Drips, trickles, streams a cascade
Of life. Fresh water.
by R. A. Richardson
In my last post, I talked about the “Perfect Reader” from the point of view of the writer. I discussed several things that I believe define you and I as writers, because, truth be told, if you are reading this, you are probably writing something in your own blog – which makes you a writer. Maybe I have read it, maybe I haven’t; maybe I am your “perfect reader” and maybe I’m not. Either way, I applaud you for taking a chance writing and publishing what you wrote. Whether one person read it or one hundred thousand people read it, what does it matter? The most important thing is you wrote it and put it out in your little corner of cyberspace for someone else to read. For what you want is someone to read it. You really want someone to like it, maybe like it a lot, and in doing so, validate your existence as a writer. You might want to get paid for your writing – and in doing so, validate yourself even more as a writer.
I know I do. I would like that very much.
The question is, can you and how do you do it on WordPress? I don’t know if you can or not, but I believe I’ve figured out a couple of things in the nearly three years I have been blogging here. First thing is this: I believe writing your blog here on WordPress.com is probably the best place one can write and get the most exposure for their writing. Certainly it is for a novice writer. But, it is not the perfect place, and here is why.
Unless you are already an established writer with a huge following, your ability to capture readers, especially a lot of readers, is dependent on three things. First: your topic and the quality of the writing about your topic. Let’s face it, nobody is going to read atrocious writing, at least not for very long. Second: your timing and the tags you use must be spot on. Exposure, I believe, is a momentary piece of timing and luck. In other words, you have a very short period of time for readers to view your post and be compelled enough to read it and decide if it merits enough effort to investigate your blog further. Third: I believe anything you post is going to fail the timing and exposure tests unless you have a great, or at least good photo to go along with it. I believe this based on my own experience: To date, I have published 88 posts to this blog. Of those 88, the top three posts with the most “Likes” all included decent photographs. In descending order, they are: Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life | 2, “Super Sport” | Photo Challenge – Letters, and Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life.
So, there you have it – my little three cents worth on how we as writers might, if we are lucky, and we write well enough, and we can either take, borrow or steal a great photo, we might just make it as writers on WordPress…and if we are really, truly, remarkably lucky…we might just get our piece Freshly Pressed.
So go out there and do it. Give it your best shot. And, good luck!
Before I publish any more articles here, I want to tell you all about my project and invite you to participate. I am creating a map…I kinda like maps…of everyone who is following this blog. I’ve managed to get the location of a few of you from your blogs…but I’ve struggled with others.
If you would like to help me out…please reply with a fairly accurate geographical location of where you live or you are writing from. I am trying to pinpoint anyone’s location who isn’t willing or invade anyone’s privacy. I am just trying to create a really cool map.
Here is what I have so far.
Please help if you will.
Four months ago, when I wrote regularly, I apparently wrote pieces that were informative or entertaining enough for readers to like them and want to see more. This may or may not have been the reason they decided to follow this blog. Regardless of the reason, I somehow managed to attract 165 followers: 131 following the blog and 34 following on Facebook.
So what is a follower? It seems to me that a follower is simply a reader that makes a conscious decision to follow and continue to read another person’s blog. As a follower, they can visit the blog as they see fit, or they can receive electronic notifications that the blog(s) they follow have been updated. It’s then their decision to actually read the blog or not.
Based on my experience as a blog follower and as a blogger with followers, I think many of us use the number of followers we have as a yardstick of how popular our blog is. In one respect, I think this is fine. It’s nice to have several hundred or several thousand followers of your blog. On the other hand, I believe the number is a bit misleading. Anyone can choose to follow a blog, but never read it again. So, without another way to measure readership, I think the number of followers a blog has is not a truly accurate representation of how popular a blog is.
Are their good followers and bad followers? I think there must be. According to everything I’ve read on WordPress, a good blog is one that attracts and builds a community – a community that gets readers and writers involved. They may be readers that just follow a blog because they share common interests, or they may engage by commenting on blog entries they find interesting, informative, or entertaining. According to WordPress, “A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours.” So, I think that is what makes a good blog follower, one that actively engages the author and the readership by becoming involved in the blog with comments or by using an article as inspiration for their own article – by working to build a community.
To this point, I have done a so-so job of being a good follower. I have commented on a few, and at one point I was reading blogs I followed regularly. I’ve failed miserably to do either in the last few months, but I am committing myself now to do better. Whether you follow this blog or not, make the same commitment to be a good follower yourself.