light up the shining night stars

Look at the stars. See yourself in them.

5 things that make your posts more likely to be read — June 8, 2017

5 things that make your posts more likely to be read

5

Hey, you!

If you’re a blogger, you would of course want to get your blog more out and want that you posts be read more. There are always things you could do to improve, and today I’m here with the five most important ones—in my opinion. Let’s jump straight into it!

1. Provide a link on twitter

Twitter is one of the best platforms for socialising. Your tweet could reach tons of new people and gather attention simply with a retweet, or a hashtag. There’s no private/public boundaries and that makes it all the more better.

Build your account on twitter and frequently post links to your blog posts. Everyone has a limited amount of time to spend, and most wouldn’t bother searching through the net for your blog after seeing a tweet. Links make it so much easier.

2. Write a catchy title

This is a constant point of importance. I’ve seen it mentioned several times and have also started noticing the difference.

Try to come up with various ways to rephrase the title and pick the best. Also, try to be specific. It shows that you mean business and that you WILL deliver instead of simply rambling in paragraphs.

For example, “7 ways to improve your daily routine” sounds way better than “how to improve your routine” or “improve your daily routine in these 7 ways”.

3. Your post must promise (and deliver!) something

Use the same example as above. What will your readers get by reading your post? Let them know. And also make sure that you are delivering enough content on that topic to satisfy the reader.

4. Blog post header/main graphic

Graphics are very important. Pictures catch the eye, and with a bold caption on it, the graphic could very well double your post views. The featured image for the post must be aesthetic, catchy, and also going alone with the content of your post. Several times, readers get hooked through the graphic and not the line of text saying your title.

5. Hashtags on social media

Do you know what they are? Then use them everywhere you can! Hashtags are your best friend when you want to get more exposure. It is important especially on twitter. Include the category of your post or what it talks about in hashtags. This is to specifically target those looking into something for which YOUR post could help. When users search for those tags, your specific post shows up and it builds traffic. This is mostly to bring in new audiences.

 

Each of these points take a few minutes more of your time, but they make all the difference. In the end, though, it is also important to keep your readers. It all boils down to content. Make sure your blog post content is good, and the rest are just helping hands pulling you ahead.

Do you follow any of these points already? Do you agree with them? Can you come up with any other tips to hook in readers? Make sure to share them with us below!

Blogger remember-tos — February 27, 2017

Blogger remember-tos

Blogger remember-tos.png

There is more to blogging than just typing what’s on your mind. There are pictures to add, header images, website theme etc. But these are main things. I was thinking about everything that I have to do for the blog and I realised that all of them are regular things. So, here I am today to list them out, and maybe you’ll also start noticing them and doing it. But mostly, these are some things for myself.

Frequently check and update bio/profile/about page/static front page

I had set up my about page the day I made the blog. But I forgot to update them until months later. By then I had finished school, contrary to what I had written on my about page; a few months after that I got into college and remembered to update only a month later. We need to keep our info places up to date. Since I keep forgetting to do it, I thought I’d say this so y’all would be reminded of it too, in case you forgot like me.

Always read your post after it’s published for any typos or mistakes

I hates typos in my blog posts. I know that mistakes are easy to make when typing fast and I don’t find it irritating in others’ posts because it’s an honest mistake. But when I see a mistake of mine, I don’t like it. So I always reread.

If you publish your posts immediately after writing them, come back an hour or so when you don’t remember exactly what you typed and read through as if you’re a reader seeing it for the first time. If you are like me and schedule your posts, even if only hours advance, read them after they’re up and fix and typos. Either way, you could ask a friend to go through it as well.

Promote your recent blog post on social media

I forget to do this a lot, but recently I’ve been posting on instagram and twitter about new posts even if I’m late. Better late than never, right?

Remember not to stress about blogging. Blog when you want to only. Don’t force it.

For me, there are some days when I’m on a blogging streak and type so many posts and schedule them. This also means that there are days when I don’t have any ideas in my head and I just don’t want to blog. The first few times I tried to force myself and find inspiration, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Now, I’m pretty chill since I schedule posts in intervals and posts will go up from my last streak and I don’t have to worry.

But I know that a lot of bloggers publish as they type and feel guilty about not posting for a while. If it does happen so, simply chill. You shouldn’t worry about getting out posts regularly.

Read others’ blog posts as well

This is a given, obviously. Why do I have to say it? Because I sometimes forget too. When my college classes are going on, I’m very tired during the weekdays and only come on WordPress on sundays when I type and schedule posts for the following week. I am not able to catch up on a whole week’s posts, however.

Since I usually see vlogs of YouTubers every day, I hop onto WordPress after that and spend ten minutes reading and commenting. I try to do these when I’m tired because it does not take much effort. Reading blogs is like catching up with friends, and it makes me feel better.

Comment back

Lately, I’ve been trying to comment back on blogs. When a person reads my posts and comments, I visit their blogs over the next few days and try to comment on one of their posts. Sometimes, I don’t know what to say or they might not have posted recently, so I just like and check out a few more posts. I find some really good blogs this way, since I don’t blog hop on tags or twitter much. I try, and I think that’s what matters. I do this every 4 or so days so I can do many at once.

