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Blogging Questions Answered - Part 2

Are you new to Tip Junkie? If so, check out the FAQ.

Alright, here are the remaining answers to the questions from Tuesday's Q&A Talk To Me Tuesday Post. These are really great and I hope that you've all learned something new to perk up your blog for the New Year.

If you're looking for fabulous Valentine and craft ideas stay tuned, I've got some amazing ones in the works.

Q - Jen: "I'd love to know how to add that 3rd column to a blogger template. And what is the etiquette on blog awards - receiving and giving?"

A - Tip Junkie: Once again, my husband transitioned my 2 column template into a 3 column template. {{he's handy dandy}} However, I found this step-by-step article on How to Make a 3 Column Blogger Template. If you can't figure that out, you could probably hire a blog designer to do it for you for a small fee.

Blog Awards, hmmm. Honestly, I've been terrible at accepting and passing on blog awards. {{shhh - don't tell}} I know, shame on me! It's one of the things I LOVED about blogging in the beginning but honestly, I just didn't have the time or energy right now.

I've searched and searched and from what I can tell there isn't any "official" blog award etiquette. With that said, it's typically proper to wait until you've been tagged or given the award and then:

1. If you get tagged, write a post and follow the directions of the tag.
2. Thank the person who sent it to you and then tag other bloggers with real merits.
2. Link to the original award (if you can find it) so that people can easily find the exact origin of the tag/meme.
3. Optional: Display the Award on your sidebar.

Q - Mrs D: "What is the best way to get daily traffic to your blog, and people to keep coming?"

A - Tip Junkie: Once again, this question is for the ProBlogger, but here are some HIS tips:

1. Use social media like Twitter to increase your audience.
2. Post on forums and include your blog address at the bottom of each post.
3. Host a giveaway and submit it to more popular blogs to announce it. E-mail friends and family about your giveaway.
4. Interview other bloggers. You never know, they might announce your interview on their blog bringing you new readers.
5. Host a swap with a button people can put on their blogs to announce it. Also e-mail friends about it to help spread the word.

To Keep People Coming:

1. Good content.
2. Reply to comments.
3. E-mail a new reader, thank them for commenting and tell them you're looking forward to further interactions.
4. See who's linking to your blog by checking your Technorati page and then e-mail the blogger that linked to you and say thanks. Be genuine and keep in mind that this isn't a task, you're trying to build friendships and alliances that will help you both.
5. E-mail an old reader and thank them for sticking with you and for adding value to your blog.

Q - NJDecorator: "How do you keep the excitement going - how do you keep it fun for yourself?"

A - Tip Junkie: This is a great question. Blogging just happens to be the perfect outlet for me. I love finding fun and unique projects, crafts, and gifts. I also want to help and validate other women. The Tip Junkie Blog combines my passion for both!

I also LOVE a theme, contest, and gimmick. I think it's so much fun. Sometimes I tend to go a bit overboard with the idea, but that's what keeps me motivated. Top it off with the most amazing blog designer who makes me these fun buttons and accessories that turns my idea into even more fun and over-the-top.

Q - DomesticDivasFancy: "Is there anyway to make your own button that links back to your own blog, like on Photoshop?"

A - Tip Junkie: I'm completely old school and make my buttons/headers in Microsoft Publisher. I know, I'm stuck in the 90's but HEY I know the program in and out and I can do it quickly. {{sheepish grin}}

One of my goals this year is to learn Photoshop and join the modern tech age. For those of you who have skills, Amy has posted a tutorial on how to make a Blog Header from Photoshop. You can use the same principles for a button.

Q - MaryCatherine: "I'm curious to know, where do you glean all of your wonderful tips? I have been lurking around your blog for a while now and have already used many recipes and other useful tips-Love it!"

A - Tip Junkie: The majority of the tips I feature are the ones submitted to me by readers. That saves me tons of time. {{hugs to readers}} I also use del.icio.us to catalogue all my favorite tips for future posts I find blog-jogging. It's fabulous! If I still need a couple more ideas, I turn to trusty Google.

Q - Julie: "Did you learn mostly by just doing it? Did you take a class? How did you really learn photoshop? Do you use the real photoshop, or gimp or paint.net?"

A - Tip Junkie: Yes, I learned just by doing it. I sat down and "made it work". I made it 6 months before I had to ask my hubby for help. ;)

I use Microsoft Publisher for everything! Yes, it drives my man bonkers but I'm comfortable with the program and I know how to jimmy-rig it to do what I want quickly.

Q - Katie: "What is your best advice for connecting with a mom-preneur who may be interested in offering product for a blog giveaway?"

A - Tip Junkie: Good question. The first several giveaways I hosted on Tip Junkie, I paid for the products myself. Then I got brave and compiled a post saying I would be willing to host a giveaway.

