WordPress tips for newbies

I have reposted this old article with a few edits as I have picked up one or two other strange quircks new bloggers may not be aware of when posting.

As a seasoned blogger on WordPress (all of ten days) I thought a little information picked up the hard way the last few days might be of benefit to other new writers, fresh recruits, so to speak.

In my eagerness to achieve overnight fame and success I have inadvertantly stepped into a few potholes. The WordPress community are incredibly supportive and most of the advice I have been gifted, repeated below, has been stellar.

Tags and Categories

The most useful piece of advice by a country mile came from Christine Goodnough on the use of tags. You can visit Christine’s blog at Christine’s Collection

So to Tags then. These are key to getting your article featured on the WordPress Reader. No tags, no show, no traffic, no readers.

You can use up to 15 tags per article, but choose them carefully. They must relate to the article and should ideally be one or at a maximum two words long. I rarely exceed 12, and if you exceed 15 your post won’t show in the reader, so go easy.
I always try and think if I was to search for the article I have just written, which keywords I would use to query the reader.

Your categories serve more as a filing system on your site and although they do influence an article’s search ranking, it is to a far lesser degree than tags.

Use these to keep similar articles together, making it easier for a reader to find all your poetry or carrot cake recipes. Try and use two or three at most. NB exceeding three categories will prevent your post from displaying in the reader!

Photos

You are writing in a visual medium and it’s one that is swamped with visual stimuli, every inch of your devices screen clammering for attention.

Do pick a photo or graphic for your post. Make sure it’s vibrant and relevant. You’ve just taken the time to painstakingly craft an article. Now dress her in her Sunday best so she doesn’t go unnoticed.

And do give the photographer credit. You may even find an increase in traffic from this simple act of recognition.

Contributing much?

As a new blogger or writer you yearn for exposure and crave viewers. A great way to draw attention to yourself is by contributing to other blogs.

It helps you increase your traffic, make new friends and possibly rub shoulders with the glitterati of the blogging community. A word of caution however.

Check out the site carefully that you will be contributing to. Do not leap before you look and live to rue your hastiness. Check off the list below and your Contributor days will be happy ones.

  1. Is there an about us page on the site? Does it contain a clear vision of the site, written in flawless English that makes sense when read out loud? If not, run.
  2. What are the criteria for contributing writers or are they simply willing to accept you based on your birthday and hair color.
  3. As soon as you’ve joined, wait a day or two and check their stats via your dashboard to see how their posts perfom. You know how valuable your writing is, dont waste it.
  4. Support. Is there any?Can you get typos on published articles fixed? Do the replies you receive from your support queries require Google translate. You know the routine by now. Run.

Stats.

Last on my list and possibly the coolest resource of all. Head over to your WordPress dashboard and the stats link will give you a wealth of information on how the world sees your blog.

You can see individual views for each post, reads versus likes, which of your tags are getting the most traffic etc.

You can also use this information to time when you publish an article to maximise your traffic and views.

A few simple and practical ideas that will help you maximise your posts readership. Reach out to others in the WordPress community, read their articles, share your opinions, show an appreciation for you fellow writers and they will return the favour.   

Best of luck here. Write frequently, write honestly and write with joy. Fame is almost certain to follow.

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14 thoughts on “WordPress tips for newbies

  1. What you wrote about using only a few categories on a post is something I learned the hard way after blogging for five years and several blogs — one for poetry, one for general, one for fiction. Instead of creating a proper filing system, I used categories and tags indiscriminately. I realized over time that what I had was a jumbled mess. 😦

    Back in Jan I said “Enough of this” and I started posting all my writing (except my haiku verses) on one blog. I learned how to put the Categories into the main menu and set up my subjects, I changed my Default category from Uncategorized to Reflections — I’d advise every blogger to get rid of that useless Uncategorized default — and every post now fits under 1-3 categories.

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. First Friday is a great idea and I’m happy to pass some of this info on to new bloggers, having so much excellent hindsight. 🙂 No point the newbies ending up with the mess I had for lack of a little shared experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the additional info Christine. The advice on the categories is very helpful. Strangely this post, despite it’s tags, never showed under any of them in the reader this morning. Go figure.

      Like

      1. You’re right! I checked the Blogging tag and didn’t find it.

        My advice then would be: go back and edit by wiping out some of your tags and replacing them with Personal, Journal, Blogs, Thoughts, Writers, Articles. Hit Update, wait a bit, and then see if your post appears under any of those new tags.
        Let me know if this works. (Note: you may still have to scroll back right time of the original post.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank Christine. Had this with another article yesterday as well. Strange. I did more or less what you suggested and it had no impact whatsoever. I post from the app and it may have something to do with saving drafts and the time of the post.

        Like

      3. Then I think you should contact Word Press Support and tell them what’s going on. There must be a loose wire somewhere. The app shouldn’t make a difference — but then I don’t have one so can’t be certain.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think I will. I just posted another piece, in search of happiness, with the first tag as writing. Again no show in the reader under the tag. This time I made sure it was the first tag on the list. Shows up under followed blogs, but not anywhere else.

        Like

      5. Hi Christine.
        I thought I would just let you know what the outcome of all the fiddling was. No response yet from WordPress but I have discovered the following. This applies to the WordPress App for those who post off their phones or tablets.

        When you are working on a draft ensure your primary tags are first, also don’t go mad, ensure you don’t exceed 15. Then on your publish settings choose the date of publishing when and only when you are ready to publish. Set it to immediate and hit publish. If you’ve had the draft sitting for a while it will publish it way down on the reader and it won’t show.
        I will update the post above with this info.
        Thanks for the help.
        Robert

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the tips. I think many of my posts may have too many tags- I will have to correct that. I see that I also have too many categories- I shall reduce those to 3. 🙋🐦

    Liked by 1 person

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