Experiences of an Inexperienced Blogger

To celebrate one year of the Turbulent London blog, I thought I would put together some of my top tips for blog-writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but over the past year I have learnt a few things about blogging. I have found it a really enjoyable and beneficial experience, and I want to encourage as many people as possible to have a go for themselves. So with that in mind, here are my top 5 tips for writing a blog:

  1. People ARE interested in what you have to say. One of the biggest problems I had when I started blogging was that I didn’t believe that anyone would actually want to read my writing. But the longer I’ve been blogging, and the more compliments I’ve had, the more confident I’ve become. Which is also great for my PhD, and my life in general. So if you’re hesitating about starting a blog due to a lack of confidence, don’t!

    Turns out people find protest quite interesting actually. This photo was taken at London Pride, on the 27th of June 2015.

    Turns out people find protest quite interesting actually. This photo was taken at London Pride, on the 27th of June 2015.

  2. Keep it short, stupid! Blog posts are not generally something people are willing to commit a lot of time to reading. I try to keep my posts to between 500 and 700 words. That way, they take less than 5 minutes to read, and you don’t get people not reading your posts because they’re TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read).
  3. Play to your strengths. I take a lot of pictures, and read a lot of books, so I use a lot of photos and review a lot of books in my blog. It just makes sense to do this kind of thing, because it saves me time, and I enjoy it! Think about whether there are any elements of your life that you could incorporate into your blog. If you’re doing a blog based on your PhD, there should be a lot of overlap anyway.

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    I am a keen amateur photographer, and I use that as much as possible in my blog posts!

  4. Think about when to publish. I generally publish a blog post every week on a Thursday morning. I have a list of ideas for potential posts so I rarely get stuck on what to write, and I try to have a ‘back-up’ post ready in case I have a busy week and don’t get a chance to write anything. This way I can post regularly, which I think is more important than posting frequently. I try to publish my posts at about 8 in the morning, so that people will see the post when they are checking social media on the way to work/university, and read it whilst they are travelling. I know of at least one person who reads my blog on their morning commute, so it’s worth considering.
  5. Publicise! A blogger’s job is not over once a post has been written, it’s important to promote your blog if you want lots of people to see it (and trust me you will, the WordPress stats page is addictive!) I publicise every post I write on Facebook and Twitter, and I put links to specific posts on other websites depending on their contents. Think about who might be interested in reading your work, and how you can make them aware of your blog.
Turbulent London's daily viewing stats for June. Trying to improve your viewing stats can become addictive!

Turbulent London’s daily viewing stats for June. Trying to improve your viewing stats can become addictive!

So there you have it, the top 5 lessons I have learnt during my year of writing Turbulent London. Perhaps I’ll have another 5 tips for you in a year’s time!

Turbulent London: 2014 in Review

WordPress.com has very helpfully put together a summary of Turbulent London’s stats from 2014. The blog has only been going since July, and I am very proud of what it has achieved in that time. I had been wanting to start a blog based around my PhD, for some time, but had got stuck trying to think of a name. Once I finally got Turbulent London up and running however, I discovered that blogging is an exciting and dynamic means of communication which has been greatly beneficial to me, as well as thoroughly enjoyable.

As the summary shows, people in 41 countries have read Turbulent London, which is  just amazing to me. I get a buzz of excitement every time I see that someone from Finland, Iraq, or Algeria has read my writing. Closer to home, I am always humbled when one of my friends, colleagues or fellow PhD students tell me that they read and enjoyed a post.

I am aware that this may be coming across as overly emotional or self-promoting, but really I just wanted to take this opportunity to share my enjoyment of Turbulent London, and to thank everyone for taking the time to read and engage with my posts. Also, if you have been considering starting a blog yourself, I strongly advise you do it, because it is fantastic.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and I wish you all the best for 2015.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.