 

And that’s it! (For now) Hopefully, I’ll do a better job at all of them from now on.

Do you think about any of these too? Is there anything I’ve missed? Do you comment back? Do you wish you did? What are your remember-tos? What’s on your list? Let me know in the comments!

Things I appreciate as a blog reader — November 20, 2016

Things I appreciate as a blog reader

things I appreciate.jpg

Hey everyone!

We all start our blogs like wading into a whole new world with invisible people, where there are only words. And at some point at least, we are all confused and dumbfounded. I remember how in my first few months of blogging, this was me: someone help, people tell me if what I’m doing is right! Are you happy! Sure, after that I found my rhythm and got some confidence to not actively ask every post whether you liked what I’d written etc. I wrote what I knew, and I left it at that.

Yet, if you’re a newbie and are almost as lost as I was, here are some things that I appreciate as a blog reader, and I others might too.

1. An ‘about me’ page

I don’t know how many times in my posts on blogging I’ve mentioned this, but this a very important thing and I will promote it to death. Have an about me page on your blog, and preferably on the main menu, so I can read about you. It is always the first thing I look for when I find new blogs, and most times I read that before the actual posts. If there is no about me page, I get disappointed and will check out posts, but mostly wouldn’t bother following. And P.S., mention your favourite food too if you want. I just want some info about you. 

2. Mention what your blog is about

This can come either under the ‘about me’ page or in a separate place, but I would be grateful if it was mentioned.

For book-themed blogs and blogs whose theme is in their title, it isn’t required, but for blogs which have a variety of posts or don’t stick to a theme, this would be suggested. I, myself, struggled in the beginning as to informing my readers what all I blog on. Someone may follow me for reviews and unknowingly also receive the other stuff, which they might not like. Therefore, I’ve had a static front page ever since saying what all you can expect in my blog.

2. Comment replies

We all comment because we love your posts or want to start a discussion, and just responding to them would make a huge difference, in my opinion. Even if it is a simple thank you, there is no harm in responding. Personally, I tend to not like bloggers who ignore comments. Here’s my thought. Reply me, maybe?*

*see what I did there?

3. Social media buttons in the sidebar

I want to stalk you, I want to have you all over my feed everywhere! But, where are you?

I personally hate being in that condition of having to search for bloggers in social media. Most blogs which are a few months old usually catch on and have social media links in easily accessible areas. If you haven’t, I suggest you do! Just add links or icons to your other profiles, and you’re done!

4. Highlighted points

As much as I love reading blog posts, there are too many to read and I don’t have enough time. I love it when bloggers highlight points in their posts, especially discussion posts or long ones, so I can either skim or read in-depth too. I think I’ve mentioned this once before, but it helps a lot. Dividing a post into sections or under points works too. Sometimes, especially when there’s too much description or explanation in everything, I tend to read random lines along the post and just skim through. I’m not satisfied, but I don’t have the time either. For people like me, highlighting or making the points bold makes a lot of difference.


And that’s about it! To most of you, this would be old news, but I thought I’d put it out there to help anyone who is new. Note: all of this is from my point of view, and I can’t talk for everyone.

What do you appreciate as a blog reader? Do you agree/disagree with any of my points? Let me know in the comments below!

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts — November 12, 2016

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts

blog recharge chat final verdicts

After more than a month, we finally had another chat and the theme this time was Blogger Experiences. This was a very fun chat, in my opinion, and I loved reading everyone’s answers. Let’s get to them!

Q1. How did you feel when you made your blog?

We had a variety of answers for this one ranging from “like an idiot” to “I felt like I was walking in blind” to “proud”. Most people replied that they were nervous and didn’t know anything.

Q2. Did you have a plan in mind for what your blog was going to be about? Are you sticking to it still?

Most bloggers said that they didn’t have an exact plan in mind and they do still stick to the basic topics they had in mind then.

Q3. How did you feel when you got your first follower? Your first comment?

Many said they were overjoyed and a couple replied that they expected it, because one blogger would at least, right? It’s when the number increases that gets you excited.

Q4. Did you plan your blog first then make it or did you make it first and just rolled with it?

The main things like theme, topics etc were plans and the rest was rolled with because WE SO AWESOME YAS

Q5. Did you ever get a hate comment? What was your first and what did you do in response?

Almost everyone never received a hate comment, and that was very pleasing to hear!

Q6. After what period of time did it sink in that you’re actually a blogger and that you command your corner of the internet?

Most replied with a few months (ranging from 2 to 6). @writercharley said that she felt it sink in when she received her first book from a publisher.

Q7. If you could make a blog with any fellow blogger, who would it be and what would the blog be about?

We, of course, had a variety of answers for this one 🙂

Q8. Have you ever reached out to another blogger by email? Share your first experience!

Most bloggers said that they use twitter to reach out way more than emails as it is easier.

Q9. Have you ever wanted to delete your blog and go back into hiding? Why and how did you convince yourself otherwise?

