Category Archives: Blogging

What happens to your website statistics when you drop the ball with your blogging?

When you have a professional website with a blog attached, what happens to your reader stats if you stop blogging? I did not do this experiment solely for this blog, but I thought it would be interesting to have a look at what happened when I had a blogging hiatus.

I haven’t updated this blog for six months. How did that happen? I’ll explain below. What am I going to do about it? Start blogging again, I hope …

Why did I stop writing blog posts?

Back in the summer, I made the decision to stop working at weekends. Working in this case included both paid editing, proofreading, localisation and transcription work and the additional marketing tasks like blogging, writing articles, responding to blog comments, etc. I did have to make the odd exception when work levels were high or I’d taken time off during the week (or had a holiday) but by and large I’ve stuck to this and am happier, less tired and more balanced as a result. OK, I took up a new hobby as an Endurance (cross-country and road relays) running official and lately a Track and Field official, which has involved weekend training courses and time standing around in muddy fields or boiling hot infields, but that’s a healthy, outdoors hobby.

However, the anticipated drop in paid hours didn’t happen. In fact, in 2018 I have brought in around 12% more revenue than in each of the two previous years, on average, I’ve worked the same number of hours per week, and I’ve in fact had fewer low-paid-hours weeks this year. So what had to give? Blogging.

This was exacerbated by the fact that, while my blog still obviously displays my knowledge of Word, language, business, etc., and channels people to buy my business books (still going just as strong as ever), I have been fortunate enough to have sustained my customer base through a lovely set of regular clients and through their recommendations to others. Added to this, over the nine years I’ve been self-employed, I’ve moved from a model of working with lots and lots of small jobs, editing Master’s thesis for overseas students, etc., to longer-term projects working with regular translator clients and writers / ghost-writers, so work has been more predictable, and I haven’t really needed my blog to funnel customers to me like I once did.

So it slipped. Should I just let it go?

What happens when you stop writing new posts on your blog?

Because December is always a low-traffic month anyway, I’m sharing stats from July 2016 through to the end of October 2018. Although there are peaks and troughs always, with March always being busy with those students and their Master’s dissertations searching how to put bibliographies in alphabetical order, you can see the drop-off in the latter few months of the cycle. That’s when I stopped blogging.

It’s pretty well-known that Google and other search engines like regularly updated content to index. That’s why I and others tell people to keep blogging and/or updating their website regularly. So I knew this, and the stats show it.

What am I going to do with my blog? Should I give up blogging?

Although I don’t feel at the moment that I NEED to write and publish lots of blog posts, I’m going to get back into it. How, I will share below. There are a couple of reasons WHY:

  • Although I have sufficient clients now, especially with lots of them being in Europe and the threat of Brexit looming, I can’t assume that will continue to be the case (small independent sole traders like me have had no advice from the government or HMRC). So it’s good to keep marketing yourself even when you’re busy. I am fortunate enough to have lots of lovely colleagues I can pass work to that I can’t take on at the moment.
  • I enjoy helping people. I get a buzz when I receive a comment saying I sorted out someone’s problem, or one of my Small Business Chats interviewees thanks me for a referral they received from my site. I do my job because I like helping people, and the blog allows me to help more of them while I’m doing other things!
  • I loved finding out what my Small Business Chat interviewees were up to and how they were getting on, and learning from their journeys. I don’t want to lose those connections.

What’s the plan?

I’m going to use my time wisely. Over the festive break, I’m going to add the flesh to the bones of a load of ideas I’ve put in my blog post drafts and get them all ready to schedule through the year (the plan there is to see how many I can get written and then distribute them evenly through the next year, keeping an eye on what’s about to publish as I go through the year in case there’s some awful clash between a light-hearted Troublesome Pair and a horrible news item).

I’m going to get in touch with my January 2018 Small Business Chat people as normal for their updates, but I’m also going to contact all the June-December 2017 ones I never got back to, see if they want to continue to take part and slot them in until I can spread them evenly through the year again. I will point them here and hope they appreciate my honesty and openness and continue to take part.

