Post three photos of just yourself and write a short caption beneath each about why you chose that photo.
Nominate seven women for the Fix Her Crown Award, women who lend a helping hand to the woman whose crown seems too heavy, who appreciate the sister who dares to be her own glorious self, who raise strong young women, who smile at the sister journeying alone and walk alongside her for a time, who stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head time after time and women who shine as their own beautifully unique selves.
Link to the blogs of the seven nominees.
Here are three photos of me:
That’s enough about me. Here are the women, in random order, I nominate for the Fix Her Crown Award:
My head is exploding! Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t want to go back to the life my fore-mothers lived.
They cooked over an open fire, and they had no matches. They beat their clothes clean on a rock in a creek after making their own soap. They got their news when it was weeks or months old — or not at all.
Most of them back through the centuries couldn’t read or write. They had almost none of the things I take for granted; however, they weren’t bothered with social media. For that, many days, I envy them.
the days before social media. My great-nieces are in high school and college.
They do not.
I’ve whined about social media before, and I’ll probably whine about it again if I continue to write a blog. The latest thing that got my ire up about social media is something called Subreddits.
Subreddits themselves did not get my ire up, since I didn’t know what they
were. What grabbed my attention and, for a while at least, served as the
proverbial last straw for me, was they (i.e., Subreddits) were just one more
thing about which I had been blissfully ignorant. One more word I didn’t know.
One more thing that meant the world was whizzing past me.
My #TBDWIROOSMTTL List
I’ve had a vague idea about Reddit for a year or so. It was something on my ever-growing to-be-done-when-I-run-out-of-social-media-things-to-learn list. That’s my “TBDWIROOSMTTL” List.
Back to Reddits
I’m not picking on Reddit. I actually have no opinion about Reddit. I’ve never tried it. I have enough trouble keeping up with several social media outlets without adding one more to the mix. I just never gave much thought to Reddit.
day in October while I was on vacation, I explored some of the never-used
features on my iPhone. I discovered that, if I had a clue how to work the
thing, I could create a Subreddit. It was a new word for me. I didn’t have a
clue what a Subreddit was or why or if I needed to create one.
Curiosity got the best of me. With a blog post title like, “These 26 Subreddits will Make You Know More,” by Janice Wald, how could I resist? I had to find out how Subreddits could “make” me know more. I’m sort of from the camp of people who say, “You can’t make me!” so that alone in the title intrigued me.
Right off the bat, the blog post said that I needed to use
Subreddits if I expected to have any success online, but I still didn’t know
what a Subreddit was. I read on.
Soon, more new words were being thrown at me. “Redditors”
(Reddit users) to name one. I learned that there are more than 138,000
Subreddits. Boy, did I feel stupid!
Ms. Wald’s blog post listed four reasons why I should use
1. Reference information for blog posts.
2. Learn about your content area.
4. Blog promotion.
That list was very convincing. As a blogger and an
aspiring novelist, I need all four of those things. I read on.
Ms. Wald went on to list the 26 favorite Subreddits of the 26 Redditors she surveyed. The list ran the gambit from r/houseplants to r/Howard Stern, but somewhere in the middle I found a possible home for myself.
In the coming days I might explore Reddit and check out Subreddits like r/askhistorians and r/blogging. When I read that the r/blogging Subreddit already had more than 40,000 members, though, it made me realize how I will forever play catch-up when it comes to social media.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.
Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes
doing something else, but you chose to read my blog.
Let’s continue the
Whining about social media doesn’t make it better. Whining
about it doesn’t make it go away. Perhaps my whining about it today brought a
smile to your face.
How do you cope with the ever-expanding world of social
media? How do you keep up? How do you try to keep up? Do you try to keep up?
Should I just stop while I’m behind? Do you have a “TBDWIROOSMTTL” list?
I’ve blogged before about my love/hate relationship with social media. Most of the forms of social media take me out of my comfort zone. Actually, that is an understatement.
I enjoy blogging and interacting with people who read
my posts. I follow a lot of blogs and have benefited from them. I learn from
them, I’m inspired by them, and I’m entertained by them.
