5 Things Every Blogger Needs
So lately I’ve been working on simplifying things to make life easier! If you’re a blogger then I’m positive you have the same love/hate relationship with your blog that I have with mine. I LOVE Serendipity and Spice! I LOVE my fans! I LOVE sharing fun things with you! I HATE the time warp that I get trapped in with so much to do and remember to optimize everything—don’t you?!
So, I have compiled a list of a few FREE things that I believe EVERY blogger needs to make their life a little easier…
1. Add a horizontal Recent Posts gadget!
This is so vital to making your blog “sticky”…. ya know—keeping people on your site longer than the 30 seconds it takes to read an article they clicked on from Pinterest. I’ve gotten so many new people linking up to Manic Monday and Facebook Friday just by having these parties listed at the top! But, for those of us on Blogger we don’t have the adorable little widget that all the WordPress blogs have. And, for some reason, I can’t get any of the html codes to work…. so, I figured out how to add it- and I’m going to share it with you!
Ready?? There is now a Recent Posts widget in the Blogger “Add a Gadget”. It’s called “Recent Posts” by Blogger Buster. Once you add the widget you will need to check the box that says “Thumbnails only”. Then you can change the title to whatever you like! To get it horizontal all I did was move the widget to right above “Blog Post” on my template:
2. Have Pin-It buttons automatically added to every photo
What you say? No going in and adding code to every single photo? YES! I finally found a fantastic tutorial that is “html-idiot” friendly (that’s me) that I had up and running in LESS THAN 5 MINUTES! THANK YOU THANK YOU wonderful html guru from BloggerSentral! I don’t even think about Pin-It buttons any more! Go ahead- hover over any photo and see the beautiful BIG Pin button pop up. BloggerSentral Man you have saved me a tremendous amount of time!
3. Respond to Reader Comments by Email
Okay, so I’ve been doing this since I pretty much started blogging- but the problem is that when you respond through your email your comment won’t show up in the comment thread on your blog. So, this leads to a few issues- 1. People ask the same questions over and over because they couldn’t find your response to someone else’s same question. 2. People think you’re a rude blogger by NEVER responding to anyone’s comments because they don’t get to see your responses on the site.
But, signing in and going to the page to respond to all these comments can be VERY time consuming! So, thanks to Disqus you can now respond through your email and the response will show up in your blog comments! YEAH! The only catch is that you will receive emails from Blogger and Disqus with the same comment- use the Disqus email to reply and the comment will show up. I have to figure out how to get Blogger to stop sending the email every time someone leaves a comment. Go sign up—it’s completely free and such a time saver!
4. Add Affiliate Links Automatically
So one of the things I’ve read about is how you should optimize your posts by adding affiliate links for Amazon and other affiliate marketing programs throughout your post- that way you generate an income whenever someone clicks on the link. Well, let me tell you- it takes FOREVER to make enough money on affiliate links to ever get a payout… and, quite frankly, it’s just NOT worth my time. It would be nice if I mentioned my Keurig in a post and someone decided to buy one through a link I had and I made $1 or $2…. but I really don’t want to mess with it.
And that is where VigLink comes in! VigLink is part of the Lijit Ad Network and they automatically check for keywords in your posts and put the affiliate links in. Awesome right?! (well, unless you’re in North Carolina and 90% of affiliate sites won’t work with you because of the way the tax laws were just changed ) Anyway, VigLink is connected with thousands of retailers that offer affiliate incentives- so, you’ll make it to your minimum payout faster AND you don’t have to do anything except install the VigLink script… win/win! And they’ll leave your current affiliate links in tact if you want or transfer them over to them… it’s your choice.
5. Manage Sponsor Ads Automatically
If you have not heard of Passionfruit Ads then you need to get on it! This company is fantastic! I didn’t want to deal with the headache of taking individual ads and remembering how long they’re supposed to be up, or when to bill them, or really any aspect of managing them. I also was hesitant of ad swaps for the same reasons—how long to leave them up, what if I accidentally take them down too early, it’s just too stressful. Well, thanks to Passionfruit Ads there is no worry at all. You just fill out what you want each ad to be. You place a script on your sight for where you want ads to show up. And they handle the rest! They do billing, putting up the ad, taking down the ad, rotating ads if you only want a certain number showing at a time. It’s effortless and they don’t charge you a ridiculous amount. PLUS, ad swaps are completely FREE!