Sparkles & Shoes’ Half Birthday

Happy 1/2 Birthday to Sparkles and Shoes! I cannot believe that I have been blogging for six months now, time has really flown by and it has been quite an adventure! If you would have told me on August 2nd that in six months I would have published 155 posts that 4,656 people commented on and over 36,000 page views I would have told you were dreaming.  If you told me that I had 824 GFC followers and  more than 1,500 through other platforms (BlogLovin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterst) I would have bet you money you were wrong – good thing I did not! 
After six months I am by no means a blogging heavy weight like these ladies but I do believe I am qualified to share some of the things I have learned in my six months of blogging.  There are many things that I wish I had known when starting my blog and know I use as a guide when writing and interacting in the blogging world.  In honor of my six months of blogging here are my top six blogger tips: 
(1) BE YOURSELF
My roommate, mother, and best friend from college regularly cringe at the spelling and grammatical errors on my blog but you know what, that makes me real.  I write the same way as I speak and drastically overuse exclamation points.  One of the blogs that I read daily has an amazing author but she overuses the word “scrumptious” but I love it and treat it as a unique quirk.  On that note, do not try and imitate someone else’s blog just to get followers.  If daily outfits are your thing, that is great, but my favorite blogs tend to be about real life.  If you can make me laugh out loud, I will most likely add your blog to my daily reading list.   (Case and point:  Amy’s “Misfortune” on Not Your Average Baby Blog).   Write about what you are passionate about, what moves you, and chances are even if it does not float my boat, you will find your niche somewhere in cyber space, “My goal with my over shares, personal anecdotes  lengthy descriptions and reviews is to get the response of, ‘It just feels like I know you.’  That is my goal with each and every post!””

(2)  COMMENTING:  
BLOG LINK &  NO-REPLY BLOGGER 
When you comment on others blogs put a live link of your blog at the bottom for them to visit you back. No one wants to highlight the url and then post it in the little box at the top and click enter. Way too time consuming and I always get the feeling that the blog will not be worth checking out.  In order to avoid having this happen I post the same thing at the end of every comment:  (The url for your blog should be the part in blue and the name of your blog should be the part in green): 
<a href=”<http//www.sparklesandshoes.com/>”>Sparkles and Shoes</a> .  

I take time to read other people’s blogs and when people read mine it makes me really happy, especially when they leave comments, except for when I get emails like the one below. I want to thank Elma for her sweet comment or at least go check out her blog but I can not because she is a no reply blogger.  There is no way for me to find out if Elma is just an admirer or a fellow blogger.

I get at least ten of these a day and they make me sad. To change this it is SUPER easy.  Go to your profile (top right corner of Blogger) > Blogger Profile > Edit Profile (top right corner, orange button) > Check the box show my email address which I highlighted in red.  If you have any questions on this let me know and I would be happy to walk you through it or explain in more detail!


(3) LIMIT THE ANIMATION 
Please do not change my cursor into a peace sign or a thumbs up, this is not AOL nor 2005.  Please do not have a background of shooting stars or falling hot pink hearts.  I, and most likely many others, will not take you seriously and will spend far less time on your blog than you probably would like.  On the flip side, though, two meme’s can be hysterical and I always love links to Youtube videos!  Oh, and lastly, please do not start playing music when I arrive at your page.  Most likely I will already be listening to music or watching TV (hello multitasking) and do not want to be inundated with your favorite tune of the moment even if I do like it too.  Instead, making a playlist and share it with your readers – they are bound to much prefer this.
(4) REMOVE THE DREADFUL WORD VERIFICATION
These things are absolutely dreadful. (If you know me, I also overuse the word dreadful but it works so well in so many different contexts!) I might even go so far as to say they are the bain of my blogging existence. How many bloggers actually get robot or spammer comments?  I, for one, removed my word verification a month after starting Sparkles & Shoes because I was so sick of filling out other people’s in order to comment. So far in the past six months I have had almost five thousand published comments and NO problems with spam.  This word verification things also makes commenting on a mobile device very difficult.  Do you your fellow bloggers a favor and remove this.  K, thanks. 
(5) SOCIAL MEDIA
Be available to your readers – chances of are you will never meet any of the people who read your blog but you can make an emotional connection by responding to your readers, even if you simply say, “thank you for reading”. I also interact with people through social media, even if it is a tweet about shopping in Soho or a photo of the snow in Times Square I use these outlets as an extension of my blog so people can see my “real” life.  However, it is possible to overuse social media, especially Twitter.  Dear Bloggers, please STOP replying to every tweet with another tweet – you clog everyone’s feed and tweeting 20+ times in an hour is probably the largest cause of people unfollowing you!

