Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

 

Worth Noting: Blog Improvement

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

 

2013 is going to be the Year of the Blog, I can just tell. To set you in the right direction, take a look at what some of these fine bloggers have to say about improving your own.

5 Things to Remember Before You Hit Publish at Hey, it’s Justine

40 Ways to Get Your Blog Off On the Right Foot at Campfire Chic

6 Weeks to a Better Blog at Silly Grrl

Primp your Facebook at Her New Leaf

Should I Get Paid for That? at Home to Heather

Why Every Blogger Should Have a Media Kit at VMac & Cheese

10 Reasons to Blog Ahead at Going Home to Roost

Blueprint for the Perfect Blog Post at Business2Community

The Four Faces of Link Building at Shellshock.UK

58 Ways to get Noticed as a New Blogger at Blog World

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Blog Brunch Blogger Directory

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Have you heard of the Blog Brunch Blogger Directory?
If you’ve participated, you can submit your info and they’ll link you on an interactive map of all the Blog Brunchers. Pretty cool!

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A revolutionary way to support Indie Bloggers and Creators: Flattr

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Most indie bloggers create content and share it with the world in addition to having a “day job”. Some advertise, take on sponsors, or even accept donations, but still: blogging is usually a labor of love, not a career.

But, let’s face it: how much entertainment and information do you get from your favorite blogs and websites each month? As much as you get from your cable TV or Netflix subscription? As much as your favorite magazine?

Beyond bloggers: what about webcomics or videos? Music? Free apps and software? Charities?

Honestly, I spend far more time on the Internet looking at content that was, for the most part, created for free, than I do with any of those other services.

Enter: Flattr. A relatively new platform for supporting those purveyors of content that you’ve grown to appreciate and love. The concept is simple: designate a certain amount of money each month to Flattr content creators with. Whenever you see something you appreciate, you click the “Flattr Me!” button or bookmarklet. At the end of the month, Flattr divvies up your funds amongst those sites.

I encourage everyone to think about the value of the content they get online beyond the price of their Internet connection. This is a really great way to support the people who are working hard to spread information, art, entertainment, and culture.
If you’ve used Flattr in the past, either as a donater or donate-ee, share your experience in the comments!

 

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200th Post!

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Why yes, I would drink champagne out of martini glasses. Because I'm classy like that.

 

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get to 200 posts, but here we are!

I did some thinking about what to post for awhile… it has to be significant, you know? And a little nerdy. So I got to thinking about HTTP status codes. (Actually, a much nerdier friend suggested this as a concept and I really like it.)

Even if you’ve never heard of HTTP codes, you’ve definitely seen one or two: “404 – Not Found”, “500 – Internal Server Error” (been seeing that one a lot on Pinterest lately!)
Basically, when your browser makes a request to the server, each type of response has an assigned number.

The most common one however is simply: 200, “OK”. So each time you type in a URL and actually see the page you wanted, the server sent back a 200 code, meaning that the connection was successfully established and that your computer and the server can continue talking to each other.

I see the past 199 posts as your request to myself and the world asking “Are you okay with me doing this? Am I ok with doing this? Do I feel good about it? Shall I continue?”  And my life and I answer a full-heartedly: “200 – OK”.

So: a toast to 200 posts and to 200 more posts!

 

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Crying over spilled milk

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Oh, my sad, neglected blog. How I have forsaken you.

I would blame it on being busy, but that simply wouldn’t be true. Unfortunately, I spilled *literally* two drops of milk on my Macbook and it completely fried the keyboard. I was going to save up for a new one instead of having it repaired, but I broke down on Wednesday and took it in. Come Monday (and $403.79, to be exact) it will be all mine again.

So that’s my excuse. I mean, I could still blog (obviously I’m doing it now) but it just doesn’t feel right without my laptop.

In the meantime I’ve been really into making bracelets.

 

How have you been?

 

 

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Blog Better Challenge Part 4: Show and Tell

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

I think most of us started out believing (or still do) that if we put something awesome out on the Internet that people will just automatically find it, right? Or even after we learn about SEO and keywords that people will gently filter in via Google and end up becoming lifelong subscribers. ….Erm, unfortunately, that’s not usually good enough.

In fact, that was the tactic I used most regularly on my own blog until recently. Sure, there were a few blogs I commented on, and those bloggers became readers, but that was pretty much the extent of it. It wasn’t good for business.

I imagine the true formula for success goes something more like this:

1. Post something epic.

2. Tell everyone about it.

What kind of “epic” stuff am I talking about? Think about the qualities of the stuff you re-pin or link to -

It’s useful: It’s usually informative or inspirational or something you put on a “to-do” list, right? Maybe it even serves to be humorous or thought-provoking, but the bottom line is that it’s helpful.

It’s *pretty*: I myself put a huge emphasis on visual appeal when I’m mentally assessing something. I’ll bookmark or pin or link to lots of pretty things that might not have a ton of value otherwise.