Mostly nos, a yes, and one blogger did delete and make a new one. When you really want to, a fresh start is the way!

Q10. Share your most popular blog post! Let’s all check out each other’s blogs 🙂

And I had a fun time blog hopping to all the wonderful blogs!

This month’s chat was more conversational than filled with advice and tips, and it was super fun to have light conversations about our experiences!

Due to busy lives and super tight schedules, Charley and I aren’t sure when the next chat will be held. Mostly, there won’t be one in December and we might the next in January. Let’s see!

If you are interested in knowing immediately when the chats will be held, comment below with your twitter id and I’ll add you to the group!

What did you think about this month’s theme and questions? If you didn’t participate, feel free to comment with your answers below!

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts – September ’16 — October 6, 2016

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts – September ’16

blog recharge chat final verdicts

Another twitter chat has gone by! In case you’re now here, let me explain.

Charley and I hosted out first twitter chat with the hashtag #BlogRechargeChat back in June and due to so many requests, we made it a regular feature!

This month’s theme of the chat was blog posts. As usual, I will be saying the final, majority answers for the questions as a closure, and hopefully it will help all of you who haven’t participated in the chat as well!

Q1. How often do you publish a post?

There were a variety of answers for this one, as expected. Everyone’s schedules are different.

We found that Jamie (@booksandladders) is a blogging queen. She publishes a post everyday and also manages THREE blogs. How awesome in that?! She shared a post of hers about organising which was SUPER helpful. Here is the link to it.

Q2. Do you publish posts as you write them or do you schedule them?

Half the bloggers said they schedule, and the others publish as they post.

Q3. What do you do when in a blogging slump?

Now, Jamie being QUEEN said she doesn’t have to worry since she has posts scheduled months in advance.

Some people do tags, and others chill, waiting for it to pass.

Q4. Do you set aside time for blogging or roll with it? Which do you think is better?

Most bloggers just roll with it. Some wished to set aside time and blog. A few do a mix of both, depending on their posts.

Personally, I roll with it because my moods to blog are sporadic. There isn’t a guarantee that you’re inspired during the time you set aside.

Q5. Do you listen to music while blogging? Share a few of your favourite tracks!

Some do, some prefer silence, and for some it was both ways. Jamie (@booksandladders) said she listened to podcasts while blogging.

Myself, I prefer slow music which is more of tunes with words blending into it or soundtracks. I don’t like to be distracted with other words while blogging.

Q6. How do you usually come up with posts?

Jenn (JennieLy) said she pulls it from air, which might be an accurate for most. For book bloggers, its books of course.

For those struggling with ideas, themed posts are very helpful. Especially weekly features like Top Ten Tuesdays.

Q7. Do you have any go-to triggers or inspirations for your posts?

“Inspiration is everywhere” – Shealea (@bookshelfbitch)

Bookish Thoughts (@MyBookJacket) replied, “I recommend a hot water shower at night with vanilla scented body wash. Inspiration. BAM!”

Q8. Do you recommend taking blogging breaks if needed?

Definitely. Go for it. Chill out.

Q9. Do you try a different blogging post format if in a blogging slump or keep it constant?

Recommended to try it, it might work or it might not.

Q10 (a). How do you all feel inspired to blog after work/school?

Personally, I don’t. Unless I really need to rant about something.

@Cover2CoverMom said that she doesn’t watch TV so reading and blogging are her “me”time.

Q10 (b). What initially inspired you to BEGIN blogging?

My answer: as a personal project. I love taking up new things and blogging started off that way.

 

Amidst the chat, Riya (@riyshrma104) asked a few of her own questions..

What kind of blogs do you guys read the most?

The answers to this one varied with personal preferences.

What feature of a blog catches your eye the moment you open someone’s blog?

Blog layout, theme and colors. Also easy navigation.

We’ve discussed this in another chat which you can read about here.

Is blogging a hobby or are you thinking about taking it up as a profession as well?

Blogging as a hobby does not put any pressure to publish posts, but we might think of it in a later time! Shealea (@bookshelfbitch) answered that she sees blogging as a personal project, so no.

Which do you think is better? Anonymous blogger or getting yourself out there?

I answered that neither of them are “better”and it depends on the blogger and their personal preference.


And that ends another wonderful chat!

The next twitter chat will be on 5th November (saturday) at 9am EST/1pm GMT/5:30pm IST. We will be talking blogger experiences. This will be more of a conversational chat than one with advice and suggestions.

If you wish to be notified about chats immediately, comment below with your twitter ID and I’ll you to the twitter group!

What do you think about this month’s chat? 

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts – August 2016 — September 7, 2016

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts – August 2016

And we hosted it for the third time! Now it finally starts to sink in that I’m a co-host for a regular twitter chat.

Charley and I hosted the first one in June and since we got quite a few requests, we made it a regular feature. In August, the theme was Graphics. You can see Charley’s post on this chat here.

As last month, I will be adding in my answers in italics too as I didn’t answer myself during the chat.

Q1: Share your favorite program to use for designing your blog’s graphics.

For this, we received a variety of answers, as you would expect.

