BBAW Day 5: Blogging… what works… what I’d like to try

I can not even believe that here we are on Day 5, the final day of BBAW.  It came… and then it went so quickly.  Todays topic is:

Today’s Topic
The world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.

This is exciting for me to discuss as I remember all the crazy things I did in my early days of book blogging just to get connected.  I created meme’s and features and let me just say this to those of you who are fairly new… do not do this unless you have thought it out well and know you are in it for the long-term.  Within the first couple of months these meme/features fizzled out by either lack of participation, my loss of interest or both.  😀  You can still find them in the archives of my blog…. Word Verification Balderdash…  Wednesday Feature Book Club

As far as tried and true practices here are the top three for me:

1.  I know time is of the essence, but comment.  Comment not only on other blogs (if you do not know where to begin, find a meme to participate in that links many blogs to the same topic…. great way to meet other bloggers and find blogs you enjoy reading.), but also comment back to those who comment on your blog. 

One of my favorite blogs when I started was J Kaye’s Book Blog.  I would visit her blog daily, but sadly she moved on with her writing and let her blogging days drop to the wayside.  J Kaye responded to every comment on her blog.  Now – before you panic, just do what works for you – but I loved going back to her blog several times a day just to follow the conversation.  It was not unusual for people to comment on the same post two or three times as the conversation continued.  I knew then, I wanted to do community like she did and model some of my blog practices today after how she did hers. 

2.  Post at least 3 -4 times per week.  Your blog, (my blog) should not go silent.  Maybe you can not read 3-4 books a week and review them…. I hear you there!  😛  There are other posts you could put up that make great discussions…. bookish topics, trends, questions on e readers, an author event or author interview, book store stories…. or like myself, I put in a morning discussion – not always bookish, but mainly just life that goes live 6 mornings a week.  I may not get a review or topic in on a certain day, but I almost always have my morning post and consistency build loyal readers.

3.  Keep a neat and organized looking blog.  I know I may catch some slack for this one, but if you read some of the comments going on my earlier post today, you will see that many of us (dare I say most of us?) visit blogs to read the main post.  Too many bells and whistles, pictures, and flashes on the side bars just distract from your posts.  I am guilty of this too in the past and hopefully have now what I believe is a tasteful looking blog where the main feature is the post and it draws your eye to it.  I love sidebars – they are awesome for other connections and I think as long as they match what you and your blog are about, they work.  Even as I type this, I know (and I have been meaning to) make some upgrades to my own.

As for the future… yes, I am always planning things I want to do with the blog…. always thinking of ways to connect others to great reads and genres near and dear to my heart.  I have a big project I want to take on in 2012 but have some homework to do first on it.  One hint… it would require me setting up a second blog to man it.  (**Note on stuff like this…. when you are thinking of ideas and reading challenges, try googling them first.. sometimes you may discover it is already being done by someone else). 

Another thing I am putting back on is the Word Shakers on-line book club.  I had great responses to this in the past, but the way I was running it was too time consuming and I was putting too much of the discussion on me, and not enough on the participants.  If you look at my right sidebar you will see I have a book in place for the group read, I just need to  post the details and time frame.  (*when starting things like an online book discussion, check out other blogs who are doing it and see what you like about their style and what you do not… it’s a great way to build on how you will do your own.)

I think that is it for now.  BBAW was awesome this year and I hope everyone had a great time discovering new blogs and/or maybe discovering for the first time how big, and how tight knit this community can be. 

**Note:  Comments on this post will be entered into my BBAW giveaway for today a hard copy of The Night Circus.  (for an additional entry, comment on my morning post as well). Winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

56 thoughts on “BBAW Day 5: Blogging… what works… what I’d like to try

  1. Good and very useful information!

    I must admit I can forget to post sometimes and then realise it’s been nearly a week. I should probably set an alarm on my phone to say “Have you done a blog post?!” 🙂

    1. Nikki-ann, I can get like that too but I try to draft post ideas…. like if I think of something that might be fun to discuss… I make a post for it with the main idea, maybe a tile and draft it so I can pull it up and finish it quickly when I need a post 🙂

      1. i just recently began using scheduled posts and wonder why it took me so long. it was such a relief to have nearly three days in a row without the pressure of a post on me from the moment i woke.

        i’d not yet considered keeping a number of drafts with bare boned ideas. i keep such in my note ap whose word processor i prefer to blogger’s but i can see how it might behoove me to move some of them over into blogger draft before they are quite perfected or maybe just start collecting the links and images i know i’m going to need in the blogger draft so they’ll be there when the text is good to go…hmm thinking with my fingers here

    1. Life gets busy -my posts dropped over the summer… I was so busy I did not have time to read…. let alone write a post 🙂 That is where the morning meanderings come in handy… it didnt have to be anything big, just a hey here I am and here is where my life is at 😀

  2. J Kaye was one of the first bloggers to ever comment on my blog! I do miss her a lot.

    I completely agree about posting and not going silent and commenting. I think that it’s awesome when you can maintain a conversation and community within your comments.

