The Most Important Lesson I Learned in 11 Years of Publishing my Books

The little girl licked the wooden spoon that came with her ice cream.

“Bet you don’t know my mama name,” said Zoey, the five-year-old daughter of my husband’s client. We were relaxing on the couch, watching Netflix, and eating ice cream. Mine was gone, but she was still eating hers in that gross way children do, ice cream residue around her mouth and dripping from her fingers. I hoped she’d hurry and eat the thing before it melted all the way. It was a hot Sunday.

“Krissy,” I said proudly.

“Krissy what?”

Ole snap. What is the woman’s full name EC? Kristina? Kristy? Kristy Anne? Dang. I forgot the woman’s name. I’ve just been calling her Krissy or Kris like everyone else.

“You tell me,” I said playing it off.

Did I just reverse a question on a five-year-old? Yes. Yes, I did.

“Her name is…her name is…hmmm.”

Zoey seemed confused. I should have felt bad. I didn’t.

“My mommy’s name is—-”

“You don’t know it either,” I teased.

“I know she’s mommy but… just call her Krissy,” waved Zoey, licking the wooden spoon.

“Works for me,” I laughed.

This is what I was doing all day. Watching Netflix and talking to five-year-old Zoey and one-year-old Ziggy. Well, Ziggy and I did not exactly speak. There was something about he had to boo-boo and then he took a nap.

This was my weekend a few months ago. I went on a call with my husband. My husband is an HVAC (Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration) and Maintenance Tech. As a Universally Certified technician, this means he can pretty much work on anything from a home AC system to a restaurant’s refrigeration system. This day, he was installing three toilets for this family, which meant that I would hang out with the wife. I rarely tag along with him on his calls, but he asked me to, so I went. I wasn’t doing anything, anyway.

We were there all day, and the family even made dinner for us. I learned the wife is from Chicago, my hometown, and the husband is originally from Jamaica. I enjoyed the Tilapia and Rice dishes served and had never had a whole fish before! Like, they fried the entire thing, one big slab. Boom. On your plate, ha!

My husband and his client spoke extensively about several things. Somewhere along the line, my book came up, and my husband gave him the link to my website along with links to other things they discussed. (I can assure you I was not an important part of the conversation.)

But when we got home later that evening, the husband sent my husband a text saying that he had purchased a copy of I am Soul.

“Aww,” I crooned. “That’s sweet. Tell him I said thank you.”

Now, for the most important part of the story….

How many times did I ask them to buy my book? Zero.

How many times did I discuss the book with the wife? Zero.

I did not bring up my work at all. What I did was play with the children, watch Netflix, and converse with the wife about food. We talked about why I couldn’t be a vegetarian and other things.

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my 11-year journey of publishing books is the importance of connecting with others and building genuine relationships.

People buy from people they have a connection with. This may be an already formed relationship/friendship, similar interests, personality, hobby, belief system, faith, passions, membership in the same groups, clubs, or similar spirits or vibes. These are the people who will support you. You don’t even have to force it, manipulate or chase. This means that relationships (directly or indirectly) is a major factor in selling books.

Just be yourself and let the vibe of that authenticity light the path, drawing the people to you who are meant to be in your presence.

Personal Examples

(because I am really not just talking out the side of my neck)

I met TV Personality Tinzley Bradford through my connection with Lisa W. Tetting. I turned around and sponsored, attended, and performed at Tinzley’s mixer last year and met TV One and Talk show host Chere Turner, CEO of Behind the Beauti Tenisha Bibbs, Singer, and CEO of Advudcate Arts LLC Cami Tippin, and 2x Best Selling Author Oliver T Reid. Then, I attended Oliver T Reid’s writer’s masterclass and met publisher Kelly Cole, also a 2x Best Selling Author and owner of one of the fastest growing Black-Owned Book Publishing companies in the U.S. I met Indie Bookstore owner Nia Damali through Indie Bookstore owner Marcus and through Nia I met Vivica A. Fox. A recent example is my meeting of Founder and Owner of B Infused Natural Detox Waters Brianna Arceneaux. Brianna is more like a niece as she is the sister of my brother-in-laws daughter. She is also the founder of a women’s organization Sagacious Women of Business, dedicated to mentoring young women in business and victims of sexual assault. She has been mad supportive of my work, and we intend to do much business together.