It’s timely: This is just a nicer way of saying “popular”. Most of us aren’t blessed with the trendsetting gene (though if you are, by all means, take advantage!), so we’re stuck on the bandwagon. Be careful not to over-do it *or* do it too late, though. Best to get on the mason jar train while you still can and forget about moustaches for awhile.

Sometimes ugly, pointless stuff becomes popular. Buuuttttt it’s usually pretty and useful stuff.

 

I, myself, have been challenging myself to put my posts out in the world – more than just on Twitter or to my Facebook friends – and it’s really paying off. Seriously. I’m actually surprised. For example, since one of my tutorials was posted on CraftGawker, I’m averaging around 200 visits per day rather than the 15 I used to get.

Not gonna lie, I get shot down a lot. I’m disappointed that not everyone thinks I’m as awesome as I do (lols). But, I’m going to keep taking baby steps until I’m satisfied.
SO your challenge today is to find something awesome that you’ve posted to your blog – and share it with the world. Find a website that will feature you. Try to get it re-tweeted. Submit it somewhere. Keep trying until you get a lot of people to look at it. Then report back here with the results!

 

PS. In case you didn’t here, the giveaway prize for this challenge is a Hipstaprint notepad! The lucky winner can select a photo or send me one of theirs. It’s not too late to enter!. :)

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Blog Better: Challenge Part 3

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Is your blog an effective tool for expressing your ideas?

In reality, your blog is nothing more than a tool that allows you to deliver what’s in your mind to the masses. Do you treat it that way?

If your goal is to deliver some sort of content from your brain to your readers’ brains, is your blog really doing that efficiently?

It’s all in the details. 

Let’s look at somem examples!

Do you have obvious, easy navigation?

Let’s face it – your site shouldn’t feel like homework. In fact, it shouldn’t feel like work at all. The person reading for leisure sure as heck doesn’t want to waste their time trying to find the contact page. They definitely aren’t going to Google you to find your Twitter account. Don’t let it be harder than it has to be.

What do your photos link to?

This is especially relevant if you link to other sources a lot. Most people scan, not read. If they see a great picture from another blog, they’re going to click it and expect to be taken to the source. If they’re like me, they open it in another link with the intention of looking at it later, and then get irritated when it’s just a link to the jpeg and the original source is nowhere to be found.

Why are you hiding your button??!?

If you have a button for other bloggers to post on their site, why in God’s name are you hiding it on some random page? I experienced this just the other day when I was going through my subscriptions and trying to find buttons for my Blogroll. At least five sites had them hidden on a separate page that had *nothing* to do with the damn button. For instance – the “about” page, or the “contact” page. If you want someone to promote your blog for you, why on earth would you make that more difficult for them?

Speaking of links….

Do yours open up in a new tab? Think about it – why would you want to link to a friend’s page, only to have your visitor leave yours? Learn how to link so that they open up in a new tab. You’re welcome.

Where is your “Home” button?

Do you have it nestled somewhere in the sidebar? If so, I hope your header is also linked. Clicking on a header only to find out it’s not linked to the home page is almost as frustrating as this guy’s life will inevitably be. 

This is just a smattering of examples of the details that can make or break your visitor’s experience on your blog.

I’m challenging you to take a veeerrrrryyyy critical look at your site and decide what needs to be changed.. and change it! I know I have a lot cut out for myself this weekend.

If you have any other suggestions for improving the usability of your blog, tell us in the comments!

(It’s not too late to join the Blog Better Challenge! Check out the first post here.)

 

 

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Blog Better: Challenge Part 2

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I can’t believe how quickly Wednesday has arrived. Today we’re going to focus on getting connected.

Social networking isn’t a joke. If you’re doing anything worthwhile online, it almost certainly involves social media. One of the most important things you can do as a blogger (or so I hear) is getting connected to these networks and making sure other people can find you there.

Let’s take a look at three big ones:

 

Twitter just might be the granddaddy of all social networking. While Facebook is more popular for keeping tabs on your personal life, Twitter seems to be the means of choice for keeping up with the business side of things. Twitter currently boasts approximately 100 million active users. Most smartphones have built in Twitter integration, and lots of the popular sharing apps (Instagram, for instance) rely heavily on the network.

The advantages of being active on Twitter are innumerable.  Many people use it as a “relaxed” newsfeed; that is, rather than following an RSS feed, they’ll read your blog when you tweet about it. Lots of Twitter users aren’t tweeting; they’re simply following to keep tabs on the world. Twitter makes it easy to get in touch with someone quickly, and in many cases, get a response back nearly instantly. Additionally, you yourself can keep tabs on your network.

 

Facebook is more widely used than Twitter, by far, with approximately 845 million users. Even my mom has Facebook.

