The International Bloggers Association

Recently I was nominated by fellow blogger and all-around-amazing lady, Meredith Ethington of Perfection Pending to join a wonderful organization that I didn’t even know existed: the International Bloggers Association. The IBA is an organization by bloggers, for bloggers, with the goal of helping bloggers to keep writing and gain new traffic. The website also includes lots of helpful resources and is all-in-all a pretty amazing way for bloggers to stick together and help one another out.

Part of the certification process for becoming part of the IBA is to write a guest post for the site on the topic of blogging tips/blog marketing. So with that goal in mind, I’d like to share with you some blogging tips that I have picked up since the conception of No Page Left Blank.

Pre-Tip: Learn to grow a thick skin, because the Internet is full of negative-Nancys.
First Tip: Learn to grow a thick skin, because the Internet is full of negative-Nancys and ignorant jerks. No, I’m not bitter. 😛

Tip #1: Just Keep Writing

If there is one thing that will kill a blog almost instantly, it’s a poor update schedule. A “schedule” as such isn’t necessarily what is important, but it is definitely important to update on a regular basis. At least three posts a week seems to be common advice, although I personally would aim for 4-5. The more posts you write, the more content is available on your blog for potential readers to stumble across, and if you post multiple times a week it’s more likely that at least one of your posts will catch a potential reader’s eye. Not every post will be gold, but think of it like tossing a basketball at a net; the more shots you take, the more shots you’re likely to sink.

Tip #2: Make Use of Categories and Tags

I’ve been told in the past that I occasionally abuse tags (too many can actually make your post harder to find), but both tags and categories are very important in making your posts findable. Categories work as more of an organizational tool to group similar posts together, while tags allow readers to search specific topics and find your blog in that fashion. For instance, if you’re a parent blogging about your children, you might use tags such as “parenting”, “kids”, and “babies”. Readers using those words as a search are then more likely to come across your post. Use them to your advantage!

Tip #3: Have a Focus, but also Have Fun

At the heart, my blog is my author platform, on which I talk about my writing goals, my process, and a variety of similar topics. But if that was all I wrote about I’d be pretty boring and have myself locked into a very niche readership. Therefore I also talk about things I enjoy, such as my nerdy pleasures, which opens up possibilities for many other possible readers to come along. It’s important to have a focus with your blog – a reason for it, if you will – but it’s also important to diversify a little, and to enjoy yourself.

Tip #4: It’s All About Community

We live in an instant gratification world in which it’s easy to believe that if you start up a blog readers will somehow track you down immediately and you’ll become a sensation overnight with little to no effort. But the real world doesn’t work that way. Just like the work world, the blogging world involves a lot of networking. If you want people to find you and read your work, you have to let them know you’re there. Share your posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), and be sure to interact with other bloggers whom you enjoy reading. Readers will find you through other blogs, and besides, connecting with other bloggers can help you in other ways as well (*cough*NominationtotheIBA*cough*).

Tip #5: Just Keep At It

I’ve been posting on this blog for over two years now. In the first year I amassed less than 100 followers. It was almost a full two years before I hit 200 followers. In that time I wrote plenty of posts that I personally thought were great, but that never received any recognition. There were times when I felt that I was simply spinning my wheels, talking to no one, and wasting my time. In that instant gratification world that I spoke of it’s difficult to accept that sometimes things take time. I pushed through, and though my blog isn’t nearly as popular as I had once hoped it would become, I have slowly gained followers over multiple platforms, I see more comments on my blog daily, and bit by bit I’m gaining the recognition I crave. As with anything in life, successful blogging requires time and commitment. Don’t be discouraged. Push on.


Before I sign off from this special weekend guest post to the IBA, there is a second part to the certification process that I must address: that is, I must nominate another person whose blog meets the IBA’s standards. I follow many wonderful blogs these days, but the first person who came to mind is a fellow writer whom I’ve grown quite fond of. So, Jay Dee Archer, I’ll be sending you a link to the IBA’s certification page. I hope you decide to join as well!

Thanks for reading, everyone, and keep blogging!

Guest Post: Be Brave

For a while now fellow blogger (and super-awesome lady) Meredith of Perfection Pending has been hosting a weekend guest post spot called “Be Brave”. The spot is about allowing mothers all over the world to talk about how they have forced themselves to be brave for the sake of their kids and families. It’s a wonderful spot that I knew I had to take part in.

I actually wrote my story for Meredith well over two months ago (the spot is popular and she was all booked up until now), but ironically the story that I wrote rings truer than ever now that I’m currently on a new job that is, quite honestly, being extremely rough on me. Yes, I wrote about working out West and the bravery required to do such a thing with a small child at home.

photo credit: misspixels via photopin cc. Text added

Please check out my post on Meredith’s site. I’ll be hanging out there all weekend to answer any questions or comments that people might have. Cheers everyone!

Blogging 101, Day Four: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Day Four’s assignment is honestly not one that I expected to see, but I’m glad that I did because looking back it would have been a good lesson when I first started this blog. The assignment is to follow five new topics and five new blogs in the Reader. If you’re really new to this and don’t know what the reader is, it’s that page that pops up when you first go to WordPress – or the one labeled “Reader” if you’re using an app – that shows a bunch of other people’s posts. You can choose a bunch of viewing options on the Reader, but the default shows the blogs and topics that you have chosen to follow.

The reason The Daily Post asks you to do some following? Well for one thing, community is a huge aspect of blogging. When you first start blogging you’re not going to have a big audience right away because no one knows who you are or how to find you. Your first followers will likely be other bloggers, and the way that most of them will find you is by returning the favor when you find them. Search for people who share the same interests as you, write about the same kinds of things you write about, or people who just make you think or laugh. The bigger you build your community, the more likely people will find their way to you.

I didn’t catch on to this gem right away when I first started blogging. I clicked on a few other blogs, for sure, but I rarely read them, and even more rarely interacted with them. It was probably a year or so after I started the blog that I began to realize, “Hey…why should I expect people to interact with me if I’m not willing to take some time to interact with them?” So I started to spend more time reading, liking, and commenting on the stuff that caught my eye. I built up a respectable list of blogs that I follow, and many of those bloggers have become internet friends and great sources of ideas for the blog. If it weren’t for the people I’ve interacted with, I never would have come across this blogging “course”, for instance, nor the A to Z Challenge, nor a number of other blog hops, awards, challenges, and various ideas.

Since I’m already following a ton of stuff, for the purposes of today’s assignment I’m going to share a few blogs and tags that I’ve found very useful. Check them out, and find some more of your own!

The Daily Post deserves a mention, of course, for being the benefactors of this particular challenge. Their blog has tons of helpful stuff for bloggers, including daily prompts in which they link back to your blog if you participate, and a “community pool” post on Sundays, in which you can share whatever you like and ask for comments, feedback, etc.

Kristen Lamb’s Blog is a must to follow if you’re a writer. She’s the guru on all things author platform-related, and also posts advice on the writing process itself. Occasionally she also has guest posters who have been known to share a wealth of useful information.

Perfection Pending isn’t a useful site in the traditional sense, but I love it to pieces because Meredith makes me feel a little less insane. She’s a mother of three who often writes about her children and her life in a funny, relatable way that makes me – as a mom and a writer – feel a little less alone in the world.

As for tags, it really depends on what you’re looking for, who you want to connect with, but I’ve found lots worth seeing by searching the tags “challenges”, “writers”, “mothers”, and “authors”. Just think about who you want to connect with, and hope that those people did a good job tagging their posts. 🙂