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imgresI attended a writing workshop recently, and the person running the workshop mentioned to the group that I was a “Social Media Genius.” This happens a lot – not people saying I’m a genius; that never happens, but people mentioning that I work in this field that holds so much interest to those building businesses.  While I am grateful that the industry in which I work interests people, it does mean someone is always picking your brain rather than looking at your soul. Good thing I don’t get out much. 

During the break this lovely woman came over to talk to the person sitting next to me, and she couldn’t have been nicer, but I’d had it and didn’t respond in a way that I want to be remembered. So I wrote her this e-mail after the event, and I think it may have some value input for the newbie blogger. And if I’ve ever been rude to you somewhere, sometime, I’m sorry.

Dear Chris,

I’m sure you remember me, the mean girl in the last row of yesterday’s workshop (wasn’t it amazing?), who when you gently, vulnerably asked me to critique your new blog, answered, “I try not to do that.” Please forgive me. And if I could write a “but” after the apology I’ve just rendered, it would be “Our instructor outed me as a social media person, and ten people had asked me to do stuff already, and I was overwhelmed.” But I won’t say that because using But after an apology takes away the value of the apology. I sat in the back hoping to be there for my writing and there I was, the Social Media Girl once again. In my next life, I’m going to be a mortician because then no one will want to talk to me. So truly, I’m not someone who normally says things like that, which might be a lie … sort of. I do sometimes say things that I wish I hadn’t.

So initially out of guilt, and then because I love every word you write, (not at all sucking up here), I read most of the posts in your blog intending to look it over and send constructive criticism as you asked.

Your posts are marvelous.

Your blog is marvelous.

Which is good news indeed. It’s the hard part.

Unfortunately, however, there are more than 400,000,000 blogs out in the world, sitting like barren planets in the night sky, and alas, there is no easy way to make sure people visit yours because it’s the best in the universe.

So here are a few tips.

You must change the WordPress theme you are using. It’s more Star Wars Darth Vader than Moms Who Like To Run. (You look fabulous by the way. You can tell you run just as I am sure you can tell that I do not.) Might I suggest Radiate as a theme instead of Suits, which is the one you are using. Radiate will give you three options right at the opening page to hook them with your fabulousness. It’s also free.

You must get a URL (an address for the site) of your very own rather than being .wordpress.com. You will never be able to grow your blog without it. There are a few who have done it under the wordpress.com site, but the odds are never in your favor, and look at what happened to everyone but poor Katniss when they played on a team on which the odds were never in their favor. Might I suggest something like www.MomsWhoRunInMoreWaysThanOne.com, which is obviously too long but tells the whole story of the blog content. Telling the story of the blog’s content in your URL is vital to success, and Google Search likes it too. Anything that makes Google (which knows more about you than you do) more comfortable is working in your self interest.

You must load in Yoast, which will give you search engine optimization to make sure you are found. We have seen significant results from loading Yoast to our client’s sites, and you will too. They do not pay me to say that. Actually, I am quite sure they do not even know I exist, which is sad because I am so dependent on them. But life is not always equal.

Now, we do need to talk about the titles for your blogs. The title needs to say what’s in it. It’s yet again making Google Search’s life easier, which I have already established is in your best interest.

The title Walking on Thin Ice is lost in the Google way of looking at things, and I’m sure I no longer need to explain that Google has the upper hand and you must bend to its will. Perhaps something like “Yet Another Guilt Mom Moment” (which, to be honest, I don’t really like either, but I have to meet a friend for breakfast and haven’t the time to be more brilliant). Again, my apologies. But you get the idea. The title needs to tell the story in a way Google will hear.

And lastly, the pictures. Yes, copy them from Google Images when you get started. Or better yet, you can take them with your iPhone in the moment. But in the case of Walking On Thin Ice, if you had stopped to snap the moment, you would look even worse than you did in your daughter’s essay on your strength and action in her moment of need. So go with Google Images when in doubt. And tag the photo with some text. Guess who likes it when you do that? Yep, your new BFF, Google.

My last bit of advice is that the moment when you load in a blog post is not the end of your journey with that post, but rather the beginning. You then need to find out where to place it outside the site so that you will drive traffic to your blog. This way your blog will not be a barren planet, but rather a bustling place of comments and readership. So Google the phrase “Guest Blogging for Moms” and contact some of the sites that come up and ask if you can place links to your blog on their blog, or better yet, could you write a blog post for them. And do it one on one, with comments about why you like their blog and want to be on it. The “reach” of your blog starts when you post it and ends when you have driven to it the traffic your efforts deserve.

So I hope I have helped and that you forgive the Mean Girl me from yesterday.

Christine

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