Facebook comes in a distant second place. I really
don’t need to see a picture of what you ate for breakfast. The most redeeming
qualities of Facebook are that it gives me an easy way to stay in touch with
friends in Europe and family around the United States, and it gives me a way to
know the political leanings of some of my Facebook friends so I’ll know what I
can or cannot say to them in order to keep them as friends.
The down side is that I’ve learned things I wish I
hadn’t about some of my friends. Suffice it to say, if the topic of politics is
going to come up at my next high school reunion or family gathering, I don’t
want to be there.
I like Pinterest, but I haven’t put enough time into
it to make it a productive platform for my writing. I spend more time on
Pinterest than I should, but not necessarily to promote my writing. I pin many
articles to my “The Writing Life” board, but I use it more for the hobbies I
I’m sure this sounds blasphemous to the young adults
who might read this post, but I’m not much of a cell phone person. I could
really do without it. I refuse to be ruled by a phone. I don’t want to be tied
to a phone. I don’t want a phone to monopolize my time, energy, or attention. I
want a phone available for emergencies – and I mean the old-timey understanding
of what an emergency is.
I set up an account a couple of years ago and never
took the next step. Again, it’s related to my cell phone and its built-in
camera. I’m sure it’s convenient for many people. I just don’t get it.
the Social Media I’ve not heard of
I guess that’s self-explanatory.
Since my last blog post
I’ve had a net gain of 4,550 words to my The Doubloon manuscript,
bringing my current word count to 55,400. I get to start on Chapter 14 today. I
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. Nothing grabbed my attention last week.
I had to return The Irishman’s Daughter, by V.S. Alexander to the
public library without finishing it. I’m on the waitlist for it again so I can
finish reading it on my Kindle. Part of the problem is how tired my eyes get
reading regular size print. On my Kindle I can adjust the font size. This
historical novel is set in Ireland during the potato famine.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
Look for my #TwoForTuesday blog post tomorrow: “Two Books that Encourage Change.” Thank you for providing the writing prompt, Rae, in “Rae’s Reads and Reviews” blog. Here’s a link to her April 1, 2019 blog post in which she listed all the #TwoForTuesday prompts for the month of April: https://educatednegra.blog/2019/04/. Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog.
In my blog on Monday, April 29, 2019 I’ll explain what triggered today’s rant.
Let’s continue the conversation
What’s your favorite of all the social media? What’s your least favorite?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
I love to make plans. Ask me to plan a trip, and I’ll get into the minutiae of where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing every minute of the day.
My sister is my traveling buddy, and sometimes my attention to detail drives her crazy! On the other hand, she doesn’t enjoy planning trips so she doesn’t complain too much.
In my Reading Like a Writer blog post (“Reading Like a Writer”) on April 9, 2018, I told you that I had developed a social media plan. Making the plan was easy. The hard part came when I entered the implementation phase. Today’s blog post is about the Pinterest aspect of my plan.
That was a revelation for me. No more willy-nilly saving pins to my Recipes: Cheesecake Board! Since reading Amy Lynn Andrews’ Userletter, I’ve made myself save five pins to my writing-related Pinterest boards every day before pinning any recipes, quilts, or Maxine-isms.
Old habits are hard to break, so there is definitely a learning curve involved in this.
“When I started deleting my boards, Pinterest’s algorithms better learned the content of my niche, and my traffic grew.”
“I deleted my boards about food and entertainment, for example. Pinterest will be more likely to show your pins to people if the algorithms know what your site is about.”
“I read you’ll get better visibility at Pinterest if it’s clear to the site what your niche is. This makes sense. Search engines show your blog to people when they’re clear what you specialize in.”
That second quote from Janice Wald is a hard pill for me to swallow. I don’t want to give up my recipe and quilting boards. I could make them secret board that only I can see, but I had hoped that when someone looked at one of those boards they’d also notice I wrote a vintage postcard book (The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina) and I’m writing a historical novel (The Spanish Coin) set in the Carolinas in the 1760s.
I’ll have to give that some thought. For the time being, I have 80 boards on Pinterest.
What I’ve Accomplished on Pinterest since Last Monday
I’ve learned how to create my own pins for Pinterest on Canva.com. Those of you who know me, know that I am technologically challenged, so this was no minor feat for me. I am not getting compensated for mentioning Canva; however, I’ve been able to create some pretty cool graphics for free using that website, http://www.canva.com.
