5 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow

  • It Introduces You

When you comment on a post that interests you (or disinterests you) on other blogs, it introduces you to that blogger and everyone else who sees your comment. If they’ve been blogging awhile, rest assured they will click on your name and check out your blog (Do be sure your name is linked to your blog. Jason Cushman explains how to do so HERE.)

Here’s a screenshot of an example. Even though the name of my blog is Pearls Before Swine when I comment what shows up is my actual name and photo so that it is understood immediately who I am and what I look like (in real life). Click on my name and it will take you to my blog.

  • It’s a Reminder

I follow over 400 blogs over the course of the three years I’ve been blogging. There’s no way I can keep track of them all and I won’t pretend as if I do. I don’t like or comment on everyone’s post. It’s just impossible. Likewise, bloggers that follow me don’t get to see and interact with my every post. I’m not crying about it.

There is a way to remind others that you exist and it is by supporting their blogs.

When you drop a comment on someone’s blog they are reminded of your support and will undoubtedly want to return the favor. I’m not saying be fake with your commentary. I am saying that support begets support. When people I don’t know comment on my blog, I click on their profiles and visit their blogs. I may even decide to follow said blog. In most cases, I do.

  • It Connects You / Builds Genuine Relationships

Commenting in the world of the Internet is the same as being involved in a conversation. Commenting on other blogs helps you to make a connection with others. It’s good because you don’t just connect with the home blogger, you also connect with their followers. It’s a form of genuine relationship building. You may discover you write in the same genre, both are allergic to something, both love the same foods, colors, both love History, etc. You may even want to join the same groups. I have connected to many of you better because of you commenting on my posts. We have in turn followed each other’s blogs, joined the other’s email list, bought the other’s books, and know more about one another. All because of commenting on the other’s blog.

  • Adds Value / Authority

When you leave comments on other blogs, it helps to add value and authority to your blog via search engines by way of back-links, which generates traffic. Here is Backlinks explained by the Shout Me Loud Blog:

“Backlinks are incoming links to a web page. When a web-page links to any other page, it’s called a back-link. In the past, back-links were the major metric for the ranking of a web page. A page with a lot of back-links tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent. Here is a glossary of common terms related to back-links that you should know:

Link Juice: When a web page links to any of your articles or your website’s homepage, it passes “link juice”. This link juice helps with the ranking of the article, and also improves the domain authority.

  • More Subscribers

Commenting on other blogs brings more traffic to your site because of link juice and can lead to more subscribers. This is especially true if you leave detailed, well-thought out comments because it is a glimpse into the kind of content that can be found on your blog. Again, if the blogger is like me he/she will be inclined to click on your name (which you would have connected to your blog site) and check out your blog to discover more about you.

Combined these elements can help your blog to grow by:

  • Increasing Traffic / Views
  • Increasing Blog Subscribers

Before we go, make sure:

  • You don’t go around randomly commenting on people’s post after reading this. There is no right way or wrong way to blog but I have learned that such things as this must be genuine to work so don’t be fake, people can tell.
  • Your blog name is actually a name. Either your business name, Sara, Ann, Brandon, or Bob. Not 123_T or Princess_456.
  • Link your name with your blog so that when people click it this will take them to your blog. Learn how HERE.
  • Add an image to your gravatar. Preferably, a company logo or head-shot. I find human images better because it’s already difficult to trust people over the internet. Being transparent from the beginning by showing an updated image of your real self (Company Logos are good too) goes a long way. This is especially true if you’re an Independent Author. A brand tip is to make sure your author image and author name is the same across all your social platforms. I had to recently update mine so I am only saying this because I’m not very good at branding myself. I am working on it however and my first step was to go back through my social’s and ensure they all have the same image so that I am easy to find. I changed them all to the same picture and will also not keep changing them.
  • Make sure there’s a FOLLOW BUTTON on your blog so that when people are exploring and they like what they find they can follow you in the easiest and quickest way possible.

Note: The headline to this post has been changed to 5 Ways. When I first drafted it, I only had 4 ways. I’ve just went back over it and see there are five bullet points. I have not changed the link (which still says 4 ways) because this post has already been reblogged. Please excuse the miscount. 


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Coffee Date With Yecheilyah

Morning!

For those of you who are not already familiar, Coffee Dates are popular here in the blogosphere. Personally, I like to use them as a time to get personal. Not too much, but enough to let you in on what’s going on in my life. You know, just so you all are reminded that I’m not a robot.

