Monday, January 19

Blogging 101


Downloadable PDF: Blogging 101

1. Before you consider starting a blog, know what you want to blog about. What’s your hobby? What do you enjoy talking about? What is your job? What do you write about? What have you researched for a book? Do you write about specific locations? Answering these questions can help you to target topics you’ll be able to mold a blog around.


2. Have enough material. Jot down a list of possible article ideas and have a supply of posts ready to go.

3. Decide if you want to post once a week, three times a week, or every day. There is no right answer to this. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable doing. Once a week is a great start and keeps your blog current.

TIP: Post your blogs between 5:00am and 8:00am EST for the early risers as well as those who stop by later in the morning and throughout the day. This is great for time differences as well.

4. Choose your start date so you can prepare your blog before it goes live (before you start telling people about it.) This allows you time to pick the background, the colors, the font size, and the banner. Tinker away until you like everything.

5. Select a name for your blog that fits your overall theme. I chose Write with Fey because I knew I’d blog about writing.

6. Fill out your Blogger profile. Have a short bio, and I do mean short. This will go in the sidebar of your blog (and you should have the profile added as a widget in a sidebar), so you don’t want a long bio to take up space. My Blogger profile is maybe 20-words long. After that, add your website link in the correct spot, fill out your interests, and upload your author photo.

A. Go to https://feedburner.google.com/. Click on the title of your blog, click on the page at the top titled “Publicize,” and then click on “Email Subscriptions,” which is to the left. Now click on “Delivery Options.” This is where you can set up your time zone and schedule emails to go out to your subscribers.

NOTE: Make sure to add the “follow by email” widget to your blog.

B. Also at https://feedburner.google.com/, click on “edit your feed,” which is under the title of your blog at the top, and change the original feed by adding ?max-results=10 at the end so it’ll look like this: http://yourblogurl/feeds/posts/default?max-results=10

Why is it important to do this? Because if you don’t do it and you go over 512K for the file size, your feed won’t update with your new posts (subscribers won’t get emails and your posts won’t go on your followers’ blog feeds). This happened to me, so do it now so you don’t have this headache later.

NOTE: You can change the max results to anything you want, but your feed is not an archive, it’s an update for your content.

7. At the end of every post, ask a question, ask readers to subscribe to your blog, ask them to go to your Facebook page or Twitter, ask them to do something! Some readers don’t know what to add to a post, but if you give them a question to answer they will most likely leave a comment.

8. Don’t forget to add labels to your posts. On Blogger, there is a box titled “Labels” to the right when you’re creating a post. Click on it, type in all the labels that qualify for your post, and separate them with commas. If your post is about writing, you can you these labels: writing, writing tips, how to write a novel, etc.

9. When you have a few posts on your blog, you can add “Categories” to your blog. Here is how you can do it:

·        Go to “Layout” on your Blogger Dashboard and click “Add a Gadget” on your blog’s layout format.

·        A small page will pop up, scroll down until you see “Labels,” and click it.

·        A new small page will appear. Create a title, which can simply be “Categories.”

·        If you want to use certain labels, click “Selected Labels” and then click “Edit.” Check off which labels you want to appear, click “Done” and then “Save.”

·        Now move your gadget anywhere you want it on your blog layout. Click “Save arrangement” at the top of the page and view your blog. There will be clickable links for your readers to visit and read all the posts under that category (the labels from #9).

10. Add pictures to your blog. Pictures help to break up the content and can make a post more interesting. You can take your own pictures or you can try this:

·        Start by doing your search in Google Images.

·        Once the images appear, click “setting,” which is to the right on a row beneath the search bar.

·        A drop-down box will appear with “Advanced Search” as an option. Click on it.

·        At the bottom of the page you’ll see Usage Rights. Click on the down arrow for the drop-down box and pick the last option: Free to use, share, or modify, even commercially. Save this.

·        Then go back to the images. You are now looking at the images that you can use freely without having to worry about copyright or attribution, but you still have to check the source as some images have limits.

