The One Thing I Want to See in Blogging Advice Posts

Discussion Post

Last July I wrote about why you might actually want to read posts about blogging advice.  Today I want to talk about what makes a blogging advice post compelling and useful to me.  There are characteristics that makes strong posts in general: clean prose, a strong structure, helpful diagrams and other visuals.  But the one thing I want to see in every blogging advice article?  Evidence that the blogger used the strategies in question and that they actually worked.

Very often, bloggers put together advice on some topic (say, “How to get more blog traffic using Pinterest” or “How to get more blog followers”) and then list some strategies…with no numbers and no explanation of how they used the advice themselves.  But these very general advice posts can give the impression that the author simply collected the advice from elsewhere on the Internet and has not necessarily used it or seen success from using it themselves.  In contrast, then, the most convincing blog advice articles include the step-by-step strategy that the author used and what results came from it.

For instance, did they log onto Pinterest once a day? Twice a day? Did they repin hundreds of pins each day, or just dozens?  Did they comment on pins, follow people, or ask people to follow them?  How often did they do any of these things?  And, after they did these things, how much did their traffic increase? By just a couple hits a day? Or hundreds?  What types of results can I expect if I follow the same course of action?

I’ve read a lot of blogging advice that simply  hasn’t worked for me.  For instance,  a lot of people suggest doing guest posts to get more visibility for your blog and find new readers…but that hasn’t worked for me and doesn’t seem to work for the book blogging community in general.  When I read blogging advice, I want to know that it actually worked for the person who’s suggesting it.

What do you like to see in blogging advice posts?

Briana

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32 thoughts on “The One Thing I Want to See in Blogging Advice Posts

  1. Adam says:

    I definitely agree that personal experience is key, and I often look for specific details about their experience. For example, there’s the general anecdote to “write”, but it really helps to hear the details of how someone manages their writing, whether they maintain a daily or weekly quota, word count vs time spent, write every day vs every other, and how they handle those times where writing proves particularly difficult. Specific details are far more useful than simply saying “start writing”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s very true! Perhaps “just start writing” sounds simple and easy to someone who does it all the time. However, someone not accustomed to writing or writing in a certain way might need more direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight says:

    This is a good point. Most of the blogging advice posts I’ve read are very vague and general and do sound like every other advice post out there. More specifics and examples for what they did that actually worked (like you said, the number of times they pinned a day, for example) would definitely be helpful.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      Yes! I’ve read so many where it’s unclear whether what is being suggested was tried by the author or worth the time investment if they did try it. I want to know wheat they did and what the outcome was!

      Like

  3. fairydancer221 says:

    Depending on how badly I’m looking for a piece of advice, I’ll end up reading three or four blogging advice posts on the same piece of advice with some hope of evidence. I usually don’t see it. I think the most evidence-based advice posts I’ve seen have to do with commenting back and regular posting. Those seem to be the only ones with numbers attached.

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    • Krysta says:

      I suspect that many people may find it difficult to give numbers, especially if they’re trying a lot of new things at once. If your numbers rise slightly was it the commenting, the fact that they tried out new features, the fact that they redid the blog design, or a random combination of things like the seasons, new bloggers joining, etc.?

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  4. Ana says:

    Thank you and all good points. As a new blogger I’m often faced with lots of advice which I’m more than happy to use. However, I’m not sure how much effort to put into each. I have a full time job and one that often has me working late at night which means that my blogging, most of the time, is something I do late at night or on weekends only. Time is very short for this, if I also want to have a life and time to read, which is why we’re all here. If I could put one or two of those suggestions into action, it’d be ideal. Thank you for posting this.

    Ana

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, if we had numbers, we’d know which pieces of advice to choose from rather than trying to do it all! Blogging is quite time-consuming but it’s important to have a life, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. anhdara13 says:

    This is so true! A lot of times, I wind up skimming through these sorts of posts because they’re so generic and have no personal anecdotes that suggest the blogger has used these tips to some modicum of success. I wind up picking and choosing what would work for me – and while I do not have a large following, I do have people at least interacting with me on Twitter and reading the posts, if not always commenting on them.

    This is also part of why I don’t write posts like that. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to provide personal evidence to my “success” rate.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, it does seem sometimes like the authors have simply compiled advice they’ve Googled and that that advice might apply to other types of bloggers but not book bloggers. I think book bloggers have a difficult time because our audience tends to be primarily other book bloggers so we are all competing for a smaller pool of people who are in turn busy blogging and perhaps not as likely to read tons of blogs as non-bloggers might be.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LaToya says:

    I agree! The blogging advice I have read thus far does nothing for me. Everything pretty much sounds the same. I would love to see them make a point and the elaborate on it with examples and personal experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I think a lot of the advice I see may apply to blogging in general but not to book bloggers in particular. I think we’re different in that our audience tends to be much, much smaller than that of food and fashion bloggers, for example. Also, our audience tends to be primarily other book bloggers not the general public. But much of the advice I read doesn’t recognize that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen (@teamsheltie) says:

    I totally agree with this and rarely read advice posts because of it.

