How to increase your blog comments

While all bloggers love to share their words, comments are the most exciting currency. Building up readers is an ongoing process and it can take time to create a network with fluent comments. The first question many newer bloggers have (and experienced ones for that matter) is how on earth did they get so many responses?

Unfortunately, there is not a quick and easy method that bypasses good, old-fashioned hard work. However, there are a few things you can do on a regular basis to generate replies (in addition to awesome, enticing content of course).

Ways to increase comments

 

1. Comment, comment, comment. I can not stress enough the importance of visiting other blogs as much as humanly possible and commenting on them. Blogging is so much about connecting and you get what you put out there. Seek out blogs that are similar to your own so that you enjoy the content as well as have the chance to make new connections with other bloggers.

2. Join communities. Communities are amazing resources for bloggers. A great example is the BlogFrog Communities, and the fabulous discussion forums over on SITS. Find relevant communities, whether business planning, blog writing, or any other niche that may fit your goals and become an active member. It’s a great way to find other blogs and increase your own’s visibility.

3. Ask a question at the end of your post. This is one of the most simple and most effective ways to engage your audience is to ask them a question at the end of your post. Did you share tips on how to frugally save and spend for the holidays? Ask readers to leave a tip they have used in the past. Was your article centered on creating a new look for a room in your home? Ask your readers to share their own design inspirations. The idea is to connect and engage.

What ways have you found to increase comments?

(P.S. Notice how I ended with a question? :) )

Blogs I Love {Old School Blogging}

Blogging has given me so very much. From close friendships, to business opportunities, and experiences I could never have imagined, it’s been an amazing experience. However, as with most things, life can so often get in the way. Between moving, and having a baby, and working, and looking for more opportunities, I too often collapse in exhaustion instead of carving out time for one of the things I love most.

My goal this month is to change that. To spend more of my time writing again, more time connecting with the community that I fell in love with years ago, the joy I get from blogging and everything that goes with it. While life certainly has been throwing plenty of challenges my way lately, this is something I can control, and I want to make a conscious effort to do that.

As I have been thinking about this so much lately, I came across this month’s Old School Blogging from The Miss Elaine-ous Life and Sellabit Mum. The theme? I Love Your Blog. Sharing 5 blogs that you love.

Now, although I could probably go into about 50 blogs that I love, I narrowed down a few of my favorites. This post helped me remember some of what I love so very much about this space- and reminded me to make more time for it.

Blogs I Love


These Little Waves

Several years ago, I came across a blog post that cut right down into the soul of parenting. Since then, I haven’t missed a post that Galit has written. Her honesty, her emotion, her simply stunning way with words make reading her a necessity.


The Kir Corner

(and Kirsten A. Piccini)

These count as one since they are both by the amazing Kirsten Piccini. Whether she’s tackling fiction or real life, her words completely consume you, until you feel like you are experiencing her journey right along with her. She is also an amazing person and has fabulous taste in shoes.


Life Without Pink

Tina was a blogger I connected with and read early on, and I’ve also had the pleasure of working with her. Her blog chronicles her life raising boys and the fun she has doing it. If you’re looking for the latest toys and products, along with parenting perspective, don’t miss this blog!


Erin Margolin

I first started reading Erin when her blog had a different focus, and loved her writing then as much as I love her honesty and expression now. Erin is an amazing example of leveraging her voice for a cause she believes in, and still maintains a raw, authentic voice as she goes forward. Everyone can do with some of her genuine honesty.


Things I Can’t Say

This is a blog you are probably already reading, and if not, you must start- right now. Shell spills everything on her blog that you might not be comfortable sharing in person, and always tells it like it is. She is honest, real, and shares all sides of life. (And I’m not even terribly biased because she’s my best friend and other half– everyone else adores her too.)

What are some of your favorite blogs? I’d love some links to add to my reader! Be sure to visit Old School Blogging for more great blogs. 


Old School Blogging

While those of us just linking up now are beyond late to the party (hey, many of us didn’t have kids ten years ago- it was easier to keep up!), we’re still joining in the fun of the Old School Blogging Meme. So when I was tagged by Nicole and then Shell, I figured I better hop to it! Such a fun and easy way to get to know fellow bloggers.


What were you doing 10 years ago?

