Showing posts with label blogging basics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging basics. Show all posts

Thursday, March 6, 2014

If you like #blogging , join the #AtoZchallenge and #AZchat !

 Today, we have Jemima Pett from #TeamDamyanti tells us about how to make the most of the A to Z Challenge.
So, you’re still wondering whether you can do the A to Z Challenge.  What on earth are you going to write about?  Will anybody read it?

Yes, loads of people will read it.  We pick out interesting-sounding names on the list, or work through the numbers, hoping to find things they wouldn’t normally read.  I find amazing crafts, weird games and fascinating journeys. 

In 2012 I was fairly new to blogging. I stepped right into the Challenge and loved it. So A to Z challenge is a great way to jump-start your blog if you're new to the blogging world.
I’d not long published my first two books and I thought an A to Z of my books’ world would be great.  It was... for me and a handful of people who were up with my stories.  I realised this last year, when I visited people doing character interviews: if your visitors are new, they don’t know your stories, they don’t enjoy the wonderful extra information and insights you’re giving them.  Making an A to Z of my world was good for me, but not my visitors. 

I also did an A to Z of food on my guinea pigs’ blog, George’s Guinea Pig World.  This was more successful, once visitors had got over the shock of having my guinea pig Victor talking to them.  Food is a universal subject. Victor made lots of friends, too, and I think he enjoyed it. Try to choose topics that will have an appeal wider than your niche. If you have a theme, sign up for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.
In 2013, I participated with just one blog; I did all the posts in advance and gave myself time to tour round other people’s blogs.  If you have superfast broadband you won’t realise that some blogs can take ages to load for slower systems.  Getting round 20 blogs could easily take me an hour and a half, without the time needed to leave comments and dealing with CAPTCHA.  That’s where I realised the value of keeping posts short, and also having identities on Blogger and WordPress so I was always logged in for comments. 

TURN CAPTCHA OFF. Go and check now on your blog if you have it on-- some bloggers have CAPTCHA and don't realize it. It turns off vistors like nothing else.
During the Challenge people like to visit, wave (i.e. comment or like) and move on.  In 2013 my short stories ranged from 50 words to 2000.  It’s good for regular posting but too much for the Challenge. Keep AZ posts short. Respond to comments you receive, and go and comment back. 

There will be two Challenge chats at #AZchat on Twitter today-- one at 1-3 PM hosted by AZ co-hots Pam Margolis and her team, and another at 8-9 PM, hosted by Guilie Castillo Oriard with support from #teamdamyanti, discussing Commenting during the A to Z Challenge. Join in!
This year, I’ll be blogging on a special theme, to be revealed for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.  I’ll also be revealing the cover of my new book, Bravo Victor, on April 2nd.  Come and check it out at and enter the Giveaway, too! If you have a book or any cause to promote, do it during the A to Z Challenge in order to get a good response.

Are you pre-scheduling your AZ posts? Do you have a theme? Are you already visiting other bloggers from the A to Z Challenge signup list?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blogging Basics: Guest Hosting

Last week we discussed guest posting, where you formulate a post to go up on someone else's blog.  This week, let's look at being the host and putting someone else's post up on your blog.

The five pointers last week were: 1. Choose a Relevant Host Blog, 2. Choose a Relevant Blog Topic, 3. Be Present/Visit the Commenters, 4. Link to Your Site, 5. Thank your Host.

Just as guest posting on another blog can expose you to new readers, hosting someone else can bring guests by your blog that have been led there by the promise of an interesting post from the other blogger.  Thus, you get introduced to their readers, and they see what you have to offer.

Some basic pointers for guest hosting.

1. Establish rules.  Be sure the guest poster knows what you expect from them, and any rules you may have that are applicable to your blog.  When do you want their post by?  Do you have specific formatting rules?  Do they need to watch their language?  Do you want a specific length?  How would you like it submitted (text, html)?  Think carefully about what you expect from them and make sure to make it clear from the beginning, for the benefit of both of you.  If you want a specific topic or theme covered, be clear on that, as well.

2. Introduce them.  Write a nice introduction about your guest poster.  Be sure to include links to their blog or website, and anything else you might want to link to (Facebook, Twitter, links to purchase their books, etc.).  Consider including their image or their most recent book cover.  Don't know what to say?  Think about how a talk show host might introduce them, or visit other blogs they have guested on.

3. Be on time.  If their guest post is supposed to go up on Monday, the 23rd, be sure you've got it formatted and posted on Monday, the 23rd.  Let your guest know when you will be posting it.  If you post at a specific time, let them know that, as well.  You want them to be able to cross-promote, so give them the tools to do so.

4. Be present.  This one sounds familiar, doesn't it?  Well, it applies here, too.  Even though you are playing host instead of poster, it's still good for you to be there to respond to comments and to visit the commenters. After all, they took the time to visit your blog, even if it was to read someone else's post.  Bear in mind that many of the comments will be from your readers, and you want to maintain that relationship and show your appreciation for their support of your guest poster.

5. Thank your guest.  Yep, another one that sounds familiar.  Your guest put a lot of work into writing a quality piece for your blog, as well as (hopefully) cross-promoting and bringing people over to visit you.  Thank them for their time and for their post.

