02 June 2011

Your Top Blogging Questions Answered

This is a guest post by Christina Lucas of The Blog Entourage

I hear a lot of blogging questions in all of the blogging communities, and I get a lot of emails from bloggers with all kinds of questions. Here are my answers to the questions I hear most often and the questions that I think are very important.
Photo: Kristina B

Q: How do people get hundreds of followers in a short amount of time?
A: The absolute fastest way from what I've seen is by doing a giveaway. One of the required entries is usually to follow the blogger who is hosting the giveaway. Of course this only works if you give away something great and promote the giveaway. That could be another blog post all in itself. I'll sum it up by saying google "giveaway linky lists", "online giveaway communities", and "giveaway directories".

In blogging communities like Bloggy Moms, there are actually "Follow Me, I'll Follow You" groups and threads. I'll admit, I've done it. You don't want to waste a lot of time doing this, but doing it a few times to boost your numbers and get out of your usual blog circle can attract new readers. Just try to focus on blogs that are similar to yours in content. Those bloggers are most likely to be interested in your blog.

Q: Does Facebook really help your blog?
A: YES! Even just sharing links to your posts on your personal FB page can increase traffic considerably (if you know how to grab attention with headlines and photos.) And setting up a Facebook fanpage for your blog is easy and can be very effective if you do things like getting people involved with questions/polls, allowing other people to post on your wall to promote themselves, and sharing links that are either entertaining or helpful. Post silly pics of yourself and update your status just how you do on your personal page. I've found that keeping things personal rather than trying to keep things professional is a much better way to get people excited about your fanpage.  

Q: What is the best way to reply to comments on your blog (email? commenting on the thread? commenting on the other person's blog?)
A: It depends. I think you should always make an effort to comment back directly on the comments thread. It gives the blog more of a community feel, which encourages people to leave more comments. I also think it's important to try and visit their blogs and reciprocate the comment love.

If they ask a very important question and you really want to make sure they get your reply, that is when I think it's best to just email them. But most of all I recommend commenting back on your own blog in the comments thread. Like I said, it encourages community interaction and it also bumps up your number of comments on a post, which further encourages people to leave comments.

The most important thing is to try and reply in any way and whenever you can. Some people might stop coming by your blog if they constantly leave comments and you never acknowledge them... hmmm, that could be a relationship tip too!

Q: How do you manage your networking time?
A: Just like everything else. I schedule it. It's so easy to get carried away online. Networking is a never ending task, so you really have to plan what you're doing or you could end up wasting hours doing nothing. I usually start with a list when I sit down at my desk. It usually reads something like:
  • post blog on The Blog Entourage 
  • update status on all FB pages 
  • share post link in all blogging communities 
  • read and comment on other blogs 
  • share links on blogging groups on etsy 
  • return emails about guest blogging...
You get the idea. Doing it like that really helps me knock everything out quickly. And with networking, I think it's vital to spread one net very sparse and wide and one net very small and tight-knit. You want a lot of feelers out there on the big bad web, but you also need a smaller, more effective circle. Another way to save time is to sink up your sharing sites, like FB and twitter and networked blogs, so that things automatically update.

Q: Where should I place my networking links and my tabs on my blog?
A: Wherever you want! Just make sure they are organized and easy to find. Google advertising has found that the top middle of a web page gets the most attention from readers, so I prefer to keep my content tabs there. And it's become quite common for bloggers to put all of their networking links in either sidebar, so naturally that is where most bloggers are going to expect yours to be whenever they go looking for them.

Q: Should I blog? Can it help my writing/business?
A: YES and YES! Blogging is just one of the main ways you can and should be networking and marketing yourself online... Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Communities, Directories, and sites like Hubpages; I know it can be overwhelming, but it is necessary. Just make your daily list and follow my rule of one wide net and one small net, and you can do it!

Q: How should I go about guest blogging?
A: I get a lot of bloggers who are so nervous on how to approach me about guest blogging, but really there is no standard blogging way on how to do it. It really just depends on the blogger and how they want you to submit. People who regularly feature other bloggers usually have guidelines. If so, use them! If you're still not sure, just email them and ask them!

