Blog Surgery

blog surgery attrBaffled about blogging? Unsure of your design? Need Readers? Want to know about WordPress or Google?

Ask Any Questions…I’ll Try To Answer Them.

BLOG SURGERY IS NOW CLOSED UNTIL NEXT SESSION!

Need answers? See if any of the other commenters answers can help you until then.

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95 thoughts on “Blog Surgery

  1. Hello Editor. I have introduced myself in your Meet and Greet post and would like to now ask a question. I cannot believe that I have found this blog and particularly this post! Thank you for your work here.

    I just started my blog about a month ago and have gotten very trickly traffic. I fall under the category of single mother who would like to be able to work from home rather than go to a job she does not particularly enjoy, but she still has to pay the rent, dance and piano lessons. I started this blog with the idea of making money (can I dare say a living?) from it.

    How do I proceed? I feel like I should start with one question at a time. First things first. How do I get the traffic in? I have commented on other people’s blogs and have gotten some likes and even follows that way, but the frustrating thing is that my stats show absolutely zero traffic from this. The best traffic that I got was when one of my posts was published on a big website and a lot of people linked back to my blog from that site and their Facebook page. That’s not going to happen every time, so what else can I do?

    If you have the time, would you be willing to please take a look at my site and offer some advise on what I may be doing wrong (or right)? I just changed the theme. The previous one was “Something Fishy”, and I thought maybe it was too busy.

    I will likely have a million more questions, but I will start with this one.

    Thank you,
    Coral Swimming
    Swimming Without the Manual
    http://swimmingwithoutthemanual.com/

    1. Welcome Coral! Do me a favour. Next blog surgery just pop this question on again and I’ll see what I can do to help you. I know if I try and remember it will be buried under a pile of other work. I know it can be daunting to get started can’t it? But hang in there!

      1. Of course! Thanks for replying so quickly. I just noticed the sign that says the session is currently closed. Oops. I’l be back 🙂

        Thank you for your encouragement. I will continue to chug along.

  2. I am so glad that you post these advice forums from time to time. It is the reason I follow.

    It’s really all about engagement isn’t it!?! When you’ve posted something folks find valuable or interesting, they follow. When you engage folks (personally) in the comments, they follow. I appreciate this about the time you’ve taken to respond to comments–bravo! It is, after all, social media. Bravo, “theeditorsjournal”!

    1. That’s it really K. You’ve hit the nail on the head about the ‘social’ part of the social media and no matter how many times I say it a lot of folks clearly don’t really believe it. It really isn’t rocket science. Sure there are tried and tested techniques to use and I’ve known power bloggers to use them and be very successful – but I’ve also known people who just ‘fall into’ successful blogging simply by being, well…human! Expressive, personable, friendly, generous, interesting and interested in others.

      As I said it’s not rocket science. If you go to a party, make no effort and be a wallflower, you’ll leave that party thinking ‘Why do I have no friends?’

      If you go and say hallo to 10 people at that party at the end you’ll have made 10 new acquaintances. 2 of whom may call you to attend another party where you meet the person you will marry or the person who introduces you to the investor who loves your blog…yadda yadda. 5 more of those people at the party start reading your blog and bring another 8 to 20 people between them and you might go on to stay in touch with them until you pop your clogs. Just be HUMAN! 🙂

      And thank you for your kind words.

      1. LOL, I saw that you’d written this after I’d replied to your other comment. Great minds think alike!

      2. I’m trying to get the comment bit more visible on my blog – and thanks for the comments and the advice. (You have to get some sleep soon, surely, ed?)

      3. So THAT’s where I’ve been going wrong…all those wasted hours between midnight and dawn…dang! 😉

      4. PS Andy, just noticed something odd about your avatar.

        If you surf down the comments on my page you’ll notice that everyone’s avatar links directly to their blog. Yours does not.

        The thing is, when you are trying to attract readers it is miniscule things like this that will make people just move on when they can’t access you easily, simply because they don’t know you yet and have no reason to put that extra effort in.

        Do you know if this happens when you comment elsewhere, or is it unique to Editors Journal for some reason?

      5. It happens everywhere but that hadn’t registered until you pointed it out. My blog doesn’t have a logo as such (more homework, right?) But even then, would I create a separate avatar for it? And dare I ask – how?

      6. You can indeed create a logo or specific avatar if you wish at any time, but I don’t think the link issue has anything to do with having a logo. You will see that folks who don’t have a designed avatar (or blog logo) still have the WordPress default avatar link to their blogs in comments.

        It may be an issue specific to your chosen theme I’m afraid and if that is the case the only way to cure the problem is to change it.

        But as I have not tinkered behind your blog to know for sure the best thing if you wanted to try and cure it is to test another theme, check if it links when you make a comment and then you will know for sure.
        You can always return to your existing theme if that turns out not to cure the problem, so make a note of the current theme name if that should be the case.

