Letting Life Lead
I’ve done things very differently with this blog this time around, and the results (while modest) are keeping me quite busy with answering comments, visiting blogs I follow, posts, and a lot of virtual paperwork. I thought I would share the top ten things I’ve done this time around.
1. Screw, “You can’t do that.” There are just so many rules that make no sense and hinder innovation and progress. This isn’t like driving a car on the highway where you might kill someone if you don’t obey traffic laws. If you have an idea, just do it. It might not pan out, or it might surprise you. If you do nothing, you get nothing as they say! I am so tired of the cant’s! “You can’t have your babies at home, ” “you can’t teach a baby to use the toilet,” “you can’t skip purees,” “you can’t let your five year old use a knife.” Blog the way you want!
2. I suggest using pictures on every post (even if they are the royalty free ones, or you use only a certain one for certain subjects) this is essential if you want to build a presence on Pinterest which is a glorified bookmark of pictures. People love visuals and will be drawn to a picture of interest if they are scrolling in a sea of text, so pictures are useful even if you don’t use them all the time.
3. Learn how to use hashtags. Pinterest is a hashtag paradise. There are no limits, but if you use none hardly anyone will find you. I saw zero clicks on Pinterest until I started adding key hashtags such as: #cooking #crafts #twilightsparkle. This also applies to Twitter, but you need to limit it to one or two; choose thoughtfully. Facebook isn’t so much in love with the hahtag though one or two wouldn’t hurt. Facebook’s power, in my opinion, lies in @ing people and popular pages and sharing in groups. I shared one article the other day that was topic specific to a very large group I’ve been a member of for years and my views tripled in a couple of hours (keep in mind my views tend to cap at 100 at the moment). You can put a few hashtags in your blog, but google+ adds them automatically when you post to your page (make sure you know if you have #Wordpress auto-posts set to public not private).
4. Don’t let your social fingers idle too long. Join as many outliers as you can: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube etc. At first it is going to be overwhelming, then it will just give you a headache, eventually (I hope) they will all sing together. For the moment, my hub is WordPress — all my posts are set to automatically post to T, F, P, G+. Any of the few videos I make an post I have YouTube automatically linked to Google+. Twitter I reserve for tweeting things I don’t necessarily want to reblog, and Facebook for sharing things that don’t fit well with Twitter but I don’t necessarily want on my blog. Pinterest also holds appropriate blog posts I’ve done, as well as things I want to save for later viewing. I have not yet found a good use for Google+ now that I have finally got it working properly! I have set up an account with Bloglovin but at the moment it seems to cater to very big, popular blogs. However, I think it is better to have it waiting in the wings rather than trying to scramble to catch up later. I made the mistake with my Youtube (which is a very old account) of not organizing the videos I found that I wanted to share.
5. Don’t be afraid to like and follow. It may seem like a good idea to be selective and keep things small if you are only going to be reading and aren’t interested traffic, but if you want people to read your blog you need to be seen. The Blogiverse grows ever bigger day by day. Your blog is a grain of rice in a great salt desert. You want to be seen? Be the social primate that you are! Say hi, check out blog subjects out of your favorite zone, comment on other blogs, click like, share generously, and do everything you can do so that people can see you out there. It is going to be hard at first sorting it all out, but each day gets a little easier when you find a method that works with you.
6. Be consistent in how often you post. In my observation, as long as you aren’t spamming with ten posts in a row, people don’t mind multiple posts in a day. If you want to be seen in most blog readers like WordPress often throughout the day, you need to stagger multi-posts. Use the Schedule Posts feature. If you post less often choose how often, though it should be more than once a month at first — shoot for once a week or every two weeks (if you have a high number of followers and email subscribers you can get away with posting less often later). I’ve made the inconsistent mistake with two blogs that didn’t have an established base! If I can’t get a lot out there, I now try to shoot for a 6:00AM post and/or a 6:00PM post. Those are just times that I can remember so that a post is waiting for readers when they get up or come home from work.
7. Even if your blog is “on subject” it pays to vary posts every so often with a feature or special message. It will broaden the pool of people you are drawing readership from and allow you to diversify tags so you can be seen by more people. With my single subject blog I was afraid of offending people by replying with my blog link on totally unrelated posts I was interested in. Really silly, I know. Can we blame it on the pregnancy hormones?
8. Join-in on some sort of blog participation posts. It can be a link party, photo challenge, writing challenge, weekly prompts, round of humor, or legitimate theft (writer’s who steal the first line of a previous writer’s story in the chain and write their own with a link back). Lindaghill does a one-liner Wednesday that I enjoy. There is a something out there for everyone!
9. About pages and Guest posts and re-blogging and spotlights. Blog readers like to visit about pages even just to leave a quick note of thanks. You can make up a completely anonymous persona, but do make sure your “about” and “bio” are filled in on all of your social sites and linked back to your hub. When you invite someone to post on your blog, their readers become your readers for a time (maybe permanently) and vice versa. That is also one less blog you have to write yourself and it can even be on a subject you can’t write yourself but your readers might be very interested in. If you have old blogs or written things elsewhere, bring them to the surface now and then or do link backs because generally people don’t dig too far in the archives. Smitten Kitchen does this quite cleverly with posts that are years old linked on current posts.
10. Find a blog with a large following that invites sharing at a virtual round table and absorb some of their readership. Harsh Reality does this to great effect. Not only amassing huge comment tallys buy new and old readers, but more link-backs and shares of a single post that does nothing but invite people to pimp their blogs and connect with each other. Don’t worry about “stealing” readers away from anyone. There are millions and millions of people online and they all read more than one thing! Blog readers are like love; it only grows the more it is shared.
I hope you found some new ideas to keep you going. I am sure I will be learning a whole lot more as I get back into all of the things I missed in five years of distracting babies. Currently on my list is to sort out how to use Twitter better, but it has been a slow process. When I first sighed up there wasn’t half the amount of clutter and clatter on it!
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
...and devoted cat enthusiast.