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3.17.2011

Book Bloggin 101 - Dot Com vs. Blogspot. Why??



Like the new graphic? I'm changing things up a bit around the Parajunkee Universe (Presumptuous aren't I?). I also have a few announcements to make. I'm trying to make a very comprehensive listing of everything I'm doing and throwing it up web based instead of blog based. This new area is parked at a URL called parajunkee.net instead of parajunkee.com - they are two different entities. One web, one blog. What's the difference and the reasoning? First, for Google Cred. I want to increase my Google ranking and web pages seem to get a little more credit for Google than blogs. By establishing a web page I will hopefully increase my Google Page Rank and my SEO will benefit. Secondly, searching a blog can be a bit intense. If you don't know what you are looking for, it might even be daunting. I don't want to clutter up my sidebars with graphics and directional pieces, so I thought I would organize in a web page. Recommendations, free kindle books etc. I'm also working on a book blogger directory that will hopefully benefit all of us. If the directory rankings go up and you link to this directory your rankings will hopefully go up. Win-win? Trickle down SEO. I'm just telling everyone this to let you know what's going on and if you see things come across twitter like Wordpress, Digg, and different announcements it's me slowly taking over the online world.

Now to BB101 ---

 Welcome to Book Blogging 101, where you ask a question and I try my best to answer it. I'm not an expert -- so if I get it wrong, shhh I don't want to hear it! LOL. No let me know in the comments if you have a difference of opinion, or know a better way.

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the google docs form and I'll try and answer them in the order they are received.

How do I add more pages and then link them from the Home page?  -- Mandy P.

A:  I'm obsessed with Screenr... so here I am doing another one.


How do I get more readers and comments? I seem to be doing everything right from posting regularly, replying to comments, reading and commenting on other blogs, holding frequent contests, gaining a small loyal and active community, but my numbers seem to be stagnating... despite my efforts to grow it seems I've hit a plateau.  -- KDW

A: I get asked this a lot. And there really is a simple solution. You have to write about something that people want to comment about. 

SET THE SCENE:
You are at a party. You really don't know anyone, but you want to make a good impression. You make an inane statement about the weather "Boy the temperature has gotten a lot hotter lately." No one says anything. Their gazes slide over you onto the next person of interest. Insight hits you and you draw on the current topic of the nation "Do you think California will be the next to be struck by earthquakes like Japan?" Everyone starts stating their opinions now. Hot topics lead to stimulating conversation. Your blog is a written conversation, to stimulate responses your posts have to elicit a response.
A flat, uninteresting review might not get as many comments as say, a drama rant...but you have to learn how to distinguish how you want to garner comments. Stimulating comments from writing crazy things isn't necessarily your best bet either. Try to refine my posts and reviews by doing the following:
  • Try to interact with readers, pose questions in your reviews
  • Try to include thoughtful opinionated statements, that hopefully people will agree or disagree with and comment about
  • Hosts contests where you FORCE them to comment *snicker*
  • Review books that are popular and are on a lot of people's TBRs
  • Write fun posts or invite stimulating people to do guest posts
  • Participate in memes where people are going to come and visit, like blog and contest hops
Main thing though, comment yourself. Interact in comments - comment back have fun with it. Comment on other people's blogs, the more people get comfortable with you, the more they will comment. If they don't know you, it might be a bit harder to say something meaningful.

What do you do when you keep getting offers to review books that are not in the genre you like even when you clearly stated it in your review policy. Or formats you do not want even though you clearly stated that too. What is the nice way to decline? -- Amber

A: Simply state the truth, or ignore the request. It is up to you on the level of courtesy you would like to extend. But, if they didn't read your review policy how much courtesy did they give you? So a simple rejection or an ignored email would work.

Dear Ms. Author:
I appreciate the offer of reviewing BOOK TITLE, but I do not review books in this genre/format. Thank you for thinking of my blog.

