July 31, 2021
4 Year Blogiversary: 4 Things To Share
4 Things To Share About Being 4:
Having some FUN on the blog today celebrating an ANNIVERSARY!
If you’ve been with me for 4 years, thanks for sticking around! If you’re new here, welcome!
To celebrate FOUR, I have FOUR things to share with you.
4 Of My Best Blogging Tips:
Consistency (in posting, in promoting)
Start out in blogging by publishing posts at a rate that will work for you. Don’t jump into posting five days a week if it’s something you can’t maintain. It’s better to post once a week consistently rather than post inconsistently. I think that posting consistently builds trust in your brand. I started by posting once a week and worked up to posting 3-4 times per week. After every I post, I continue to focus on consistency by following a routine for promoting. (see next tip)
- Promote, promote, promote (develop a routine)
This was so hard for me! I’m not one to toot my own horn…..however, no one will find your blog without promotion. Some bloggers choose one social media platform, but I promote across several (and find that each platform reaches a different group of supporters. How do you start promoting? In your blog settings, you can connect to your social media accounts and your post will automatically publish to those accounts when you hit publish. I have my Twitter account linked (for my other accounts I prefer to write a more targeted and specific message). As you tweet posts from other bloggers, they will likely reciprocate. My monthly stats reveal that I receive more blog visits from Twitter than other social media platforms. Pinterest (although not a social media platform) is often tied for first (or at times out performs Twitter. From the very beginning, set up your social media accounts and start promoting. It took me a while to get going on this and my delay is one of my blogging regrets. Here is a post I wrote about social media promotion.
- Establish a Routine and Work Smarter
- I find I am most successful when I follow a schedule (I keep a separate blog planner). For me, I have a goal of posting on Tuesdays (#TTT, a discussion post, or ARC review), Thursdays (#ThrowBackThursday), and Fridays (main review of the week) as a minimum. There are weeks I’ve posted more, but three is a reasonable number to strive for each week.
- When I created templates and acquired enough bravery to copy old posts, blogging became significantly easier…i.e. less time-consuming. Using a template is a brilliant hack and I have a book review template, a Top Ten Tuesday template, etc. I also copy previous posts as a jump start (Monthly wrap-ups for example)……there is one danger with this: you MUST carefully edit out old information (like dates, feature image, excerpt blurb, etc.) Templates and copying previous posts are significant time-saving strategies.
- Working ahead is a hack for working smarter because it reduces stress. In addition to my content schedule, I devote Saturdays to blog maintenance and Sundays/Mondays to drafting and scheduling the week’s posts. On a good week, by Tuesday I have all the week’s content written and scheduled. This gives me “thinking space” for reading, social media, blog hopping, and creating more content. (Also? I’m retired, so I read and blog like it’s my job!)
- An important tip for establishing a routine (and working smarter) is to create drafts when the inspiration strikes. As I finish a book I will be reviewing, I start a draft of that post and jot down some initial thoughts. You think you’ll remember, but writing that post a few weeks later or even a few days later will cause you to work harder in trying to capture your thoughts and mood. I don’t worry about formatting at this time…I’m just getting thoughts out. If I have an idea for a discussion post, I start a draft. I always start my quarterly TBR posts early…as soon as I have one title (for example, I just heard that Fredrik Backman’s new release is set for October, so I started a Fall TBR draft!…..It’s much easier to work a bit at a time on a post than to work for hours the night before. I will also check out the Top Ten Tuesday list of topics and put them into my blog calendar and start drafts. If you’re looking for one consistent post to start with, the TTT meme might serve that purpose.
- My last tip I’ll list here is to check your spam folder on a regular basis. Whereas some bloggers might not ever check their spam folder, I like to check it regularly to check for legit comments. I have only found a handful, and I (99%) trust the WordPress spam filter. The reason I suggest checking it on a regular basis is that waiting will be overwhelming. If I wait a month, I am faced with about 1,000 spam comments. So I try to remember to check and delete spam once a week when the task only takes minutes (part of Sunday blog maintenance) and I have peace of mind knowing that a legit comment has been saved. What is your favorite hack for working smarter?
- Develop a community!
One of the greatest joys of blogging is the supportive and friendly worldwide blogging community! I’m an introvert, so I was nervous when leaving my first comments. First, you can be assured that leaving a comment is one of the best ways to support a blogger! Community cannot be underestimated. Jennifer @ TarHeelReader alerted me to the fact my Twitter option wasn’t working and walked me through the steps to straighten it out; Marianne from Let’s Read noticed that my gravatar wasn’t linked to my blog and helped me find the right screen to make that correction; Karen at Booker Talk is always gracious to answer my technical questions; and Kristen at Kristin Kraves Books has helped me with Story Graph and given tips on other apps. Recently, I invited a few (20!) of my blogging friends to collaborate on a post….you can find that post here: Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book. One last note about community is to emphasize the importance of acknowledging all comments with a like or reply (preferably). Comments are blogging gold. It is my goal to reply to all legitimate comments and if I’ve missed yours for some reason, it’s probably because it was filtered into spam. If you don’t respond, visitors will quickly lose interest in returning or leaving comments.
