Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zealous Action

I thrown a lot of blogging advice out there this month, but I wanted to leave the challenge with one simple Statement.
Do what's best for you.

All of the advice I've given this month is what worked for me, but it doesn't mean it's best for you. You're going to burned out from blogging for 26 dyas, but don't give up. Go forward and do what you can.

Congrats on finishing the A-Z Challenge!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yep, I got nothin'

So I woke up today wondering why I hadn't gotten any comments on my my Y post. When I finally went to check it out 5 HOURS LATER I realized I didn't write a Y post.

So here it is - sometimes bloggers make mistakes. Love them anyway :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for eXcuses

I'm going to do another quick blogging tip today.

Don't Make Excuses on Your Blog

Couldn't blog? We understand. Didn't post one of your regular posts, we totally get it. Missed a blogfest? It happens.

There's no need to apologize or excuse yourself on your blog. It can get to be too much. Just post when you can, the rest of us will understand.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Word Count

We're almost to the end of A-Z Challenge! I can't believe I've come this far, never in my life did I dream that I'd ever do this! I'm haven't been keeping up as well as I've wanted to, but I'm proud of what I have accomplished.

Moving on to today's blogging tip, word count.

How long should one's blog post be? I've found that my shorter posts actually get more comments. Sometimes I ramble, but thank goodness I also schedule my posts in advance or I might be long winded.

Here's my general rule:

No posts longer than 300 words.

For people who visit lots of blogs, this is important. Much can be conveyed in very few words.

It also helps to break up what you say in small paragraphs so your readers don't feel overwhelmed.

Lists and bullet points help people who skim. (Even though we don't like it, lots of people skim) with lists you can get the main points across easily.

How long do you think a blog post should be?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Verifying Copyright

It's the A-Z Challenge and I'm talking about blogging tips. It's no secret that blog posts look better with pictures. They break up the words, leaving your readers feeling a little less overwhelmed with information. But if you're a new blogger, be wary.

You can get sued for using the wrong pictures.

It happened to a popular author/blogger. Never Google an image and post it on your blog. It could cost you a lot of money and time in court. Seriously.

So how do you get pictures that are safe?

I mostly use this free stock photo website. But there are a few other sources for pictures that are what's called "creative commons" meaning pictures that anyone can use.

1. Clipart in Word

2. Wikipedia Commons

3. Flicker Commons

4. Wana commons

With any other picture you have to verify the copyright with owner of the picture. Better safe than sorry!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unfollowing

For one of my lasts A-Z posts I wanted to address the issue of unfollowing.

Most of the time, I wouldn't recommend unfollowing at all, but sometimes it's necessary. Just make sure you use caution and judgement before unfollowing anyone.

Here's  the reasons I would unfollow someone's blog:

1. They post more than once a day, almost every day. This spams my google reader, I don't like it. there's nothing you have to say that makes me want to listen to you that much. I hate to put it so bluntly, but that's the truth.

2. No matter how much I've gone to their blog, they never once come to mine. Did you just want me to follow you to make your numbers look good?  That's not why I followed you, so I won't be coming back.

3. Someone is outright hostile on their blogs. I don't need negativity in my life, and I don't want to read about it. Plus, if you're that rude to other people, how do you feel about me?

Thank goodness these types of blogs are the exception and not the rule. I've only had to unfollow half a dozen blogs these last two years. Most bloggers are fantastic. No one deserves to be unfollowed 'just becasue' but sometimes it's needed.

Have you ever unfollowed a blog?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Twitter

I wanted to talk about one last social media platform to enhance your blogging experience: Twitter.

I'm going to keep it short and simple. The best thing you can learn about Twitter is that hash tags are the best! (#thesethingsthatareallonelongword)

Each hashtag on twitter is like a mini chat room. If you can get your blog posts out to the right chat rooms, people will visit your blog.