Personally, I use BeFunky for now because it’s simple and works. I hope to move on to something else like Canva soon, though.

Q2: Do you take pictures for your blog or do you use stock photos?

Most bloggers replied that they use a mix of both. Some prefer using their own photos which suit for their posts, and a few others just use stock photos.

I have a set background picture of mine that I use for random posts not requiring a type of header. Otherwise, I usually use stock photos for headers. In-post pictures are usually mine.

Q3: Do you design a different graphic for each social media platform? (Twitter, FB, Pinterest, IG, etc.)

For this, many replied that they just make one graphic and use it only for the blog. Charley answered that she makes a graphic so that it can be used everywhere.

I don’t use graphics for my social media at all. I just use in my blog and social media is different stuff. 

Q4: Mention one blog with an AWESOME header photo.

Charley and I fangirled over That Bookshelf Bitch‘s new blog design and her new blog header. She’s recently totally redone her blog and it looks amazing!

@Cover2CoverMom tweeted that she’s in love with @aimalfarooq’s header. OF course, I had to see and I’m in love it too ❤ Go see her’s at https://aimalfarooq.wordpress.com/

Q5: Do you like when a blog post has graphics for section headers?

Some like it, some dislike it, but the overall opinion was that it”s fine as long as it does not disrupt you from the content.

As long as it fits in with the content and theme, I like section headers. If it just looks awkward, I’d rather not have it.

Q6: Mention one blog with a fantastic featured photo graphics.

We all talked about @paperfury here. Of course we would. ❤

Q7: Do you prefer a graphic to flow with text in a post or stand out in the center?

Flow with the text was majority of the answers. Although Shealea (@bookshelfbitch) tweeted something interesting: It really depends on the purpose of the graphic. Is it there to complement or make an impact?

I prefer it to flow with the text.

Q8: Do you like it when a blog post has gifs in it? Share your favorite gif?

Some like it, some don’t like it. It depends individually. Overall, as long as there aren’t too many and they’re placed well, it”s fine.

I usually don’t like GIFs in a blog post. The only one blog I read which makes it work is PaperFury’s.

Q9: Mention your favorite, gif-user blogger.

Again, @paperfury. If you haven’t visited her blog yet, what are you waiting for?

Q10: Do you prefer a blogger to use the same background/font in each graphic or to change it up?

Overall, it would be best if you have some change. But advised to keep it all a bit similar.
I would like change and difference as long as it’s all under one theme.

And that’s it! This month’s chat was interesting, and I think I learnt a lot because I’m such a slob in using graphics.

As for this month, September, the chat will be held on the 24th at 9am EST/ 1pm GMT/6:30pm IST and we’ll be talking about brainstorming post ideas. All about how to come up with post ideas, inspire yourself to blog and hence how to keep your blogging consistent.
We hope to see you there!
What was your favourite question in this chat? Do you want to answer any of them, if you missed the chat? Comment below!
#BlogRechargeChat July 2016: final verdicts — August 3, 2016

#BlogRechargeChat July 2016: final verdicts

blog recharge chat final verdicts.jpg

After the huge success last month and requests from many bloggers to make this a regular feature, Charley from A Writer Named Charley and I co-hosted this chat again on July 30th. You can see her wrap-up for this chat here.

During the chat, I was also taking notes side-by-side and with everything, couldn’t give my own answers for every question. Therefore, I will be adding my answers in here, as well.

Q1: Mention the social media networks you think are important for a blogger.

  • Most people answered twitter, and quite a few people also said Instagram.
  • Some people mentioned facebook too, but through conversations we decided that it’s a personal choice and facebook pages don’t really help.
  • A few also said Bloglovin’ is important and we had discussions on what it is and how it helps.
  • @otherthingsblog answered that Pinterest gives inspiration but it is not required.

I would say twitter. Instagram for book bloggers.

Q2: How much time (roughly) do you spend on social media for your blog everyday?

  • Quite a few answers were that they spend way too much time.
  • In sub-conversations, we established that Hootsuite is a lifesaver when you want to schedule tweets etc.

My time depends everyday on how long I’m free. Somedays, its five minutes and others, its two hours.

Q3: Do you frequently juggle between blog and personal accounts or do you have only blog in some networks?

  • Even though bloggers have personal accounts, they are more active on blog accounts.
  • Many answered that they have only blog accounts since they don’t use for personal.
  • In conversations, it was agreed upon that the new update in twitter app makes it easier to manage multiple accounts.

I only juggle accounts in gmail and Instagram. It’s easy in my gmail app but since I have three on Instagram (personal, blog, bujofeature), my personal account takes a hit.

Q4: Do you expect a follow back if you follow someone on Twitter or Instagram?

  • A massive NO.

I follow because I want their feed, so no. But I HAVE noticed that many accounts in both twitter and Instagram follow just for follow backs. I get so very annoyed because of that.

Q5: What are your views on booktube+blog? Would you follow both?

  • Most usually just follow blogs.
  • It’s hard to find good booktubers.

I follow only abookutopia and even though I see many videos, I don’t follow many. I prefer blogs.

