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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Blog: Seventeen Tips from Elizabeth S. Craig

Today we’re lucky enough to have a guest blogpost from social media guru and mystery writer, Elizabeth S. Craig, who writes the Memphis-set Riley Adams mysteries. Elizabeth’s blog has been voted one of the Writer’s Digest’s Top 101 Sites for Writers for two years in a row, so she knows what she’s talking about.

So here we’ve got seventeen (count them: 17!) great tips for making your blog successful. You’ll notice that, ahem, I’ve now added #2—a posting schedule--to my own blog here. I agree with pretty much all of these, especially #3: PLEASE have a follow button, or visitors will never find you again, and #6: a white font on a black background is going to drive away about half your traffic before they finish reading your post.

17 Tips for a Great Writing Blog—by Elizabeth S. Craig     

Starting a blog can feel overwhelming.  The internet is brimming with writing blogs—how can you find readers when everyone has their own blog?  Or, if you already have a blog, you might wonder how to get more readers or broaden your platform.

I currently follow more than 2,000 blogs, and I’ve found that some blogs are definitely easier to follow and visit than others.  Here are seventeen tips for your writing blog—for either setting it up for the first time or to use as a checklist for your already-established blog. 

Important elements for your blog:

1) Bio:  Your bio is one of the most important things on your site.  Blogs are all about developing online relationships and readers like to know a little about you, first.  What do you write?  What’s your name (or your pen name)?  It’s also nice to have a picture with your bio. If you’re shy about having your picture online, you could substitute a book cover or avatar that fits the image you want to convey.  Fiction Groupie and 99% both have nice posts on writing your bio.

2) Your posting schedule:  If you don’t post every day (and you don’t have to), consider putting your posting schedule in your sidebar.  For readers who don’t use an automatically updating Google Reader, this will let them know when to expect a new post from you.

3) A way to belong:  People like to feel like they belong to a group. You could either add a Networked Blogs widget or the Google Follower widget for your blog readers to click on and join your blog as an official follower.

4) How to contact you: Post an email address.  There have been many times when I’ve wanted to contact a blogger and couldn’t find an email address anywhere…and Twitter isn’t great for sending longer messages.  You can always type your email address in your sidebar as _________ (at)____(dot)com so the bots won’t grab your email address and spam you.

5) A sales pitch—Have a book out?  Make sure to have your book cover hyperlinked to a bookstore for sales.

6) An easy design for reading: I wince when I come across a black background blog with white lettering.  Although it doesn’t bother everyone, it definitely bothers enough potential readers for bloggers to avoid that design scheme.  A light-colored background with black letters is easy for most people to read.

7) A way to subscribe to your updates—Make sure that your blog has a way for people to easily receive your updates (without having to check your blog several times a day to see if there’s a new post.)  Some readers still prefer receiving posts by email, so make sure that option is available.  Feature an RSS feed button prominently in your sidebar with the word subscribe underneath. RSS is basically just an easy way for someone to add you to their blog reader in just a couple of clicks. (Blogger now has a “subscribe by e-mail” widget, too--ed.)

8) Connect to Facebook or Twitter: If you’re already on Facebook or Twitter, add buttons to your sidebar to increase interaction with your blog readers.

9) Share buttons: Make it easy to share your posts.  With a share button under each post, your blog readers can quickly share your article with friends via different social media apps.

10) Blogroll:  It’s a great idea to have a blogroll in your sidebar featuring the blogs of both readers who’ve visited your blog, and blogs that you enjoy reading. Not only is this a great way to direct traffic to your blogging friends’ sites (and possibly get them to return the favor by listing your blog in their blogroll), but it’s also helpful to writers who are looking for other writing blogs to follow.

Tips for getting blog readers:

1) Visit blogs—The most important thing you can do to attract readers to your blog is to read others’ blogs.  When you leave thoughtful comments on other writers’ blogs, they’ll be encouraged to visit yours, too.  After a while, you may end up with many blogs that you visit in a day. Google Reader is a great, free tool to help you know when your friends’ blogs have updated, and to organize those blogs. I love reading writing blogs. If I had my way, I wouldn’t do any work and I’d just read blogs. Obviously, this isn’t a good way to get books written. So I organize blog subscriptions into days of the week and then read those blogs those days. This way I can be sure to read everyone at least some of the time and still get some work done. :)

2) Have consistent posting: Being consistent in your posting can really help bring visitors to your site.  Don’t launch your new blog until you have a backlog of posts and an idea journal for future posts.  Although it’s best to have an emergency supply of posts before you start your blog, it’s easy to do a marathon blog-writing session and build up a backlog of posts at any time.