Over to you …

Have you paused your blog (especially a professional one) and started up again? What did you learn or change? Are you one of my abandoned Small Business Chat folk? Would you like me to continue featuring you again or has that series run its course? Have you enjoyed reading those posts? Have you, well, missed me?


Posted by on December 27, 2018 in Blogging, Business, Marketing, Writing


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Why are my blog statistics so low? Who’s reading this thing anyway?

Why are my blog statistics so low? Who’s reading this thing anyway?

We all know by now that it takes time to build a blog audience and that you need to keep plugging away, writing interesting stuff and engaging with your readers.

But sometimes it just feels like no one is listening, like no one is looking at your carefully crafted posts. Why is this?

Why are my blog statistics lower than I would expect?

I use WordPress for my blogs, so I’m familiar with the statistics it offers (read more here), however, I know it doesn’t record all of the views of my posts, which can be very frustrating. This is how that happens.

People read your blog via email

Hopefully you’ve set things up so people can subscribe to your blog via email. Every blogging platform will have a plugin or menu item that will set this up for you so there’s a “Subscribe by email” button on your blog.

People who have subscribed to receive your articles via email will receive the text of the post in an email with a link to view the post on your website. They can open the email and read all of your article, but WordPress won’t know they have done that unless they click through to your website, at which point it will record the click. If they just read the article in the email and don’t click through to like, comment, etc., you won’t know that they’ve read your material.

People read your blog via a blog aggregator

People can also subscribe to the blog using a blog reader, either through WordPress itself, for example, or another service such as Feedly (which I use).

A blog reader uses what’s called an RSS feed to gather articles someone has said they want to read and display them all in one place (the RSS feed works in a similar way to the emails going out to people who’ve subscribed via email; instead of sending a person an email, it sends a blog reader the text to display in the reader). The text of the post will display in the person’s blog reader software with a link to view the post actually on your website.

Again, someone can read your post in their blog reader, but unless they click through to view it on your site, your blogging platform can’t know they’ve read it and won’t record that they have done so.

So what are my statistics showing, then?

Your blog statistics will record visits from …

  • People who subscribe to your blog via email and have clicked the link in their email to visit your blog
  • People who subscribe to your blog via a blog aggregator and have clicked the article in their aggregator to visit your blog
  • People who have seen your article shared on social media and have clicked through to read it on your blog
  • People who have done a search, found a link to your article in their search engine (Google, etc.) and clicked through to read it on your blog

In other words, there are fewer people recorded as having read your blog post than have actually read your blog post.

Note: If you want to experiment with only offering blog aggregator (Feedly, WordPress Reader, etc.) and email subscribers the first few lines of your blog post with a link to click through, hopefully encouraging them to visit your website to read the whole article, this article (third-party content recommended by a fellow blogger) explains how to do that.

I hope this has reassured you that those dismal stats are not as dismal as you thought they were! Please share and/or comment if this article has been useful for you.

Other related articles on this blog

Keep an eye on your stats

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

Five ways to drive and increase engagement with your blog

How to keep people engaged with your blog

Six things you can do to increase your SEO



Posted by on March 14, 2018 in Blogging, WordPress


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What should I write in my first blog post?

What should I write in my first blog post?

Over the years on this blog I’ve shared all sorts of advice about how to set up your blog, the advantages of blogging, top tips for newbies at blogging, etc. But a client asked me a very good question recently: “What should I write my first blog post about?”

Now, it’s very tempting to write your first blog post about yourself, introducing yourself and your expertise. You want your readers to trust you, right?

Well, I think more than that, you want your blog posts to help you to be FOUND.

My first blog post on this blog was this one: Introduction (on 14 October 2009). How many hits has that had? Not many. In fact, I didn’t have many hits at all those first few years – because I was just talking about myself and what I did, yes, sharing loads of keywords, but not really talking about what I could do to help people.