Q6: How often would you like to see Instagram posts (once a day, few days, etc)?

  • Quality over quantity, no matter the frequency.
  • Few times a week was the average of other answers.

I don’t really care as long as I get good pictures.

Q7: How do you feel about seeing multiple/frequent giveaway/sfs pictures on IG? Will you unfollow?

  • Ignore and scroll on. Don’t mind.
  • Unfollow only if too many.
  • @BookedUpBoss answered that she would unfollow if only those and blog posts. It’s boring.

Many times, I unfollow because that’s all I see. If its very few, I don’t mind. Sometimes though, these spam pictures will be so many but their pictures will also be good and I war inside.

Q8: If you follow a blog through email, would you mind if the blogger contacted you anytime about something?

  • No, unless its spam.

I wouldn’t mind either. This way, I would also feel connected to the blogger even if I don’t comment or have a blog myself.

Q9: Would you prefer if bloggers add social media links at the end of every blog post? What if social media icons are in the sidebar?

  • Half answers said yes.
  • The other half said that icons in the sidebar is enough.
  • Finally, it depends on the blogger. Just should be easy to find.

I don’t even register the links at the bottom and honestly, I could go without it. If I want to follow you, I would go to you sidebar or contact page.

Q10: Anything else you’d like to ask/say to continue the conversation?

The questions that rose from previous questions continued in threads and the chat completely ended totally about half an hour after this question. @diversion3000 and I were the last ones to exchange tweets. Honestly, I think we still wanted it to continue, lol.

 

Thank you all for participating in this month’s chat! We had so much fun and got valued suggestions. If you would like to be added into the chat group for instant announcements and info, let me know in the comments!

Did you participate in the chat? What was your favourite question/answer?

If you didn’t, I would love to see your answers in the comments below!

 

Blogging daily: all the deets and feels — July 24, 2016

Blogging daily: all the deets and feels

Blogging daily

As many of you might be knowing, I’ve blogged daily until June. It takes quite some time, effort and application of mind to get ideas everyday. Recently, I read a post by someone called How daily blogging for one year has changed my life. All the points are true and truer.

So, here I am today to tell you what I felt in my short period of daily blogging.

What it gave me

  • Creativity buzz everyday. I would try to think up new posts, what I could write on and draw inspiration from everything I read, see and hear. Half of my posts are about books so I also learnt to review MOST of the books I read. If I didn’t blog daily, I would have reviewed only a select few.
  • Some purpose. For most of the duration I had entrance exams and holidays. It gave me something to do and look forward to other than studying and whiling away time everyday.
  • Energy boost. Believe it or not, it actually gets me started. Some morning I type up my blog posts first and continuing the same drive, move on to other work instead of procrastinating. Otherwise, I would do some work and get things done so that I may somehow get ideas and write a blog post later. Common denominator-got me doing other things too.
  • Followers and stats. A couple weeks after I started daily blogging I found a tag called “postaday”. All the daily bloggers tag that in their posts and I started doing it too. Result-I got followers who appreciate daily posts and followed me for that. Ever since I stopped daily blogging this month, I’ve lost those followers and my stats are at an all-time low. I don’t mind, but it does make me sad.

What it took from me

  • TIME. Time is everything and daily blogging meant spending half an hour on posts every single day, sometimes more. This month, I’ve had so much time to do other things and this will help once college comes into the mix.
  • Concentration. Quite sometimes all my aim for the day was to publish a good post. Sure, I had holidays but I didn’t get things done such as rearranging or going out for something until I hit publish. This was not often but it did occur.
  • Other interests and hobbies: Blogging cuts into time, as I said, and it cut into my creative time that was usually for other things. I still found time to read (not as much as when I wasn’t blogging) but my arts and crafts, even writing, was hit hard.

 

Everything has its ups and downs, and for me blogging daily was mostly an up. I’ll be honest, I miss it. I even tweeted it a while back. I miss the creativity spurt, whirring mind and ideas coming forth. Now, I schedule a few posts and it keeps me on for some days. During those days, I just roll around in bed most of the day and waste time. I hate being unproductive. But! It also now gives me a lot of flexibility in time and I don’t have to worry about getting one up everyday.

I hadn’t made any commitment to blogging daily earlier like some other bloggers. I just started because I had time and rolled with it.

I got thinking about blogging lesser from the #BlogRechargeChat but blogging is also my own thing. If I find time and am able to with college, I think I’ll be back to daily blogging. I want to blog everyday again.

My links

twitter|Instagram|Goodreads|Pinterest

What are your views on daily blogging?

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts — July 7, 2016

#BlogRechargeChat final verdicts

blog recharge chat final verdicts

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that Charley and I hosted a twitter chat on June 29th with the hashtag #BlogRechargeChat. If you’re new here and don’t know, the chat was for bloggers and blog readers. It was to get info from blog readers about what they like, expect and look for when they visit a new blog. All the questions that we bloggers want to ask but don’t want to bombard our followers with “help, tell me, please!” were answered in that chat.