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You know what I would absolutely love? If you would share with me how you like your coffee in the comments! Don’t drink coffee? Tell me about Tea! Or Hot Chocolate. Wait, it’s too hot for hot chocolate. OK whatever, let’s begin.

So..while you run out to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and my Folgers is brewing, I’ll take out the International Delight Sweet Cream and a few coffee mugs. Oh, don’t worry about that, I have plenty. If there’s one thing I have tons of, its coffee mugs!

Whew, careful, that one’s hot. Let’s bring this on over to the couch. Yall know how we do. I like to get comfortable. Watch it, don’t trip over the boxes. I do apologize. I suppose I can start with those.

  • If we were having coffee right now, I’ll explain in great detail why my house is a mess right now. I’m actually an OCD cleaner but you can’t tell right now. Half full boxes is blocking the hallway, dishes are sitting on the couch with us, and the printer on top the kitchen table looks like our office space. Don’t worry, we aren’t hoarders or anything. Hubby and I are actually preparing to move which is both exhausting and exciting all the same. You may remember our last date when I spoke about our new place I was hoping (no, praying) we’d get. Well, we got it and I celebrated by going shopping for my bathrooms as if I’m already in the place. Yaass.
  • In honor of the 6 month anniversary of my latest book, I posted about my goal to reach 15 total reviews by August 15th a couple days ago. If you remember, I listed a few options to give everyone variety on how to help. Well, if we were having coffee right now I’ll say I’ve been bit by the doubt bug. I mean sure, I know this kinda thing only works with certain people and perhaps I was foolish to try it? I am ashamed to say that I’ve only received one response. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled about that! And to my credit, it’s only been a couple days. Check back with me in let’s say, a week. Maybe things will pick up.
  • If we were having coffee right now I’ll remind you about the play I was scheduled to be in, Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps. The production covers over 4,000 years of black history. We were scheduled to go on this past weekend in San Antonio Texas but we actually had to post-pone. I’ll keep you posted on the next showing. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!
  • I’m thinking about changing things around a bit here. If we were having coffee right now, I’ll tell you I figure since I’ll be decorating my home, I may as well decorate the blog too! What do you think? Do you like this design? Think I should change it? Which WordPress theme would you recommend?
  • If we were having coffee right now, I’ll inform you that I am finally starting to see some progress on my blog posts over at My Trending Stories where I freelance as well. It’s always exciting to notice the small progressions in your life and not just the negative stuff.
  • I ran across some interesting blog articles this week. If we were having coffee right now, I’ll tell you about the one that really caught my attention and why it gave me such inspiration. Kristen Lambs blog is always buzzing with excellent lessons and articles on writing. The one that caught my eye this week was her latest: Breaking Facebook Dependence—How to Create an Enduring Author Brand. Of course, based on the wealth of interaction on this post (as usual with Kristen), I can tell this one caught your eye as well. But let me explain why it caught mine.

This post was really personal to me. I am not very into Facebook and of late I have really not been into it. In truth, the only reason it’s not on deactivation mode right now is because my business pages are connected to my personal account and I don’t know how to cut my ties with the book without deleting those pages (if someone has insight, do tell!). So any who, I was feeling some type of way about Facebook already, especially far as using it for my authorpreneurship. I’ve read all of this information about how great Facebook is as a tool for writers and, of course it’s just good business since to have some presence there, but I just have not been feeling it of late far as Author Branding is concerned. And then came this post. In it, Kristen speaks about how the blog helps to build a closer and lasting relationship between the author and reader even more so than Facebook. Her many examples were the difference between working your butt off for a few more likes to a page vs working to stay consistent on your blog to gain faithful readers. I really connected with this because it’s one of the reasons I spend so much time with you! I’m just an all or nothing kind of person and I think it’s part of my work to be consistent here. Does it take away from my writing? Nope. Contrary to popular belief it is possible to maintain a healthy balance between blogging and your general writing schedule that does not distract from the other. Anyway, back to the post. Kristen’s most striking example however, the one that spoke to me the most, was this one:

“We are feeding all this great “bait” to “fish” we’ve already caught. Sure, good content on Facebook will lead to more people “liking” our page, but the shelf life is incredibly short.” – Kristen Lamb

I soo agree with this! I love the fish analogy. Especially since most people on our Facebook  pages are, let’s just go ahead and keep it real, fish we’ve already caught. I know for me, Facebook is filled with my Fam; people who love and support me and will support me in everything that I do. They are in essence fish I’ve already caught! I think investing in fam is important, but to grow readership will require attention to readers we have not yet attracted and this is why  I think this post is so important.

