20 Tips To Rock Your Horse Blog!

horse blogs 2017

Hey, this is really cool – I’ve had readers coming to me asking for “How To” tips.

This is not an expert site in any way.  But thing is, I’ve already got a list posted at the ready! If you’ve missed it, let’s get in to it right away.  Below is the first 10.5 tips.  Add your own at the bottom!  We need it – I’m not an expert or anything.


10 and 1/2 quick tips on how to make blog posts that readers will take the time to read.

There’s fantastic content out there, in all those blogs, some is really well worth a read!

But much of it doesn’t actually.  You know.  Get read.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

None of us are expert blog marketing gurus.  Let’s face it – we’d rather be in the saddle than reading up on mysterious ways to increase readership traffic on our little side-kick horse blogs.

Since we’re all in this together – today is all about sharing a bit of what I’ve learned from 3 years of blogging. (Actually 4 now since this is a re-blog.)

 

      1.     Fewer words.  So little time.

Many horse blog posts I’ve come across are simply too long.  Wordiness and endless blabber isn’t going to get much more than a click on the Back button.

Unless a post is documenting a very specific event, contains research, intricate discussion points etc.  (Forget this post – I’m already blowing it here by making it much too long.) it should be easy to keep it under 600 words.

Every time!

It will help readers actually make it through to the end.  Trust me on this one.

leading horse out from barn isle

     2.     Pictures.  Without them, no blog is truly alive.

Your posts need images that will anchor the text and the content, and offer a break for the eye.  Test your self when reading other articles etc.  Which ones do you find the easiest to read and follow?

Note how soon a picture will appear in the text, often very high up, and how a second image will make the post seem less “chunky” even if there are several sentences before and after it.

Experiment with your posts.  It’s a blog outlet, not a book 🙂

Close up picture of legs on cantering horse

     3.     Tag your images!

Google has a phantasmic way of sorting and organizing web content.  Take advantage of it!  All that’s needed:  correctly labeled pictures –  readers will find your content through images searches.  And find your blog, yay!

While there’s no proven way to make sure of a high rank in Google results, chances are upped by putting a tag on the picture.  If you don’t, Google will use the title of the image, which isn’t often as descriptive.

The more “unique” the content, the better chance of a higher search-rank result.

Your horse abscessed from a broken wine bottle opener, and you found the corkscrew poking out of the hoof wall?  Label the picture!

All bets are I’ll find it when I search for it.  Because that’s the sort of stuff that would happen to my horse!  And yep, you know I’d be up all night searching for a picture of it to see if this can actually happen…

"Elinor Yee"

     3 1/2.     Tagging posts.

Honorable mention for tagging the posts too.  From the WordPress articles I’ve read on this, depending on the content of the post anywhere between 3 to 10 tags is good.  11 we’re pushing it and the post may not even show up in the Reader.

Personally, since this is All Horse, All The Time, mine rarely go above 8.

 

     4.     Provide some space.  Avoid squashing everything together.

Many readers will come to your blog from a small phone, late at night, when the day is done and they don’t have the energy to read big blocks of text.  Again:  It’s a Horse Blog.

Sometimes posts are really good, but because they read like an essay, I just skim through the content.

Because they’re too long.  Too cluttered.  Too squished.

Couple of simple clicks on the space bar will make for easier breathing.  And reading.

Horse tail Horze Bridle Touluse Horze ear hood

5.     No need for Social Media Channel Overload.

How many channels do you absolutely need to post on to have a solid readership?

Your blog platform?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Pinterest?  Some other cross-posted platform?  Plus all the others…  Really?  Not sure I’ve bought this.

3 is OK.  Feel like you absolutely have to Tweet, Pin, flash on Insta, and schlep up on some other channels?  Fine.  Just know that it isn’t a requirement for having meaningful interaction with readers.

6.  Forget Diary Posts.  It’s so pre-2010.

Don’t have much to say today?  No need for a “just-because” post!  Also, no need for “catching-up” post content.  It often feels stressful to read, harried, egocentric, and irrelevant.

Everyone doesn’t have to read about everything that has happened.

That goes up on your Facebook feed instead!  And then friends can Unfollow you there.  True.

Elinor Yee

     7.    Be ready for the tone of posts to be misunderstood.  Roll with it.

Things will go wrong sometimes.  Or often.  English isn’t even my first language, so hey, there you go.

A focus on always creating flowy sentences or just the perfect intonation will pretty much kill off any creativity.  Too much pressure.

In the end, blogging will feel blocked.  And all those intentions to post will wane.  Some days, just post and be happy!

 

     8.     Cuss words may not be necessary.  Unless you’re incredibly funny.

This blog hasn’t been that funny yet.

Cantering without stirrups on white arabian

     9.  Write for yourself, not to please any particular reader.

Having a narrow niche blog is great.  And if you’re here, yours is probably about horses.  That doesn’t mean you have to appeal to a specific person(s).  Just something to keep in mind…

 

     10.     Count on possibly getting completely picked apart.

Picked apart is usually constructive.  Appreciate it!

On the other hand, getting attacked can only mean two things.  Either it’s from some troll, who should be ignored.  Or, your content is simply painful/neglectful/dumb-bottle-necked for the horses.

Post stuff like that and be ready to be eaten up.  And definitely Unfollowed.  I’ve avoided this category so far.

And trolling myself is not high on my “Let’s-make-time-for-this-today” list.  The Unfollow is much easier.

