More about blogging

I SEers, Craig here again. In my last post, I told you about my best promotional source. I made this a link, in case some of you missed it. This way I don’t have to do a lot of review.

Blogging is all about friends.

We talked about what to write, what not to write, and keeping a bit of consistency. We also discussed some of the cool people you can meet along the way.

Today, lets expand into some of the things you can do to keep people coming back, and to find new followers. We’re going to start with hosting.

If you’ve been blogging any length of time, you have a few followers. While it might seem like we all follow the same people, that’s only partially true. When one of your fellow authors has a new release, or something to say, it’s pretty easy for them to tell their followers about it. They need a way to reach new people, and your blog is golden.

You may follow a few of the same people, but there will be some that are unique to you. If you allow someone to post on your site, they get to reach some new potential readers. Good for them, right? It’s also good for you, and I want to go over it.

Many of your guest bloggers (authors) will have what I call regulars. They will follow your guest to your site. Many of them will check out your blog, maybe the wares in your sidebar, and you have the chance to collect followers yourself, or maybe sell one of your books. Clean the place up, and make everyone feel welcome. Many of these regulars will share the post to support their friend. This is in the form of tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest, and even reblogs. This exposes not only the guest’s post to new eyes, but your blog as well.

While I’m on the topic, make sure you have those sharing buttons active and in place. You do this through the WordPress Admin link.

A big part of being an author, (and blogging is also writing) is never giving someone a reason to say no. Make it easy for people to share all of your posts. Set up those sharing buttons, and make sure reblogging is always an option. There’s one more thing I want you to do…

Turn off the “switch” that requires you to approve all comments. Make it easy for people to comment. Don’t give them an excuse to say no. I’ve gotten about three spam comments in four years. One click and they’re gone. People are funny, if they see their comment is awaiting approval they may decide you don’t trust them, it’s subtle but they may feel unwelcome. Don’t get me started on solving Captchas. Turn that stuff off, be brave.

WordPress has a great spam filter built into the system, but it isn’t perfect. The rare one will slip through, and the opposite is true too. Check your spam filter and make sure the good guys didn’t get stuck there. It’s much easier to fix this stuff than it is to approve every single comment by hand. Truth is, you probably won’t have any spam problems.

Last time we discussed responding to comments. Some of these will be directed toward your guest, but you can still hit the like button to show you appreciated them. If there is a discussion going, join in.

Guests are going to provide purchase links, social media contacts, and more. When you include these, here is another tip: Set all links up to open in a new window. The reader might want to browse your site, but if a link overwrites the page they may not come back. Don’t give them a reason to say no.

Remember, you’re also building goodwill here. One day you’re going to need a place to post about your next book. People will remember how helpful you were, and volunteer their space for you.

Next topic: Regular Features. There are any number of things you can do on a weekly basis that will keep people coming back to your blog. For myself, I try to make Lisa Burton Radio a weekly post. I’ve been moderately successful, but Lisa always needs guests. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

Maybe you have something else that could be a weekly event. Maybe you’re a baker, belong to an aquarium group, or have other interests that could make a weekly post.

You don’t have to be original, but it helps. There are all kinds of prompts in the blog world, and most of them are a lot of fun. There are photographic writing prompts, Wednesday Wander, Thursday Doors where people post photos and write about the doors, Friday Haiku, book reviews, all kinds of things. Whatever you do, be consistent with it. Some people get into these and want to see your weekly micro- fiction, door photos, etc. Once they get used to coming back, they’ll keep coming back. Maybe they’ll spot your next book sale or release.

The beauty of the weekly events is that you become part of a community. This community can bring a lot of eyes to your product.

There are some things I don’t do that will increase your blog following. Everyone has to decide these on their own, but I’ll brief on them here.

Reblogging: Okay, I do some of this. I try to reserve it for outstanding posts I find, and friends with something to promote. I’ve watched bloggers build up a large following by reblogging lots of content, but there is a down side. Remember back in the first post where I mentioned that you are the brand. This means that most of your content needs to be original. You want followers, but you also want quality followers. If you’re only gaining non-active followers you aren’t gaining much. It will increase your numbers though.