  3. I am so with you on the flash-bang aspect of the blog! If people have music or loud buzzing things or flashing crap or if it takes ten minutes for the blog to load, I just say never mind!

      1. Music on blogs drives me crazy! For the longest time I didn’t have speakers on my computer and I never even realized many blogs I liked had music. When I did get speakers attached, I couldn’t believe how annoying it was to start reading a post and suddenly have music start playing! I understand that some people like it and it can be a good way to get to know a person’s tastes, but I feel that it should always be up to the blog visitor to press the play button.

  4. content and community seem to be the two most mentioned in the 3 essentials and i’ve visited at least a dozen

    this week has been my attempt at reviving my joy in blogging i seemed to have lost it around this time last year. i’m sure it was mostly due to having such high expectations i couldn’t possibly meet them. i never missed a day of posting but my posts shifted from reading/writing themes to crochet and cat pic captions with a bit of whine on the side and i dropped out of community for the most part tho i wouldn’t have missed Dewey’s Read-a-Thon for anything. can you believe that’s almost upon us again?

    1. I know… I need a date for the read-a-thon so I can plan for it. 🙂 Your blog has to work for you whatever it is… I miss bookish links with life stuff too…. it seems to work. Find your niche and go with it 🙂

  5. I totally loved your comments in this post, Sheila. And I think I mentioned this before…too many things, including music, are distractions for me. I don’t usually like going to these sites.

    I also don’t like it when there are so many features that pop up all over the place…I actually got viruses at a site like that. So I’m wary.

    I agree that having some kind of signature post (like your Morning Meanderings) is great at drawing people back.

    I still haven’t found my “signature” feature yet, probably because I have a lot of blogs. My closest thing to that would be the Potpourri posts that I create occasionally in which I talk about…yes, a potpourri of topics.

    Thanks for being such a great role model!

  6. I agree with you on the flashing stuff or it taking a long time for the blog to load. Another thing that bugs me is when the template width is set way to wide and you have to scroll to see what else is on the right side. I always preview mine when redoing it to make sure it fits.

    Yea!!! I’m glad you’re bringing back Wordshakers!! And I’ve been wanting to read A Prayer For Owen Meany. I’ll be waiting for your post. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a copy!

    1. Right Vicki! Are you just finding that on certain blogs? I ask becuase a couple weeks ago I don’t know what I did but I made my own blog super tiny… like a 4 point font… just on my computer, any other computer it looked fine.

      Anyway a friend showed me that you can hold down the ctrl button while clicking the + or – sign to make your page bigger or smaller… really… I had no idea 🙂

  7. I do try to reply to each comment on my blog. There are days this is just not humanly possible but I also do a return visit to those who comment.

    Had a great week seeing your BBAW posts

  8. I’m only now getting to your post after our earlier Twitter chat re: word verification Balderdash. So happy to find the link! I love the idea. Do you think maybe it could turn into a Twitter hashtag?? #captchadash??

    I’m really inspired by your post, seeing how many different things you’ve been unafraid to try. I definitely have some ideas I’d like to try, and you’re making me feel like I should at least get the legwork going to see if they’ll work! Thanks!

    On a somewhat side note, I’m planning to clear my reading schedule after this next month or so so that I can do more readalongs and online book clubs. I’d love to do Owen Meany with you, if that’s what you’re planning to do next. Any vague timeline so I know to watch for it?

    1. Erin you can totally take it… I am glad you popped over and read this because I thought of you when I posted it. I had passed it on to Ryan (Wordsmithonia) about a year and a half ago and he kept it alive awhile longer than I did but eventually he let it go too… if you can use it – have fun with it…. I certainly did 😀

      1. I’m a total Twitter failure, so I’m going to have to look into how one gets people to start using a hashtag. But if people will play along, I’ll totally try to resurrect your idea, at least in Twitter form!

  9. i just adore reading and looking at books but i read columns like those above and know i just can’t commit that kind of time to it so i will just have to contnet my selft to reading all the blogs and buying all the books!