      7. Thanks. I’ll give that a try. I need to find a theme where it’s easier to do and see the comments anyway so I’ll have a play. Just need to get some cake first. Ot’s clearly the secret ingredient…

  3. Hi! Thanks so much for opening this up for questions, it’s great to find someone willing to share their experience and knowledge. I’m just curious to see what you think of my blog – HOOKD.in.

    I’ve put a lot of time and effort into trying to build a social following, primarily on Twitter, and have been pretty consistent with posting, but I’m still not seeing the traffic that I’d like to. I like running this site as a side project, but would love to continue to grow it, and have it become a site that folks visit more frequently.

    Recently, I’ve been trying to reach out to find guest authors to get more content, which so far has only lead to a couple of additional posts. I’ve also been trying to find other blogs that would like to feature my content for additional exposure.

    Are there any tips for growing a site other than frequent posting, networking and social media?

    Thanks, again.

    1. Hallo AJ.

      Well to begin with I don’t really subscribe to the idea that multiple posting equals more traffic and rank…at least not any more. That’s old school. Consistent posting is always good of course, but simply as a way to keep your material fresh, growing and interesting.

      I also have seen some data that suggests that it does not particularly influence Google as was once offered around the net at some point. Google are always altering the goalposts of what it wishes to use as influence in up-ranking sites. Currently social media signals are the thing. Next 6 months who knows? I personally wouldn’t chase this race, I would do what makes common sense in the real world.

      Having worked in publicity as one of my many sins let me give you a scenario. I have just invented a new coffee. What is likely to get attention / sales for it.

      a) spending more time inventing 50 more flavours or
      b) going and telling 50 people about the existing coffee?

      You have a very nice site, aesthetically and concept-wise, but I think you are facing the wrong direction by concentrating on obtaining additional posts from guest posters. It’s not going to alter a thing for you at this point. I totally understand from your About Page that that is your chosen business model, but to be frank AJ what do you have to offer guest posters at this stage?

      The reason guest posting is advantageous is because if you get a guest post on a well visited site it can send tons of traffic to your blog. That is not the case with you at this juncture. You cannot send them noticeable traffic.

      If you yourself go to other well established sites (that can actually make a noticeable difference to YOUR blog) and offer to guest post with them I’m guessing you would be turned down / ignored for exactly the same reason. Big bloggers want something in return – what are you offering them in return for access to their massive audience?
      Traffic? Some tech advancement that nobody has cottoned on to yet?

      I also think the words ‘side project’ suggests what the problem might be here. If this blog is just a small diversion for you then no problem. However if you really want to grow a blog with buzz and interaction it will take a lot more than thinking of this as a ‘side project.’ That sort of thing happened years ago, where a teenager could sit in his bedroom and casually come up with Mashable, a site rumoured to be worth in the hundreds of millions today. (Sure it still happens but it’s rare). Today the competition for people’s attention is fierce and you will have to work this project like your rent is due to get it off the ground.

      If you have no budget AJ I’m afraid networking is what you have to do. Whether on social media or via blogging. In fact come to think of it, all 3 things you said in your last line is what you will need to do to gain traction for this project.
      ‘Are there any tips for growing a site other than frequent posting, networking and social media?’

      If you want the big tech boys to take you seriously you need to get under their radar and start now. If you start now you might wear them down by the time you do have a more well developed blog with sustainable traffic. Go on Twitter, pick your key targets and answer their tweets, participate on their sites and basically do this…

      https://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/blogging-get-noticed-2/

      and read the other posts in the ‘Getting Noticed’ series. That should reverse the mindset you currently have about growing a tech blog from scratch.

      This has to be a solid disciplined commitment or nothing will come of it. Blogging feeds back to you what YOU feed it. The ‘side project’ mentality and the ‘other people should come and guest-write my posts for me’ thing simply won’t cut it at this stage, unless, as I said, all you want from it is a hobby, (which might of course be the case). YOU will have to write the posts, YOU will have to network like crazy. When you gain traction then you can offer and obtain guest posts that will add even more fuel to your growth. Good luck! 🙂

      1. Hello,

        Thanks so much for your honest feedback. I appreciate the time you took to write that response. You are right about the mentality of a side project. I will take your advice and put the guest posting venture on hold until I have something more to offer and will turn my focus back to networking and continuing to find engaging topics to write about. I also appreciate your reference to the Getting Noticed series – I will gladly check that out.

        Thanks again,
        A.J.

  4. Hello, firstly Thanks for the offer of feedback ! Secondly have a look and tell me your thoughts. I have a quite a few followers but my hits only come from search engine views 98 percent of the time. I am not sure if its my topics or what but people don’t follow a blog that they wont read right ?