The very best advice I can give on guest blogging, whether you are featuring someone on your blog or vice versa is BE SPECIFIC. Pick a specific topic and pick a specific blogger and pitch away. And the absolute easiest way to go about having someone write a guest post for you is to have them type it in Blogger; pictures, links, text formatting and all. Then they can select and copy the whole thing in the "edit html" tab and email it to you. Then all you have to do is copy and paste it into your "edit html" tab in a new post, and viola! All the links, pictures, etc paste exactly how they typed it up.

Christina Lucas of The Blog Entourage has a major passion for chocolate and desserts, and especially for gift giving.

In her etsy store you will find her fresh handmade chocolate treats. Visit her blog for more blogging tips and become a part of her growing community.

Want to know more? Read all articles in the How to Blog Like a Pro series.


  1. Very helpful tips! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. This is awesome!! Good questions and answers :)


  3. What a great article! I love blogging and am always looking for more ways to promote it. Some great tips! I never thought to add my blob post links to facebook. Will now!

  4. Lot of good information! Thanks!

  5. very interesting! so that's how guest posts are best sent! now I know! ;)

  6. sounds like sound advice. I've never seen guest blogging before, when the guest writes the whole post out! I used to interview, and that got quite difficult, after several months! {:-D

  7. wow, love the advice!


  8. great idea about guest blogging. i totally want to try that!

  9. Great information. Thanks for posting.

  10. Yes, I agree with Christina, guest blogging is, by far the most honest way for bloggers to widen their scope and put themselves out there, resulting in hopefully more followers!

  11. These are really great tips! I love the schedule for networking... Networking is so important but you have to be cautious about spending too much time on it. Thanks for sharing these!


  12. Thank you for the advice! As a new blogger I really appreciate the help.

  13. Thanks so much, everyone!:) Glad it was helpful.

  14. Great Post, thanks so much for sharing : )
    emma x

  15. That was a great article. I also plan my computer time. One chunk in morning, another in the evening, and find this really helps. I don't get lost, but stay focused on what my goal is. I also agree with the comment response. If I read and comment on a blog with every new post and never receive any kind of response, I admit I move on. I love the give and take of blogging, especially when you find one that speaks to you, like this one. :)

  16. Reeeally helpful. Just left one question out I reeeeally want to know: How do you get people to contribute with articles to your blog?

    Thanks for this!

  17. Monica, you can go to an online blogging or writing community like bloggy moms or shewrites and search for discussions about guest blogging. Though I've found the best way is to find a blogger that is at about the same level as you in followers and contact them personally and just ask them. They can do a guest post for you or you can both guest post for eachother.

  18. ...oh, and Monica, if it's a blogger that isn't sure how much they'd benefit from posting on your blog, you can always say that you don't mind using previously published posts from their blog.

  19. Christina, I answer every comment on my email as it alerts me of the comment, but I know most of them don't go through because people don't set their email-blogger thingie. Just wondering if there is anything I can do about it. I think I'm wasting a lot of time writing to people who never see my comments.

  20. Hey Eve! Well, if it's a reply you absolutely want to make sure they see, I'd comment back on their blog. But if you're just trying to make sure you comment back in general, I'd do it on your own blog in the comments thread they comment in. Like I said above, it gives more of a community feel and encourages other people to comment more. And also I think it helps to weed out the people who are just commenting to try and promote their own blogs. If they are truly fans, they will keep coming back to read your material as long as they can tell that you acknowledge and appreciate their comments as much as you have time for.

  21. Thank you Christina!I wish my email comments could somehow be received too. Too bad. I think in Word-press they are.

  22. The Desert Rocks, I am with Christina on this one, commenting on your own blog not only gives community feel but by setting the example you encourage your readers to comment even more and with time they learn to check back for a reply. For example, when I am interested in a reply i always click on Subscribe by email to comments, to make sure I don't miss a thing. I try to remember the blog layouts which don't allow that and check back from my Google Reader.

  23. cool post! but I would have one more question: what if you use blogger but want to guest post on wordpress blog? can you also send your html text? if anyone knows. :)

  24. Maša, since this is Christina's advice, I hope she will drop by and reply here as well. My opinion is that it depends on the html tags of the hosting blog.

    At any rate, I would recommend sending plain text in email or share in Google Docs - nice and easy.

    Very often the hosting bloggers have their own design ideas, so they will change the way your post looks anyway, to comply with their look :)

  25. thanks so much for the reply! :)