How to move graphics from Canva.com to Pinterest
I soon discovered that I didn’t know how to move the graphics I created on Canva.com and saved to my hard drive. A search on Google quickly brought up the instructions. You simply go to the Pinterest toolbar, click on the red “+” sign, and then click on “Upload an image.” (This just might be the first time I’ve been able to give any technology advice to anyone!)
Want to see what I’ve done on Pinterest?
Please go to my Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/janet5049) and look at the graphics I created this past week for the following boards: The Spanish Coin – My Novel in Progress; Blue Ridge Mountains; Great Smoky Mountains; Books & Authors; and Rocky River Presbyterian Church.
Here’s a graphic I created about my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, for my Great Smoky Mountains board on Pinterest:
There are lots of things to keep in mind when making a graphic for social media. Looking at the one shown above, I realize using a color background would have made it more eye-catchy, although I think it shows up better on Pinterest than on my blog.
Also, at the bottom of the graphic, I should have included my blog’s URL, my website’s URL, and my handle on Twitter. I have edited it in light of that, in case I decide to reuse it at a later date.
My social media plan for Pinterest
Mondays: Pin link to my weekly blog post to Janet’s Writing Blog board (set up to post automatically by WordPress.com) and a colonial history factoid or A Spanish Coin teaser to The Spanish Coin – My Novel in Progress;
Tuesdays: Pin a factoid from my vintage postcard book to my Great Smoky Mountains;
Wednesdays: Pin a Rocky River Presbyterian Church history factoid from one of my church history booklets to my Rocky River Presbyterian Church;
Thursdays: Pin a factoid from my vintage postcard book to my Blue Ridge Mountains;
Fridays: Pin a Rocky River Presbyterian Church women’s history factoid to my Rocky River Presbyterian Church & Cabarrus-Mecklenburg boards; OR Pin a Rocky River Presbyterian Church history factoid to my Rocky River Presbyterian Church & Cabarrus-Mecklenburg boards with a link to the church’s website where a copy of Dr. Thomas Hugh Spence, Jr.’s book, The Presbyterian Congregation on Rocky River, can be ordered.
Saturdays: Create factoids/infographics for the following week(s).
This is a grand plan for someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so I know I will not accomplish this every week. I fell short last week even though I was enthusiastic about starting this new plan. I might miss some weeks altogether. The schedule gives me something to aim for, though.
80/20 Rule of Social Media Marketing
I have read in various sources that 80% of your posts on social media should inform, educate, or entertain and only 20% should promote your business. That rule prompted me to strive to shine a light on a book about the history of Presbyterian Women at Rocky River Presbyterian Church or Dr. Spence’s church history book on Pinterest on Fridays.
I wrote neither of the books, and the proceeds from their sales benefit the ongoing work of the Presbyterian Women at Rocky River and the church’s cemetery fund. (The church dates back to 1751 and has several very old cemeteries that have to be maintained.)
My social media plan for Pinterest looks a little out of whack in light of the 80/20 Rule; however, I hope all the pins I create will fall into the “inform, educate, or entertain” categories.
Since my last blog post
In addition to learning how to create my own Pinterest pins and pinning my creations last week, I have continued to work on the rewrite of my historical novel, The Spanish Coin.
Until my next blog
I hope you have a good book to read.
If you’re an avid reader who has never considered the possibilities of using Pinterest, you might want to check it out. You just might find that your favorite authors have pages there and boards about their books. After looking for your favorite authors on Pinterest, please let me know if this was an enjoyable experience for you and specifically what you liked about it.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time. Please let me know what your experience has been on Pinterest. If you haven’t thought about using it as part of your writer’s platform, perhaps you’ll consider it after reading this blog post.
Don’t be shy about spreading the word about my blog. Feel free to use the buttons below to put today’s post on Facebook, Tweet about it, reblog it on your blog, or Pin it on Pinterest. Thank you!
Today’s blog post is a little longer than usual. If you have no interest in artificial intelligence, please scroll down to the sub-heading “Since my last blog post” to find out what I’ve been doing and to find several links to websites and video clips you might enjoy.
