open mic friday

In the past I’ve opened my blog to blogging questions and have had great success with it.

Today, I’m doing the same, but this time I have two other bloggers joining me to help get your questions answered.

We have Tracy of I Hate My Message Board blog and guru/hostess from the newly opened “The TnT Bloggers Lounge” (forum) to answer any questions you may have regarding forums, how they work, how to join, the advantages of participating, etc.

Also joining us is John Hoff of WP Blog Host. He’s our resident guru on blog security, tutorials, web hosting, domain names, SEO (search engine optimization) and much more.

With this being open mic, there’s no need to stay on topic. Just jump in, ask a question, reply to another blogger’s comment or question, share your thoughts on blogging and/or any difficulties you may face or just leave a comment to say, “Hello”.

Keep in mind, Tracy, John and I all have responsibilities outside of our blogs, so if your question(s) doesn’t get answered right away, please be patient.

All comments and/or questions will be addressed.

Have Fun!

Keep it Clean!

And don’t forget to check the “subscribe to comments on this post” box so you can follow along.

signature for blog post.

P.S. I just installed a threaded comment plugin. I’m hoping this will make replying directly to others easier. Under each comment you’ll see “reply”. If you want to reply to just that comment, just click on “reply”. If you want to add a new question or comment, just scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment like you normally would. If this plugin creates problems, let me know.

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    After hitting the “Publish” button, I realized I forgot to say our own George, of Tumblemoose Writing Services is the host of The TnT Bloggers Lounge (forum). Together he and Tracy are creating a safe place for all bloggers to go. You can talk blogging, ask a question, read what others are saying, or grab a free “cyber” drink.

    Now, my question to Tracy:

    I just joined the TnT Bloggers Lounge forum. Just like any social networking endeavor, it’s time consuming – reading, replying, asking questions, etc. I know you are active on Twitter and are also administering this and other forums. Traffic wise, if time is an issue, do you this it’s better to be more active on a site like Twitter, or to participate in forums?

    • TracyNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara! You really asked the million dollar question. Short answer: I have no idea. Medium answer: It depends. Longer answer:

      I think you need to look at where your audience is and make that the focus of your attention, although ideally you’ll have your fingers in a lot of pies. You don’t want to focus everything on a single source of traffic.

      If your traffic is heavily dependent on search, I’d carve out a bit of time for forums. As I said last time, forums (especially ones with the latest software) get crawled just as rapidly as blogs and if you can add value by helping other forum members, you’ll find yourself rewarded with new visitors to your blog.

      Twitter can be an excellent source of traffic, but I’m finding that I can’t ignore Facebook, just to add more confusion to the mix.

      For me, the key is to budget my time so that I can spend a little time every day on each traffic source.
      .-= Check out Tracy´s awesome post: Announcing the TnT Bloggers Lounge =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you for that Tracy – I see you’ve also brought up Facebook. That’s another area I haven’t even begun to research.

        When I look at all the time blogging takes, it’s tough to start adding even more to our plates. Where once just having a blog was enough, now it seems to gain recognition, we need to have our name and face all over the internet. When I look at the sites of the big name bloggers, they’ll list nearly every possible source – Twitter, FaceBoook, Stumble, Digg, Linkedin, and so on. It’s becoming quite overwhelming (for me, at least)

        • Ah but Barbara, remember that “Probloggers” pretty much do this for a living. They don’t work normal jobs and they even have people assist them (a group effort). They don’t do all their blogging efforts on their own and they don’t have children in the background stopping them every 2 minutes.

          Also, notice how they don’t respond to your Tweets, emails, blog comments as much, comments on their LinkedIn or FaceBook page that often. They don’t have time. It’s just like someone who makes $50,000 and a million a year. The way they do things will be different. Different priories, different focus.
          .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Tracy – Interestingly enough. I just checked my stats, Just from my joining the TnT Blog Lounge yesterday, I’m already seeing referral traffic from there. That didn’t take long.

        Now I’ll watch to see how that translates into RSS feed readers and/or new commenters on the blog.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re right John,

      That is their “business” and they do have help. Now you are making me think. At what point does a blogger begin to outsource and/or cut back on interacting with others? See, to me, that’s a favorite part of blogging. Giving that up would take all the fun out of it.

