How to use polls to engage your blog readers

Hey blogger!

Have you ever used a poll before? If you’ve not, today’s post is perfect for you. 

Polls are a good way for bloggers to find answers to questions, try out new things or just feel the pulse of the online tribe.

Here are a few ways you can use polls for your blog.

To try out a new blog segment

Are you thinking of introducing a fresh segment on your blog but you are not sure how your audience will take it? Try taking a  poll. You can do a pilot post on your blog and create a simple poll asking your readers to vote for or against the new segment. This is a bit better than asking them to leave a comment because it gives you the results without you having to count manually who is for or against the addition. 

Top notch ideas on how to improve the blog

Tired of second guessing or doing it on your own? Ask for help. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! If you need ideas on how to improve your delivery, design or approach you can create a poll to ask your followers. Most of them would gladly chip in a thing or two. Besides your audience’s advice is priceless especially the honest and sincere ones.

What you should remove from your blog

This may be a bit painful especially if you do not agree with some of the suggestions but honest and sincere answers never hurt anyone right? The worst that could happen is that you’d reject the suggestions and move on. On the other hand, you may be getting valuable feedback on how to make your blog more likeable. 

Either way, polls are a great way to engage your audience in a fresh way.

If you do this your blog will not grow

Every blogger wants a responsive, irresistible, if possible, money making blog. However, there are a few things you do that can affect the growth of your blog.

One of them is failing to promote your content WELL. Note that we didn’t just say failing to promote your content. Do you just send broadcast messages to the few contacts on your WhatsApp list and forget about that post? That’s definitely not enough. 

You need to ensure you add sharing buttons to your blog articles and share content at peak times of your audience’s social activity.

You may be wondering why. We’ll tell you.   

Blogging is a very time sensitive work. Don’t just think you can write, publish and share content whenever you want. You must be sensitive to timing to get the optimum engagement. 

Other important things you can do include:

  • Sharing your article on social networking sites with images (to make them more attractive)
  • Sharing content multiple times on social media sites
  • Keeping up with your content by responding to comments etc.
  • Encouraging your blog authors, contributors, team members, friends and family to use their social networks to help share your blog content.

For your blog to grow, you need to be intentional about it. Put in the work and you will see the results. 

Here’s what you need to know about changing the name of your blog

 

Have you been thinking of changing the name of your blog but you think you would be committing a criminal offence under the blogging code if you actually do.

Fear not!  Today’s post has come to your rescue!

Just like your personal name, the name of your is super important. It is literally the first thing that anyone notices about your blog and it helps to pass a strong message about what your blog is about.

When you want to change your personal name there are so many things to consider. The same aplies when you are thinking of changing the name of your blog. It is possible to outgrow a name when it comes to blogging but you must take precaution. 

You have to consider the following;

How important is it?

Is it really that important? A name is not something you play with. Why do you want to change the name, and essentially your identity online? Because you feel like it? Because the current name doesn’t exemplify what the blog is about anymore? You need to answer all these questions.

How far gone have you gone in the blogging game?

For popular bloggers, it may be difficult to change their name because they have spent so much time, energy and money in turning that name into a brand. If your readers are already accustomed to the name of your blog you may want to think twice before you change that name.

Match your blog’s new name with a domain. 

If it’s imperative that you change the name of your blog please make sure that you do all you can to match the blog’s name and domain (URL). As you’re considering what to change your name to, do a search to see if the domain is available (and try to get the .com and .net). Having your blog name and URL match isn’t just good SEO, it’s an easy way for people to find you. If a reader can remember the name of your blog, she can remember your URL and find you. 

Match your brand throughout your social media accounts. 

Once you change the name of your blog update the change on all your social media accounts. Let your followers know and change your bio information where you need to. It is not nice to confuse everyone. 

We hope this was helpful! 

 

 

Do this when you don’t know what to blog about

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You have decided to be consistent with blogging and you even went ahead to set a target for yourself. The only issue is that you don’t know what your next post will be about. 

We have a suggestion for you – Do something interesting and then write about it.

