I’ve been reading the new posts provided by WordPress on their Freshly Pressed page. Not only do they now display the top 19 selected fresh posts of the day (I had no idea it was this many!) but they also have included a feature roundup of the previous month’s top 10 posts. I scan and skim and read what appeals to me.
I used to read them all (thinking there were only 10) when I first started blogging. I made comments to try to entice feedback and traffic to my own blog. I found myself making comments on posts that didn’t interest me or appeal to me directly. I had to ask myself why I was commenting on a blog that a) I was not that interested in, b) had nothing to do with my blog, and c) whose target audience would likely not be drawn to my own.
I write a running/life blog. This, to me, means that I write about my running and training, but also whatever interests me and what I find I’d like to write about. This is different than writing for a target audience – unless I am writing about running, I am not targeting a specific audience. Consequently, I often gain followers after I have posted a running post. It hasn’t stopped me from posting non-running-related posts, but I also know that those posts are more about me improving my writing skills, than gaining followers.
If your blog is public, it’s fair to say you probably want followers. I like the interaction with my fellow bloggers/followers through comments. I like knowing that I am writing for someone; knowing there is someone reading my words makes me more accountable. I try to create a finished product before I hit publish.
I don’t know many of my followers personally. Some are friends, one is family and some have shared interests. I don’t know the interests or habits of most of my followers. When creating a post, I try to make the post as honest as possible and strive to create a sense of appeal. I’m realizing that the more universal appeal my post has, the more followers I will have.
Posting more frequently is a way I try to gain more followers and create an audience. If you post more often, there are more chances for other bloggers to find your blog initially. During the summer months it seems a lot of bloggers have tapered their posting schedules and I find myself going through blogs and not finding new material. This is understandable, but the appeal of a blog is also that the material is new and refreshing.
I have a lot of blogs I follow, probably too many to manage well. Some I joined initially because they were Freshly Pressed, some post topics I am interested in, and some because the writing is inspirational. For these latter blogs it doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is, it’s that the material is handled so well and the information flows so easily that I read it all.
Reading other people’s blogs can help a lot with my own writing. I read something and when I’m drawn in, I go back to analyze what the appeal is to me. I know that the Freshly Pressed folks often suggest that photos are a great way to visualize what you are trying to express and help to break up the post. They provide another sort of stimulus to a post’s material and help to solidify what the author is trying to share. I agree that photos are a great way to augment a post, although at times the writing on its own does not necessitate the support of photos. I find sometimes I read to the end of a post before I even realize there are no photos.
*My question for this post is about who you follow. What appeals to you and what do you find inspirational? Are the blogs you follow closely related to what you write about? What do you find consistently “works” in a good blog post?