This fantastic blog post from Calgary’s Mud Creative is a must read for anyone with a blog. Thanks for allowing me to share it Louise!
A blog can be an endless sea of words or an alluring spot where readers want to lose themselves for a little while. In my own efforts to turn my blog into something of a guilty pleasure for visitors (not that Im there yet!), Ive found some fun toys that Id like to share:
1. Have â€œBruceâ€ read to you – slowly
Proofreading is great – and absolutely necessary. But you know how it is. When you write something, you get very close to it. Sometimes, even the most eagle-eyed of us will overlook an obvious spelling or grammar mistake. However, if you have your computer read your post back to you, your keen ears might pick up things your eagle eyes have missed!
This is easy to set up on a MAC. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Speech and choose your preferred voice (such as Bruce or Viki) and the speed at which you want it read. Then set your key command (I use â€œcommand shift sâ€).
When you want to hear your text, highlight it in your document and press your command.
2. Catch the eye of search engines
Its no secret that the right keywords can help your blog get noticed by the search engines, hence sending more traffic your way. However, when writing a blog post, working in popular keywords related to your topic isnt always in the forefront of your mind. If youre on a roll, you just want to write and publish, right?
SEO Blogger is a Firefox add-on created by Wordtracker that actually suggests the right keywords to use while youre writing your blog.
This free tool provides real-world search data. It opens in a sidebar panel where you enter a keyword or keyphrase and SEO Blogger gives you keyword suggestions ranked by popularity. You decide which to use in your post.
I have a WordPress blog, but according to Wordtracker, SEO Blogger works with whatever blog publishing software youre using.
3. Get personal with a Gravatar
Your Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) is an image that follows you from site to site, appearing beside your name when you comment or post on a blog other than your own. It could be your photo or an image that represents your business. I use my pink rubber boots for mine.
The nice thing about the Gravatar is that it gives you control over the image that is used. Otherwise, your comment will be accompanied by a generic symbol or gray silhouette. Your Gravatar shows a little bit more of who you are, and can even encourage people to click through to your site. Readers are more apt to connect to a face rather than a name.
Go to www.gravatar.com to add some personality to the comments you leave on other blogs.
Note, though, that if youre leaving a comment on a blog that does not have the â€œShow Avatarâ€ setting selected, your Gravatar wont show up. But the use of Gravatars is catching on across the blogging community, so its only a matter of time!
4. Share the luv
One day I was leaving a comment on another blog, and when I hit â€œsubmit,â€ a link to the last post Id written on my own blog at Mud Creative was added to the bottom of my comment. That means that anyone who reads my comment can click on the link and visit my blog!
Always a wealth of information, Tzaddi over at Thrivewire informed me that it was a WordPress Plugin called Comment Luv.
Comment Luv is a great way to â€œshare the luvâ€ by promoting other peoples blogs. Plus, it encourages them to visit the Mud Creative blog and leave me a comment when they want to contribute to the conversation.
Luv luv luv it!
5. Be Social-able
OK, this may a no-brainer for many bloggers, but it is worthy of repeating.
Add a social bookmarking widget plugin to make it easy for readers to bookmark and share your posts on their favorite social media channel like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. The more people you have sharing the news about your posts, the more your audience will grow.
My blog uses the AddThis plugin, (One of the many helpful nuggets from Glenn Murray of Divine Write in his terrific book, SEO Secrets) which adds a globally recognized button at the bottom of each post. Readers simply click on it and a box of social media choices comes up, enabling them to spread the word.
I loved this post from Calgary’s Mud Creative so much I had to share it with you:
Its always nice to share, and even better when you make it so easy to do. What toys have you discovered to make your blog more sexy and attractive to others?