Showing posts with label blog tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blog tips. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

#AtoZChallenge An Alphabet of Blog Tips

Guest Post from Susan Sanderson

Hi, A to Zers and other readers! I hope you will find something interesting and helpful in this alphabetical post of blogging tips.

Accessibility: It is worth taking time to fill in the ALT box for photos and images on your blog so that visually impaired readers can hear about them. Some people may also appreciate blogs with dark text on a plain light background rather than the reverse.

Image of Alt Text example

Blogger/Blogspot is a blogging platform from Google.

Comments are searchable on the internet. Be honest, but kind! It is often easier to comment on blogs when logged in to a related service. For Blogger, this is Google. For WordPress it is WordPress. Other blogging platforms are available!

Directions may be necessary if your blog is difficult to navigate.

Enthusiasm for your subject and for blogging will be apparent to your readers.

Formatting your posts makes them easier to read. A clear font, good text size with short paragraphs and space between them make a good impression.

Greeting your readers may draw them in and help them feel connected to your post.

Hop is part of blog hop. The A to Z Challenge is a blog hop. There are many other opportunities to hop from blog to blog leaving comments and generating interest in your blog.

Ideas may be found in the most unlikely places. Jot them down in a notebook or an app. If you are stuck for an idea your notes may help.

Journal: Many bloggers use their blog as an online diary or journal. Be careful how much personal information you share online.

Knitting and other crafts make interesting blog posts for other knitters and creative people. ‘How to’ posts are helpful. Search engines like them too!

Layout is similar to formatting. Photos or images may be aligned left, right or centrally. Their size may also be adjusted. A preview will show whether the text beside an image is in such short lines that it is irritating.

Music is a universal language. Is there music, which is relevant to your post? You may be able to choose whether to link to it or to embed it using HTML.

Numbers: Don’t be despondent if you don’t have many visitors to a new blog. It takes time to build up a following. Tell your friends. Share your posts on social media. Take part in blogging challenges. Visit other blogs and comment if you have time. The numbers will increase.

Originality is important. There may not be many new ideas, but your way of writing about them should be (and almost certainly is) unique.

Pictures should be your own. Failing that, there are sites where copyright-free pictures may be found. If you wish to use a picture belonging to someone else, always ask their permission and credit them 

Questions: A question at the end of a post is likely to prompt more comments than a post without a question.

Research is interesting. I have learned a huge amount as a blogger, which I would not have discovered otherwise. Research is important. Your readers expect to read reliable information.

Shortcut keys help save time. My favourite is Control +V to paste text into my blog. Control+Shift+V pastes it as plain text, which is useful if there are hyperlinks in the text, and if the text has a different font, size, or color.

Theme has two meanings for some A to Z bloggers. If your posts for the challenge are linked by their subject matter, that is your theme. You might let others know in a Theme Reveal post. (Signing up for the Theme reveal ahead of the main challenge is a good way of increasing the number of visits to your blog.) For WordPress bloggers there is a wide choice of ‘Themes’. These are the designs available for your blog. Blogger also gives some choice. (Did I mention other platforms are available?)

Understanding of other cultures is something the A to Z Challenge facilitates. Bloggers participate from many countries around the world.

Vexing Emojis: While the occasional emoji can dress-up a post, using long strings of them will be stressful for visitors using text-to-voice. Each emoji is read as a description, sometimes a long description. For example, ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพ is read as "Man: Medium-Dark Skin Tone emoji," which is fine once, but is annoying to hear twelve times in a row.

(V Contribution from J.)

WordPress is not the only blogging platform, but it is the one I use most. It allows bloggers to ‘like’ posts and comments and to rate posts with up to 5 stars, if this feature is enabled by the blogger.

Xenophilia is the opposite of xenophobia. People from foreign countries should be welcome to read our words. We can visit their blogs too.

Yourself: Your readers will notice the difference between a post consisting of information and one, which has something of your personality about it. The tag ‘Personal’ is popular as most people are interested in people.

Zebra is perhaps an unlikely choice for Z. ‘What has that to do with blogging?’ I hear you ask. The theme I chose for my main blog has a Zebra in the heading picture 

image of blogger labels

Twenty six hints are too few to include everything. An important omission is the use of categories and tags (Wordpress) or labels (Blogger). These help people find your blog posts. 

What else have I missed? Please add you own hints in the comments.

Writer bio: Susan always wanted to be a writer.  In 2012 she revived her interest in writing with a project to collect the kinds of sayings, which were much used in her childhood.

Blogging was intended as a way of improving writing skills, but has become an interest in its own right.  Susan experiments with factual writing, fiction, humour and poetry.  She does not yet have a book to her name. Her interests include words, languages, music, knitting and crochet.  She has experience of the world of work, being a stay-at-home mum and an empty-nester.   She is active in her local community and Church, where she sings alto in the choir. She is a member of the Association of Chritian Writers. She and her husband live in the north of England. 

