Thursday, June 25, 2015

Measuring impact or how do I get people to read my blog

I know it has been a while since I have written a blog post. We both got busy with other things. You entered LinkedIn (which we can write about in the next few posts), pinterest, and youtube. All of these will be useful for you to learn about. But for now, I think we should address the last question you asked: How do you know if people have read what you have written? How do you get them to read it?

How do you measure who and what people are reading

So, let's say that you are writing a blog on something of interest to you: quilting or storytelling. You write the post, you ask for feedback, but no-one comments. Perhaps your audience is shy. Perhaps there is really nothing they want to comment on. However, perhaps no one is reading it. How can you tell. If you are using blogger, every time you go to your dashboard (menu) you will see a set of statistics. The graph shows you how many times people have looked at your page and below the graph you will see how people found your blog. If you click on the "stats" menu on the right, you can see additional information such as where your readers are located and what devices they are reading on.

Why is this important? Let's say that the majority of your friends and family like to read your blog posts on their smart phones. This will make a difference in terms of what template you might want to choose so it is easier to read from a cell phone than on a regular computer. Think of the size difference between a cell phone and a computer. If the majority are reading on a computer, you might want to include some pictures to make it look better. However, those same pictures on a cell phone might make it more difficult to read. If you are writing for a cell phone or tablet, you might want to make it shorter (many shorter posts).

You can also click on the "posts" sections of the stats to see which of your posts had the most readers. If you want to gain more readers, you can use these stats to see what they are interested in. Finally, if you want more information on a long term basis about your blog, you can type in your blog name at You can also use a free program called Google analytics, but that is not really necessary at this point.

How do I get people to read my blog

It is important to know who your readers are (so the stats are important). However, the more you know about where they are coming from, the more you can target a social media to share your blog address (URL or the https:// address). If you find many are coming from Twitter, and you don't have a twitter account, most likely someone who has a twitter account found your blog and is sharing the web address with the world. You might consider going on twitter then. If they are coming from Pinterist, you might want to make sure you have some nice pictures (e.g. quilting blog would want a picture of a finished quilt or a quilt in progress) to make sharing your post easier. You might also want to make sure you have a pinterest account so you can interact with your readers there. If your readers use a cell phone, you might want to message those in your address book when you write a new post.

For this post, for example, I announced on LinkedIn that I was adding a new post. I will be also sharing the URL on twitter where I have a number of followers who work with technology. This is the audience I am writing for, so that is where I will be sharing the link.

So, I will end for now. Next week we can either discuss your experience with LinkedIn or I can answer those questions you have about Pinterest.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to improve reader participation?

Hey Prof. I know it has been awhile but I am writing because I have had some readers ask how they can get automatic updates of the blog and more importantly how do they leave a comment?  I would love to have more dialogs with readers and welcome your suggestions...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maybe time to start thinking of expanding your tool set

So Ruby, it appears from your previous post that you are thinking of going a bit more public with your blog. But you don't really want the post about how your ex-sister in law sold you down the river to go viral! (Going viral means that it is picked up by social media and seen by many people, usually internationally, very quickly without you being able to stop it).

Well, if google+ and email aren't giving your friends the access you expected, you may want to explore a new technology to help you communicate with them. I'm sure you've heard of them but have been a bit wary. So my recommendation is that you choose one of the following:

Twitter: This is used mostly as a way to broadcast resources, ideas, information. If your readers are addicted to their cell phones or iphones, this is a good alternative because twitter only allows 140 characters (that's characters, not words. This includes spaces and periods). I use twitter to save blog posts I'm interested in, share blog posts and internet references with others interested in what I'm interested in, find links to resources, keep on the latest news and mark them to read later, and let others know when I've written another blog post (I'll be sharing this post later on twitter).

If you want to use twitter to have others share what you have written, you include a link to your post. But if you want to keep it private among friends, then you can control who sees your tweets (the 140 characters).

Facebook: More and more people are sharing their blog posts on facebook. Facebook used to only be a for social relationships. However, as it became commercial, it now interacts with programs like twitter, a blog, or youtube. Now you can upload the link to your blog post and depending on who you want to see it, can limit it to friends, friends and their friends, or the public in general.

Facebook is used as a place for social interaction and is much more personal than twitter. If you want a dialogue between people about your blog post, Facebook is a good way to let people see it.

Pinterist: Pinterist would be a good program if your blog is about hobbies or recreational. You will need a photo to use pinterist. The most successful way to get people to share your blog is to embed a pinterest button on your blog site so someone only needs to click on it to save it to their Pinterest account. I have seen receipt/cooking and quilting bloggers use Pinterist to share their blog.

Linkedin: Like Facebook, you can share your blog post with a large number of people you know at once. This is appropriate if your blog is professional. By sharing on linkedin you can reinforce your professional image. However, be careful that it reinforces the image you want to project and doesn't create an image you don't want.

Google drive/docs: Google docs is a program where others can interact with documents online. Technically it is a wiki, which is a program that allows others to contribute/revise/comment on a document. This is a good alternative if your post is in Beta (the experimental/draft form). You can click on the document and share it with specific people by emailing the link to them. Only they will be able to see the draft. So if you think that comment you made about your coworker's outfit might be a bit too harsh, you can have others read it before it goes public. You can then cut and paste from the google docs/drive into your blog post.