Social Media and me
If you don’t count blogging as social media, I haven’t blogged about social media since June 9, 2017 (6 Things Learned about Google+) and I must say that I haven’t missed it at all. I just don’t “get” some of it.
I received an email from LinkedIn on Friday. It explained major changes in their newsfeed algorithm. Granted, they lost me at the word “algorithm” because I pretty much glaze over at any reference to math, but I kept reading. It didn’t take me long to learn that if I don’t mix up my posts on LinkedIn with video, images, and text, I’ll just be whistling in the wind. Sounds like I need to just close my account since I don’t do videos.
Even though I’m no authority on the topic of social media, occasionally I try to point you toward people who can help you better understand and utilize it. There is a blog about blogging by Janice Wald that I follow. I read her blog several times every week and have found it to be informative. Always. Her February 25, 2018 blog post, “RankBrain: This is Why You’re Doing SEO Absolutely Wrong” (https://www.mostlyblogging.com/how-does-rankbrain-work/) is a prime example of how helpful Ms. Wald’s blog posts are.
I had never heard of Google’s evolving algorithm called RankBrain. The name reminded me of humorist and inspirational speaker Jeanne Robertson’s nickname for her husband, Jerry. She affectionately calls him “Left Brain” in many of her routines. (More on that later.)
Ms. Wald’s blog post explains Google’s RankBrain as follows:
“It’s an artificial intelligence that tries to understand exactly what the Google user wants to find by analyzing important factors.” – Janice Wald
The changes RankBrain brings include a lessening of the importance of using long-tail keywords. I must admit that my brain glazed over when I read in Ms. Wald’s blog post, “Use only one (medium tail) keyword and then add LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords),” but I kept reading and so should you if you’re trying to be found on Google.
Since Janice Wald is much more computer savvy than I am, I refer you to her blog post if this is something you want to understand as things constantly change. Of course, now I’m more nervous than ever about choosing titles for my blog posts and making my posts interesting enough that people will not only find them on Google but will also click on them and read them before bouncing around to other search results.
The other side of the Artificial Intelligence coin
I’ve gotten some great tips from Janice Wald’s blog over the years, but the post by guest blogger, Nidhriti Bhowmik, on her August 12, 2017 blog (http://www.mostlyblogging.com/chatbot/) keeps ringing in my ears. Her February 25, 2018 blog referenced above brought guest blogger Nidhriti Bhowmik’s post to mind.
Mr. Bhowmik’s post prompted me to draft a blog post about my reaction last August, but I hesitated to post it because of its negative tone. I reread it a few days ago. Since it still struck a nerve in me, I decided to edit the post I’d drafted and include some it in today’s post.
I don’t doubt that Mr. Bhowmik is gifted when it comes to computers. It goes without saying that he knows much more about computers than I do. I just don’t think what he proposed in his August 12, 2017 blog post is the way I want to communicate with people. Maybe this works in other businesses, but I’m trying to establish myself as a writer.
A can of worms
Using artificial intelligence to discern what search engine users are looking for makes sense to me, but using it to communicate instead of speaking for myself is a whole different can of worms. I suppose it’s similar to the old-fashioned form letter, yet it’s different. A person actually wrote those form letters, but computer-generated tweets and other forms of communication just aren’t my style.
Mr. Bhowmik’s guest blog post was about a new “hack” designed to make my life simpler. As a middle-aged woman just trying to learn the art and craft of writing so I can write a novel, I could use some things that would simplify my life, but I guess I’m too old-fashioned to latch onto the one explained in Mr. Bhowmik’s post.
Mr. Bhowmik’s topic was something called chatbots. He is an “AI Evangelist.” Artificial Intelligence Evangelist.
I’d never heard of chatbots, but that’s not surprising to me or anyone who knows me. I read the post and it just made me sad. In a nutshell, it seems that a blogger can sign up to have a computer generate all their tweets, Instagram whatevers, etc. 24/7.
The clincher for me was the following sentence:
“To put it simply, a chatbot is an amazing piece of computer software designed to simulate conversations with a human user, usually via text.” ~ Nidhriti Bhowmik
Keywords there are “simulate conversations with a human user.”
