Wendy Paine Miller has one of the coolest, prettiest and most interactive blogs around. I found myself modeling my blog revamp on her setup. And today, she's here to tell us how blogs are done! Thank you, Wendy!
Here's a little info about Wendy:
Wendy Paine Miller’s works have been published in multiple anthologies and online sites. Writing contemporary women’s fiction helps Wendy better understand the world around her.
And now, over to Wendy!
The ABCs of Creating an Engaging Blog
by Wendy Paine Miller
I’d like to hope when it comes to blogging that, like the saying goes, “I’ve come a long way, baby!” I find more than ever it’s become crucial for me to make sure my blog is primed for interaction. That’s the heart behind why I blog. I aim to drum up conversations and to stir thoughts. But in order to stir thoughts, I first need to get thinking minds to my site.
Here are three areas I tend to concentrate on when it comes to building an engaging blog:
A for Aesthetics
A few years ago, I was blessed to have Melanie Moore of Elegant Custom Blogs offer me a free “makeover” for my blog. She worked with me to come up with the header and sidebar I’d been envisioning. I wanted folks to be able to learn more about me. The sidebar buttons work well for this. I also wanted the header to be an expression of who I am. I love nature. And though I cringed through every snapped headshot (having my picture taken has never been pleasurable for me) I’m thankful I had them done. One surefire (and reasonably easy) way to say “I can be taken seriously as a writer” is to invest in professional headshots.
Currently, my right sidebar is a little crowded and unorganized (always something to improve upon), but I wanted to have all additional sites listed where I can regularly be found.
Finally, people respond to pictures. It’s why Pinterest has taken off with such gusto. As a women’s fiction writer, I find a photo can add meaning to the essence of what I’m hoping to communicate. This is why I incorporate them in every post.
B for Baton Pass
I view my blog as a wonderful means of sharing my thoughts, then passing the thought baton on.
I’m intentional about asking a question at the end of (just about) every post. It’s the best way I know how to get a conversation going. I think hard about what each question will be. What do I really want to know from my readers? So many times the answers to those questions inspire me to write a follow up post or inspire an entirely unrelated post. My blog thrives because readers take the time to comment.
I’ve discovered it’s important to write in such a way I’m inviting conversation. I spend a lot of time contemplating what other women would enjoy reading. Lengthy ramblings about how Aunt Sue (I don’t have an Aunt Sue…this is purely an example ;) did me wrong doesn’t equate to wise blog fodder.
C for Connecting
This brings me to connecting. When you think about what you’re trying to do with your blog—the purpose behind why you blog, it’s important to understand the power of connection. I make a concerted effort to reach out and comment on other blogs. I also comment as much as time will allow to those who’ve left comments on my blog. I invest in my readers. I’ve read many excellent posts about loving your readers. My readers, for the time being, are those who visit my blog.
Blogging is an excellent way to relate with and connect with others. I love communicating through my blog. Mostly, I appreciate how my blog encourages me to do exactly what I set out to when I first began—to grow, to learn, and to love.
Thanks, Wendy! And those professional headshots looked great!
****And now, if you haven't already, please check out Wendy's lovely blog and tell her what you like best about it! http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ Did you take away any new ideas for your own blog? I love the way Wendy highlights interaction with blog readers! Let me know if there's any way I can better interact with you (I think I've managed to remove those pesky "prove you're not a robot" letter codes!)!****