    1. Hi Ally,

      Just a quick question, do you use tags at all? If not you need to use them.

      Yes some people DO follow blogs they won’t read for a few reasons. They want YOU to follow them back. Or they were intending to read your blog but haven’t found the time and you haven’t done anything to jog their memory!

      I can see a few issues straight away Ally which might answer your questions.
      I click to your first page and it’s kinda desolate. There is one post there with 4 quotes on it…and that’s it.
      So I turn to your ‘About’ link and there is a form on a page that is meant to tell me a little bit about you and your blog.

      I have to click to Tumblr to find out about you and I guarantee you that few, if any, will. WordPress people like to stay on WordPress. Tumblr people like to stay on Tumblr. Maybe someone like you who belongs to both might bother to click.

      I go to your comments on the one post on your home page and 4 people have left comments (the oldest was left since February) and you’ve basically ignored them…I doubt they’ll be back.

      Are you getting the picture here from a visitor’s perspective?

      It’s a bit like visiting a house where no one is home and you’re pressing your nose against the window to look for any signs of life and it’s basically deserted with wind whistling through the cracks in the doors and tumbleweed blows past.

      Imagine that every click you get is basically someone saying: ‘Hallo…is anybody home?…Hallo? Hallo?’ Your job is to answer that question with the way you welcome your visitors and present your blog which is basically your home online.

      To fix it:

      – Use tags. Go down the comments and see what I have written about tags for someone else.

      – Put more posts on your front HOME page. It’s called HOME page for a reason. Make it like a welcoming home.

      – Answer your visitors don’t ignore them. No one likes to be ignored.

      – Go visit other people.

      – Explain who you are and what your blog is about for people who might be interested. Your topic appears to be quite niche as it is so don’t make it even harder to get readers by not even explaining it and why you are so interested in it.

      1. Thank You for the Amazing Feedback!!! I am working on the changes you suggest. Would it be weird to put my About Stuff on My Home Page. ( I did that already you can check it out to see). The About Tab was clickable but it seems it didn’t seem clickable but I moved the info to the homepage. I wonder if its too overwhelming?

      2. Great stuff! The thing is, yes your stuff is kinda niche but once people who like Clifford The Big Red Dog etc find you (i.e YOU go find them!) they will be friends for life – it’s that kind of niche.

        (BTW is that an American reference I’ve never heard of Clifford The Big Red Dog or Madeleine?)

        The other thing is, because you have introduced your personality it’s like someone has opened all the windows and let the sun in on the once deserted home! YOU will sell your project because of that personality. It might sound like a little thing but many people struggle to put across charisma via their writing on a blog and in a few words you have already done it.
        So what does this mean? It means that folks will come and chat regardless of whether they particularly like your niche or not OR they will come and be willing to let you introduce them to your take on pop culture simply because they like you.

        The easy click to other posts? Liking it! 🙂

        You can also just have your follow up posts below your introduction on the home page, I don’t know if you are aware of that and it is a conscious style choice to have just one post on your home page, which is fine if that is what you want.

        Take a look at my home page for an example of that, if it’s something you might decide you want to do.
        I have made the top 2 posts ‘sticky’ – meaning they are always at the top. I can just ‘unstick’ and get rid of them at any point. One sticky post is my About Page so like yours does now, you get a flavour of who I am straight away and then underneath, the posts line up for easy visitor access. (Apologies – I’m sure you know all this already).

        No, I personally don’t think the About Page is overwhelming and I like the ‘why you shouldn’t click away.’ As a visitor you find yourself compelled to read it to find out why you shouldn’t click away. Clever.

        Remember this is just step 1 and it doesn’t in itself bring visitors! It does mean however that when they DO come they can now say, ‘hey I quite like this introverted, overly analytic super geek dork nerd!’ Which they couldn’t before.
        Don’t forget to give them a call to action. i.e remind them to follow or whatever it is you want your new visitors to do from today.

        Homework reading :

        https://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/dont-short-change-yourself/

        https://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/whadya-want-from-me/

      3. Clifford and Madeline were American I believe, Although I’m not from America we mostly got American channels. I really appreciate your feedback ! Your amazing and I will bask in your awesome for a very long time. I will continue to tinker and do my homework!

        Thanks again!

  5. Gaining readers seems to go a lot slower for me than it has for my previous blog. I have had stages of inconsistency in new posts, but I have regulated myself now to continue publishing regularly. I use Digg.com, Twitter and Facebook for each post, but my readership seems to remain low. http://www.sidewalkinterests.wordpress.com

      1. Woah! Sorry Stefan. Got very busy yesterday followed by a massive migraine to end the day so you were pushed back even further!

        So let’s do this!