We got a very good response and participation that going through old tweets and convos (with personalised sub-questions!) is a tedious work. So, to make it easier for all of us, I decided to compile the most popular answers to every question so you don’t have to go wading around again to look for them.

 

Q1: Do you prefer a daily blogger or an occasional blogger (weekly or so)?

A1: Occasional. Two/three times a week is most ideal. Quality over quantity.

 

Q2: What do you first look for when you visit a new blog – posts, about, categories etc?

A2: Latest posts and about page. Blog design– easy, minimalist and clean. Also some of us agreed that we prefer about pages to be in first person and not third person.

 

Q3: What do you think should be displayed in the sidebar and what would you like to see in the main menu?

A3: Sidebar must have a short bio, recent posts, most popular posts, social media icons, search bar, follow methods and categories-in no particular order. Main menu must have about page, index and policy (for reviewers), contact page.

 

Q4: Do you prefer a one topic centred blog or one which provides a variety of posts?

A4: Variety! Everyone wants some change. Best is to find various posts under one large topic like books.

 

Q5: Mention one blog you love because of how it looks.

Q6: Mention one blog whose posts LOOK good.

Q7: Mention one blog whose posts you love to read and why.

Various answers and bloggers were tagged for these three answers so I’m not going to compile all of them (because I’ll become tired lol). @paperfury was given quite some love though.

 

Q8: Are you most likely to comment if a question is given at the end of a post or if you solely liked the content?

A8: Questions greatly help but on content too. Questions get us started.

 

Q9: Would you read a blog more if the person is active on social media?

A9: Social media is very important, especially Twitter. A lot of people find their favourite bloggers and more bloggers through twitter. It helps that twitter advertises you no matter which blog-hosting site you use.

 

Q10: Do you have any suggestion to make blogs better overall?

A10: Here are the points tweeted in reply:

  • Respond to comments
  • Make your layout better and good
  • Post regularly. Keep constant.
  • If you are taking a hiatus, let everyone know. (@booksandladders)
  • If you only write about ABC and now want to start doing ABC+XYZ, make sure your readers know (@dani_reviews)
  • Three Cs of blogging: Creativity, Consistency and Content quality (@bookshelfbitch)
  • There is a difference between posting CONSTANTLY and posting CONSISTENTLY.
  • Make note of font size and elegance.

 

There were also mentions of…

  • Blog button: which are apparently really important and are 75% necessary for blog advertising.
  • Blog community roll: this is going out of trend/use and one person commented that seeing it would be nice.
  • Disqus comments: A few people suggested that this plugin be used as it is easier. Note: I don’t think its available for WP free users.

 

And those are all the main points I rounded up from this time. There will definitely be another chat. We are planning for July 30th(saturday), 9am EST/1pm GMT/6:30pm IST and the theme will be Social media and connections outside your website. Mark your calendars and make sure you participate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini blogging tip — June 8, 2016

Mini blogging tip

Hey everyone! So for today, I’m sharing a small tip about blogging which you may or may not already follow.

It’s the way to tag other bloggers.

Now, most of us link the blog’s home page and because of that, especially when it’s in awards or serial tags, those bloggers don’t know that you’ve nominated them unless you tell them.

Instead of spending more time on that again, the simple way to do both at once, is to take another few seconds to go to one of their posts (the latest or about pages are easier) and link that post instead of the homepage. This creates a pingback to that post and the blogger will be notified of it and which post they’ve been tagged on.

Now that person, or if you get a pingback, and it’s on a totally unrelated post or you don’t want it public, you can simply not approve it. That’s it 🙂

How I balance life and blogging — June 5, 2016

How I balance life and blogging

I saw this over at Fictional Living and thought that I’d do a similar post too. I don’t usually participate in the weekly conversations meme but since this topic is interesting, I’m only doing this one (yet).

Now, how do I balance life and blogging? I’m not sure, really. I won’t say I’m bad at it because I’m pretty good at posting and keeping to schedules; but it’s more of a free thing. As most of you know, I’m a daily blogger and sometimes it might feel overwhelming to post every single day, but it’s really not that hard.

I carve out about half an hour per post. I just write them and post them. A lot of times when I reread my posts a few days later I think about how I could have done something else, written it better; but you know what? It’s okay. I just leave it.

Now, since I only take about half an hour, I go about life pretty easily. Only rarely I don’t have ideas to post about so I don’t spend time thinking about what to write on.

As for the guest posts and book ours, I type them out and schedule them. That day, I don’t have to worry about getting it up in time. Scheduling is an amazing thing. On days when I’ve already posted something and still typed another one, I schedule it for later and the next day I don’t have to worry.