I’ve already gotten caught in the web of something like that. I tried a free trial of a product I won’t name. Since it was free, I couldn’t seem to get rid of it for months. It sent messages to people who followed me on Twitter to thank them for following me AND encouraged them to sign up for the product I won’t name. I prefer to personally thank the people who follow me on Twitter. Let’s face it, there aren’t that many of them.
And this sentence from Mr. Bhowmik’s blog post:
“They bring everything about you in one place, package our content in an appealing format and interact with the world as you, 24/7 on all channels.” ~ Nidhriti Bhowmik
I don’t want a computer program interacting with the world as me around the clock.
Last, but not least:
“And the best part? Chatbots can start smooth flowing conversations, ask your readers what they are looking for and respond with high-value content relevant to their pain points.” ~ Nidhriti Bhowmik
It is possible that a computer program can generate higher-value content than I, but that’s just not the way I want to communicate. I don’t want you to feel valued because a computer program simulates conversation with you. I want you to feel valued because you are valued. And if you have “pain points,” I’m probably not the person you need to be dealing with anyway.
Have we completely lost our ability to talk to each other?
I enjoyed watching “The Jetsons” on TV when I was a child in the 1960s. The technology they used was science fiction then and it was fun to imagine living in such a universe. But you know what? Even the Jetsons talked to each other.
Since my last blog post
Sonni signed up to receive my sometime-in-the-future newsletters. Sonni has been generous with what she’s learned from experience since my early days as a blogger. Thank you, Sonni, for your continued support of my writing journey. In addition to daily advocating for reforms to the prison system in the USA, Sonni is a gifted writer, pianist, and composer. You can find her blog at http://mynameisjamie.net. Her improvisational music on the piano is amazing to someone (me) who took piano lessons and still can’t play well. You can find Sonni Quick’s music on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv6dycDAXCytFYvf–Njxrw.
I’ve finished reading several novels since last Monday’s blog post. I enjoy reading fiction and seeing how published authors write. When I’m reading, it’s not just for fun. I’m looking at writing style, voice, point-of-view, plot, sub-plots, and always watching for a clever turn of a phrase.
That said, I admit I’ve spent more time reading than writing since my blog post last Monday. I continue to work on my character profiles. With the theme of my historical novel manuscript, The Spanish Coin, established, I’ve changed the first scene in the book. That shifts everything I’d already written in the outline. This is all part of the process, and I love it. I wrote 1,200 words one evening as I brainstormed my new hook. After using the same hook for The Spanish Coin for more years than I want to admit, it’s refreshing to start the story with a different incident.
I hit a milestone last week on my blog. I now have 1,401 followers, which I can’t quite get my mind around.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read that wasn’t written by a computer. I’m reading The Atomic City Girls, by Janet Beard.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time using your own intelligence instead of the artificial kind.
Please take a minute to fill out the form below if you haven’t already, if you would like to be on my mailing list for my sometime-in-the-future newsletters. By the way, that is completely separate from signing up to follow my blog. Please do both, if you haven’t already. Thank you!
Getting back to Jeanne Robertson, if you don’t know who she is, please scroll up to the second paragraph under the “Googles’s RankBrain” subheading. If you haven’t been exposed to her North Carolina humor, you need to do yourself a favor and watch some of her video clips on YouTube, such as this one, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFRUSTiFUs. You’re in for a treat!
Thank you for spending a few minutes with me today.
Since writing Friday’s blog post (Getting Blog Traffic in 2017,) I’ve decided to change my routine and just blog on Mondays. When I read that blogging once-a-week was ideal for someone trying to establish their brand, I thought, “That’s not for me. I like blogging twice-a-week.” I couldn’t get the theory out of my head. By late Friday night I had decided to start blogging just once-a-week.
I’ve chosen Mondays. I wanted to choose Tuesdays, but for those of us who manage the WordPress.com blogs we read by getting them in a weekly format, they arrive on Monday. If I wait until Tuesday to blog, some readers won’t receive my post until the following Monday. That’s not good. I’ll try early Mondays (right after midnight on Sundays) for a while and see how that works. The great thing about a blog is that the blogger makes up her own rules. My kind of activity!
The Spanish Coin
Something happened on Saturday that told me I’d made the right decision about my blog. Or, perhaps what happened on Saturday came about as the result of the stress relief Friday night’s decision gave me. Follow?