If you really think you are stuck, do this and it will fix all your problems. Life is way easier to write about when you’re doing something interesting. Don’t you think so? Take a course, tick activities off your bucket list, say hello to a stranger on your way from work. It doesn’t have to be anything super serious but it must be interesting enough to catch the attention of your blog readers. 

You never can tell, they may like the post so much and request that you make that post a regular one on your blog. This would however not happen if you do not try it out first. 

Blogging doesn’t have to be so straight jacketed and boring. Try new things and have fun while you are at it. Just make sure that you don’t use writer’s block as an excuse not to write. You know what we think about it already. 

Five Ways To Improve Your About Me Page

Many writers and bloggers are so focused on their blog that they forget the other equally important elements. “What’s more important than my blog itself?” You ask. The answer is your ‘About Me/ About’ page. Do you have one on your blog or website? We hope you do because there’s a lot you can achieve with this page. 

Your About Me page gives your readers more insight about you and what your blog is about. It is also a great way to publicize your social media profiles, and leave contact information especially for those who may want to collaborate or partner with you. If you have been neglecting your About Me page, you can use the suggestions below to work on it as soon as possible. 

Who Is Your Blog For?

For your About Me page to be great, you need to establish who your blog is for. If you are writing for women only, please state it. In our About Me page, we stated that this is a writing blog for writers. That already gives you an idea that our posts will be majorly about writing and books and it is easier to make a decision about whether this blog is for you or not. 

What Will Your Readers Gain?

You should tell your readers what they stand to gain from your blog in your About Me page. To do this, you need to know the major problems your blog solves. For example, your blog may provide quick and easy recipe options for professional women who are too busy to cook. 

Use the following questions as a guide for stating the value your blog offers;

  • Why did you create the blog?
  • What will your readers learn from you?
  • Why should your readers listen to you? What relevant experience do you have?
  • What should they follow/ subscribe to your blog?

Give Personal Details.

No, we don’t mean you should give out your address or your bank details. We are asking you to let your readers into your world. We love the way our Founder did it on her blog. She went personal without giving out too many private details making it easy for her target readers to connect with her. That’s the kind of thing you need to do. 

Talk About Your Blog.

Your About Me page gives you an opportunity to sell your blog or website to your potential readers. Give your readers a hint of what to expect from them. Consider your About Me page as the appetizer and your entire blog as the main meal. You see why you need to make it as interesting as possible. We love the way Kachi Tila-Adesina writes about herself and her website in her About page.

Include A Call To Action.

Make the most of your About Me page by including a call to action. This could be for your readers to follow you on social media or to sign up to your mailing list. You may also want to provide your email address so that your readers and potential clients can get in touch with you. 

We hope you will use these tips to improve your About Me page. See you next week! 

What to know before you create a social media page for your blog

Hello Sparkle Writers. Last time, we talked about the difference between getting traffic and building an online community. Since the post was such a hit we figured we would do a sequel on what you need to put in place before you think of building a community. Grab your notepad because there’s so much to learn!

It is a lot of work.

Make no mistake about it. Opening a Facebook page, WhatsApp group or any other social media platform for the sake of growing your online community is a lot of work. If you are not ready to commit to doing ALL it takes, it is better you don’t start. There are too many abandoned pages on social media. Yours should not be part of it.

Your followers won’t increase overnight.

Those popular bloggers with one million views on Youtube have put in several months and sometimes years of work to get to where they are. Do not expect that in three weeks you’d achieve what they have in three years. Your followers will grow, it will just not be overnight.

You need to be consistent.

If you want to post three times a week then do so. Whatever frequency you decide to go with, make sure you follow it diligently. Remember you are managing a page. You can’t afford to go silent on the group and allow members to do what they please.

Giveaways alone don’t cut it.

Don’t misquote us. Giveaways are good, not just good, they are great! But if that is your only strategy to increase your readers then you’ve failed before you even started. Your content is KING and that’s one sure way of gaining loyal followers giveaway or no giveaway. Many people will like your page, follow you on Instagram and share your post because they want to win.  What you post afterwards determines where they’d stay.