So, what I mainly do to blog effectively and still not waste a lot of time on it:

  1. Don’t worry about posting. When I get the idea, I write it down or make a draft on my notes app and later expand it into a full post. That way, I have at least three-to-four ideas still on my phone right now that I can pull up when I’m blank.
  2. Schedule whenever you can. Instead of posting two posts on one day, save the second for another day. Once, I had posted FIVE posts in one day and a few days after that I ran out of ideas and didn’t post. Don’t let that happen.
  3. Don’t strive for perfection, you will never be satisfied. Imperfections are good too. We don’t want some highly professional writing or reviews, we just want what you think. Pour yourself into the post, make a few changes if you want, and publish it. Don’t spend an exorbitant amount on editing and changes.
  4. Blogging isn’t everything. Don’t put your life events on hold for it. When it’ll come to you, it’ll come to you. Don’t be too worried, and just have fun. Say what you want, and if you have nothing to, you don’t HAVE to. I know the blogosphere is better than IRL 😉 but we will wait, life won’t.

And that’s it. I hope you could get something, a small teeny tiny morsel from this.

Have a great day! 🙂

Static front page: things to do — May 30, 2016

Static front page: things to do

Hello fellow blogger! Here is another post on blogging tips and suggestions. In this post, I will be talking about what to do when you want/have a static front page.

Admittedly, having a static front page doesn’t mean you just write a welcome post and leave it at that. Visitors have to be able to access your posts and view them.

First, why a static front page, you ask?

I would refer you to my own static front page. Now, what do you see?Basically, static front pages are for giving messages to new visitors and telling them a little about your blog or yourself. Personally, I use it to say what I post about in this blog.

Since visitors are prone to scrolling only a few posts in a blogroll before deciding, it sometimes limits what my blog is perceived as since I post a variety of posts.

Now to the main part, your work doesn’t stop after putting in a static front page. It might say what you post about, yes, but visitors still want to see your posts to get a feel of it.

Most people do this even if they keep blogrolls but it is more important for ones with static front pages. Display archives, categories and recent post widgets in the sidebar. This will make it easier to navigate and access posts.

Do add a separate blogroll.

Until a few days back, I didn’t keep a separate blog roll and instead added a “P.S.” after my message and told my visitors to navigate through the sidebar widgets which made it harder and taxing for them. I, too, felt it wasn’t good.

Only now though, I had time to research and find out how to put in a separate blogroll. I was really confused at first to how it works, but I finally tried and got it.

How to add a separate blogroll:

  • Name your static front page to anything other than “Blog”. Example: Home (I named it Welcome Aboard)
  • Make a new Page and name it “Blog”.
  • Don’t put any content in the page.
  • Make it a “top level page”.
  • Make sure the comments are off for the page.
  • Now go to customise your blog and add the page “Blog” in the main menu.
  • OVER!

Apparently, the word “Blog” as a Page name is some kind of trigger. It automatically creates a blogroll. Although, for my theme it doesn’t come as a regular roll but it is cool the way it comes for me in desktop. In other themes, it might come normally.

Sometimes when faced with a static front page (which a lot of things sound like a first post), visitors might think that the blog has just started out and there is no content. I’ve had to say it quite a few times and later added it in my front page that “yes I have posted content”.

To curb that, make sure your Main menu has some links. Put some widgets in your sidebar that show your posts (like the ones I mentioned above) and make your blog look filled. Suggestion: try not to write the message in your front page such that it looks like a first post.

Working around static getting pages take time. Especially to find what you like as well as what would be appealing to visitors. Don’t rush perfection. Develop it over time and don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t click immediately. I took a while to like it, but I kept through because my reason for putting a static front page is valid.

Do you have a static front page? If not, would you consider having one? What are your thoughts on this?

What to have on your blog — May 12, 2016

What to have on your blog

This is sort of a post more relevant to new bloggers. Most of you might already know all this.

In the short while I’ve been blogging, I’ve visited a lot of blogs.

Now, when I go to a new blog, there are certain things I look for. Assuming this is an opinion shared by others too, I’m going to list out the things that (I think) should be in a blog.

Blog roll.

Obviously. It’s there is every blog. Why do I need to say it? Because I don’t have it myself. Then why are you saying this, go make your own blog right first. You see, the main purpose of a blog roll is to get the idea of what kind of posts you publish. Are they personal/book related/writing/photography/any other? If you have a static home page, make sure you mention what kind of posts we could expect if we subscribe to your blog. 

That’s what I’ve done. Personally, I like having a static page so a visitor would understand what my blog is about. I might have posted a few consecutive book reviews, but my blog isn’t limited to that. I want that point to get across. Sure, if your blog is mostly about one thing, then blog roll is good.

Note: what you write on your static page is different from what you write on your about page. Static page—about blog and posts. About page—about you.

About pages.

We want to know the person behind these words. Even if the author is anonymous or this is through a computer screen, most times I would like to get a feel of the person. Even writing just your hobbies, likes and dislikes helps, if you don’t want to say your age. (Not saying name and area of living because that is not really required for a blog anymore)

The way your about page is written shows a lot about you. For example- is the blogger formal, casual, funny, sarcastic, etc. We get it by the tone of writing itself. So, I suggest that you make the about page like you as much as possible. Don’t just be formal, it’s not a resume. People of the blogosphere are incredibly kind and amazing, they’ll like you for you.

Sadly, I’ve seen so many blogs that don’t have an about page and that becomes one of the reasons I don’t bother to find out more.

Contact page.

First and foremost-have an email where you can be contacted. Either make one separately for the blog or use your old one.