Just a words of caution, if you're going to post your blogposts to chat room make sure you interact with people in said rooms. No one likes it when their feeds are spammed as they're trying to have a conversation.

Some hashtags are specifically for links, but most aren't. Do your research first and you'll find a whole new audience is waiting at your fingertips.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Social Media Combined With Blogging

As I've been writing my A-Z posts I've been really excited to get to this one. I've been dropping hints here and there, but today I get to focus on using other social media platforms to improve your blogging experience.

There's a few things that, through trial and error, I've found as effective means to using other social media platforms (i.e. facebook, twitter, etc.)

1. Pick and choose. There are so many social media outlets out there, there's no way one person can do them all. Pick your top three and focus your energy. I personally find Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to be the three easiest to use and most beneficial to what I'm trying to do as a blogger.

2. Visit your preferred platforms Mon-Fri. As with blogging, you have to be consistent. There are millions of voices out there, if you want yours to be heard, you have to be consistent in speaking up. I post something every day Mon-Fri on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. Some people will discourage you from posting the same things becasue of repetitiveness. But I've found that I follow so many people that words get lost and I don't often see repeats in what people say. Sometimes I do, but it doesn't bother me becasue I don't see those repeats that often.

3. Don't Focus on Yourself. More than writing something everyday, you have to make friendships by engaging people. I spend at least 10 minutes on each of my three platforms daily. I look for interesting content and engage with others who have posted. The more I get to know someone, the more likely they are to engage when they see one of my posts.

The most important thing to remember when using social media to build your platform is that it's fun! Don't get upset if no one is engaging with you, do it for the fun and eventually people will respond.

What's your favorite social media besides blogging?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Reaching Your Blogging Potential

It's the A-Z challenge and we're two thirds of the way through! This month I've been talking about blogging tips. I've really been struggling to write this post becasue it's so huge and I could go so many different directions with it. But I'm going to focus on what makes my favorite blogs my favorites.

Since I'm still at a writer's conference we're going to do this top 5 style, again.

Five things that make my favorite blogs my favorites:

5. Their posts are diversified. Yes, the blog may be about writing, but they don't just focus on the craft. The posts are always fresh and interesting.

4. They respond to comments. Most of my favorite blogs have their email on and we chat in our inboxes. Bloggers that don't do that respond to comments in the comment section. They don't necessarily respond to every comment, which is just fine. The important thing is that their responses come from a real place.

3. I never feel pressured to visit their blogs or join their hops/contests. Sometimes when I visit blogs they're running a giveaway, but you have to blog, tweet, facebook, follow their blog and give your first born child to enter.

Or, someone is running a blog hop and every single day there's a new post begging people to enter. One post about our hop, a tab on your blog and maybe a reminder at the end of other posts (without pressure) is enough. If I feel guilty for not entering it makes me not want to come back. The best bloggers are casual about those sort of things.

2. It's easy to stay in touch with them. The best bloggers I know have Facebook pages and twitters where they post interesting content and engage their followers. If I have a question for that blogger, or if I want to invite them to something, they're easy to find.

1. They're consistent. They blog on a regular schedule. They never apologize for missing a post (even if they do). They are visible becasue they are regular and becasue they are visiting other blogs. They have things to say and they say them when they think of them. I'm friends with them becasue they're around when I want to chat. The best bloggers are the ones I can count on.

Is there anything else that you think makes for a great blogger?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quitting

The day has arrived! This month for the A-Z Challenge I've been talking about blogging tips and there's a few times when I've alluded to this post and now the day is here!

More than a blogging tip, I'm going to share a personal story of my struggles with blogging hoping you guys won't make the same mistake.

In December of 2011 I quit blogging.

I was completely stressed out with blogging. I had just found out I was pregnant, and I was having major writers block.

After taking a couple of weeks off, I figured out how much I missed everyone and how much I wanted to be blogging again. So I started this blog.

Big Mistake!

If I could go back I would have stuck with my original blog and I wouldn't have quit. I would have just slowed down and figured out my priorities.