Roaming the streets of Atlanta. Though not in a homeless way, more of the college student way, typically with a Starbucks cup in hand. I ditched a major and ended up confused about where I wanted to go next. But I did get to do it in a city that I loved.

What 5 things are on your to do list?

5 things? Can I even tell you that the day I get my to-do list down to five things will be a happy day indeed. I’ll pick the top 5:

  1. Get organized for Blissdom. Since it’s in 2 days and all. 
  2. Close on our house. First the one we’re selling, then the one we’re buying. (Almost there..)
  3. Sign the kids up for swimming lessons. Even though my oldest can swim, we just bought a house with a pool. So while we’re installing a safety fence before we even move in, extra steps of safety people.
  4. Get all the laundry done. For eternity if I could. But I’ll settle for the week.
  5. Become two weeks ahead with my blog. Hey, if I’m going to dream, I’ll dream big. It’s a goal to be that far ahead, and I’d love to do it this week!

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?

Here’s another one that I could go long beyond five.

  1. Cheese. Havartie, Brie, Camembert, Monterey Jack… I love me some cheese. 
  2. Fruit. Grapes, strawberries, apples, raspberries, blackberries, wine.. (hey it counts)
  3. Popcorn. Oh how I love popcorn. Bonus poins if it’s from the movie theater.
  4. Chips. The salty goodness. The empty calories. The oh-so-bad-for-you deliciousness of some good ol’ potato chips.
  5. Soft pretzel bites. And it has to be served with cream cheese.

Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire.

Oh the possibilities… The first thing would be giving some to family, and then supporting breast cancer and children’s healthcare charities. On the personal note, pay off student loans and kick my teeth disaster fixing into high gear. (side story- I had finally had my wisdom teeth removed, only to have my teeth shift out of place. After the trauma of childhood braces, I now have a gap in my teeth. Again. SIGH. Of course, I also have a 4 month old baby so dentist visits are tough.) And if I’m a really big millionaire, buy an island or a country or something.

Name some places you have lived.

Here’s another list that could get long! Let’s see.. Atlanta Georgia, Salt Lake City Utah, Panama City Florida, Hampton Roads Virginia, Anchorage, Alaska, and currently, the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.

Name some bad habits you have.

I laugh at the end of sentences. I have very little patience. I overuse the word seriously. Seriously.

Name some jobs you have had.

Blogger. Social Media Associate. Social Media coordinator. Office Manager. Coordinator of Chaos.

Now instead of tagging bloggers since they will run this again next month with a different meme, I will just direct you back to The Miss Elaine-ous Life and Theta Mom to check it all out!

 

Setting your blogging resolutions

As each new year gets underway, so do the blogging resolutions. While your motivation is going strong, now is the perfect time to evaluate your blogging goals and get the year started off right. I like to list several goals for the year ahead and save it in my drafts so I can review them from time to time- and see where I need to get moving! Here are three tips to shake up your bloggy new year:

Start something new.

The new year is a perfect time to introduce new features on your blog. Perhaps you want to start highlighting some of your favorite blog posts each week or invite other bloggers to share their stories on your blog. Consider asking experts or well-known influencers on your blogging topics to guest post, or share tips from some of your favorite resources each week. Whatever your focus may be, now is the perfect time to start something new.

Expand your social media presence

Have you put off setting up a Facebook Fan Page? January is the perfect time to go ahead and take the plunge. Do you need help getting started? Is this is the year you want to take your blogging to the next level or search for a job? Then you should be sure to have your LinkedIn Profile set up and accurately updated. With so many social networks around the web, it can be hard to pick and choose which to concentrate on at which times. Spend the first month of the new year picking one of them to try and to see what might be your best fit.

Let go of things that didn’t work.

Did you try a new feature or series on your blog last year that did not turn out as planned? Perhaps there wasn’t as much interest as you had anticipated or you found yourself losing motivation with the topic. Whatever the case, this is the perfect time to reevaluate your content. What did people respond to the most on your blog last year? Can you take this and turn it into something new? For example, if you shared a couple of recipes on your savings or fashion blog and people were interested, find a way to incorporate recipes into a series. If you focus on coupons and discounts, offer great recipes that can be made for low prices. Do you focus on the latest trends? Translate the season’s new styles into a fashionable menu plan. No matter what your blog focuses on, there are always creative ways to expand your topics.

What are some of your blogging plans for this year?