        I’m going to need to get into your brain a little with a few questions:
        Where is your first blog? Is it available to look at?
        Why did you start another blog if that one is doing well?

      2. No worries. The blog address was sidewalkcynisism.blogspot.com. I had left not posted on it for quite a long time and instead of trying to reboot it I felt brave enough for a new challenge. The posts were also still a tad juvenile and stocky, so I felt a fresh start would have been a great way to challenge and hone my skills.

      3. So think of my next set of questions as triage in a hospital. In order to know how to cure a patient who is vomiting the doctors have to know what they have swallowed, when, how, how much, who gave it to them etc.
        Hence my questions:

        I notice you swapped platforms also, Blogger to WordPress. Just curious as to why?

        How old was sidewalk cynicism?

        Roughly how many followers would you say you had on sidewalk cynicism?

        Why did you suddenly stop blogging on sidewalk cynicism?

        What do you do with Digg, Twitter and Facebook? In other words how do you use them to promote your blog?

        What do you do in a typical week on your current blog?

        What would you like to achieve with this new blog in terms of pure numbers Stefan?

        What is your overall hope for this new blog in 2 years time?

      4. Blogger felt like it overcomplicated things too much, making customisation and personalisation a real nightmare. I think it was about a year old, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how many followers I had.
        The stop of blogging was simply an overload of work, I had too many assignments and exams at varsity to put too much focus on anything else.
        I submit urls for each post on Digg, as well as Twitter with the appropriate hashtags. I have two facebook pages created, although only one is for the actual blog where I ahare every post and the second is simply to get as much of my photography out there. The second page is still just a few days old.
        In terms of numbers, I’m not exactly sure. I would like to use it as a platform to get my work read and seen as widely as possibly, creating a recognisable brand.

      5. Hi again Stefan!

        Yours has been an interesting case to review. Apart from various diversions not sure why it has taken longer than others but here goes.

        Thanks for the info. A few things jump out to me having visited your site a few times and noted how long you have been around online and also what you have told me Stefan. There’s a certain lack of ‘Oooomf!’ going on. Blogging is like anything in life. You will get back from it what you put into it. Organic blogging requires a certain amount of giving and taking also to succeed in it. To succeed in blogging you have to communicate, interact and market.

        The first thing I would do if I were you Stefan is decide whether you want to blog just to put stuff out there every now and again and then get on with other things that really matter to you or decide whether this is a serious project for you. In my humble opinion you are currently blogging like the first option and the results you are getting are therefore to be expected.

        As I said to someone else, if you buy a plant and don’t water it at all or enough, surprise, surprise it’s going to stagnate and eventually die! If you buy a plant and do everything necessary to nurture it, it will thrive and grow. Blogging is the same.

        These are the words that jump out to me from you. ‘Inconsistency’, ‘I couldn’t tell you exactly how many followers I had.’ ‘In terms of numbers, I’m not exactly sure.’ ‘I had too many assignments and exams at varsity to put too much focus on anything else.’ ‘ we’ll just have to see where things go from there…’
        There’s no fireworks. There’s no passion. There’s so little interest that you don’t even have a rough idea how many followers you had or even how many you want. This ‘meh’ is what you are packaging to sell to your potential audience. Would you buy it?

        Now although you say ‘I would like to use it as a platform to get my work read and seen as widely as possibly, creating a recognisable brand.’ It probably won’t happen until your head language changes to match the creative energy levels needed to achieve that goal. I just don’t get excitement about your own project from your words and that ‘meh’ feeling is contagious for your potential readers.
        I’m also just not feeling you saying that you want to ‘create a recognisable brand’ because I’d say, ‘And then what? A recognisable brand doing what exactly?’ It is not clear. You just stopped short. If you really knew it would be on the tip of your tongue. Either you are not saying or you do not know and therefore It all feels not thought out, unplanned, directionless.

        Don’t get me wrong. You may be quite happy with the status quo. You may be a casual blogger who just wants a few visitors to like his photography and writing every now and then and that’s it. You may also be still looking for a solid direction and trying to find your feet or have studies or a job that are your priority. Nothing wrong with that at all!

        But you are telling me one thing with words and your actions are telling me another. To get the results you SAY you want they BOTH need to decide what does Stefan REALLY want from blogging in order to move forward. Your actions and words need to be congruent and on the same page. Is this making sense?

        To get what you SAY you want you need solid, well thought out answers, not shrugs and sighs and ‘dunnos’ ‘not sures.’ Although I’ve written quite a bit here it is actually quite hard to help you when neither of us appear to know what it is you actually want.
        The overall feeling of uncertainty or non commitment will keep you right where you are now and you are telling me (sorta, kinda, without any ooooomf) that you don’t want to be there.

