This is Tetrax’s prompt, since after the post on removing followers some new followers came (mostly of the non-anime sort, ironically) and there wasn’t enough time to run a post for the Q part of a Q and A.
Certainly, you could be a successful blogger without following any of these points, but these are some of the so-called “potions” in my arsenal, so to speak:
1. Eyecatching title
Your reader always starts from the beginning (except when you’re doing a post on multiple topics, in which case they might only read about the shows they’ve seen or in special circumstances) and so the best way to grab a reader is with a great title. This is especially notable because most WordPress users will open up posts they want to read from their Readers, not to mention the fact a unique title will allow for people to search for your post easily. Often titles are the things I think about first and they tend to be an elevator pitch in and of themselves, especially the ones with a question as the title. However, lately I’ve done nothing but ask questions in my titles…which might just be a sign of laziness.
There are certain kinds of titles that are effective – the straightforward ones (best for whole series reviews, listicles and posts that ask questions of the reader) and the puns/absurd ones (best for more editorial-style posts, episode reviews or…just to establish you’re a person with a sense of humour). Pick whatever suits your writing style and content best.
2. Short wordcount (300 – 1000 words)
Why 300 words? A post or a story chapter doesn’t really seem complete when it’s less than 300 words, unless you’re making an announcement or on a type of social media which prefers “microblogging” (e.g. Tumblr, Twitter). On the other hand, something with tens of thousands of words starts making my eyes glaze over if I’m not prepared to read that much, no matter how passionate I am about the topic.
Normally, posts run to completion under 1000 words, so it’s fine but when I have about 1500 words I start to fret that the post is getting hard to read, which is probably where the cutoff of about 1000 words kicks in.
3. Conversational tone, Clear personality, Clear line of argument (aka “thesis” or “contention”)
These three come in the same bundle simply because they won’t apply all the time, depending on content. However, in most cases a clear authorial tone won’t do you wrong. In fact, a few of the lists of blogging tips I’ve read encourage you to use one, because understanding the writer is a window into a person’s way of thinking and their viewpoint, if applicable. After readers become acquainted with a blogger, they start coming not just for the content, but for the blogger’s opinions, because that’s the only way you can really distinguish yourself on the internet.
To be honest, I don’t think I could really blog without a conversational tone because I haven’t changed it for many years. Even when I’m conveying information, it’s undoubtedly going to be filtered to be only what I know and perceive of the world, so it actually might’ve gotten more personal (I am aware this does make me come off as “self-centred” to some extent, but that’s the nature of things).
4. Dotpoints/Short paragraphs
These are mostly a relic of my days as a mostly action and dialogue-driven writer, if not from my five or so years on Tumblr. Not only do they work well with a conversational tone, but they convey little snippets of information in digestible amounts so that the reader doesn’t get annoyed. (However, this is WordPress, so ensure you strike the right balance between long-form and short-form content!)
I never actually realised how effective dotpoints were until someone gave me praise for the way I used them to summarise translated tweets, to be honest…
5. Images (optional)
After using a piece of fanart and having the owner come after me for it, I stopped using images and so I’m pretty reluctant to use them these days (I think Moya once said, “This [post] is from a spellbook, not a picture book!”…which is honestly pretty funny). However, there are perks to using images, especially if you’re talking about a visually impressive production or can convey your information visually as well as with words.
There is no hard and fast rule in regards to where one should place an image, so go with a layout that’ll break the text up and yet still illustrate said text.
Bonus! – The odd bit of IT knowledge
Nothing irks me more than unreadable text on a website. Not because it shows a person has no idea how to use web design (you can run a successful blog without knowing any), but because of the implications it has on a practical level – if I have to highlight text to read it when I’m on your blog, I’m just going to stick to the Reader, thank you very much. One of the main gripes I had with Tumblr was its need to put minimalism and design as higher priorities than readability, because then reading requires squinting…A bit of common sense and knowing what creates a high contrast does wonders (e.g. red and green shouldn’t be the only colours for a blog theme, since colour-blind people can’t read with that combo).
Knowing how to fiddle with the nitty-gritty (e.g. the blog code) also isn’t necessary, but creating tables from HTML or even going to the extent of making your own blog theme is just another outlet to show off your technical knowledge.
So that’s that for the 100 followers post – 100 total followers, or else it would’ve been a longer wait. Do you have any tips for other bloggers you’d like to share, or any specific topics/shows/manga you’d like me to tackle in the future? (Can’t promise you anything, but you can always try.)
As for the near future, I’ve got my work cut out for me with real life as I’m readying this post for publishing, but I do intend to talk about Angolmois and Phantom in the Twilight in particular before the season is over…that is, if time is on my side first…