3) Guest post—be a host and a guest: Hosting a guest on your blog not only provides you with fresh content, it also brings your guest’s readers to your site. And being a guest on others’ blogs is another great way to find new readers.

4) Respond to comments:  Don’t make your commenters feel like their comments are going into a black hole—keep the comments section a place for conversation. Sometimes the comment section can actually be more interesting than the post itself.

5) Keep your posts short. Or, make them easier to skim by offering bulleted points.  None of us have as much time as we’d like.

6) Use post titles that describe the post’s content. You’ll have much better results if you list your specific topic du jour instead of writing titles that are too clever for the search engines to drive traffic your way.

7) Have good content. At the end of the day, providing interesting content is the best way to find and keep readers. What should you write about on your writing blog? Some writers focus only on craft, some touch a lot on writing motivation and fitting writing into their day.  Some focus on writing process and challenges.  Some focus on writing-related topics some days and different areas of interest for others—I’ve seen Wordless Wednesday memes where the blogger posts an interesting picture each Wednesday. 
One thing that does seem to work out best is writing about topics that most writers can relate to—keeping it universal instead of focusing only on your individual story.  Everybody gets stuck from time to time, trying to think of topics.  There are a few posts I’ve found very helpful when I’ve brainstormed new post ideas:  this one from The Abundance Blog, this one from Copyblogger, and this one from the Traffic Generation Café.

If you’re looking for a straight-shooting run-down of dos and don’ts for the new blogger, you can’t go wrong with Anne’s tips on her post, 7 Dos and 7 Don’ts for New Bloggers. (aw shucks--ed.)

Have any blog tips that I’ve missed?  What do you like to see when you visit a blog?  And—thanks so much to Anne for hosting me today!  I appreciate it.

Bio:  Elizabeth’s latest book, Finger Lickin’ Dead , released June 7th.  Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.

Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers

Twitter: @elizabethscraig

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent tips, Elizabeth! I don't have my posting schedule up, but everything else is covered. And I visit as many blogs as possible in a day!

June 12, 2011 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Anne! I'm excited about being here.

Alex--You do a fantastic job on your blog. And you're very supportive of other writers! We appreciate it. :)

June 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Margot Kinberg said...

Anne - Thanks for hosting Elizabeth.

Elizabeth - Thanks for those excellent ideas! I think that a professional blog that's visually appealing, interesting, readable and easy to use is essential for today's writer.

I would only add: Check all of your blog pages, posts, and especially links for accuracy and make sure they're all "live."

June 12, 2011 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Margot--That's an excellent point. To make it easier, there are 3rd party applications that will check your blog for dead links. :)

June 12, 2011 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

In a word? Invaluable!


Thank you, Elizabeth, for laying out the nitty-gritty--and thank you, Anne, for always providing such essential info!

June 12, 2011 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Ruth--Thanks! Hope it helps. :)

June 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous mark williams international said...

Thanks Elizabeth and Anne both.

I'm intrigued by the point about titles being relevant to content for search engines.

Being a writer it just seems so natural to have a title aimed at the reader rather then the search engine. Kinda hoping the tags, etc, would do that job.

I think the responding to comments is especially important. I've given up on several otherwise interesting blogs because there is simply no interaction afterwards. There's no community spirit.

The aftercare service is part of the blogging experience.

June 12, 2011 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous A. C. Ellis said...

Great post. Lots of fantastic tips here.

June 12, 2011 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Excellent tips, Elizabeth, especially the one about content. Your posts and tweets are always informative, which is a huge plus.

June 12, 2011 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Mark--I totally understand what you mean about the titles, and I will say that, in some cases, it does help to pull readers in. I think that interesting/clever titles on Facebook run really well and they *can* run well on Google Reader, as long as the blogger doesn't have the truncated view of the RSS feed running. If the full post runs for the blogger's RSS feed, then the reader can skim it quickly if they're not sure what the title is hinting at.