If you don't read anything else read this:

One of the best things you can do as a blogger is not stress yourself out if you don't get everything done. You don't have to apologize to anyone either, life happens. Just do what you can, but don't quit. I regret the short time that I quit every. Single. Day.

What keeps you going?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for People

I'm at writer's conference today (and for the next four posts) so I'm keeping this super brief. I just want to say one thing that I've already said but am going to say again.

Blogging is about People

Make sure you spread the love!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Opportunities Gained From Blogging

It's the A-Z Challenge and I'm talking about blogging tips. Today I wanted to share a couple of personal experiences about things I've gained from blogging.

3 tips -

1. Write what you know

2. Share what you love

3. Be Yourself

I know I've said the 3rd one 55,000,000,000 times, but it's important. By doing these three simple things here's a few things I've gotten to experience over the last couple years. Top 5 style -

5. A friend of mine who's an SEO specialist took note of my blogging and gave me a job. It didn't last becasue of how SEO has changed, but it was awesome while I had it.

4. I once shared a YouTube video I liked and got free tickets to meet the people who put those YouTube Videos together.

3. People ask me to review their books on my blog, then they give me a free copy. Yes please!

2.  The endless amounts of information I've learned from other bloggers. I would still be wandering around in the dark having no idea how to write or publish if it wasn't for this community.

1. All of the awesome friends/connections I gained. I'm totally planning on name dropping when these guys are beyond huge, and there's quite a few of them who will be. 

What have you gained from blogging?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Never Forget Why You're Blogging

It's the A-Z challenge and I'm focusing on blogging tips. Today I wanted to address something important, the reasons we blog.

Blogging can be overwhelming, time consuming, and stressful. It can be easy to get upset at things said or frustrated when nothing's going right.

Sometimes all of those things have to be shoved to the side and we have to focus on what we do know, why we blog. My reasons for blogging have changed over time, but I know from experience that blogging is something I can't go without for very long.

Whenever I feel down and frustrated I remember all the awesome things in the blogging world and I keep going, becasue that's what bloggers do, push on through the hard stuff.

So, even though the A-Z is overwhelming, and I'm going to be out of town for the next 5 days, I'm not quitting. If there's any tip a blogger needs to know it's this: it's all worth it in the end.

Why do you blog?

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Managing Your Blogging Time

It's the A-Z Challenge and I'm talking about blogging tips. I'm super excited about the topic today. It's probably becasue this is the 1st question non-bloggers ask me when I tell them I blog.

When I first started blogging I went a little crazy. I knew I need to visit other blogs and I spent 3-4 hours everyday searching out new bloggers and leaving comments and generally trying to build my meager platform.

That got old really fast. Some people are so awesome *cough* Alex *cough* that they can visit tons of blogs and never have an issue, but the rest of us might struggle to maintain that kind of awesomeness.

Here's what's worked for me.

1. Set aside time to visit other blogs. When I'm not doing the A-Z challenge I only blog on the days my son is in preschool and I use one of those two hours to visit people who haven't visited me. Throughout the day I also visit back anyone who leaves me a comment wherever I can find a moment.

2. Write your posts in advance. If you didn't see my post about how to schedule your posts, look here. I usually get up at 5 am to write. It so happened that I was taking a break before editing my novel and I used that 5 am writing time to do all of my A-Z posts in advance. That way I can concentrate on my readers.

Whenever an idea for a post comes to me, I'll get on blogger and write the title of the post and let it be until I get a spare moment to write it. That way if I'm behind on blogging, I at least have ideas ready to go.

3. If you're overdoing it, back off. Life happens. Sometimes you can't blog. Sometimes you can't visit back. We've all been there. I've been working really hard on edits, so hard in fact that the last two weeks of Feb and I ended up not blogging at all. That break was exactly what I needed. I could come back and care for my readers the way I should.

