Something Cool

Yes, I’m still away. Technically. But, who can stay away from the blog? You? Really? Do tell.

Anywho, I have something cool to tell you, do you know what it is? No, it’s not about Renaissance although Nora is on preorder at your favorite places to shop.

Click Here to learn more.

And, my poetry contest is still going on. A chance to read books and win amazon gift-cards? You don’t want to pass this up.

Click Here to learn more.

AND…

I’m not done. Dan has an amazing contest going on and (wait for it) you have the chance of winning a copy of my newest book Renaissance: The Nora White Story (releasing 7/15), one of many amazing prizes on the line.

Click Here to learn more.

NOW, for the cool stuff.

Have you ever wondered if you could delete people from following you? I don’t know, maybe someone followed your blog and you, for whatever reason, didn’t want them to? Well, be goodie two shoes all you want but I’ve wondered myself. Even if I didn’t want to, I’ve wondered…is it possible?

Yes!

It’s possible!

Troll? Hater? You can remove them.

Here’s How:

Go to your WP dashboard > Stats

At the top right hand corner you’ll see Followers. Click on that.

Boom! You’re in. You’ll see a list of your followers. Email followers as well as WP followers.

 

All you have to do is click on remove next to any one you want to remove. I blacked out the names and faces of my followers for obvious reasons. I’m not trying to remove anyone or shame anyone for that manner. See how I love you? lol 🙂

Anywho, that’s literally it. If someone is bullying you or getting on your nerves, you can remove them from following you. Of course, they can re-subscribe, in which case you’ll have to remove them again.

PS. authors, psst! My book review  registry is still open and I still have room for more books. Don’t wait. Register here.

Dear New WordPress Bloggers: Get in Position

Note: This can apply to any new blogger but since I use WordPress, I am specifying WordPress bloggers.

New bloggers have approached me for my secret to blogging. I don’t have one. There is no secret to blogging. At least not one that I know of.

Let me start by saying that I never consider the information I give advice. What happens is that the information, (proving helpful to bloggers) is referred to as advice simply because of those who find it useful and valuable and for this I am thankful. As for me, I am just sharing what has worked or is working, my experiences and recommendations but nothing is set in stone.

That said, there’s no step A and step B to how to build up a blog.  I receive decent traffic and new subscribers are coming in daily but understand that this has taken me three years to build. I started out with no likes or comments just like you. I started with little to no traffic just like you. I am no one special.

Recently, many of you have emailed me asking questions based on my blog posts. I find this humbling and I hope this post is helpful to you.

Positioning

If you are wanting to be a successful blogger, writer, business person or anything in life, then you must put yourself in a position to be successful. We know that success is a definition that can mean different things to different people but in context, I assume we all want:

Increased Blog Traffic, Increased Views, Increased Subscribers

Basically, we all want someone to read our work and to care. That is where being in position comes in.

My husband loves gardening. He’s a green thumb. You may assume I am because I’m a woman and you would be wrong. In fact, I am not very “girly” in that sense. I don’t care for pink, I don’t wish to spend three hours shopping and I’m not into gardening. At least not like that. Moshe (hubby) on the other hand, loves to plant. I love it that he does too because we have fresh tomatoes and herbs that I love cooking with. Anyway, he set up a garden on our enclosed back porch. I’m telling you, the man can grow anything (he can even start from a plastic cup). Because of how our back porch is made, he sets pots out to catch the rain water. Rain water as we’ve come to understand, makes plants grow as if they are on steroids. It could be because rain water is clean. That is, water free from chemical additives, such as chlorine or salt. We’ve been getting lots of rain. Here’s our tomato plant:

Tomato Plant after the rain.

It’s almost too big for the small space. This would not have happened if we had not put the buckets in position to catch the fresh water (which is when it grew like crazy).

Being in position is all about being prepared for whatever comes. Having the cup on the table when the water comes, your hands open and stretched out when the football arrives. It’s about being ready to receive what it is that you want.