Lists: People love lists. These can be in the form of what to do, what to wear, what not to do, etc. They can also be lists of useful blog posts, like Story Empire does on Fridays. These can get the comments jump started too.

Infographics: You’ve seen those ven diagrams that are kind of cartoony. People love them, and I can’t deny they catch the eye. There are apps out there to create them, and they could even become a weekly post.

Awards: If you’ve been blogging for more than a week, you’ve likely been presented with the Leibster Award. There are hundreds of awards in the blogging world. Accepting an award means you answer the questions posed, then come up with a list of your own questions to pass on. You are the brand, and these can really help people learn about you. The downside is you have to narc out a group of your friends and pass the award along, like a chain letter. They will draw eyes to your blog though.

Challenges: These are similar to the awards, but they’ve died out a bit recently. I think they’re more fun, and I have participated in some. These work by challenging others to post a photo of their work space, book shelf, maybe to write about something. Participants are asked to post a link in your comments, and this gets the readership flowing. Participants can follow your comments, and check out a bunch of writing spaces. They can be nearly anything, and can work really well. When you are the link repository it can be a big benefit.

I thought about making this into two posts, but I think it fits here. I may do a third one, I may not. My blog is my best promo tool, and hopefully these posts will help you make your blog more popular too. Let me hear from you in the comments. Did you find something helpful here? Are you willing to try something new? Do you have something additional to add?

C. S. Boyack

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75 thoughts on “More about blogging

  1. Thanks so much, Craig, I really hate blogging because I never know what to say so I post my short fiction pieces instead or book promo. You have been a lot of help. Now if Blogspot and WordPress would just start working right I’ll be a blogging genius. I have learned that short i often better Probably from the tons of blogs I read each day:).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    I know Sue Vincent.
    Thank you for the lengthy blogging tips article.
    I have been blogging for almost 3 years, and I can say what you wrote is true. People do become unique to you. You do get regulars. Blogging is about community. We are all fortunate to have that.
    I blog over at http://mostlyblogging.com. Maybe you can check out my site. I blog about blogging tips. I help bloggers. I also host six blog parties a month where you could meet new readers.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Curated Content, June 30, 2017 | Story Empire

  4. Another good piece of blogging advice, Craig. I went and checked my settings after reading this and changed the comments from having to be manually approved. It never occurred to me that it might make someone feel unwelcome. 🙂 But, you are right in that WordPress does a pretty darn good job of filtering out spam. And, as you say, one click and an unwanted comment is gone. Thanks!!

    Like

  5. Another awesome post, Craig! I’ve learned so much since joining the blogging community. Love the interaction and exchange of information. I sometimes find it hard to keep up with it, thus my comments are often a day or two late. But I’ve come to realize that’s not a big deal. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Craig! Been reading all the comments, and the discussion about free sites (WP) vs self-hosted. Maybe someone (Staci?) could do a post on the process, or pro v con. I’m not at the point where I want to move from free WP to self-hosted, but it’d be interesting to read about someone else’s experience. And the girls look great!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You only get three spam comments per year? Wow. I get nailed with it. Last week, I received a message from one of my plug-ins that read, 141 attacks in 5 minutes. Five minutes! Spam I delete a minimum of 30 comments per day. Maybe self-hosted gets more spam? No idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great tips here. I used to be much more active on my blog, but it got to the point I couldn’t keep up. I still visit other blogs when I can, but I’m not so active on my own. I put more emphasis on Twitter now. It’s more time manageable, but I agree–for most of us it’s still easier to reach the most people with a blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First, love the pics of the girls. Looks like they’ve settled into your home just fine. Hope Otto is feeling better.