      Even when I think of all blogging entails and each part that takes time, right now I’m enjoying it all. It would be hard to relinquish any of it. I think I need to be cloned. 🙂

      • Well, keep in mind I’m not a problogger.

        As far as what you do, I think that’s the point. Do what you love. If you love making the connections and talking and responding to every comment, then make that your role and outsource other time consuming tasks.

        If you’re good with that, maybe someone else is out there who is good at other aspects who you can team up with – like marketing or maintaining a membership site.
        .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

        • ElizaNo Gravatar says:

          Now this is fascinating. With my new site, I joined some forums, and actually found them frustrating to participate in. I was going to give them up. But, I am making an effort to draw in traffic based on searches, so …. I guess it’s back to the forums.
          .-= Check out Eliza´s awesome post: Understanding weight gain after 40 =-.

          • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

            HI Eliza – You’re voicing what I always found about forums in the past. If it wasn’t for the fact it’s Tracy and George that started The “TnT Bloggers Lounge”. I wouldn’t have taken the time to learn. Now I’m happy I did (although I still have lots more to learn)

  2. […] Continued here: Open Mic – Answering Blogging Questions […]

  3. I began my blog in Spanish and so it’s domain name it’s, but slowly it has moved to a bilingual then English only blog. Do you think I should get another domain name or stick to the one I’ve been using for almost a year?

    • Hi Miguel. That’s a tough one and there’s no clear yes or no answer. If what you’re worried about is search engine traffic, you could probably use a little better domain name SEO-wise for searches in the US.

      As an American who doesn’t speak other languages, I can tell you that I can’t really pronounce your domain name. I can take a stab at it, but it’s probably wrong. I also don’t know what it means. The problem I have with that is you already have your site visitor a little confused before they even get to anything on your blog (content, images, etc.).

      On the other side, your current domain name is part of your own brand. I’m sure you chose it for a reason. Maybe it’s something personal to you. There’s been plenty of businesses with different names and even domain names that have been huge successes.

      If this is something you’re really worried about, here’s my advice.

      Test test test.

      Domain names are cheap. With our company they are only $9.95. Run your site with the new domain name and ask for reader feedback. Also, keep an eye on your stats and see if you notice any change.

      Whenever you’re not sure if you should do something or not, test.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • Yes, it means something. A “Dietario” is a planner, and at first my blog was about productivity, an area that I soon expanded into a more general life development.
        .-= Check out Miguel de Luis Espinosa´s awesome post: My friend Evenso =-.

        • Ah see, I didn’t know that. After visiting your site, just to be honest, I didn’t really understand what it was you wanted me to do and really what’s here for me. I know it has something to do with Wisdom and that you might be able to help me, but it’s not real clear – at least to me.

          Might be good to add a little something on your homepage or in the sidebar about what you can do for your visitors. If there’s a service you provide, funnel them there from this spot.
          .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Miguel – Continuing on with what John said, one thing to also consider is “who” is your audience? Or, who do you want it to be?

          I’m thinking if you don’t want to add another domain name, you could make your tag line search engine friendly, plus concentrate on SEO in your posts and really spend time on promoting your work.

        • Oh, I’m not a pro-blogger, I’m not selling anything. Honestly I did not thing I would be still blogging one year later, and in my second language.

          As for you to do, John, well you actually did what I wanted, spark my mind. I will be testing a few things from now on. In a few months I could need another host, I think I have time to explore until then
          .-= Check out Miguel de Luis´s awesome post: My friend Evenso =-.

        • Congrats Miguel on sticking through with blogging. It can be rough at times.

          If you ever need anything, let me know. We’re all in this community here to help each other grow.
          .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

  4. Hey gurus!

    I’m new on Technorati and still feeling my way around there. How can I get the most out if it? And is it still the BIG name for blog sharing and promotion or are there other sites like it that bear looking into?

    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: Like a bord on a wire, 9 =-.

    • Hello there Ms. Funster 🙂

      I have not used Technorati so um, not much help for you there, sorry. But what the general spoken word is for leveraging social sites to help drive traffic and business to your site is to stick with a few popular ones out there and really invest your effort into those.

