July 31, 2021
4 Year Blogiversary: 4 Things To Share
Balloon Banner Image Source: Unsplash
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
Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book 2021
My Best 6 Histfic Reads of the Year So Far
Let’s Get Social!
Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.
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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.
Happy blogiversary!!!🎉🎉🎉 Great tips in this post.
Thanks for commenting Jo!
Happy 4 years of blogging!!
Thank you so much! 😍
Happy 4th blogiversary Carol! Love this and all your tips as well! 🎂📚
Thank you friend! 😍
Great advice and happy Blogversary!
Thanks so much for stopping in and commenting!
I love your blog. I just am not a lady otherwise I would ask to guest blog lol. I really want to collaborate more.
Thanks for your kind word and for commenting!
Congratulations on the milestone – you’ve come a long way in a relatively short time.
I should learn from your good practice of capturing thoughts on a book as soon as I’ve finished it. It takes me ages to get around to writing a review and as you say, often times I’ve forgotten key pieces of info.
Thanks for the mentions by the way – one day I will get you to cross to the dark side of block editing !
Thanks for your support Karen! Because I usually read on my kindle app on the iPad, I jot notes in the notes app during and after reading and then enter them into a blog draft the next time I’m at my laptop. It’s been very helpful and it always jump starts my review post to have those initial thoughts captured. I’m counting on you being there on the day that WP suddenly tears Classic from my clutches!
Thats a good method. I read more physical books than e books so note taking feels more disruptive – because invariably I don’t have a pen/paper to hand. So i resort to post it notes – but then can never remember why I used some of them 🙂
It is frustrating to have paper and pen nearby! Have you used the book darts or the narrow post it’s that point directly to a line? Something like this color coded system….
That’s an interesting ideas. Thanks for the suggestion
Ahh congratulations!!! I love all of this. I am so happy that I could help you with The Storygraph.
I completely agree with building a community. I love supportive bloggers are of one another!
Thanks Kristin! Book people are the best people!
Thank you so much!
Congratulations on four years! This post would help any blogger. I’ve so enjoyed the blog, Carol. ❤️
Hi friend! Thanks so much Gail! It’s been so fun!
Happy 4th year! Love the blog! ❤️
I think you were my first follower Gail! 😍
Congratulations to your blogiversary. I*m looking forward to the next four years with you.
Thanks for your virtual friendship Marianne! By the way, I was able to leave a comment on your post by using my laptop instead of my iPad!
And I replied yesterday. I hope you received a notification.
And thanks for your virtual friendship, as well. I learned so much from you.
Even though my comment goes through, I still don’t receive a notification for a response. I have to remember to go back and check the post. I did notice the last time I commented that there is a tiny box to check if you want an email notification but I noticed it too late as I was clicking publish..so I’ll need to slow down and see if that works next time! The best thing is to be figure out how to change my iPad settings so this stops happening!
Ah, that might be a reason. But if they don’t show you the litle box, you can’t tick it. 🙁
Happy anniversary Carol. You have been a lot of help to me in my blogging journey. I’ve saved several of your blog posts throughout the last couple of years and refer back to them frequently. This post has so much good information in it; I plan to start working on a couple of your tips when I get back from vacation. Working full time, there never seems to be enough time to do more than just write and post. I look forward to the day when I retire and can spend more time on this labor of love cause it certainly isn’t being done for the money. lol
Thanks Gayla! I could never do this while working full time! You’ll have lots of fun challenges to look forward to in retirement!
Happy Blogiversary Carol!!! (Some more exclamation points for you) Some great tips here. I agree, I blog because I love all the people I meet virtually and to share some great books. I have not looked into affiliate links, but maybe I should. Great post.
Amazon affiliate links works in the background for me…I never need to think about it—except to link up the book titles. It’s delightful to receive an Amazon gift card in return every so often! It’s fairly easy to get started.
Thanks Carol, I will have to check it out. It might be something I could do.
The application is really simple and the only requirement is that you have to have 3 purchases through the link within 3 months ….at least that’s the way it was when I signed up for US Amazon. When I shop Amazon I always use my link! If you can get your family and friends to use it, you’ll be set! It’s not the book purchases that earn the most money…it’s the other purchases people make! I think once a person clicks your link, it’s active for 24 hours….so if they come back the next day to shop and the Amazon tab is open and they use it, you get the credit!
Thanks for the info, Carol.
I was so glad to find your blog, recommended by my daughter. Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much Virginia! I’m happy we’ve connected here!
Congratulations and Happy Blogging Anniversary!
You always accomplish what you set out to do and your energy is inspiring. I enjoy your book reviews and have read many a good book on your recommendation. Thank you for your thoughtful and honest reviews. 💖👍📚
I’m so happy to hear from you dear friend! I’m thrilled to hear that my reviews have been helpful to you! Do you listen to audio books while you’re driving cross country?