On 6 November 2011, I had a terrible problem with a Word document. It was sent to me by someone else and all the comment balloons were teeny-tiny and unreadable. I found out what to do to sort it out and thought, “Hm, I’d better make a note of what I did”. So I created a new blog post, called it What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word, and at that point, I just wrote a list of the steps I’d taken. None of the fancy screen shots that festoon this and other posts nowadays.

But what happened? People had always been searching that question, and now they started to find my blog. People STILL find that article and find it helpful today! Just today, at the time of typing this, 41 of the views of my blog  have been of that post. Over 23,000 views in the last 365 days. It’s consistently in the top 10 of viewed posts. Still.

So if you want to start blogging for your business, your recipes, your book reviews, I recommend that you start your blog with an informative, useful post that will help people (buy a greenhouse / cook a nice meal / find a new book to read).

Where should all the stuff saying how trustworthy, knowledgeable and generally amazing you are go? In your About Me page. If someone finds something useful on your blog, they might well click on that, have a look and even get in touch to order services or products from you.

In this article I’ve shared my ideas and experience around what to write in your first blog post. If you’ve found this useful, please share using the buttons below, or leave me a comment!

Other useful articles on this blog

Top tips for newbie bloggers

10 reasons to start a blog

10 reasons NOT to write a blog

Top 10 blogging sins

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going

Five ways to drive and increase engagement with your blog

How to keep people engaged with your blog



Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Blogging, Business


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Seven top tips for the newbie blogger

Seven top tips for the newbie blogger

New to blogging? Asking “How do I set up a blog?” Not sure where to start? Here are my top seven tips for the newbie blogger.

I’ve assume here that you have something to blog about and you know you want to do it in the first place …

Under each heading, I’ve linked to more articles on this blog that will help you get more into the topic. I wanted to gather the basics in one place!

1. Sign up to a blog platform

Blogger, WordPress, it’s up to you. But you need to sign up to a specific blog platform in order to write a blog.

Bonus hint: Don’t pay for anything much at the start. WordPress has lots of free “themes” (setting the look of the blog and where all the menus go) and you might want to have your own domain name (think as opposed to but I don’t think that matters for a personal blog that’s not a business brand.

Find out more about starting out on WordPress here.

2. Write your first blog post

What’s a blog post? Think of it like a diary entry. Your blog will be updated regularly with new content appearing, which is not the same as a website which tends to have static pages full of information.

Bonus hint: There may be a blog post already set up with some sample text: WordPress does this. Overwrite the text, hit “Publish” and you’re off!

Find out more about writing blog posts here.

3. Set up an About Me page

You don’t need too much fancy stuff (like on this blog, I know) but it’s very useful to have an About Me page – this is a static page which can appear in your menu and tells your readers a bit about you.

Bonus hint: You don’t need to disclose your inside leg measurement or even your photo if you don’t want to. But a bit about who you are and where you’re from is more welcoming.

Find out more about setting up a page here, and, for advanced users, a landing page here.

4. Go no-ads

I get really put off when I’m reading a blog and adverts appear all over the place. Yes, people do manage to monetise their blogs with paid advertising – no, truthfully, you won’t be doing this for a while. WordPress has a no-ads package I renew every year. Use it to avoid annoying your readers.

5. Moderate comments

You will want to encourage readers to make comments on your blog, but you need to set up some form of moderation to avoid your blog comments being taken over by spammers. There will be a way to do this in your blogging software.

Bonus hint 1: Check your spam folder in your blogging software regularly as sometimes it will carefully send legitimate comments there

Bonus hint 2: I choose to moderate just the first comment a particular person makes, as I find a spammer will show their colours right away.

Find out more about moderating comments here and why we should do this here.

6. Engage with your readers

Build social capital … no, scrub that. Enjoy engaging with your readers. If they’ve taken the trouble to comment on your blog, take the time to respond to their comment!

