Deciding on blog or website
I started my art blog in May, 2011 First post of art blog
Notice, there are no likes and no comments. Yes, it took a while until I had first followers and first comments. Back then, blogging was somewhat different from what it is now in 2020. By 2015, I had more than 3000 followers and lots of interaction on my art blog. I decided to move it to a self-hosted website. The move itself was nothing overwhelming, but there were numerous issues. I had already many articles with very many illustrations, it’s an art blog after all. After importing my blog, all the images were totally messed up, many were missing. The written part was ok, but the visual part required me to undo about 120 posts. That is a heck of work! It took me quite a while. Not months, but a few years, in fact. I didn’t have some images and I couldn’t find some others to place back, so, I had to undo even bigger part.
Stick to decision
I would say, you have to decide right from the get-go: if you want a website, start a website, and if you want less work and less trouble, go for blog. It’s much cheaper, too. Comments get imported onto the new site, but likes do not. Therefore, all posts until the move have hardly any likes, but they have many comments. I also lost many followers, I probably confused them big time during transition period while there was still my blog and also a website, practically the same. Moving blog to website, unless, it’s a blog which has mostly writing, is a hassle and lots of work because of all adjustments.
WordPress account, not two sites
Since I wanted to keep my art separate from my lifestyle and health blog, I started another blog in June 15, 2015 First post of lifeschool blog
For a while, I had to mention on my art website that I had another blog, too. Well, I didn’t know that this other blog won’t be an independent blog (it still isn’t), but part of my WordPress account. Therefore, some people, who never read anything do not even know that I have an art website and art blog and one more lifestyle and health related blog. Some people follow only one of them, some follow both, but the reach hasn’t been that great as it was with just having one blog initially.
Blogging for yourself or blogging for success
I’m not an obsessive blogger. At times, I don’t even care too much how many people follow my blogs and how many like what I write about. However, during all these years of blogging on WordPress, I have come to some conclusions and I’d like to share a few suggestions if you want to achieve good following and widen the circle of your readers. It is different if you intend to achieve huge numbers of followers. That will take lots of time, lots of interaction with other blogs. The most important part is still content. It should be preferably original and only in an area you feel strong and passionate about. There are many blogs which are devoted to personal struggles, journeys to health and so forth, but they still need to stand out.
Repeating and copying content is boring
Blogging can be very personal and also very general, just hitting the popular subjects and going with the stream. I do write content and share experience which is not available everywhere, but rather takes origin in my personal life. I have noticed, there are numerous blogs which only practically republish what we all know already: motivation, happiness, what to eat, what not and so forth. I’d say this is boring. I also would like to mention that people, who have zero insight and knowledge in healthcare, treatments, medical conditions and similar medicine-related subjects, should not write about it. It makes a professional medical specialist cringe when somebody republishes nonsense which has no true base whatsoever.
Followers and getting a good number of them
If you want to show your appreciation about some blog or blogger, certainly, like, comment and interact with it. Never insist they follow you back or demand to go to your blog. That is horrible. People, who like your blog, will follow and read it if they think it’s worth doing, but nobody is going to like something if you insist, they do. That’s unethical and offensive. We all have our free will. Recently, there are many bloggers, who click on 20 or even more likes under posts and never read even one of them or do not have any idea what the blog is about. I personally do not care that somebody liked 20 posts, but I love if they read at least one. There are also bloggers, who only click on “Follow” and there is absolutely no follow-up. Somebody instinctively might follow you back, but most experienced bloggers won’t follow just about anything. WordPress will also block you from following if you do it excessively or in abusive manner and are fishing for more followers WP can block you from following
Make your blog or website easy to navigate
Settings on the blog or website exist for a reason. One has to go through all of them and make adjustments which fit your personal website or blog. I sometimes would love to leave a comment or post a like, but it’s impossible or I cannot get even to their posts. Websites or blogs have either static front page or display blog posts on it. The problems often arise with a static front page. I see there is something, but there’s also no way to get to it. Obviously, if you want somebody to like your posts or leave comments, you have to make these posts accessible. Nobody is going to search for hours where your posts are. I also see frequently most viewed posts in the widget area, but no recent posts. That means, people will only react to these popular posts.