We hope this helped!

The difference between getting traffic and building a community

Hey Sparkle Writers! There is something we would love to share with you today and we know you’ll find it very useful. Before we go on, we’d like to ask a question; do you know that there is a difference between building an online community and getting blog traffic? Yes, there is and we will explain the difference. 

Traffic is the amount of views you get either on your blog or on a particular post. These views come from different sources – Google searches, Facebook, Instagram. Every day on your blog, you get will get a varying number of readers. This traffic your blog or a post on your blog gets cannot always be controlled by you. 

There are times people stumble on your blog as a result of a post or a link shared on social media, but they don’t stay or return. You can call them one time visitors. Sometimes, an unrelated search result may have brought them to your blog but they can easily go away after reading that post, especially if there’s nothing compelling enough to keep them coming.

A community, on the other hand, is very different. Your community consists of a group of people whom you have groomed through conscious and concerted efforts. You can build your community through several social media platforms; an email list, a Facebook page, Whatsapp group etc. The people in your community genuinely love you (or at least they love your blog), what you do and have chosen to hang out with you because of what you have to offer.

Remember that since it is a community, you have to interact with the people in your tribe. Don’t expect to get so many people in your email list one month after setting it up. Bloggers who have a large following in their tribe have built it consistently over a long period of time.

Growing a community is not easy but is very rewarding. Give the people in your tribe value. Respond to their comments. Get them involved in your blog one way or the other. This could be either through features, guest posts of even giveaways. 

If you ask us which is more important we’d say growing a community; just because it is long term and the benefits are immeasurable. 

Blogging advice from top bloggers you need to be aware of

We welcome you to our blogging series. We hope you have been able to implement some of the tips we’ve shared so far and you’re seeing a difference. Today, we’ve curated some useful advice from top bloggers which we know you will find useful and also learn from. 

The Edit Button is Your Friend. No one is perfect. You will make mistakes. That’s why the edit button is there. As you write from your heart, make sure you also edit your post. There’s no excuse for not checking your grammar and spelling even after you hit ‘publish’. 

Schedule in Advance. Set out a few hours on a specific day, sit down, write your blog posts for a week and schedule. It’s one of the ways to beat writer’s block down the line and it’s a great way of making sure that you always have content on your blog. 

Be Mindful of What Happens Behind the Scenes. The fact that you just published your post does not mean that is the end of the story. There are things you still have to do. Encourage your friends to read your post. Share links on social media and get your friends to share those links. Go back to the post a few times to check for any comments and respond. Don’t disappear as soon as you publish your post.

From the Beginning, Be Serious. Take your blog seriously right from the moment you decide to create it. Do everything excellently from the content you post to the type of images you use. Imagine you are already making millions of dollars from your post and treat it that way. If you really love your blog, you will do all you can to make sure it is the best. 

Avoid Comparisons. You are not the next blogger. Both of you may be writing about the same thing, the look and feel of your blogs may be the same but you are two different people. Never lose sight of that. Focus on your goal. Focus on the value that you want to add and what you want your readers to get out of your blog. Let that be your driving force. It will take you to the top. 

Develop Your Community. Remember we told you not to disappear the moment you publish your post? Well, it’s because blogging is about community. Use your blog to build a community of loyal followers. You can do that by providing them with valuable advice and tips. You can share your successes and things that have worked with your followers. Reach out to know the issues they are facing and provide solutions if you can or direct them to where they can get solutions to those problems. 

Enjoy the Journey. Success from blogging is not something that happens in a day. The journey can sometimes be slow and time-consuming but it is nonetheless rewarding. You need to be patient. Yes, you only have 10 views at the moment but stick with it. That number will increase with consistency and time. The monetization, the comments, the page views, the social media numbers – they will all come eventually if you keep at it and you are dedicated.

Give your blog the best and you will get the best out of it. 

 

10 things your blog needs to attract more readers

We know you love blogging. You get to pour your heart out and write about things you love. 

However, what the point of writing day in day out if no one is reading the awesome things you are writing. As you post consistently on your blog, you must also think about steps you can take to increase your blog’s traffic. 