How to turn off blog comments

Have you ever wanted to disallow commenting on a specific post you wrote?

Perhaps you are guest posting somewhere and don’t wish to have any comments on your entry so that your readers go and comment over there; maybe you want to make an announcement or share something, but you do not want to discuss it in detail. Or, perhaps you have information or pages you don’t want to receive comments on. Whichever the situation, it’s easy to turn off comments for individual posts, whether in Blogger or WordPress.

For self-hosted WordPress:

1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.

2. Scroll to the “Posts” section and select “Add New”.

3. Important step- don’t miss! Make sure that on your Screen Options (which can be found at the very top of the screen, underneath your admin bar), that your discussions option is selected. There is a checkmark in the box next to “Discussion” on the options menu. (See the image below for help.)

4. After writing your post, scroll down beneath your post until you get to the section titled “Discussion”. Be sure to deselect the box next to “Allow comments” before publishing your post.

That’s it- the comments are off for that particular post in WordPress!

For Blogger:

1. Log in to your blogger account and select the appropriate blog, if you have more than one.

2. Click on “New Post”

3. After writing your post, select the “Options” under the “Post Settings” on the right-hand side.

4. Under “Reader Comments”, select “Don’t Allow”.

That’s it! Comments are disabled on that post.

WordPress Tip: How to restore a draft

Blogging problem: You spend hours creating the perfect post, adding in rich keywords, and loading a bunch of images that made it *just* right. Then, when you came back to the draft to make some changes, you deleted half of the post. Or, perhaps you shut the window before you were done saving. Panic attack time, right?

Not necessarily, especially if you were working on a saved draft of the post in WordPress!

To recover a draft in WordPress, follow these steps.

1. Navigate to Dashboard–> All Posts.

2. Select the post you want to restore and click “edit”.

3. On the top right of the screen, click the “Screen Options” arrow to show this menu.

4. Ensure that the “Revisions” checkbox is selected.

5. Once this box is selected, scroll all the way past your post entry box, past any seo options, etc underneath it until you see the revisions section on your post. The last revision may be by you, a collaborative author you work with, or even an auto save (which is the case in my example).

6. Click on the appropriate revision. If you want to compare two revisions, scroll down again to do select this. Once you select the appropriate copy, click Restore.

Once you land on the appropriate draft revision, hit publish or update, and you are good to go!

What other issues do you encounter blogging?

All new courses from How to Rock Your Blog!

Fall is in full swing, and we’re heading back to school- well, blogging school!

Announcing our First Round of Fall Classes!

 

Learning to share your content for increased exposure. This course will take you through utilizing social media platforms to increase your blog’s presence. We’ll walk you through tips on how to make your blog social media-friendly, how to set up and leverage the various platforms, strategies for growing your presence on the platforms, and tips for ongoing engagement. Practical advice, to-do lists, and weekly tasks & assignments will be covered in this course. Our goal is to help you leverage social media for better blog exposure! Ready to Register? Sign up now!

This class will start on September 17 and will include three live video sessions where you can ask questions and include private forum access to work through assignments. Live sessions will be held on Sept 18, Sept 20, and Sept 25 at 8pm ET. If you can’t make a live session, video will be available the following day.

Ready to Register? Sign up now!

Encourage more comments, readers, and engagement. We’ll walk you through the must-haves(and must-not-haves!) for your blog as well as explain how to ensure your blog is user- and PR-Friendly. You’ll have access to a live online session as well as a private forum to ask questions. A checklist will be provided for self blog evaluation as well as evaluation from other group members, so you’ll have fresh eyes talking a look at your blog.  Less time consuming than our full courses but cooperative in nature, this mini-course will help you make sure you’re getting the most engagement from your blog.

This course will begin September 17th, with one live session on Sept 24th.

Ready to Register? Sign up now!

How to submit a Google sitemap for your blog

We all know how important Google is for our blogs. Whether writing for your business, your blog readers, your customers.. heck, even your mom, you still want to be sure your content is out there and seen. An important question to ask is whether or not Google reads your site. Does Google know your content is there?

This is where Sitemaps come in to play, and today we will review the quick process required to submit yours to search engines- especially Google.  Essentially a list of pages on your site, Google explains, “sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover.” While Google regularly crawls content, submitting a sitemap ensures that your content is not missed, or even crawled a bit sooner.