    Take use social media…ok, but which platforms work best for book bloggers? How many times per day (as you mentioned)?, what type of posts – generic pitches/follow my blog but no interaction otherwise – don’t work for example.

    And TBH, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another so I tend to stay away from advice posts that make it sound like this is what you HAVE to do or you are a failure as a blogger.

    For What It’s Worth

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    • Krysta says:

      Ah yes, the infamous appeals for follows and likes. I think that’s advice that might work for other types of bloggers (I wouldn’t know), but it certainly seems to backfire on book bloggers. We’re supposed to blogging for the love of books so anything that seems like book bloggers want to get something out of blogging can make them suspect to their audiences.

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    • Briana says:

      Yes! I think social media can be a big offender with these kinds of posts. I picked Pinterest as my example in the post because I see people write advice posts about using Pinterest to build your blog audience all the time…but as far as I can tell, this is NOT a social media platform most book bloggers are on or that works for book bloggers. If a book blogger could give me numbers showing Pinterest was really working for them, I would love it.

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  8. Tanya Patrice says:

    So true! I like to see advice posts that show how something worked for the blogger, and what they did to get it. There are a few I’ve come across like that – so it’s out there – but the vast majority simply regurgitate advice.

    Like

  9. The Lovely Pages Reviews says:

    This is definitely a must have for advice posts, I haven’t read that many posts that require numbers though. Most of them are about the bloggers experience with something (feature, widget, NetGalley, or other blogging stuff) so I haven’t really paid attention to it. That being said in advice posts there’s certainly need for the blogger’s implementation of said advice with proof. Great topic!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I always find this an odd expectation. Quite honestly, we have too many followers for me to keep track of who is following and who is not. And I don’t check every day to see who is new. This is probably easy when you’re first starting out.

      Like

      • ashley says:

        I still find it easy to do and I’m definitely not a newbie. I have notifications turned on on my phone so I see the WordPress logo and use it as a reminder to check my notifications when I have a free minute.

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          I guess I’d have to care more about our stats. But I don’t regularly look, nor do I feel like I have the time to do so. When I do look, I almost never recognize any of the names. I think it’s more important to comment. If I see someone’s name around long enough I get the idea they’re a real person and I check out their blog. If I just see “Bob’s Cameras” started following, I’m not going to click.

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          • ashley says:

            I think it’s more important to comment too. Ironic that you mentioned commenting because the discussion post I’m drafting has to do with commenting! I click to see what type of content the blog has to make sure I’m actually interested in following it. Like I’m not gonna follow a blog that doesn’t read similar books to what I read.

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            • Krysta says:

              That makes sense. I tend to click on people who comment, though, more than I do new followers just because I can see immediately who they are.

              That sounds like an interesting discussion post!

              Like

  10. Milliebot says:

    Yeah commenting on other blogs seems to be a big one. But how many blogs do people comment on? Do they do it daily? I don’t like to follow a ton of blogs because I actually want to read mostly every post. But I agree, no one talks results.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I suspect that commenting works if you comment A LOT and probably if you comment a lot on the same blog so they begin to recognize your name. But people have different amounts of time they can spend commenting so it might be useful to now a target number to aim for so bloggers could prioritize time if necessary.

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      • Briana says:

        True. “Comment everywhere!” is kind of vague advice. :p But it’s also the kind of commenting strategy that seems to work vs. say ‘Comment on 7 blogs per day.”

        Like

  11. Jamie Wu says:

    Great post! I do think that bloggers should at least provide some form of example to accompany their advice. But at the same time I do think that there’s not necessarily a single formula that works, even if they do lay out the step by step plan. What works for one person may not work for someone else. I think there’s also something to be said about survivorship bias. I think bloggers should do posts about what didn’t work for them too.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      Oh, definitely! There’s probably more than one way to “get blog followers” or whatever it is, but I do want to know what actually worked for one person!

      Also a good point! I haven’t done a whole post on things that didn’t work for me, but I do mention a lot, for instance, that doing guest posts has done nothing for my traffic because I see that recommended ALL THE TIME for traffic and it just…doesn’t, at least for me. If someone is saying it DOES work, I really want to know how many times they guest posted, how they knew people were coming to their blog from the guest post, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Angela says:

    I so agree with this! I would love to be able to write more “how-to” discussion or advice posts, but I don’t feel like I’m an expert enough at anything to be able to give advice like that. I prefer to see specifics, things that actually work instead of generic ideas. Maybe bloggers think people will be turned off seeing “I” or “me” too many times in a post, but I like personalization.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      Ooh, interesting! Yeah, it’s possible people don’t want to make the advice sound as if it’s too specific to them and no one else, but I really do want to see that the blogger actually tried the advice themselves!

      Like

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