TIP: Pixabay and Pexels are two great sources for free images.

11. If you struggle to find content for your blog, try Nikki Pilkington’s 30 Day  Blogging Challenge, which is sold as an eBook.

12. Add other gadgets to your blog to attract more readers and gain more followers, such as: Popular Posts, Blog Archive, Search Box, and Share Buttons. You can find all of these under “Gadgets” on the “Layout” page.

13. Add pages to your blog. If you scroll up to the top of my blog, you’ll see my pages: How to Write a Novel, Writing About, and more. To create your own pages, click “Pages” in the left sidebar on your Blogger Dashboard. Then click “new page.” Do what you’d usually do for a post.

If you want to use a post that’s already published on your blog, or link to a page off your blog, such as your newsletter opt-in page, go to “Layout” on the left sidebar. Look for the “Pages” gadget on your blog’s layout. Click “edit.” From here, click “add external link,” create a page title, and input the link for the page you want on your blog.

Also from the “Pages” gadget you can rearrange the order of the pages and make sure that the new page you added is included. To do this, all you have to do is make sure the new page has a check in the box next to it.

TIP: Every four to six months, try to change up your blog by rearranging your gadgets or adding new pictures. This makes it fresh for frequent visitors.

14. When you publish a post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media site, including forums and Yahoo Groups. You can also add it to Mix.com. You’ll need to create a free account and click “add a page” to share your post’s URL. This will make it possible for people to stumble upon your blog post. https://mix.com/

15. To get more readers, you can:

·        Join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and participate in the monthly blog hop that happens on the first Wednesday. I’ve met many talented writers through this group. http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

·        Submit to Blog Carnivals. My favorite is from The Writing Reader called Carnival of Creativity. http://www.thewritingreader.com/blog/

·        Publish half of your article to OnTopList and direct them to the rest of the post by leaving the link at the bottom and enticing them to keep reading.Example: For five more tips, follow this link. https://www.ontoplist.com/

·        Add your blog to blog directories. For blog directories go to: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/20-essential-blog-directories-to-submit-your-blog-to/

TIP #1: The more blogs you comment on and follow, the more comments and followers you’ll get.

TIP #2: When you get comments, reply back to them on your blog. Doing this shows other visitors that you’re active and that you appreciate comments. Some bloggers would disagree, though, saying it’s a waste of time as readers don’t usually follow comments. It’s really up to you. I do get replies to my replies.

TIP #3: Return the favor to anyone who comments on your blog by going to their blog and commenting back. This will help you to build relationships.

TIP #4: After you get to know other bloggers, ask them if you can offer a guest post. Many bloggers accept guest posts, and if you create good content for them, their readers may visit your blog.

TIP #5: If you host guests on your blog, schedule their posts beforehand, which you can do when you’re composing the post. Take it from me...it sucks to be a guest and not have your guest post go up when it should.

There really is no right way to blog, but if you follow these tips, you will have a blog you can be proud of. Just remember that getting followers and comments takes time.

87 comments:

  1. Wow, excellent list of tips, Chrys! Where were you when I was first beginning? (Fortunately, I did have a few bloggers to guide me.)
    Thanks for mentioning the IWSG and the Challenge.

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    1. I thought it was too early for me to begin blogging when you started, Alex. lol And you're welcome for mentioning IWSG and A to Z. I couldn't leave those out! :D

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  2. Such an informative post, Chrys! Excellent tips! Hmm, might be time to do some sprucing up around my blog soon.... :)

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  3. I've been blogging for nearly 10 years and I still get excited about the idea of it!

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    1. I haven't been blogging as long as you, but I still get excited about the idea of it too. :)

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  4. You know... content for me was really easy for about three years and then suddenly my brain shriveled up and it has been a struggle since... As to email subscriptions... do people like that? I get so annoyed when stuff shows up in my email. I only want to be emailed if someone needs me personally and I feel like this stuff is spam THERE. (Where when I am in a blogging frame of mind I look at my sidebar of blogs and there you all are... handy and I'm in the right mood)--so I've been REALLY hesitant about subscriptions... hating them and all...

