"Don’t judge an author by their website" might be indisputable wisdom, but it doesn't sell books. Yet even the most altruistic and content focused writer understands the benefit of having a hospitable blog. Making your blog user friendly and a fun place to visit even if you aren't selling your work on it, takes little time. Here's how to improve connectivity online and meet more readers and writers.
Make Connections with Other Writers:
- Follow other writer’s blogs. It takes just a few seconds unless your browser times out. And always comment on their blogs. Many writers will return the favor, follow your link back to your site, and give you feedback as well.
- Allow people to subscribe to your RSS Feed and provide an icon at the top of your site.
- Give other bloggers awards when you receive them. Aside from sharing links, they share appreciation, and help you connect with a community of writers. Peevish Penman awards The Peavbody Award.
- Organize a blogfest; probably one of the best tools to draw attention to your literary blog. Other bloggers will write posts on the topic you determine, link to your site, and return to visit the articles the day of the blogfest. Here's the tool from SimplyLinked.
- Do guest submissions for other writer’s sites and write articles for free that link back to your site. Links build your Alexa rating and help determine whether your site comes up in random searches. Or at least that's how I had it explained to me...
- Follow people on Twitter. Considering most of my traffic comes from Twitter, I think that is all the explanation required, but ask me in the comment section if you have any questions.
- Connect with other writers via Linkedin. I'm relatively new to this site, but many people I know have had great success with it.
- Add social media icons to your blog template so you can submit articles to sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and Technorati. The script that Peevish Penman uses requires that you add one block of text to your blog template and host the images for the links on a site like Photobucket. It’s probably one of the easiest changes to make and I'll include it at the end of this post.
Focus your efforts on just a few social media outlets-not all of these-or you won’t have time to scribble out any literary brilliance. Once you determine which work best for you, close accounts that you decide not to use and which are not active. An unused account is the closest thing to mold on the internet. You may not be aware it’s there, but that won’t stop it from giving other people the wrong impression. That reminds me, I have to visit Author Nation…
I personally use StumbleUpon to quickly find the most enjoyable sites for writers and then tweet them. Social Media sites that connect can be very useful.
SOCIAL BOOK MARK SCRIPTS:
In Blogger open your "Design" tab, select "Edit Template HTML" and then check the box to "expand widget templates." Then search or scroll down to one of the following locations:
1. The very end of the post before the footer. To do that find <data:post.body/>and put the code after the </p> tag or
2. Below <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-2'> if you can find that.
Copy and paste the following text:
<DIV align='center' id='Social' style='text-align: center'>
<TABLE align='center' border='0'><TBODY><TR><TD width='68'><a expr:href='"http://del.icio.us/post?url=" + data:post.url + "&title=" + data:post.title' target='_blank'><IMG alt='Add To Delicious' src=''http://j.imagehost.org/0106/delicious-webtreatsetc.png"></a><br>Add to Del.icio.us</br> </TD>
<TD width='68'><a expr:href='"http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=" + data:post.url + "&title=" + data:post.title' target='_blank'><IMG alt='Digg This Post' src='http://j.imagehost.org/0992/digg.png'/></a><br/>Digg<br>This Post</br> </TD>
<TD width='68'><a expr:href='"http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=" + data:post.url + "&title=" + data:post.title' target='_blank'><IMG alt='Stumble This Post' src='http://a.imagehost.org/0686/stumbleupon-webtreatsetc.png'/></a><br>Stumble This Post</br> </TD>
<TD width='68'><a expr:href='"http://technorati.com/faves?add=" + data:post.url' target='_blank'><IMG alt='Fave on Technorati' src='http://i.imagehost.org/0996/technorati-logo-webtreatsetc.png'/></a><br>Fave on Technorati </br></TD>
<!-- java code used for twitter link -->
<td width='68'><a expr:onclick='"return TweetAndTrack.open(this, \"" + data:post.url + "\");"' href='#'>
<span style='display:none;'>Reading: <data:post.title/></span><IMG alt='Tweet This' src='http://a.imagehost.org/0252/twitter-bird2-webtreatsetc.png'/></a><br/>Tweet<br> This Post</br> </td>
Replace the sections in BLUE with the links to your own images, which you can upload onto a site such as photobucket. You can easily find free social media icons that suit your design. For Peevish Penman, I downloaded a set of "Marker Social Icons" that look like this:
Before you save your template changes, always preview them. For better instructions as well as how to add Reddit and Google Bookmarks, visit the original article at BP Web News and Tips.
While more connections online with readers and writers won't improve your grammar skills or find you an agent, a concentrated effort to build connections will allow visitors to share your posts and make it easy for your readers to find and return to your site. It often happens that people will be browsing randomly and think they'll come back but then forget your name, your site's name, or they've bookmarked too many sites to find yours easily. Anything you do to make it easier for them will work.
by Carrie Bailey
Next week: Beautifying Writers' Blogs