Few points to note on whether to use a separate email.

If you make a new one, in the beginning your inbox might be empty (which might make you sad) but once you start reaching out and start taking part in things, you might find that having separate accounts is helpful.

  • Keeps your blog-related things and personal things separate so it won’t get mixed up. For example, my book review and tour details are separate from my college applications one.
  • You won’t have a cluttere d inbox since you have two inboxes.
  • You can be anonymous and all the info on your personal account will not automatically be shown to any random person who contacts you through the web. I find this helpful because I don’t want just anyone knowing where I go to school etc which they might since my gmail account is linked to my google+
  • You have a feeling that you are actually doing something related to your blog. Now that I’ve started emailing bloggers and decide blog tour stuff on another account, I feel like it justifies me having another. Also, having an empty inbox motivates me to do things.

Contact pages could also mention various social media accounts (which everyone knows, why am I saying it exclusively?).

Sometimes, when I want to randomly talk to a blogger or say something about a post which I feel might be rude/embarrassing to mention in a public comment (like, you missed mentioning your ratings or a name is spelled wrong), I do it via email. I try very hard not to seem offensive so email is my to-go. Please have a contact page, at least just for people like me.

Subscribe button (preferably in the sidebar)

For fellow WordPress followers, you don’t have to have a separate WP follow button because it just appears in the right down corner.

But do make sure to have an email subscribe button. Not many times, but I have seen blogs (especially the infrequently posting ones) which I would prefer to see in my email than wait for in my news feed. That is a personal thing but this is not the only reason.

People who are not on WordPress but still stumble upon your blog need an option to receive your posts in their inbox. Hardly anyone would make an effort to keep checking your blog and wait for new posts.

Coming to the lesser important things..

Categories list in the sidebar

If the visitor is only interested in one or two of your topics, he/she can only browse through them if they wish it.

Search bar/button

I’m not sure why I have this under lesser important things because it’s really important.

For you: you can search back posts to link them to new ones or to double check. You always need a way to sift through your own blog.

For followers: they can search posts to link them in their blog posts as referring. Also to see an old post again because they liked it etc. I once used a search button at someone else’s to pull up a specific book review of theirs after hearing that they reviewed it.


And that’s all (for starters)! In the end, of course it is all upto you what you want to do. Add more things to fill up your blog, make it good, make it you.

In the end, if you like your blog and it is like something you would follow and like, that’s good.

This was everything that I got as a newbie only, so please don’t be disappointed if you expected a post showing lots of expertise.

P.S. I thought of doing a post of everything to make sure of when you keep a static front page (because I have experience and there are quite a few things). Not sure though. If any of you want it, or anything else, comment below and I will make sure to post about it.

Wrap-ups: the point to it — May 11, 2016

Wrap-ups: the point to it

Most of you might already know everything I mention in this post. But this is kind of telling what I’ve learnt so I’m going to post it anyway.

Wrap-ups are pretty common in the blogging world, especially the book blogging world. The basic idea is to go back and see what all you’ve done, posted and achieved and list them out in a post for your readers/followers.

I’ve only been blogging close to four months. Now, the amount of things I’ve learnt over that period of time is nothing short of phenomenal. If you’re like me and are a dumbass (no offence), you might have hardly known about much when you made a blog. One of the things you see a lot is wrap-ups.

Almost every point about it is a pro:

  • It is beneficial to you because you go over everything and will be happy for all you’ve done or you so be fine and vow to do more next month.
  • Your readers can check and see if they’ve missed anything.
  • Generally writing wrap-up posts are fun.

The last month was the first time I did a wrap-up and even though it was totally only about books and not about my life or anything else, it was fun. But looking around, I see that wrap-ups are not just for books, if you want.

Things that can be included in a wrap-up:

  • What you did in your personal life: such as new friends, school updates, where you went for a trip etc.
  • Things you bought: stationary, clothes, jewellery, basically anything.
  • Finishing up of goals: such as going to the gym everyday, eating only vegetarian food twice a week or venturing to a new part of town alone.
  • Your crafty side: such as a self-made bookmark, home deco, a miniature model with ice-cream sticks etc.
  • All the discussion posts or ones on heavy topics on your blog: listing it all out and looking them. Seeing how you are showing your views about important things.
  • A separate line like I FINISHED FOUR MONTHS OF CONTINUOUS BLOGGING.
  • New: bloggers you love, songs you’re obsessed with, amazing book that you recently “discovered”.

And many more. Literally anything you want.

I follow a blog of an author (debut, I think?) who does this weekly. She sets up goals and next week she crossed off which she accomplished and makes new ones for the following week. That’s a really cool system and also to be productive.

Oh since we’re on the topic, she’s looking for beta-readers for her upcoming book. I didn’t take part as I’ve already committed to a lot things and that time is when I’ll be sifting through colleges. If you are interested, here is the post talking about it.

So, the next time I do a wrap-up, expect it to be a lot longer.

Struggle to Stay on Task…? Here’s How to Fix That (For Travel, Food & Book Bloggers) — April 25, 2016