Come visit me over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog today. Jill is a friend and a fellow author/blogger who writes delightful stories about love, friendship and forgiveness, and she has graciously invited me to take part in her Summer Spotlight series.
As it happens, there are only a few days left to snap up Calmer Girls on Kindle for only 99¢, and you can get the link at Jill’s place. Please drop by with a comment when you get a chance, and I will chat with you later this afternoon when I get home. I look forward to seeing you there.
Cindy Knokeis a popular blogger, photographer and world traveller with a loyal following on WordPress. When you check out her collection of breathtaking photo captures, many of them from nature, you will see why. She even has her own National Geographic page!
From her About page, I Blog, Therefore I Am:
“I retired early after 27 years as a psychotherapist/mental health director and moved to the outer limits of no-wheres-ville to a home I call “The Holler. …This is our little bit of heavenly Appalachia right here in rural California. I like to write and if something strikes my fancy, usually something odd or unusual, you will learn about it here. And thankfully, at The Holler, almost everyday is odd and unusual. So “Holler Happenings” including photos of flowers, birds, and wild animal interactions, are included too. I travel three-four months a year so you will find my photos and honest reviews of locales, attractions and accommodations from all over the world. The good, bad and the ugly. So put your feet up and let’s devote our attention to the best things in life, our leisurely pursuits!”
Check out Cindy’s latest post, where she shares gorgeous images of “the remarkable and endangered” Saker Falcon.
I’ve been visiting Elisa Ruland’s beautiful travel blog for a few years now, and I am always amazed by her breathtaking photography, her enjoyable narratives and her knowledge of historical destinations. Love her tagline too: “All you need is love…and travel.”
From Elisa’s About page:
I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend from Atlanta, Georgia, doing my best to live in the moment. A passionate Francophil, I love to travel, I adore the ocean and am weirdly fascinated by maps. I’ve been told many times that I walk too fast.”
I chose to highlight this recent post of hers because of the photos, the info, and because I just might visit there next year, if all goes well.
One of my favourite bloggers is George over at The Off Key of Life.
George’sAboutpage is a delight in itself. Here’s just a snippet of it, which shares some of his Likes:
“I love chocolate…I also enjoy desserts, especially anything with chocolate in it. I also love sitting on a beach, the state of Maine, (no, I don’t live there), practical jokes, people who have an unfiltered sense of humor, traveling, the innocence of children, the sound of laughter, anticipation, warm bread, and common sense (though that seems to be in steep decline these days).
It was a challenge to single out just one of George’s posts to share, but I finally settled on one that taught me something about a band I grew up listening to, thanks to my dad: the Beatles. I hadn’t known about all the firsts the band was known for within the music biz. Did you?
Along with another local author, I was invited to do a reading at the Memorial Public Library in Lewisporte Wednesday night. It was my first time in this Newfoundland community and I had hoped to take some scenery pics there, but the weather was dull, grey and snowy so I didn’t get the opportunity.
I have fellow WordPress blogger, Brenda, to thank for the invitation. Brenda lives in Lewisporte, and we connected a while back through her cat blog featuring Buddy. After she read Calmer Girls, she suggested the reading idea to her library, and voila!
I am so grateful for the many likeminded connections and new friends I’ve made through blogging and writing. Brenda also invited Paul and me to dinner and an overnight stay in her home. Aren’t people wonderful?
Something that struck me recently is how many wonderful women are behind the promotion of libraries, book clubs, and our community of writers and readers. Making connections with these women have enriched my life, which is another reason I’m glad I got involved in writing – and blogging too!
Does your local library host author events? What does your community do to promote all things literary?
This is the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway of 5 signed paperbacks of Calmer Girls. Click here to enter.
If you sign up to my email list before the February newsletter is issued, you will receive a 4-page sneak peek of the Calmer Girls sequel, Calmer Secrets, being released March 21. Add yourself here.
Jill Weatherholt started her blog as a way to share her “journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers.” Her first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March 2017 and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
From her About page:
My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness.”
Besides the fact that Jill and I have writerly interests in common – we both started blogs to focus on our writing and to meet other writers, and we both have books coming out next month – Jill also blogged about the colour Yellow, as I did recently.
Her post reinforces the lesson taught to her by her mother: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Social media is here to stay, and cannot be ignored as a way to network. By connecting you with millions of users around the world, it is the perfect marketing tool – although many of us are still working out how to get the most out of it.
For blogging, it is one of the best tools you can use to increase your readership. Share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll immediately notice the increase in visitors – but that’s only the first step to using social media to boost your blog. By using social media to its full potential, you can transform your small, seldom-visited site into a buzzing blog with an avid community of readers.
Which types of Social Media are best suited to you?
There are many social networks, to all of which you can sign up, although in most cases certain ones will be better suited to the theme of your blog – the ones where you should put the bulk of your focus.
No blog can do harm from having a Facebook and Twitter page. These are the biggest social networks, appealing to almost every audience. You can create a Facebook and a Twitter page separate from your personal pages – and invite all your friends and family to like and follow.
Other social networks may be better suited to specific kinds of blogs. If you own a cookery blog, Instagram could be a great way to share pictures of your foodie creations, although not so suitable if you own a business advice blog (for this kind of blog, a site like LinkedIn would be more appropriate for promotion).
Automate Content Sharing
Once you have social media pages, the best practice is to automate your blog posts so that as soon as you publish them, they automatically share on social media (easier than having to manually post them each time). There are many social media automation programsthat can do this, although WordPress users can use its built-in automation tool.
Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
Next, you should add social media sharing buttons to your blog, so that people who stumble across your posts can become regular followers. You can get sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. These require you to embed a code into your blog – there are sites that tell how to do this if you are unsure. Make sure that the share button is somewhere clear where readers can see it, such as the top of your blog’s homepage.
Build up Likes and Follows
As already discussed, you should invite your friends and family to like and follow your social media pages. The more likes and follows you have, the more official your blog will appear. If you have a music blog that reviews bands, or a make-up blog that reviews cosmetics, contact the artists and brands that you positively review and get them to like and share. You can also join community groups and forums to gain followers.
On top of this, there is always the option of paying for likes and followers. I have never done this personally, but there are sites that will help you get automatic Instagram views, just as you can pay for LinkedIn endorsements.
Hashtags were made popular on Twitter, but have recently moved onto Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter and Instagram, you can use them to relate your posts to a theme so that others searching that theme will find your posts. It’s a great way of connecting to trends such as #catsofinstagram or #photooftheday or #music, although in each case your hashtag should relate to the post and not merely be annoying spam.
You can also use hashtags to create your own trending topics and to categorize posts. A music blog might create a #newmusicfriday hashtag to make people aware that it blogs about new music every Friday. If your blog covers multiple themes, you could separate each post with an easily identifiable label in the form of a hashtag, such as #travel or #tech. Note that tweets with hashtags ordinarily earn twice as many likes as those without, although more than two hashtags can have the opposite effect (lesson to self)!
You can run an ad on Facebook for your page or for an individual post. The promotional ad will appear on timelines around the world, alerting other Facebook accounts to your blog. Ads can also be run on other social media sites. You will often be asked about the demographic in which you wish to target your ad, so make sure that it is one that is likely to engage with the content of your blog.
Network with other Blog Owners
The best bloggers read other people’s blogs. Find a blog that you like and become a familiar reader by following their social media pages and regularly liking and sharing. You can also use social media to directly message other blog owners and offer the opportunity of cross-promotion. You could write guest blogs on one another’s blogs, share each other’s social media pages or endorse each other on LinkedIn. With many blog owners already doing it, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
Don’t just post new content – give new readers a chance to see your old content too, by reposting it on social media. You can use automation tools to do this or manually choose and repost yourself at your leisure. Sometimes an old post may link in with a current trend. For example, a political or social issue that you blogged about might suddenly link in with current news events, or a product you reviewed may have suddenly found mass attention somewhere. Seasonal posts related to Christmas, Valentine’s day or Halloween can be reposted year-in-year-out, as they will always be relevant. Obviously, the more content you have, the more you have to repost.
Bloggers: do you have any other tips and tricks for boosting your blog?
Audrey Kalman is one of several experienced writers I follow here on WordPress.
From her About page:
I have been writing professionally for more than 35 years. I published newspaper and magazine articles in the days when such things still involved ink on paper, wrote a database how-to book when such things were popular, and now offer writing and editing services as a consultant.”
In the following post, Audrey shares her reasons for writing in a 12-point list, which she says are “perfect for matching up one with each month of the new year…whether you are a writer or not.”
I think I will refer to this list when I need extra motivation and inspiration to continue in the pursuit of “the solitary, frustrating, and often painful occupation of writing.”
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.”
My blog turns five years old on New Year’s Eve. When I look back on that first post, Follow the Yellow Brick Road, I wonder: how on earth did I make it this far?
Before I started blogging, I wondered what the point would be in it. I used to liken it to shouting into a void, and where was the fun in that? And at first, that’s exactly what it was. With only a handful of followers, getting a like or two – or, wow, is that a comment??? – was all the encouragement I needed to post another photo, or a poem, or a thought about something.
Consistency is everything, as many of my blogger friends will tell you. Showing up and putting in the time and energy is what draws more followers, likes and comments. It is what brings the lovely reward of connection with other like-minded people, as well as with those who walk an entirely different path.
So much can happen in the span of five years. When I reflect on my life as shared through this blog, certain events stand out. I remember the highs – cherished moments with friends and loved ones (which strengthened those relationships), travel to new destinations near and far, and the fulfillment of two novels written; and the lows – first and foremost, the loss of my beloved mother to Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other sad good-byes, personal disappointments and health afflictions. For me, keeping a blog is also a form of testimonial to my ongoing gratitude, as a way to pay homage to the priceless gifts that life has granted me.
Today, I can’t picture my life without blogging. I know I’ve said this on earlier blog anniversaries, but it still holds true. When life gets hectic or throws me a curveball, I admit to moments that hint of burnout, but those times have thankfully been few.
I hope Jennifer’s Journal lives on for a few years yet. Why? Because, as an introvert, I have been enriched and inspired by all the incredible people I’ve met here. You’ve added another meaningful dimension to my days, and I want to keep you around, in 2017 and beyond!
How long have you been blogging?
Have you found the connections you’ve made rewarding?
In this modern-day world of widespread social media and information overload, it seems everyone professes to be an expert on something. This, of course, includes the “rules” for writing novels and memoirs.
I have to make a confession. I’m sharing the following link from writer Anne R. Allen’s blog for my benefit as well as yours. Thankfully, I haven’t been taken in by most of the “stupid writing rules” listed, but I’ve also bookmarked it to refer to the many helpful links she shares throughout the post.
If you are a new or aspiring novelist, you would be wise to give it a read. Above all, make sure you get your writing advice from a reliable source.