If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know I’ve been working on a novel manuscript with the working title of The Spanish Coin for more than a decade. (I’m not only a slow reader, I’m a slow writer!) Several months ago I discovered some facts that made it clear that I needed to make major changes in my historical novel. Another name for that is REWRITE, as in START OVER! After 10 years of work, this realization knocked the wind out of my sails. I have struggled over this for about three months – maybe longer. (It feels like three years.)
I knew I had to change the names and location of my novel. I believed I could keep the working title, The Spanish Coin, but many of the details of the story and perhaps most importantly, the climax, had to change. After kicking around ideas for weeks, on Saturday I finally settled on a new location for the story. I changed the names of most of the characters, and I changed the year it happened. Those decisions freed me up to start writing the new outline. By the time I turned off the computer at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 25, I had written 300 words of backstory, more than 2,500 words of outline, and 250 words of character sketches. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders!
Saturday was just the beginning, but I can’t tell you how invigorated I feel knowing that I have started the rewrite. I’m optimistic about what I will get accomplished this week!
Until my next blog post on July 3
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Secret Speech, by Tom Rob Smith.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time and feel as optimistic about your work in progress as I do mine.
Tomorrow is my blog’s 7th blogaversary. My first blog post was on June 24, 2010. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been blogging for seven years. There’s a good reason for that. In 2010 I only blogged four times. I blogged once in 2011. In 2011 I blogged only seven times. It wasn’t until July 7, 2014 that I started blogging on a regular basis. That was the month before the publication of my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I finally felt like I had something to write about!
I am constantly learning more about blogging. You may have noticed that I’ve started trying to write catchier blog post titles. I’m also trying to limit my post titles to five words. I read somewhere that’s ideal, but now I don’t remember why. Seems like it has something to do with showing up in a Google search.
Janice Wald’s blog post on June 10, 2017 (http://www.mostlyblogging.com/generate-better-traffic) said something that made me stop in my tracks and reread a couple of paragraphs. The post was written by Raymond Crain, who works for E2M, a social media marketing agency based in San Diego.
In a nutshell, Mr. Crain said that blogging daily is out and blogging good content is in. Yay! I don’t have to feel guilty for only blogging twice-a-week!
He said Google now puts more emphasis on the “intent” of the searcher and the “quality” of the blog post. If you’re blogging for your own enjoyment, posting daily is fine, but if you’re trying to get your brand out there and drive more traffic to your blog you might want to read Mr. Crain’s article. This was just one of his five recommendations.
A Writer’s Path blog
Guest post contributor Shelley Widhalm said on Ryan Lanz’s A Writer’s Path blog on June 13, 2017 (https://ryanlanz.com/2017/06/13/why-blogging-is-important-for-writers/) that blogs are here to stay, but that it is quality and not quantity that’s important when establishing your brand and your credentials as a blogger worth reading. Therefore, there is more to blogging than attaining high search engine optimization (SEO.)
Ms. Widhalm stated, “Research shows that blogs should be posted once a week on the same day of the week . . . .”
She did not cite that specific research, but I will take the statement under consideration and continue to watch to see what becomes standard practice. Blogging is a creative outlet for me, so I won’t promise to conform to recommended schedules.
What do you think?
Would you prefer that I only blog once-a-week? I might give that some thought.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have good book to read. I’ve just finished reading Camino Island, by John Grisham and Put the Cat in the Oven Before You Describe the Kitchen, by Jake Vander Ark. (More on that in July when I blog about the books I read in June.)
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
In my January 20, 2017 blog post My 2017 Writing Plan of Action, I said that I needed to give Google+ a fair chance. I thought it was one more platform I could use to establish my brand as a writer.
When I did the research for my April 22, 2017 blog post S is for Social Media, I learned that being active on Google+ will help people find me on the Google search engine. Actually, I did not learn that. I stated it in my blog post but promptly forgot it. When I remember to, I put my blog posts on Google+.
With today’s blog post in mind, on May 18, 2017 and several times since then, I took another look at my account on Google+ and learned some things:
(1) Lo and behold, I hadn’t put links to my blog, my website, or my Twitter name in my profile. Duh! That was an easy fix.
(2) I learned that when my novel gets published, I can only give it one plug on Google+.