The e-mails started trickling in and now I get so many I feel bad turning people away. That's why I came up with the Mom-preneur Shops (which are open year-round now). I wanted an easy (and cheap) way to spotlight women and their amazing products. It costs less than a giveaway would and lasts 3 months! This enables me to feature women without loosing readers by turning Tip Junkie into an online catalogue. {{ha ha}}

Q - Stephanie's Mommy Brain: "Is the current Tip Junkie blog the way you intended it to be when you started it? Did you have goals or a plan? How did you achieve them? What goals do you currently have for Tip Junkie?What would you like to change about how you blog?"

A - Tip Junkie: Stephanie's Mommy has a great brain! These are fab questions. Tip Junkie has most certainly exceeded my expectations. No, I did not have a plan when I launched the blog. I started it out of necessity (of sorts). I needed a way to promote Executive Homemaker and I wanted a place to feature other blogger's amazing ideas so my personal blog would stay personal. :) Blogging is easier than keeping up with a website because you don't need a webmaster and there are a LOT less technical problems. After a year, Tip Junkie naturally became my focus.

I have tons of fun ideas and new features for Tip Junkie but not really any goals. Like I said, it's exceeded my expectations already so I'm grateful for what I have. I will admit that from time to time I have to reevaluate why I do it and make sure it's for my original reasons. I get so many requests and it's very natural for me to want to help everyone, that sometimes I get off task and then have to step back refocus.

I don't want to spoil some upcoming events and features. However, if I was a magician and graphics designer, I would make a search button that actually worked effectively with Blogger. (Remember the tool bar is above the header in the blue box!) I would make it easy for people to only see fabulous tips all the time without being bothered by "housecleaning posts" that I have to do to keep up my stats and make people happy. I would separate all the submitted posts into categories so they would be easily found by Google and the search bar. Lastly, I would give myself more time and energy to research ways I can be more efficient thereby making Tip Junkie the most fabulous resource for women around. {{HA HA HA!! Obviously, I'm dreaming.}}

Q - Elizabeth: "This isn't a question, it's a suggestion. Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness is hosting the Blog Improvement Project for the whole year of 2009. A lot of people seem to want to improve their blogs in ways other than the visual. You might want to check it out and recommend the project if you like it. It's a way of taking a more objective look at your blog, traffic, topics, and sharing what you learn and/or decide to make changes with."

A - Tip Junkie: Thanks Elizabeth for the tip! I'll be sure to check it out.

Q - Gina: I would love to know how you deal with what I imagine is an insane amount of email. You accept tips and submissions on so many topics, so how do you keep it all organized? I am overwhelmed by just a small amount of people writing in with finds/tips/etc. Thanks!

A - Tip Junkie: Another one of my secrets revealed. :0 Actually, I do have a system that works really well for me. I'm a bit behind right now because of all the time I had to take off for my surgery. I still have 209 e-mails to catalogue and reply to. I hope people are patient with me.

Here's my system. I drag the e-mails and put them into folders that are categorized. This way I can find them when I need them!

Once I reply to an e-mail, I delete it. However, I don't archive my deleted folder. That way I can go back and figure out what people are talking about if needed. :)

I sit down only twice a day to reply to e-mails. This way that time is productive and I'm not constantly replying to e-mails one at a time while I'm on the computer.

Q - Weze: My question would be how to keep people coming back again and again? Rak's are nice but that could break you after awhile! Also having a hard time making a header. Any suggestions?

A - Tip Junkie: That's another question for the ProBlogger. I think it's RSS Feeds your answer! You want to make it really easy for people to sign up for e-mail feeds (option in Add Widget in Blogger), Bloglines, and Google Reader.

Amy has posted a tutorial on how to make a Blog Header from Photoshop.

Q - Heather: 2 questions. Do you still have a place we can submit giveaways? I have a great one right now for a $50 Gift Certificate to Sunshine Botanicals (Natural Skin Care).

Also, have you drawn a winner for the Word of The Year giveaway? I was just curious about that. I sent several people over to take a look at the words to try & pick one. It was wonderful! :)

A - Tip Junkie: You can still submit your giveaways through my form. However, I don't think I'll be posting them for a while. It takes me HOURS to do that and I'm just not strong enough right now. Never fear, I'm working on solving that problem. Stay tuned.

Yes, the winner for the Word of the Year giveaway is Stacey! She has such a beautiful story on her blog that you'll want to check out.

Are you looking for more inspiration? Check out my previous posts:

Your Blogging Questions Answered - Part 1
Top Tips For Beginning Bloggers
Protect Your Ideas
Who's Linking To My Blog?
How To Replace Sidebar Titles


P.S. Don't forget to check out the Mom-preneur Shops, your gifts are going to Shine in 2009!!