Hosting a guest can be as beneficial as guesting on someone else's blog.  Also important is that you're forging a relationship with another blogger, so try to make it a positive interaction for both of you.

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blogging Basics: Guest Posting

Last week, we discussed the basics of blog hops and memes, and how to make connections with them.  This week, we'll discuss making connections by guest posting on other blogs.

The five pointers last week were: 1. Be Interested, 2. Participate, 3. Follow the Rules, 4. Visit Other Participants, and 5. Advertise the Hop/Meme.

Guest posts can expose you to new readers, as each blog already has its own readership.  Thus, this is a valuable way to meet other bloggers and possibly build your own readership (as well as bring your readers over to the host's blog, benefiting both of you.)

Some basic rules for guest posting are as follows:

1. Choose a relevant host blog.  You want to find a blog that will have a readership that might be interested in what you typically post about.  If you are a writer of romance novels, it behooves you to find a host blog that has something to do with romance, reading, writing, or other related topics.  You will likely not find the appropriate audience on a hardcore science blog or one that focuses on politics, for instance.

2. Choose a relevant blog topic.  You've chosen an appropriate blog, now be sure the post you write up is a topic that is relevant to both your blog and the host blog.  You don't want to trick their readers into coming over to your blog, just to discover your post has nothing to do with what they will find there.  Don't make an entire post that is just about self-promotion.  Your guest post should have valid information and be interesting.  Choose a topic and do it justice.

3. Be present and visit the commenters.  Know when your blog post will be going live on their blog, then be sure to show up.  Respond to comments and questions left in response to your blog.  Be a presence and show that you care what they think, and that you weren't just throwing a post out there.  And just as you should visit those who comment on your blog, you should visit those who visit your post on another blog.  Stop by, read what they have to say, and leave them a nice comment.  If you really can't think of anything to say, or are limited on time, at least thank them for stopping by.  Your friendly personality might win you more readers than the guest post itself.

4. Link them back to your site.  Always give readers a way to find you.  The best way to do this is to include a short bio at the end of the post, which should include important links, such as your website, your blog, etc.  You may just choose to include a list of contact points/links, or you may include a link to your blog or website somewhere within the body of the post.

5. Thank your host.  Be sure to show your appreciation to the host.  Thank them in your post, in the comments, with an email, whatever you feel comfortable with.  Let them know you appreciate that they were willing to share their space with you.  Think of it as them having invited their friends over to their house to listen to you talk.  Wasn't that nice of them?  Also, as an advance thank you, be sure to ask them what they want from your post and how to format it.  Giving them something they can easily cut and paste, and that they will be happy to share on their blog, is the best way to thank them.  The thank you at the end is well deserved frosting on the cake.

Always remember that the host is doing you a favor by sharing their space with you, and treat them accordingly.  Try to make this exchange as easy on them as possible by having a well written post that is relevant to their blog, and that is formatted nicely, easily, and to their specifications.  If you have questions, it's better to ask them, rather than leaving it up in the air whether you're doing what they need you to do.

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse

Special Announcement:   The special A to Z edition of Woven Tale Press is now available!   Be sure to check out Woven Tale Press.    Is one of your blog posts included?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blogging Basics: Formulating a Post

Last time, we discussed how to make hyperlink signatures in order to lead others directly to your blog and streamline the process of blog visiting. This week, we'll address the nitty gritty of putting together a post that will draw readers and keep them.

Our previous five pointers were: 1. Choose your link, 2. Choose your signature, 3. Make your hyperlink, 4. Add your signature, and 5. Post it following your comment.

When I talk about putting together/formulating a post, I know very well you all know how to write a post. However, there are things that can make it so people are more likely to stick around and read your entire post, rather than just skipping along after a quick glance. And why do we write blog posts? Ostensibly so someone will read them, right?

Before I hit the five pointers, I want to give you a disclaimer: Not every rule has to be followed. When I give out these Blogging Basics tips, I don't expect you to do everything to the letter of what I'm saying. All I'm doing is passing along things I have learned along the way, that may help you, and that you may or may not find meets with your personal preferences. Do I follow all the rules? Not necessarily...

Without further ado, the basics of formulating a post:

1. Choose a catchy title. Those of you who are also writers know this one already, but, surprisingly, it is often forgotten with blogging. Try to choose a quick, clever title that will catch the attention of those scanning through new posts to read. Make sure it is an honest title, though. Don't say the post is about one thing then switch it on the reader. They won't appreciate it.

2. Keep it brief. We're writing blog posts, not magazine articles, and attention spans online aren't as long as they may be elsewhere. There are always exceptions to this rule (I'm sure my posts are longer than the "standard"), but overall, try to keep it somewhat brief.

3. Provide quality content. On the flip side of the "keep it brief" pointer, don't make it so brief that you're not actually saying anything. Find the balance you're comfortable with and go from there. Don't post just to post. Post because you have something to say, something others want to read.

4. Use photos/images. This is especially true if your post is longer. Images break up the text and give the eye a rest. They may also draw the eye to the blog post, which benefits you. Do make sure it is an image you are allowed to use. Look for Creative Commons photos or use your own!