Bonus hint: You’ll find more readers for your blog by commenting on other people’s and including your URL. Do this wisely, sensibly and without spamming, of course!

Find out more about engaging with your readers here and reciprocity across social media here.

7. Enjoy yourself!

Blogging shouldn’t equal slogging! There are various techniques to get your blog posts written, and obviously it can be more important to keep a business blog going than a purely personal one, but if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not worth it!

Bonus hint: If you find pumping out long articles a drag, try writing shorter, snappier pieces instead. There’s no word limit!

Find out more about why you should blog here, and why you shouldn’t here.

This has been a whistle-stop tour through my top seven tips for new bloggers, inspired by someone who wants to start a book review blog. I hope they – and you – have found it useful: do comment or share if you have!


Posted by on December 6, 2017 in Blogging, WordPress


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How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 3: How do I prevent spam comments from being posted on my blog?

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 3: How do I prevent spam comments from being posted on my blog?

In this article you’re going to learn some general tips for avoiding getting spam comments on your blog. Hopefully you’ve already read Article 1 in the series and understand what spam comments are and why you should stop them, and you’ve looked at some examples of spam and learned how to tell a spam comment from a real comment in Article 2.

How do I stop spam getting published in my blog comments?

There are two ways to stop spam appearing in your blog comments, and you do need to use them together to be completely effective:

  1. Make sure your blogging software’s spam filter is turned on to its highest level
  2. Make sure you moderate comments before displaying them

There are of course variations within both of these, so I’ll talk about them one by one.

Setting up your spam filter

This is general information, and I don’t have access to all of the blogging platforms, but most platforms (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) will have spam filter in place already. This will stop anything hugely obvious, like millions of links in a comment or keywords that we can all think of that we see a lot in spam emails, etc.

Often, you can set the level of spam filtering or what gets done with the spam comments.

For example, in, I can choose to set these options:

  • Either the worst and most persistent spam is silently discarded OR all spam is put into the spam review folder so I can review it
  • I can list keywords which I want to always make a comment go into spam (I haven’t bothered with this as my spam is very varied!)
  • I can select how many links need to be in a comment before it automatically goes into the spam folder (I allow up to two, allowing people to share information, their own book review, etc. without being penalised

How do I select the spam filter options for my blog?

In WordPress, I find the spam filter options in Settings – Discussion.

All blogging platforms will have some kind of Settings area where you can find this information. If you use another platform than, maybe you’d like to add a comment detailing where to find the spam filters in your platform, and I’ll add that information to this article.

Moderating comments

It’s essential to set up some sort of moderation on comments that people try to place on your blog. Although blogging platforms’ spam filters are pretty good, they won’t catch everything, particularly those cleverer ones disguised as praise with only one (or no) links that we saw last time.

When you decide to moderate comments, it means that when someone types a comment on your blog, you will receive an email with that comment, which you can then accept, delete or mark as spam. You click a link in the email, decide what you want to do with the comment, and your blogging platform will display it, delete it or note that the person is spamming (I use delete for an accidental spam or the odd duplicated comment).

There are options here, too, the most common being:

  • Moderate every single comment that is made on your blog
  • Moderate just the first comment from a particular commenter (usually defined by their email address) – each subsequent comment by someone whose first comment you’ve approved will be approved automatically

I have chosen the second option, because most spam is automated, so there’s little danger that you’ll accept someone’s comment and then find them spamming you all over the place.

I do have all comments emailed to me anyway, to make sure that I see and can respond to them, but moderating just the first one means I don’t have to click through and accept, delete or mark as spam every time I receive a comment from someone who’s commented previously.

How do I choose which comments to moderate?

In WordPress, comment moderation is in the same place as the spam filtering options: Settings – Discussion. In other platforms, look for Discussion or Comments in the Settings (again, please share where this is on your platform if you don’t use WordPress.

How do I check for comments that aren’t spam?