(3) I explored the “communities” on Google+ and joined several: Writers’ Blogs, Read Banned Books, Writers’ Coffeehouse, and Self-Publishing Your Book. In addition, I’m following WordPress.
Writers’ Blogs should be a place where I can post my blogs about writing or reading, and I can find and connect with other writers with blogs. So far, I haven’t made any connections with other writing bloggers through this Google+ community. I’ve seen pictures of cats and a number of blogs about the TV sitcom “Big Bang Theory.” I’m having to look too hard and long to find posts about writing blogs.
The WordPress community should be a place where I can learn how to better use my blog and the features of WordPress.com. So far, I haven’t found what I need.
Banned Books is where I should be able to discuss banned books with other readers; however, from what I’ve seen so far, most posts are about anything but books – banned or otherwise.
Writers’ Coffeehouse is where I should be able to ask questions about the writing process or specific problems I’m having as I rewrite my novel, and join in conversations started by other writers. There seem to be more poetry posts on there than fiction writing, so I’m still not sure this is the place for me.
(4) There are communities for just about any interest you can think of. If you don’t find one you’re looking for, create it!
(5) I hate to be negative, but I think Google+ communities are going to be more work for me than they’re worth. It’s just not my cup of tea. (Maybe I shouldn’t post that on Google+.)
(6) On the positive side, I am following “Writing Tips” by Rob Bignell, Editor on Google+. He seems to put a lot of helpful articles on there to help writers.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Things We Keep, by Sally Hepworth.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
I received an e-mail on May 4 from ProBlogger.com with a link to a blog post about conversion habits. I’m not a theology student. I didn’t have a clue what “conversion habits” were or if I needed to try to work them into my life. I didn’t know if a conversion habit was a good habit or a bad habit. ProBlogger.com is a trusted source, so I clicked on the link to learn more.
The blog was written by a guest blogger, John Stevens. Mr. Stevens, according to the blog, “is the CEO of Hosting Facts, a startup that helps consumers make data-backed decisions when choosing web hosts. He is also a frequent contributor to WebsiteSetup where he helps businesses set up their website.”
Used by the world’s greatest bloggers
The best I could tell, conversion habits are practices the world’s greatest bloggers use to convert a blog reader into a customer. Since I have nothing to sell at the moment, other than copies of my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, three Morrison genealogies compiled by my sister and me, and several privately-printed-on-demand booklets I wrote about Rocky River Presbyterian Church history, I don’t think I need to expend my limited energy working on conversion habits. It’s not like I’m trying to get my books on the New York Times Bestseller List!
I didn’t really need anything to add to my “to-do” list, so I was relieved that I don’t need to be bothered with conversion habits – at least for now.
(Warning: shameless plug — Incidentally, if you’re interested in purchasing one of my books, visit https://www.janetmorrisonbooks.com or visit your favorite independent bookstore.)
That didn’t mean I didn’t keep reading the blog post, though. I am a curious person, and the post’s title promised me nine conversion habits. I got down to the ninth habit, thinking I was almost finished. I could delete the e-mail and go to bed. But no. The ninth conversion habit was, “They use prominent CTAs.”
What the heck is a prominent CTA?
Turn the light back on. There will be no sleeping tonight until I figure out what a prominent CTA is. I read on. The first sentence asked me what color my CTAs were. That sounded like a personal question to me, and I felt myself blush. Never fear! I surmised that you want your CTA to be a contrasting color to that of your logo.
The blog post went on to talk about the Von Restorff effect, which is also called the “isolation effect.” Not being a student of marketing, I wasn’t familiar with that effect. Mr. Stevens explained it as follows: “this principle states that when confronted with multiple stimuli (in our case, CTAs), the stimuli that stand out the most wins our attention.”
Regaining my composure, I kept reading. The next sentence informed me that “your CTAs have a big impact on your conversion rates.” Since I don’t feel the need for conversion rates, I’m once again tempted to delete the e-mail and call it a night. I keep reading, though, because I still don’t have a clue what a CTA is, and I try to learn something new every day – even if it appears to be useless information. I read on.