So how do you create a sitemap? Google gives you the format, that is also used for Yahoo and Bing, among other search engines, in their Creating Sitemaps help. Or, you can try an online generator like this one found here to create a specific one for you. Are you on WordPress? (Brownie points if you are!) There are several plugins that will generate sitemaps for you, like the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

Once you create your sitemap in the manner that is comfortable to you, go to Google’s Webmaster Tools to submit it. Or, follow the alternate instructions from Google here. Just be sure to submit according to the guidelines- Google’s attention can determine whether everyone and their mother is reading your site— or if it is just your mother reading the site.

Are you on a Blogger blog (.blogspot or a custom domain)? Check out these instructions here to generate your sitemap!

3 quick ways to establish your blog’s brand

A significant part of blogging is establishing your brand. Many questions arise with this process. How do you come up with a name? What if you change your mind? How do you choose? With dozens of questions circling in your mind, determining a name and branding your blog can become downright stressful. Take a deep breath, think about your blog, and remember- it should be a reflection of you and/or your goals.

3 tips to determine your blog’s branding

1. Make a list! What do you WANT to write about? Do you want to cover specific topics and become a niche blog? Do you want to share tips, tutorials, and resources? Do you want to focus on your kids? Include something about parenting, mom, etc in your name. Consider how you want your blog to be known going forward. In addition, keep in mind that putting yourself in a specific niche now can limit you later, so be mindful of this detail when determining a name.

2. Decide on an end goal. If you are wanting to monetize your blog and see a source of revenue, then it is important to pay attention to the SEO (search engine optimization) of your blog title and tagline. Find terms that relate to what your blog will be about and try to incorporate them into your title and tagline. However, this may be less significant if you are wanting to use your blog as more of an outlet for your thoughts. While paying attention to SEO details never hurts, it will not be as significant if monetization is not a primary goal.

3. If you get stuck, start writing. One of my most common suggestions to people when they ask me about naming their blog is to tell them to get out their laptop (or a pen) and start writing. Make a list of ten blog posts you could write about right now- what is on your mind that you want to share with your readers? Did you find a great deal on shoes? Did you discover a fabulous antique dresser you just had to refinish- and want to document the steps? Do you just have to share a picture of your five year old’s artwork? Keep the ideas flowing- it will help you see where your blog is naturally heading and can make choosing a name a much simpler task.

How have you established your brand?

How to Beat Bloggers Block

Do you ever find yourself at a point where you hit the dreaded writer’s block? Except, instead of a block it feels like an entire darn wall? Sure, you could share a story about your kid, or what aggravating work situation happened that week. However, the week was so draining/frustrating/dull you don’t want to share- but at the same time, you’re still struggling over what to blog about.

Yeah. Me too. After putting in a full work week with our clients, running the kids around for the end of summer activities (and now back to school) and growing a human being, sometimes my brain is just too overloaded to come up with fresh ideas. If you ever find yourself in a similar boat, here are several tips to work around it.

how to beat bloggers block

1. Review your Mission Statement. Whether a business or a blogger, chances are you have a mission statement. Write a post about how your mission statement was conceived, how you strive to live up to it, or what it means to you. The insights packed into that statement can provide immeasurable content.

2. Share your first job, your first client, your first date, etc stories. The first time we all do things tends to carry a story- whether amusing, heartwarming, or just plain embarrassing. Still, whatever the emotion, sharing your first experiences is a great way to let your readers connect with you- and are usually pretty easy to write!

3. Call your mom. Or a friend, client, etc. The secret is to call someone who you know will say something a little crazy. Now, you do not want to be sharing your detailed conversations (necessarily), but an off-the-wall exchange or two can stir up all kinds of creative juices. (Or maybe this is just me.)

4. Read Facebook. Do you ever skim through Facebook and then rant to your husband about the things you read on there? (No? Just me again?) Take some of that indignation or aggravation and craft a well-thought out blog post based on something you’ve read. (Tip: try to avoid personal attacks and stick to the topics in general. Particularly if the person reads your blog!)

5. Call a friend and have the friend tell you what to write.If you are really stick and just aren’t sure what to write about,  make someone else choose for you. The results of giving someone else control (somewhat) of your content can be surprising- but in a really good way.

What are some of your go-to’s for generating content?