Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA 2013 - Day 2 Part 1 - Blogger Development

Day 2 of Armchair BEA is about blogger development and a genre discussion about fiction. I'll do my post on fiction next.

Blogger Development

Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers? Have you gone "pro" or begun supplementing your income through your blog? Are you a long-term blogger, and how has your online personality developed over the years? These are simply ideas. Think development and tell us what comes to mind.

I've learned a lot about blogging over the last two years, specifically over the last year. But I guess I'm a bit of a slow learner. I get into a comfortable place, and it takes me a while to work up to adding, changing, or enhancing my blog. Part of that is because I just don't feel like I have enough knowledge. Part of that is because it takes me a while to work up to anything--even calling the hair salon to make an appointment for a hair cut. I learn a little bit, as I go.

So no...I've not really branched out into my community. I'm not sure where I would even start, though I love the idea. I guess there are some ways that I partner with another blogger, my sister-in-law Holly @ Words Fueled by Love. We've discussed some events and things that we can do in the near future, but we haven't gotten the logistics worked out just yet. While I am an affiliate for Amazon, The Book Depository, and Books-a-Million, I have yet to receive payment from any of these businesses.

Getting paid to blog is both an exciting and scary concept for me. On the one hand, I think it would be really awesome to get paid to do something that I love. On the other hand, I worry about my ability to maintain my blog's integrity if it were turned into a "job"--if that makes any sense.

While I've only been blogging for over two years, I would consider myself a long-term blogger. At this point in my life, I can't imagine going back to life before blogging. So I'm definitely not going anywhere as long as I have any control over that. I have increased my posts by participating in various memes, and I have changed my reading preferences a little over the last two years of blogging, but I don't think my personality has changed. I've always tried to include personality into my posts, but I have a blunt personality and sometimes that means I just get to the point and move on.

What I think about when I hear "blogger development" is growing my blog. How do I, personally, go about trying to grow my blog?

My number one principle is "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."/"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." What that means is that whatever I hope to do with my blog (gain followers, comments, pageviews, etc), I must first reach out and do for others. Meaning, if I want others to follow me, I follow them. If I want others to comment on my reviews, my memes, my discussions, I must comment on theirs. If I want others to read my posts, I must first read theirs. Why should I expect anyone to do for me what I am not willing to do for them?

I also take my blog seriously. Not the point of not having fun with it, but if you're flippant about your blog--not posting regularly or not interested in your own content--others will feel the same way. If you're excited and passionate about your blog and your posting, others will be able to tell.

Memes are a great way to meet other bloggers, to get introduced to new books, products, and ideas, but I find I want more for my own blog than memes alone. Memes can be great, but just be sure you're excited about your content. In the same way, giveaways will generate traffic to your blog, but I don't want people to follow me solely for that reason.

Finally, schedule, schedule, schedule. I schedule reviews and posts ahead of time, usually about a month in advance. But truthfully I have hard time keeping up with the date each review needs to be posted according to their publication dates because I'd prefer to publish my reviews in order of when I've read them. Using NetGalley, Google Calendar, my home organization binder which has a section for my blog, and Goodreads all help to keep me on track.

*Last minute addition, while I have yet to "meet" anyone in this community that I would prefer that I had not, I do advise caution when commenting on others' posts. It's completely fine to disagree with someone, but there is no need to stir up conflict unnecessarily. When someone mentions that they loved something that you hated, I advise discretion. There is no need to reply to that person that you hated what they loved. You can always reply that you didn't enjoy "it" as much as the poster did. Responding otherwise isn't going to win friends, followers, commentors, or repeat blog visitors--all of which are necessary to grow your blog.

What about you? Do you have any advice for me about development? How to go about connecting with my community? Let me know!


  1. Holly @ Words Fueled by LoveMay 29, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Ha! I talked about our recent discussions over partnering as well. Great minds and all that jazz. ;) Did you link up? I didn't see you on there.

    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

  2. tanya boughtflowerMay 29, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    You hit on two things that i think are really important: scheduling and memes. Scheduling and being organized is key to having a successful blog. Memes are a great way to gain followers, but don't over do it. Too many memes causes overload.

  3. Candice @ The Grown-Up YAMay 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Great development advice! I think to branch out and connect with the community, you have to think of it like you would in real life - just go out and do it. Take advantage of the different social networks. Comment on others' blogs. Let others know you exist. I think a lot of times it's nerve-wracking to "meet" new bloggers, but from my experience just about everyone has been super friendly! I've recently started scheduling stuff using Google Calendar... oh man it's been a life saver!

  4. Thanks Candice. Yeah, I didn't really touch on the use of social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads to help me get my blog and reviews out there. But I'm still not sure how to branch out into my local community. Like what would that even entail? Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Oh yes...if I didn't schedule everything I'd be a wreck. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Of course great minds think alike. I did link up, but I hadn't had a chance to when you commented. I usually schedule my posts to post around 6:00 am and then I try to link them up when I first get to work. But that's not until around 7:30. Thanks for stopping by! I'm headed over to see what you said about us teaming up.

  7. Your first paragraph describes me too! It takes me awhile to work up to doing something. I am so not very good at scheduling. I usually have a few reviews saved up if I read them early enough to wait for closer to release, but that's it. I wish I could get more ahead. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my post!

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  8. really does. I promise it takes me a month to schedule a hair appointment. I do not have a problem scheduling blog posts though. :) I ended up getting ahead on book reviews by accident. I read one way too soon to post about it, and next thing I knew I was like a month ahead. It's my goal to stay about a month ahead on posts and I've been able to do so for about the last year. I highly recommend it. Less stressful! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!