I hate that search engine optimization has to come into play, but you will get more *random* traffic to your post (and for years down the road), if the titles reflect the content and includes keywords that readers might use to find your post on Google. Post titles are also important for Twitter--where potential readers usually want to know what they're going to get when they click over.

It's a lot more interesting to know that your comments aren't being made into some sort of void...that there's interaction going on between the host and the commenters. It's the life source of the blog.

A. C. Ellis--Thanks for coming by!

Julie--Thanks so much! Yours are, too. :)

June 12, 2011 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Stina Lindenblatt said...

You've done a great job covering the ABC's of blogging. The more ways you provide for your blogger to follow you the better. It makes things easier for everyone.

June 12, 2011 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger KarenG said...

I've got to get my blogroll back. I took it out as an attempt to streamline my blog but I miss it!

June 12, 2011 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

Elizabeth, I think you've covered blogging very well. I want to mention that titles pull ME in. I think there's something to that.

Anne, thanks for hosting.

June 12, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Stina--It sure does. And that's a lesson I've learned the hard way. Someone fussed at me about a month ago for not having an email delivery option for my blog. I added it right away (I'd just assumed no one was interested in reading blogs that way anymore...shows what I know!)

Karen--I love blogrolls. When I find a new blog to follow, I find the blogger's blogroll, click through it, and add all *those* blogs to my (admittedly bloated) Reader. :) If you're worried about loading time, you can make sure your blog is mobile-compatible...even Blogger is offering that feature now and it takes about 1 second to install.

Teresa--Y'all are absolutely right. I think the titles do make our readers click off their Readers to see what we're posting on. But a clear title makes a longer-lasting impact on a search engine. So....I'm thinking we could compromise. Maybe a clever title introduction on Facebook and a standard title for Twitter?

June 12, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Donna OShaughnessy said...

WOW. So impressive and well organized. On top of that, clear enough for this 50 something baby boomer to understand AND initiate. I have also found the occasional contest related to my audience (and the farm we own) has been very helpful in getting comments and followers.

Many thanks to you both !

June 12, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger E. Arroyo said...

Excellent post!

June 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Lari said...

Thank you so much for this post! I am taking it to heart. I also really appreciate the links at the end as they are going to help me out greatly with my new writing blog. :D

June 12, 2011 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Donna--Good point about contests. Blogfests are also really nice--when everyone posts on the same topic and everybody who signs up to participate visits all the participants' blogs. :)

E. Arroyo--Thanks so much. :)

Lari--Best wishes with your new blog!

June 13, 2011 at 3:26 AM  
Anonymous Laura Pauling said...

Great tips!

June 13, 2011 at 5:06 AM  
Blogger Liz Fichera said...

Excellent tips!

June 13, 2011 at 7:09 AM  
OpenID dianehenders said...

Thank you for this!

The posting schedule was an excellent suggestion. I'm a geek, so it never occurred to me that some readers might not use RSS feeds or an email subscription.

June 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth said...

Thanks for the tips! I've added the subscription and follow-by-email buttons, and I'm considering the posting schedule too, especially since I'm changing mine as of today.

June 13, 2011 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Laura--Thanks, and thanks for coming by. :)

Diane--It's really amazing the number that don't and just pop by to see if you've written something. :) It's also helpful to potential guest bloggers who need to know what days you usually run posts.

Elisabeth--Glad the post helped out! :)

June 13, 2011 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks to everybody who's commenting and to Elizabeth--thanks again for this great post! You've brought me a whole lot of new followers, some of whom are commenting on older posts, too.:-)

To throw in my two cents about the titles--I used to write fun titles for myself and readers, but I discovered if my title suggests the post is informative or asks a question, it's much more likely to be retweeted. Twitter is the source of most of my traffic, so this has made a huge difference in my readership.

Like a lot of other things in social media, this is something I learned from observing the pros--like Elizabeth.

And re: posted schedules. If you're like Elizabeth and me, you read 1000s of blogs a week. No way do we want our inboxes overflowing with blogposts. And RSS doesn't include graphics, which can be essential to the meaning of the text.

June 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's a great checklist.

June 13, 2011 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

Thanks Anne for having Elizabeth guest post, and Elizabeth for such a great post! There were quite a few points I needed pointed out to me for my blog (although I probably won't change the design, I get a lot of good comments about the picture of Paris... then again maybe I should hmm...). Overall it's a great post and I really appreciate it! Happy Monday!