The point here is I have bought books by authors I didn’t know and have had my books purchased by people I didn’t know all due to the power of a single connection.

If you remember nothing else, remember:

Lifting others is how we lift ourselves.

p.s. The mother’s name was Kristina.


Don’t forget to preorder

Keep Yourself Full in ebook below!

Free with Kindle Unlimited

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(This book will be available in ebook and paperback
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About.

 

Keep Yourself Full is a spiritual handbook that focuses on our return to self-love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our lives and makes us fit to be of service to others. Through my testimony, I give examples of how we self-abuse and how that differs from self-love, why it is essential not to take things so personally, why we must establish and enforce healthy boundaries, and how assumptions kill relationships. We learn that by investing in our well-being spiritually, physically, mentally, and professionally, we can be of service fully to others. It cannot be ignored that we treat others how we feel about ourselves. When we realize that what we do to others, we are equally doing to ourselves, we can use this awareness to heal. By treating ourselves better, we treat others better. Keep Yourself Full is about keeping ourselves filled with love and all that is good so that we are overflowing with enough to share with everyone else.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER.

My 7 Instagram Tips for New Authors

I think Instagram is a great place for writers because there is a prodigious reader and writing community there.

Below, you will find seven tips I put together for new writers who also enjoy using the gram. Hope it helps.

  • Tip #1: Private Page to Business Page

If you’re an author using Instagram, it’s a good idea that your author page is a business page. This will allow you to use insights and other metrics that can help you post quality content by looking beyond the number of likes and tracking things like saves, shares, demographics, and the best times to post based on when your audience is online. (You can find this under insights)

Business pages are also automatically public, which is what you want. If you are trying to build readership and engagement, your author pages should not be private. That is like having a closed sign hanging off the door of your new business. To be clear, this isn’t your personal page (unless you have turned your personal page into a business page, but we will touch on that in a second). This is your business page, and business pages should be public.

Get out of thinking anything you post on the internet is private. It’s not, and if it’s any consolation, making your profile private does not necessarily make it “safe.”

Switching to Business Account

  • Although I am not a big fan of Facebook, you will need to connect it to a Facebook page to create an Instagram business page (at this writing). I know, it sucks. But IG is owned by Facebook so, go figure.

    This page cannot be your personal page but a Facebook business page. If you have not already, head over to Facebook and create a Facebook page for your author business. This will make it easier when you switch over. Then, come back to your IG, click on the three bars in the upper right-hand corner and go to settings. Click on account, then scroll down until you see the option to create a business page.

Changing a Personal Page to a Business Page

If you are going to turn your personal page into a business page, there are some things you will need to do first. Some people say not to do this and to create a separate business page, but I agree with both ways with a few exceptions.

To turn your personal page into a business page, you will want to make sure you delete everything that is not in some way relatable to your business. This means you might want to delete those nudes and all fifteen pictures of your cat.

Another option is to delete everyone who is not part of your readership and unfollow people who aren’t right for your business. While it is best to create a separate business page, turning your personal page into a business page could work if you are willing to make a few adjustments.

You will also have a lot of family and friends on your personal page, and family and friends are not your target audience. The chances are that’s why you are complaining so much about not getting the support you deserve. You are trying to sell to the family instead of the strangers who want to buy from you.

Family is family, but they are not your customers. Even those who buy from you aren’t doing it for the same reasons your readers are. A family who buys from you is just trying to be supportive because they are related to you, not because they actually like to read your books. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I know, and it doesn’t apply to all family members (some of them do like your work), but the quicker you move out of the mentality that your family must support you to be successful, the more successful you will actually be because you will have embraced the strangers who are readers passionate about the kinds of books you write.

Just as author blogs differ from business blogs, I believe author social media pages differ from other business social media pages in some ways. One way is that for writers, showing off our likes, interest, and personality is all part of author branding. People buy from people they know, like, trust, and getting personal (though, not too personal…keep it clean) helps build trust.

  • Tip #2: Track Progress by Using Instagram’s Insights So You Know What’s Working and What’s Not

One of the hardest things I have found as an introvert is figuring out what other people want. The only way to know is to ask, track behavior, and pay attention to actions.

