Sprint or Marathon

Today Dr. Tanya is asking questions which I feel relate more to the professional bloggers than the casual ones, which I am.  I play chess, but I don’t play like a grand master, calculating all of the moves that my opponent might make and trying to stay 10 steps ahead of them.  Most of my posts are prompt related and they are not written to draw in new readers, not that it would be a bad thing having a post that garnered a lot of attention, but I am happy with the small group of people that read most of the stuff that I write.  Today on Blogging Insights, the Snoopy looking character Salted Caramel would like us to answer three questions pertaining to Evergreen versus Topical content, which I feel I should probably try to explain first.

Evergreen content is writing that doesn’t go out of date.  It revolves around a topic that’s always relevant to readers, regardless of the current news cycle or season.  Its name comes from the evergreen tree, a pine or fir that retains its green color and needles all year round.  Evergreen content remains continually fresh to readers by staying relevant, timeless, canonical, and valuable.  Topical content is also called seasonal content and it usually delivers updated, relevant, and targeted information to an audience that is already well versed and familiar with the topic that you’re writing on.  Topical content is relevant during certain times of the year only and is usually pretty hip and niche disruptive.  Topical content is timely, relevant content that relates to something current.  The obvious advantages to this type of content are that it’s of-the-moment and usually, highly searchable.

The upside for topical content is that it’s more current and could potentially be more ‘buzz-worthy’, helping you to achieve a temporary spike in traffic.  The downside is that it tends to have a shorter shelf life and this fleeting appeal will result in you seeing the levels of traffic that a topical piece generates decrease as time passes and its timeliness diminishes.  Topical content can come out of the gate hot, but ultimately, it’s like the Hare and the Tortoise race, as time has a tendency to change everything.  Topical content can potentially deliver a big payoff upfront in terms of traffic, especially if you’re quick to grab a story, but Evergreen content will probably stand up to the test of time.  On to the questions!

Evergreen or Topical content, which do you prefer writing?

Which do you write most often?

Which of these adds more value or engagement to your blog?

I am not one who thinks far ahead on my writing, so I am not concerned with how my writing is classified and the only way that I can categorize my writing is to say that it is research dependent, except for the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt that I participate in which is run by Linda G. Hill.  I find a prompt, look things up and then try to compose a coherent post.  Most of the prompts that I write could be considered to be Topical content, but I also write a lot about music and that might be thought of as Evergreen content.  I guess that my writing is split down the middle being 50/50 between Evergreen and Topical content.  Sometimes I am surprised when somebody comments or likes one of my older posts and I wonder how they stumbled upon it, so I assume that this particular post contained Evergreen content and that makes me feel good that something that I wrote a while ago is still attracting attention.  It makes me feel like my life may still be relevant, even after I am gone.

Written for Blogging Insights #54 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with Evergreen vs Topical content.

The Latest Marketing Buzzword

If the primary goal of the Gutenberg editor aka block editor was to help users create posts and pages with more flexibility, then the WordPress Happiness Engineers failed miserably, and one has to wonder what in the hell was WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg thinking when he went all in on this getting completely behind Gutenberg.  He must have been thinking only about businesses that use the WordPress platform, and not considering the normal everyday writers at all, so marketing wins out over the everyday users.  The goal of the block editor is supposed to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable, but for so many users, this turned out to be neither simple or enjoyable.  Rich content consists of different media formats (sound, video and images) used at the same time and place to get more dynamic elements that you can use to engage with your readers, but I don’t think that the normal writer actually needs any of this flashy content, at least I don’t need it, nor do I plan on using it.  This is a marketing ploy to get people to engage with salesmen and since I am not running a business on WordPress, this new stuff is basically useless to me.  This is starting to sound like Paula’s Monday Peeve, so I will start answering Dr. Tanya’s question now, which is “Can you share some tips and tricks for using the new Gutenberg editor on WordPress?”

I am still struggling with this new block editor, but I have composed several posts with it already.  The best trick that I use is to compose all of my posts in Microsoft Word and then I copy that content and paste it into my post.  When I write a new post, I place the title in the top field and then I paste my content below and I don’t have to mess around with the add block black plus button, unless I want to insert a picture.  It should automatically understand that you are using text and it will convert Youtube addresses into videos, so it is not all that much different from the Classic editor that everyone used and loved so much.