Anyway, enough about me. I’ve rambled on long enough. What about you? Tell me how you’re drinking your coffee / Tea this morning! (Or evening!)

What The Heck is Author Branding?

writing_as_professionalAh, the freedom of Self-Pub, gotta love it right? You can write as many books, covering as many angles as your full heart desires. Romance, Sci-Fi, Historical, Biography, not even the sky is the limit. But what makes your Romance novel stand out from the rest? What makes your History book the best? Self-Publishing is not like other businesses. It is not a jewelry store, a brightly lit collection of possibilities. A host of shiny things that pretty much sell themselves. It is not a restaurant, a place where menus lay open for people to see and to choose. When I walk into Burger King I know exactly what I want and how I want it and I know what I am getting. I already know what to expect from the food. But book publishing is different from other businesses because there is a lot to learn and there is a lot to do.

writers-block2I think the most challenging aspect of Self-Publishing is being able to prove to your target audience that your book is worth buying. Especially as a new author. It is critical at this point that we show ourselves to be set-apart from the rest. That we garner the kind of trust in our readers that we have in Burger King. That when people pick up one of our books they know they are about to have it their way. That was corny, but the point is that they know that the journey in which they are about to embark on is a good one. Have you ever picked up a book and did not have to question if it would be a good one? That is because, like your favorite restaurant, you are familiar with the taste of the authors’ words and the way they move around in your mind when you read them.

writing-groupWhat is an Author Brand? As a Self-Publisher, it is not something that immediately comes to mind. In the midst of writing and editing and book cover design, branding is the least of our worries. Of course we think about it (eventually), but when we set out to write a book Author Branding is not at the top of our list of priorities. It is a term that is heard among literary agents and blah blah blah. We are Self-Publishers after all. We make and break our own rules. But, being a Self-Published Author does not mean you live on Mars. You are, after all, part of the world and in the business of publishing. It doesn’t really matter if you publish traditionally or if you self-publish, we can all benefit from learning more about the business, which is constantly changing.

AuthorBrand

Author branding in short is basically how you want to be known as an author. The good thing is that many of us have already begun a form of Author Branding by establishing our perspectives and personalities as we blog.

“Serious writers who want to succeed as authors should include branding in their early success planning. A strong brand helps an author in the same ways it helps a company. It gives you name recognition and helps you sell your products—your books.” – Nina Amir

I know, Branding sounds like a lot of work. Makes me think about large corporations and blah blah blah. But, the good news is that little ole me can establish a form of branding without hurting my brain with talk from branding experts and people with more degrees than hairs on my head. Below are six simple branding tips for authors as suggested by Nina:

Here’s how you start: Think about how you want to be known as a writer. To determine this, consider:

• the types of writing you want to do
• the subjects about which you want to write
• the types of stories you want to tell
• the themes you want to cover in your work
• the ways in which you want to serve your readers
• the clients or customers you want to attract
• the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
• your values
• your interests
• your passion
• your purpose

Does something stand out? Is there one quality, topic or aspect you’d like to highlight so that you become known for it? If so, this is a good place to start. You then can create logos, taglines and websites that feature and highlight this concept so you become known for it. This becomes your brand.

literI like using myself as an example because no one likes to hear about the adventures of invisible people. I am flesh and bone and person so here goes. I suck at branding myself in the name area. I know what is required to establish myself across the web and yet I continue to move away from it (hey, maybe that is my brand, ha!). My Author Website, my blog, and my social networking sites pretty much have different names. I know, that sucks, but that’s me. I’m A House of Poetry, A Literary Korner, and a PBS Blog, it doesn’t get any more different than that. I am the brand far as I’m concerned, so like, whatever.

You can either be special like me or you can use this tip:

• Use your brand statement across all your social networks.

Use the same title, tag line, photo and colors, etc., across all your social networks, as well as in articles, videos, and guest post, and always provide a link “home.” This helps you get you known quickly and easily and is another way to strengthen your brand once you’ve developed it. And tie everything you do back to your author website.

Yea, sure. I’ll think about it.