Once you’ve decided you are ready, making the switch from a private to a business page will help you track your audience’s actions and see which posts are reaching people. 

When your IG page is a business page, you get to see things you won’t see on personal pages. Below are screenshots of posts from my page.

If you click on the insights (which you can see under your post on business accounts), you can see not just how many likes you got but how many people shared your post, saved your post, viewed your profile, or clicked on your website link.

This helps you to see which posts have high engagement and which posts do not.

The thing about any business social media page is that it differs from pages that you are only using to connect with family members, friends, or just hang out. On those pages, likes, shares, and follows don’t mean anything except maybe to boost your ego. On business pages, though, likes and shares are important to you understanding how your content performs – by tracking metrics over time – and is the key to developing a content strategy that works best for your audience.

As a business page on social media, the formula is typically:

Engagement =

Likes + Comments / Followers

You also see things like the number of people who viewed your profile, clicks to your website, where the people are coming from (what city/state), age range, gender, and more to consider in terms of what’s working other than counting likes, which is actually the least important form of engagement.

Let’s look at some examples of my high performing Instagram posts and how I determine they are high performing. Try not to look at the number of likes. Although that plays a part, you can see likes on everyone’s post. In this example, we are looking at what you can only see on a business page and how to increase posts’ quality.

Example #1

Here, the winner is the number of shares (46) and saves (74). The number of comments is next (20) and then, lastly, number of likes. Also, you will notice the number of people I reached and the number of people who clicked on my profile. Although there are more likes than saves, liking a post is last in terms of engagement.

Example #2

Here, there were only two profile visits but the reach was huge and so were the saves. A lot of people enjoyed this post. But I want you to notice something else.

While this post has the most likes and a higher reach, example number one is still a better post to me because it’s my own original content.

This is important.

In example two, I was reposting a black history meme from another page (you can see my credit at the bottom left…always give people credit when you share their post. You can do this easily using a repost app). The posts that are yours are always the best!

Never share more of someone else content than you do your own.

Example #3

 

Example number three was lit. The reach is impressive, the shares and saves are outstanding, and the likes even got up there a bit. Here, everything outshined the number of comments, so while people loved the post, they didn’t have too much to say about it. I guess we all know Alice Walker by now lol.

Chicago (my hometown), Atlanta, New York, Houston, and Charlotte are where the bulk of my support comes from (at this writing). I am happy to see ATL at the top since I live in Georgia and see the Chi representing. My biggest audience is made up of women, which is always good since I am a woman, and the age group is between 25-44. Let’s move on.

  • Tip #3 Use Sharp, HQ Images

Instagram’s focus is on photos, so uploading pictures that are grainy, pixelated, or include text that’s hard to read is like the IG cardinal sin. If your images look like crap, you won’t get much engagement. Trust.

Use sharp, high-quality images in all your posts. You can brand yourself by creating lovely images using Canva or PosterMyWall

It’s also good if the images have something to do with your books or show off your personality in some way. A good practice is something I saw someone post about looking at your last nine posts. Can someone understand who you are and what you offer by these posts alone? I have been doing this (looking at my previous nine posts), and it has been a helpful reminder to pay attention to the kinds of content I post. People will see the image before seeing the caption, so the image must speak first.

  • Tip #4: Include Text/Caption with Images

Speaking of seeing the image first, people pay attention to the caption! Add some context to the image by adding a caption. Now, I have noticed many celebrities don’t do this. They often post a selfie, and leave it at that, but that’s because they are celebrities who already have a strong audience and platform. David Banner doesn’t have to include text on his images, and he will still get over a thousand likes and hundreds of comments and shares.

But you are not David Banner.

You are a new author at the beginning of an exciting journey, and you are introducing people to who you are for the first time. Use the caption to explain the images you post. It doesn’t have to be uber long and fancy, but something is better than leaving it blank.

  • Tip #5 Hashtags

Going back to this screenshot, it appears my hashtags are working on this post, reaching 45 people alone. Hashtags don’t exist just so you can be cute but they work just like the tags you’ll use on a blog post. They are searchable on social media. If you click on your hashtag, it will take you to all the posts relevant to that hashtag. They help categorize content and track discussion topics based on keywords. You can Google the hashtags that are best for your business. It may even be necessary to research your hashtags (I did because I’m a nerd lol). There are tools available like Hashtags.org or HashtagDirectory.com that can help you. You don’t really need 50 hashtags. The most important thing is that the hashtags you use are trending and apply to your business.