Most importantly, you have to make time for it. I've had a lot of people ask me if it's worth it and I always respond with an enthusiastic YES! It is a time suck, you can get lost in it, but I've found that the benefits far outweigh the negative. Find your balance and run with it.

What do you do yo manage your time?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Listening to Your Readers

It's  the A-Z Challenge and I'm talking about blogging tips.

People who read my blog are the people who keep me going. If it wasn't for those comments, I would have quit long ago. In fact, I did quit once (another post on that later) but the awesome people brought me back. I found out pretty quick how much I depend on my readers.

Now, I know yesterday I talked about how you should know what's best for your blog, and I still believe that. But, I also believe that listening to readers is going to help you become a better blogger. You don't have to ask your readers for a critique of your blog. In fact I strongly recommend you DON'T do that - opinions will be really varied and you might end up more frustrated than anything else.

What I mean by listening to your readers is figuring out what your readers like, judging by their comments. This is something that takes time. Eventually you'll start to see patterns in your comments. That feedback is valuable. Take a hold of it.

Personally, I view my readers as my single best resource. You guys are the best!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Knowing What's Best for Your Blog

I'm going to keep this short and simple today. When it comes to blogging you can get hit with a lot of information at once. Even everything I say won't apply to every person in the same way. So I'm going to repeat my title again.

Know What's Best for Your Blog

Should you blog once a week or everyday? Should you join every blogfest or none at all? Should you talk about writing tips or post short stories? These are questions only you can answer for yourself.

You know what you can handle. You've seen what people like best on your blog. Go with your gut. All you need to  do to make your blog unique is harness your own uniqueness in the way only you can.

Now go out there and listen to that voice that tells you what's right.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jinks!

Okay I'm really putting myself out a limb with this letter. Jinks doesn't really describe what this post is about but I found it the most appropriate J word for the occasion.

If you don't know, it's the A-Z Challenge and  I'm talking about blogging tips. Today I want to go over how to make your blog more visible. 

Don't "jinks" yourself by making your blog hard to find! (That works, right? Tell me that works.)

Isn't this picture adorable? He hides so well!

I already went into a little detail about this on my Google + post becasue I have my blog connected to G+. But I'm going to say it again:

If your blog is connected to Google Plus, make sure you're posting all of your blog posts on there or I can't find you!

That being said, let's talk about if you don't have your profile linked to Google Plus. Here's an example of a blogger profile that is really confusing. It took me some time to figure out where to go so that I could visit this person's blog:

The blogs followed are intentionally blurred

As you can see they do have a web page on the left hand corner. However, it took me a while to notice.  You can change your blogger profile to have your blog above all of the blogs you follow so that it's the first thing people see.

I've seen loads of profiles that don't even have the link at the sidebar, which makes it impossible to find.

The other problem with this profile is that there's no picture to remind me who this blogger is. The picture really helps in remembering. I would suggest a picture of yourself, but anything to help remember is better than nothing!

When you go to your blogger dashboard you can edit your profile by clicking on the little arrow next to your picture in the top left corner. You can see what everyone else sees and make sure it's user friendly!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Interesting Content

Before I get to the post I have to talk about a very important cause first. One of my favorite authors, NYT bestseller David Farland, is going through a difficult time as his 16 year old son suffered a horrible Long-Boarding accident. He has severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drums, road rash, pneumonia, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

The cost for all of his son's medical issues is going to be more than $1,000,000. In order to help him earn money to pay ease the suffering today authors and book bloggers are joining together to start a book bomb and here's how you can help.

By a copy of Nightingale anytime today, preferably from David Farland's site.

This was one of the best books I read last year so by buying today, it's really a double win. For more information about Ben and the book bomb visit the facebook page here

Moving on -

It's the A-Z challenge and I'm talking about blogging tips. Today I want to focus on what kind of content should be on your blog. I talked about this a little bit yesterday, but today I want to expand on those thoughts.