It’s a good idea to have Archives widget, too. Also, having the Previous and Next feature is a good idea. If you are not sure, you can test your website or blog from some other device or ask somebody else to do that and let you know what they see and how easy your website or blog is to navigate. If it’s tough to find anything, people will look at your “About me” or “Hello” page and move on. I would sometimes spend a few moments trying to find what’s where, but I will leave if I cannot find or understand anything. I am very sure; any visitor will do the same.
Non-English language blogs
That refers to blogs in other languages, not in English. I can personally use 4 languages at a native level which are Latvian (my native language), German, Russian and English. Therefore, I can follow and read blogs in these languages, but the other ones will be questionable. If it’s a completely visual blog or consists of only art images or photos, I’ll be able to know what it’s about. If the blog is written in a language, I have no idea about, I will not follow it. Google translate is ok, but it really distorts complex languages. I actually have done this: when I want to have a good laugh, I click on Translate into Latvian, and it’s really hilarious how my content comes out. There is no point reading poetry with Google translate.
Blogging is something overwhelmingly huge nowadays. While policies and rules change, blogging ethics stay in effect regardless of that. We have to respect others, their preferences and their opinions. If you are writing about sensitive subjects, expect reaction which might be not always what you like. Don’t put pressure on other bloggers to follow you or like what you write. I’ve seen very poor blogs with many followers and vice versa. Some blogs are created for to stay, some will cease to exist if there is no genuine passion or good content. I don’t think one should start a blog if they don’t have what to say. While I do not chase numbers of followers or post every day, I still appreciate thoughtful and educated, as well as sincere and mindful comments. I do follow back blogs which deserve that, but never when somebody tells me to.
8 thoughts on “Blogging: things that matter”
You have quite the blogging history. I have a blog I started about 18 months ago. I am still learning things. Today I learned that a unique text color on a WordPress blog post is not the same as the standard text that shows up in an email notification on an iphone. When I put white text on a purple background, it showed up as almost-black text on purple in the email. Now I’ll know for next time.:-)
I’m super impressed that you know 4 languages!
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Thanks! I sure have been around for a long time. I could have been blogging more actively, but I just let things happen. I also have the art blog and that is still the primary blog.
I kind of leave the text simple, haven’t used the block editor yet, but I noticed many already have blocks. I don’t know, there are good and bad sides to everything.
I liked the layout of your post about book reviews, the use of caps and different heading style. That made sense.
There’s very much to learn, and I think we all do that every day.
Blog is much simpler comparing to website where we have to take complete responsibility for everything, including updates and so on.
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These are all good points, Inese. I started blogging back in 2013 as a replacement for an email newsletter I used to send out. I’ve stuck with blogging as the main attraction, and any static informational pages that support the blog are in the ring menu at the top of the post. I chose a very simple theme. It doesn’t allow as many display options, but my goal was to keep things simple.
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Thanks Lavinia! I’m also using simple themes for both, the art website and for this blog.
Your approach certainly works for your newsletter.
I started the art blog in 2011 since I needed a place where to send art students because it was tiring to answer all the same questions again and again.
Your website is easy to handle, everything is right there.
I have been on websites or blogs where I could not find even where the posts were.
There is also some missing backlink with some websites. If you want to check that blog, you have to find them on Google. That way you might not be sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
I had to mention ethics because I have noticed in comments recently how somebody would request: do read my whatever, post or article, or story. With me, that works like I feel I definitely won’t read it.
Nice to hear from you and I hope you are fine!
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The ethics points you make are very important.
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I believe so. Otherwise, it’s kind of wild out there. I personally could never accept demands, especially, when it comes to my opinion.
I hope, people, who like blogging, can also stay within morally and esthetically acceptable range.
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Thank you, Inese, for all these pieces of advice. They are always helpful. P.S. I love your Artworks published on Fineartamerica. Have a beautiful and blessed day!
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I’m cautious about calling my suggestions advice because the older I get, the better I know that most often nobody’s advice works. Our own common sense and subconscious discoveries usually are the best advisers.
However, I’ve been blogging for so long that I can share some insight in this area of self-expression.
The things I mentioned: like cannot find menu, menu doesn’t work, likes are not set (not everybody will have time to leave a comment), no list of recent posts, no easy way to navigate the site and using only one’s local or native language are all important aspects which shouldn’t be neglected, but they very often are.