Tip #6: Clean Up Your IG Bio

I just changed my bio again because I wanted it to reflect what I do and offer. This is one of the most critical parts of your account. Since you are limited on characters, you must quickly tell people what you have to offer in as few words as possible. As you can see, I don’t have tons of followers, so don’t think because you have less or even more, that’s the most important thing because it’s not. The number of followers doesn’t determine quality.

  • Author – Make sure you let people know you are an author. Don’t be afraid. If your an author, say that.
  • Tell us what you do or offer. If you’re an author, tell us the kinds of books you write.
  • Be sure your website or Linktree link is in the bio.

Tip #7 Website Link in Bio

What do you want people to do once when they visit your profile? Do you want them to like, comment, and then move on with their lives? Do you want them to research something? Do you want them to buy something? What do you want people to do when they come across your page? That answer is the link you promote in your bio.

If you are using Social media for business, the end of the road isn’t your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter page. You need an author website/blog/email list and should be directing people to these sources to learn more about who you are, what you offer, and how it is beneficial to their lives.

In your bio, you may also want to include a special website link. This link is special because it can be created specifically for Instagram. Instead of posting the link to your website alone, you can create a landing page with buttons specific to where you want people to go. Instagram only allows one link, but you can post several when you:

  • Set up a Linktree account where you can house several buttons, accessible through one link

Even if you don’t have a website yet, Linktree is excellent because it allows you to list more than one thing at a time. You can add buttons to your social media sites, for example. When people visit your link, they can choose where they want to go. You can also see how often people are visiting your sites. I used linktree for a while, and it’s excellent.

  • You can create your own linktree-like link through your website

To get the best out of Linktree would mean using the paid version so you can customize it, but if you have your own website (that you are already paying for), you can also opt to create a page on your website that mimics the Linktree platform. This is a special page specifically for Instagram, so you don’t have to make it visible from your home page, but add the link to your IG bio. (Click here to see my page for an example)

This saves money, points people directly to your website, and promotes you and not Linktree.

Website Link + Call to action button helps direct potential readers to your books, blog, or wherever you want them to go. Remember, social media is not the end of the road. If you want people to do more than like a post, be sure to lead them somewhere they can learn more.


To Summarize:

  • Make your profile public, and create a business page. Be sure to shake up your content to reflect your business profile

 

  • Use the insights and metrics you see over time to improve your strategy and increase clicks to your website.

 

  • Write a bio that targets what it is that you do and what you offer.

 

  • Use sharp, high-quality images

 

  • Use caption/text to describe images

 

  • Use hashtags strategically, researching the ones that best apply to the kind of content you post.

 

  • Include the link to your website in your bio or use linktr.ee for multiple links

 

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!

Be Yourself on Social Media

Social media has created an environment where people who live in their mother’s basement can post pictures of traveling the world so that the world will never know they’re homeless. Couples can smile and cuddle under the flash of a Selfie while sleeping in separate beds. Writers are encouraged to show snapshots of their lives so readers can see the real but is it? Real? We want people to Like Us and Follow our life but most of what you see online is superficial. Just because you don’t see much of me doesn’t mean I am unhappy. You don’t see me posting lots of pictures of my life because I actually have one. Not many pictures of my husband because we are truly happy so I don’t feel obligated to prove it. I’ll post them when I feel like it. No images of food because I cook in real life. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a piece of yourself online but it does not define who you are. If you’re not into getting personal on social media that doesn’t mean you’ve doomed a failure. Just because they (I still don’t know who they are) say you have to tell us what you had for dinner last night doesn’t mean that you must if that’s not who you are. My social media of choice is Twitter but only because I like it. I Tweet and Retweet when I want to and to be honest I’m not thinking about how it makes me look. I’m not thinking about what people think of me, I’m just doing what I enjoy doing. The point is that the uniqueness we all talk about is important to have is really simple. It just means that you are being yourself. This automatically sets you apart because this “Yourself” is different from anyone else. Not even Twins have the same fingerprint (and as a Twin I can tell you we can be very different. Tracey and me are two different people who happened to be born five minutes apart). If the expert says I should post more about my favorite food, I get it. Try and be relatable but is this me? No, it’s not me because EC does not talk about food. My point is that advice must be filtered or it will have you behaving in ways that aren’t you. I am not saying not to be strategic but that you can still be successful without getting extremely personal if that’s just not you. If you remember nothing else remember this: in a world of sameness you’re either different or invisible so you may as well just be yourself because YOU are unique and beautiful and all the words I didn’t say.