Occasionally, your blogging platform will get all over-excited and mark something as spam that isn’t spam. Maybe it contains a keyword it doesn’t like, or maybe it’s got more than the number of links you usually allow – but for innocent reasons.

Each blogging platform has a place to view comments which will include your spam queue, spam folder, etc. I just pop there and have a look every so often – you can mark a legitimate comment as not spam and it will show on your article.

This article has given some general information about how best to prevent spam comments from making their way onto your blog.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!

Other relevant posts on this blog

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 2: How do I tell if a comment is spam?

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity


Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Blogging, Business


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How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 2: How do I tell if a comment is spam?

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 2: How do I tell if a comment is spam?

In the second in my series of articles about spam comments on blogs, I’m going to help you to learn how to decide whether a comment is spam (so should be deleted) or legitimate. I started this series by writing about what spam comments are and why you should stop them, and if you’re new to the topic, you might want to go back and look at that post first.

So, let’s have a look at some spam. I’m gong to start with the easy-to-spot ones and then move on to some more ambiguous ones.

In each example, I’ve included a screen shot of the comment, with its origin on the left, the “comment” in the middle and the title of the bog post it refers to on the right. Some details have been blurred out.

Obvious spam that has no place in your comments

This first category shouldn’t even get through to your comments to review if you’ve set up or got any sort of spam protection. There’s no way could mistake these for legitimate comments:

A sales word repeated over and over again and also a particularly common spam term:

… and one with some random information on buying sports gear on a post about small businesses.

Here’s another one which is talking about factory shops and comes from a URL about running shoes (remember how those spammers want to get the URLs  of the companies they’re working for all over the Internet? Nothing to do with Word documents!

So those are quite easy, and they’re also the ones you won’t see so often, as spam filters will catch them.

Spam comments pretending to be praise

This is a kind of post that often sneaks through. Be wary of over-the-top praise with no proper mention of what it’s praising. And look at where it comes from and the links:

So, this one is extremely vague and general – why would anyone legitimate post this? Also look at the commenter “Name” – “online shopping”. It looks like praise but that’s just to fool the spam filters (notice there is no URL placed within the comment, again to skip past the spam filter):

what about this one? How nice – they found my post on Word documents to be wonderful. But again, no detail about what they found wonderful, and look at the commenter’s “Name” on the left. Enough said.

I get this one ALL the time, mentioning they have bookmarked it. But from someone with a kind of name whose website is called that? (I’m not even typing the word here; who knows what that will attract!

This last one is a clever one but I get the “famous” comment all the time; also the not knowing how they got there. The URL was VERY dodgy on this one, too.

Note that quite often these comments have a spelling mistake or weird phrase. From having accidentally let these through in the past, I’m fairly convinced that they act as a kind of highlight to let other spammers know this particular blog is not well protected and they can get their spam onto it. It’s so easy to set up an automated search and comment!

Spam comments asking questions

This kind of comment is even more difficult to work out – because we all like to interact with our readers and answer their questions! Well, I get these sort of comments all the time, and again, check the URLs and commenter “Names” and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re looking at.

OK, this might nearly catch me out. Except no one has ever asked me legitimately how to find my email subscription or my RSS feed. If you know what those are, you will find them on the site. So this is a real red flag … but the URL should be, anyway. All sorts of people do comment, but this looks like a sales site or a lure to something worse to me:

And the classic “off topic” – this again shrieks spam to me after years of seeing them – plus it’s our spacey friend again from above!

By all means, answer legitimate, specific questions in comments – ones that relate to the post they’re commenting on, for example. But these two examples are absolute classics and should go straight into spam.

Semi-legitimate comments with a spammy purpose

This last category I usually give the benefit of the doubt and mark as Trash rather than Spam. After all, it’s common knowledge that a good way to get blog followers for our own sites is to comment on other people’s blog posts, and of course we will then include our own.