        As I mentioned before, blogging is about marketing and communication. You have said that you share your posts on 3 other platforms. I’m afraid that won’t be enough for the results you want. Just putting up posts and then sharing them doesn’t do anything. I have to go by what you have told me and there is no mention of your interaction with other people so you cannot expect (many) people to find interest in what you have to say either.

        When you are building a project, especially organically (i.e you don’t have an advertising budget) you have to interact with people, share your stuff, share their stuff, talk to them, be interested in them and they will be interested in you. Do it a little, you’ll get a little back. Do it a lot you’ll get a lot back.

        You wrote a post on networking and I’m guessing that straight after writing it you failed to network it as it has zero interaction! Not even a measly, lazy ‘like’ from a passing blogger. The biggest blogs I know started by networking, building friendships and somewhere along the line there was a tipping point where the friendships became more of a fan base and traffic started to implode because of the footprints the blogger had left all over the internet doing exactly what I’m telling you that you need to do. This doesn’t happen overnight Stefan and it takes that ‘Oooomf!’ that I talked about before.

        Some practical things: I’m sure you know that your avatar currently is not linked to your latest site. These little things make a difference in helping people find you. Although there is nothing particularly wrong with your current template you might want to consider some specifically designed photographic themes that may serve your photography better. (I did notice you have an Instagram account so you may decide that to be quite sufficient).
        Your blog posts with photography leave the visitor with no particular reason to interact with you so even if you do get them to visit you, the majority won’t interact. Read some of my blogging posts to see how to drive interaction.

        I’m going to give you a little bit of homework. Now obviously I don’t know you, you could be a firecracker! But on paper I’m not feeling your passion for what you do from what you have told me and I’m 100% sure that is one of your biggest issues in building your audience numbers. So let me show you someone who took writing and photography to a whole ‘nother level and has ‘created a recognisable brand’ simply from his passion and ‘oooomf!’ (See link at bottom.)

        You may have heard about him. The thing to take from it is that he started with a VERY STRONG plan and a VERY STRONG idea of what to do with his photography. He worked at about 20 times the rate you are currently working with 20 times the energy. Ultimately once he got started, his project changed into something slightly different to his original idea. But his thing from day one was all about energy, passion and a direction. Have a read and good luck. Hope something I’ve said makes sense. You clearly have things to impart to the world and there is some stunning photography on your site that certainly deserves a healthier audience.

        Summary:

        1. Decide what you really want to achieve.

        2. Decide if you think the effort required is worth it.

        3. If not, carry on as before. Nothing to change.

        4. If yes, plan it out. Be clear on the numbers you want in 2 years time, the goals you wish for your beautiful photography and your writing – which may not necessarily end up even being the same. If that’s the case separate them.

        5. Tell folk about your work. In turn enjoy their work. Interact. be generous doing so. Do it…Relentlessly.

        6. Read link below.

        http://www.humansofnewyork.com/about

      6. Oh yeah, on a weekly basis I try to post at least two photographs anc one written piece per day

      7. Oh yeah, on a weekly basis I try to post at least two photographs and one written piece per day.

  6. Ok, please help…first of all, no one reads my blogs nor comments, so I wonder whether it’s worth continuing, or whether this is my fault for not blogging enough? Secondly, How do I link my blog to my new ebay shop. I’m closing my site down, and switching to ebay, but don’t know how to link to ebay. Any advice? you know your brains are astonishing. I just lose it after trying for so long….:) thanks for any help you can give. x x

    1. Hey D,

      First of all, I think that is a really good idea. If that’s where the sales are coming from then that’s what you should do.

      Re: the link where do you want to put it on your blog?
      I can tell you how to do it my little star or in your case (with your password) I’ll just do it for you. You choose.

      PS anyone else reading this DON’T give out your password to anyone. D and I have a little bit of history. And I would recommend changing the password after D if you choose that option – and don’t put it in the comments!
      I’m offering to do it because you sound passed your wits end! 🙂

      To get to the crux of your visitor issue. You should do this for me.
      In a typical week Monday to Friday. I want you to tell me what you do everyday on your blog. Start with say last Monday and say what you did:

      e.g. Monday: I wrote a post and put up a new product.

      Then Tuesday through to Sunday.