If Your Blog Was a Resume

I am re-posting this article from some time ago. Quick reason why: So I went to this fabulous blog party yesterday right, and there was one common thread: We couldn’t follow each other! On more than one occasion there was an issue with someone’s follow button (including mine!) and other critical buttons in its relation to networking.

***

If your blog was a resume, will I be able to contact you for a job?

I follow a lot of blogs through the WordPress reader that I would like to follow by way of my email because it’s easier for me to keep in touch. I manage the blogs I follow by regulating my settings. Some blogs I adjust to get emails every day and instantly. Some I have set for a few times a week, and some I purposely just follow through the reader.

I don’t consider myself an expert blogger so take this with a grain of salt, but perhaps it will be beneficial to make sure your Follow This Blog button is visible. I have come to really enjoy smaller blogs. There is something genuine about a blog with fewer followers. However, I soon discover why there is not much support. I enjoy the post but I can’t find a follow button. There is also one page. It is the about page. I click on the about page. There is nothing there. I don’t know what this blog is about and I can’t follow it to receive the next post. I leave. I may never return.

follow-us-button-featured1

I suppose we are all writing publicly for a reason. There is really no such thing as a private blog. If you really wanted to write privately you’d just buy a journal. Instead you started a blog on the World Wide Web so it means you are looking for some kind of attention. That said, the best way to meet people is when you expose things about yourself others can relate to. It can be anything from your favorite food to your humor to your family photos. The point I’m making is give us something. Give us a reason to care. If there’s not even a follow button you cannot expect people to follow you.

(Its Okay to admit you want people to follow your blog. This isn’t arrogance or narcissism. You’re not saying “worship me,” you are just looking for support to help improve your writing or expose yourself as an author or whatever the reason you are blogging. We all know by now that not everyone who follows your blog is really following your blog, this is not about that. This is about helping those who do really want to support you, to do so):

  • Go into your dashboard
  • Go to WP Admin
  • Appearance > Widgets

Here, you’ll see lots of widgets you can use to spice up your sidebar. You can place them anywhere you want on your blog.

There are two kinds of follow buttons. I use both but the one you really want to have is the one that says “Add an email follow button to allow people to follow your blog”. This is the one that will allow people to follow you through their emails. This means that every time you publish a post they will get it in their emails. This is better than if they followed the reader because even when they are not logged in they can still have access to your blog (If they get tired of your emails, they can even adjust their settings so they only get post alerts from you at certain times). This will increase visibility, likes, comments, and overall interaction with your blog. Click and drag this button to the sidebar section. Go back and view your site so you can see how it looks. Preferably, you want your follow button somewhere we can see it easily. Try not to have it at the bottom of the blog because some of us are lazy and don’t want to scroll down that far. The ideal place is actually as close to the top as possible and in your sidebar. (Quick Note: Mine doesn’t say Follow This Blog. It says Subscribe to this Blog. Either one is fine).

Next, add some pages.

Go to Pages > Add a Page

Pages are designed to permanently store information. So a contact page or an about page is a good way to use pages. If you already have an about page, put something on it. It is also a good idea to make sure your stream of posts aren’t infinite. Again, we are lazy with goldfish attention spans, don’t make it difficult.

  • Go To WP Admin > Settings > Reading
  • Blog Pages Show At Most (Add the number you want. Limit it to less than forever)
  • For Each Article In Feed > Click Show Summary so that when people scroll through your blog they see a summary of the post without going on….you guessed it, forever.

Also, decorate the place a little bit. Play with WordPress many themes and colors to fit your style and personality. Whatever you do, get creative. We may just stick around a bit longer than usual.


