Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blogging for Writers: Tips, Tools, and Resources

Blog (1)

Here's a collection of blogging articles and tools, ranging from getting-started tips for beginners to code tweaks for writers who don't mind a little HTML under their finger nails.

Blogging Tips

13 Simple Tips for a Better Blog from agent Rachelle Gardner
Mostly common sense stuff, some of which I often forget. (Note: she recommends short posts of 300 words. I'm finding length doesn't matter.)

How Not to Blog from Anne R. Allen (a writer and one of my favorite publishing bloggers)
Part II of a two part series from her. Includes some advanced tips.

25 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic
Lots of good stuff, some basic, some more advanced.

10 tricks to get your readers commenting
More good common sense.

Use Social Book Marking to Increase Traffic
Social bookmarking refers to sites such as: Digg it, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Delicious. You post a link to a blog entry on one of these sites and it goes viral. Ha! I posted my links on several of these sites for a month and got very few clicks. Also, the sites can be a pain to use -- maybe you'll have better luck. For now, I've settled for including links that allow blog readers to add my posts to these social book marking sites. (See links in "Bookmark This Article" in right hand column on this blog. No, I didn't put much effort into making it attractive.)

Blogging Tools

WordPress or Blogger? 
This article offers an depth evaluation of the two.
The Upshot: Blogger is simpler and cheaper, WordPress is what the big dogs use.
(This blog runs on Blogger and, aside from the limited number of add-ons, I'm happy with it. For example, I was looking for a free pop-up to ask readers to subscribe to my blog. I found one freebie that didn't work -- see below. I suspect WordPress has a lot more options.)

22 Top Blogging Tools Loved by the Pros from Social Media Examiner, a site worth subscribing to.
Note: I haven't tested out any of these tools. My assumption, unless otherwise stated in the article, is that the tools work with both WordPress and Blogger.
One that looked particularly interesting:
#15: Optin Skin
Adds nice e-mail opt-in box to end of blog posts.

Sources for Free Photos and Clipart
(Haven't tried them all -- some you have to root around to find the free stuff)
Free Images UK
Creative Commons, the grandaddy of them all -- lets you search other free sites, such as Google Images and Wikimedia. (I used Creative Commons to find the "blog" image at top of this article.)

Blogging Tools Specifically for Blogger Users

Change the Title Tags in Blogger for More Search Engine Traffic
Nice little workaround. Was a little scary adding the code, but so far it seems to be working. (Making this change is supposed to help with SEO.)

Blogger Plugins
Some useful, some crap, but worth a look.

Tools to increase blog subscribers by adding a pop up E-Mail subscribe Box to Blogger.
- Geeky option (I couldn't get this to work. Maybe you can.)
- For others options, Google the words: pop up email subscribe box
- I lost patience with all the free pop-up options and adopted a less automated solution: I inserted the appropriate code from Feedburner in each article to create a "subscribe" box (see below). Here's how to do it.

For More of My Book Marketing Tips, See:

- Is online book marketing a waste of time?

Tips for Reading Your Writing in Public

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