  10. Sheila – this was a great post!! I’ve always found your blog to be an inspiration, and I will say that no matter how busy my day is, I always read your blog 🙂

    Replying to the comments really hit home for me. It’s one thing that I need to get better at. I want to build a better relationship with my readers. You are amazing at this!

    I kinda sound like a star struck teenager…lol. But anyways, thank you for all that you do for the blogging community. It’s greatly appreciated!!

    1. Thank you Emily… you are so sweet! Book Blogging came into my life at a time that when I found it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I spent months reading other blogs and seeing what they did and how their blogs looked that I liked, and what I didn’t like… all the while tweeking my own…. if I didn’t know how to do something, I asked and everyone was so awesome to help me get my start.

      I learned early on that when you commented on a blog, you started a conversation that many times led that blogger to my blog so I spent hours in those early days commenting and commenting…. 😛

      I do not comment as much as I used to not by a long shot, but I still do comment a lot because I know it builds community and I know how good I feel when I come home to a group of comments to read and laugh at while I start dinner. 😀

  11. I think replying to comments is a must, it’s all about connections so creating a dialogue with the individuals who’ve visited turns a monologue into a chat.

  12. This was my first week back at work after having the summer off and every night I kind of felt too wiped out to write a post. I had planned to have them done over the weekend and scheduled, but pressures of work, family and exercise took the energy away. Now I know what I need to work towards next week! Good suggestions. Even though I’ve been blogging for a while I haven;t been as dedicated as some other bloggers and Is till feel new even though I’m not.

    1. That is great Jill! I know what you mean… some times it is really hard to write a post even when you have reviews or thoughts just due to time restraints and you are exhausted. I always feel better when I am ahead of the game. If I can grab a couple hours over the weekend (many times after hubby has gone to bed) to write reviews and book discussions and have them ready for the week it takes off a lot of that mid week pressure. You can always tweak them before publishing 😀

  13. I totally agree with commenting and posting. There are only a few that I think do relies in a way that make you want to go back, you are one of them.

    JKaye moved on soon as I found her but I remember, great leader in community.

    I want to find the perfect commenting system for me and blogger.

    Great week, enjoy the weekend.

    1. Iam glad I got to blog and learn from her for a few months before she sis Marce. I remember J Kaye would also post weekly on how to do something in the blog world – like how to follow someone, or how to adjust something on your blog. She was an awesome source of info for a newbie! 😀

  14. Commenting is something I struggle with. I read a post and comment in my head and move on to the next. Or I write a note to myself to leave a comment and forget to look at my list. I really need to work on it.

    Looking forward to seeing what you are planning in 2012. Also glad to hear you are bringing back Word Shakers.

  15. Your number one point – commenting – would be mine. A blog will die a sad death if no-one comments, or comments on comments.


    1. It would be very boring that’s for sure Mary and I think eventually I would get tired of writing without the sparks and flow of comments and opinions… I really do love the conversation each post brings up. 😀

  16. I have been meaning to get around to posting regular discussion posts for a while but haven’t for one reason or another. As a direct result of BBAW from next Wednesday I am going to begin a regular discussion feature.
    And I completely agree regarding comments


  17. I too remember J. Kaye and wondered how she kept up that blistering pace of several posts a day. Unbelieveable! I hear you about keeping the blog “neat”. There are a few blogs out there that I would love to visit but my computer balks at taking up to 7 minutes for the site to load due to all the graphics and book covers in sidebars. Arrrrrgh! You have some gret ideas, Sheila. Have a good weekend!

  18. I am a little jealous to see how great your blog is, it is amazing to read about all the things you can accomplish in a day. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to join in all these fun memes but I always make time reading about them and I especially enjoy reading your Morning Meanderings.
    A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorites, so I will try to participate in the readalong…
    Thanks for your great posts

  19. I feel like your blog is very unique in that you can post multiple times a day and I don’t get frustrated by you. Your Morning Meanderings posts are some of my favorites and you always have interesting things to say. I would feel self conscious about posting more than once a day–but it works for you!

    1. Thank you Ash 🙂 I do try to keep it to 2 posts… occasionally there is three on Sundays – buy hey – only one on Mondays 😛

      I like to keep the morning meandering about life stuff… sometimes it is book related, sometimes not…. the one I try to post by noon is usually a book review or book related.

  20. Good and specific advice. I’m a meme failure too. I just lose interest or can’t maintain the schedules very well. I’ve finally just realized I’ll do what I can when I can and not schedule myself to death because then it isn’t fun.

    I agree that commenting is the key to growing a successful blog.

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