We most certainly do!😁
Tim and I just listened to Project Hail Mary on audio and loved it so much! Great story!
Happy Blogiversary!!! I am very much new to the blogging world and I’m always down to learn , thank you very much for your tips!!! hope you have a great day
Thanks for commenting Mira! Welcome to the wonderful blogging community!
Great tips! Happy 4 years! What does DA stand for?
DA is Domain Authority and basically it’s the metric for how high your site will appear in a search engine results. Right now mine is 26-27. You can check yours or anyone’s for free by going to http://www.Moz.com …..DA can vary from time to time…last week mine was 27 but now it’s 26. From what I can figure, 30 and above is considered good. 25 is acceptable. Once when a Twitter account was asking for collaborators, she had a requirement of a DA of 20 or higher. That’s when I decided to investigate! Good SEO practices raises DA….but like Instagram the algorithms are nebulous and mysterious!
Happy 4th Blogiversary, Carol. Although we’ve never met in person, I consider you one of my fabulous blogging friends! I was so very honored to participate in your summer blog collaboration. I was always aware of DA, but have been watching mine a bit more closely of late. I’m currently up to 26. I’ve seen a rise since I switched to Rank Math(hit me up for an affiliate link) to help me tweak my SEO. I hope the next 4 years are as fun for you. Happy reading & blogging!!
Thank you Gina! I’m thrilled we’ve connected through blogging! A DA of 26 is a good number. Congrats! After months of remaining stagnant, I saw my DA rise steadily when I started updating old posts. Now it’s plateaued again. I’m at 26 currently. I haven’t heard of Rank Math. Thanks for sharing that tip!
Like Yoast, Rank Math has free & paid options. RM seems to suit me a bit better. I like the reminder of the little details I might otherwise miss to up my SEO. I like your idea of watching the comment stats. I just checked mine. They are up a lot this year. I’m 2.5 years old on my blog. Engagement it key!
Congratulations on four years, Carol! And thank you for the great tips. I always appreciate when you do a post like this and often bookmark them to look at again. My favorite thing about blogging is meeting others who love books too. It is such fun. Like you, I love commenters!
Thanks Gretchen! I’m thrilled you find my blog reflections helpful! Book people are the best people! By the way, I commented on your TTT post using my laptop and I think it went through! When I commented using tge laptop it asked me to prove I wasn’t a robot which my iPad had never asked…so I think that’s where the glitch is.
Yes, thanks Carol. I saw your comment and replied. I hope you can get it straightened out.
Someone told me it was the tracking setting on my iPad….now I need to find that!
Hi Carol, I loved reading your 4s and happy anniversary to you and your blog. I enjoy your posts and the community you have created. It was great to join you for your recent collaborative post and i will be linking to that in my July wrap up post in a day or tow. I am also retired and work at my blog as a job, but one that I actually love doing. I don’t use any affiliates or ads but that’s just my personal preference. I sometimes change my frequency of posting but generally stick to 3-4 times a week. Your tips are all sensible and very useful, so many thanks 🙂
Thanks for your support and reflections Debbie! I’m thrilled to have connected with you through blogging! Your blog inspires me with every post!
Isn’t blogging a great way of meeting new friends Carol? I’m really happy to have you in my world too 🙂
It’s been the most delightful surprise of blogging! 😍
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Thank you! 😍
Happy blogoversary, Carol! I can’t remember when I first found your blog, but I’m pretty sure it was because of Top Ten Tuesday (which is where I get most of my new followers, too). Regardless, I’m so glad I found you and your wonderful blog. It’s been fun to interact with you. I agree that the community is the best part of book blogging! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom 🙂
Thanks Susan! I’m sure we probably connected because of TTT! I’m thrilled to have found you! Your blog redesign is exciting!
Great tips! I’m hoping to implement a lot of these soon!
Thanks Kym! I’m happy you found them helpful.
Best wishes on your blogging anniversary!🎉
Thank you so much! 🙌
Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! Really enjoy your blog and all the wonderful things you share. Great tips and ideas!
Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I’m happy to hear you found it helpful!
Happy anniversary, Carol! I need to implement some of these into my routine. I used to post everyday when I started and it was rough. 😂
Thanks so much! Once I posted for 8 days straight and it was so stressful! I like my 3-4 days a week routine! I think whatever works for you is the best!
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This will really help me out since I’m a new blogger on this site.
I’m happy you find this post helpful! I’m available to answer questions! Good luck with your blog and have fun!
Thank you , enjoy your day.
Thank you so much for the honest and detailed post. I’m hoping to make back what I spent to get the business plan by the spring. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂
Thank you for visiting Sara! Best of luck! Let me know if I can answer any questions.
Thank you so much :3
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Congratulations on 4 years. This blog post has really helped me. Thank you !
You’re very welcome! I’m happy to hear it was helpful!
Great post! Congratulations for completing four years of blogging!
Thank you! It’s so nice of you to comment!