Monday, December 12, 2011

Are you easy?

The sign says one thing. The trail says another. 
I look at this blog sometimes and wonder: Am I easy? You know easy to follow.

After participating in the Picture Book Idea Month Challenge, I found myself introduced to a number of new writers. I also found myself frustrated when I couldn't easily subscribe to a blog.

Here are a few observations:

  • While I prefer to subscribe to posts via email, not everyone does. I struggle with a cluttered inbox, but it's the easiest way for me to subscribe. Offer several options. In Blogger, I know you can offer email, RSS feeds and Google Friend Connect options. You can also connect through Facebook with networked blogs. I haven't figured out how to add this. I also haven't figured out how to streamline my subscription options with little buttons despite great tips from writer Lynda R. Young. Sounds like another goal for 2012.
  • Let me know when you post, because it might determine how I subscribe to your posts. If you post daily, I may choose the weekly email option from WordPress or use the Google Reader to follow along on my Kindle Fire app. 
  • What time do you publish your posts? It may seem silly, but think about it — when do you read blog posts in the morning or afternoon. I tend to read in the morning, so I schedule posts to publish at 12:01 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. So, I'm two hours behind my East Coast friends. I think it's early enough, because I often wake up to several comments on posting days.
  • If you have a WordPress blog, but maintain a Blogger profile — make sure it is up to date. I click through Blogger profiles and sometimes I can't find your blog. Two recent scenarios: Your author website doesn't have a blog tab that I can easily find or your Blogger profile has your old Blogger blog, but doesn't offer a link to your WordPress site. Blogger allows you to add a website in your profile. Add your WordPress site and hide the Blogger blogs no longer in use. 
  • Sign in and comment with the correct profile. Nina Badzin recently asked me why I used my Twitter account when commenting on blogs. I don't have an active Wordpress blog, so I took a shortcut and signed in with my Twitter profile. Nina's question made me think. I even quizzed Laura Barnes on the topic. I "social media" searched — is that what you call it instead of soul searching? With Laura's help, I figured out a way to comment on a WordPress blog with my email, name and Blog URL — so with one click people are at my blog. 
  • Is there a way to unsubscribe to your posts? With the email feed from my Blogger account, there is an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email. I subscribed to one blog months ago and cannot figure out how to unsubscribe. It's a WordPress blog and doesn't match any of my passwords. 
  • Is there a way to contact you through your website? I like it when I can email someone. If you don't want to post your email address, why not make it clear you respond to comments or via Twitter. Hey, you never know who might be trying to reach you. 
Do you have a tip or strategy to share about following blogs or a pet peeve? Maybe a tip for me to improve my blog's accessibility — I don't want to be like that sign I found at Mount Rushmore. I'm all ears.

Blog Tour for Julie's A Troop is a Group of Monkeys:
If you haven't voted for Julie Hedlund's A Troop is a Group of Monkeys story in the MeeGenius Author Challenge please consider stopping by and giving it a Facebook like. Here's her post on the story: The Story Behind the Story: My MeeGenius Entry.

Julie is running a contest to help round up more likes for her story. Please spread the word. Julie works very hard on her stories and provides a wonderful blog Write Up My Life.

29 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Stacey. I have been having real problems setting up an mail subscription sign up, and mention in y post today! I don't like myself to sign up by email and appreciate other ways on a blog.

    Personally I don't look to see when people post, I just check blogs when I see them coming up on my Google Reader, but I appreciate some like this.

    Very good point about the blogger profile. I am frustrated too when I click on a profile and it takes me to twitter as I want to get to their website as quickly as I can.

    The one thing I don't like about blogger is having to use a captcha as I frequently misread it!

    I have also just added my email address to my blog as I think this is a valid point you make.

    Thanks for these thoughts.

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  2. Great post, Stacy. I often get frustrated by a lot of these same things, and I hope my blog is easy to follow. I'm like you - I like subscribing by email. It makes for a full inbox, but it saves me having to check anywhere to see if my favorite bloggers have posted. It's really the only way I can keep up. I know Google Reader is very popular, but I haven't figured out how to make it work well for me. The only thing about email is that, even though I say notify immediately, a lot of times the posts don't come through until later or the next day and by the time I get over to read the post there are 30 comments already and the blogger has moved on to the next thing!

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  3. I am completely with you on all these points! I am sure I have made many of these errors when I set up my own Wordpress blog just a few months ago. I need a little techo-hand holding to figure out all the bits and pieces! It is not always obvious how well the accounts and links do or do not play together from the outsiders perspective! If anyone knows of a good online resource about best blog set-up, please pass it on!!

