Limebird Question Time!

by limebirdwriters

Hello lovely readers,

I’ve had a few people emailing me after the two blog traffic posts (Part One and Part Two)  that I did a while back asking for advice on certain aspects of the world of blogging. The questions are mainly about:

  • SEO (Including things like page rank and getting your site up in Google)
  • Getting more blog traffic (networking and comments)
  • Twitter/Facebook (or social network promotion)
  • Categories/Tags (what are they? How to use them?)
  • Marketing your site


Of course I don’t mind answering questions through email, but I thought it might be beneficial to have them all in one post. So, don’t be shy! Please do leave any questions in the comments below and hopefully I’ll be able to help in any way, or if I don’t know the answer I might know someone who does!

If you have a question you would like to ask in private, then you’re more than welcome to email me.

B x

UPDATE

Here are the questions I’ve been asked so far:

1) What is the most effective way to drive more traffic to a blog? by Todd Foley

I would probably say that the most effective way to drive traffic to your blog is by networking.

Of course there are ways to get temporary hits to your blog (and if you really want to do it this way then I can tell you, but I class that as cheating! :P ) , but the best way to get the traffic and keep it there, is by building relationships. Go and visit other blogs, engage in discussions, comment on things you find interesting.

Also, very important is writing high quality content. Pick what you want to write about and try to stick to it. Don’t bombard people with irrelevant content that will cause them to not come back again. Double and triple proof read your work, and make sure that it’s all right before you hit that submit button. Write catchy headings and first paragraphs that will draw people in, as most people will click out of there if they’re not interested straight away.

Once your post is up on your site, make sure it’s noticed! Put relevant tags and categories on it and promote it through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You could have written the best post in the world, but if no one can find it, what’s the point?

If people comment on your blogs, make sure that you find the time to reply to them, as this will hopefully get them to click that follow button and keep coming back.

2)  How do I know which tags to pick for various posts?  I always put ‘writing’ or ‘creative writing’ etc on all my posts because I usually blog about writing. Then I add more detailed tags depending on what the content of my post is. For instance, ‘books’ if I’m reviewing a book, or ‘family’ if it’s got something to do with kids, etc.

Is that sufficient, or should I be doing something else? asked by Kate 4amwriter

I think that the categories and tags you’re using are fine, the only thing I would keep an eye on is the amount you’re using. Any more than about 10/11, you could be perceived as spam by the powers that be!

I would also maybe use shorter or more general categories/tags like ‘writing’, ‘writing advice’, ‘books’ etc rather than more specific ones. The tags are what people of WP can use to find your blog, so if you want people to find your posts, it might be a good idea to go for ones that are popular.

For example here is the topics which are trending right now – http://wordpress.com/#!/topics/ to give you an idea of the types of tags being used.

3) I reorganized my site not too long ago, converting most of my tags to categories. I thought that would reduce the size of the tag cloud a bit and make the subjects easier to navigate. But my views have dropped off by like 60% since then. Any idea why? asked by Exiled Star

It could be unrelated, but I would double check which tags and categories you’re using. So, the more relevant ones you use, the more likely it will be that the people of WordPress will find them. Also try to limit them to around 5-10 tag/categories (or a mixture of both) for your posts.

One thing I would say, is NEVER let your post drop into ‘uncategorised’, otherwise your post will just get lost in the cyberweb.

4) I’d like somebody to explain the # and other symbols in Twitter, and a list of common abbreviations. asked by Shannon Howell.

@

The @ sign is just a way of directly messaging someone. So, for example if I tweeted ” I’m just teaching @ShannonHowell all about twitter! ” this would come up in your twitter.

#

So, the # are meant to be used as a way to separate topics, so for example you wrote a tweet about a new book you’ve read.

“OMG, I just finished the #hungergames , they were awesome! #writing #books ” Anyone that searches for #hungergames will be able to see your tweet and any others which have used the same #. The trending topics are a list of the most talked about topics and #, so if the majority of people are listening to Michael Jackson and are tweeting about it, that would be in the trending topics.

However, there is another way that people use the hashtags and these are to emphasise their points. For example, if I tweeted ” I just chucked my drink all over my lap” I might use a hashtag like #whatanidiot or #clutz etc, these are completely up to you and people tend to do this a lot. “I’ve finally cracked hashtags. #huzzah ”

RT

This stands for Retweet. This is basically when you see a tweet that you like (kind of like the like button on FB) and you RT it. It just means that it will come up in your feed for your followers to see. So, if you see a RT before a tweet it means that they have retweeted it. In phone apps as well, it’s possible to ‘quote tweet’ which is where you can RT, but then add your own comment on the end.

