BYOB — Blog Your Own Best

If you have built your own slide, swingset, and jungle gym that you’re especially proud of, wouldn’t it make sense to then build a playground for others to come and enjoy them as well, perhaps making some new freinds in the process?

I’d like to see authors do this with their writing as well. I’d like to see them have a convenient list of what they ita consider to be their best work. Reading those pieces that they felt an especially strong conection to when they wrote it is my favorite way to get to know a new author and see if I want to follow them. (In other words, I like to caper about their blog checking out all their fun wordplay.) It helps me get to know them better, more personally, so that I can decide if they’re someone I’d like to spend more time with, maybe even become blogging buddies with.

The “Top Posts” widget is beneficial and convenient as well, but that is based on stats — views, likes, reblogs, linked-to’s, comments, etc. — generated by visitors to your posts. Many bloggers use it. (Or its variants “Recent Posts” and “Archives”.) I do like seeing what has touched others’ hearts in a profound way, so I still use them when they’re available; however, I prefer the greater depth of emotion I can sense when I’m reading something the author is deeply passionate about or felt truly inspired to write. It’s also easy for these auto-generated lists to miss some gems from an author’s earlier work, from before they had developed a sizable following that skews the later entries as better only by virtue of greater exposure. (Which, by the way,  also reveals the benefits of reblogging some of your older, quality pieces.)

One caveat, though. When viewing with WordPress’s reader, neither the menu nor the homepage can be seen. They are only available when visiting the actual website. This makes it tough for your readers to see that “Best Of” list you’ve worked so hard to create. The best idea I’ve come up with to work around this shortcoming is to put a link to my favorites page at the bottom of every one of my posts. “Simple Ula” does something similar on her blog when she links to about 5 of her other pieces at the bottom of every post. It’s her “reminder” of her other articles. For me, seeing that on her blog legitimized my idea.

Jeff Cann of “The Other Stuff” is an excellent example. Not only does he have a “Best Stuff” item in his menu, but he went so far as to organize it by topic. The epitome of convenience! Now that’s a playground full of potentially endless fun, fascination, and wonder I can’t wait to explore!

As an example from my own work, I have a simple, minimalistically designed website with a homepage where I list about 10 or so of “My Favorite Literary Children“. (That’s in addition to the “Top Posts” and “Recent Posts” widgets in the sidebar.) That way my readers can quickly check out my “highlights reel” to decide if they like my work enough to merit further exploration. Or maybe even inspire them to click either the “Follow” or “Subscribe” button! If not, my sincere wish to them is “Thanks for visiting, no hard feelings, and feel free to drop in again sometime if you ever feel so inclined.”

In addition, I have a page of my favorites as an item in my Menu that is a little more exhaustive. And now, after writing this post, I’m going to start linking to this favorites page on every piece I publish. (Thanks Ula!)

So, my dear fellow blogger, if you’ve read this far I hope you take this to heart and spend an hour or two setting up either a post or a page that lists your favorite pieces that you’ve written, then link to it through your homepage, your menu, at the bottom of each of your posts, or, like I do now, all three. If you do, leave a link in the comments so I can come check it out. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some more literary playgrounds to frolic in and some new friends to visit!

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Thanks for reading. Please be sure to like, comment, share, and, if you haven’t already, subscribe or follow. Any of those quick, simple, and small acts of kindness are phenomenally powerful and help me more than you can imagine.

I also invite you to check out what I think of as my best work on “My BYOB List (My Personal Favorites)”.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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24 Comments

  1. An interesting point James. I have a sidebar that collects my posts in certain categories but not a ‘favourites’ list – although sometimes the posts that aren’t my favourites seem to be more popular than I’d expected!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. Funny how that works, isn’t it? And that’s why I still like to explore the Top Posts when a blogger has it to see what others find inspiring. However, when in comes to knowing the author themself, really knowing the type of person they are, that’s when I like to read what they consider to be their best. Especially when I’m first getting to know them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great idea! I have felt the same thing in that some of my earlier posts are my best. But, they went unseen by most of my followers because, at the time, I had nine! Ha. I love the idea of linking or listing “my favorites.” You might see that feature soon 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AWESOME! That is my biggest dream for the post… to start a movement in the blogging community where more authors will do that. It makes it so much easier to get to know them before deciding whether or not to follow them.

      Feel free to reblog it, or, in some other way, encourage all the fellow bloggers in your sphere of influence to “join the movement”! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Sounds like you’ve been doing this a while! I’m looking forward to reading what you consider to be your best. Until then, I’ll be reading some of your other pieces as they grab my interest.

      Thanks for the interest and for the comments!

      Happy reading!

      Like

        1. Interesting idea. I may have to borrow a version of that someday.

          Just keep in mind one of the purposes I believe a “Best Of” list should have: it should be readily available to your new readers so they can get to know you and your best writing as quickly and easily and possible.

          Perhaps do a little of both? A shorter list of your absolute best for new readers, and a more exhaustive list for your subscribers. That would make sense; they are the ones willing to put forth a little more time and effort to get to know you better.

          Anyway, just spitballing here. 🙂

          Like

            1. Not yet, though I plan to in the future. I haven’t been around the blogging world long enough yet to justify it. But I do think, given the correct circumstances and presentation, that it is a valid practice. Otherwise your best work gets lost in the milieu of cyberspace.

              That being said, I have been dabbling as a writer for a number of years, so many of my posts are pieces I’ve written in the past and revamped or updated — some more than others! — to fit the blog audience. So I guess in that sense, I have repurposed a lot of my previous work.

              I do refer and link to my previous works quite a bit. I also post quick updates or expansions as opportunities present themselves.

              For example, I once ran across a quote that fit my “Soul Spring Magic” story quite well, so I posted the quote with a link to the story:

              https://jamesclarkthenextiteration.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/a-soul-spring-magic-quote/

              As another example, I linked to my “Nakomai’s Immortality” post when Adventures of a Busy Mom posted a piece on her blog that presented a balanced viewpoint to an issue much better than I did. So I reblogged her post with a couple of comments and a link to mine:

              https://jamesclarkthenextiteration.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/stay-at-home-moms-vs-working-moms-why-we-need-to-stop-the-mommy-wars/

              Simlarly, this example is a quote I saw on a billboard that fit two of my personal essays, “Why I Write: Literary Childbirth”, and “Outlined in Mud”:

              https://jamesclarkthenextiteration.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/pain-is-temporary-pride-is-forever/

              Anyway, just a few ideas for you to consider.

              But now that I think about it, who am I to think I can teach you anything about blogging. You’ve got a whopping 7600 followers to my measly 65. I have a lot to learn from you!

              Thanks for your interest and encouragemnt!

              Like

  3. Thank you for sharing this tip. Am certainly going to try it out, though given my technical abilities, it might take me some time. I had thought of reblogging some of my good posts which hadn’t received too many views, on the completion of a year but this idea sounds just the solution. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. After looking at youre website, I’m confident that you’ll figure it out. The quickest, easiest way would be to just create a post with a list of links to your best, then link to that post at the bottom of all your new posts. (Next to your “copyright ” or your “thanks for reading” note, for example.)

      Creating a link in your posts is easy enough, too. The WordPress editor has an icon for doing just that quickly and easily.

      Good luck, and thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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