      1. Dear darling, special angel, yes, yes and yes to everything. Thank you thank you and thank you to everything. I am at my wits end! I don’t blog everyday, so I will do the exercise next week, and report back. Is this ok? Did I say thank you and that I just love you? ok, thank you and I just love you. x x x x

      2. please write to me via email, because if I have to follow instructions, I’ll pull my hair out! ooooh, I’m good at some things and so suck at others. LOL….I cannot thank you enough! and I don’t even know how to make a ‘heart’ sign here, so here’s a smile 🙂 and a kiss x x x

  7. wow love the questions and your comprehensive answers! I’m just sorry I haven’t found the time to visit many blogs yet. I have too much going on! And I would love to know how I can write more spontaneously instead of agonizing over every post 🙂

    1. Well Sunfower, 2 things spring to mind.

      Either you are a perfectionist or you are fearful of people seeing what you write. Maybe even a little of both.
      None of which I’ll have you know are uncommon for bloggers. The way to get over both? Keep doing it. Set yourself a schedule that fits with the fact that you are very busy right now and stick to it. That’s the only way you’ll conquer that internal battle whenever it comes to pressing that submit button and make writing spontaneous.
      Also, always have a notebook somewhere with you so that when ideas come to you you can jot them down and then fill them out during post writing time.

      1. Hello again Waza.

        One word.

        Traffic.

        With enough traffic Waza people have bought cars and houses and changed their lives. It doesn’t happen to everyone and it takes plenty discipline.

        There are many ways to turn your traffic into money or your living.
        You could sell a product that you have made, some art, a piece of furniture, a book.

        People with a lot of traffic have attracted agents of all kinds from music, to make-up companies to book agents which has then made them money.
        The most direct way is via advertising on your site.

        There are plentiful ways but none apply if you have little or no traffic.

        I have no idea where you are from Waza as you have no information on your About Page (which is naughty) but in most countries the procedure is that you would get paid via a company like Paypal from your site and the money would be transferred to your bank account.

        If you are from certain African countries there may be some restrictions on this from your own banks or from Paypal. But if you had major traffic I’m sure you could work around this.

    1. My first impression was that The Champa Tree (nice name by the way), is a shop…no it’s not a shop. Then I went to your about page and thought ah, it’s a personal blog…but then I read the writing style of some posts and thought no, it’s an authority blog on motherhood.

      Therein lies the problem Vaishalli (at least for me, but what do I know!?) Remember I’m only giving you ONE opinion.

      My favourite page was your about page and the description of baby as ‘Brat H.’ It was my favourite because it was warm, real, funny, charming and made me smile and want to know what the little scamp had been up to to be called ‘Brat H.’

      The dichotomy is you describe yourself as an ‘on the job learner’ which is cute and real and appealing, especially for your potential millions-of-women-in-the-same-position audience, then you say that your blog is a ‘comprehensive guide’ which suggests that you have vast educative experience or have written books or have evidence that you know exactly what you are doing.

      Do you see what I’m saying?

      Your template design suggests magazine or shop on first click and because it is almost impossible to read the description line on your logo.

      Whereas your more personal posts suggests lovely warm lady with her beautiful little soldier who I’d love to hear more about in terms of their journey together and reading as someone who is not Indian, just your everyday little things that make me as an international reader go, ‘oh…didn’t know that.’ Bit like your ‘Did You Know?’ feature, but more about…you.

      You talk from the heart as a new mother for example when talking about your own mother and thanking her, then you talk like a corporation ‘TCT attended the launch…TCT has brought some really effective hair care tips.’

      For me there is a disconnect because (and it might be a cultural thing) I want to know the Mom. She can still build her great online empire, but I personally want to hear from Mom. Corporations are cold. Moms are soulful, funny, angry, ditzy, exhausted, leaders, wrong, right, life givers and warm.

      You have everything already. You are smart, a good writer, have an obvious potential audience, you have a little star in the making called Brat H and have accumulated tons of material. You can either adjust a little to bring more of the warm real you into the picture or blow me a raspberry and continue as you are.

      This adjustment in itself is only part of the job. It won’t result in tons of traffic just because you make this slight adjustment. It might make people hang around when they do actually visit and desire to come back and visit more often though. In other words become your friends / fans / audience / traffic.

      So in order to tackle your traffic question V, it would be helpful to know what you have been doing while writing all this amazing stuff to get traffic so far?

      1. TSM for the feedback. I do agree with you on a lot of things. Yes! There has been a bit (A LOT) of a confusion. TCT has been oscillating in its basic theme (from my personal posts to knowledge sharing articles). I am planning to re-work the ‘about us’ page. Will delete that area from the description which says or indicates anything to do with the ‘comprehensive guide’ sort of stuff. The tag line of our logo is not clear. So that shall be sorted too.. But, I would like to publish a mix of personal and informative articles..So, how do I strike a balance (without creating any further confusion!?) Also, cant change the name of our blog. I love The Champa Tree..but, you are right. It has a very ‘shop’ like feel. Please suggest how to break that perceived notion? Thanks once again for your feedback. Truly appreciate it 🙂

      2. No, The Champa Tree is a lovely name and means something to you which is more important than anyone else’s opinion. I like it too and I particularly like that you explained it very well on your About Page. I can see it’s usage both as a blog and as a future top company perhaps selling …oooogh I don’t know, perfumes, books or baby stuff.
        The name is not what gives out the ‘shop’ feel, although equally it is a great shop name too!