#FF

This you will see on Fridays and it’s pretty popular. It stands for Follow Friday. So you basically put up a list of people that you think your followers should follow.

DM – Is a direct message. This is basically just a private message that you can send directly to one person.

R.E – twitter etiquette, I would get into the habit of thanking people if they RT you, and making sure that you reply if they message you.

However, beware, there is a lot of spam fishing around. One which you need to be aware of is the ‘OMG, have you seen this tweet about you?’ and there’s a link. Do not click on this as it’s fake. Also, before following any famous people, double check how many followers they have. If they have very little, then it’s likely it’s a fake account. Also, ones that have been verified have a blue tick.

5) I wrote a post called “Super Nude Donut Girl” months ago (September) and it still gets hits for no apparent reason. (Well no reason other than it is called “Super Nude Donut Girl”!) asked by Dennis

I’ve just had a look at the post and the first thing that jumped out at me was that it’s under ‘uncategorised’. The first thing that I would go in and do is effectively categorise and tag that post. It’s never too late to update them. Uncategorised means that it will have just got lost in the web oblivion and people won’t be able to find it unless they specifically search for it.

I would suggest something like:

Categories: Writing, Poetry, Poems

Tags: super nude donut girl, poems, writing, quick poems, email spam

etc

If you want a bit of a boost, try promoting it again on FB and Twitter and get people to come back to it. Make sure the links are personalised and let people know what it’s about.

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50 Responses to “Limebird Question Time!”

  1. I am anticipating hearing the answers to those issues. This post will be a real service to the community. We receive instruction and advice much more easily from someone who is doing what we are. Thanks! 😎

  2. What is the most effective way to drive more traffic to a blog?

  3. No question, but a simple comment instead. 🙂

    First off…love your blog. A lot.

    I do social media/marketing for a living and have for years. Whether you are selling a product, are an author, a musician or a dentist…social media is so very important. Remember the candid rule though….80% community and 20% hard sell. Every tweet, post or update does not need to be about “buying” something from you. Turn your social media world into a community. Your products/services will sell themselves if you take an avid interest in your fans/patients/followers. Treat them like individuals, not a dollar sign…ever. We owe our lives to our fans! They are the ones who help us reach for the stars…and catch them.

    • Wow, thanks for the prompt response! And for the great insights. I’ll be taking these things to heart!

      • Hi Todd,

        Is this in response to Valerie’s post? If not, I’m very confused as I haven’t replied! Haha.

        Anyway, I would probably say that the most effective way to drive traffic to your blog is by networking.

        Of course there are ways to get temporary hits to your blog (and if you really want to do it this way then I can tell you, but I class that as cheating! :P) , but the best way to get the traffic and keep it there, is by building relationships. Go and visit other blogs, engage in discussions, comment on things you find interesting.

        Also, very important is writing high quality content. Pick what you want to write about and try to stick to it. Don’t bombard people with irrelevant content that will cause them to not come back again. Double and triple proof read your work, and make sure that it’s all right before you hit that submit button. Write catchy headings and first paragraphs that will draw people in, as most people will click out of there if they’re not interested straight away.

        Once your post is up on your site, make sure it’s noticed! Put relevant tags and categories on it and promote it through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You could have written the best post in the world, but if no one can find it, what’s the point?

        If people comment on your blogs, make sure that you find the time to reply to them, as this will hopefully get them to click that follow button and keep coming back.

        I hope this helps!

        Bx

      • Ha! I thought that was in response to me earlier, but I found both replies equally applicable. 🙂 Thanks, great stuff!

      • Haha, no worries, glad you found it useful.

        B x

        Oh, PS – if you’re planning on commenting on other blogs, I would definitely recommend updating your gravatar to have a picture. 🙂

      • Done and done! [I think I did it right…] 🙂

      • Hmm, it doesn’t seem to have come up properly. Maybe it takes a little while? Did you go into ‘Users’, ‘My Profile’, ‘Change Your Gravatar’?

        Note – Just checked and it can take up to 24 hours! 🙂

      • Ah, well here’s hoping that it takes less than 24 hours! Thx for the help!

    • Thank you Valerie, that’s really nice of you to say!

