What I’ve learnt About Blogging This Month – My Top Five Tips For Staying Fresh

The observant amongst you will have noticed I’ve been bothering you more often with my posts over the past few months. You may also have noticed that I’ve diversified the things I post about too. There is a reason for this – and it’s not just because I’m the chatty, sociable sort.

Firstly, the whole purpose of the Sometimes Stellar Storyteller site is to connect with writers. I started this blog because I have a passion for writing but like most people, I need to practice and rid myself of all those habits that dampen my awesome. I don’t have time to commit to night school or shiny writers’ courses but I still need help to build on my writerly foundations. In my wisdom, I decided that starting a blog and using your fabulous minds as my mentor and critic was the way forward. So far it’s been incredible, but in order for it to function as intended I need to publish my stories more frequently, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Secondly, there’s only so much of my rambling and pleading that a small family of followers will tolerate, so in order to avoid irritating people, I need to bring fresh eyes to my blog. I am on a mission to tempt new followers into helping me on my journey, hence the increased activity.

Since I’m a sharing sort of girl, I thought I would write you a post on my plan for improving my online profile and keep you posted on how its going so far. I know some of you were interested to know.

I’ve summarised the top 5 things I’ve been concentrating on over the past month to keep me relevant to my audience and increase readership, I hope they work for you too:

1. Make a plan

You need to make yourself a schedule and stick to it. This will help you write posts in advance and be fully on top of your content. It also makes you answerable to yourself if you don’t feel like posting. Before I had a plan I would go weeks at a time without posting anything which is blog suicide.

Here’s the plan I’m using for March. It’s an excel based calendar detailing what will be posted and when. You will see that it also has areas for me to record how the post was received (more on that in point 5). I don’t plan when I will be posting short stories or poetry, I like to keep that nice and spontaneous. I wouldn’t be able to produce it to order, but I can fill in my random posts as I go along so I can keep an eye on what I’ve been up to.

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2. Keep it relevant

My blog is about all things writing so I wouldn’t publish a post on fashion advice. Chances are that your blog is aimed at a certain cross section of people or interests so make sure that you write posts aimed at the people you want to read your blog.

If you don’t have time to write content all the time, share someone else’s post. As long as it’s relevant to your blog theme this is fine and most bloggers are more than happy to be reblogged. It’s always polite to ask first though (DavyD, I’m hereby requesting consent to reblog one of your posts on World Poetry Day!).

3. Tell people about your post

There’s no point writing posts if nobody can read them. Share your posts on social media and link your accounts to avoid replication. Use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram so people can find them, your objective here is to build your following and push people to your post. Make sure you know how to use tags properly on WordPress and which ones are trending. Certain hashtags are popular with your target audience on certain days across different social media platforms, chances are that you see them daily in other people’s posts so why not use them yourself?  A quick Google search will give you dozens to use, I like to use hashtags aimed at writers.

You don’t have to be a slave to social media, there are plenty of apps and websites that allow you to schedule posts. I am currently using Twuffer to tweet for me. I get 50 free scheduled posts a month which is more than enough for me.

4. Expand your content

My blog is about my writing journey but it would be a dull little offering if that’s all I talked about, that’s why I decided to make it a bit more interesting. I bring you the weekly Six Word Story Challenge to hone your storytelling skills and now invite fellow authors and bloggers to participate in a fortnightly guest post feature. I also bring you my monthly Stellar Review of indie authors’ work to introduce you to your new favourite authors. I have given each of these their own featured image which is instantly recognisable when it pops up in the reader or on social media.

In the future, I plan to add a hints and tips section for writers (this is actually the first one!), as well as an interactive writers’ workshop. I will also be adding more regular discussions to coincide with important literary dates, like my Dickens post did last month.

Since all of this is geared to encourage engagement with my followers, I want to have a conversation with you in the comments not just see you in the list of likes – don’t be shy, talk to me!

What could you add to your blog to make people come back?

5. Measure success

Decide what your objective is before you start and decide what success looks like. For me, the objective is to increase followers on WordPress and Twitter and encourage constructive feedback. I can measure this very easily and I am very pleased to report that since I started doing all of the above things, my following has increased at a much higher rate then it ever has before.

For each post, I note the level of interaction in terms of views, comments and shares so I can measure over time if what I am doing is working. If not, I’ll change it. Nothing is set in stone.

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I’d love to know why you blog and what you do to keep yourself and your audience interested.

Why do you blog? What was the reason you started and has this changed over time?

What do you do to keep your blog fresh and interesting?

Do you actively plan to attract new followers or is it a happy side effect of your blogging genius?

Do you keep to a schedule or do you prefer a free spirited approach?