    Second, great post, and great advice. (I, too, hate the captcha crap and comment approval I find on some sites. I’ll deal with it, but it’s a turn-off.) I didn’t know there was an app to make infographics. I’ve done a few on my site, but always by hand. It’s nice to know I can simplify the process. (I guess what they say is true… there’s an app for everything.)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post! I do a post almost every Thursday on my webpage on weebly, and it has more followers, but they never comment. I’m torn on whether to move the post to my wordpress blog, but I’m afraid I’d lose followers, so I’m trying to balance them both right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judi, I switched my blog from the free WP to a self-hosted WP site, and I lost almost all of my viewers. No matter what I did (exporting, writing posts asking them to follow me to the new address), I struggled to build them back up. I finally gave up and, while I have my “site” on the self-hosted platform, I point my blog back to the free site. My numbers are steadily growing again.

      I recommend WP over other platforms because I think it’s the most popular, has the biggest community, and is fairly simple to use. But I would suggest if you make the move, make it sooner rather than later so you can grow your audience back. (Also, remember, you say you aren’t getting any interaction from your followers, so it might be time for a change.)

      I know I basically contradicted myself. Sorry. I just want you to know the good and the bad before you decide. Wishing you the best, either way, though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I edited out the bits about how I think the free sites are the best things going. I’ve known too many who lost everything when they made the move. It also makes it much tougher to comment on those posts. I could name names, but that isn’t fair. The free site offers everything I could ever want.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing about the free sites is the content technically isn’t yours. WP can remove you at any time, for any reason. (Not that they make a habit of it, but they can.) You aren’t allowed to sell from the free sites, so I agonize over putting my books there. I’m comfortable with the balance I’m keeping of free for the blog and owned for all the rest. Besides, I love the plugins on the self-hosted sites. They save me a lot of time, for example, if I’m formatting a table. The galleries are nicer, too. But as far as free goes, the free WP site comes with a lot of functionality.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I get enough options to keep me confused as it is. I tell myself that I don’t sell anything. I talk about Amazon and they sell my books. If they croak me, they croak me. I’ve never felt the need to put a table on one of my posts, so risking my followers for that option isn’t good enough to get me to switch. Everyone has to make their own choice on free or hosted. For me it’s the free site.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Staci. My worry is that I’ll lose all of those readers, too. They don’t comment, but they show up every week. Maybe that’s enough? It’s not much compared to established writers, but I hate to lose over 3,000 people. BTW, if you’d ever like to have one of your books featured on the webpage, let me know. I’d be happy to feature it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Judi. I appreciate that, and I’ll take you up on it.

        With the viewers, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s just eyes on your post, then you’re probably in the right place. If you want interaction and possible conversions into fans and sales, then you may have the wrong platform. I’m certainly not in a position to tell you what you should do, but I think you should at least consider whether your site is doing what you want and then go from there.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Another great post, Craig. Having links open in new tabs is something that I always try to remember to do, as I agree that once someone navigates away from your page, they might not come back. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I had no idea that there was an app for infographics, Craig. I’m definitely going to look into that one as I love those things.
    I also think it’s great to have some type of regular weekly post, as you mentioned, and have been thinking of trotting one out. I was thinking of spinning it around a post I did last week. It doesn’t always have to be about writing!

    I moderate comments only when someone comments for the first time. I went through a spot where my blog was slammed by bots, but once someone comments a single time, the hold comes off. I know a lot of bloggers have moderation set for comments every time and I never understood why, when so many readers are regulars.

    As for captcha shudder I hate that stuff!

    A most enjoyable and informative post today!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are some apps, I don’t know how good they are. My spam filter seems to catch all the bots. If one sneaks through, it’s pretty simple to kill it. Captcha is the devil, and I have been known to not comment when I would have otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great advice. Though, I do have a question. You mention having pages open in new tabs or windows because a person might not come back after leaving. Is that something we can set up? I always thought that was what a user/reader did on their own machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You’ve covered the ground very well, Craig. I, like you, cannot work through some of the gyrations that some folks put on screening comments. It is very annoying to make a comment and then not be able to post it. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

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