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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blogging for Writers - 7 Important Tips

As I have continued on this writing journey and have traveled over many writing blogs, I have discovered gaps in otherwise beautiful blogs. The gaps are losing them readers and to writers readers are gold. Some of these tips may seem obvious but we don't always think of the obvious. This is my recipe for a better blogging for writers.


1. Your Blog URL

This bit of information I found out after I started Shadow Rhythms; make sure your URL is easy to remember and easy to spell.  The most important piece, your URL, your blog address, It needs to be as short as possible but even more importantly it needs to be easy to remember and easy to spell. Otherwise your blog is going to become lost in the web world among the millions that are posting every day.  

2.  Follow by Email

I have discovered in this fast past world when a reader happens upon a blog they like, and want to make sure they read it again, they are most likely going to Follow by Email. This way they won't miss a post and if you have written a particularly inspiring post they will click through and leave a comment which feeds every writer's soul. I have often looked for the Follow by Email gadget and couldn't find it. More about this further down.

3. Theme

Find a main theme for your posts or a couple of themes but keep it as narrow as possible. Oh and don't ramble. No one wants to read every detail of your life. They want to connect with you on a personal level but they don't want the boring details that go on for eternity. Your readers want informative, feeling posts. They want to read posts that take them on a journey. They want to read posts that make them feel something even if it is sad. Tap into your readers emotions and they will want more. Pull them into your stories whether fiction or non-fiction and they will keep coming back.

4. User Friendly

Make your website user friendly. Upper right corner should have your Follow by Email below that how they can follow you on Twitter and Facebook. Around where your posts end on the right you should have the Follow Blog. The more your readers have to look around to find what they are looking for the more they are going to skip on to the next blog.

Every post should have at minimum the Tweet button if not also Facebook button (I tend to just tweet because I have my Twitter linked to my FB and it automatically posts when I tweet) imbedded within the post at the bottom for easy access. They enjoyed reading your post and there is no other time they are most likely to tweet than right there at the end of it. If they have to go looking for it they probably won't do it; same with the comment section. It should be at the bottom of your post so that it is easy to click and comment.

5. Labels, Tags and Keywords

Every post must have the best labels/tags/keywords to give you the best chance of showing up in a search. I highly recommend searching primary keywords for the theme of your blog. You want to use keywords and combinations that have Low competition as much as possible. Choose one main keyword for your post which should be a primary keyword for your blog. Then find different combinations for that keyword.  If your blog is about writing every word combination should have the word writing or some form within it.

An example: 

Creative writing | writing creatively | I want to write creatively | how to write creatively | writing and creativity |

Or

Writing fiction | short story writing | flash fiction writing | how to write short stories | writing short stories | love writing |

By the way, the lines you see between each keyword phrase is using the shift key and the key above the enter key. I discovered this is a better way than using commas.

Time and again I see something like this: blogging, writing, contests, short stories,
I used to do this with my keywords and once I discovered using keywords in this manner I immediately noticed an increase from search engine traffic.

If you do a little research it makes all the difference in the world. If you have the keyword and phrases ahead of time it is easier to make sure at least one of them is in the post, even better if it is also in the first three words of the title.

The more posts you have with the same combination and the main keyword in the first three words of your title of your post, the more you will be found in a search of those keywords.  
When search engines do a search they are looking for the pages with the most relevance to one topic. When you have many topics in your keywords it basically walks away.

6. Linking to your blog through your comment

If you are a blogger, then it is most likely you would like others to come back and look at your blog when you leave a comment. I don't know how many times I have clicked on someone's name after they left a comment hoping to go back to their blog, read it, and then leave a comment for them-to discover that the link they have left just leads to an empty profile page-very frustrating. Make sure that you are leaving a link with your name. Make sure if you use Blogger, or are making comments on Blogger, that you create a profile with links to your blog or use the Name and URL option. I often choose that option because depending on what their blog is about depends on which blog I want to send them to if they want to reciprocate comments.

7. Twitter, Facebook & Hashtags

There is much I do on Twitter that I will be sharing in the future. But something I wanted to share today is, if someone RTs one of your Tweets with a link, check out their blog and Tweet a post that you like. It is much better/nicer than just saying thank you.  A thank you is nice mind you but sharing a post link is even better.

Make sure that you have your blog link on your Twitter and Facebook profile; you want people to be able to find your blog if they are interested.

It pays to do a little research on Twitter for hashtags. If you don’t know what hashtags are it is those #words you see with #signs on them. They are useful in a couple of ways. You can find people with similar interests such as #writing #poetry #fantasyfiction - you can use them to help people find you - #writingcontest #anthology #flashfictionfriday - you can use them to chat #wordmongering #row80 #teamsprinty or to show people what you are doing #amwriting #amediting - you can communicate with #authors and #editors (ask a question with the last two tags and I am told that authors and editors read through them and answer the ones that interest them). 