BE SURE TO VISIT THE BLOG TIPS PAGE HERE BLOG TIPS PAGE HERE FOR MORE

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON IG HERE

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER HERE

BE SURE TO LIKE MY FB PAGE HERE

AND BE SURE TO VISIT ME ON THE WEB ATWWW.YECHEILYAHYSRAYL.COM TO LEARN MORE.

4 Benefits of Connecting Social Media to Your Blog

A great opportunity to grow your network. Let’s connect.

Dream Big, Dream Often

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Connecting via social media is a great way to grow you blog.

Many don’t utilize social media and in my opinion that is a mistake.  Take a few minutes and research the effectiveness of social media!  Social media benefits your blog in several ways:

  1. Adds legitimacy to your page in the eyes of search engines (SEO best practices).
  2. Expands the reach of your voice.
  3. Helps to grow you statistics (i.e. followers, views, comments, etc.)
  4. Allows for a deeper connection with your readership.

Leave me your social media links in the comments and I and others will LIKE, FOLLOW, PIN and CONNECT!

Here are mine:

Flipboard

Tumblr

Twitter @BigDreamer0323

Facebook: Dream Big, Dream Often

Google +: Danny Ray

The Dream Big Channel

Instagram

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Before The Week Ends: Quality Connections

people-apple-iphone-writing

It’s no secret. I pretty much blog like a madwoman so I actually have days I take off, which is the weekend pretty much with only very few exceptions. And although I should really be cleaning right now, I’d like to share something before we dig in for the weekend. Something that is on my heart, and that I also think is very important both for Indie Authors as well as anyone running a business or trying to run a business. This subject matter is concerning social media connections. And as always there is the disclaimer that this post is based on my experience and is not necessarily professional insight. For the record.

I would be very careful playing the numbers game with social media. Obviously you want more interactions, but don’t get frustrated, embarrassed, or beg if you do not have lots of Twitter followers, IG followers (I am staunchly against that app where they promise you thousands of followers. I want my connections genuine)  or Facebook Likes. The reason I would not force these connections is because you just don’t want a whole bunch of people following you, but what you want is quality connections. By quality, I mean people who could really help you in achieving your goals. What is 4,000 Twitter followers worth when 3,000 of them are family members and friends? Don’t get me wrong, family is very supportive but they are also a conflict of interest. Since they’ve known you since forever and they love you so much you cannot count on them to really be honest about your work because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They also want to see you make it, which is great, but you need more than mom and dad on your bandwagon to really make some noise.

You need a community of support that is more than just your family members. What is 2,000 email subscriptions worth when you only have a 2 percent open rate? Open rate, it’s the percentage of people who actually open your emails. This is easy to track using Mailchimp. I don’t have a lot of subscriptions to my email list personally and I love that. Not that I do not want it to increase, but I want it to increase with quality and value. For now, I’m OK with not having many email subscribers (by subscribers I do not mean to this blog, I mean to my personal email list). I enjoy the close knit family I have currently signed up (by family I do not mean blood related, I mean those who support me. I call them family because they are. If you signed up, you would be family too. Not shameless plugging, just saying) because the open rate of the emails is still in the 30-40 percentiles which are great for only about fifty or so subscriptions. This means that most of the people who are signed up are actually opening and reading the newsletter as opposed to 1,000 subscribers of which only ten are engaged.

This same thing can be true of social media across the board. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook and I don’t get overly excited about the numbers. The reason I don’t get overly excited is because though people are there and obviously find something worthy because they like the page consistently, the interaction is low. This I can compare to the email list. If my Facebook Page was an email list I would only have a few opens. For this reason, Twitter is my favorite place right now. It’s my favorite place not because I have tons of followers. It’s my favorite because the interactions are high. People are actually engaging and the people following me are either readers, authors, editors, or professional business people (Note to Authors: Careful befriending JUST authors. Authors are not going to buy your books, readers are).

We live in a world where people ravish in the idea of being Internet Famous. But  what we have to understand is that bragging is not branding. Having lots of followers and likes doesn’t mean anything if they are not coming from the right sources. What you want, more so than numbers is quality connections in an ethical / professional atmosphere. This means you want to leave what your sister in laws baby cousin Tracey did at the club last night out of your business accounts.