I started this blog in February 2012, but it wasn’t until the end of May that I started to write regularly. Before that, I posted erratically and rarely.
In September, I tossed off a very short post about Criminal Minds (the TV show, not politicians) that somehow wound up the first result in a Google search. It has stayed in the top 5 search results (out of 4,100,000 possible results) for more than a month. I have no idea how that happened. That single post has gotten more than 3,500 hits and keeps going. It took me 5 minutes to write and was a response to something that bothered me about the show. Who knew that so many people cared about a television series about profilers and serial killers?
The ups and downs of popularity remain a mystery. Immediately after that post, my numbers went way up, then as I expected, began to drop, then level out. Even so, I tripled the hits I get each day. Folks came for that post and stayed for others. I also have an unknown number of followers on Bloggers, Twitter, ScoopIt, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
I am, as my blog title suggests, eclectic. By profession, I’m a writer. By inclination an historian. My hobby is photography. I have distinct audiences for writing and photography. I haven’t figured out how much these groups overlap. Even within my writing, subject matter varies quite a lot. Amongst philosophical ramblings, discussions of whatever current events are on my mind, and so on, I write a lot of stuff about movies and TV. There is a specific audience for the media posts.
Posts I labor over may be barely noticed; others that I just drop on the page get lots of hits. I have learned, through trial and error, a few things worth mentioning. I’m sure I’ll learn more. I need and want to learn more. Meanwhile, here are 10 things I’ve learned that seem to be true:
- Less really is more. More than 1000 words is too long. 500 words is plenty, especially if you include pictures. Sometimes, just a caption is enough.
- Use more pictures, fewer words. Everyone likes pictures especially nature, pretty girls, children, dogs, and for some peculiar reason, Arizona.
- Funny gets more hits than depressing. Being serious is appropriate for serious subjects, but you can use a light touch even with heavy material.
- Popularity is nice, but it’s your blog. Do your own thing. That’s the point, isn’t it?
- Digress but remember to come back. When I tell stories, I ramble. It’s my style. I wander before I get to my destination, but there’s a limit to how far and how often you can roam without losing your reader.
- Be economical in how much material you use per day and per post. If you set yourself an unsustainable pace, you’ll burn out.
- Have fun. Have a lot of fun. Enjoyment is contagious.
- Do what you love. Blog about the things you find beautiful, important, amusing, or interesting.
- If you aren’t having fun, give it up.
- On the graphics side, leave white space. At least 50% of the screen should be empty. This percentage includes the space between pictures and text, between paragraphs, margins at the top and both sides, space between columns. Clutter is hard on the eyes and gives your site a “rummage sale” look. Do you really need every widget?
- Thursdays Are Dead (reallyanotherblog.wordpress.com)
- Ask an Expert: Does the Length of Your Blog Post Really Matter? (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- How to write a great blog (allparanormals.wordpress.com)
- How to Bore Your Readers to Death and Scare them Away (problogger.net)
- How to write a great blog (cristianmihai.net)
- Why You Should Optimize Images for SEO (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- Ten Things To Do When You Have Bloggers Block (mandreago.wordpress.com)