        The thing to perhaps look at is the logo. The logo as a logo is fine but you can’t read rather important bits of it. The orange square bit at the top says something, but it is illegible. The description line is not easy to read and it’s very important purpose is to set the tone of your blog.

        Perhaps separate that line from the logo and blow it up larger underneath, or make the whole logo larger in general to cover more of the white brickwork. Or keep The Little Soldier pics and your pics with him (as that sets the tone too and they are lovely) but perhaps shift things around in the title header a bit – as I notice (with binoculars! 🙂 ) that you have mentioned The Champa Tree 3 times in the header – which isn’t necessary. So you could perhaps use the space better?

        The shop feel comes from the theme you have chosen which is fine if you want a shop feel.
        The thing to take a few days to decide V is, do I want to be a blogger who grows my audience on stories of my life and then has authority advice to give also?

        Or am I aiming to be more of a business with an an authority voice who might throw in some personal stories along the way?

        THAT decision will determine where you go with your presentation.

        If blogger – that suggests a blog theme design that is simpler and more ‘touchy feely’. – Pics of baby, home and family, cooking, etc. as the dominant essence with the occasional authority voice on a particular subject thrown in and you can also make a section for the informative stuff in your side bar as you did with ‘Did You Know.’ This separates it out a bit as ‘this is me and my life and on this side is the factual stuff I have studied, researched or experienced’ (and could also become a book at some point!).

        If you want to go the shoppy / magazine / less personal route then that’s kind of what you have (visually speaking). I’d change the About Page to reflect that and erase the confusion, stating the purpose and direction of the blog i.e to be a resource of authoritative information presented by a Mom.

        But take your time with your decision. Only make changes if you find yourself agreeing with what I’m saying. And most importantly take a week or more to go look at other Mommy blogs to see what is out there. Unfortunately I don’t have time to make a list of some of the best ones I’ve seen. Look at all the free (or paid) themes WordPress offers and see if that also inspires your direction.

        https://theme.wordpress.com/

        And remember this doesn’t drive traffic. It just clarifies who you are and what your goals are for you and your readers. Hope this helps.

  8. Hi. Thanks for doing this by the way. I would like to get more readers on my blog, relocation2011.wordpress.com. Suggestions?

    1. Ah, Andi! You SHOULD have more readers. You have a lovely writing style that connects even if your reader is not necessarily religious.

      You have been blogging steadily for about 2 years now so describe to me what, if anything, have you been doing so far to get more readers?

      1. Well, not a lot. I’ve been commenting on other blogs and people are liking my comments and then following. It’s a steady trickle, but I’d like to build up a bit more quickly. I would also like to make it a bit more interactive but I’m not sure how.

      2. Okay I hear you. But first another question(s). What kind of blogs are you visiting to get these comment likes and how often?

        In other words, what is your method in choosing the blogs you go for? Or perhaps there isn’t one?

        Answer all the q’s so I can build up a picture in my head to give you the best answer.

      3. Okay well, there isn’t really a pattern to it. Sometimes I will look at someone’s blog because of a comment they’ve made on mine or someone else’s, and other times I just happen upon a blog that’s interesting – I have a few people following me so I go and check them out from time to time but I’m not very consistent about it. They tend to be similar to mine.

      4. Okay. Well Andi if you want more interaction and comments and general buzz around your writing, then you are going to need ‘a pattern to it.’

        Blogging is like a flower. If you buy a plant and keep it displayed in your home and water it – using your words, ‘from time to time’ when you ‘just happen upon it’ and you are ‘not very consistent with it.’ Guess what will happen? Guess what will happen if you applied that methodology to raising children. What if you were like that with friendships or relationships?
        ANYTHING organic needs love, attention, watering, feeding, nurturing and consistency.

        The plant instructions will tell you: ‘This plant needs sunlight and watering every 2 days.’ This is how you must think of blogging. But only if you are serious about building your audience and keeping it alive and growing into something that will rebound value back to you eventually in so many ways.

        You’ve written for roughly 2 years. From now on, divide your writing time into 2 and apply the GREATER half to visiting other people, interacting, getting to know them (genuinely) and adding value to THEIR blogs. The true art of good organic blogging is about being disciplined, real, generous and interested in others. It is just like making friends in real life. You will find good people and equally you will find assholes to sidestep along the way.

        If you prefer religious people then go find them specifically, but you would be doing your writing a disservice if you didn’t just find cool people in general, regardless of whether they practice a faith.

        This is step 1 of building a master blog.

        Do this and we can talk more Grasshopper!

      5. Not a good look, I agree. How do you even find time for cake in between all this great, detailed advice to all of us…?