Yours,
Amber

I really like some how some blogs have a different comment set up where it asks for your name, e-mail & site, then the comment. I think this is easy to use to enter giveaways. How do you get comment forms other than the blogger ones? -- Chloe B

A: Here are two that are the most popular:

1. IntenseDebate has an area that can automatically install comments into Blogger, Wordpress, TypePad and Tumblr.  It offers many features that the blogger comments do not, including the support of  Gravatars (Globally recognized avatars).

Benefits of ID:
  • Gravatars
  • Reply-By-Email
  • Open-ID
  • Import-Export of comments
  • Tweet Post
  • Embed YouTube & Polls in comments
  • Comment threading & pagination (lists of your comments) and reply to comments
  • Moderation & Spam filters
  • SEO 
  • Tracking
  • Plugins & HTML formatting
2. Disqus - Also has an automated installation for for WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, MovableType, TypePad but there is also a way to insert the code within your template, which I hear is more stable (I don't have practical working knowledge of this though - only what I heard) The number 1 feature of Disqus is that it can match your blog, so it seamlessly fits within your CSS - no standing out like a big fat COMMENT thumb.


Benefits of Disqus:

  • Gravatars
  • Reply-By-Email
  • Open-ID
  • Import-Export of comments
  • Social integration with twitter, facbook, etc.
  • Embed YouTube & Flickr within
  • Comment threading & pagination (lists of your comments) and reply to comments
  • Works with Opera
  • Mobile commenting
  • SEO Friendly
  • Moderation & Spam filters


Hi!

Is there a way to make multiple post templates in Blogger, or a recommended way to do this?  For example, I use the same format for all of my book reviews - it would be so much easier if I could just open a template and fill it in.  Same with some of the hops, events, and other posts I do.  Any suggestions? -- Thinking Cat

A: What I do is I set up a template myself and save it as a draft. This is always in my blogger post lists and I use it when I'm setting up my review. I copy the HTML not the stuff in the post and I paste it into a new posts and I go from there. Instant template.

Do you think there's a benefit to having your own domain name? I'm at the point where I have quite a few followers and a professionally designed blog. I'm wondering if my own domain name is a smart next step. -- Alison

A: The obvious first answer is for ease of use.

www.MyBookBlog.com is a lot easier to type in and tell people about MyBookBlog.blogspot.com

Second answer. Street Cred. Makes you look more professional. Your not nipping on the blogspot heels anymore - you broke away, put an established name on your work.

Next, the BRAND. The first step in marketing anything is establishing a brand. By naming yourself with a definitive .com you have established your brand. A .blogspot is not a definitive brand - it will always have the child blogspot added to it, thus ruining any stand-alone presence.

Then for the legalities. You own your content, but wait you DON'T own the domain and platform on blogger. Google owns that. Violate any of those Google rules that you hit agree regarding and they can suspend your account. Oops. Now if you own your own domain and you are backing up your blog regularly, if your account were to become suspended you could easily transition it to Wordpress or Typepad or another platform.

You may have answered these already, but I have two questions...

1. How do people go about creating these fabulous "buttons" that I see al over the place? I'm assuming it's in Photoshop or some similar program. Do you know of any free or web-based program that a person can use to design a button?

2. On the same line as the buttons, how do people create the custom rating system icons? I've found some web designes, but none of them are currently taking new projects. Very disappointing. -- Alanna

A: Question 1: You start with a design program. Or you bribe, cajole or pay someone to do it. You can use something as simple as paint to create one. There are even online badge generators that you can use. Try googling that, I don't have much experience, but be careful some might be full of spyware.

This one looked pretty standard to just do a text badge: http://kalsey.com/tools/buttonmaker/

Question 2: Raters are harder it is a set of a few graphics and coding that graphics to fit your site. You can go so far as to look for free icons, there are plenty abound through the web. Stars, or little turnips - guess it depends on your blog and what you want them. If you find a good icon the web, you would just paste it into your review each time. Make sure they are available for use though. I know a few people have grabbed stuff from flickr and just used it. That is a big NO NO.