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    1. The email subscription is for people who want to be notified of your, or another blog's, posts. They don't have to sign up for it unless they want to, and they can even unsubscribe if they end up not wanting it anymore. I love email subscriptions because some blogs I like don't have a way to follow them, and sometimes I miss their posts in my blog feed, so the subscription is a guarantee that I won't miss it.

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  5. So many good tips! I have a bunch of open windows to check out now from clicking on some of your links...
    I think my favorite part of blogging is being able to interact with other writers--sharing my ideas, getting & leaving comments. Without the blog, I don't think I would feel like my writing had a purpose.

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    1. I agree with you, Sarah. Without my blog, I'd feel awfully lonely and half the writer that I am.

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  6. I think you covered everything indeed. The cat learned through trial and error mostly. But he's got most down now.

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    1. I've learned mostly everything through trail and error, too.

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  7. Good ideas; after 10 years I need to update how I blog!

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    1. I hope this helps you accomplish that, Sage. :)

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  8. Great blogging tips! I especially like how you mentioned Feedburner.

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  9. Awesome, tips Chrys! I could try some of these. I'm not on Blogger though. I'm on Wordpress so there are some differences. I Google to problem solve or if I want to add features to my blog. Bloglovin' is a nice place to feed your blog for further exposure. Mailchimp is another option for subscriber lists (it's free too). The A-Z challenge sounds a little daunting but it sounds like that increased your followers. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. Yes, Wordpress is different. I used it for my website and was lost, lost, lost. lol I think Blogger is a lot easier to manage and learn.

      I've always though about joining Blogl0vin, but haven't. Maybe I will...

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  10. Blogging more than anything else reminds me that writing doesn't have to be lonely. I learned about blogging by observing what successful bloggers did and asking them questions when I had them. Thanks to advice from people like you, I'm still learning.

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    1. Absolutely! I was very lonely with my writing before I started blogging. You're welcome, Susan! :)

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  11. A lot of great tips! I never considered myself a blogger really. I just ramble in a public space about whatever is on my mind. Actually, I'm a pretty horrible blogger. :) Maybe someday I'll be better at it. Someday...

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  12. Excellent tips! I didn't know you could do that with google images. I've been sticking with Photopin out of fear.

    Love all your pages. I can't get my blog to accept more than one row of pages. I don't know if it's the format I'm choosing or what, but if I add too many pages, other pages disappear from the live blog. I hate technology. That's my worst complaint about blogging- it requires a bit of tech savviness, or at least more than I have.

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    1. I learned how to find free images on Google from another author.

      Thanks, Elizabeth. Hmm...that's odd. I've never had that happen. As long as all the pages were added to the menu, I had no problem. I wish I could help you with that!

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  13. I still don't know what my current blog is about, other than the fact that I want to force myself to write five days a week and I like to draw and laugh.

    Previous blogs I did were very specific and I just got tired of pigeonholing myself with my self imposed limitations. My general idea was to just be me on the Flipside. Maybe too general?

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    1. I love your blog because I never know what to expect. That's what makes it so great, Cherdo!

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    2. Aww, that is so sweet of you to say. <3

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  14. wow, those are fantastic tips Chrys, thank you! I had no idea there was a limit in size!

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    1. You're welcome, E.E.! Yes, I learned the hard way.

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  15. Have you ever submitted to or visited InkPageant? I've submitted a number of my blog posts on writing and books, and most have been accepted. A few of my negative book reviews weren't accepted, like my scathing review of a certain massively overrated book, but almost everything has been accepted. That's another good way to potentially get more readers.

    I think some bloggers only interact with their established blogging friends. I've stopped regularly visiting certain bloggers who never visited and commented back, or who only visited if we were participating in the same bloghop or such.