So now it's your turn. Choose one of these to work on next. Then I'll give you more instructions once you have decided which one you want to focus on.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bet you thought I was not out here any just working on my blog style and now I have a few questions for myself and my followers (all two of them...thanks Mom, thanks sis)...

1) I have had people who are friends ask how they can follow on the blog.  I have added a few to FAMILY or FRIENDS but I think all of them have gmail.

2) How do I encourage people to respond or make comments?

That should start me off for awhile...thanks Prof!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adding features that will allow others to be notified when you add a post

So, now that you have started to write a few posts, you'll want to make it easy for your family and friends (and even those that have stumbled upon your blog) to access any updates. This is actually very easy using blogger.

Some blogging software require that you know HTML code. Sometimes, it is just a matter of going through the steps and receiving a "code" which you cut and paste into the blogging software. But thankfully, many blogging platforms (software) have digital wizards who have already figured out how to code so you can easily put links to twitter, facebook, or ereaders that your readers can use to share your post.

Think of it like this: You like a post on something you read. Now, you can email it to your sister or a friend, but that means you have to cut and paste the URL address from your browser into an email, then send the email. Or maybe you communicate with them through facebook. You can cut and paste the URL into facebook (IF you have one) and share the content that way.

But an easier way is to include a link that allows your readers to share on google+, facebook, twitter, or pinterest just by clicking on the link in the menu area of your blog. YOU don't have to have facebook or twitter, but your readers may use that to share posts that they like. So you should make it easy for them.

Integrating buttons and apps onto your blog menu

The first step to sharing your blog posts is to make sure feeders to ereaders (i.e. Ipods, Kindles, Nooks) are turned on. If you go to settings, then click on "other". Make sure the setting for Allow Blog Feed is on "Full". This means others can subscribe to your blog.

Another option is email your posts automatically to your family and friends. You do this my clicking on Settings again, and then clicking on mobile and emails. At the bottom, it says "Email posts to". Now, if you click on Add, you can add email addresses where you want the posts to go to. This can be very time consuming though, since you will need to manually type in each email you want to receive the post. However, if you want to limit who gets the post (as many bloggers do when they are just starting out, until they are comfortable with others reading their posts), this is a good way to share.

However, an even better feature is to add a "gadget" or app which has all the coding done for you. If you go to "Layout" in the menu, you will see a sample of how your blog looks. Included will be a label "gadget" in various parts of the menu. You decide where you want to put links and features for your readers (although I'd put "subscribe", and links to facebook, twitter, and pinterest up towards the top left to make it easy for your readers to share and/or follow you). Click on "gadget" and a pop-up box with different gadgets will come up. Scroll through and click on the one(s) you want to place in each section of the layout. Don't forget to "save" it once you have clicked on it (save is on the bottom). After you have added a gadget and saved it, another box with "save" will pop up above. Follow the same process.

After you have added your gadgets, apps, and/or links, click on View blog at the top of the page. If you don't like how it looks or you don't like the placement, go back to layout and click on edit. You can also drag different gadgets (put your cursor on the gadget and right click using your mouse or finger pad, then keeping your finger down on the mouse/finger pad drag it to where you want it on the webpage).

Using Labels

Finally, once you want to start gaining a broader readership outside of you family and friends, you should use "labels" or "tags". These are key words that search engines pick up when you search for something on google or yahoo. You are helping the search engines find your blog. So, for this post, I will be using the "label" blogging, sharing, gadget, blog share, subscribe, & labels. Anyone who types these words in the search will find this post (although it may be 135987 on the list out of 1.2 million results!). The more your post is shared and read, the higher on the list it will show up.

Labels also are a way for your readers to search your site. I also use labels to revisit ideas I had written about previously. All of my posts are "categorized" since the labels show up on your post list for your blog.

To add a label, click on "labels" in the menu to the left. It is useful is you keep a list of the labels (categories) you want to use and use those consistently. If you capitalize some words or connect them, the same label will show up as two different categories, so make sure you are consistent with spelling and format. Some blogging software only allow one word for a label. In blogger, you can have more than one word. However, you need to put a comma between words to create a separate label in a series. If I typed "blogging sharing gadget blog share" without the comma, that becomes one label in blogger. Someone would have to type that exactly if they were searching for something like that to read. Fortunately, when you begin to type the label, previous labels you have used on your blog will show up below the box and you can just click on the previously used label.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ok Prof. I know you are busy with your collegiate life, and I have a house to clean but you don't see me shying away from asking questions so here goes; I can not always get to my actual GMail account  Wow if you punch in gmail there is this guy that looks like the hunky model on the cover of those bodice rippers you like to read...oops did I reveal too much?  Anyway, how do I have a conversation with some of the people who have sent me a comment without having it post on the blog.  Also, how do I have an on-blog (?) conversation with someone?  I did stumble on how to add some folks to my circles...I will save my thoughts for a later post on who in the Ukraine would want to read this blog...thinking vodka may be involved...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hey Prof. how do I ask people to follow my blog without being to self-serving and frankly conceited?  I mean I want to make it easier to let others know that I am out here (way out there sometimes) and I would like to invite my friends and family to read along and get a dialog started.  Of course they may not like seeing themselves in the blog but I still want to engage them in witty repartee, plus it would cut down on my phone bill...Is there a way to get them to sign up on the blog so I do not have to keep referring to these multi-colored post it notes with their e-mail addresses on them?