Summer Blog Social: I Need Your Help

As a part of the Summer Blog Social, there are different categories of prompts that include advice for others, advice for me, and philosophical topics. I’ve tried to help by sharing some of my favorite blog resources as well as 10 things I’ve learned over my four years in blogging. I hope someone has found them helpful!

One of the writing prompts prompts for the “Advice for Me” section is, “Tell us about an element or two of your blog or social media presence that you are unsure of and would like opinions on.”

So here goes.

I need lots of help on my Facebook page. I have it linked through Network Blogs so new posts automatically post. I also try add links regularly to articles or blog posts I come across regarding chronic illness, parenting, or something else that I think my readers would enjoy. I try to ask questions to start conversation but I may get one response if I’m lucky.

I really want my facebook page to be a place where I can engage in conversation with my readers. I want it to be more than a place where you can find links. I’m in the processed of getting a custom landing page to match my brand but outside of that I’m not sure what to do next.

So please help a girl out! I would love to advice or links to resources on how I can really beef up my page and make it a fun place to hang out! Thanks in advance for your help!


(PS What I Wore Wednesday will return next week!)


10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

 photo 10ThingsAboutBlogging_zpslzzucgqp.jpg
I’m linking up again with the Summer Blog Social to share with you some things that I have learned about blogging over the last 4 years. I am by no means an expert but having been around the block a time or two, I thought I would share some things that work and some others that don’t when it comes to blogging! So here are 10 things I’ve learned about blogging:

1- Design Matters.

Your design should be eye-catching without being overly distracting. Colors are great but pick just a couple and go from there. In my experience, the cleaner and simpler the design the better. Definitely add your personality but if I can’t find your posts lost in a sea of buttons, awards, and widgets, then I probably won’t come back. And for the love, please don’t use a light font on a dark background! What I’m looking for when I visit your blog: is your content as well as where I can learn more about you (an about page is awesome) and how I can follow you (make your social media icons easy to find!). The great thing about blogging is that the quality of the design is not dependent on price. Just because you can’t shell out $500 on a custom design doesn’t mean you cannot have a great one! The web is full of tutorials on how to make a great and unique design (such as this one on installing a cute font on blogger) so while custom is a perk, it isn’t a must. If you want some critique on your blog design, Eli Rose Social and Blog Clarity are great resources!

2- Reply to Comments.

As a reader, it means so much to me when a blogger takes the time to read my comment and respond! There are many plug-ins out there that make this a piece of cake by sending readers an email when you respond to their comment.  Chances are, if a blogger takes the time to reply back to my comment, then I will be a repeat visitor.

3- Comment On Other Blogs.

Want to increase your traffic and readership? Get out there and start reading! Find blogs that you love and leave comments – REAL comments. No comment vomit. If you leave a sincere comment, then that blogger can then reply back with a sincere response and voila – community has begun.

4- Grammar Matters.

I’m not talking about hiring a Comma Nazi to proof every post but spelling and sentence structure are important. I need to be able to follow and understand your writing. This isn’t Facebook or texting – please use full words (skip the “ur” or “cuz” please) Although I can’t say I like reading the slang there either. This is a great post on how to improve your writing.

5- Trust Your Gut

Totally pull a Gibbs when it comes to your blog. If you finish up  a post and feel a little unsure about it, do not hit publish. Let it sit in drafts for a few days or have a blog buddy read over it. If in your gut your post seems disorganized or off, then it probably is. Don’t hit publish just for the sake of having something to publish. Another word of wisdom: don’t hit publish when you are angry or otherwise overly emotional. Feel free to write but wait to hit publish.

 photo 10Things_zpsepjziwb7.jpg

6- Don’t Sell Out.

It is so tempting to accept any offer that shows up in your inbox when there is money (or other form of payment) involved for a sponsored post. Believe me. I am guilty. If you browse through my history several months ago you will find the type of posts I’m talking about. Was the money a perk? Of course. Did those posts get any comments or views? Very, VERY little.  Am I kicking myself for completely selling out and leaving my niche for some income? Absolutely.  Stay true to yourself and your blog and you will have no regrets.

7- Find Your Own Voice.

While it’s good to read other blogs and have bloggers that you admire and who inspire you, be sure that you don’t lose yourself trying to be like someone else. I read your blog because of YOU.  I want to hear YOUR story. This is a great post from Content Brew about using your own voice.

8. Don’t Lose Your Blog in a Sea of Memes.

There are tons of great linkups throughout the blogosphere these days – Top 10 Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Wordful Wednesdays, What I Wore Wednesdays (Wednesday seems to be a popular day), Thankful Thursdays, Fill in the Blank Fridays. It can be extremely tempting to participate in them all! While they are a great way to expose your blog to new readers as well as find some new blogs to follow yourself, if all you post are meme linkups, your content is going to suffer and your readers are going to get bored. Pick one or two that you enjoy and then focus on original content.

