Armchair BEA – Day 5: Ask the Experts

Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot visit Book Expo America but still want to join in the fun. This week, June 4th to June 8th, there are celebrations for those who stay at home rather than make it to New York. Look out for a new post every day from me!

Today, I’d like to give you my insights in blogging. What works and what doesn’t work, if you’d ask me. Maybe it’s helpful for you. And if you have any good tips for me, please let me know!

I’ll be honest: this is a re-worked post from last year’s Armchair BEA. Not because I’m lazy, but because I still believe these points are useful.

So, how to be successful with your blog

  • Post regularly. It doesn’t matter if that’s every day or every week, but make sure your readers see something from you on a regular basis. If you’re inconsistent with posting, they’ll be lacklustre in reading and commenting on your blog, too.
  • Solicit comments. To make a blog post more interesting for your readers, ask them explicitly to comment, e.g., by asking them a question at the end of a post. They’ll feel more involved if you do.
  • Provide quality content. Don’t do meme after meme every day (or week), but balance it with posts that originate from you. E.g., a book review, an opinion about something, a photograph. Something that makes you stand out.
  • Use your own format for your book reviews. Use the same format for each review. It will make it easier for readers to follow and it will make your blog recognisable.
  • Have a giveaway every now and then. I run giveaways because I find them fun. I often win books myself, and I like to give back to the book blogging community. It’s also a way for people to find my blog, and maybe they like it and want to subscribe. If you don’t have the means to run giveaways: it doesn’t matter, they are just a bit of added fun.
  • Comment, comment, comment. What does it mean for your blog to be successful? Is it that other people read and comment on your posts? Then make sure you comment on other people’s posts so they know you exist and slowly build a connection with them. To do that, don’t go round hundreds of blogs, commenting here and there, but concentrate on ten or twenty favorite blogs that you visit regularly. That’s a great way to make new online friends.
  • Let people know you’re there! Blogging becomes more interesting if you have readers. Besides commenting on other people’s blogs, you can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to post links to your newest post. People like links, they’ll often click them to find out what they are about. If you don’t have many followers, start following other book bloggers (e.g., check their blog, it often has a Twitter/facebook etc. name mentioned) and they’ll start to follow you back.
  • Join a meme or two. Joining memes (recurring features on other blogs) means that, on another blog, you leave a link to your blog post, and hey, people will click that link and find out about you. It does cost a bit of time, as you are expected to click on other people’s link too. It’s a no-no to leave your link and not interact with other people. But don’t worry: you are NOT obliged to click on each and every of 100s of links!
  • Make sure your blog looks nice. Not too busy, with lots of things in the side bars but simple. Make sure your font is a color that’s easily readable against the background. If people have to strain to read your post, they’ll skip most of it.
I’m sure if you are a veteran blogger, you know all this. Hopefully a newer blogger can use some of these ideas to improve their blogging life. If you don’t agree with me on something, do let me know. Here is that question to get you to interact with me and leave a comment….


What do you think of these points? Agree? Other suggestions?

Leave it in the comments!

PS. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway (world-wide where Book Depository delivers)

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

40 Responses to Armchair BEA – Day 5: Ask the Experts

  1. Jenny says:

    I agree about keeping the community you comment on smaller… I wrote something similar in my post too!

  2. bibliosue says:

    Great points, Judith. I need to work on posting regularly.

  3. Leslie says:

    All good points… hopefully some of the newer blogs will find this helpful.

    I would add, go easy on the sidebar widgets. Us WordPress folks can’t have flash widgets, but others load up the side bar with all kinds of flashing things, and for readers with older computers or slow connections, it makes it very slow.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Good point, Leslie. I sometimes find my computer freezing up when I load a blog. And it’s never one of those quiet blogs with hardly any sidebar stuff…

      • Leslie says:

        My main computer, which I fondly refer to as The Mothership since she runs the network, modem & router, is still running on XP and dislikes those script & flash heavy sites. My favorite bloggers do not have sites like that so no worries for them. I usually run into those sites on blog hops and meme day. Sadly, they never get a chance as I usually just shut down the page rather than freeze up.