      If it’s Technorati you want to focus on, really focus on it. Make it all it can be for you. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You also have to find the right social site that fits you. It needs to be one you can have fun with and enjoy using. If it feels like work, you probably won’t spend the kind of time you need on it – unless it’s really making some $$ for you.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Jannie – When I first started blogging I joined Technorati, but to this day haven’t figured out what it’s all about. My “status” has improved, but it’s rare I get traffic from there.

        For me, I’m finding I get more bang for my buck from Twitter. It takes a little bit of time to get used to, but is also a traffic source you don’t have to spend a lot of time on if you choose not to. Some days I’ll have TweetDeck (a Twitter app) open all day, but most days not. When time permits I pop in and out and chat with blogging friends and/or promote quotes and posts of those I am following. For me it more fun than “work”.

  5. Hello Allayas! 🙂

    I’m feeling overwhelmed at the amount of things I *could* be doing for our blog. Additionally, we’re thinking of starting another in a completely different area. Yes, we’re insane. The Internets made us that.

    I’m wondering if you all could recommend what might eventually be outsourced, and where a VA or another professional might be of some help to us. I think I’m heading down the right path when I consider outsourcing normal maintenance and upgrades, but also what about design that reflects marketing/monetization strategy, etc.

    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: THOUGHTS FROM HOURS SPENT WITH DAYLILIES =-.

    • Hi Betsy. If you have the money and budget for it, I think it’s always wise to seek out professionals who specialize, especially when it’s your own product. I doubt there’s a professional out there who wouldn’t agree that when it comes to your (or their) own product, your thoughts and vision is a little skewed.

      Just make sure you laser pin point your target customers and what their traits are and that your designer knows that.

      For marketing and monetization strategy, realize that blogs suck at converting people into sales. The design just isn’t there. Too much confusion, too man exit areas, too many links, too many faces, etc.

      In my experience, a blogger typically thinks that great content is all they really need to make money from their blog. That’s wrong. A great marketing strategy is essential. Ideally, to make real money from a blog, you need to funnel your readers to specific areas you want them to go.

      So let’s say you have an ebook you want to sell. Most bloggers write up a post about it and then show the ebook in the sidebar. That’s fine, but the landing page for the ebook needs to actually sell. Consider making it a page with no menu system and either they buy it or they have to click the “back” button to get away.

      It’s even wise to make that landing page a separate domain name and not just part of your blog’s domain name. Then you can really market it well.

      I’ve never used a virtual assistant so I’m not much help there. I’d say if you have a lot of book keeping and other activities you just don’t have time for, give it a try I suppose. Start with small tasks and see how they do. But again, I’ve never used one.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Oh Betsy – I hear you. I, too, am working on another site. Are we nuts? 😆

      From a business standpoint, it’s always best to outsource that which we’re not the best at, so with blogging, it would make sense to do the same. I would say the biggest problem is finding those who are the best in their field.

      Things like upgrades and security are something John could probably help you with.

      You could also “Tweet” to try and find a VA to help you in other areas.

      • ElizaNo Gravatar says:

        I completely outsourced the design and setup of my new site. I could have done it, but it would have been a long and painful process. My time is money, so I bit the bullet and coughed up the dough. I don’t regret it at all. And I have a far more professional site than I would have been able to achieve on my own.
        .-= Check out Eliza´s awesome post: Understanding weight gain after 40 =-.

  6. John – I have to agree with what you’ve said above. 100 percent. You’re actually talking about some pretty advanced marketing thought at work – practices that most folks just getting into blogging won’t know how to implement. To that end, I think signing on with a professional makes sense.

    Like you said – you need to really narrow down what you want to achieve when you work with your marketing pro. Costs can creep up on you if you don’t map things out correctly.
    .-= Check out Kevin Sandridge´s awesome post: National Homes Under Contract Up, Though Florida’s Regional Picture Not as Bright =-.

    • Hi Kevin. And boy can those costs pile on, agreed. Always make sure you and your professional are on the same page.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Kevin – Well said. Advanced marketing is not for the meek at heart or for those who are watching their finances. Now we’re talking about turning our blogging into a business, and not only does marketing enter the picture, but so does setting up a business structure for our blog (name) for our own protection.