5. Make it yours. Add your own flair. Your personality will show through in what you're writing, and that may ultimately be what gains you readers. It's the other half of providing quality content. Content + personality makes for a winning combination. If you're writing about things that interest you, you'll find this happens on its own.

These are just a few pointers that may help you with writing a post people will enjoy reading, and one that will hopefully draw readers to that post. Feel free to share your own pointers in the comments. Tell us what draws you to a post and what drives you away.

What is your top pointer when it comes to writing a blog post people will want to read? What Blogging Basics topics would you like to see covered in this series?

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blogging Basics: Hyperlink Signature

Last week, we discussed the basics of blog hops and memes, and how to make connections with them.  This week, we'll discuss how to make a hyperlink signature to put on the comments you make on others' blogs, which will allow them to find your more easily.

The five pointers last week were: 1. Be Interested, 2. Participate, 3. Follow the Rules, 4. Visit Other Participants, and 5. Advertise the Hop/Meme.

When you comment on other people's blogs, you want them to be able to track you down to return the favor.  This can be tricky or time consuming sometimes, so the easier you make it for them to find you, the more likely you are to get a return visit.

Some people have multiple blogs, which makes it hard to know which one you need to visit.  Clicking on each blog to find half of them empty or not having been updated can be frustrating.  The same goes for trying to track down someone's blog when you get bounced all over the place.  When their profile connects with Google+, for instance, you often have to go to the "About" page to track down their blog, though if they update their daily posts there you can click through there instead.

In order to make it easier for people to track you down, follow this method of hyperlinking:

1. Choose your link.  Do you want them to go to your main page, a specific page or a specific post?

2. Choose your signature.  What do you want it to say?  Only a portion of it will be visible.  I'll give an example below.

3. Make your hyperlink.  This is what it looks like:

Notes: You will insert your own URL between the quotes ("http://yourwebsitehere") and your blog or destination in place of "The Warrior Muse" (>Your Website<)

4. Add your signature.  Note that the only things that will be visible after you post are where it says "Shannon at" and "The Warrior Muse."  Anything within the carrots (<,>) is invisible once you hit post.

Note: Make it say whatever you want.  My signature isn't gospel, just an example.  I will often change it for something specific, like a blogfest, so that it says something about the blogfest and directs them to the related post, rather than my overall blog.  (Ex. Shannon, visiting from the A-to-Z Challenge)

5. Post it following your comment!  That simple.

I've become accustomed to typing it out as I go along, but when I first started I used someone's example, made my own, then emailed it to myself so I could always copy it from my email and post it wherever I was commenting.  Figure out what works best for you, and go from there.  People will appreciate you providing them a hyperlink, and you'll appreciate them visiting you.

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blogging Basics: Making Bloggy Friends

As we near the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge, we'll be speaking increasingly on all topics A-to-Z.  In the meantime, though, let's focus on blogging overall.  Today, I thought I'd talk about how to make connections in the blogging world.

Blogging is a social medium, but people's reasons for engaging in the blog world differ.  Some are here to sell books or other products by creating a platform, some want to meet others and hang out, some are more interested in reading than sharing, and some just want someone to hear them.

For each reason to blog, there are dozens of types of blogs.  Parenting blogs, reading blogs, writing blogs, photography blogs, exercise blogs, history blogs, dream blogs, political blogs.  You name it, there is likely a blog for it.  This gives us the ability to visit all manner of blogs, and to invariably find something out there we want to read.

How do you reach out to all of these bloggers and get to know them, though?  How do you meet and forge relationships online?

This is easier than you may think, and really depends upon how much time you have.  Here's a quick rundown of how one might connect with other bloggers:

1. Visit blogs.  Pretty simple, right?  Hunt down blogs you're interested in.  Do a search on the topic you're looking for + "blog."  Head on over and check them out to see if you're interested in what they have to say.

2. Leave comments.  Once you've found a blog you're interested in, read their posts and leave a comment for them.  Make it a real comment, not just a passing "nice blog" type comment.  Address the topic they're discussing and/or ask a question about the topic.

3. Follow blogs.  If you like what they have to say, follow in the way you prefer.  Options include Google Friend Connect, RSS feed, follow by email, etc.  Choose the option you like best and follow it.

4. Have something to say.  It won't matter what you're doing on other people's blogs if you're not talking on your own.  Know what you want to blog about, then do so.  Be yourself, use your own voice, and talk about something that interests you...and that you feel will interest other people.

5. Respond to comments on your own blog and visit back.  When someone happens along and likes what you have to say enough to leave a comment on your blog, be sure to reply in some way.  You can comment back in the comments, reply back to each individual comment (on blogs that allow that), email a response to those who have allowed that possibility, or respond to them on their own blog.  No matter which response you choose, you should also try to visit them back at their blog to return the favor and see what they have to say.

There are many other ways to get to know other bloggers, but these are the basics that will get you started.  After that, you can explore other ways to make connections, such as blog hops/fests, memes, guest posting, guest hosting, interviews, etc.  Most important is that you find out what works best for you and go from there.

May you find your Muse.

The Warrior Muse