That's all for now, if you have any questions let me know in the comment section. What have you noticed while blog hopping that you want to share? Do you have a pet peeve about something you weren't able to find on Writer's Blogs? 

If you found this helpful please share 



19 comments:

  1. splendid blog - much I knew - quite a bit will take on board - thanks

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, I am glad it was helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  2. All bloggers need to keep these things in mind. The keyword|tag thing I know I pay too little attentions to. The linking to their blogs irritates me - I even have a message at the bottom of each post asking they commenters do so, and still they do not. It takes so much longer then to find them somewhere - in the ever growing bloggersphere - to return the visit and comment. Sometimes I can't find them and I feel awful then. You made some great points here, which I shared :) X

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    1. I agree with Shah, with one caveat: a lot of bloggers don't have their blogs set up in such a way that allows the Name/URL form of comment (remember back at the beginning of the ROW80 when we were having problems with my posting on Shadow Rhythms?).

      It's a learning curve to be sure, and I appreciate the hints about Twitter (which is someplace I'm only marginally managing to grasp at the moment). And the keyword thing... Not sure what you mean by the shift | key being better than commas. How so?

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    2. Yes all bloggers need to keep most of this in mind but I was noticing a trend with Blogging Writers that told me they didn't do much research on blogging, maybe thinking it wasn't necessary, and decided to put the basics together hoping it would help. Shah, if I were you I would stop hunting down the bloggers that don't leave a link with their name. You have covered your bases with leaving the comment asking them to do so. If they don't it is up to them. You can always address it in the reply stating you would love to visit their blog but that they didn't leave a link. After that it is up to them.

      Eden, the shift | key is picked up better by the search engines. I am not sure why or I don't remember why. I just know that when I started using it and changed the way I did my keywords I noticed an increase in traffic from Search engines, not a great amount but some telling me it made a difference.

      Thank you both for visiting and I am glad you found this post helpful.

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  3. I agree strongly with the 'user friendly' section. Some sites are almost unreadable or very difficult to navigate.

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    1. Hi Hektor, Yes it has been a frustrating thing for me when I come to a page and can't find what I am looking for and/or their site feels like chaos. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you will visit again soon.

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  4. This is great! I just edited a post I had this week on blogging to include a link to this. I didn't even think to mention keywords. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for including it in your blog, I greatly appreciate that! I am so glad you stopped by and enjoyed this post.

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  5. Thank you so much for including the importance of email subscription. I prefer Email to a Reader. It is a big turn off for me if I do not get this option. Thanks for the great tips!

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    1. Hi Susan, Yeah I have been getting a bit frustrated myself. I used to just save everything in my favorites but over the past year I can never find what I want. Now I want to be able to receive their posts in my email so I don't forget about great blogs like yours. :D

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  6. Excellent post, Morgan, as always, in particular the Twitter information. As I am slow to social media, Twitter still does not make a great deal of sense to me but that said, I am beginning to appreciate its immediacy so there's hope. Also, keywords are so interesting, especially in your blog's stats so I really concentrate on those, and they have brought me some very interesting readers.

    Such a succinct post of such important information. Thanks so much.

    Peace to you, my friend,
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, somehow I missed this comment when you posted it. Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement!

      Peace to you blogging sister,
      Morgan

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  7. Wow, Morgan, the stuff I didn't know. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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    1. Hi Prudence, I am glad you enjoyed this post!

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  8. I would like to echo Susan's comment above - THANK YOU for including the "Follow by E-mail" bit. I have *finally* found a way to follow blogs I love and it is through EMAIL. I get SO sad when I can't find it on a blog that intrigues me.

    In addition, I know I am a major keyword mess, so, hopefully I can clean up my act. I just have one question: Blogger says to put commas in between the keywords, are you saying to use the line instead? Or is this instruction for putting keywords somewhere else?

    Thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I have had much frustration when visiting sites that don't have the "Follow by E-mail" gadget.

      Yes Blogger does say to use comma's but Sandi Krakowski, who wrote The 30 Days to a Better Blog, says this is a better way to do it. Check her out at https://www.facebook.com/SandiKrakowskiBiz And yes she says to work only with Wordpress but I decided to use it in Blogger and I haven't been disappointed. I do plan to explore Wordpress more and possibly changing at some point.

      Thanks for stopping by and all of your support!

      Peace,
      Morgan

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  9. Hi, Morgan. I knew most of this, but the advice on the keyword|separators is great! Who woulda thunk? Going to try it on my next post. do you think it's worth going back to a few posts and changing them?

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    1. I went through and changed all of mine. I also really focused on grouping keywords that I could put with most of my posts. The more posts you have with similar keywords the more the search engines will find them. Of course the content has to match. I wouldn't take too much time away from your writing to make these changes all at once. Figure out how many you can do a day and still keep up with writing/editing goals and do so many at a time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Peace,
      Morgan

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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