  7. Hey! Thanks for answering questions about blogging. One topic I could use some advice on is getting more traffic to my blog. I feel like I get a lot of positive feedback on my blog via email and comments, but I still don’t have a ton of visitors or subscribers. While this isn’t my main goal in writing my blog, it would be great to have more readers. I’d love to hear any and all suggestions about how to increase blog traffic. Thanks! 🙂

    • Hello Positively Present. That’s a really good question and one I’m sure everyone would like to hear more about. It’s also a question that can’t fully be answered in a blog comment. I think for an answer, I’ll refer you to an excellent article written by Skelliewag.

      How to Get Piles of Links, Subscribers and Comments.

      It’s an excellent article and is a great place to start. If you have any questions, by all means post them and I’ll be happy to chat with you about them.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hey John – That’s a fabulous link. I hadn’t seen the post before. It’s now in my bookmarks.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dani – You’re welcome.

      From experience, I’ve found we need to get our face “out there”. I know you’re very active commenting on other blogs, and that is a great way to get others to find you.

      Twitter has become a wonderful source of traffic for me. Not only do I get to communicate with others in this community, but I get to meet new people.

      As I also mentioned to Tracy, just by joining the “TnT Bloggers Lounge” yesterday, I’m already starting to see referral traffic from there. As Tracy has mentioned before, forums can be a great source of traffic and with so many of them out there, we can pick and choose which ones are the best fit for us.

  8. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:


    Here’s my question – what are the top 3 proven ways to reduce bounce rate?
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D. – That’s a great question.

      Let’s first explain what “bounce rate” is to those who don’t know. Simply put, it is the number of pages a visitor views when they land on our site. A high bounce rate means they don’t stick around. A lower bounce rate means they’re reading more than just the page they landed on.

      A detailed explanation of how to reduce our bounce rate can be found in this great article on Marketing Jive.

      Several of the things they list are: provide relevant content, have easy navigation on your blog, and have other pages available for your readers to visit.

      Some of this can easily be accomplished with a related posts plugin, having links in our side bar to current and past posts, and/or by providing links to relevant articles in our posts.

      Personally, I find if a blog is easy to navigate, I’ll read more than the current post. If I can’t find past or related articles easily, I usually click off.

    • Hi J.D.

      First I’d like to preface my 3 suggestions with what you really need to do is analyze where your traffic is coming from and realize it’s hard to compare how people act (and bounce) on your site who come from one site or another. It’s the whole apples and oranges thing.

      For example, people linking over to our WordPress tutorials page from the WP Forums tend to stay a lot longer than people who link over from, I dunno – say a jewelry blog website who might of mentioned our tutorials.

      So analyze where your traffic is coming from and realize wherever you’re funneling these visitors to needs to be highly relevant to the type of people they are.

      Ok, so my big 3 would be:

      1. Make sure your site (or even better, landing page) is easily navigable. But you have to take it one step further. Make sure those easy to find and click on links are highly relevant to what they were looking for and the type of person they are (going back to are they from the WP forums or a jewelry website).

      2. Give people something to do. Don’t just end a post and sum it all up nicely. Give them a task. Ask a question, etc.

      3. Run some tests and tweak. Everyone’s site is different and we all promote something different, even if it’s a similar product. Nothing improves better than testing to get it better. Take some time to create a couple different versions of a landing page or design and see if things improve. What works for my company won’t necessarily work for yours.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

  9. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Everyone-
    My question is this – how can you prevent scraping and spiders from unauthorized sites,from stealing your articles?
    I am aware of the word press widget in the RSS feed but is there another way to solve this problem?
    I have been told to ignore it but I can’t turn my thoughts away from it.
    How can some robot take my work, modify it and use it on their site?
    Makes me furious.
    .-= Check out Bunnygotblog´s awesome post: Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Bunny,

      Having our content stolen is maddening. Recently I had a whole post stolen and if it hadn’t been for a link I put into it (to an older post), I would have not known. I emailed the author, said I didn’t mind if they quoted me, but stealing the whole post was plagiarism. They did end up changing it and are now linking back to this blog “for the rest of the story”. Unfortunately their whole blog is a filled with what I believe to be stolen content (and ads, of course).

      With regard to your question, when I interviewed Lorelle VanFossen (of Lorelle on WordPress) she shared some great sites we can visit. Here is a link to that part of the interview – Interview With Lorelle VanFossen – Errors Bloggers Make. The links she suggests are in item number 2.