June 13, 2011 at 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Elizabeth. Just to let you know, I am a frequent visitor of Anne's blog and I have had "comment" issues. I am Ramblingsfromtheleft, Florence Fois, but I must add my comment as Anon so it goes through.

I love this post and wanted to tell you I visit your blog frequently and love reading your tweets.

How do you manage to tweet so many times a day, keep up with your very detailed and informative blog, write and have time to sleep??

The question is ... is there a service you use to post tweets during the day while you are busy elsewhere?

No matter, love this post and I will continue to follow you on twitter and read your blog posts :)

June 13, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Anne--I've loved being here! Thanks so much for hosting me. :)

I still sometimes will write a clever title for a post, but when I'm tweeting it, I change it. Otherwise, I've noticed I don't receive as much traffic.

I love my Reader for skimming blogs--my email inbox is already a disaster and couldn't take any additional emails! Got to spring clean that thing...

Diane--Thanks so much!

Allison--It's always hard to make a change on a blog, isn't it? I know mine is the same as it was at its inception (and very bland in design! I always have web designers contacting me...) :)

Hi Florence! Just as a quick side note, there is a known issue with Blogger right now...when you're trying to sign in to your Blogger account, don't check the "stay signed in" button. It should help with your issue. Good luck!

It's true that I don't sleep particularly well! :) And I get up super-early and get writing or social media done. But I live by my timer. There is a free Countdown Timer you can open on your browser. When 15 minutes is up, I close the windows and work on other things (whether that's housework, writing, cooking supper, etc.)

Yes, actually there is! It's called SocialOomph and it's free (or at least, I use the free version. As with most apps, you can upgrade to something that is a subscription, but I haven't.) With SocialOomph I can schedule my tweets and reach more people in other time zones--and not have to be on Twitter all day long, which would really suck up my time!

Thanks so much for following me. :)

June 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

These are all great tips! Thank you to Anne and Elizabeth both. I was surprised when I read that my average posts are 1300 words - a little on the long side. I think the author interviews I do are responsible for most of it, but I do find that I prefer reading shorter posts on other blogs (unless they are really super awesome, in which case they can hold my attention for more than 1300 words+!)

By the way, I haven't figured out how Google Friend Connect TELLS me when the people I follow update their blogs. I use Google Reader for that, but are they integrated? I know I should know this by now!

June 13, 2011 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for these great tips, Elizabeth. I don't have my blog schedule up, but I think its time I did that. I try to keep my post to 500 words. And I hate just talking about myself.....I prefer discussing characters, books, stories, marketing, plot and everything related to writing.

June 14, 2011 at 2:55 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Meghan--I think that's fine as long as there are lots of paragraph breaks, bulleted points, bold print...that sort of thing. My post here is long, so I tried to incorporate some of those elements to break up the text. On my blog, I average about 700 words daily. I've found my traffic is better on days with fewer words.

My understanding of Friend Connect is that it's primarily a way to connect socially with visitors on your site--for dialogue on your content, etc, and less for blog reading (although it seems like that should be a plug in, but I didn't see it listed!)

Rachna--Sounds like you've got a great blog! I prefer to avoid anything too personal, too, although I'll sometimes use my children for illustration when making a point about writing (I'm sure they love that. :) Especially the teenager! But I keep them anonymous and never post pictures of them.)

June 14, 2011 at 4:37 AM  
Anonymous p.m.terrell said...

Elizabeth, those are great suggestions. You have inspired me to revamp my own blogspot and to grow the number of followers. I am so impressed with all that you've accomplished. You are an amazing lady! Thank you, Anne, for having Elizabeth as a guest blogger!

June 14, 2011 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent tips. Thanks.

June 14, 2011 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Julianne said...

Question about your tips. I read something recently that said that outbound links and links in blog rolls on the sidebars actually drop your search engine ranking, so what's your take? The article is here:

Just wondered what you might think of it.

June 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Julianne-I just read that link. I've never heard that Follower widgets and blogrolls reduce your SE rating. What a pain!

I've never much paid attention to the SEO rules, because I get most of my traffic from word of mouth and Twitter. But now I understand why most monetized blogs don't have follower widgets. But then, I usually stay away from monetized blogs.

I took down my blogroll because it was getting cumbersome and I wanted to clean up my look, but I was thinking of putting it back. Now, I'm not so sure...