If you’re not ready to receive then you will not have what it takes to hold onto what you do get or to expand into something greater. Positioning ourselves for success is a challenge because it requires discipline and time. You can be in position for a long time before you see results.

Examples of Positioning

If you are getting traffic to your blog but there’s no follow button, then people will not subscribe to your blog. You cannot receive new subscribers because you are not prepared to receive them. In this instance, it has nothing to do with your writing abilities. It is not about posting as much as you can or speaking as intelligently as you can. This is why blogging is not just writing. Writing is one thing but all of these other elements is blogging. In this instance, you are not increasing your numbers because you are not in a position to increase them. You do not have the one thing that can guarantee followers: a follow button.

When you go into your WP dashboard and add tags to your post, these are not to make it look pretty but they actually serve a purpose. Tags act as keywords that help increase traffic and engagement to your blog. By ignoring adding tags and categories to your post, you are leaving traffic on the table (or if your blog is monetized, money but since my blog is not monetized, I will leave that for someone else to discuss). Having a tagging system is another reason why blogging is not just writing. Writing is writing but to blog successfully there are other things that must be done. These “other things” are things like tags and categories.

If your tagging sucks like mine did in the beginning then you can be losing out on views but don’t go overboard. Personally, twenty and thirty tags to a post are not necessary.

A better system is to remember that tags are like keywords that readers would potentially search for. Think about fifteen that you want to use on your post, with a category acting as a tag so fourteen tags, one category. Of these 15 some of them should be tags that are overly used. Words like Blog, Blogger, WordPress, Writing, and Poetry. These tags are used a lot and can be helpful in people finding your blog.

I will tell you now, I am no SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert at all but I do not believe you have to be. I have read that Tags don’t impact the SEO (meaning its more so keywords used within the post itself), but based on my own search experience I can tell you that it does help improve SEO  when you have multiple articles with relevant content linked by the same tag. For example:

Say you just wrote an amazing piece on “The Best Cheeseburgers Ever.” When someone opens Google and types “Recipes for Ground Beef”, (as I often do that’s why I am using this as an example lol) in this example recipes and ground beef are tags you may have included in your post about “The Best Cheeseburgers Ever”. Searching using these words, I just may find your article if you post a lot about recipes which leads me to your blog and, if I like what I see, I will follow your blog (if there’s a way for me to do so).

Another example is if I’m a reader who wants to scroll through your blog. If you have a search bar, you just made this easy for me. Using the search bar on your blog, I can type in words and the post containing those words will come up. I can easily access that post, read it and possibly share it with others. Just by adding a search bar, you’ve just gotten yourself in position for more views.

A real life example: I wrote a blog post two years ago on voting. Because this past Presidential Election was so different, that post got thousands of Facebook shares and counting. It took two years but the post was in position for the traffic it received (although I couldn’t foresee it). This is why I said it can take a long time to see results but being ready is always worth it.

Mostly, categories and tags allow visitors to easily browse related posts with the primary purpose of augmenting the user experience.

As you can see, content (your writing) is just part of how this works. It wasn’t just your writing alone that led me to your blog but a combination of things.

What I want you to see here is that because you were ready for me, I was capable of following your blog with no problem. You were in a position to receive me.

This same thing can be said of about pages and even the WordPress theme you choose. If your text is hard to read (too bright, too small, too fancy) people won’t want to read what you have to say. Why? Because you have not prepared them.

It is said that we have attention spans of goldfish. One vibration, text, or email alert and our internet addictions lead us elsewhere. In nothing short of seconds someone can forget all about you. For this reason, blogging is more than pushing the publishing button, you also have to be ready to receive the traffic you seek.

If you are a new blogger struggling to receive the kind of traffic you want or are having difficulty navigating the blog in general, I want to help you get into position. If you would like me to take a look at your blog and offer feedback, I have set up a separate mailing list specifically for blogging.