      Yes, I completely agree with you. I am so grateful for every reader that comes back on to our site and makes the effort to comment, the least I can do is try and help if I can. 🙂

      B x

  4. Very generous of you! Thanks and I look forward to your future posts…

  5. One of the fisrt posts I read when I started blogging was about blogging etiquette and encouraged bloggers to always comment when visiting blogs. Its a courtesy and will defintiely inspire others to visit your own blog and comment depending on the relevance of your blog content. I know that most of my commenters are big Readers because I write about books, but when I am out and about visiting other blogs, I try to make genuine comments and to be encouraging, especially because I know how motivating it is to receive this type of feedback from others.

    Hashtags # on twitter work well also to find your niche followers.

    Thank you for highlighting this subject, it is always good to share sucess and the journey there and Limebird is definitely one of the great writing sucesses in the blogsphere.

    • Hi Claire,

      Yes, this is definitely something I would advocate! I think it’s so important to create relationships with your fellow bloggers and it’s also great fun!

      Ah yes, hashtags are great resources. I have to say I don’t utilise them as much as I should though!

      You’re welcome and thank you, that’s really nice of you to say.

      B x

  6. Here I am! Okay, part of me feels like this post was hot on my trail…just waiting for me to stop, look and FINALLY ask you how do I know which tags to pick for various posts.

    You are familiar with my personal blog 🙂 and you may or may not have noticed that I always put ‘writing’ or ‘creative writing’ etc on all my posts because I usually blog about writing. Then I add more detailed tags depending on what the content of my post is. For instance, ‘books’ if I’m reviewing a book, or ‘family’ if it’s got something to do with kids, etc.

    Is that sufficient, or should I be doing something else?

    Thank you O Smart One!

    • Hi de hi!

      Haha, yes I’m hot on your trail! Yes I am indeed and I’ve just had a little look. I think that the categories and tags you’re using are fine, the only thing I would keep an eye on is the amount you’re using. Any more than about 10/11, you could be perceived as spam by the powers that be!

      I would also maybe use shorter or more general categories/tags like ‘writing’, ‘writing advice’, ‘books’ etc rather than more specific ones. The tags are what people of WP can use to find your blog, so if you want people to find your posts, it might be a good idea to go for ones that are popular.

      For example here is the topics which are trending right now – http://wordpress.com/#!/topics/ to give you an idea of the types of tags being used.

      Hope this helps!

      B x

  7. Ha! Here’s another question, spurred by your suggestion to Todd. My gravatar for this site is not my picture that I have up on the Limebird bio page. I have tried to change it, more than once, and so it’s definitely not the 24-hour issue.

    What am I doing wrong?

  8. Riddle me this, Beth:

    I reorganized my site not too long ago, converting most of my tags to categories. I thought that would reduce the size of the tag cloud a bit and make the subjects easier to navigate. But my views have dropped off by like 60% since then. Any idea why?

    • Hi M,

      Hmm, it could be unrelated, but I would double check which tags and categories you’re using. So, the more relevant ones you use, the more likely it will be that the people of WordPress willl find them. Also try to limit them to around 5-10 tag/categories (or a mixture of both) for your posts.

      One thing I would say, is NEVER let your post drop into ‘uncategorised’, otherwise your post will just get lost in the cyberweb.

      B x

  9. Kate, this happened to me a few days ago. I changed my gravatar and it didn’t show up here. I was stymied until I realized my gravatar was set to rating PG. I set it to G and suddenly it worked here again. So maybe Limebird is a G-rated only site?

  10. I have been blogging just over a year now, and I do think so much about growing your site is by commenting answering comments and following like-minded blogs.

    I always try to comment more than I post, same as on forums.

    Jim

  11. I’d like an ENTIRE post about netiquette (is that term still used??) for various media – especially twitter, but to cover blogging/commenting, facebook, and any others you think we writing types might gravitate toward.

    I’d like somebody to explain the # and other symbols in Twitter, and a list of common abbreviations.

    I’ll let you know as I think of more.

    • Haha! Why not? Ok, I’ll have to have a think about a post, but for now I’ll just briefly explain the # and other symbols in Twitter.

      @ – the @ sign is just a way of directly messaging someone. So, for example if I tweeted ” I’m just teaching @ShannonHowell all about twitter! ” this would come up in your twitter.

      # – So, the # are meant to be used as a way to separate topics, so for example you wrote a tweet about a new book you’ve read.