I'll be interested to see what Elizabeth says.

I really agree with Stina that I want to make following me easy for everybody and a follower widget is one way to do that. I guess I'm more interested in loyal fans than the occasional visit from a Googler.

June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM  
OpenID ninabadzin.com said...

Anne's blog fits the bill and I modeled mine after hers (a little, at least) so I hope mine does too!

Elizabeth--great post. I always enjoy your tweets and your generous nature in helping us all find great content! thanks!

June 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--thanks. There is one thing Elizabeth hasn't mentioned that you and I have talked about--and that's the Big Bad Word Verification Monster.

It keeps away a lot of commenters, but it doesn't prevent most spam--just spam-bots.

Right now a lot of Blogger users, including me, are under a spam attack, but even though the spam emails come to my inbox, Blogger's spam guard is doing a great job of keeping them off the blog.

And therein may lie the OTHER problem--the one that Florence and others have spoken of. I think Blogger may have a new, over-zealous spamblocker. That's why you have to sign out of whatever blog host you're in so you can comment on a Blogger blog.

Which I agree is way more annoying than a word verification, but why have both problems if you don't need to?

This new blog attack/overzealous spamguard may explain why non-US blog readers are often getting shut out. The recent blog/spam attack seems to be coming from abroad.

But that word verification thingy--does nothing to prevent this type of spam. And it does annoy possible commenters.

June 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger irishoma said...

Thanks for the helpful tips.
Donna V.

June 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

p.m.terrell--Thanks so much for coming by, Trish!


Julianne--I'm a little ambivalent about it. It's true that Google can (incorrectly) labels some blogs as spam blogs (we've all seen those...with stolen content and links to pharmaceutical sites, etc.). But you can appeal it if your blog is blacklisted. It's true that Google's Follwer widget won't drive traffic to your site, but Networked Blogs (which is a reader for the Facebook crowd) can definitely do it. For me, the blogroll and widgets build a sense of community that's worth the risk...but boy, will I be mad if Google blacklists me for it!

Anne--You could always add a page to your Blogger blog for a blogroll and one for followers...might help with the loading time issue for readers who have a slow connection. My gut tells me I'd rather develop friendships than hits...although I keep an eye on SEO, too.

ninabadzin.com --Anne's got a great blog--it sounds like you do, too! And...thank you. :)

Anne--Such a good point! I forgot to mention word verification. You're so right--it only keeps out genuine commenters (because it's annoying/slow) and not the bots. Blogger does a pretty good job of eliminating spam anyway...I clean out my spam filter on my blog and I'm amazed at what's in there.

irishoma--You're very welcome! :)

June 14, 2011 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Veronika Walker said...

All good points, Elizabeth.

I'm currently working on my backlog of posts. As my current non-updated blog demonstrates, sometimes I hit a brick wall in my creativity...or real life gets in the way - hard. SO...to prevent this in the future, I'm trying to stock up on posts and shift my focus to my writing genre and editing consultation business. It certainly helps to know what you're going to write about in advance!

Thanks for the guest post, Anne, as always!

June 15, 2011 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Good idea about a blogroll on a separate page. I might do that.

I do think that community and friendliness is more important to a writer's blog than SEO stuff. You can't sell books the same way you sell vegematics.

Word Verification people: did you see? Elizabeth agrees with me on those. They do little good and keep away comments. Turn it off through "settings." You may not even know you have it, because occasionally Blogger turns it back on.

June 15, 2011 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger amy kennedy said...

So timely! I'm re-working my blog as we speak (figuratively).

June 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Anne--It's all about community, isn't it?

I've never used word verification and have probably only seen spam make it into my comments 3-4 times in the past couple of years. :)

Amy--Good luck with it!

June 15, 2011 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger Heather Kelly said...

Great tips! I am trying to handle reaching more of the blogs I follow by Google Reader--I still haven't figured it out. Otherwise, I just forget to visit some awesome blogs!!

June 16, 2011 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger PW.Creighton said...

Excellent tips Elizabeth! Although I am guilty of using a light color text over a darker scheme ~ a lot of emphasis on style ~ I try to keep to all of your suggestions. It's just good practice.

June 16, 2011 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Heather--I find Google reader cumbersome. I prefer my Dashboard, but you're right--then we miss out on a lot of blogs.