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    1. I've never even heard of InkPageant. Thanks for the tip, Carrie-Anne! I'll check it out!

      I always try to find new bloggers and do my best to visit them. But I also have stopped visit some who never visit or comment back. I'm sure they lost a lot of visitors because of that.

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  16. That is a very complete list for new bloggers. Especially the part about the images. If in doubt, don't use it. Even better - use your own.

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    1. Exactly! For the past three years I've used my own pictures just to be on the safe side.

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    2. Anyone know the legal liability in using pinterest images? I often resort to them but usually will give the wesite it came from credit.

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    3. I think the images from Pinterest could come from anywhere, just like Google unless you change the settings. Crediting the website is a good first step, but they may not even own that picture. You could try emailing the owner of the website or Pinterest page that shared it to see if they own it and ask for permission. I did that a few times when I shared pictures of items people made.

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  17. This is probably the best post I've seen on blogger. I didn't know most of this stuff. Thanks for sharing. I'm saving this for future reference.

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    1. That's awesome, Shirley! Thank you, and you're welcome! :)

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  18. These are great tips. I'm going to twitter about them now. Thanks for visiting my own blog! :-)

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    1. Thanks for tweeting about them, Roland! And your blog is very inspiring. :)

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  19. Wonderful tips, some I had no clue about! So thanks! And as always, thanks for commenting on my blog!

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    1. You're welcome for the comment. I love your blog, Yolanda, and you're writing. :)

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  20. So much great info here, from you as well as those who've commented. I also have WordPress and it sends out emails to followers who signed up for them. So do I still need Feedburner? Or is that just for people who use Blogger? Not sure what the advantage would be. Can you tell me more?

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    1. Feedburner works with Google, so as long as you have a Google account , it'll work. All you have to do is log in with the same information you use for Google+ or your gmail account. You will then have to add your Wordpress blog feed, if it's not there. You can normally find your Feed URL on your blog. Usually it's located in the "settings" area, but that may be different with Wordpress. Input your Feed URL then click "next." Once it confirms the feed, it should be there. I hope that helps, Deborah!

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  21. Lots of great tips, Chys. I'm not a good blogger but am working at it. It's tons of work! Will read through your tips again!

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  22. I wish I've read this before starting. :)

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    1. Well, I still am learning. There's still so much to remember and discover. :)

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  23. Nice tips. Even for professional bloggers, it is really important to be reminded about the basics from time to time.

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    1. You're right, Lilith. Sometimes we need a refreshing course. :)

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  24. Chris, this is a wealth of information! I am forwarding it to some new writers and will share it around. Thanks!

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    1. That's awesome, Patricia! Thank you so much! :D

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  25. I kind of developed what my blog was about as I was writing it.

    That Feedburner thingy seems a bit confusing :P I'm starting to seriously consider the A-Z challenge though.

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    1. It's only confusing in the beginning, but once you fix the feed max number and delivery options for subscriptions you won't have to do it again.

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  26. Great list of tips!

    I find I go through dry spells in content from time to time. My approach is not to stress about keeping a schedule and just post when I have something to say.

    Regarding responding to comments, I like to see that the blogger responds. Even if I rarely go back to see replies to my comments, to me it says something about the blogger that they make the effort. More importantly, it says something to me about bloggers who make a point of not replying.

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    1. Schedules are good, so followers know when to expect to see a post from you, but I understand many bloggers just post when they are something to say. And that's just fine!

      I like to see that, too. :)

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  27. Great tips, especially the feedburner one. That always stumped me.

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    1. Thanks, Lana. Feedburner stumped me too for a while there.

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  28. great tips, as usual, and I've noticed the earlier I post the better--I used to post like mid day on a Saturday--no bueno! lol

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    1. Saturdays are usually slower days too because people are out and about on Saturdays.

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  29. Great info! Most of these I found out through trial and error or with the help of some fabulous bloggers but it's great to have a list compiled, you know?