Do you find this sort of post useful? Would you like to see more of them?

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About Nicola Auckland

Busy wife to one & mum to two. I've caught the creative writing bug, now need to practice, get awesome and write something worth reading. Simples.
This entry was posted in Hints and Tips for Writers and Bloggers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to What I’ve learnt About Blogging This Month – My Top Five Tips For Staying Fresh

  1. Pretty sure at this point that I subconsciously go out of my way to scare readers off 😛
    You have so much more going on in here than the last time I peeked at your blog! Think I may poke around here for a bit, Nicola. Love your tips, by the way. I’m pretty hopeless, and I try half a dozen organizing and scheduling tricks every year, but always willing to give it a try and see if something works for me (plus, there is a painful allure to anything color-coded and neatly laid out. It’s like bird meets shiny object!)

    -Everyn-

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking about you the other day, is the new Crow book released yet? I’m desperate to catch up with Silas and co!

      I’ve been a busy bee, sticking to this schedule has been a revelation! The downside is that there is now so much going on that it’s getting harder to find things. Next step is a whole site redesign – watch this space!

      Liked by 1 person

      • everynkildare says:

        Ha! I’m starting to agree with my hubby that I gave that book an ill-omen name, especially considering how many times I’ve been derailed from finishing it already! I’m almost done with the last and final edits though (working on it now actually) and earlier this week broke through the brick-wall I called Chapter Six – which wasn’t problematic in editing, but was more like something I wanted to get right so badly it became a monstrous hurdle. I’ve learned my lesson about promising anything close to a release date, since this book has made a fool of me multiple times now, but I’m hopeful you’ll have it in the coming weeks.

        I’ve set myself on writing / editing / blogging schedules a few times, and when I can stick to them they really help me stay focused. I tend to buzz with ideas, and they often distract me. It means I do a lot of creative work in a variety of mediums, but it also means things often take a lot longer to finish and stay focused on. :/

        Can’t wait to see the redesign on your blog as well! Been dying to remake mine again, but I’m waiting until I’ve released some of the books in my other series’. Right now it’s still all about the Crow books 😀 But I love when I get to remake it. Has that same sense of newness and adventure as starting a new job or moving to a new city – without actually having to go anywhere…

        And I’m rambling, which probably means I should get back to work!

        -Everyn-

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very much looking forward to the book, whenever it arrives!

        When my head’s buzzing with ideas I jot them down so I can get on with something else, they can be infuriatingly distracting while you promise yourself you’re committing them to memory (which you’re not!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • everynkildare says:

        I think, after so many miserably failed attempts, I’m just going to ninja-sneak publish this one when it’s finished and spare myself some insanity. I’ll be sure to poke you on social media when it goes live though, since I know you’ve been patiently waiting ❤

        Some of my biggest regrets were ideas I didn't write down. :/ lol

        -Everyn-

        Like

  2. Bing says:

    Hi, I find your tips very, very helpful. I did have a plan before but looking at your colorful calendar, maybe a bit of color and that engagement monitoring will inspire me to revive the plan I made for my first blog.

    I have a new blog at present –> sitecontentforyou.wordpress.com — that I need to introduce to people in my niche. That tip about Twuffer is interesting although it is Hootsuite for me. WordPress also has that feature, too.

    Thanks again for the tips!

    Like

  3. Pan says:

    The Plan, wasn’t one.. Jumped in feet first, then waited 4 or 5 months before making it public.. Introduced my sister to my blog and asked if she’d like to post some recipes.. Then I got lazy, then busy, then wasn’t inspired because work got too busy to cook.. Thank God for my sis ! She’s singlehandedly kept the blog current and fresh..
    I don’t know if I’ll ever be disciplined enough to be a regular on my own blog.. But I do enjoy other great bloggers like you and that is what makes come back again and again 😊
    Looking forward to more posts and stories rolling around in your head 👍
    And who knows what I may learn 😉

    Like

  4. Hi Nicola!
    Interesting post I think it would also be quite useful for anyone who wanted to build audience.

    You ask, “Do you actively plan to attract new followers…”. Actually, I don’t do much to attract followers, and some of the things I do no doubt discourage them. For instance, my blog has no single theme. I’m all over the board: Love, Science, Mysticism, Authenticity, People I’ve known, etc. If there’s any continuity is that I try to write with unusual frankness and honesty, even for bloggers. Of course, I welcome and appreciate any audience that I do get, but I’m not really writing to gain one.

    Thanks for the fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love a blog with sincerity and honesty, I can smell phoney’s a mile away. I’d much prefer to read from your perspective so keep up the good job!

