When you’ve been blogging for a few years, you learn quite a lot from other bloggers. There are all sorts of blogs out there, travel blogs to lifestyle blogs, cooking blogs to parenting blogs, and, my favorite, writing and artsits’ blogs. Blogging gives you a chance to put your own writing out for an audience to read, and to feel that your work has an impact.
Part of that impact is finding other bloggers that become your own community. In the six years I’ve been blogging I have been delighted to learn from, and to get to know, many other WordPress.com bloggers. My experience reading their blogs have helped me reflect on what I think are the best practices for blogging, at least in a way that engages someone like me.
Here are some things I admire and enjoy in blogs that I read:
- Consistent posting frequency. Whether it’s every Monday, 2-3 times a week, or only once a month, you can count on a consistent frequency for the blogger’s new posts.
- Inclusion of thoughtful images. I like it when text is broken up with images that illustrate or enhance information in the blog post.
- Providing new information I can use. Good hiking trails in my area, tasty and reliable recipes, how-tos on photography or writing poems or traveling on a budget.
- A peek into who the blogger is. Are they taking on any creative challenges? Do they have favorite travel locations? Any interesting family traditions or stories to share? Not that they need to divulge their entire life story or personal details, but learning a bit more about their journey helps me feel like I know then better over time.
- Thoughtful and relevant responses, even if brief, to comments I leave on their blog indicating I enjoyed a post or describing how their work impacted me. By responding to my comment it’s clear that they’ve noticed my effort to connect and to be impacted by their work.
Do you do any of these things? I would love to hear your thoughts in comments on this post. What do you appreciate in a blog? How often do you blog, and how do you get to know your readers? What advice might you have for a beginning blogger? I’m looking forward to hearing more!
While I’m working on my “blog re-do,” I’m serializing a fantasy story about a princess whose elf-staff has gone on strike. Here is part 3 below.
Strike Breaker, Part 3
“Ah, yes –” Mitchell cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t mind something stronger to drink, if you get my meaning –”
He dared a wink. Amadea suppressed a shudder. Old Master Elf Bernard would never have permitted such liberties. Did she really need to curry favor with this Philistine? She glanced at Mistress Periwinkle, who frowned at his impertinence.
“You’d better get back to the table preparations, Periwinkle,” Amadea said. Perhaps this could be settled quickly if Mitchell were provided with a small cup of wine.
“I’ll be in the dining hall if you need me, your highness,” announced Periwinkle. She scurried out, indignation in her manner.
Amadea took out the boysenberry wine from last season. Not the best vintage, thankfully. The fact that she poured it herself was evidently not lost on Mitchell, who had the audacity to grin widely when she offered the cup to him. She drew back and waited. Mitchell gulped down the sweet wine in a single draught, then stared balefully into the empty cup, as if wishing more wine would appear.
“You were saying?” Amadea tried to keep the impatience out of her voice.
“Ah, yes. Now, my constituents and I feel that a significant wage increase would be in order, along with half-staff, for time off, on holidays, and a fowl allowance on all major feast days –”
“How much of an increase?”
Mitchell’s eyes darted to the pantry door, the ovens, the kitchen stove, then back to Amadea. “Double wages, your highness. We think that is suitable, considering –”
“Double wages!” Amadea burst out. Immediately she regretted the show of emotion. Mitchell’s grin returned. He rocked back on his heels. She added, “I cannot agree to such an outrageous proposal.”
“Suit yourself,” Mitchell replied, in a voice with a more than a hint of insolence in it. “You seem to have things well in hand here. All ready for the banquet tonight, I see.”
Amadea held her head high. “We’ll manage.”
“Just say the words, and my constituents – ah, the palace staff – can be back in their usual places in no time,” he said smugly.
“At double wages? I think not,” she said. Then she added, “You should be ashamed of yourself. If old Master Elf Bernard were here –”
“But he’s not, is he?” Mitchell gave one last look at the empty cup before setting it down on the scullery table. “We’ll be just outside if you change your mind, your highness. Near the moat.”
After Mitchell had shut the door behind him, Amadea fumed. Perhaps her father had been right about the need for sternness with the elves. Still, with Master Bernard here, there had been no need for it. Everything had run so smoothly.
Should she call for the ogre squad, as her father would have done? Perhaps she was being too weak. But she shuddered again at the memory of the brutal violence with which they’d crushed the elf strike when she was a child. Even now, she felt sickened at the thought of monstrous ogre arms smashing elf heads with their massive clubs.
Her only option might be to call off the banquet for this evening. No; if she cancelled the Banquet of Lords on such short notice, the nobility would see this entire situation as evidence of her incompetence. She’d be forced to marry the dreadful Prince Edgar. And to produce an heir.
Not that she was disinclined to marriage. In fact, one day she hoped to marry, but why rush things? Besides, there had to be a better prospect in the world than Edgar. There just had to be. At least someone with a little intelligence, and somewhat pleasing to look at. Edgar, with his warty nose and dull intellect, was at the bottom of her list of potential suitors.
Unfortunately, Edgar did happen to be heir to a large highly fertile and productive kingdom, which the nobility of her own land desired. She’d been told repeatedly of the wealth and providence of Edgar’s kingdom by the huntsmen who had brought her back to the castle on her father’s death. Clearly the nobles wanted it that way, especially Lord Harrington, who had paid her a visit that morning to emphasize the attraction of a royal marriage between herself and the neighboring Prince Edgar. “Never,” she’d muttered under her breath, though she had smiled accordingly and said, “We’ll see after tonight.” She could not abide the thought of being wedded to such a person as Prince Edgar.
Something would have to be done about the strike. She had been over the books; there wasn’t enough money in the kingdom’s treasury to afford the kind of wage increase Mitchell was demanding. Yet she could see no other way than surrender.
She called to Mistress Periwinkle, intending to ask her to summon Mitchell.
Periwinkle had just appeared in the scullery when a cloud of smoke appeared in the vicinity of the oven and the nasty smell of sulfur filled the kitchen. Amadea coughed, and covered her nose with a kitchen cloth. As the smoke cleared a strange figure stood in the kitchen. (To be continued!)