      John and/or Tracy may have more to add to this, so please check back later.

    • “Bunnygotblog” – ok, I just love that Username! hehe. I should seriously consider using “JohnnysGotBlog” 😉

      Ok, I totally agree that scrapers suck. There are a few ways of dealing with them, but you have to be really careful here. When you start limiting traffic to your blog by doing things outside of your knowledge and experience, you could really start messing things up in your visibility in search engines.

      One wrong line of code and you could potentially block Googlebot from spidering your blog. Yeah, that wouldn’t be good.

      But to answer your question, there are a few things you can do. Nothing is 100% full proof because these jerks can easily create a “new bot” and bypass some security blocks.

      The best route would be to block scrapers through your .htaccess file. In your web hosting control panel you’ll see a .htaccess file in your root folder. You can paste in the code found here by Jeff Starr of Perishable Press.

      Although I don’t know Jeff, I’ve come to respect his work and he definitely knows his stuff. All you’d do is copy and paste the code on that page into your root .htaccess file and that should add significant protection. However, your site could run a little slower and like I said before, I’m always worried about blocking too many “bots” in fear of blocking Googlebot.

      There are also some WordPress plugins out there which are suppose to limit the scrapers problem, I’ll be honest I’ve tried a couple and they didn’t seem to help – I still noticed people scraping my content.

      So my best answer is to use the link to Jeff’s article. That should put a stop to many bad bots out there.
      .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: New Regulations For USA Bloggers May Be Around The Corner =-.

      • BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

        Hi John,
        I am pleased to know you like my blog name:)
        While reading about this on Jeff’s site.I have to wonder, when there is a normal computer update.Would the nicknames of the bots change? If that were the case this is not such a good way to combat the problem.
        I mean the scraper can change the bots name automatically when an update happens so this code of Jeff’s would not recognize the new nicknames of the bots.
        Or am I missing something here?
        Thank you
        .-= Check out Bunnygotblog´s awesome post: Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me =-.

        • Jeff StarrNo Gravatar says:

          You make a good point about the ultimate futility of trying to block bots by user agent. There are indeed known bad bots that you want to blacklist, but there are many others that are constantly changing their identity. Unless you are serious about cultivating a current user-agent blacklist, you are better off seeking alternate means of dealing with scrapers. Here are some tricks that have served me well over the years:

          * Use partial feeds – This is arguably the most effect way to immunize against scrapers, who prefer to steal entire articles as opposed to excerpts.

          * Use a monitoring service – Services such as Fairshare or Copyscape will help you find out who is stealing your content

          * Use a feed footer plugin – WordPress users have many to choose from including the excellent Copyfeed and RSS Footer.

          * Analyze your access logs – Keep an eye out for image requests coming from external IP addresses. These are usually associated with stolen content.

          * Tell them to stop – Stay vigilant and confront scrapers with formal “Cease and Desist” emails. Include all relevant information, state the offense and the consequences. Then follow through.

          * Deliver your own feeds – Rather than blacklist potential scrapers, target them directly by banning their IP or user agent from accessing your feed. You can’t do this with Feedburner, but it is a great way to prevent stolen content.

          There are many other tricks as well. The point is that yes, scrapers suck, but there are ways to keep your content from being misused. Staying vigilant, informed, and proactive will definitely help minimize the degree to which scrapers abuse your syndicated content.
          .-= Check out Jeff Starr´s awesome post: CSS Hacks for Different Versions of Firefox =-.

  10. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you – Barbara
    I appreciate this information. I realize it is a common occurrence with many of us.It is something that needs to be stopped.
    I will defiantly stop back and check – I also want to read the comments,too.
    I love what you are doing here.
    .-= Check out Bunnygotblog´s awesome post: Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi again Bunny – Thank you for your kind words. I do agree there should be a way we can stop having our work stolen, however with so many thinking what they find online is free, it seems to extend to stealing our content, as well.

      I have read we can report a site to Google for duplicate content, however, I don’t know if they take action and if they do, how long it is before they take the site down.

      When I started blogging I had one of my other blogs “stolen”. They took a screenshot of my blog, then added ads to it. I couldn’t find a way to contact them, so I blocked their IP address from accessing my site. Granted they could access it using another IP address, however, I didn’t know what else to do.