One thing that I don’t like about the new block editor is that there are too many blocks and the one that I use most often is the Image block and it takes a bit of work to get to it.  You have to click on the Add block black plus button which brings up the following Add Block Selection.  Since I don’t want the Paragraph, YouTube, Embed, SoundCloud, Twitter, or Spotify blocks, and I don’t want to Browse all, I have to go to the inserter menu on the top where it says “Search for a block” and type in Image and then hit to magnifying glass or search button.

There is a shortcut called the Slash command which you can use to save a few steps.  Here you bypass the Add block black plus button altogether and just type /i and that will bring up this menu where the image block is at the top.  I hope that this trick can help somebody.

Written for Blogging Insights by Dr. Tanya where this week the question was contributed by Jennifer from Paperkutzs.

Blogging Insights # 51 – Blogging Etiquette

How long should the comment thread be? For example, if some blogger likes your post and says so, you thank them. Then they say that you’re welcome or it’s a pleasure, afterwards most shift to emojis or smiley faces. It can go on for quite some while. So I would really like to know what is the acceptable cutoff number.

I don’t do emojis or smiley faces, so as long as it seems like a reasonable conversation, I feel that it could go back and forth to virtually become an unlimited thread.

Reblogging etiquette; I reblog the responses to my prompt as I state in my prompt post. But if I want to reblog a post which I like or was moved by, should I ask them first? What is the accepted protocol for that?

The only posts that I have ever reblogged were my own, the ones that I write every other week for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge and I do this to get more people involved with this challenge, which at the moment is doing very poor.  I really don’t understand why more people don’t participate in this and it frustrates me.  I did get mad at one blogger who copied my post, not a reblog that would send readers back to my site, just an outright copy, like they were passing it off as their own, although they did mention my name.  I told them to take down the post and I said that if they wanted to reblog my stuff, that they should ask first.  However, some others have reblogged my posts and I never said anything to them.

What should you do when people don’t respond to your comments on their posts? Should you stop commenting on their post or give them a reminder about your comment?

I have a WordPress issue where I only get a notification when somebody likes one of my comments on their posts and I have no idea if they make comments back.  I told the Happiness engineers about this and they never did anything about it, so when I get a notification that somebody liked one of my comments, I usually wait about 10 minutes before I go back to visit their site.  This is when I will find out if they made a comment back or not and if they didn’t respond I figure that they had nothing to say.  I make a lot of comments on other blogs and I am sure that I have missed many comments that were made about my comments, but life goes on and there ain’t much that I can do about it.

Award posts; These are the trickiest regarding etiquette, as most people don’t even acknowledge that they were nominated for that particular award. What should be the proper way to deal with this situation?

All of the award posts are stupid, but I usually do participate in them up to a point.  Even though I feel that they are a waste of time, I think that the very least you should do is to acknowledge the person that nominated you.

Written for Blogging Insights by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with blogging etiquette questions that were contributed by Sadje.

Rookie Errors

When I first started blogging, I was Rollin’ and Tumblin’ with no clear direction of what I wanted to write about.  I wrote very long posts that had no pictures, where I concentrated on being informative, and educational and this made them very boring.  I wrote my first nine posts before I discovered the Daily Post hosted by Michelle Weber, which was the only prompt writing challenge around back then and because I had no followers, they did not do very well.  I got my first comment and like on my third post by a blogger known as baddadcartoons101 who is no longer here, but that made me happy, so I kept with it, because I enjoyed writing.  I wrote 20 posts that got no Likes at all and of these very early posts, three of them obtained no Likes and no Comments and two of these posts (Two Basic Types of Tears, and Teach Your Children) are not all that bad, but they never got noticed by anyone.  The other one (A day without you) is not very special, but besides getting no Likes and no Comments, it only received 4 Views.

Being a newbie, I was lucky to find help from a guy named Sight, or Journey (I never got his real name even though we exchanged many emails) and he helped me to improve the appearance of my blog by telling me to organize my posts into Categories and Tags.  I took his advice and went back and edited my first 224 posts to make sure that they all had Categories and Tags.  Through Sight, I met a blogger named Fandango who I consider to be a good friend and he told me that the ideal blog post should not exceed 500 words.  Sight got sick and he disappeared and then he resurfaced several times and disappeared again, but he is a caring person and I owe him a lot.