      I know many people will have an active agenda to increase followers, especially those who are building a brand or web presence for marketing purposes. I’d love to know how much work they really put into it.

      Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you again soon.

      Like

      • Thanks for the kind encouragement, Nicola!

        By the way, I have a couple friends — one American, one Finnish (both of them ladies) — who are quite knowledgeable about building web traffic. They are always lobbying me to build up traffic and then monetize my blog! Something that I will never do. Nevertheless, they keep at it by telling me all sorts of tricks of the trade, from which I have gained enough information to realize there’s quite an art to it. So, in answer to your question, there’s a whole lot of work that can be put into marketing a blog or website, if you want to do it.

        Like

      • Hi Paul,

        There is an art to it, I’d almost go so far as to say it’s witchcraft! You have to have a lot of time to dedicate to make it work, something not a lot of us have!

        Please feel free to pass on any pearls of wisdom you happen to learn 🙂

        Nicola

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m betting you already know any pearls of wisdom I’m lucky enough to have retained from talking with people, Nicola, but if I ever remember anything that seems to me especially remarkable, I will run it by you just out of courtesy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That would be great, thanks!

        Like

  5. Hii.. very helpful post. Excellent. I love Six Word Story challenge a lot.
    Looking forward for more such challenges. It really helps to think in a different way, not just in one direction.

    Like

    • Hi, thanks for taking the time to read my post. I’m sure there’s an awful lot of helpful advice out there, this is just what I’ve learnt so far.

      I’m so glad you enjoy the six word story challenge, I find it really helps to narrow down what the story is actually about and make a statement about it. A reader once suggested that this would be a good way to discover the point of each chapter of the novel he was writing. I think I might try it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes.. indeed its a good way to discover the story or chapter… i eagerly wait for new word from you every week. Short n sweet six word story bt takes a whole lot of creativity to write. Great. ☺☺👍

        Like

      • Pan says:

        I bet that does work well to keep an author on track while developing the dialogs and details👍

        Like

  6. Davy D says:

    A good post with some useful hints and tips Nicola. I recently started a schedule and plan for my blog but I found after a few weeks that it was starting to affect my creativity. I do have a rough plan each month but find I work better on the hop. Maybe it is something to do with poetry as opposed to prose. Maybe it is a personality thing. I would like to know what your thoughts are on this.

    Like

    • I can see why a plan could affect creativity, it’s easy to turn something you love into a chore. I like order in the universe so a schedule makes sure I turn up. I like to keep in unimposing, you’ll notice that some weeks I am merely reblogging other people’s work (like yours on International Poetry Day if you’re ok with this?)

      Maybe this is just another variable on the plotter vs pantster debate?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Davy D says:

        Thanks for your thoughts Nicola. I suppose I carry a schedule in my head but some weeks it goes out of the window. I am reading an interesting book at the moment, Messy by Tim Harford. It is all about messiness and creativity and I think it created more disorder in my mindset 🙂 Please feel free to use any of the work I use on my blog, it would be appreciated.

        Like

  7. frugaldod says:

    I started my Frugal Dad of Daughters because I want to talk about frugal living, money & finances & I love writing (and people started looking at me crazy because I was talking to myself :P). Honestly I feel like I have done a horrible job at trying to keep people interested in my blog, I always feel like I must be doing something wrong that bores people in all honesty.
    I have always had such a hard time keeping to any sort of schedule, but recently found it works if I could up with a series topic that I can write and pre-schedule on WordPress so I can see it in my dashboard. Maybe someday an actual blog planner will help, but for now with 2 little ones under 3 I think I am mostly doomed, but I have been loving your site and your 6 word stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Firstly, well done on posting anything at all with two under three year olds!

      If you’re worried about your blog content, maybe you could ask a few followers for a peer review? Decide who your target audience is and ask them and yourself if what you are blogging about is what they want and need? I asked my sister to do this for me, it’s a good job I’ve got a thick skin! People will always tell you what they do and don’t like about anything. It’s important to retain perspective though, it’s your site so if you don’t agree with their suggestions you don’t have to action them but it’s nice to have them anyway.

      Thanks for popping over to my blog, please feel free to take part in the six word story challenge. This week’s prompt is FUNNY, I’m sure with two young children you could create a good one for us! Good luck with growing your blog, I love a good frugal tip!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Pan says:

      Congrats on being a frugal dad 👍
      With your comment here, I flew thru cyberspace to your blog, I love almost all things frugal, to hit the follow button.. But I could not find the handy dandy WP follow button 😕 .. I don’t use other social media and avoid signing up by email.. I think adding the WP follow button would increase subscriptions..