It’s worth noting here, too, that I’m all about cooperation and coopetition with colleagues in the editing, transcription and localisation business, however, I’m not particularly keen (that’s an understatement) on people commenting about how their service is cheaper and better than mine!

Thanks, but no thanks, and into the Trash it goes!

This article has given you some examples of spam, ranging from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, and has hopefully helped you to distinguish spam comments from legitimate ones (for examples of legitimate comments, just take a look at the ones on my previous article, or, in time, this one!). I hope you feel more equipped to tell if a blog comment is spam now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!

Other relevant posts on this blog

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity


Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Blogging, Business


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How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

How do I deal with spam comments on my blog 1: Why do people spam my blog and why should I stop them?

After writing about keeping people engaged with our blogs last week, I started thinking about those people we DON’T want to engage with – spammers. In the first part of this series I’ll talk about why people might spam comment on a blog and why we shouldn’t allow them to. I’ll move on to discuss how to identify a spam comment, and then how to deal with them.

What is a spam comment on a blog?

A spam comment is a comment that isn’t relevant to the blog post it’s commenting on and is placed simply to encourage people to click through to the website the spammer is promoting. At its “best”, this is used to promote a website, usually by a third party, but at worst, it could link to a dodgy site that could contain malware or viruses.

Why do people submit spam comments to blogs?

Like those spammers who send out emails to millions of people asking them for their bank account details, knowing that a very small proportion will fall for the trick, spammers (in person or using software) try to place their website URL on people’s blogs assuming that a) a certain proportion of blog owners will let these through, and b) a certain proportion of those blogs’ readers will click on the link and go through to the website they are promoting.

In addition, search engines such as Google reward a website having links on other, reputable websites, and this includes accepted comments on blog posts. This is why people like me recommend that you engage with other RELEVANT blogs to get your URL out there. However, this is not the same as spamming blogs just to get your URL mentioned on them.

There’s a sort of continuum here, going from well-meaning and unintentional to malevolent

  • Someone trying to get their own URL out there by commenting fairly randomly on other people’s blog posts. They have typically read the post and are an individual trying to apply advice but getting it a bit wrong (“I loved this piece on how to cook spaghetti. I write about car insurance, do follow me back”)
  • Someone trying to get their own URL out there by commenting on a rival’s blog post to try to attract their custom away (note: I’m big on cooperation and coopetition, not so keen on, “This post on plagiarism is great. We can write people’s essays for them at [URL]”)
  • Someone working on their client’s SEO who has promised them “x back-links on reputable websites” (This post is great I will subscribe to your blog [URL for real estate in Texas]”)
  • Someone doing the above but using software to blitz hundreds of websites with the same message
  • Someone trying to tempt readers into clicking on a link which will allow them to download malware / viruses into the reader’s computer

Why should I exclude spam comments from my blog posts?

At best, allowing spam comments on your blog posts just looks bad. If I see a blog post that has some legitimate comments and a lot of spammy stuff from companies that have nothing to do with the blog, I will think the blog owner doesn’t take much notice or their blog or curate it carefully.

At medium, you are helping companies to promote themselves and their clients by using your blog inappropriately, so encouraging not-ideal business practices. Yes, this will happen anyway, but why should we help them?

At worst, you could be exposing your blog readers to malevolent and dangerous websites: by allowing a comment to go live, you’re condoning its existence in the eyes of some of your readers, so they may feel safe to click on that URL and end up viewing a porn site or finding themselves with a virus problem.

What can I do to stop spam comments on my blog?

I’m going to write about this in detail another time (and I’ll make sure to link to it here). In summary:

Be vigilant.

This means …

  • Setting up alerts so you see and check each and every comment that is posted on your blog
  • Using blogging software with good spam filters
  • Moderating all or first-by-this-person comments personally
  • Checking for and suppressing spam comments

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!

Other relevant posts on this blog

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them

How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity


Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Blogging, Business


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How do I keep people engaged with my blog?

How do I keep people engaged with my blog?