PW--you've got some great images on your blog, but it sure would be easer to read with less white on black.

All readers--I have another major pet peeve we haven't mentioned HAVE A COMMENT BUTTON we can find!!! I just spent a good five minutes trying to find the comment button on a blog and finally had to send the blogger an email. WTF? Somebody else had commented, so I know it's possible, but after clicking on every possible spot on the blog, I never found it. The comment button belongs at the bottom of the post. If you blog platform doesn't allow this: make a big announcement and direct people to the secret button. Why have a blog and make it impossible for people to comment???!!

June 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Ellis Vidler said...

Great post, Elizabeth. I changed some things when I read Anne's 7 points earlier and now I've added more.

I'm so glad you mentioned responding to comments. I've had a few guest bloggers who never answered anything. I tried to respond to the comments but it's not the same since I didn't write the article.

Thanks to both of you for such good advice.

June 17, 2011 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Heather--If you use it for basic blog reading, you're still getting good function from the application (even if you don't learn all the bells and whistles.) You can also put different feeds in different folders, which is a cool feature, I think.

PW.Creighton --Thanks for coming by. :) I think, for me, the light lettering on dark background is because I'm on a computer so much that I have eyestrain (and, maybe, because I'm 40.) Older readers will have an eyestrain issue nearly automatically (and there are lots of middle aged and older blog readers.)

Anne--I've noticed many bloggers now have the comments button on the top of the post...but that always trips me up as a commenter. I'm just not expecting it there, then have to scroll up the page when I'm already at the bottom of the post (since I just finished reading the article!)

Ellis--Exactly. It's so important to have a 2-way conversation when blogging. Some people, though, just don't seem to totally *get* blogging and what sets it apart from having a static site.

June 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Tressa said...

Excellent tips and comments! Taking many to heart and will revisit once my high speed internet and new computer are up and running (everything arrives Tuesday so hopefully by the end of next week...with not too much hair loss via pulling on my part)!

June 19, 2011 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tressa--I do hope the new computer behaves itself! New technology is good, but not that much fun when you're just learning the new system. They always seem to change a few things for the worse, just to be annoying.

Elizabeth, and all the thoughtful commenters--THANKS! This has been a fantastic post with lots of wonderful visitors.

June 19, 2011 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Lani Wendt Young said...

Thank you so much for an informative and straightforward piece. I totally agree with the comments tip - I hate it when I have left comments on other blogs and the blogger doesnt respond to ANYONES comments. Exactly like talking to a wall!
I'm a writer but I dont blog abt my writing really. I have a parenting/life/try not to go nuts blog which I enjoy updating. I think at the end of the day, your blog should be a joy. (yes i know it gets on my nerves the whole post consistent thing!) BUT I blog because I love it. And its always abuzz when i can connect with others who enjoy their blogs too.
Thanks again.

June 20, 2011 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Tressa--Good luck with your new computer and set-up! :)

Anne--Thanks again for having me!

Lani--Thanks for coming by! And you're right--if there's no interaction, the blog is just as good as dead. You can really tell when someone really enjoys blogging and it's not just a chore!

June 21, 2011 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Jill Kemerer said...

Congrats on your book release, Elizabeth! These are terrific tips. Every writer considering a blog should read this first!

June 23, 2011 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Leslie Rose just left this comment, and as I was clicking the "publish" button, the page refreshed and moved the button and deleted it. Grrrr.

Here's her comment: Thanks, Leslie!

Leslie Rose: Thank you, Elizabeth and Anne. You've helped me make a specific to-do list.

June 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger LK Watts said...

Thank you so much for these fantastic tips. I already apply most of them but I shall applying all of them in the future.

June 25, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Pam said...

Thank you for some great tips!

Great advice! I find as my eyes get older it is harder to read websites with white writing on black, red etc. Although the color palette may be pretty to the eye, we must be sure to keep in mind the purpose of the website is...for others to be able to read our content.

June 29, 2011 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Lyndall said...

thanks for the tips!! will follow you :) @crazychicke

July 1, 2011 at 3:44 AM  
Anonymous Rubin@Panasonic Ag-Af100 said...

A corollary to having great content should be to have great titles. No one is going to click through if your headline writing muscles are limp like spaghetti.

January 3, 2012 at 10:40 PM  

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