Mr. Stevens continued with, “Since your CTAs lead visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, download your eBooks or buy your courses, it makes sense to optimize it for higher CTR.” I don’t know what a CTR is, but it’s far too late in the evening to chase after that rabbit. After all, I need something to do tomorrow, right? (No – I’m too curious. Google search. CTR is currency transaction report. That’s all I need to know about that.)
I learned that a study revealed that changing the color of CTAs resulted in an increase of 21% in a blog’s conversion rate. That sounded impressive, so I looked at the illustrations. The best I could tell, a CTA is a clickable button that says something like, “Get started now!”
But what is a CTA?
A search on Google, “What is a CTA?” brought up the definition of a computed tomography angiography. I wasn’t just in the wrong pew, I was in the wrong church! Another search choice was “What is a CTA on a website?” Bingo!
The answer that popped up when I clicked on that option was, “In web design, a CTA may be a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it, and continue down a conversion funnel.”
My response to that explanation was, “That’s all?” (Peggy Lee should be singing, “Is That All There Is?” right about now! For those of you who don’t know who Peggy Lee was, that song was a big hit for her in 1969.) I just spent 10 minutes trying to learn what a CTA is and it’s just a button? I can see why they call it a CTA. That’s a lot more impressive than “button.”
I feel like I’ve been on a wild goose chase. Tomorrow will I still remember what conversion habits and CTAs are? It makes me wonder if universities now offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Blogging. Are such courses as Conversion Habits 101 and CTAs 101 included in the required curriculum? Can one minor in CTR?
This stuff gives me a headache. All I want to do is write my novel and finish reading my current library book so I can start reading the next one.
All jokes aside, Mr. Stevens received wonderful comments and praise for his blog post. It was well-written, well-illustrated, and apparently contained useful information for people who are in the business of selling a product through their blog. I’m just not there yet. I highly recommend the blog post to anyone who is marketing a tangible product or something intangible such as a writing course.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
I’m feeling my age today, after going up into the attic on Tuesday. Not a good idea for someone of my age with CFS/ME and fibromyalgia. That said, Wednesday wasn’t a good day for me to try to figure out something new on the computer. There’s really not a good day for me to do that. I should only attempt such tasks when I’m at the top of my game. With no such days on the horizon and needing to blog about something starting with the letter “W,” I forged ahead.
What starts with W?
On the 23rd day of the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge, the featured letter is “W.” I’ve struggled over what to write about today. There are so many possibilities, including Why I Write, Writing, Webinars I’ve Attended, Wufoo.com, or the Where Writers Win website.
W is for Wufoo.com
Wednesday was the day I could finally sit down at the computer and try to figure out how Wufoo.com could integrate with MailChimp on WordPress.com so I could have a mailing list. In the event I ever want to announce something to my readers before or without making a public announcement, I need an e-mail mailing list.
Other bloggers have such lists, so how difficult can it be, right?
I spent a couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon working my way through the simple instructions on Wufoo.com trying to set up a way for me to add a sign-up form on my blog for a mailing list. As often happens, the list of “do this and you will see that” suckered me into thinking I could do. I improvised when I “did this and I didn’t see that.” I set up an account. I created a form. I filled in blanks. I wrote little notes to my readers telling them I would never share their information with anyone. I marked the parts of the form that are not optional. I went to WordPress.com and cut and pasted the Wufoo code so it would show up as the third widget down in my blog’s sidebar. I thought I had everything accomplished, but on Wednesday night as I schedule this blog post for 6:50 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, April 27, no such sign-up form has appeared on my blog.
It’s my fault
I in no way blame Wufoo.com for this. It is obviously an error on my part. It has been another frustrating day in the life of someone who is technologically-challenged and just wants to be a writer.
“I’d rather do it myself!”
One day I will have to give up on setting this mailing list up myself, but I will not give up on the mailing list. I’m trying not to bother my niece’s husband with this request. He set up my website, and I’m sure he can do this for me, too. I am reminded that as a very small child, one of my favorite things to say was, “I’d rather do it myself!” Apparently, that’s still true.
A to Z Blog Challenge
I’m delighted to note that there are only three days remaining in the A to Z Blog Challenge. Topics for “Y” and “Z” are still up for grabs, in case anyone has any suggestions for me. I’m looking for words starting with “Y” and “Z” that have something to do with writing for my blog on April 29 and 30, 2017.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.