They don't call it the blogging community for nothing. Blogging is a neighborhood of people who gather on the web becasue they have the same interests. The best way to make sure your blog has interesting content is make sure you're talking about what you're passionate about.

I can't talk about this without relating it to real life. When you meet someone in person do you want them to start selling stuff to you right off the bat? What about asking you if you want to enter a contest? What if a random stranger came right up to you and said "I'd love it if you came over to my house sometime!"

Sound appealing? Not to me either. Blogging isn't about how it benefits you, that's just a natural side effect. Blogging is about finding readers through putting a part of yourself out there.

When you have interesting content, followers will come later. Talk about what interest you, and you'll find other people are interested as well. Be yourself and the everything else will follow. Trying to hard will only lead to overexertion and nothing to show for it.

Be consistent in how often you blog.

Set aside time to visit other bloggers.

Make sure you're engaging the people who visit you by responding to their comments and visiting their blogs.

That's it. With time you'll find blogging to be one of the most beneficial things you've ever done, and the friendships make it all worth it in the end! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for How to get Followers

It's day eight of the A-Z Challenge and I'm continuing my blogging tips theme by addressing the one issue every blogger wants to know: how to get more followers.

If you're participating in the A-Z challenge, congrats! You've already taken one of the most effective steps in gaining followers, blog hops are an opportunity to expand your network in ways that you normally wouldn't.

Here's a few other tips -

#1 - The best way to get followers is to follow people, but that doesn't mean you should follow just anyone. I generally follow people that I see commenting on other blogs. That way I know they're an active blogger.

#2. Don't just follow blogs, comment on them. When you follow a blog, leave a comment so that the blogger can easily find you. Once you've followed that blog, keep commenting. The more you comment the more likely that blogger is to remember you. That way you'll make life long friends.

#3. Make sure you have something to offer. And I'm not talking about giveaways, I'm talking about you. If your blog isn't genuine, people will be able to tell. Blogging is a lot like meeting someone in real life, when you find out that you like the same kinds of things you make a connection. Content should be something that can relate to your intended audience.

#4. It takes time. You're not going to get 300 followers overnight. Getting followers takes consistent blogging over a long period of time. Don't get discouraged because someone who's been blogging for less time has more followers, keep at it and soon you'll find your numbers growing.

I couldn't end this post without thanking everyone who's followed my blog thus far. You all make blogging worth it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Google +

One week down in the A-Z Challenge and 3 to go! I'm continuing my theme of blogging tips today talking about Google Plus. 

Google plus, like any other social media site can enhance your blogging experience. Unfortunately, there is no way to get your blog posts automatically published to your Google Plus profile. If you have a fan page, it's easily done, but I'm not going to go into detail with that here.

It takes a little extra time, but I always publish my blog posts to Google Plus anyway. Why? Because I have my blogger profile linked to Google Plus and I want people to be able to find my blog easily. If your blog is linked to G+ you should do the same.

A Word of Caution: should you chose to do this, make sure you're posting other things as well so that you don't annoy those who follow you. The same rule applies to ANY social media site. I usually post the same thing that I've written on Facebook to my G+ page becasue I find those who use G+ don't do Facebook as much and vice-versa.

The point is to get your name out there and make connections. You don't have to spend tons of time on each social media site to make it worth your while, but you do have to spend some time if you're going to use that site to promote your own stuff. I recommend 10min on 3-4 sites daily. You'd be surprised how much you can engage people in such a short amount of time.

Questions about Google +? Leave me a comment!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Facebook

Before I get to the post I have one tinny announcement: 

Pretty cool, right? It's just going to be a page at the back of the book where you'll see the words "A Writer's Journey" in the bottom left corner, but it's still awesome!!

Moving on -
It's the A-Z Challenge and I'm continuing my theme of blogging tips by talking about blogging and Facebook.

A couple of things need to be considered with Facebook.

