I started Mental Health @ Home in October 2017. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. I’ve learned a lot since then, and one of the things that I’ve learned is that there’s always more to find out, and new ways to making your blogging experience more productive and satisfying. I think knowledge is best when it’s shared in the community, so that people can make choices about what’s best for them and their blog. These blogging & writing tips are drawn from what I’ve come up with in my own research and trial and error.
Some people say Blogging Is Not Dying. I say not a chance.
Are you new to blogging on WordPress? Check out A New Blogger’s Guide to the WordPress Community.
This page includes links to the posts that I’ve done relating to blogging and writing. My approach is very pragmatic and I have no real interest in what you’re “supposed to” do. I hope some of these tips will be useful in your blogging journey.
Posts about blogging are published every Sunday on Mental Health @ Home.
Growing & Monetizing a Blog
- Blog growth should not be at others’ expense – helping others grow is the healthiest way for you to grow your blog too
- It’s Okay to Want to Grow (and Monetize) Your Blog – Sometimes other bloggers react negatively if you’re trying to grow/monetize your blog. Quick tip: ignore them.
- “Should” you have an email list? – Plenty of big-name people will tell you that for your blog to succeed you need to build an email list, but is that true?
- Your blogging brand – you don’t have to be selling anything to have a brand; in a blogging context, it’s about the look and feel that you convey to the world both on your blog and on social media
Finding New Viewers talks about genuine, non-spammy strategies for attracting new people to your blog.
If you are making money from blog-related activities, you’ll have to report that come tax time. The post Accounting Considerations for Bloggers suggests some things to think about.
Using images on your posts can give readers a better experience, but it’s important that you use images in a way that doesn’t violate someone else’s copyright. The post Images and Copyright goes into more detail.
A common mistake is around Google Images. Unlike the free image sites, Google Images is a search engine, not a source of images. If you upload a photo to your site, Google Images may display that as part of its search results, but that doesn’t give anyone permission to use your picture.
The post Where to Find Images for Your Blog Posts identifies a number of options for freely usable images, including:
If you want to create your own graphics by combining various elements, Canva is a great tool.
Don’t forget to add alt text to your images when you upload them to WordPress. This will help your visually impaired readers, and it’s also looked on favourably by search engines. There’s more on this in Using Images in Blog Posts.
Interacting with Others
- Do You Do Blog Awards? – There are a variety of awards circulating in the blogosphere. Some people “do” them, while others don’t. So what are they and how should you approach them?
- Do you reblog? – how do you decide whether or not to reblog others’ content on your own blog?
- Weird Blog Contact Form Messages – some strange messages come through that contact form sometimes
- Comment management and censorship – Sometimes commenters will argue that it’s censorship if you remove their comments… except it’s your blog.
- How do we comment? – how do you approach commenting on other people’s blogs?
- How do you follow? has the results from a survey of fellow bloggers on whether people follow via WordPress Reader, email, or other methods
- What makes you unfollow? – some of the reasons you may want to unfollow a blog
Maintaining Your Blog
Internet Marketing Ninjas has a broken link checker, along with a variety of other tools, and it can tell you if links on your site are pointing to things that no longer exist..
- Blog housekeeping – regular maintenance helps to keep your blog in good shape
- Could Your Blog Use a Bit of a Trim? – are there old posts that are no longer doing much for you?
- Do You Repost Your Own Content? – Do you revamp and old publish old posts, or perhaps republish a new post several times to get it to the top of the WP Reader?
- Are you including Evergreen content that stays fresh long after it’s published?
The Useful Tools for Bloggers post suggests a number of tools that can make things easier for bloggers, including:
- Grammarly: available as a Google Chrome extension, it checks spelling and grammar as you type; unfortunately, it doesn’t work with the WordPress block editor
- Hubspot: has a blog ideas generator
- SEOPressor and Sumo.com: headline (title) generators
Attitudes around blogging
As a mental health blogger, my blogging experience is very much affected by my illness. The post Blogging During Mental Illness Flares talks about adjusting blogging patterns to cope with fluctuations in mental illness
The post Blogging Sustainably talks about how your mindset around blogging can influence being able to stay in it for the long haul or get burnt out. If you do start Feeling Disconnected from Blogging, we’ve probably all been throw that, and this this post talks about how I worked through a phase of that.
It’s easy to start evaluating our own blogs based on distorted standards and Crazy-making comparisons. The post A blogging report card talks about how to reflect (in a healthy way) on how you’re doing with your blog and whether you’re sticking with your purpose.
Copyright and plagiarism
Planning & time management
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to making your site more appealing to search engine, so that you will show up in search results and people will make their way to your blog. Some SEO work requires a plug-in like Yoast, which is only available for self-hosted bloggers or for bloggers on the WordPress.com business or e-commerce plan. However, there’s still a lot you can do with a blog on the free plan. The post Easy SEO Basics for Bloggers, as well as an older post, the doofus-friendly lowdown on SEO, provide tips on things that you can easily implement
Long-Tail Keywords are one type of SEO strategy. If someone is searching Google for “mental health,” there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that anything from my site would show up in their search results. However, if someone were to search for “what are the mental health benefits of having guinea pigs,” and I happened to have a post with a similar title, I’m going to show up pretty high in search results. That kind of long-tail keyword isn’t searched for as often, but when it is, there’s very limited competition.
There are Search Engine Webmaster Tools available, like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, that will allow you to track how your blog is doing in search results, and what searches are leading people to click through to your site.
Domain Authority is a metric developed by Moz that’s related to SEO. It’s a logarithmic ranking out of 100, and it’s heavily impacted by how many people are linking to your blog and how much DA cred they have. Brands wanting to work with influencers may be particularly interested in your DA score.
Do the people who like your blog actually read it? Maybe not; Serial Liking on WordPress discusses that.
Having problems with being unable to like/comment on blogs? This PSA post may help.
The post Managing Blog Spam talks about how to handle blog comment spam in WP.
Self-hosted vs. WordPress.com
WordPress .com vs self-hosted – the pros and cons of WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress likes to throw out some unexpected curve balls. Getting rid of the WordPress.com editor was one of them. Read more about that on Farewell, WordPress editor.
Writing can be a valuable therapeutic tool in dealing with illness, and it’s an important way of challenging stigma.
- Do Your Posts Say What You Think They Do? – sometimes there’s a mismatch between what the writer thinks they’re saying and the message readers take away
- How to Write Researched Posts – tips on how to write about subjects you’re not very familiar with
- Memoirs – To Write or Not to Write? – things to consider if you’re thinking about writing a memoir
- My anti-rules for writing – there are lots of things people say you “should” do, but I say ignore them!
- Spread your writing wings – share your mental health story
- Ways to share your story – mental health sites that publish people’s personal stories
- Where Do You Get Blog Post Ideas From? – potential sources for writing ideas
I’ve also done a number of posts on The Writing Cooperative.
- Being (and becoming) a Self-Published Blogger-Author
- Keyword selection & bidding strategies for Amazon Ads (on SheWrites)
- Self-publishing: It gets easier (guest post on Happiness Between Tails)
- The blogger’s guide to the basics of self-publishing
- Why I’ll continue to choose self-publishing (on SheWrites)