Hi, guys. Upon the request of several of you, starting this week, we have begun posting meeting notes for those who were unable to make it to the meetings. Also, soon we will be able to provide a complete mp3 audio file of each meeting. We can’t promise an exact date yet as we are still testing the software, but it should certainly be in the next couple of weeks. So, without further ado, here’s what you missed this week in our meeting.
Joshua brought up the fact that he has set up a posting schedule for his website recently in order to be sure his posting is both consistent and high quality. Roby brought up the fact that he has used Trello in the past to keep up with post ideas and track his progress toward his goals. If you are not familiar with Trello, it is a tool that allows you to make categories and cards in order to keep up with the different statuses of different projects you are doing. It is worth a look. Joshua mentioned that he currently uses a combination of Wanderlust and Evernote. Wanderlust is a to-do list program and Evernote is a note-taking program. All three of these tools have apps on both the Android Google Play store and the Apple App Store.
Social Media Concerns
The topic of using social media to publicize work was discussed. It was decided that publicizing and relying to any real degree on social media is good in some cases and not in others. People on social media who follow you are not guaranteed to share (or even read) your work. Outreach to individuals is much more effective in the early days of your blog. Spend time doing outreach instead of spending money on advertising when you have a limited amount of material to show.
Members’ blogs were examined and feedback was given. For example, one member mentioned having concerns about creating the first paragraph of his blog and making it eye-catching and well-written, citing that the first paragraph is what draws a reader in and therefore deserves special attention. It was mentioned that you should act like you are talking to a specific person who has a specific question, then go back and edit the content to make it more widely applicable. Another member states that he writes multiple first paragraphs and picks the one he likes the most. Joshua let us know that he will summarize a problem, explain that it is not unsolvable and describe how he will help the reader to solve it.
While discussing post optimization, Joshua brought up the fact that he loves Yoast. The usefulness of this plugin can not be overstated. If you have a self-hosted WordPress installation, I would recommend you check it out. The basic service is free, but there are additional services you can pay for. Roby mentioned that he has used a Chrome extension called Grammarly. It can help with your grammar when you type and could be very useful if you struggle with certain issues of grammar.
During our networking discussion, Roby stated that, while outreach to individuals can help in the beginning, it is important to reach out to other bloggers as well. An established blogger can help you get noticed and grant you visibility to their followers/ It’s that much better if that blogger has perhaps a few thousand readers/subscribers. If you can reach out to around five of those bloggers, you will see great benefits and very possibly experience a growth in your following. To do this, of course, you must be seen as worthy by the established blogger, through meaningful content generation and possibly a considerable following yourself. Each experience with an established blogger is different and what they would require of you is just as varied.
This community, for example, is a great place to meet others and grow on your journey as a blogger. It can help you to have others who can understand your struggles and give you advice on how to improve on the things with which you struggle. We can’t always talk with our friends or significant others about these issues, because, quite honestly, they don’t always understand, and sometimes they may not really care that much. For that reason, this community has been established and we are all here to help each other. Make the most of your time here and make some good friends so you can help each other on your paths. Also, don’t think that just because someone is currently new or lacking readers, that they will always be that way. Everyone starts somewhere and you never know who will be the next big thing.
We created two new channels, one for WordPress questions and one for post feedback. The WordPress Questions channel is for all questions about WordPress, large and small. The Post Feedback channel is for members, level 5 and up, to request feedback on their most recent post when they have questions about it, or just want some additional sets of eyes to take a look at their post to tell them what they think. The WordPress channel does not have a minimum level requirement at this time. Please be kind in these channels, and remember we all started somewhere. It is fine if you want to give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism about posts, but please do not be rude or mean, as a moderator will discuss your behavior with you if you do so.
We discussed trying to bring in people from other areas, such as podcasting, SEO, graphic design, etc. We will be doing this through some advertising and we are already seeing some traffic from these as I write this. Since members seem to be helping each other with general blogging issues and discussions, we will try to bring in people who have expertise or knowledge of these other areas. This will be done in an effort to help each other in a MUTUAL relationship.
This is not so we can have a panel of experts to ask things of and ignore beyond that, it will be done so they can help existing members with their problems and existing members can help them with their. I am telling you this so you know that perhaps not everyone who comes here will have an active blog; some may be using techniques used by bloggers to get their goals accomplished. They will be a great resource for bloggers and bloggers can be a great resource for them.
What Do You Want People To Do?
This is a great question to ask yourself about every page and every post on your blog. If your answer is “I want them to view another article,” then make it easy for them to do so. If your answer is “I want them to buy what I am talking about,” make it easy and attractive for them to do it. This goes double for your homepage. For example, Badi is one of the bloggers in our group and he wants people to listen to his podcasts. Therefore, he chose to make his podcasts more readily available on his homepage (and all other pages).
The easier you make it for your reader to do what you would like for them to do, the more likely they are to do it. This is advice you should keep in mind while writing your posts as well as keeping it in mind in general for your blog as a whole. What is your goal with your blog? Is it easy for your reader to perform that action? If not, can you make it easier for them?
This will increase the success of your blog, so it is worth going through your website and making sure you can say “Yes, it is as easy as possible for the reader to do what I want them to,” even if it is a series of events. Just address them in order. Also, don’t confuse your reader. Better to decide on a simple goal than to give readers too many options and risk your website becoming intimidating.
If you own a self-hosted WordPress site (or any site that offers analytic usage), use that to gauge whether your website is too confusing or if people are being funneled properly to the features you would like. It is important that you keep an eye on your site’s usage and see if people run into any problems on a certain page or fail to do what you would like. This keeps your site not only serving the purpose you want, but also keeps it user-friendly.
That’s All, Folks
Well, that gets you caught up on what we talked about in the meeting. If you have things you would like to discuss in the next meeting, it will be held on Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM UTC) and we would love to see you there. There are no requirements to join, except for signing up on our Discord server. Meetings are open to all members, and membership is open to all bloggers. Until next time, take care, guys.