        And why do I still have XP you might be wondering. Eh, lazy? Better things to do than rebuild the pc? Borrow hubby’s laptop with Win7 when I need speed? All of the above! lol🙂

      • Leeswammes says:

        Leslie, unfortunately my computer freezes as soon as it starts to load such a page (Windows 7) and there is nothing I can do but wait…

        Maybe next bloggiesta you could work on updating your computer, you lazy woman!🙂

  4. These are great things for bloggers to keep in mind! I espeically agree on commenting on other bloggers sites! I do that as much as I can.🙂

    Here are my posts for Armchair BEA:
    Day 1 | Introduction
    Day 2 | Best of 2012
    Day 2 | Giveaway | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    Day 3 | Networking
    Day 4 | Beyond the Blog
    BEA 2012 | Take Home Results
    Day 5 | Blogging Advice | Give or Take

  5. Those are all good points. Solicit comments, especially. I often find it hard to comment on a review — it’s easier to comment on a meme or personal post, sometimes.

    • Leeswammes says:

      That’s true, Leeanna. Sometimes I mention that I’ve read the book/plan to read it, or that it sounds interesting. But only if that is really the case, of course.

  6. Useful tips that work, based on my experience. Have a great weekend.

  7. Great tips! You also need to make sure it’s a meaningful comment not a generic with a link back to your blog

    • Leeswammes says:

      True, Kristina – although I’m happy even with a comment that isn’t quite so meaningful. It’s just nice to know that people read the posts and want to say Hi. I do get annoyed if a generic commenter leaves their link, true.

  8. All great tips Judith, thanks for sharing.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

  9. All great advise…. I’m failing at your first recommendation these days. Just too much going on and something has to give. I do enjoy reading everyone’s posts though, with a latte or cup of tea!

    Have a great day Judith!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Well, unlike me, you have a life, Mari, which is really nice, too!🙂

      But I always enjoy reading your posts, even if there aren’t that many at the moment.

  10. great points!
    Chelle

  11. patgarcia says:

    Hi,
    Great advice and very well written.
    I have nominated your blog for the Inspiring Blog Award. For more information, please see :http://patgarciabookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/inspiringblogaward/?preview=true&preview_id=22&preview_nonce=373e43ad43
    Ciao,
    Patricia

  12. Cass says:

    Comprehensive list! I liked the one about making your own review format, since that’s not something you hear about often but is super helpful and makes reading everyones reviews so much more interesting!

  13. elena says:

    Blogging is more interesting once you have readers! I think posting regularly is a big plus too, I think at least once a week is ideal.

  14. Great tips, Judith! I agree, especially with having an easy to read blog.

  15. Laura says:

    I fully agree with all of these things, even if I don’t always do them all… But I like the commenting one the best, because for me that’s the best part of blogging in both ways- discussing other people’s posts, and your own too. It’s pretty awesome🙂

  16. I agree with all of these, especially commenting! I am so much more likely to check out someone’s blog if they leave thoughtful comments on mine. We actually overlapped in several of our pieces of advice – which I’m guessing will be common themes today🙂

    Great post! Here’s my Armchair BEA Ask the Experts post.

  17. Jae says:

    I hadn’t thought of that, but consistency is so important! I try to stick to the same review format and not change it up too often. I’ve never done a giveaway but I’m excited to do one, hopefully soon!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jae, giveaways are fun to do – if you keep them to your own country the postage shouldn’t be too expensive either. Just choose a book that you liked but won’t re-read again – it’s nice when someone else gets a chance to enjoy a book that will only take up shelf space in your book case.🙂

  18. Shan says:

    Great tips! I enjoy memes but I find it kind of annoying when all a blog does is post memes. It’s important to me to see a balance of content.

  19. Kailana says:

    Great suggestions! I enjoy some memes, but sometimes they get a bit boring…

  20. All good advice, I try to keep good intentions even if I can’t always manage to post regularly and I’m always reflecting whether its written down or not.

    Definitely worthwhile, even necessary, to visit and make genuine comments on other blogs, I love interacting and receiving feedback. And I love this armchair event you are participating in, very creative and participative.🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Claire, I love to get comments and I love it when people reply to comments I leave on their blog. The interactions are the best part of blogging.

  21. Karen says:

    They really are the tried and true suggestions and worth repeating.
    Sometimes it’s hard to keep up and do them all but it’s a good goal to keep in mind.

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