  11. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    When someone guest posts on your blog, how much editing do you do? I mean other than any obvious typos or mis-spellings. Do you edit for tone or try to make it in your own style?

    Thanks in advance.

    .-= Check out Tumblemoose´s awesome post: How “Upbeat” are you? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Good question George – As for the post itself, I do very little editing. With the guest posts on the blog being from “substitute teachers”, I want their personality to show through. What I will do is either add questions at the end (if they haven’t) or maybe change the wording of the questions a little. Then I add the intro, author credits and a photo if the guest poster hasn’t included one.

      One thing about guest posts is they should reflect the author. At times the tone may be totally different than ours, but it is usually the same as we would find on their blog.

  12. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Nothing really.
    I don’t see anything out of the ordinary.
    .-= Check out Bunnygotblog´s awesome post: Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me =-.

  13. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. You’ve got your own mini-forum going on here. I like these open mic posts. I don’t always have time to read every comment on every post I read, but for these, I make an exception. I’m glad to have found those articles on bounce rate and how to increase traffic. Great resources.

    I have no question today– just popped by to say hi. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record… “time” is my biggest challenge and continues to be so. Thinking about Technorati and all those others overwhelms me. I’m happy with just one blog, Twitter and LinkedIn. But it is bugging me because I would LOVE to investigate and play with all of these options.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Guest Post: Three Shades of Happiness =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      HI Davina – Yes. As I was looking at all the threads, I thought the same. Pretty cool.

      I agree. It would be wonderful if we had the time to play with all traffic building options. *sigh*

  14. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t really have any questions, I just want to say hi. I read some of the first comments on forums, Twitter, etc. I agree with what John said. Blogging is not my “job” so I can’t devote the same time as a problogger. As I get more involved in sites, activity in others dwindle. I used to visit here much more often and comment but now, I just don’t always find the time. I sometimes just read through my reader and don’t drop by to comment. Tonight I’ve been trying to read some of my blogs and make comments and I’ve been at it for close to 2 hours. In the beginning I was staying up till midnight every night and I couldn’t keep that up. During the day I have a lot of other things to do and simply cannot take so many hours blogging and all the activities it requires to keep it going. I’ve learned you need to find your priority in blogging, read the blogs that are most important and hit the others when you have time. And sometimes, you just have to hit “Mark All as Read” to keep your sanity.
    .-= Check out Debbie Yost´s awesome post: Band-Aids =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      HI Debbie – I couldn’t have said it better, “…And sometimes, you just have to hit “Mark All as Read” to keep your sanity.” 🙂

  15. I’ve been registered on Facebook for over a year but only started really using it over the past month so this question may be the proverbial dumb question. (Are dumb questions proverbial? I know, there are no dumb questions… but what about that last one, lol…))

    Anyway… anyone have suggestions for how to get the most out of Facebook for driving traffic to your site? I may already be doing what there is to be done… continually adding to my blog followers and friends. And I’ve done the networked blog thing.

    I notice Facebook has a top fifty blogs feature arranged by topic. I don’t know how many people really find blogs that way and notice that many of them are low ranking on Alexa. I think their top fifty may just be the ones with the most Facebook followers…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Paul – With me not being a Facebook users, I’m not qualified to give you an answer. Hopefully Tracy, John or someone else who is reading your comment can shed some light on this issue.

    • TracyNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Paul, I’m in the beginning stages of starting to promote through Facebook myself.

      I recently set up a fan page, with the help of this excellent post by Kim Woodbridge:

      In the coming weeks, I am going to be experimenting with using applications such as quizzes. As I’ve never tried this before, I’ve no idea what the reaction will be, but it seems like things like quizzes spread quite quickly through my group of Facebook friends, so it seems worth giving a try.

      I believe that Facebook will become increasingly important as a driver of traffic – not so much from people searching for blogs, but people recommending to other friends. We have to make it easy for people to share our posts on Facebook, create content that is valuable enough to be shared and make it easy for people to subscribe to our blog via Facebook (using networked blogs or a fan page).

      For many people, Facebook is becoming their gateway to the internet much like AOL was back in the early 1990s. If we want to reach them, we’ve got to do it through Facebook.

