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Today I would like to share a few tips that may help you as a WordPress.com blogger to get and/or retain new blog visitors. This is specifically about new visitors, as opposed to repeat visitors. In other words, it is about first impressions.

The first three tips can be implemented at your Gravatar account, accessible at http://www.gravatar.com (Link will open in a new window). You can log in with your WordPress username and password.

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgb

Gravatar/Picture
When you Like a post on WordPress (by clicking the WordPress Like button), all that people see is your picture or gravatar. If you Like a post on a popular blog or web site, then many people will see that picture.
I personally think having your own picture as your gravatar is better than having that of a cat or a tree, though some well-chosen non-human pictures may raise curiosity as well.
If you have an attractive picture it will, well, attract people and chances are someone will point their mouse at it to see something about you (or just to see a bigger version of the picture 🙂 ).

Which brings us to the second point.

Hovercards
When someone points their mouse at your gravatar, they will usually (unless they turn this feature off) see a hovercard – a small hovering window that displays summary information about you.
If you want the person to want to find out more about you, then add something interesting or informative to your summary information.

The hovercard has a link inviting the reader to view your complete profile, which is our next point.

Profile Links
A reader can reach your profile through hovercards or sometimes when you Like a post and a notification is sent to the blog owner.
Gravatar allows you to add multiple links to your profile, so that others can go from your profile to your site or blog or even FB page.
I only learnt this recently and was delighted.

If these links are not provided, then a visitor can use yourusername.wordpress.com and reach your blog, but that will only happen if they know that they can do that and are willing to take the trouble.
Also, this more tedious method will only take them to your wordpress.com blog, not your other sites or pages. So, go ahead and add links to your profile.

Like I said, you can set the above three things at http://www.gravatar.com

Your About Page
informationsign2

Once a visitor has reached your blog, then you need to give them a reason to stay on.
When I visit a blog for the first time, I will usually go to the blog’s About page to know more about the blog or the blogger.
Also, when you comment on or like a blog post, the blog owner will probably receive an email with a link to your About page (unless they turned off such notifications).

You can read this article on making your About page a good one:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/aboutpage/

My small addition: Avoid statements like “I started this blog one year ago” if you are not stating the specific year that you mean. The reason is simply that as the years go, the statement becomes untrue :-). Also, your readers have to figure out when you wrote “one year ago” then calculate which year you were referring to. Save your readers the trouble.

Comments on Posts
You can easily be found by others by commenting on other people’s blog posts. When you comment on a blog post, your name will usually have a link to your own blog, if you are already logged in to your WordPress account.
If your comment (or just your picture) is interesting, someone may click and visit your blog

You can read this article on commenting etiquette:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/say-something-commenting-etiquette/
Some more tips about your blog:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/quick-tip-take-control-of-your-title-and-tagline/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/three-easy-and-free-ways-to-make-your-blog-your-own/
Change your Widget Titles and Comment Prompt
Add an attractive elevator pitch
customise your email that is sent to new followers

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Long, long ago, (well, from around 1999) Yahoo! used to offer a public profile page for holders of Yahoo! accounts. This page was accessible via geocities.com/your-yahoo-username (I think). There was a fairly easy-to-use (for that time) page builder, and I built a basic web site for myself there, and I used to post pictures and share some info on the site. It was fun. Yahoo closed down Geocities in 2009, though apparently the Japan one is still up.

Somewhere along the line I created a blog at blogspot.com. (also known as blogger.com) Apparently my first post there is dated May 2004. This was before it was bought by Google. I do not blog there regularly, perhaps because I find the interface unexciting.

Yahoo introduced a blogging platform called Yahoo 360. I enjoyed using that one and was blogging on it with some regularity. Unfortunately, Yahoo shut that down as well in 2009. I think I saved some of my posts from there somewhere. I may post them here someday.

I joined Facebook in 2007 (though I encountered some technical problems with that profile and deactivated it). Facebook introduced a Notes feature that allowed you to write stuff and add a picture (I think only one picture per post). I used to write Notes there with some frequency, and they used to elicit a number of comments.