I’ve been thinking about how I engage with other people’s blogs recently, and why I stop reading them, or choose particular ones to cull when I feel like I have too much to read. Here I share a couple of top two tips for engagement – and the top reason I personally disengage from blogs.

Blogging is (usually) social

Blogging is in the main a social activity. If you don’t want people to read your words, you’re more likely to write them in a journal or in a document stored privately, aren’t you?

And you’re going to want feedback from people – your readers. You might look at your statistics and know that people are reading your words, but you also want comments, other people’s words, saying they hear you, they agree, maybe they respectfully disagree, but they’re engaging with you.

Edited to add: It’s been pointed out to me that some people do (and it’s of course completely their right to do this) use their blog as a kind of diary, a point of self-reflection, but choose to place that online rather than privately.  That’s obviously completely fair enough. But such blogs don’t tend to call for answers, ask questions, look overtly for back-up or seek to engage in the way I’m talking about. If you do seek to engage, it’s good to engage back. If you don’t choose to, that’s fine, as long as it’s an active choice and you realise that might put off some readers if you were hoping to engage them. I hope that’s clearer and more inclusive now.

Business blogging is social

I read a lot of book review blogs and a lot of editing and business blogs, too. Blogging isn’t only social for the nice person sharing review of books – it’s a way for businesses, large and small, to engage. I’m thrilled when the how-to articles on this blog get liked and commented on – often many years after I first posted them. Sometimes it’s just to say thank you, sometimes to ask a question, but I always appreciate the effort that someone’s gone to to click and type.

I also like commenting on people’s blogs if I can contribute something, whether that’s a word of appreciation, a “me, too” or an answer to a question posed in the article.

Engage with your commenters

The number one reason why I disengage from a blog (after the blogger ceasing to write it and finding offensive content) is when the blogger doesn’t respond to comments. I’m not talking not responding to a few here and there, or taking a while to respond, but when a blogger either only responds to one or two obviously favoured commenters, or just none at all. Ever.

Respond to comments with a comment

So I’d suggest that if you want to maintain engagement with your readers and stop your blog leaking readers, you should consider replying to your comments, even if only with a thank you or a few words. It makes the commenter feel read, feel appreciated, feel like they’re being talked to, and builds reciprocity and connections. Going by my sample of one, they’re more likely to stick with your blog and read it through thick and thin, engage with it and share it. And that’s what we want, isn’t it?

Consider adding a like button to your comments

I’ve previously explained how to do this for – you can easily add a “Like” button to your comments, so you can like someone’s comment and they can like your response. I love this – it’s a great short-cut if you don’t have time to reply to a comment right now, and for the original commenter to acknowledge that they’ve seen your reply to them.

Nobody’s perfect and nobody should feel they have to be

I’ll hold my hands up now and say that I know I have not personally responded in full to every single “Thank you, you saved my document” post on this blog. I do try to Like such comments now I have my Like buttons, and if someone asks me a question, I’ll always answer it to the best of my ability, as for clarification or say I’m going to leave it up there because I don’t know the answer but someone else might.

If you dig around on this blog, you will find comments that haven’t been answered (please don’t, though – I have admitted it!) but in the main I like and reply.

Obviously, people go away, people get ill, people have scheduled times away from their blog – and sometimes schedule posts to publish in the meantime. And you don’t always want to advertise you’re away, right? But the bloggers I love will explain this, maybe afterwards: “I’ve been away and I’ll catch up with your comments now I’m back; sorry if I miss any”. Others do talk about a gap in advance, and of course that’s all fine and understandable. No one should be chained to their blog – but if you allow comments, it’s my personal opinion that you should respond to those comments if you can.

What do you think?

If you comment on blog posts, do you expect a reply or acknowledgement? Do you reply to people’s comments on your blog? What’s the top reason you turn away from reading a blog? I’d really like to know!

Other relevant posts on this blog

Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely

How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips

10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!