      BTW, after I’ve launched a few apps and see what the results are, I’ll share the results.
      .-= Check out Tracy´s awesome post: Announcing the TnT Bloggers Lounge =-.

  16. Perfect timing. I’m in the process of narrowing my niche and recognize that some of my current readers won’t fall into my new niche category (moms raising children). Do you have tips on making a successful niche transition? I’m going to miss seeing my blogging peeps who fall outside of my new niche if they chose to move on to other blogs (we’ll have to catch up on twitter).
    .-= Check out Stacey / Create a Balance´s awesome post: Revive Your Life! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stacey – Unfortunately when we narrow our niche, we risk losing loyal readers. However, many times loyal readers will stick around even when our blog is not in their niche. Case in point. There are a few mommy blogs I read (such as Debbie Yost’s) even though our kids are grown. I enjoy following what’s going on in her life and love to watch the progress of her girls, especially Peanut.

      When you start making the transition, I think it’s best to be upfront with your readers, tell them what you’ll be blogging about and welcome them to come join you on your new endeavor. Based on the success of your blog thus far, I’m guessing most of your readers will move over to your new niche with you.

  17. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    This is a fabulous forum, Barbara! I’ve a few Twitter questions that may sound daft and naive. I joined Twitter but am too overwhelmed to do any more than occasionally retweet a colleague’s great post. Is it considered bad etiquette to tell folk when I’ve posted and simply say something like “I just posted a piece on holidaying at home you might enjoy.”? I know I should learn about tweetdeck and twitip, but at the moment, I’m struggling to find a blogging rythm of posting, responding, reading and commenting that allows me to focus on good content – and having a life!

    My second question is should I follow everyone who follows me, after I’ve checked them out as much as is possible? It seems weird to be ‘following’ strangers. Is there some set up that allows me to prioritise reading the tweets by folk like you and the people I actually know?

    Thank you, Barbara. Thanks, too, to everyone who has contributed so generously.
    PS The only advantage of writing about my garden and what I had for breakfast is that my blog is probably not particularly attractive to scrapers!
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Rapt Attention,Gifts and Rain =-.

    • Hi Janice. That is a big misconception that many people have by thinking their blog is not a target for this or that and is probably one of the top reasons why people’s blogs get hacked.

      For both security and content scraping, they (the bad people) don’t care what you blog about. It could be about what your count is up to as to how many stars are in the sky. It doesn’t matter.

      Many of these ill-willed people run “bots” which crawl your website just like Google does. They don’t care what your content is about, they simply copy and paste.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Janice – Twitter can be confusing. What I did (I was a late comer), was watch what others were doing even before I joined. Then I joined, signed up for TweetDeck and watched more. When I jumped in, I was a little hesitant, but within a short time, it become pretty natural.

      Twitter etiquette says we can promote our own work, but we should also promote the work of others (by retweeting), and also converse with those whom we follow.

      With regard to following everyone who follows you, that’s up to you. At first I did that, but then I noticed I was seeing a lot of spammy type tweets from those who are only on Twitter to sell. Now, before I follow someone, I check their profile and see what they tweet about. If it’s sales pitchy or about something I have no interest in, I don’t follow them.

      If you set up TweetDeck, you can sort those whom you follow into columns. I have one column for bloggers (from this community and a few others), a people to watch column, breaking news (so I can stay on top of the news by following major networks) and then all others are automatically under “friends”.

      TweetDeck also has a column for DMs (direct messages – similar to instant messaging). Those messages can not be seen by others. And they have a column for replies. That’s where someone will send an @ message that contains your Twitter name – mine is @BSwafford.

      Let me know if you need any help.

      • janiceNo Gravatar says:

        Thanks, Barbara. I’m less scared of venturing into Tweetdeck now as I like the idea of being able to use it to organise my Twitter time. At the moment, although I haven’t really gone public with my twitter name or anything, a lot of tweets seem to flood in. Cheers!
        .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Rapt Attention,Gifts and Rain =-.

  18. […] almost regularly over the weekend, to read responses from the pros participating on these topics. Open Mic – Answering Blogging Questions has been one of my favorite experiences in ‘class’. Barbara and her guest John Hoff […]

  19. I think you need to look at where your audience is and make that the focus of your attention, although ideally you’ll have your fingers in a lot of pies. You don’t want to focus everything on a single source of traffic.