Hello. I'd like your help, if you're not too busy. Whether you're a regular reader (unlikely) or it's your first time here.
I've included a few polls below. If you feel like answering them that would be extremely helpful. Or if you have any more complex thoughts or suggestions please comment at the bottom.
My blog gets about 150 visitors a day, which is fairly modest, but at the same time it's not nothing.
However I hardly get any repeat visitors, and I have basically no engagement with my readers. Very few people write comments.
I would really love it if I could generate something of a community around my blog, form a relationship with some of my readers, get regular input and feedback, and create a place that people want to come back to.
I would also love to write more, but something is stopping me from doing it. A nervousness of sorts. I'm worried that what I write won't be well received, or maybe just that it won't be popular. Not very worried, but just enough to lead me to procrastinate from writing most of the time. Having a relationship with my audience would certainly help me find the motivation to write, but I think there may be other things that could help too.
I have a few ideas that I think might help, but I'm not sure if they're good ideas, so I'd love some feedback on them.
Jump to each solution:
- Split my blog into topics
- Highlight good posts
- Images on my posts
- Promote my Twitter account
Split my blog into topics
I think my blog is rather unfocused, which probably contributes to people not wanting to come back as they may not know what to expect. It runs from rambling thought-pieces to political opinions to helpful (potentially illegal) resources to quite technical posts.
I do tag my posts with topics, and include links to other posts of the same type at the bottom of each post. There are also dedicated landing pages for personal, politics and webdev and each of these has an RSS feed available.
However I suspect that these separations aren't clear enough. The default way to view my posts is the homepage, which lumps everything in together. If most visitors to my blog are only interested in one type of content, then I should make it much easier for them to only see the posts they want.
So I have a plan to split my blog into several blogs. Each would be on a subdomain of robinwinslow.uk (e.g. politics.robinwinslow.uk) and each would have its own landing page and probably its own distinct look and feel. This way you could read all my political stuff if that's what you're interested in, without getting distracted by technical posts about my craft.
I also think this might help me blog more, because I could be slightly more confident that my audience for a specific blog might be interested in what I have to say if they're visiting the relevant blog.
Highlight good posts
I don't think very many people at all are reading more than one post per visit to my blog. This is either because all my content sucks so people are leaving as soon as possible, or because they're simply not finding the other posts that are interesting to them. Let's be optimistic and assume it's the latter.
Currently, the homepage has every post ever on it. And while at the end of every post there are links to other posts of the same topic, these are simply the latest posts of that topic, rather than a curated list.
I think maybe I should be less modest and shout about my other posts which I think are good. This would mean I would have to spend a bit more time selecting good posts, but taking a bit more pride in my work would probably be no bad thing. I have two ideas for how to do this:
Images on my posts
While I do quite like how lightweight my blog site is, I hear that graphics are everything these days. I even had someone complain that they couldn't link to my blog article from Pinterest because it needs there to be an image to link to.
If each of my posts had a header image to introduce it, it might help a lot with catching people's interest.
Promote my Twitter account
Currently you can find my contact details in the footer of the site, so people who are really looking for them can probably find them, but no-one's going to stumble upon them.
Maybe if I were to make it more obvious that I have a Twitter account, and make it easy to follow me, people might actually do it. They might even message me on Twitter about one of my posts - that would be awesome. I've heard it suggested by some bloggers that we should just scrap comments and instead encourage people to just use Twitter, but I don't think I'll go that far.
If they did follow me then they would be much more likely to find out when I post new things, which would help me build an audience. And once again if I felt like I had an audience it would probably help me write more.
Do you have any other ideas?
If you have any other suggestions for how my blog should be improved, please write a comment or send me a tweet.