Your Advice, Please (Yes, Really)

Bored smiley
Bored smiley. I’ve come to like smilies.

Am I boring you?

I am aware that this blog, and its companion book review site, Dear Reader, are not pressing enough people’s buttons, or, to put it another way, they are not pressing my like buttons.  I’m not saying this in a sorry-for-myself sort of way, but rather in the hope of constructive comment, please.

What I Might Be Doing Wrong

  • My posts are just plain boring.  (I’m not ruling this out.)  At the moment, I’m mostly writing the second draft of The Novel, and I’m aware that there’s not a lot to say on my writing front.
  • My writing style is not interesting.  A friend of mine suggested I improved the first line of my posts, perhaps by asking a question or the sort of statement or comment which makes readers really sit up.  I’ve tried to do this.
  • I myself am not well enough known to attract readers.  The received wisdom is that you raise your visibility through social media, but I’m doubting whether ‘they’ know what they’re talking about.  I wonder if it’s the other way round.  I like to follow the blogs of established writers, but I am not one – yet.
  • I’m not using categories and tags correctly.  It is said that the categories are the list of contents and the tags are the index.  However, this writing blog doesn’t seem to lend itself to categories.   I’m aware that I use fewer tags than most people, but over-tagging is one of the things bloggers are warned against.

What I Think I do Right:

  • I do include pictures.
  • I do try to keep the word count down to 500 words (apparently the optimum), even though I know a lot of bloggers write at much greater length.
  • I do include hyperlinks.

What I Know I’m Doing Wrong

I haven’t updated the pages, specifically the About page, on Write On for a very long time, but is that in itself enough to turn people off?

Technical Stuff

I am not using the sorts of titles and words which Google’s search engine picks up.  This is very likely, as doesn’t allow you in there.

Tomatoes, grown by me, some time ago.
Tomatoes, grown by me, some time ago.

I am going to move both blogs over to in a minute (or, rather, when I can pluck up the courage), so as to be able to use its SEO (Search Engine Opimisation) tools, so, within the next few days, these two blogs will have different urls (web addresses).  (I don’t know exactly how this works and I suppose I won’t until I do it.)

Now for the good bit, the Yippee moment.  (They say you should always end on an uplifting note.)  My short story ‘Tomatoes and Their Part in Brexit’ has been accepted by Alfie Dog Fiction and will be published on 28 May.   And yes, I will definitely remind you nearer the time.  You see, I do know something about promoting my writing.


13 thoughts on “Your Advice, Please (Yes, Really)

  1. It is bloody hard. Here are a couple of things I can tell you about moving to because we did it about 18 months ago. While the process is pretty painless and you can pay WP to do it for you (we did), it means you have to find a hosting platform and look after some of the technical stuff yourself. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, our site was down and I had to spend a couple of hours figuring out why. Both the hosting platform and WP engineers helped me but I still had to do some manual tinkering that, if you are like me, I wasn’t all well versed in. Yes, you can use their SEO tools (but you are paying for everything, not high costs but nothing is free) and I can tell you it pretty much evens itself out. Your blog will still be in the WP Reader but the readers themselves will have to manually include it. That means that we did add a lot more non WP related readers but we also lost a lot of WP readers who just read us by default, because we were there. If your goal is to have more “likes”, I can tell you we ended up having fewer because readers who don’t come from the WP world don’t use the buttons or don’t know about them. It made sense for us because we can now have some sponsored posts (ie get paid for them) but if you view your blog as a tool to maybe launch your book from (and not a moneymaking operation) I don’t know that I would incur the expense. Yes, networking, commenting on other blogs, FB and all that social media crap works somewhat. But I stopped Instagram because it was driving me crazy to have to worry about so many platforms. Because you write about writing and books, it might worth trying Twitter and following some people you respect.
    Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks Camparigirl. That is really helpful, the sort of feedback I was hoping for. Wanting more likes sounds very teenage, but my original reason for the blog was to raise my profile as a writer. Also, on a personal level, there’s no point in me expending time and effort writing posts if no one is reading them!

      1. What I found is that it is a much bigger commitment than I first thought. And I noticed that when I don’t put the work in, viewership goes down.

      2. Yes, I’ve noticed that too. It’s dispiriting not to get any response, so you wonder what is the point of writing another post, then the whole thing compounds.

  2. I’ll be honest, I wonder if reviews is the right way to go if you are trying to attract others interested in writing or indeed in your writing? I know I tend to think ‘I’ll go and have a look at that later’ but rarely do… I am sorry 😦 But I am not really interested in reading book reviews as I am trying to spend my time writing and don’t want to dilute the voice that I think I am finding (that sounds terribly pretentious doesn’t it? But I think we’ve followed each other long enough for you to know what I mean is not meant to be … Oh dear I’ll shut up now!) But if you really want to write about reading, maybe rather than reviews write about how they make you feel or what they stimulate in you rather than the actual content – so we get to now more about you as a person?
    If it’s any consolation, I don’t get many likes though I have quite a few followers – sometimes people actually email me rather than post because they are intimidated by other ‘writers’ and worry their posts will be laughed at. I have one follower whom I know in real life who has never, ever, clicked like or commented and yet she reads every single one and recommends them to friends and remembers (!) what I have written! I also find very few people ever click on links. In my last post, for example, I included links to a recording of the dawn chorus of the universe from outer space and it had one click! Then again… how accurate are the WP stats? I agree titles are quite important but maybe if you are trying to showcase your talents you might write more about things that inspire you rather than about writing?
    I am a bit perturbed by what you say about .com v .org but won’t be moving over to .org as I can’t face it. I suppose I am just doing it for myself now, to let stuff out of my head… And I am sorry if this has not been any help whatsoever! In the end, wrote about what moves you and be yourself…
    And, a happy just-after-Easter to you 🙂

    1. Thanks Mary for giving this so much thought. Writing about how a book makes me feel is an interesting idea. My reasons for reviewing is that it helps me to analyse what I’m reading. It’s also a nice way to say thank you to the many writers who have supported me (outside the blog). However, I could do that, possibly with better visibility on Amazon or Goodreads. Im mulling over everything at the moment.

      I hear what you say about not diluting your own voice, but I wonder if we ever do. We come away from reading something really good and for a few minutes think in that writer’s voice, but then when we come to write something ourselves it comes out in our voice! That said, it’s really good your writing is going so well for you.

      1. I think we all react in different ways to what we read – I am a very emotional reader and rarely if ever dissect which is probably why I flounder so much with plots! But I adapt to voices very readily and if I am writing or reading in the character of a stuffy old man, for example, I find it hard to then write something on my blog… it affects my style but also I suspect the way I think. But we are all different which is what make us all so interesting to writers!
        Keep trying. And if in doubt, write what you feel strongly about. 🙂

      2. Write I feel strongly about? The things I feel strongly about are generally not about writing. The temptation I find is to write about everyday life, simply because there is not much going on with my writing at the moment, only plodding on with The Novel.

  3. I confess I don’t often press the ‘like’ button on blog posts. Nothing to do with not liking the content, I just don’t think of doing it. I have thought of it now though, so unless my short term memory is even worse than I thought, I’ll do it for this post.

  4. Well, they say a person takes 2 seconds on deciding whether to read your blog or not. If book reviews are not their thing then they will not read it. I read a blog recently that was so funny and was about a book giveaway. Making people laugh helps. It is a struggle and the market is so crowded.

    Have you joined the bloggers network Uk FB group?

    Pinterest can help push people to your blog. I have some pins that might help on Pinterest

    1. Thanks Margaret. I will look at the bloggers network and at Pinterest. I have had so much really useful advice from this post.

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