9. Know Your Audience.

Do you know who is reading your blog? Moms? Singles? College students? If you don’t know ask! I was curious so I did a quick poll using Survey Monkey and was surprised to find that a good chunk of my readers are not moms. While I do include motherhood and parenting with chronic illness in the content of my blog, I try not to make it the overlying theme as I want to still be able to connect with my readers in a variety of areas. Another way to get to know your audience – which posts have the most comments? Is there a common theme? Asking some simple questions can bring a huge return in your blog readership and community.

10. Have Fun!

Blogging should not be forced. If you feel overwhelmed or uninspired, take a break. Take the time you would be spending writing to seek out some inspiration! Like I mentioned before, its better to not post at all then to publish a half-thought-out junk post (preaching to the choir here).


What things have you picked up through your experience as a blogger? Have you learned anything about blogging that you would like to share? Are there things that work and things that don’t?



Summer Blog Social: Blogging Resources Part 2

If you’ve been active at all in the social media world lately, then you’d know that there is a big event happening this week in San Diego —  BlogHer. Everywhere I turn there seems to be a post or tweet about it. This is a HUGE blog conference that draws bloggers from all over the country – mom bloggers, fashion bloggers, food bloggers. You name a niche and there will be bloggers at BlogHer representing that group.

I will admit that I am the tiniest bit jealous (even though I have plans to attend BBC & Type A next year).  Who wouldn’t want to experience 3 days of networking, discussion, and fun with 3000 of your best blogging friends? Thankfully I’m not the only one a little green with envy and yearning for some time to network, learn, and grow as a blogger. Liz from A Belle, A Bean, & A Chicago Dog and Jessica from Four Plus An Angel teamed up to create the Summer Blog Social! This event will run all week and will allow bloggers to link up posts that will cover topics like blogging resources, blog design, and creating blogging goals as well as help make networking a little easier – all from the comfort of our pajamas – oh wait I’m trying to break that habit.

So all week I will be posting my thoughts, experiences, and resources I have come to know and love over my last 4 years of blogging! I am by no means an expert but that is what is awesome about this event! We all have something to offer! Definitely plan to check out the link up to get some more blogging tips!

I had shared a post two weeks ago where I shared 3 of my favorite blog resources so I would like to share a couple more! The first 3 resources I shared helped a lot with the “nuts and bolts” of blogging so I thought this week I would share some of my favorite social resources that have helped me as a blogger!


1. Twitter

I was a little late to jump on the Twitter train. I honestly didn’t get it. What could possibly be beneficial about talking in 140 character increments? What I didn’t realize then was that those 140 character statements do not exist as a single entity but form a CONVERSATION. Yes I capitalized that on purpose. The purpose of twitter is not to simply tweet blog links or ads (which is fine in moderation) but to actual network and CONNECT with one another. It is all about the conversation. I have met so many amazing people through twitter both in relation to blogging and to chronic illness. If I have a question about a plugin for WordPress, I can ask twitter and have a response in no time. If I have been prescribed a new medication and have questions, I will undoubtedly find a fellow spoonie who as had experience with it before and can answer my questions. I love blogging and getting to respond to your comments here at ANKON but I love being able to chat with you on Twitter! If you’re new to Twitter, here is a great article on getting started with Twitter by Eli Rose Social that can help get you on your way!


2. The Blog Frog

 If you are more comfortable in a forum-type setting, then the Blog Frog is the place for you! There are forums on every topic imaginable and it is a snap to create your own community as a part of your blog! BF creates a great place to ask questions and join in discussions as well as read blog posts from your favorite bloggers and discover new blogs while you are at it! I have discovered some of my favorite blogs through the Blog Frog forums! As a blogger, creating a community is a piece of cake! Becoming a member of Blog Frog is quick and free however there are a lot of great benefits to paying for a premium or platinum members as well such as advertising and newsletters! Even if you are not ready to create a community of your own, it is a great place to network and meet other bloggers!


  1. Klout

Some would probably debate whether or not this would be considered a “social” resource but I decided to add it to the list anyways! The purpose of Klout is to help discover topics that you are considered to be influential in across the social media world. Of course, the system isn’t perfect and there are tons of complaints about how quacky the system regarding creating a score and deciding which topics relate to you. I won’t deny that – I’ve been stated as being influential in pirates on more than one occasion. I try not to take more score too seriously as it always tanks on the weekends. Personally, I think it can be a lot of fun! Every day that you log in, you are able to award K+ to your friends in categories in which you think they are influential. Some can be funny while others are more serious. For example, I thought it was hilarious that somehow pirates ended up on my list while I take pride in my status of being influential in health and endometrosis. There are also fun perks that you can get awarded! I won’t be stinky for a whole year after receiving a year supply of Secret Clinical deodorant as a Klout perk. Again, I’m not sure how the perks get awarded. Some I’ve qualified for and others I haven’t. Klout can be a great resource and a lot of fun – just don’t take it too seriously – it takes all the fun out of it!


Have you tried using any of the above?  Love ’em? Hate ’em? What are some of your favorite social media resources?


p.s. If anyone is planning on heading to Bloggy Bootcamp Atlanta (or considering it) and is looking for a roommate, please let me know! I need one desperately!