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  4. First of all, thanks for the shout-out for my story and contest!

    I agree with you on all of these points and I'm not sure how to solve some of them. I wish WordPress would come up with something similar to the Google Friend connect. I love how you can see the number (and faces) of your followers.

    Otherwise, I think I clearly offer an email subscription, an RSS feed option and Networked Blogs. I can't remember how I set that up or I'd let you know!

    I seldom subscribe via email because it's too daunting now that I follow more than 100 blogs. They all go into my Google Reader and I go there whenever I get time. Therefore, it doesn't matter to me when or what time people post.

    HOWEVER, these past few days I've had my posts written in advance (a first for me), and I have noticed that I've already gotten hits and comments by the time I wake up. So I'd like to try to keep that going.

    LOVE the title of the post btw! :-)

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  5. I try to make it easy to find me from all of my social networking sites. My blog has my FB, Twitter, LI, Google+, my Twitter has my blog address in the profile, my LI has all my social networking, etc. I'm a Wordpress gal, and I sometimes have trouble subscribing to Blogspot or even making a comment. Only once did I get a complaint about my blog's subscription mechanism. I got it sorted out. I get one or two new subscriptions a week, so I don't think there's any problem now.

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  6. Terrific post, Stacy! I created filters in my email box to sort out blog posts from other email... Really makes reading and commenting more fun and my inbox less overwhelming. ;)

    I never thought about sharing my post frequency... Will definitely consider it.

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  7. This is GREAT. Hmmm..thinking about my own now! That last one drives me bonkers most of all (I like to respond sometimes by email).

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  8. Stacy,
    Great post. I find it challenging because so many of the blogs I follow are blogspot and I'm checking them on my acct page, even though I don't have a blogspot. I like subscribing to many of your posts by e-mail (like I do yours), so that I see them right away. I schedule posts for release at 5 a.m. and read others in them in morning and sometimes late at night if I'm working. Ditto to everyone else's comments. I'll just continue to repeat what has been said.

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  9. So glad you blogged about this Stacy because now I don't have my netbook any more I'm struggling to keep up and I have family arriving today from overseas for five weeks so chances of catching up more over Christmas are slim. I check my email a lot and hardly get to Google reader mor ethan once a week. I forget that Wordpress blogs are so close to home so they end up last, I never remember. So i might just go for it and put friends' blogs on email and more craft/publishing ones left in Google reader. I don't know when I'll get time to swap them but I think I will for 2012. Good luck with whatever you try!

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  10. Good post Stacy. I agree with having multiple options of posting. I also think that you should have those options at the TOP of your blog. I hate scrolling FOREVER trying to find it and wondering if I missed it.

    I usually subscribe during google friend connect. I used to post every day. With 2 blogs, I post on 1 of them every day, but I haven't nailed down the schedule yet. I will keep you posted. :)

    BTW - just posted the blog hop information! Hope you can join in the fun. :)

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  11. Great post Stacy. I get some posts via email,but for the most part I use Google reader. I have organized blogs by topic or if I'm in a class or blog fest with the writer.
    But that gets a little out of control too--like this morning I woke up to see the posts on my reader are at 517. The highest it's ever been.
    My blog is a work in progress--thanks so much for your suggestions. I will pass them on to my husband--thankfully he takes the "webmaster" burden off me. True love, ha ha. :)

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  12. @Joanna, I dislike the capcha too, but I don't get any spam, so I think it's working. One day, I'll figure out the best solution or just try it without the capcha.
    @Susanna - Racheal Harrie had a great post on how to organize the reader (however, I never used the reader until I got the Kindle). I need to re-read that. August also mentioned a great point in her comment to filter your email inbox.
    @Cathy - When I find a Wordpress source I'll share it. there are several blogs dedicated to it, but I don't really follow them since I use Blogger. The TentBlogger guy has several useful posts on his site.
    @Julie -I saw your comment about the Networked Blogs and it may be something I need to do on FB to create a badge and not a Blogger issue. Thinking ...
    @Karen - Yes. You are easy to find and follow.
    @August - I really need to try the inbox filter thing.
    @Christina Lee - Yes. I think email contact is important.
    @Patricia - I receive your posts via email and it's in my inbox waiting when I wake up.
    @Catherine - During several trips this year, I weeded out a lot of my craft and publishing emails. I only follow a handful now, because it was just too many. There are some really big bloggers, who I just read when someone else tweets his or her post. Or, I use the WP option to get a weekly digest of blogs, so I can catch up at once.
    @Leigh - I really need to figure out the button subscription option to streamline my blog. I'll check out the hop information.
    @Coleen - Wow 517! You are busy, busy. You are lucky your husband is the webmaster. Mine still hasn't liked my "FB" page. :)

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  13. Wonderful points! I can tell you've been thinking about all this.