(6) INTERACTING WITH READERS & SPAM EMAILS
Be available to your readers – chances of are you will never meet any of the people who read your blog but you can make an emotional connection by responding to your readers, even if you simply say, “thank you for reading”.  On that note, when people want to contact you I HIGHLY suggest making a separate email for your blog, even if you think it may only get one or two emails a day.  My blog email, kelly@sparklesandshoes.com is widely available across the internet which allows me to be contacted by some really unique individuals and by corporations with amazing opportunities.  Granted, by doing this you are undoubtedly going to get spam.  It is just going to happen.  So far I have won quite a few giveaways and been interviewed twice.   Then again, I can not count how many emails I have received that start with  “dear madam/sir, I have a business proposal” offering for me to invest in a piece of land in South America or offering me money if I set up a bank account for someone in Africa.  Some of the best, though, I have saved in my “SPAM” folder just for this post

This post is not to say I am perfect, goodness, how boring would THAT be.  But these are tips I really try to adhere to and I hope you have found them useful.  What’s your biggest blogger tip?


PS. If you think you are a no-reply blogger and want to find out leave a comment with your email address and I will let you know!

Comments

  1. says

    Hey lady! This post was great! I would like to know if you can tell me some Do’s and Don’t of Twitter! I’m a NEW twitter-er….and I feel like I don’t really know the etiquette!

    Can you throw me some tips/advice!

    Thanks!!
    Ginny:)

  2. says

    Hi!
    I was looking for ideas for my baby’s 6 month birthday and came across this post about your blog’s 1/2 birthday. How sweet :) As a newbie blogger, I love finding tips like these, hopefully 6 months, or even a year from now I will see success like yours, Thanks!

    <3 Alyca

    A Table for Five

  3. says

    I am so glad I found your blog (referred here by Penniless Socialite). I don’t think I’m a no-reply, but I went and changed my profile to Google+ and I can’t figure a thing out. Could you please check? Thank you! I’ve really enjoyed reading of your travels… I’m going to be another happy follower!

    Warmly,
    Sara

    http://www.studio-sara.com/

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  5. says

    These are great tips! I’ve been blogging for a few months and I recently changed my blog name and URL and am having a hard time getting page views. All of my followers followed my old blog name so I don’t think they see my new blog in their reading list. I’m hoping this will change soon, but if you have any tips for that I’d appreciate it! Thanks :)

    Inspirations by Kayla Rae

  6. says

    Happy half year anniversary!!!! You have come so far in just 6 months & I can totally see why! These are fabulous tips. I especially like the don’t respond to every single tweet…its just too much! Great tips love!!! Xoxoxo

  7. says

    Oh thank goodness! I have been wanting to write one of these for so long but this covers even more than I would have! It drives me mad when people leave their link and it’s not clickable- I’ve actually sent people personal emails with instructions on how to make their link clickable bc it drives me so crazy!! *Same with word verification- so annoying!

    Btw, I think it’s adorable the you start by saying you write how you talk and you have errors (I do too) and the next sentence has proof of this “One of my blog that I read daily” hehe.. ah, it makes us human!

    With Love From Hollywood,
    Kier
    Fashion Addict LA
    Recent Post: Trapper Hat
    Video Tutorial: How to do a sock bun

  8. says

    What a fabulous post and agree with that annoying captcha code, though I’ve had to keep mine active for posts older than 7 days, lately I’ve been getting wayyyy to much spam on older posts LOL and thanks for reminding me to check my spam folder! Ahhh i keep forgetting to do that, gmail makes it awfully hard to do so sometimes LOL.

    Anyhoo happy 6 months and here’s to another awesome and successful 6 more!
    SDMxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

  9. says

    Great post. “Be yourself” might sound like a cliche but it is surprisingly over-looked. Sometimes I wonder what some bloggers are like when they aren’t posing in front of sunsets or whatever.

  10. says

    Hi Kelly! I have to say a HUGE thank you for these tips. I’ve done each one step by step so hopefully I’ve made good improvements. Congratulations on having been so successful in 6 short months!

    Love from South Africa

    Arum Lilea .

  11. says

    Happy 1/2 Birthday Shoes and Sparkles!!!!
    Great Tips!! Totally love your blog and I’m sure the reason it’s so popular is because we can see your real what you write is what you think and it comes across – so glad I found you! Keep up the great work xxx

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