10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!

Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them


Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Blogging, Business


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Five ways to drive and increase engagement with your blog

Five ways to drive and increase engagement with your blog

My viewing figures have gone down. No one is buying my books at the moment. Who wants to start a new business at a time like this? Well, here are five pointers to driving and increasing (or maybe, at the moment, maintaining) engagement with your blog. And here I am doing number five right now …

5. Publish more blog posts

The search engines like you to have regularly updated content, to make sure they’re not sending people to an out-of-date source of information. I find the sweet spot comes at around three posts per week. They don’t have to be long. Try mixing things up with different subjects or types of article.

4. Share useful information

One of the most-viewed of my blog posts is still one I wrote as a note for myself in 2011 on how to sort out a problem with Word. Still gets those hits, even now – and thank you comments.

3. Seek engagement

Ask questions. Put those share buttons on your blog (here’s how to do that in WordPress) and ask people to share if they found it useful.

2. Add Like buttons to comments on your posts

I love this feature of WordPress (and here’s how to do it) – if you Like as well as reply to comments, your reader will be alerted and should get a good feeling about you. If you don’t have time to reply right away, a Like will let them know you’ve read and appreciated their comment.

1. Reply to comments on your blog posts

I read a lot of blogs. If I put a comment on a blog post and the original commentator doesn’t respond to it, I feel ignored. I’ve talked about this at length on posts about reciprocity in social media (including blogs). I really try to reply to comments on my blogs within 24 hours; if I can’t do it quickly, at least I’ll “Like” the comment. Personally, if I read and comment on a blog and never get any acknowledgement, first I’ll stop commenting, then I’ll be less likely to read it. So I assume other people are like me and will do the same. Of course there are reasons why people can’t reply to blog comments temporarily, or don’t see some of them, but if it’s a constant feature, lots of comments with no replies, I’ll tend to lose interest.

I hope these ideas have been useful to you and help you to drive more engagement on your own blogs!


Posted by on June 29, 2016 in Blogging, WordPress


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WordPress tip: How do I allow Likes on comments?

I noticed that lots of other people’s blogs allow you to “Like” comments on a post (as well as Liking the post itself). Because I had to have a little look for it, I thought it would be a useful thing to blog about. So, how do you allow Likes on comments in WordPress?

Note, this applies to blogs, self-hosted blogs may need all or part of a widget to do this.

Why enable “likes” on blog comments?

We’re all used to Liking posts on Facebook and now Twitter. It’s a good way to let the poster know that you’ve seen and approved of what they’ve said, even if you don’t comment.

We can also allow Likes on our WordPress blog posts (for info on how to do that, see this article).

Being able to Like a comment on a blog post means that you can acknowledge it without continuing the conversation infinitely. Other people can also show their appreciation of a particular comment. It adds another thread to the links between you and your commenter.

How do I enable liking on blog comments?

Go to the WordPress dashboard (the original one) and locate the Settings area.

Go to the Sharing menu.

Scroll down until you see the Comment Likes are … section at the very bottom:

Turn on likes on comments in WordPress

Click on On for all comments and Likes will now be available on all comments.

What does Liking look like on blog comments?

Here’s a screenshot from a blog post on my book review blog, showing various nested comments. People can click on the little star to Like the comment:

Likes on blog comments visible

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, do please comment and/or use the sharing buttons below this post to share it with other potential readers who might find it useful. Thank you!

Related posts on this blog

How to set up a WordPress blog

How to add pages to make your WordPress blog into a website

How to add images to your WordPress blog posts and pages

How to add slideshows and galleries to your WordPress blog posts and pages

Using the Publicize feature in WordPress

WordPress 7 – adding an avatar picture

WordPress 8 – setting a static landing page

WordPress 9 – setting up a Posts page

Adding links to blog posts – how to do it on the major blogging platforms (and email)

How video can help your blog or website

How to get back to the old WordPress dashboard in


Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Blogging, WordPress


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