Learning to WordPress

I came to WordPress.com after my WordPress.org blog died in flames and malware smoke on my own server. I thought I pretty much knew how to use WordPress as a whole, and I’ve let the blog coast for several years. Life was busy and I didn’t have time to fool around with blog stuff.

Anyway, this past week, I actually bothered to grab the WordPress app on my phone so I could update my blog on the fly. As I was clicking on stuff, I happened to look at my stats. They pretty much tabulate the rise and fall of social media, where most of my hits came from.

Stats for my sad little blog over its lifetime

As you can see, I moved to wordpress.com in 2015. I update about once a week, or every two weeks, whenever I have something to share. After 2017, you begin to see the social media sites throttling outside traffic. I used to get comments on my blog posts. I forgot what that’s like. Actual people used to visit my blog and say things and for heavens sake, sometimes disagree with me.

My art used to bring in a ton of search results from Google. Google doesn’t like people to use the image search anymore, so that dried up. So now my poor blog sits here with a vast archive and no visitors. People say blogging is dead? Only because social media and the algorithms killed it.

Being the type to never say die, I was poking around in my shiny new app, and discovered the Reader button. It lets you follow blogs, and search for new ones. I started doing that. Lo and behold, I found a whole secret ecosystem of WordPress blogs. They’re interconnected. They share traffic. Some of them get comments.

The trick is the tagging system. WordPress doesn’t make this easy for you. They give you a general idea on their Help section, but they don’t give you a list of categories, except a handful of very broad ones to start. This blog would fall under “art” and “writing” and “creativity”. But thousands of blogs get posted to those categories every day. You’re supposed to use tags to describe your content in a more granular way. My artwork might also be “painting” “illustration” “fanart” “science fiction” “fantasy” and you see the trouble. WordPress’s ecosystem isn’t that big. There’s no way to target the exact readers I want unless I hunt them on social media. And social media hates blogs. Unless it’s Tumblr.

And if you have books to sell? Pff, you’re on your own, buster. Nobody wants to read a story unless it’s a fanfic and it’s free oh and it has the correct ship.

Please don’t make me explain what a ship is.

The point is, I’m going to start experimenting with bringing the ol’ blog in line with Teh Modern Internets. I’m going to repost some of my more popular posts with updated tags and categories. I’m going to try to figure out how to get my artwork onto the search engines. (Better descriptive text? I have to figure this out.) If you see smoke and ashes flying from this blog’s direction, don’t be alarmed. That’s just me, relearning how to blog.

Anybody else out there trying to cope with Teh Modern Internets? If you have tips for me, let me know. I’m woefully behind.