1.Would you lose readers if you have your posts automatically go to your news feed?

2. Should you have a separate outlet to talk about your blog so you don't frustrate your friends?

Personally I think it's okay to have your posts automatically go to your news feed. I use networked blogs and any friends who don't like to see my posts can block networked blogs so that it doesn't bother them.

If you want to have your posts go directly to your news feed, find the networked blogs app on Facebook and sign up. Register your blog and verify using the advanced mode. (All it wants is for you to put HTML on your sidebar. Pretty basic.)

I also have a separate page that's not really for my blog, but more to concentrate on my writing stuff. I don't have my posts go there automatically becasue I figure that people who like my page are already my 'fans'. That page is more about quick engagement.

I post something on my Facebook page Mon-Fri in a effort to connect better to my readers in an outlet where they don't have to come read a long blog posts. No matter what kind of blog you have, it's a good idea to have a Facebook page.

A friend of mine from high school runs a craft blog and has a huge following on Facebook.

No matter what you blog about, getting a Facebook page is a good idea to expand your platform. I've found lots of people following my page who don't follow my blog and who I don't even know personally. It's a great way to build your platform.

Have questions about making a Facebook page or how it can build your platform? Leave me a comment and I'll be sure to get back to you!

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Email

We're almost through the first week of the A-Z Challenge. Power to the people! In continuation of my A-Z blogging tips I'm going to be talking about allowing your readers to see your email.

I know what you're thinking. "I don't let people see my email becasue I'm afraid of my privacy being compromised and spam." In the year that I've had my email visible I've gotten 1 spam email that I think came from blogger. ONE in a year. Seriously, who can't handle that?

Let me tell you why it's awesome to have your email visible.

1. If you have your email turned on and you leave me a comment, I'm going to email you back. If you leave me a question you can be sure it'll get answered becasue I'll be emailing you. Plus, you can respond back without having to visit my blog again. It's leaves the comment section uncrowded and you can say things that you don't want everyone to see.

2. If I want to get in touch with you and ask you for a guest post/ interview/ advice/ award I can just email you. I've found opportunities that I would have otherwise missed by having my email turned on.

3. You'll suddenly find other bloggers responding to your comments through email. You'll be surprised how much I've learned and benefited from conversations with other bloggers.

It's really not a big deal to turn on email. I've yet to hear of anyone getting hacked and a good portion of friends have it on. The benefits are worth it.

So how is it done? Under the settings tab in your blogger dashboard select mobile email and enter your email address, (refer to the picture below)

That's it! What are you waiting for?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Doing it Ahead of Time - Schedual Your Blog Posts

Hello dear readers and fellow A-Z participants. It's day four of the blogging challenge and I'm continuing my blogging tips by talking about how to schedule your posts. I know it's a bit of a stretch for the letter theme, but I couldn't fit this topic in anywhere else.

I've taught a couple of social media classes before and been surprised at how many people are unaware that you can schedule your blog posts ahead of time. It's great because you write it, then it posts consistently. In my experience, this consistency has given me more comments.

I actually wrote this post on March 5th. I'm getting ready to pitch my book at a writers conference in two weeks so I don't have time to write posts right now. See how nice that is?

So, How do you schedule posts? It's simple - when you draft in the right sidebar, you select Schedule, pick your date and time then click done.

Now your post is ready to go, and you don't have to freak out by trying to write posts the day of. Easy peasy and stress free. Have fun posting!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Comments

It's day three of A-Z and I'm continuing my theme of blogging tips. Today we'll be talking about comments.

Later in the month I'll be focusing on how to get comments, but today is about making it easier for people to leave you a comment.

I can't address comments without talking about CAPTCHA's. My regular readers are going to hate me becasue I talk about this all of the time, but awareness brings harmony to the blogosphere. What is a CAPTCHA? This lovely mess -

1. Blogger has an awesome spam filter. Taking off your CAPTCHA will not fill your comments with spam. Trust me, I've had mine off for years.