We have 10 things you can do today if you want more people to be attracted to your blog. Take a look at the list and implement a few of them as soon as possible. Your blog will thank you. 

1. Have a clear brand. Yes, your blog is a brand and that brand must shine through with every post. Pay attention to brand elements such as colour, design of images, writing style, tone etc. 

2. Meet the needs of your ideal reader. Don’t forget your reader. Make sure they actually find your blog worth visiting and reading. 

3. Sort out the tech stuff. Your blog needs to be responsive and mobile friendly. It’s 2017. We don’t need to say more. 

4. Work on your homepage. A drab homepage will drive readers away. Spend a bit of time working on your homepage. Use eye-catching images and some fun words/ phrases on your home page. 

5. Easy to navigate. Your readers should not struggle to search for things on your blog. Life is already stressful. No one wants to come online to be more stressed. 

6. Access to previous posts. If your readers want to read your old posts, you should make it as easy as possible for them to find those posts. Have a neat archive for your posts that is visible. 

7. Don’t be all over the place. Your blog should be simple. Messy blogs are tedious to read. It’s like too much is going on at once. Keep it as simple as possible. 

8. The comment section. Make it easy for your readers to leave a comment. No one wants to climb a mountain just because they want to drop a comment on your blog. 

9. Add some variety. Your content shouldn’t be the same day in day out. Switch things up. Use video, memes, quotes and guest posts to make your blog more interesting.

10. Contact page. Wondering why this is there? What if someone wants to contact you to offer you a big opportunity or a really big platform wants to feature your content on their site, how will they contact you? Create a contact page on your blog and include your contact details. You might want to limit this to your email alone so you don’t begin to have stalkers. 

We hope you can begin to implement some of these tips as soon as possible. 

 

5 Storytelling Mistakes You Must Avoid as a Blogger

Blogging is fun. It requires you to share a story with your readers. This story could be about your experience, thoughts or events happening around you.

If you want your readers to keep flocking to your blog, you need to master the art of storytelling. Bloggers are story tellers. Didn’t you know that? Well, now you do and today we have some storytelling mistakes that you must avoid so that your readers can have the best experience when they visit your blog. 

Writing the stories you want to read. 

Yes, we know it’s your blog but if you keep writing only the stories you want to read, you will alienate your readers. You must be wondering, ‘Doesn’t this conflict with the advice to write from my heart and write the things I am passionate about?’ No it doesn’t.

While you are free to choose the theme you want to write on, you must write your story in a way that will be interesting to your audience. It’s not just about the story but how you tell it.

Forcing yourself to sound like a storyteller.

Authenticity is key when it comes to storytelling. When you tell yourself that you must sound like a storyteller, you can be assured that you are doing it wrong. Don’t force the story neither should you try to fake it. Authenticity goes a long way in telling stories effectively.

One tip we can give is for you to make your story as real as possible. You can use real people and real events to achieve this. 

Prolonging the story beyond what is necessary

Storytelling doesn’t mean you have to write an epistle. This is not a series or a book. It is a blog. Make your story short, sweet and simple. When a story drags on, it may get boring and you don’t want your readers to be bored right?

If you want to write a long story, consider breaking it into parts and let your readers anticipate the next installment. 

Starting in a boring way

The story may be great but if the opening sentences are boring, you may have wasted a good story. Your readers may not get to the end or read the interesting parts of the story.

Sometimes, the best place to start a story isn’t right at the beginning. Come up with creative ways to start your story. This is will make your readers eager to read more. 

Not having a main point of focus

What’s the point of writing a pointless story? You would have wasted both your time and energy. Let your story have a key message; something your readers will take away at the end. Even if the story is just to make your readers smile, write in a way that you will allow you to easily achieve this purpose. The last thing you want is for your reader to get to the end of your story and say, “What did I just read?” 

Always bear in mind that honing your storytelling skills comes with practice and the content you consume. Visit blogs where the owner tells beautiful stories. It will rub off on your own storytelling skills.