    I blog to connect with people and that's why I comment on things but sometimes my blog is just a place to air thoughts or spend ten minutes reflecting. It's as much a meditation as it is a place to make jokes and tell awkward stories, which is why I try to keep it clutter free. I know a lot of widgets and things make for increase connections but I also know a blog should be a personal reflection and idk idk I feel like minimal widgets reflects me well at present.

    Have a great Tuesday!

    <3

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    1. I learned all of this through trail and error too, so I made a note of it so newer bloggers don't have to go through it.

      I like that, Mia! A blog is a great place to meditate on ideas.

      I understand what you mean about widgets. I have quite a few, but only the ones I think are necessary and that I look for on other blogs.

      Happy Tuesday! :D

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  30. I have to remember to ask questions. I get a lot of views, but sometimes no comments, and I want to read people's thoughts.

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  31. These are great tips. I schedule my posts for midnight because I have quite a few followers from other countries and they usually comment while I'm sleeping. :)

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    1. That's smart, Kelly! Now I know why I have to scroll farther down to find your posts. ;)

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  32. I've been blogging for years, but this list has plenty of good information to help me improve. Great post! I think the most important one (for me) was to realize that the number of comments I receive is directly proportional to the number of comments I send. It's definitely a two-way street.

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    1. You're right, Tamara. If you don't comment on other blogs, you won't get comments.

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  33. I like blogging; it can de useful and fun. It can also take up an awful lot of time, which is just about the only downside.

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    1. It dies take up a lot of time! I would have to agree with you that that's about the only downside.

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  34. I wish I'd seen this post a year ago when I first started blogging—it would have helped me a TON! Such great information! I've enjoyed blogging but I've been amazed by the time and dedication it takes. I know I've broken some of the rules or tips you suggested and I hope I can be better! :)

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    1. I wish I had seen this post when I first started blogging, too! I had to Google separate things, and learn most of it on my own.

      I think you're a great blogger, Kristin!

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  35. This is a really comprehensive list of tips. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I just fixed my Feedburner since some people complained that they weren't getting emails. Thank you.

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    1. Someone had complained the same thing to me, and it took me forever to figure out how to fix it. I'm happy to help, Medeia.

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  37. Great post! I love connecting to people through blogging. The community is fantastic. What I don't like is how much time it takes. I try to schedule my time, but since I enjoy blogging and reading blogs, I tend to spend more time than I should doing so! (I really should be revising right now! *LOL*)

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    1. I have to agree with you on both counts, Christine.

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  38. Awesome tips! Everyone could stand to learn from this. I know quite a few people who want to blog but don't know where to start. If I'm ever asked, I'll send them here!

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie! I hope it helps them set out on the right foot. :)

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  39. Hey Chrys. This is the most helpful post I've read in awhile. I've been having trouble getting my new URL to update and I knew it was a feedburner problem. So thanks to your step-by-step, I hope I've improved at least something. We'll see. Don't we all wish we'd had your tips before we started blogging?

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    1. That's great, Denise! I'm so glad to help and I really hope you were able to fix the problem. Yes, even I wish I had my tips before I started blogging. haha

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  40. Thanks for the great tips! This definitely gives me motivation to try the A to Z challenge this April.

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  41. Lots of great information I'm going to use. Normally after I publish a blog post, it's automatically posted to my Google+. I'm also in a few Facebook Groups and post my blog article links there. I always make sure I visit the blogs of others that visit my site and try to leave comments on articles that I find enjoyable, informative or interesting. Out side of that, I think I need to 'widen out' socially. I love the A-Z challenge, wish it were another month though as I typically get involved in poetry month as well, which is April. But I may give it a go this year regardless. As for guest bloggers, I've had a few over the years and was asked to guest blog for another writer once as well, so I'm familiar with the idea at least. Great tips, love this post. Sorry for the long reply.

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    1. No problem for the long reply. I like long replies. :) It sounds like you've got a good handle on blogging. Doing a bit more will help you tremendously, such as hosting more guests.

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