SIGN-UP HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GETTING IN POSITION TO WIN

In the meantime, I have added the links to some of my most helpful blog articles on blogging for those of you new to this blog. I have determined their value based on the feedback they have received so that I know these links are helpful to you. This goes back a couple years so excuse any information that is outdated. I have not gone through them to edit.


Don’t forget to Thunderclap! I am twenty people away (at the time of this writing) from my goal. It’s free and SUPER easy to participate- click THIS LINK and then click “support with Facebook” or “support with Twitter” or “support with Tumblr” or all three if you are feeling obliged. Thanks so much in advance!

Are You Tracking?

Startup Stock Photo

One of the first mistakes I made when I started this blog and my author website is not monitoring the traffic coming into these sites. Even with all the advice from top bloggers on how much work went into blogging, I still thought blogging was just about posting and publishing. That is until it occurred to me that monitoring (and recognizing) growth is just as critical as growth itself.

Yes, we know, we don’t do this for the numbers but we cannot neglect the fact that keeping an eye on the numbers is essential to any thriving business. Even if you don’t see your blog as a business per se we can all agree that numbers don’t lie and can play a bigger role in getting the blog to where we want it to be. I mean, we’ve already established that the blog follower number is not very reliable in terms of how the blog is really doing (it’s probably better to look at your blog views).

Traffic to your website is a major component to growing your audience online. Whether you’re trying to grow your blog, website, or email list, the best thing to start with is leveraging your traffic to grow these platforms.

Now, judge me not for being late to the party but I just started using Google Analytics this year. So, for those of you who are late like me, Google Analytics is the easiest way to track your site (aside from plugins). Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.

What you want to do is go to https://www.google.com/analytics/ and create an account if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, go ahead and sign in. (You will need a Gmail account). It should look like this:

screenshot-228

If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to add the sites you would like to track.

Go to Admin > Account > Create New Account

Fill in all the details for creating an account and adding a site. You will also see a page where you need to check off boxes. I check them all just in case. The box looks like this:

screenshot-241

Once you’ve set up your account you can do one or two things. You can let it do it’s thing and return to check the stats (for those who cannot add plugins to the blog at this time) or you can add a plugin directly to your blog. Right now I am not using the plugin (not until after I upgrade next year) but it’s important to note that you don’t have to add the plugin to track your site.

To add the plugin, find your tracking code.

  • Select the Admin tab.
  • Select an account from the dropdown in the ACCOUNT column.
  • Select a property from the dropdown in the PROPERTY column.
  • Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.

It looks like this:

screenshot-244

 

Then, install a plugin named – Google Analytics for WordPress.

Once you’ve installed and activated it, go to:

– Settings > Google Analytics > enter Tracking ID.

I want to stress again that you do not have to add the Tracking ID to your blog for this to work. You should if you can (I plan to real soon) but if you can’t you can still track. Just log into your Google Analytic site and monitor it because guess what? It’s already tracking. It started the moment you entered your site.

You’re In

Once you’re set up you should be able to see your stats for the sites you’re tracking already pulled up whenever you log in. You can track several things:

  • Number of visits per hour/day/month
  • Demographics
  • Countries
  • Referrals, resources

What you’re looking at below is a snippet of my stats for The PBS Blog from Nov. 12 – Dec. 12th. Once you’re logged in it should look something like this depending on what site you are looking at (you can add multiple websites).

screenshot-238

At the bottom of this graph are more stats. I want to give you an example how this can help you with your blog. Take a look at the returning and new visitor graph on the bottom right there.

According to Google Analytics for The PBS Blog, 97% of traffic coming from this blog is of returning visitors. This tells me two things:

  1. I am keeping my current followers engaged
  2. I have to work harder at acquiring new visitors

This means that for the coming year, I can set blog goals that will help me to improve in the area of acquiring new visitors.