    ~Debbie

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  14. I don't know how easy I am, but I think I have everything on my blog to subscribe to my site that you have on yours. Except when I try to add the gadget of following by emails, it won't let me do it. I can't for the life of me figure out why it won't let me do it. It says to check to make sure I am a public blog (which I am) and to check and see if I allow feeds and as far as I know, I do. I don't have certain times or days that I post, except I always try to post on Wednesdays about writing. I have followers that don't write, so I post about lots of other things, too, such as recipes, crafts and everyday life.

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  15. I think I'm easy because I have my email subscription button right below my image. Then the RSS and Comment RSS are right below that. Being a Wordpress blog I'm protected from spamers with their Askimet spam finders so don't have the dreaded capthca. I tried blogging on Tuesdays and Saturdays but found I didn't like that schedule as most Blog hops are different days. Now I post on Tuesdays and Fridays so I can join Just Right Books with Susanna Leonard Hill. I think the most important idea I got from this post is to make my contact information easier to see. I will change that now and put it on my about page.

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  16. Great post! So many issues I deal with too, but unless everyone had a blog on the same platform, I don't think things will ever be easy! And that will never happen! :) Best of luck figuring everything out. Definitely post again with what you have found out! As a somewhat new blogger I'm still trying to figure it all out too.

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  17. You raise some really great points. I'm still learning too, so I'm not sure I even know what the best strategy is. I used to be on Blogger but I find Wordpress has more options for my website/blog. And I try to have all my contact info everywhere. The best thing is I learn something new every day!

    Nancy

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  18. Awesome, awesome post. It really shows how different people are from each other and how we need to be sure we are available to everyone. Thanks for writing it!

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  19. Very interesting post! I think it is easy to follow my blog. However, I am so new to blogging that I haven't established an exact schedule-I was blogging for PiBoIdMo every day, but that was exhausting with work. When I have a long break (like next week-yea!) I will tend to write more often. Right now I am blogging about every other day minus the weekend. Like Joanna, I just check my Google Reader to see if anyone has anything new. I imagine that could become challenging as I subscribe to more blogs!

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  20. Really great post! I think I do have Blogger account even though my blog is on Wordpress. You made me think I ought to make sure my blog is connected to it! I try to sign in with my name and URL when I can.

    So glad my question sparked the change. I might be lazy, but if the person's link isn't straight to the blog, it might be one step too many to get me there.

    Next tip: Are you sure you need the word verification? Anne Allen is on Blogger and she swears by turning it off.

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  21. @Debbie - It has been on my mind.
    @Jennifer - I will.
    @Nancy - It is great to be fluid and learn something new every day.
    @Laura - Yes, we're all different in how we access the information.
    @Kelly - I think the schedule is a good idea, but it's fun to be spontaneous sometimes.
    @Nina - I think I will try Anne's method. I follow several Bloggers who have turned it off. And, thanks for asking the question.

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  22. @Janet- I don't know what the answer is to that. I checked out your blog.
    @Clar - It is interesting trying to keep a schedule and participate in some of the different "events" or hops around the internet.

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  23. So, so practical. It's frustrating to try and find more info about someone who's blogging and hit a dead end. Or try to subscribe to their blog and run into yet another dead end.

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  24. This is really helpful! I am a new blogger & haven't thought about many of these issues. Now I'm going to look at my blog with a different eye. Many thanks!

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  25. @Beth - It is frustrating to hit a dead end.
    @kvetchmom - Glad you found it helpful. Good luck.

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  26. Great title Stacy! LOL! I like the lay out of your blog and find it easy to navigate. If you can, I would recommend adding an RSS feed button. Readers love additional options.

    My one pet peeve has to be a string of captcha's. I would highly recommend people getting rid of those because we really do want to leave thoughtful comments on their blogs :)

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  27. @Christy, Thanks. I had the RSS button lower on the page, so I added it higher. I deleted the capcha. I hope!

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  28. Even if I had my blog for a few years, I still consider myself an amateur blogger. So thanks for this tip.

    P.S. I stumbled upon your site thanks to your comment on my post. :o)

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  29. @Romelle - Thanks for stopping by and glad you could pick up a tip or two. I think we're all newbies in this ever-changing world.

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