Follow her on Twitter @suesconsideredt

Monday, February 29, 2016

#atozchallenge Blog Check Up in 7 Steps

       Here's some good words of advice from one of Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassadors team.  

Blog Check Up in 7 Steps
Guest post by J Lenni Dorner
The April A to Z Challenge is fast approaching. Time to do a Blog Check Up! I've encountered many blogs that need a few minutes of tender loving care. Here's a seven-step checklist to help you:
Step 1- Using a computer (not a phone or tablet), surf to your webpage. Not your admin area, but the page that the public sees. Do you like the way it looks? If not, note what you want to change. Use the A to Z list to surf to three other blogs (any random three), then surf back to your own. Do you still like how it looks? (This is a color test.)
Step 2- Click on your links. Does your Twitter icon go to your Twitter page? (As opposed to going to "" If you think I made that example up, you haven't clicked on as many Twitter icons as I have. I found that error 42 times last year.) Check your Facebook link, Pinterest link, Instagram link, etc.
Step 3- Even though I just discussed clicking your links, I'm going to make this a step onto itself. Check your Goodreads icon. (Skip this step if you don't use Goodreads.) People come to your blog to connect with YOU. If you have a Goodreads icon and it goes to instead of to your Goodreads profile, that isn't helping you or your blog. (Unless, perhaps, you're getting paid for that click.)

I see many people making this mistake. Go to and click on Widgets. There you will find pre-written code that will link your guests to you. It gives you various options to suit your needs.
Step 4- Can your blog be followed? You just joined a massive blog hop. A majority of bloggers who make this commitment do so because they want to be found, heard, and followed. The marketing blogs will tell you to create an email list for your blog army. That's certainly good advice.

I'm going to toss in that you should offer at least one other method. Why? Because some people will visit over 300 blogs in April. They do not necessarily want 300 new emails a day, a week, or a month. However, those same people might follow your blog with services such as:
·         BlogLovin'
·         LinkyFollowers
·         Networked Blogs (limit of 200 blogs that a person can follow, requires Facebook)
·         Google Friend Connect (only on Blogger, possibly being phased out)
·         Wordpress Reader (only those with a Wordpress account can use)
·         RSS feeds (several options for those people who use that service, but must be set up correctly)
Step 5- Site rating. Look over your blog posts. If you have adult material, you need to note this up front. Most importantly, you NEED to have an AC label on your link at the challenge sign up page OR YOU WILL BE REMOVED.

What is adult content?
·         Excessive Violence — If your blog reads like a how-to guide for Hannibal Lecter, you have excessive violence. If you've written the A to Z guide of how to beat up anyone, make bombs, and kill without detection, you have excessive violence.
·         Nudity for sexual purposes — If you write erotica, you have adult content. This gets tricky with art blogs. If you fall into a gray area, ask the challenge hosts for a ruling before April.
·         Strong and frequent harsh language — If the F word is being used as a verb, or it is used more than three times in a blog post, that is considered adult content. If your every blog post drops at least three curse words, that is adult content.
Adult Content blogs are not written for children. The purpose of the rating is to protect the young and those sensitive to such topics. Those people are not the core audience for such blogs, would not follow such blogs, and possibly present legal trouble if they land on adult blogs. The hosts and their volunteer teams take on the responsibility of keeping the challenge safe and legal for everyone. Please be respectful of this.
Step 6- Check your site on a mobile version (smartphone, some tablets). Can people still access your social media? (If that's important to you.) Do you like the look of your blog?
Step 7- Is your blog a blog? There's always someone trying to get their "click to buy sunglasses" site in the linky. Guess what? They get removed. The difference between a selling website and a blog that has some items for sale is all about content. There must be actual posts with actual content that people want to enjoy.

There are plenty of good people who are willing to help you get your blog ready for the challenge. This is the time and place to ask.

J Lenni Dorner is a speculative fiction and reference guide author who blogs at:
This is the fifth year that J is taking place in the A to Z Challenge, and the second year serving on Arlee's team. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for efficiency in the A - Z

Working the A - Z requires a certain amount of effort and efficiency for all bloggers involved. Here are some tips for making your A - Z journey a little bit more efficient.

1. Keep up by posting the letter of the day. Getting behind in your posting can be frustrating, and it’s very time consuming to catch up again. Luckily, we have Sunday off to catch up, or take a breather and simply catch our breath.

2. Blog hop by visiting those who visit you. In the interest of efficiency, click on links from their comments too, rather than navigating back to the main list all the time.

3. Choose a section of the list and visit those blogs. Make it a manageable number, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

4. Visit your new followers to build your own community and network efficiently.

5. Pre-schedule your posts for a couple of days or the week, leaving you more time to blog hop and get to know more bloggers.

These are only a few ideas about how to be more efficient in the A - Z Challenge. We want to know your tips and tricks for being efficient in this electrifying annual blogorific event. Please share them in the comments. Thank you.

Here’s to all you wonderful A - Zers out there! We hope you’re having a wonderful time, getting lots of exciting comments and meeting a ton of energetic bloggers out there!

M. J.

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