging habit for sure. Though I try to reply to all comments people leave on a post within 1-2 weeks of publishing it, that’s often the range of time it takes me to respond. For shame! I actually love and cherish people’s comments. It takes me a while to reply because I want to put ample time into reading, fully absorbing, and thoughtfully responding to each one. Knowing that replying to the comments could take over an hour (esp. on more intellectual and/or weighty posts like my recent one on American Christianity) pushes me to procrastinate…
Ugh! I’m usually not a procrastinator, but I am in this circumstance–not sure why. I think it’s part reflection, part laziness (in other words, part justifiable, part not). I’d rather mull over people’s words (again, esp. on the weighty posts) than reply immediately. Buuut, this leads to having several comments to answer, and I know it’ll take a while…so I just put it off, reading and commenting on others’ posts while I have unacknowledged comments waiting for attention. Oops. I really need to set up a routine where I reply to all my comments on a certain day at a certain time.
Not checking on/updating my website enough
I admire some of my blogging buddies like Steven who keep their site(s) spruced up. I lag a bit in this area, and I know a lot of bloggers can relate. Many of us tend to focus more on our individual posts (and whatever’s next on the agenda) than our overall online presence. I seem to go through phases; for a few weeks, I’ll check my site frequently and make little improvements…then I won’t change anything for half a year or more. There’s a lot to keep track of with a website: what widgets we have (and whether any are not functioning properly for some reason), whether all our hyperlinks and social media icons work, whether the menu options and categories are easy to use and reflective of our current content. Emphasis on that last phrase because, while we don’t need to overhaul our sites every other week, we writers and bloggers are always evolving in a certain direction.
Below are some examples that are arguably too drawn out but hopefully illustrative–
Maybe someone started as a “Christian blogger” with all “Uncategorized” posts, and their menu options were “Home” and “Blog.” One year later, they find themselves gravitating to experience-based devotionals and the occasional Bible story lesson; also, unexpectedly, they started to sprinkle in posts with cooking, cleaning, and organizing tips for a comfortable home. They should start using the categories “Christian Devos,” “Bible Study,” and “Homemaking Tips.” The menu might have “Home,” “About,” “Blog,” “Christian” (hover over that option to see “Christian Devos” and “Bible Study”), and “Homemaking Tips.”
Maybe someone started out as a “book blogger” and just used the category “Book Reviews,” and their menu options were “Home” and “Book Reviews.” Let’s imagine they expanded their horizons with time and started dipping into other forms of entertainment, creating a category and another menu option called “Miscellaneous.” Three years later, their blog has burgeoned into a site with book, TV, and movie reviews along with the occasional social commentary…but they’re still putting everything besides the book reviews under “Miscellaneous.” Nooo! They really need to update their categories and menu options for all those subjects! A good menu for them might have “Home,” “About,” “Blog,” “Reviews” (hover over that option to see “Book Reviews, “TV Show Reviews,” and “Movie Reviews”), and Social Commentary (perhaps hover over that option for “Politics,” “Social Media,” etc.)
We often begin our blogs with a certain vision that adapts as we, our interests, our readership, and even our lives/circumstances change. We might even move in a certain direction for a couple years then gradually shift in another direction for no real reason. It’s all good! We should write what we want, regardless of our initial vision or what we were writing this time last year, two years ago, etc. I believe the best, most authentic and genuinely interesting writing comes from those who write where their heart leads them. I’ve more to say on this, but I’m going to stop so I can make a future post on this topic. Yay for accidental ideas!
Firstly, embrace your creative evolution, and secondly, update your site once in a while to reflect who you are NOW–not six months ago, not a year ago, not two years ago, but today. Make sure things work on a literal front but also have things make sense. I started as a “grammar tips blogger” and still had grammar-related categories on my site up to a few months ago, though I’ve clearly strayed from that. Yikes! Also, I need to break up my gazillion Christian posts into sub-categories. After writing the hypothetical scenarios above, I was urged to go update my main menu.
Not going out of the way to find new bloggers
Going along with the notion of evolving, I really should update the blogs I read. Since I’m more well-established, I can sit back and wait for new followers to stream in, then peruse their content and see if I want to follow back. There’s just a few problems with my current laissez-faire methods. Firstly, as I alluded to in my last blogging-related post, most new followers I get are spam accounts or people with no interest in interaction (go figure?!). I’ve made some good connections through my new followers recently, but it doesn’t happen all that often! Secondly, though I have some blogging connections I’ve maintained for years, bloggers are constantly losing interest in the community, getting burnt out, etc. If I just rely on the connections I’ve already made, my pool of blogging buddies will shrink with time. Thirdly, even if I’m well-established, it’d be silly and arrogant to think there aren’t some amazing blogs out there for me to discover, rather than them discovering me.
I did spend an hour recently looking up some topics of interest and finding a couple good blogs. I want to make a point to do that more often. Just as I’ve grown, it’s time my WordPress Reader grew, too.
Thanks for reading! What are your blogging habits, good and/or bad? Are you guilty of these? Let me know in the comments.
**Since WP users have officially been forced to transition to the Gutenburg Editor, my next blogging-related post will be a deep dive into using it. For now, you could check out this post I made about it at the start of 2019, but it’s time for an update/rehash. Let me know if you’d find that helpful!