      The other thing I noticed is that the words are very hard to read because of the camo background camouflaging the gray text.. At least on my device.. I looked at the menu and believe you have interesting and helpful info, if it could be visually easy to read.. Hope these 2 observations help in someway 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • frugaldod says:

        Thank you for pointing this out. It has always worked fine on my tablet and computer with a white background to offset the lettering. So I am looking into correcting that problem. And I had recently thought about adding a WP follow butting and will do so as promptly as I can. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • frugaldod says:

        I added a WP follow button under my social links but in not sure it works as it should ??

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pan says:

        Yep, the button is there and it works 😊 And I’m full of frugal anticipation 😄

        Like

      • Pan says:

        You do have a well ordered page, now that the text isn’t competing with the background. But I feel bad to see all the visual gone. I could be wrong but I see creativity in you able to make a statement about your blog in the theme you choose and build.. Maybe some people could give you some techy pointers if you agree with my observation about you.. If not, just brush off that suggestion as the ranting of a senile woman who thinks too much 😂

        Like

  8. Why do you blog? What was the reason you started and has this changed over time?
    I just started a few months ago, and it was really just to get my thoughts out there. I guess I’m hooked now. I just have to find a steady routine for writing and publishing. I like your calendar idea.

    Do you actively plan to attract new followers?
    Yes, I just have no idea how to do that…that sounds terrible now that I wrote it down. :/

    Do you keep to a schedule or do you prefer a free spirited approach? I will definitely keep to a schedule now.

    Do you find this sort of post useful? Would you like to see more of them? Definitely!! Yes!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think just by putting your posts out there you will attract new followers but there’s no doubt that regular posts mean that people come to recognise, anticipate and hopefully enjoy your musings. I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself at first if you’re going to write a schedule, trying to squeeze blogging into your schedule can be tough when you’ve already got a lot on your plate.

      I’m so glad you’re finding this post useful, I will definitely be posting more!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. maidsdayoff says:

    Very helpful post! I like to follow “The Daily Prompt” on WordPress and post when I have an idea relevant to the topic. I’ve gotten several new followers that way. I also try to comment a lot on other blogs. If I engage in a conversation with the writer about their topic, they (and others who see it) often will check out my blog too. If I have something particularly relevant to their topic, I’ll sometimes even go ahead and share my link in the comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Possibly silly question: I have my blog link to Facebook, but how do you link to instagram? Everytime I publish it shows on facebook, but not on instagram. Is there a way to do that?

    Also, great advice. Thanks

    Like

  11. Such a nice post! great plan by the way! I just started blogging myself and I already made some posts in advance, I think I had all of that in me, and it poured out when I started the blog, haha. Thanks for the tips!
    I try to blog about things that I myself would like to read about, I think that’s the most healthy approach. Write something YOU would read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Write what you’d like to read – great advice. If you want to read it, so will someone else. It’s great that you have already scheduled some posts, I think I found that to be the hardest change, when I’ve written something I just want to press ublish and get it out there!

      Good luck with the blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. kirstwrites says:

    Very helpful post, thank you! I’ve been enjoying your new high-frequency output very much, and I think I could definitely learn a thing or two from all your suggestions – especially having a monthly schedule. I tend to have the occasional flurry of WordPress activity and then forget about it all for 3 weeks, sending my stats plummeting. The problem is that I’m actually so enthralled by my bigger work in progress which I’ve *almost* finished, that I am spending all my free writing time on that rather than blogging. How do you find the time to write all these blog posts?

    Like

    • Luckily, when I have to write something it doesn’t take long to go from head to screen. It often takes me longer to find an angle to write it from! I have a precious couple of hours between 3:30-5:30pm daily that I use for writing. I am strict with myself and make sure that it’s my time. Dinner can wait.

      I think finding the energy to write a blog post when you should be writing your WIP is a struggle. I haven’t touched my WIP in weeks, I’m going to have to be ruthless with my writing time and only allocate a couple of hours to blog work or I’ll never get anything done.

      I can’t wait to read your WIP! Let me know if you need a proofreader 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • kirstwrites says:

        So many writing projects, so little time! You’re lucky to have a regular slot during the day – I have a couple of days off during the week but have just filled them with some freelance work for the next few weeks so that’ll mean blogging and WIP taking a back seat yet again. That’s very kind of you to offer to proof read… without even knowing what the subject matter is!

        Like

      • I didn’t say it would be any good. I have an eye for inconsistencies, I should have been a continuity supervisor on film sets!

        Like

  13. I’m leaving a comment so you don’t tell me off for not doing 😜
    Seriously though, I’m very impressed by your scheduling calendar.

    Liked by 1 person

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