Elinor Yee Leading horse

As always, I’d love to hear your comments on this!

 Stop by tomorrow for the next 10 Tips!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Finding The Best Quality In Your Horse

grey dressage mare

We talked about this before the weekend.

About the importance of knowing the one quality you appreciate the most in your horse.  Sometimes the answer can be a bit surprising.

As promised, here’s what I appreciate most with Gray Mare.

We can do focused work, while staying (relatively) safe. 

No lunging on Monday mornings.  We work in all sorts of weather.  (Although less, eh, well, in wind.)  And with some negotiation, we work when she’s in heat, and when other stuff is going on.

Sure, she often drops her shoulder, bucks, or more recently, throws in a huge spin when she spooks at random ridiculous things.

Ignoring the death-speed bolting across the grass field when there are turkeys there.  Oh yeah, and the dolphin moves with squealing if she’s feeling ON and you make the mistake of touching her with the leg, you know, to say, -“Hey, we can’t stand and stare here like a statue any longer or you’re going to spook yourself out.”  Or if she’s touched with the leg at any time she’s feeling a bit feisty.

Forget that.  It’s mostly for show.

finding the best quality in your horse
Most days, she can work, breathing hard, and really trying.
grey dressage mare

The best part – she’ll come back down, just as easy.  I appreciate this with her so much.  Makes things much more fun – working without too much nerve.

horse relaxing after working

More irrelevant, I also love how she’ll hold absolutely still if I’m around her legs.  Taking off ice boots, fiddling with blanket straps, she’ll hold, making sure never to hurt her human.  Nice quality in a friend.

Your Horse – The Subtle Art Of Not Under-Appreciating

how to find a horse you like

Quick, tell me your horse’s best quality!

Maybe not that easy.  But you know it’s there.  If not, think fast!  It’s an art in it self, not under-appreciating your horse.  What’s the one thing you keep hanging on to?

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For ElinorNot literally; forget the Clinging Dishrag hanging-on we do on windy days when special mares sport rocket-speed-with-a-groin-pimple moves!  But the thing that keeps you hanging on to the idea that your horse is worth it all.

Something there that makes things click just enough.

The greatest benefit with Valiosa took me a while to figure out.

This isn’t really it…

how to find a horse you like

I’ll share that after the weekend.  In the meantime, feel free to chime in on how you’ve mastered the art of not under-appreciating your horse!

Showing At Home Turf – Much More Difficult Than Going To A Venue

portable stalls at shows

The outdoor arenas are still closed.

Looks like horses will only school in the indoor, and once there’s a show, the outdoors’ will be prepped, courts put up, and they’ll be used mostly for showing.

There are four large, very well maintained, outdoor arenas at the barn – three used as show rings, and one even larger as an extra outdoor warmup, for days with too many horses in the indoor warming up.  Super spacious, and super nice.

outdoor arenas closed in winter
One of the outdoor arenas. Ready to go. But we don’t go 🙂

There’s also a fenced in, more grassy looking arena, looks like for in-hand and stallion premiering etc, and a tiny, unfenced little thing for warmup out of the view of the show commotion.  But they’re also closed…

It’s sinking in that Gray Mare will have a heart attack once we’re finally able to go in the outdoors for a test.  Not just because it’s a new arena, but because it will be her home venue, completely transformed to something super scary.

portable stalls at shows
All of the deserted portables in the background will have scary roofs on them. And horses inside!

There’ll be major hustle around all the arenas:  tents, trailers, flags, merchandise vendors, tables, all sorts of crazy show action and new equipment.  Which is fine when driving to a new venue.  But I bet it’ll be very triggering when it’s happening on her home turf…

riding in off limit areas
Tree ally down to another empty guest barn. No riding here either. Maybe someone you know did it just once.

EVERYTHING will seem different and scary…

2018 will have weekends with show jumping here, which we don’t go to, and then about 4 dressage show weekends.  First one in May.

Yep – planning on going!  Same saddle, same everything, but with a very different, tweaky-rocket ship horse.

Who’s idea was this!!?

 

three horses waiting their turn in the arena
That day we all watched a test. But someone was way too excited just to have friends to be watching.

Guest Post – Pick Up Your Rabbits

Roadkill.

Their flattened, dried out bodies, small bundles along the roads.  Or the bumpier, more moist, fresher crop.  They’re always there.  I swerve around them, breaking.  Who’d want turkey, deer, racoon, opossum, fox, squirrel, coyote or skunk ground up in their tires..?

You wonder if it happened fast.  If they felt it coming.

Dark morning commute.  Blackish winter morning.  Another Jack Rabbit hit.  This one probably the biggest one I’ve ever seen.  The bright highlights of the car in front light up the scene.  Only differently this time.

Coming to a full stop, I watch the driver ahead of me, his car now pulled over next to the fake-fancy golf course, its water fountain spraying day and night.  Fountains and spot lights promise instant sophistication, never mind the rest.

The man walks across the dark road, lit water droplets glittering behind, to help take responsibility for his roadkill.

A sad heap almost in the middle of the road, the rabbit, still conscious, breathing, heaving.  My front lights shine at the two of them, a white half-circle in the dark blue, as he removes his shirt, wrapping its body into it, lifting it off the stage.

I thank him silently as he carries it off.  That’s all it takes.  Such a small act.

Pick up your rabbits.

 


Want to contribute a Guest Post or Ghost Writing of your own?  Feel free to share a link in comments below!  A one-time open weekend opportunity, yes without rules, on the blog.