A bit of a well worn title, especially from an “ancient blogger”, but I deliberately set out to learn something a few months back to infuse this blog with a bit more …. oomph! Blogging tips, how to improve your blog, how to get more followers are often somewhat impersonal and idiosyncratic, but this post is NOT aimed at getting more views, more like-like-likes, or more followers. It’s all about engagement and being in step or in tune with fellow bloggers.
My first ever blog was platformed on blogspot/blogger and was totally focused on mountaineering. I had an account with Summitpost which is a global web space for mountaineers, expeditions, treks, and members can post up new climbs, new routes, successful summiting, advice and so on. I had friends from around the world and wrote up climbs in Cumbria, The Alps, and expeditions in Nepal Himalaya. One of my expedition pages is here for Lobuche East in Nepal.
My second blog was organisation focused; with Dr C we had created Nepal Schools Aid aimed at creating a teacher training academy and exposing the Nepal Ministry of Education as corrupt incompetents. Within a couple of years we had over 1000 connections on LinkedIn and attached our weblog to these connections as we developed schools and conducted research into quality education.
Our third blog was an offshoot of Nepal Schools Aid and is an online learning resource for educationalists in the third world, and is still running.
Next came our travel blog, The Two Doctors, a friends joke from a Fawltey Towers sketch and originally for friends and family to follow us on our world travels in retirement: Europe, US, Asia, cruises, rail tours all featured with around 50 close followers all engaged.
But as we grew older and bits started to fall off our tired bodies and minds, travel grew less, blog opportunities declined, writing became boring. Something was missing.
So in the past couple of months we experimented and posted almost daily to a schedule, Macro Photography on Monday, Trumpet Politics on Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Thursday WordPress Photo Challenge, Friday Philosophy, Saturday Splash Photography, and Scenic Sunday. All of it trying to find out where our “engagement” lay.
It wasn’t anything photography related as this got lots of like like like but no discussion, comment or engagement. It wasn’t politics because polarisation and opinion based comments don’t catalyse engagement, it wasn’t Friday Philosophy …. too stratospheric or too dull maybe ….. so what’s left?
The answer is wine related blogging, an interest for 50 years since student days, a topic of global interest, most family and friends are engaged with it, and it’s an often misunderstood interest with probably billions of people wanting to learn from ordinary folks like ourselves.In summary here’s our main and very significant learning from this experiment and observation:
- Content is king, queen, joker! Focus on a single topic that you know something about and that REALLY interests you.
- Politics is poison! Facts are irrelevant in this universe with opinions and entrenched views dominating. There is NO debate.
- Photography is an easy option, but it attracts the like like like brigade who crave the statistics of being viewed and liked in return. Stick to Instagram.
- Philosophy is bloody tough, it can take ages to write a piece but unless your first name is Massimo or Jordan (Yes, look them up yourselves) you will not get much interaction. Who wants philosophical reflections from an ageing psychologist with bags of life experience?
On the more positive side I learned loads about SEO, search engine optimisation and the use of keywords, key phrases and tags to connect with search engines. I got advice from fellow bloggers about free image/photography websites which are extremely useful, I gained a lot from reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, but most of all it was “back to basics” …. meaning “write about what really interests you” and something you know more than a little about.
I hope many of you will follow our blog now focusing on wine, wine tasting and wine related travels. We know quite a bit about the topic, and know more day by day as do millions of others. We share a common bond or two …. grapes, terroir, food, culture, history, slurping, but most of all friendship from a common interest.