2. I often won't leave a comment if you have this box. I'm not going to try to fill it out more than once. Also, if I see this while I'm visiting your blog from my phone, I'm not even going to attempt to comment. It's hard enough with a touch keyboard as it is.

3. You probably don't even know you have it on, it's the default setting on Blogger.

Here's how to get rid of it -

On your blogger dashboard under settings (the wrench icon) select posts and comments. Scroll down until you see this box -

Make sure it's set to NO. Watch as the people rejoice.

One other thing to make your comments a little more fun. While you're in that same section in the settings, you can create a personal note to your readers to let them know you like their comments.

This box should not be abused with three paragraphs of text, I'm never going to read it. A simple sentence is more than sufficient to get your point across.

Remember, when it comes to CAPTCHA just say NO!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Blog Hops

It's the A-Z Challenge and this month I'm talking about Blogging tips. Since most of you who visit today are coming from the hop I thought I'd go over a couple of quick blog-hop etiquette tips. Most of these are common sense, but it doesn't hurt to have a refresher.

1. When leaving comments, be sincere. No one likes to see a comment that says "Great Post!" with a website attached. All that says to me is "Please visit my blog, I'm desperate for attention".

2. Don't ask people to follow you back. Once again, this sounds desperate. We all want followers. The best bloggers will noticed you followed and follow you back. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Don't follow without leaving a comment. Sometimes it's hard to find the blogs of people who follow me. I always try to follow back, but there are cases when the blog simply can't be found. I even go as far as to google the usernames of people - I like to share the love THAT much. If you leave a comment, the chances of me finding your blog increase ten fold.

4. Most important, have fun! Blog-hops are about spreading the love to bloggers everywhere. Enjoy it, don't stress yourself out and don't feel like you have to apologize for every mistake you make. We all make mistakes, just do what you can and we'll all end up enjoying the ride right along with you.

What's your favorite thing about Blog hops?

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Appearance of Your Blog

Today marks my 300th post! I can't think of a better way to celebrate the occasion then starting off the A-Z Bloghop with a bang. Even though I've been blogging for two years (I started in April of 2011) I've never had the guts to participate.

I was on a two hour car ride home a couple of months ago when a theme for A-Z struck me and I knew I had to sign up.  You see, when I first started blogging I was so clueless! I made so many completely embarrassing mistakes and I've seen others repeat these awful no-no's. Since then I've wanted to share what I learned to help others along the way.

So my A-Z Theme is Blogging Tips!

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, today I wanted to focus on blog appearance. There are a few basic rules that all bloggers should follow.

1. Never have light text on a dark background, it's freaking hard to read.

2. Make sure your font is big enough.

3. Don't get too fancy. Not every font is readable, I've chosen Georgia becasue it doesn't feel too stiff, but it's pretty basic as well.

There a couple of things that should be considered as well when deciding on your appearance.

1. What are you trying to convey when people visit your blog? I personally want to convey two things, what my blog is about (my writing journey) and youth + fun since that's what writing Young Adult Novels are about. If my blog was gray and orange (which it was when I first started) it wouldn't really speak of those two things.

2. Is there anything distracting on your blog that would take away from people actually reading?

a. - It drives me absolutely insane when I go to a blog and my mouse changes to something with sparkles falling out of it. I just keep moving my mouse around the screen hoping it goes away. I won't be staying to read for very long.

b - Please don't put music on your blog. I often visit blogs when my kids are napping and it really scares me when I forget to turn the volume down and music starts to come out. If you wake my baby up, I kill you ;)

c - Take out gifs from your sidebar, I can't concentrate on what I'm reading if something keeps flashing at me. I want to get it out of my line of vision as soon as possible.

Google ratings go up if people spend more time visiting your blog. Take the time to make sure your blog is a welcoming place to be. It will make all of the difference in the world.

Have you made any of these mistakes? What other advice would you offer?