Written for Blogging Insights – Early Mistakes where Dr. Tanya asks, “What mistakes did you make in the first few months of blogging?”

Dr. Tanya Wants to Know

How important is your blog traffic to you?

I write for my own satisfaction, but having people look at my writing is very important to me, as it brings me some satisfaction and makes me content when people click on the Like button or leave me Comments.  I am going to write anyways, even if nobody reads my stuff, or bothers to hit the Like button, or leaves me a compliment on what I write, but knowing that someone visited my site makes me feel better.

How often do you check your stats?

I probably should do this more often, but I would say that on an average, I check my stats about once a month.  This is my 2,567th post since I started writing here on WordPress and my All-Time stats say that I have gotten 139,695 views in the period since I published my first post on April 23, 2017.   My site received the most Views on November 17, 2019 where 453 people stopped by.  This is my first post today, but my stats say that I have already received 77 Views today.  From November 2019 through August 2020, I have received over 5,000 Views every month, although it looks like I may fall a bit short this month, as I only have 3,889 Views for September so far, even though I had 338 Views yesterday.  I am on a site titled A Unique Title For Me, my user name is newepicauthor and my tagline is “Hoping to make the world more beautiful”.  I have the Premium plan which I pay $99 a year for, and this prevents WordPress from adding commercials to my posts.  I currently have 1,197 followers.

Which part of your blog traffic, the views, likes, comments, or follows, is important for you personally?  Which of these do you think is most important for your blog?

I feel that Followers is a useless statistic, as I am more interested in Readers than Followers, but logging a View does not say that this person read my post.  The only way to tell that someone opened up my post is by Likes and or Comments and out of these two statistics, I feel that Comments tell you better who read your post, so this is the most important statistic to me, even if they are just a smiley face emoji.  I wish WordPress made it easier to check which of my posts got the most overall Views, Likes and Comments, but you can’t do that without a plugin, or upgrading to the Business plan, or writing in some complicated code.

Written for Blogging Insights # 47 – Traffic & Stats.

The Value of Comments

Dr. Tanya at Salted Caramel asks, “Do you think that comments add value to a blog post?  If so, how?”  In my opinion, comments are the most satisfying part about blogging, but since people are different and they may get different meanings from your writing, comments can be rewarding and well as upsetting.  Followers is a useless statistic and that can’t be controlled.  Views is another almost meaningless statistic, as you have no way to determine who has viewed your blog.  The Like button is an important statistic, but it does not tell you all that much about your writing, as some people just click on it to be polite and they don’t bother reading what you wrote.

I am guilty of clicking on the Like button for some stuff where I feel the writer didn’t do a very good job, but I did read their post and the reason that I Liked it was because of the effort that they put into it.  If I am not completely bored reading a particular post, I will click the Like button as it does not take all that much effort on my part to do that.  I don’t give critical comments, so my comments usually say how much I enjoyed reading a post, but those here who I consider to be friends, I may make some sarcastic statements.  I appreciate Followers, Views and Likes, but when somebody takes the time to write a comment, that makes me feel special.  What I don’t get is the bloggers that do not feature the Like button or a Comments section on their posts, as that always adds just a little bit of light to make your post a bit sweeter.

Written for Blogging Insights #46.

Computer Savvy

How technically savvy are you?

I know my way around computers although I am not an expert, but I do get by.  I taught myself and I got my first personal computer in 1990 with Microsoft Windows 3.0 installed on it.  The first versions of Windows (1.0 through to 3.11) were graphical shells that ran from the MS-DOS operating system, so I also learned DOS.  I started out with WordPerfect which I used to update my resume and write cover letters, but I soon moved to MS Word.  Next, I learned Excel and then I learned Access.  I also learned AutoCAD and MS Paint.  There is always something to learn and that is what makes computers fascinating.

 

Did you launch and set up your blog on your own or did you need help with it?