Let’s look at something else (quickly):

If you look at the graph above, see the number under bounce rate? The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to the blog who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. According to my stats, my bounce rate is 7.25%. This is a huge help to me to make sure I am in fact keeping the subscribers I do have, engaged. Since my visitors are returning, it makes sense that my bounce rate is low, so everything matches sorta speak (if my visitors are returning I should not have a high bounce rate).

If possible, you want to keep this bounce rate as low as possible. A rising bounce rate is a sign that the blog is not attractive to visitors or something about it has made people leave after just viewing a page (or after just a couple pages). Maybe the site is too cluttered, the color is distracting or whatever.

So, go ahead and start 2017 off right. Set up your Google Analytics and track those websites. Don’t think “Well, why do I need to track? I don’t have a lot of followers.” Me either but that’s precisely the point. Tracking will show you the numbers you need to strategically apply changes and improvements and use organic traffic to grow your blog or email list for free.

Organic traffic is when someone stumbles upon your blog, likes what they see and subscribes without the aid of payment or coercing. It is traffic you get just from people searching the web, certain keywords, phrases,  or whatever they’re searching for and stumble upon your website (You can Google Organic Traffic for a more in depth definition). You didn’t go out and beg them and you didn’t pay for them. You earned them just by first providing valuable content and taking a few seconds to track.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a Blogger, Poet, and the YA, Historical Fiction author of eight books, most notably, The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

How the WordPress Blog Subscription Works

blog

I’ve seen an increase in people who follow this blog outside of the blogosphere (*Waves!*) which basically means they aren’t active on blogs. They aren’t on WordPress, or Blogger or any other blog platform but do follow me through email. For this, I think it’s important to explain some WordPress basics. After all, it wouldn’t be fair not to show everyone around the place. Yes, please have a seat. Coffee?

When you follow someone’s blog, you do this in one of two ways. You either follow them through the Reader—your “Timeline” of sorts where you can read the posts of those you follow when you log in—or you can follow that blog through email. This means you will get an email every time they publish a new blog post. This button is usually located on the blogger’s sidebar (or slide-sidebar) and says, “Click to Follow this Blog and Receive Notifications Via Email”. (For bloggers, you can add this button to your blog by going to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widget > Follow Button. There are two so make sure it’s the one that says under it “Add an email sign-up form to allow people to follow your blog”. Click and drag to the sidebar.)

The best place for this button is as near to the top of your sidebar as you can get it. I wouldn’t put it at the bottom. If your theme is set up that way (where most of the side-bar elements are at the bottom), I would change the theme. If people are lazy, they may not see your button and therefore you increase the chances of them not following your blog.

Adjusting Your Settings

If you opt to receive notifications of new post by email, it means you will receive an email every time that blogger publishes a new blog post.

Some of us post frequently. We are usually the bloggers who publish on the hour, every hour or every single day. Some may refer to us as “Powerbloggers”, or just those crazy people over there who spend unfathomable time blogging. You know, those people with the audacity to spend more hours blogging than you do at work.

We are also usually the bloggers who are very active and supportive of other blogs with little patience to be told when and when we should not write. Yea yea, “Quality vs. Quantity”. We get it, but we’re still going to blog like crazy. (What of both? Post valuable information often. Yea, I like that).

If you happen to stumble upon one of our blogs, it’s important that you take the time to adjust your settings once you’ve subscribed.

If you don’t want us invading your inbox, you can just adjust your blog settings so that you receive emails whenever you want. In other words, configure your blog’s subscription options.

The easiest way to do this is that when you get an email click on it and at the very bottom of the page, in the footnote area, look for Modify your Notification Settings or it will say “Manage Subscriptions”. Click that.

screenshot-225

A page will come up with a list of all the people you’re following. You will see something that says “Delivery Frequency”. This is the frequency to which you will receive that blogger’s blog post. Immediate means it will be delivered to your inbox immediately, in real time. If this blogger posts a lot you may not want to get their posts immediately. If this is the case, you can change your frequency to daily or weekly and get the posts once a week or once a day instead of every hour.