While I personally like to think of my blog as an entity apart from myself, and thus try to avoid linking my blog to my personal Facebook profile, I do have a page specifically for my blog.

The advantages to having an “official” Facebook page for your blog are similar to the advantages of using Twitter. You can easily update your page and your followers will automatically see what’s new on their newsfeed. Your followers can even post their own photos and start discussions if they wish.

You can manage multiple pages from your Facebook profile, and you can even interact on Facebook as that “page”. In other words, your blog can comment on and “like” things, rather than you, yourself.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a *must* for any creative blogger. Not only an invaluable resource, but a fantastic way to get your work seen by other like-minded people. Your Pinterest boards tell the world “Hey, this is what I’m about!” and give people a whole new reason to check out your blog.

The other facet of Pinterest is giving your followers a convenient way to file away your photos and posts. You can easily include a “Pin It” button on each blog post through the use of plug-ins or apps (the one I use in WordPress is Pinterest Pin It Button), or by using the one Pinterest itself provides, available here.

Interestingly, I pinned an image I created the day after I started this challenge, and that act alone brought over 300 more visitors to my blog than usual.

 

 

Obviously, there are more networks out there. These are just the ones that are important to me.

Today’s challenge is to get serious about your networking. If you’re already registered on some of these sits, get active! Seek out new people to follow and comment on what they’re doing. Pin more stuff. Tweet about it. But, most importantly, connect it all back to your blog. Make sure that anyone who sees you on another network can easily find your website.

To help you out, download some free social networking icons, like the ones I created here. Install them on the sidebar of your blog and encourage people to join you elsewhere on the web.

Tell me how you already use social media to enhance your blog! And if you haven’t joined the challenge yet, there’s no time like the present! Remember, everyone who joins is entered in a giveaway!

 

 

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Blog Better: Six Week Challenge

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

I’ve been blogging for a long time (okay, a long time for me) but I’m pretty lazy about doing it regularly and even more lazy about networking, and thus, I don’t really get a lot of traffic.

Now, I’ve read probably hundreds of articles and posts about increasing traffic, visibility, SEO (search engine optimization), etc; but doing it is a completely different story.
Welp, I’m about to change that!

For the next six weeks, I’ve planned to do two things per week to improve my blog. From keywords, to backlinking, to commenting, to making new blog friends – they’re all fairly basic but they’re *supposed* to make a big impact. At the end, I’ll see if it worked by checking out my Google Analytics stats. Sound simple enough?
Good! Then I want you to join me!

 

Here’s how it will work:

  • I’ll post two challenges per week – one on Saturdays and one on Wednesdays. There are some things I think that I already do pretty well; I’ll talk about those, too. There are lots of things I don’t do well at all, so I’ll be prioritizing them.
  • If you choose to participate, I’ll include a link to your blog here. Don’t worry, though, participation will be casual and no pressure; if you can’t do every challenge, don’t worry about it. :)
  • {Here’s the best part} At the very end, all participants will be put in a random drawing for a giveaway! I haven’t figured out what the giveaway will be for, yet, but don’t worry; I have great taste (wink) and I’ll think of something awesome!

 

 

Grab a button, and leave a comment if you’re in! We’ll re-assess on May 5th.

(copy this code and paste it into your sidebar)


 

 

Your First Assignment:

Install Google Analytics, and do it now! It usually takes about 24 hours for it to start recording traffic, so you’ll want to have it installed sooner than later.  In order to see how far you’ve come, it’s important to look at where you were.

If you’re a WordPress user, like me, there are a few neat plug-ins that do the work for you. Google will provide you with a code (usually starts with UA- and has a long string of numbers) and you can just enter it into the plug-in. Depending on the theme you’re using, it might also provide a spot to enter it in the theme settings.

Regardless, Analytics provides pretty good instructions right on their site.

If you already keep track of your traffic, make a mental note of what kind of posts get most traffic and what you did differently on that day.

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s edition! Good luck!

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Blog Brunch = !

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Yesterday was the first Blog Brunch over on Twitter, and it was amazing! I got to talk to bunches of other super-talented, creative bloggers. *waves hello to anyone who met me there*  I can’t wait til next month!

It was really great to find out that many other bloggers share the same feelings as myself on a lot of things. It was nice to be a “part” of something big.

The best part, though, might be the plethora of new blogs I’m following!  Here they are in no particular order (okay it’s actually reverse alphabetical order):

vmac+cheese

TopLetBack

Shimmer Like Gold

Peas, Love, and Happiness

Parker, Etc.

Long Distance Loving

Faberuna

F for Fabulous

Bow Tie and Bustle

Besotted Brand

If you have happened to stop by here by way of the Blog Brunch, please drop me a comment to say hi! I’m really excited to meet all of you and I’d love to check out your blog, too.

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Hazel & Agnes is the creative blog of Natalie Matz. Click above to learn more!