Some good stuff on tap today. First, some tippage on hosting a better blog, because don't we all want to improve our web presences to show ourselves in a better light? Sure we do, boys and girls! Here's a few things we can do to kick our bloggy homes up to the next level:
- Think about removing that aggravating word verification thingy from your comments form. I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I've had no spam incidents or other negative fallout since I removed that extra step, and I've had several visitors comment on how much easier it is to leave comments. [And isn't that what we want...our readers to feel at home and want to leave a few words?]
- A good rule of thumb: Visit unto others as you'd have them visit unto you. Ya know...if I visit your blog and comment daily or several times a week, isn't it just good bloggerish etiquette and form to return the favor? Tit for tat goes a long way in the social networking world.
- Keep it fresh. Our home environments can become stale and unappealing when kept static for long periods. Same thing goes for our blogs. I'm no Martha Stewart [just call me Erma], and admit that my Christmas tree is still up, but I do try to keep my Gumbo Writer content updated and appealing. It never hurts to tweak your settings and layout to better serve your friends and loyal readership. I'm not saying to redecorate for every holiday or season, or to top load your blog with so many buzzers and whistles that visitors go nuts from overstimulating graphics, or bored to tears waiting for everything on your page to download, but a little spiffing up never hurt anyone.
- Lagniappe is a good thing. [Come on, y'all. You been hanging around long enough to know what lagniappe is, but in case you're a new visitor, it means a little something extra.] There are lots of groovy widgets and things you can add to your blog including polls, photos, and trivia, or hey, what about a little fun contest now and then?
- Now, for the love of Pete, could ya put your email contact in your profile so that I can email you after I read your complete ID or straight from the automatically generated email I get when you comment? So many times I want to say something private or give a suggestion...and the return email address says, "firstname.lastname@example.org." Argh!
- I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert. I'm just sharing a few things I've picked up along the blogging trail. For some even "betterer" advice, stop by Helen's Straight From Hel blog to learn some social networking hints. [This is a two-part post, so bring your favorite beverage and a pen/pad to take notes. It's a quick read, I promise, and easy to absorb.]
Now, a little shameless self promotion. I got an email last night from someone at bloginterviewer.com saying my blog had been nominated as a reader favorite or some such [thanks to whichever of my friends put my name in the hat!], and would I come fill out an interview form. It was quick and didn't strain my brain, so why not?
If I'm understanding correctly, I'm to ask readers and friends to vote for Gumbo Writer as blog-o-the-month for a chance to win $50. Isn't that exciting? And if I do happen to win, I'm going to buy some of Kimmi's The Unbreakable Child and Kathryn's Tender Graces books for contest prizes! Oh, and also some grits to send to you poor souls who haven't had the opportunity to try them yet!
So, if you're in a mood and of a mind to help three writer womens out, go pull the lever for me. You can vote once per day. [See icon at the top of my sidebar. The blue one with the LSU purple & gold colors. It'll take you to the short interview.] Thanks in advance for your vote. My campaign promise is this ~~ "A chicken & dumplin' in every pot!" :)
And speaking of Kathryn, stranded somewhere in Texas after visiting me here in Baton Rouge...her soon to be released book TENDER GRACES has a new page at publisher BelleBooks' site with a pre-order form included for those of you who've been waiting. [And it's also a cool look at what an indie publisher can do for your own future novel!]