I wrote a couple of books and when I was trying to market them, I read that it was good to have a platform, so that is why I came to WordPress.  I had no idea that I would end up becoming a blogger at the time and I knew nothing about having a website.  I signed up for this thing called Bluehost because I thought it was necessary and it was expensive and I never used it.  I wrote a few posts before I met this blogger named Sight who told me what I was doing wrong and he helped me a lot.  He gave me his email address, but he never told me his actual name.  He told me that I was part of the JFSS family which included me J for Jim, F for Fandango, S for Sandy and S for Sight.  Sandy was the first to leave and Sight is gone now and that is what happens to families.

 

Do you feel that it is more important to have a flair for writing or have good computer skills to be a successful blogger?

I worked as a technical writer for years, producing technical documents that are basically boring to anyone other that the people that they were produced for, but through this experience, I learned how to do research, so I am a research writer.  Unless it is Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I look things up before I try to write about them.  I am not really interested in being a successful blogger, as I don’t plan on trying to make any money out of this.  I write for my own enjoyment, but blogging is great for developing writing skills and improving your vocabulary.  I have made 2,433 since I started my blog on April 23, 2017 and my stats say that I have 1,153 followers now, of which I only feel like I know very few of them.  On November 17, 2019 my posts received 453 views that day which is my best ever, mostly because of my Song Lyric Sunday post Done with the Verb Do got 249 views that day.  I try hard to make good posts for SLS, but nobody has ever commented on anything that I write for these posts, even though they do get a lot of likes.  Since success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, in blogging that means getting a reaction which relates to comments and I have since given up on success.

Written for Dr. Tanya of Salted Caramel Blogging Insights # 38: Technical Aspects of Blogging.

I Am a Host

I have never responded to a Blogging Insights question before, but most of the other hosts seemed to have answered this question posed by Dr. Tanya which is: What is the value of running writing prompts to your writing in general, and your blog in particular?

I host two prompt challenges which are both music challenges.  I took over the very popular Song Lyric Sunday challenge which receiver 31 Likes and 51 Comments last Sunday.  This challenge was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time who fell ill at the end of 2019 and I volunteered to take over the hosting duties for her.  Helen provided me with a list of the Song Lyric Sunday themes that she had already used and she had been running this challenge since June 19, 2016.  What would this world be like without music?  I have been a huge fan of music for my entire life and I also participate in this challenge every week and many people are happy to see me keeping this challenge going.  This challenge draws in a lot of regulars and they have all become like an extended family for me, as I read every post that is submitted and I get to listen to a lot of music where I learn new things.  Next Sunday July 26, 2020 the theme will be Different/Same and everyone is invited to join in on the fun.  I will write about the Beatles song ‘Rain’ this week.

I took over the MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge from Mandi of Mandibelle16 who was from Canada after responding to a Writers Wanted post and I made my first post for this challenge on April 19, 2019.  This is a bi-weekly challenge, so every other week I switch off with Dylan Hughes who hosts First Line Friday.  I became part of the MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie team, which consists of the Sunday Writing Prompt and Monday Wordle which are both hosted by Yves.  The Tuesday Photo Challenge is hosted by Nekneeraj.  Wednesday Heeding Haiku is hosted by Chèvrefeuille and Thursday Tale Weaver is hosted by Michael.  Dylan Hughes and I alternate every Friday with her First Line Friday and my MM Music Challenge.  The Saturday Mix is hosted by Sarah Whiley.

This week 7/24/20 I will write about the Sade song ‘Smooth Operator’ and then I will make my own post about the Blondie song ‘Call Me’.  Participation is open and free to all and although this challenge is not very popular, I think it is more fun, as it has very few restrictions.  Mandi used to number her music posts and I think that I will start doing that now.  My first post should have been labeled Week 51, but since I just decided to do this, my next one will be labeled Week 84.  I have found a lot of writers here on WordPress who really know a lot about music and I seem to learn something new every day here.

I feel that there is value in running writing prompts, as it gives the WordPress community something to share together.  It is fun to see how others respond to prompts and in general any type of writing is good mental exercise.  For my blog in particular, I have responded to many types of prompts and writing keeps me out of trouble and it prevents me from getting bored.  I write about music, because I find that to be satisfying.  When I chose a song, I look for significant facts that I feel will make an interesting story.

Written for Dr. Tanya of Salted Caramel Blogging Insights # 37: Hosting a Writing Prompt.