Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blogging 201 ~ Lesson #3: Becoming a Blogger Friendly Blog & Blogger

Having a blogger friendly blog is a great way to get returning readers and to meet other bloggers.  I asked my friend, JRFrugalMom, whom I consider an expert in this area, to substitute teach today and to share what she has learned from her blogging experience in this area.  One of her blogs, Frugality Is Free, is a very blogger friendly 
blog.  Here is her lesson for you.

When you are new to blogging, everything can easily seem overwhelming, and it can often be difficult to figure out where to start and how to get connected to the rest of the blogosphere. Cheryl's Simply Blogging University is fabulous, and I am so glad that she started this, as I sure wish I had run into something similar when I first started out. Cheryl has asked me to tell you a little bit about how to become a blogger friendly blogger.

How To Become A Blogger Friendly Blogger:
  • Join Blog Hops 
  • Link Up to Blog Parties
  • Comment
  • Return Comments
  • Set A Focus for your blog
  • Blog Regularly
  • Give Credit
  • Host A Giveaway
  • Learn from other bloggers
Join Blog Hops:
Blog hops are great at helping you find new blogs that interest you, help you get, new followers and perhaps help you find new regular readers.

In order to successfully participate in a blog hop, do not just link up your blog, visit other blogs on the blog hop list, and make sure to leave a clickable link back to your own blog. I have experimented with this in the past, and it is clear from my research that you will get 5x+ more new blog followers by following new blogs and letting them know that you did so, than just by adding your blog to the blog hop linky. If you personalize the comment a bit, the likelihood that they follow you back gets even greater. Having a lot of Google friend followers is a great way to expand your blogging network, but it is not a measure of how successful your blog is. A blog with 200 followers can easily have more monthly pageviews than one with 1000 followers.

You can find a list of blog hops at the blog hop directory at Frugality Is Free.

While starting a blog hop yourself can be tempting, let me assure you it is a lot of work. I host several blog hops at my blog Frugality Is Free, and it takes a lot of time, effort and promotion to get them up and running, and to keep them running. If you would like to start a blog hop yourself, make sure to get it on all of the blog hop directories.

Comment on other blogs and return comments:
Starting a blog is all about networking, and in order to network you need to comment. By leaving a comment on the blogs you read, you let the blogger know that you have been there, that you appreciate the blog, and you also leave a mark for the blogger to find you. Leaving a clickable link will get you more readers, as it will make it easy for anyone to find their way back to your blog.

When someone leaves a comment for you, returning the comment is not only courteous, but it will also help you create a network. As your blog grows, it might be too time consuming to return all comments, but in the beginning it will help establish your blog in the blogosphere.

You can read more about commenting at Cheryl's post:

Blogging 201 ~ Lesson #2: Edit Profile Page; Commenting On & Following Other Blogs

Set A Focus for your blog
It can be difficult to find a focus for your blog at first, but if you do set a focus and stick to it, it will be easier to attract a readership that appreciate your blog for what it is. The blogosphere is divided into many invisible sub categories such as frugal blogs, green living blogs, decorating blogs, craft blogs, book blogs, health blogs etc. Find your niche, and make your blog original. If you have something everyone else does not, you might find that people seek out your blog just because of it.

Blog Regularly
Set blogging goals, how often should you blog, how much time do you have? I recommend posting at least twice a week, and if you want your blog to grow at a steady rate, you will definitely need to post almost every day.

Give Credit 
There are certain "courtesy" rules in the blogging world, and most of them you will only learn by watching other bloggers. One of these is giving credit. If you borrow an idea, find a great deal etc. on another blog and then blog about it, make sure to give credit to this blog with a link back to the blog.

I recently received an email from a newbie blogger, who had received a very unfriendly email from another blogger because of an issue of giving credit. While I think her case was a bit out of the ordinary, it just shows how sensitive an issue it can be in the blogging world. If in doubt...give credit!

Link up
Linking up to blog parties is a great way to get more followers, to get more views and perhaps find regular readers. Besides blog hops there are many different link parties where you can link up your craft posts, your recipes, book reviews, your favorite posts, frugal posts and much more for extra exposure. Check out the Arts, Crafts and Food Linky Collection or the Weekly Savings Collection at Frugality Is Free for places to link up.

Host A Giveaway
Hosting a giveaway is a great way to thank your readers for reading your blog, and if you put time into promoting it, it will also help you get new readers. Make the entry options include following you on google friend connect, subscribe to your emails, to your rss feed and/or following you on twitter and facebook.

When hosting a giveaway consider shipping fees etc. Gift cards are easy to ship, or amazon gift codes can be sent via email. I have sponsored a few giveaways myself by earning gift cards online and using them as prizes.  Once your blog gets established, and you have a decent amount of monthly pageviews, you can start contacting companies to see, if anyone would like to sponsor a giveaway on your blog. One way of promoting your giveaway is by linking it up to giveaway linkies, you can find lots of giveaway linkies listed by day at the Giveaway Linky Collection.

Learn from other bloggers:
If you see something you like on another blog it is okay to try to implement it on your own blog, but if giving credit is needed, make sure to give credit (it can be as little as a thank you). If you need help, ask!

Blogging is a learning experience, and although I have been blogging for 1 1/2 years, I am still learning every day. I can highly recommend getting a blogging partner, with whom you can share your trials, wins and failures, exchange blogging knowledge etc. Cheryl is my blogging partner, and it is priceless to have a great blogging partner with whom you can share your frustrations and excitements, someone who understands the blogging world. I am, and will always be, forever grateful for my fantastic blogging partner.

Making your blog blogger friendly is very easy, and I suggest that you take a look at your favorite blogs. What do they do that makes you keep coming back.

JR is the author of several blogs, including Frugality Is Free, The Aldi Spot, Story Time Under The Stars and My Best Printable Coupons.  Thanks, JR, for taking the time to teach readers of Simply Blogging University the steps for blogger friendly blogging.


Kim@todayismysome-day said...

I just found your blogging university, and I am so happy I did. The "help" on Blogger confuses me! I'd like some simple instructions on how to link to a linky party. I have somehow stumbled my way through it a couple of times, but I honestly cannot remember what I did. I know how to link at the end of the Host blogs post, but I don't know how to get their link button on my blog or to say "I am linking up to these parties..." and include the proper thumbnail or picture rather than the code. Any help would be fabulous!

Cheryl said...

Hi, Kim! I am not sure I totally understand your question. I'll take one idea and answer it and then you let me know if I am wrong. And ask again.

You want to do a post and put the "button" in the bottom of the post?

Grab the code, click on the HTML option on blogger post editor after your post is done, go to the bottom of the text you see and enter the code. click back on compose and you should see it.

To put it in the side bar you grab the code and enter it in an HTML gadget.

Let me know if you need something else.