Blog vs. Email List Subscriptions

Some people use their blog and email list simultaneously. That is, they use their email list to inform readers of new blog posts. When they deliver a new email via their list, you will also get their latest blog posts. However, subscribing to someone’s email list / newsletter and subscribing to their blog are two different things.

When you hit that Subscribe to This Blog button in my slide-side bar, you are opting to receive emails from this blog every time I publish a new post. When you sign up for my email list or newsletter (through the pop up alert or just by clicking on the link), you are opting to receive my email newsletters. These are not blog posts and are not from WordPress. These are emails sent once or more a month to my list of email newsletter subscriptions. Usually, a person’s email list is hosted through one of these:

  • MailChimp (Most popular because the free version lets you send up-to 12, 000 emails to a maximum of 2,000 people a month before an upgrade is needed).

But MailChimp is not the only program for building an email list. There’s also:

  • Campaing Monitor
  • Infusionsoft
  • Sendinblue
  • Active Campaign
  • Zoho Campaigns
  • Pinpointe

And the list goes on and on. The point is that if you’ve subscribed via any of these, you’ve subscribed to that person’s email list, not their blog.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are new to the blogosphere and that it will be beneficial to your navigation. I do post frequently so if you don’t want me bombarding your email, you can always adjust your settings. This goes also for those of us familiar with WordPress but who do not like getting lots of email notifications of a post from those to which we are subscribed. Lots of bloggers complain about getting lots of emails. This is unnecessary stress considering you don’t have to stay subscribed to that blog nor do you have to receive notifications immediately. You can always just modify your settings.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of being a writer in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parent’s struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters, the pending book cover release, and full blurb for this series, be sure to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Welcome!

bitmoji321919089

It’s been a minute since I’ve welcomed all of the newbies in. Of late, I’ve been blessed to receive quite a few follows and I’d like to say, welcome to The PBS Blog! (*throws invisible confetti*) I also want to thank our regulars for liking, commenting and reblogging our posts. I recognize your support as a vital instrument to the growth of this blog.

In the meantime, please be sure to visit the About Page to learn more about me and this blog.

One thing I do often on this blog is re-post older post with or without mention that it is a repost  I do this to rotate the blog post that may not have gotten much attention when it was originally published or (and most especially) to give those new to this blog an opportunity to see them.  Learn more about how you can self-evaluate your blog by re-spinning posts Here.

For your convenience, I’ve noted a few links below to get you started in your exploration of this blog! They are some of the most popular posts. Check them out and be sure to let me know what you’d like to see more of. I have a number of features that will be returning real soon.

If Your Blog Was a Resume

Blogger Support: Fact or Fiction?

The First 300: How I Reached 300 Blog Followers in 3 Months

Why I Use Images In (Almost) All of My Blog Posts

Writing 101 Assignments

To Write a Heart

Dear Poetry

Why I Write Black

The Right Poem

400 Follows and International Support

As I approach a potential 400 subscribers (aka followers of this blog), I can only maintain the excitement that out of 400 people I am at least reaching one of you (it is my hope). I still remember when I got my first 100. It was very exciting and I told myself I would not shout from the rooftops until I reached at least 400. And as I look over the map of the locations of some of you with 3 followers short of my mini goal, I cannot help but notice something even more exciting than that: International Support.

I’ve only been blogging at this address for about 7 months. And as I continue to learn about blogging itself, about you and your interest and about how I can be of service, of friendship, and of inspiration, one of the many exciting things about Blogging is the ability to reach people across the globe. It is one of the many advantages of the internet and increase in technology. While there are many things that excite us about our writing endeavors, I especially enjoy the International views that I get from those of you across the water. I also think it is something we underestimate on a general scale. That is, the world is much bigger than the U.S.

So without further ado I would just like to take the time to thank those of you from:

Germany, Australia, France, and the UK.

Do you live outside the U.S.? Where are you from? I would love to know! Comment below!

German-Flag-Wallpaper-Desktop