For a short while, I used to post Notes on Facebook and post the same content here. Then I decided to abandon the Facebook Notes for four reasons:

  • Facebook seemed to have changed something in the way it works, such that posts got less publicised than before (This is my unresearched view).
  • Facebook also changed the user interface and removed the tabs that used to be along the upper part of one’s profile, from which viewers could easily access one’s Notes.
  • WordPress offers a richer interface, allowing you to link easily to other stuff, add pictures easily etc
  • It was tedious doing similar things twice.

If I remember well, at some point Facebook also introduced a blogging app, but I did not use it. (Except to write a post that I would not use it 🙂 )

My first WordPress blog post, cleverly titled ‘First One’, is dated 09 Oct 2008. I moved to WordPress after my sister did and I saw her new blog. WordPress also had (probably still has) a better interface than Blogspot and perhaps more features. (I don’t feel like doing a detailed comparison at the moment).

So there we are. It has been interesting blogging with comparative regularity, and reading other people’s blogs. Let’s see how this journey goes.

What has been your blogging experience? Feel free to share below! Thanks for reading!

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Deutsch: Screenshot vom Blog-System WordPress.

Deutsch: Screenshot vom Blog-System WordPress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are not a WordPress blogger, you can skip this first part. I put it up in case someone is searching for some help with the WordPress Blogs I Follow tool.
——————-‘First Part’ begins here ——————-
As I was tinkering with this blog, I noticed a number of things:
I realised that I had quite a number of blogs listed in the Blogs I Follow widget in the right hand side column, but when I went to my Dashboard and clicked Blogs I Follow, there were only eight blogs listed. These seemed to be recently followed blogs.
Secondly, I realised that I usually receive notifications about new posts from these eight blogs only.
Third, I had clicked Follow on my own blog. I removed it from the Dashboard, but it still appeared in the widget.

So it seems either there was a disconnect between the Dashboard settings and the widget, or there was something I was missing. My suspicion is that the disconnect came about for blogs I chose to Follow a while back, such that these were not recognised in the Dashboard. Anyway, I seem to have fixed it by going to the blogs listed in the widget and clicking Unfollow, then clicking Follow afresh for those I still wished to follow (Yes, I stopped following some, particularly those that did not have recent (2012) updates).

I have submitted this information to the WordPress Support http://en.support.wordpress.com community.

[Update: I got a reply that the Widget and the Dashboard lists are actually supposed to be different. Only those to which you are subscribed to receive new post notifications by email show up in the Dashboard.]
——————-‘First Part’ ends here ——————-
Anyway, the exercise above gave me a chance to briefly look at some of the blogs I follow. I also followed links in comments to other blogs, followed some of those and so on. It (again) dawned on me that there are a number of published authors among those I follow (and some that I don’t). In other words, there are many ‘regular people’ out there who are published authors. Some of them have published ebooks and/or printed books. I think I really should consider pursuing this ebook option. Getting published now seems more easily attainable.

Many of the blogs are very good (hence my following them 🙂 ) The variety of bloggers and content is wide – from flash fiction, to longer stories, to daily events, memories, commentaries, interviews, tips, poetry, … One blogger was born in 1990 and lives in Romania, one is a lady who writes about Biblical nutritional principles, another writes poems exclusively(?), one writes as inanimate objects, one is my sister. (I was going to put links here, but you will need to do the work yourself and click the links on the right :-). Go on, discover.) There are many interesting blogs out there (You already knew that? Oh. Ok).

Bottom line is, I think, everyone has something to say, each from their own perspective. I recently realised that many of the things that may seem normal to me and to others around me, may actually be quite strange fascinating to others living elsewhere. (For example, taking a bath using water from a basin, as opposed to a running tap or shower). I think one of the key things is to say it as well as many of these and other bloggers do. I hope to actively collect worthwhile content, and to develop my skills in delivering this content.

Go ahead and share your story. Someone will be happy to read it. Or at least, if you read a blog you like, let the author know.

You may want to see this post, which I found after I posted this one.

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First One

This is my first blog here. Just want to test.

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