      “OMG, I just finished the #hungergames , they were awesome! #writing #books ” Anyone that searches for #hungergames will be able to see your tweet and any others which have used the same #. The trending topics are a list of the most talked about topics and #, so if the majority of people are listening to Michael Jackson and are tweeting about it, that would be in the trending topics.

      However, there is another way that people use the hashtags and these are to emphasise their points. For example, if I tweeted ” I just chucked my drink all over my lap” I might use a hashtag like #whatanidiot or #clutz etc, these are completely up to you and people tend to do this a lot. “I’ve finally cracked hashtags. #huzzah ”

      RT

      This stands for Retweet. This is basically when you see a tweet that you like (kind of like the like button on FB) and you RT it. It just means that it will come up in your feed for your followers to see. So, if you see a RT before a tweet it means that they have retweeted it. In phone apps as well, it’s possible to ‘quote tweet’ which is where you can RT, but then add your own comment on the end.

      #FF

      This you will see on Fridays and it’s pretty popular. It stands for Follow Friday. So you basically put up a list of people that you think your followers should follow.

      DM – Is a direct message. This is basically just a private message that you can send directly to one person.

      R.E – twitter etiquette, I would get into the habit of thanking people if they RT you, and making sure that you reply if they message you.

      However, beware, there is a lot of spam fishing around. One which you need to be aware of is the ‘OMG, have you seen this tweet about you?’ and there’s a link. Do not click on this as it’s fake. Also, before following any famous people, double check how many followers they have. If they have very little, then it’s likely it’s a fake account. Also, ones that have been verified have a blue tick.

      I think that’s it for now, if you see any other things, then give me a shout.

      B x

      • The other point to mention (while you’re on the subject!) about the @ thing in Twitter which not everyone realises. If you put the @ at the beginning of your tweet then only those who follow BOTH you and the person you are @ing will see it (everyone can see if it they go to your profile of course, but I’m talking about it appearing on people’s feeds). If you want all of your followers to see it then you need to put something else first. So for example ‘@susan thanks for a great day yesterday’ would only be seen by people who follow both you and susan, but ‘Thanks @susan for a great day yesterday’ would be seen by everyone who follows you. Don’t know if I’ve explained that clearly!

      • Ah, that’s really handy information Vanessa! I did not know that, you’ve taught me a new thing today! 🙂

      • If, say, somebody you don’t know (I mean less than one normally knows an internet person) retweets you, will you know?

        I ask because somebody retweeted my link to my Rookie Mistakes post, and I only saw it by chance.

        Where do you find the trending topics?

      • Yes, if you go into your @ mentions, the new twitter shows you who has RT-ed you. Like in this picture of our @ mentions, you can see at the bottom that it’s told me that LimebirdRaven has RT-ed us.

        You can see where the trending topics are kept, if you click on the # (Discover) along the top bar and the trends are on the left hand side. You can change these to suit your location.

  12. Shannon I’d like all of that too, and I would also like a plate of cookies.

  13. Hi, Beth — These will be fun series to read! Please mention permalinks and changing your blog post slugs in WordPress. They’re easy tricks that optimize for search engines.

    • Hi Darla,

      Unfortunately unless you have a wordpress.org blog (the paid one), you do not have the ability to change permalinks or blog post slugs. I can put up some stuff about optimising them if people would like, but I think the majority of people have the .com version. Let me know if you would like me to answer any questions. 🙂

      B x

  14. Beth: “there are ways to get temporary hits to your blog”

    I wrote a post called “Super Nude Donut Girl” months ago (September) and it still gets hits for no apparent reason. (Well no reason other than it is called “Super Nude Donut Girl”!)

  15. Hi Dennis,

    I’ve just had a look at the post and the first thing that jumped out at me was that it’s under ‘uncategorised’. The first thing that I would go in and do is effectively categorise and tag that post. It’s never too late to update them. Uncategorised means that it will have just got lost in the web oblivion and people won’t be able to find it unless they specifically search for it.

    I would suggest something like:

    Categories: Writing, Poetry, Poems

    Tags: super nude donut girl, poems, writing, quick poems, email spam

    etc

    If you want a bit of a boost, try promoting it again on FB and Twitter and get people to come back to it. Make sure the links are personalised and let people know what it’s about.

    I hope this helps,

    B x

  16. Many thanks for excellent post, Beth. Bloglife making more sense already

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