Today is the last day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week and the topic of discussion is all about the world of blogging practices:
The world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.
Narrowing down “tried and true practices” to three items was a bit of a challenge for me…but here is what I came up with:
Recently I read an article about fake product reviews … written by book reviewer who was paid to post dishonest, fake reviews! I was shocked (although I suppose I should not be given that there are people out there who will do anything for money). Not long ago, I had an email exchange with a self-published author who wanted to know why bloggers would not accept money to read and review her book (I was glad to see that she didn’t have any takers). Although I don’t begrudge any blogger for making money through advertising on their blog or being paid to post objective reviews through a third party…I have a real problem with bloggers accepting payment directly from authors or their publicists to provide a review. Why? Because I think it is a conflict of interest. How can we be 100% honest about a book when the author is paying us to review it? And really, honesty in our reviews is important, isn’t it? I go to the book bloggers I trust for recommendations on books. I don’t want to have to wonder if a book blogger is just giving a book a pass so they can pick up their check. I want to know that the reviewer actually read the book. I think honesty is the way to preserve our integrity as bloggers. For me, it is the #1 practice that I believe we should all follow. And that includes full disclosure as to where our books come from, too.
Crediting our Inspirations and Ideas
How many times have you read a blog post and it has inspired an idea for a post of your own? It has happened to me many times. And if you read enough blogs, you will discover that ideas are not formed in a vacuum. We spin off of each other all the time. Maybe we are on Twitter and a conversation starts which gives us a great idea for a series of posts or a project. Or maybe we read just one part of someone’s post and we recognize an idea for an article based on just that aspect of the post. It is not only polite, but good practice to credit our ideas with a link to the blogger who gave us the inspiration. It is one of those things that spreads goodwill…and it is just the right thing to do. I truly believe that when we recognize each other and give credit and appreciation to other people, it helps ourselves too. My grandmother always told me that whatever I put out in the world (whether it be good or bad), it would ultimately come back to me tenfold. I have never forgotten that…and so this “practice” is just part of my overall philosophy of putting good out into the world.
Nowadays there is a lot about building a following – and let’s face it, most of us would like people to read what we write. Bloggers are writers, educators, and individuals with opinions. We like getting feedback through comments. We like to know that when we hit “publish” that our post is not just going out to an empty world and disappearing. One way to ensure readership is to be consistent with your posts. I don’t think you have to post every single day. But, I think you have to post enough so that your readers can depend on the content. Twice a week, three times a week – more or less – it doesn’t matter, as long as it is consistent. Readers to my blog know that I post every Sunday for Sunday Salon and I give links to the reviews for that week; they know that my Mailbox goes up on Mondays with blurbs and links to some of the newest literature coming out; they know that I post at least one book review (and sometimes as many as three) per week; they know that I will occasionally post about my pets or my quilts or about a local event. Every week, there is new content on my blog. It is consistent…and if I cannot post because life has taken over, then I let my readers know so they don’t think I have just disappeared.
What about you? Do you have ideas of what constitutes “tried and true” practices for book blogging?
The second part of this post involves trends or tools – new things I have added to my blog or are considering adding. I will admit right up front – trends change so rapidly, that it is hard for me to keep up sometimes!
Social Network Widgets
I will admit, that the speed of information out there often just overwhelms me. BUT, it became apparent to me that providing a quick and easy way for people to tweet a post or share something I wrote on Facebook or StumbleUpon or any one of the gazillion social media tools…was important. I installed a plugin called Socializer! on my blog which provides a quick and easy way for readers to share information. The widget appears on the top and bottom of every one of my posts.
Let’s face it – blogging is all about the interaction between the reader and the blogger. Discussions make your blog more interesting. I like to give back to my commenters whenever I can … and adding the Comment Luv plugin to my blog allows commenters to display their latest post as a link at the bottom of their comment. I loved when I saw this on other blogs (and often clicked through to posts which looked interesting). It allows readers to find new content and new blogs to read. Readers to my blog can find a CommentLuv box to check at the bottom of the comment dialog box – doing this will create a link to their last blog post at the bottom of their comment.
What about YOU? What tools do you have on your blog? Please share them in the comments – I’d love to get new ideas. Are there trends in blogging that you think add functionality or readability to your blog?
Check out other bloggers posts by visiting the BBAW blog here – and following the links.