4 Things To Share With My Followers and Visitors:
- FIRST, a special SHOUT OUT to each of my followers and visitors! THANK YOU! This happens to be my 600th post which is a significant milestone for me! Your views, comments, and shares are treasures to me and they do not go unappreciated!
- I return ALL comments as soon as I read them, so if you leave a legit comment and for some reason you do not receive a ‘like’ or return comment, please connect with me in an email because I do occasionally find legit comments in the spam folder. Regarding spam, I trust WordPress to do its thing and filter the spam, so I usually don’t question their filtering system unless I happen to recognize you as a regular commenter. I try to check spam once a week, but they add up fast (hundreds in a month) so please let me know if I’ve missed your comment.
- Commenting on a blog is probably the number one way you can support your favorite blogger! (In addition to using my Amazon affiliate links for your shopping!). Thank you for supporting me!
- I tremendously enjoy having followers and blogging friends from around the world. The international book community is the best! One of the most treasured surprises this year is realizing how many virtual bookish friendships I’ve made in the book-blogging community! I’m not mentioning names here, but you KNOW who you are if you’ve interacted with me on our blogs! One result of the friendships is this recent collaborative post with twenty blogging friends. From this diverse community and virtual friendships, I’ve gained a support system that I’ve discovered is essential in the blogging community. I hope in your blogging world that you are connecting and conversing!
4 Things To Share With You About My Goals:
- Making progress toward updating all my old posts
#throwbackthursday has helped motivate me as I reshare one older review each week. By the way, I discovered that updating my old posts has increased my DA several points!
- Using the new WP Block Editor
I need to admit that this is a big fail! As long as Word Press is offering the Classic Editor an option, I’m using a ‘work-around’ by copying an older Classic Editor post as a template. This post shares my frustrations with Block Editor. Karen at Booker Talk has many blogging tips on her website and is always willing to help if she can!
- SEO is a work in progress and something I implement in every post to the best of my ability. SEO will also raise your DA.
- Increasing the number of Comments
Rather than focusing on views only, I have been tracking the number of comments which offers me more insight into engagement…a high priority for me. I have found that participating in various memes like #TopTenTuesday and creating discussion posts generate more comments. Book reviews will remain my primary content; however, I think a variety of posts encourages comments, attracts new followers, and overall benefits my blog. In 2018 I had 605 comments (my first FULL year of blogging); in 2019 I had 2,044 comments; in 2020 I had 2,937 comments; so far as of July 31, 2021 I have 2,274 comments (so I’m on track to set a new record). Thanks everyone for taking time and making an effort to comment!
4 Things To Share With You About Stats:
- If you are consistently working hard, your stats will show growth over time. The most important stat to me is the number of comments (see above) because I value engagement and discussion. But comments are the most difficult to generate.
- Stats are tied to social media promotion and the support of other bloggers.
- I don’t compete with other bloggers. There’s space for each one of us and our unique voices. However, I do compete with myself! I love to look at my stats, and it seems that the learning curve is never-ending. For other stats nerds and new bloggers who are interested in what four years might look like for one blogger, I’m available to answer specific questions about my stats. Overall, I’m very pleased with my stats and I’d love to share in comments (if you have a specific question) so that I don’t bore those who are uninterested.
- One big question that bloggers have is how much money can you make as a blogger? Well, my blog is a labor of love (reading, sharing, and connecting) and I don’t sell anything or accept money for reviews, so I haven’t set out to make big bucks…..but I figure as long as I’m doing this, I might as well use Amazon affiliate links and utilize WordPress Ads in hopes of recouping my expenses and padding my book budget. From this standpoint, I feel that I’ve achieved my financial goal. To provide a realistic picture, since April of 2018 (I didn’t monotize for a while) I have received $1,140 from my affiliate link and WP ads. It’s not much (considering the hours I invest!), but this amount covers my yearly expenses for my WordPress blog privileges (I’m on the Premium plan), secures my domain name, and allows me to purchase a few books a year. As the years go on, this amount increases due to increased viewers and traffic.
Thank you again, everyone!
Regarding blogs, Lashaan @ Bookidote once said, “I cherish its existence with my whole heart.” I completely concur Lashaan! Blogging requires a great deal of effort, determination, persistence, and time…but I love its existence with my whole heart!
Thank you, Readers and Followers, for supporting me with visits, likes, shares, comments, bookish conversation, and clicking affiliate links! I hope my reviews have encouraged you in your reading endeavors and have helped you find some great reads!
Signing off for now because I’ve used up my quota of exclamation points!
With gratitude, Carol
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.
Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book covers and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.