BTW - I'm taking new projects ;) parajunkeedesign.com (sorry more shameless promotion)


That's it kids. Talk less. Read more. Happy Thursday!







Ask your BB101 Questions here...

18 comments:

Stephanie said...

FYI, I made my button using my Photobucket.com account. It has tons of edit features now like cropping, layers, adding text, borders, ect. It's not as great as Photoshop, but it gets the work done for free.

Neri said...

I am a new blogger and your post are always very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything.

Tina said...

Thanks for the tips on making pages...I might try that someday...:D

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Let me second your advice to interact with readers in the combox. I know there are some bloggers who get so many comments that they prefer to write a short response to each one through e-mail, but I'm more likely to go back to a blog in which there in conversation to be had. (So your analogy of a party in which guests are mingling and sharing opinions is doubly apt!)

Paranormal Haven said...

A benefit I found from switching to a .com was that I started to get more review requests. Not all of them were winners but its a nice feeling be asked :-)


Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

theJeepDiva said...

This is so helpfull! Thanks a gazillion for taking the time to do it.

ParaJunkee said...

@Steph - thanks! I do things the “hard” way so asking me to do things the easy way sometimes stumps me. LOL

@Neri - Thanks you. I appreciate you chiming in and saying that.

@Tina - It’s easy! Give it a try, or some day will become never. LOL

@Enbrethillel - I do both, this way and email. It really is a toss up. Depending on the feel of the comment box. If there are a bunch of comments that need replies, like this one I will respond in comments. If there are only 1 or 2 that need responses I will email. (If they have turned off the no-reply).

@Paranormoral Haven - I switched .coms awhile back, so I don’t remember if it increased my review request. But, I see the correlation. Authors are looking for a professional receptacle to promote their book. A .com looks more respectable.

@theJeepDiva - You are welcome. Thanks for chiming in.

Missie said...

Sometimes I wish I had your brain in my hands so I could lick it.

Loving parajunkee.net!

Moonlight Gleam said...

Thank you for keeping us up to date with what you're planning on doing!

ParaJunkee said...

@Missie - I spit my coke zero on my computer screen, thanks doll, now I have to find paper towels.

@moonlight - shameless self-promo that's me.

Alison said...

Thanks for answering my question! Follow-up - Can I transfer my current GFC followers over to a .com site? Will it likely result in a big dip in traffic at first? I would love to find a seamless way to transition.
Also, where do you recommend to buy a domain name? Godaddy?

Patti (Book Addict) said...

Fabulous post - you answered questions I didn't even know I had!! *whoa!*

ParaJunkee said...

@Alison - if you purchase a .com but keep it "hosted" on blogger you will keep all your GFC and you should have NO dip in traffic, because technically your blogspot is just being rerouted.

Buy it through blogger, it is just 10. I have a post on it. http://www.parajunkeedesign.com/2010/05/custom-domain-its-time-to-drop-blogspot.html

@Patti - I am now named Madame PJ - I will psychically answer all you heart's desires. LOL

nymfaux said...

Fantastic as always!!!! --The best part of my Thursdays!!! :)

Lisa said...

I second the review request thing, we just moved from a .wordpress.com to our own .com (baffledbooks.com <- taking a hint from your shameless self promotion :D) and I've had more review requests in a week than I used to get in a month!

I always learn so much from these posts, thanks!

Candace said...

I love that you shared you make a review template and save it in draft. That's a great idea!

Emily said...

I completely agree with the advice regarding review books that are outside the scope of your blog. I've gotten to the point that with everything else on my plate I've had to not respond to review requests that don't fit my blog as well as review requests that aren't well written or proofread. It doesn't feel awesome but I had to draw the line somewhere.

As alwasy, a fantastic post. :D

My anxious life said...

Thanks for posting about the intense database. I just added it to my blog and think it will make comments so much easier!

These posts really are a big help. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

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