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Blogger Questions & Tips

Blogging 101: Kristi and Jill asked me to post all the blogging questions we discussed at the Blog Party last Saturday night. So here goes:

1. Is it worth putting advertising on my blog? It really depends on how much traffic you get. In my opinion if you get less than 700 views per day - it's not worth it. Especially if you use Google ads which is pay-per-click. I only earned $4 a week with Google.

I joined BlogHer not only because they pay-per-view but also because I strongly believe in supporting women and being apart of a community. BlogHer is doing some amazing things for women and I wanted to promote them as well.

I am not familiar with any other forms of advertising. So those of you who are, please let us know your experience!

2. Has anyone printed out their blog? I saw a Blurb book at Blogapalooza and I was very impressed with the quality. It's hard bound with full color pages.

Personally, I've made 6 Shutterfly photo books and I would say that Blurb is comparable in quality. Blurb is a lot cheaper and holds more text. You can also have it auto-fill from your blog.

The advice from the people who use Blurb was not to auto-populate your blog. In the beginning play around with it so you can see what's better for you. There was also a warning that the pictures may not be big enough to look good in the book. The solution for low resolution is to replace it {{slurp it}} with the original digital picture.

3. Is it better to leave a lame comment or not to comment at all? My sister would disagree, but the overwhelming majority said it's better to leave a lame comment.

4. Who can make my blog look cool and how much?

  • Amy has a tutorial on how to design your own Blog Header using Photoshop.

  • Make your own using Photoshop Elements but be sure to by the Scott Kelby's book to make it much easier to understand. I think you can purchase both at Costco. I haven't tried this personally, but you can download a free 30-day version online here.
  • Shannon who designed my blog, has headers for $40, pre-designed blog templates for $65, and does custom blogs for $90. I would highly recommend her.
  • You can also Google 'free blog templates' or 'cute blog templates'
  • Blog Designs by Summer start at $15.
If you design blog headers or have more tips regarding this topic, leave a comment or e-mail me laurie[at]executivehomemaker[dot]com and I'll give you a plug here on Tip Junkie.

5. When do you blog? The majority of the responses were early morning, while kids are napping, and late at night.

6. Allison has easy instructions on how to have your comments e-mailed to you. This is a great way to track your comments. You don't have to moderate your comments to have them e-mailed to you. This way if someone comments on an old post, you know about it.

7. Why do you have a private blog? The couple people who were private said they prefer it because they want to be able to vent when they want to, control who's reading their blog, and protect against strangers reading their blog.

I know this brings up passionate conversation. But there are several things you can do to protect the identity of your family without going private.

  • List your first name in your profile (or use an alias) but not your City or State.
  • Use nicknames for your children and hubby. DH is a popular one meaning "dear hubby".
  • Use a graphic as your profile picture instead of a real one.
  • Enable the comment moderator to delete comments that use your families real names.
  • Blogger is well indexed and people can find your blog on search engines like Google and Yahoo. To prevent this go into your Settings under the Basic tab and change:
    * Add your blog to our listings? No
    * Let search engines find your blog? No

This is what Bloglines looks like (above)

8. What is Google Reader and Bloglines? Basically it's a free program that constantly checks your favorite blogs for new content. If there is something new - it bolds the title of the blog and gives you the number of new posts. It's a more efficient way to read blogs and to make sure you don't miss anything on your favorites.

I have so many blogs I love, I have divided them up into different categories: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Crafty, etc.

This is what Google Reader looks like (above).

I use Bloglines but Google Reader seems to be more popular. For instance, 116 people are subscribed to Tip Junkie on Bloglines and 349 people are subscribed to Tip Junkie on Google Reader.

When using these programs, I would suggest to only have the program list the title or only a section of the post. This way you have to go to the actual blog to read it. This enables blog owners to track who's reading their blog and it makes it easier for you to comment.

9. Does Bloglines and Google Reader's page views count in my stat counter? I couldn't find a direct answer to this but it looks like it does. They will show up as 'unknown' in your site stats. Thanks for the info CrazyMamaof6!

However according to Google Reader, "While moving to full-content feeds may result in a short-term decline in visits to your website itself, the long-term gains of increased readership and mind-share are generally worth it."

10. Why should I have a stat counter? Well, for me personally, I have a lot of traffic but hardly any comments. So if I was tracking the success of my blogs through comments - I'd be misinformed.

There are several stat counters you can use. To find them you can Google 'blog stat counters' or you can click on one of the counters on your favorite blogs. I use Site Meter. It's a free program and relatively easy to set up.

You can see the obvious stats like how many viewers per day.

What blogs or websites are referring people to me.

That last one by Google was someone searching for 'teacher appreciation scrapbook' and was directed to this blog.

By Location

13. How do you decide what to blog about? First decided what is the purpose of your blog. If you are using your blog as a journal then you'll focus more about your thoughts and feelings. If you're using it to keep updated with Grandparents, then you'll focus more on the kids. You get the idea. Here are some "journal type" topics to help in your blog posts:

I'm sure there are TONS more. If you have a favorite theme you'd like to share be sure to leave a comment or e-mail me and I'll feature it.

Lisa's Playlist

14. Do you like music on blogs? Almost unanimously it was no. If you do have music please don't have it auto play.

15. How do you post a picture that's linked to a site? Click here.

16. How much time do you spend blogging? Obviously this varied but we all agreed it was too much. ;) Some women managed their time by setting a timer. Others used blogging as a reward for getting their "to dos" accomplished first. Some only read blogs on certain days of the week. The majority said to be sure their blog got updated regularly, they post on their personal blog first before reading others.

17. Why do some of my images stop showing up? If you right click an image, click properties, and copy the URL address - that image's URL may change or get deleted all together. It's better to Save As onto your computer to be sure it will stay on your blog.

from MJ

18. Do pictures have a copyright on the Internet? I'm certainly not an official voice on the subject. Have you heard the expression "do what I say not as I do"? {{oops}}

On scrapbookers or photography sites where the copyright is stated on the side bar - I always e-mail them and ask permission.

However, I personally don't have a problem taking a picture or image from another site or blog. If I take it from another blogger, it's proper etiquette to give credit to that blogger and give them some link love.

I saw this on someone's blog but now I can't find it. I got it from Google Images.

19. What are blog manners or blogging etiquette? I've read some really great posts on the topic but because this post is already way too long - I'll save it for another time.