    2. Hi Andi,
      I looked at your blog via this converstion.
      Having an “about” page would be a nice touch (a personal touch). Opening your posts to comments might be nice too if you want readers and interactivity. You’ve written some really thoughtful things in the posts that I skimmed through and like “theeditorsjournal” suggests, your posts can appeal to a secular audience. I, like you, would like readers, but haven’t devoted “goo-gobs” of time toward this endeavor.

      Visit, if you like, for ideas or to say “Hi.” https://simplyforgotten.wordpress.com

      1. Thanks for the reply. In all fairness, I found the comment field on Andi’s blog and was able to open a wonderful conversation. I credit you, “theeditorsjournal,” for writing posts that bring us all together. It’s kind of like you host the party and we all come to either mix and mingle, or not. So, my compliments to our gracious host!

      2. Thanks Kennedy, I do have an about page (somewhere or other..) and it’s a good idea to put it upfront so I will figure out how to do that. Just as soon as I find it. Clearly I need to get to know the workings of this thing much better. Thanks for your advice and encouragement 🙂

  9. I haven’t been posting as much, but I plan on doing more…does it help to have the same kind of posts on the same days of the week….I try to do “Weigh-in Wednesdays” every week and I’d like to do more regular type posts… Or does that really matter…probably a silly question…

    1. Jenn, firstly I have known you for some time now and you have never asked a silly question yet.

      When you post stuff regularly like ‘Weigh In Wednesdays’ it’s great because anyone following you specifically for that feature knows exactly what to expect that day. Plus it’s a great name, nice and alliterative so it’s easy to remember.

      The other thing is, you can really build your name and audience with great features like this.
      Example: What if you went round finding more bloggers who were trying to lose weight and offered to compile EVERYbody’s weight loss say every 2 weeks (or every month even) on a Wednesday? You could be like an online support and check in centre. Your audience could build on that alone. That is the stuff legendary blogs are made of!
      (You’d only do this sort of thing if you had the time and commitment for it though. You could ruin your enjoyment of blogging if you are quite happy being a casual blogger and then embark erroneously on empire building! 🙂 )

      Conversely, if you chop and change some of your features that’s not a bad thing because then your readers have the element of surprise.

      The thing about a personal blog Jenn is that it’s a bit like any normal friendship…only with your readers. They’ll take your weigh ins on Friday or Tuesday simply because they like YOU.

      Now if you were a Power Blogger, or blogging for a living, the edge that being super disciplined about your features might give you would be more important and you might spend a lot of time shifting features, experimenting and testing what day they give you better results etc.

      For more casual blogging, yes, keep a few regular set features, (especially if they are popular!) but mix it up also.

      Personal, casual, or hobbyist blogging is more about continuing to bring your unique personality and stories to your readers, so relax and enjoy it.

      Oh…and look at you with your new site! 🙂

      1. Thanks 🙂 I want to do more with my blog I am just not sure what yet. So I’ll start writing ideas and see where I end up 🙂 I don’t think I will take it to a “blogging for a living” kind of deal, but blogging with a purpose rather than just ramblings… 🙂 I do enjoy it!
        Thanks for the thoughts!! I like this new set up with a picture in the background… I’m going to come up with a themed one to match the title of my blog I think 🙂 Have a great day!! Happy Wednesday!

      1. Okay, a good way to think about tags is think of them as sign posts to help folk who will appreciate what you have written find you.

        Whilst tags have a bit of a checkered history on the internet as a whole, on WordPress.com they are still pretty relevant for driving traffic to you so it is important to use them and use them well.

        So say you you wrote a post on – and let’s go for something most of us will know – Obama.

        Pick tag words that are very descriptive and specific to Obama but also quite common to the world:
        Black Men, Presidents, Men, USA.

        If it’s an opinion piece choose ‘Opinion’ as a tag. If it’s about him being a father, choose ‘Fathers’ or ‘Dads.’
        Be relevant to your post but think about quite common words that others are likely to use.

        Just after you submit your post WordPress suggests some more tag words also which you can add.

        Use about 8 or less per post. Any more and I believe they’ll get ignored by WordPress anyway.

        The tags above are very general tags which are likely to have lots of people using them and if lots of people are using them more people will find you as result of you showing up on WordPresses reader pages. Because people who want to read about ‘Presidents’ and all your other tags will find you.

        I think Obama has a mole. Now if you were to choose ‘mole’ as a tag it is so random relating to Obama that I doubt that many people would be using this tag, if any. So you won’t show up on a busy reader page because I’m guessing people looking for moles are few and far between, or they will be looking for the little creature that digs up gardens.

        Another way to approach this is to show me one of your posts that you struggled to tag and I will show you what tags I would use on it and why.

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