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friends

On my recent post How to Become a Popular Blogger - 5 Tips for Growing Your Blog

Tip number 4 was

Visit other blogs, both on RT and elsewhere and join the conversation. People love getting comments (You know that, you love it too!) and being human and curious, they will click over to check out your blog. If they like what they see, they might become part of your readership. To find other blogs, you can check out our blogroll on the right hand panel, read my occasional blog roundups, or search Google Blogs.

I would like to expand on that since it is more important in growing your blog than you might think.

A blog, as apposed to an e-book, newspaper article or private journal is interactive.
It is a platform in which the author can have their say about issues near and dear to them. Readers get to remark, comment and discuss further with the author and other readers.
The way I see it, this is the essence of blogging - the dialog that develops with readers, and the relationships that ensue as a result of these discussion.

These relationships that develop over time open myriads if windows and opportunities, like every other relationship in life, except this time, they can make or break your blog.

How does leaving comments on other blogs sow the seed of a relationship?” you ask,
Well, here is how it works:
On every blog (just about) you can leave a comment.
Usually, when you leave a comment you will be asked for your name, and your URL. Leaving your blog url is like opening your door and inviting in visitors which is exactly what you want, since visitors might leave you a comments, or start following your blog and leave you comments at a later date.
In case you are wondering, on RT every member has a blog url. Mine is http://www.relationshiptalk.net/ruth/blog/ , Lyssabugg’s is http://www.relationshiptalk.net/lyssabugg/blog/ and so on.
If you leave an interesting comment the author of the blog will most probably click on your link to check you out. If your posts are appealing to them, the will leave you a comment too, and there you have it - a conversation has started and so has a relationship.

“Why would I go looking to comment and get comments from elsewhere when I get such great comments from RT members?” you think.

On RT we are spoiled. RT has a lot of members and guest, the community is warm and blogs rarely go without comment. Friendships and relationships are formed and everything is wonderful, really. Except that it stays within the confines of RT, and other bloggers, the ones out in the big cold world, are never exposed to our content, nor do they get a chance to form relationships with us.
Forming relationship with bloggers from outside of RT has many benefits

  • Reading and commenting on blogs outside of RT give you a new perspective and give you new ideas to blog about.
  • Finding bloggers that are more specific to your topic - people writing about marriage or divorce, Or young twenties, or single moms, will both give you content that is interesting and close to your heart to read and comment on, and the bloggers receiving your comments will most likely be interested the topics you address.
  • Commenting on blogs, both in and out of RT is a way of forming a permanent “posse of commenter’s who not only comment on each others blogs and inspire each other, but often, all sorts of collaborations are formed, be it guest post exchanges, interviews and so on. This kind of opportunity is yet another way to expose your blog to even more readers, and to form an even bigger community around it. Or in other words, this helps you to create an online presence.
  • If the comments you leave are meaningful, as they always should be, not only the author of the blog will be curious to learn more about you and your blog, but other readers and commenter’s will click through, to see what you are all about.
  • Other than in the obvious way, you can lean from other bloggers too. For example, some posts get more comments than others. Try and figure out what it was about a certain post that made you leave a comment - was it the format, or the title, or the writing style that caught your interest? Whatever it was, see if it is something you can adopt and do more of.

So is that all it takes? All I need to do is leave great comments and I will be an immediate online hit?” you think to yourself, scratching your head.

No. Not really. All of this is completely pointless if the posts you produce yourself are not fantastic. The number one thing that makes bloggers rock is the fact that they produce high quality blog posts.
(Next time I will talk about how to insure that the blogs you are writing are the very best they can be.)
There are two easy ways to follow blogs - one (my favorite) is by using a reader like blog lines or google reader. Add all blogs that you would like to follow to it, and check out the new posts on a daily basis.

In the mean time, check out the blogroll in the side bar and my lists of favorite blogs.

photo credit creative commons license lovelornpoets

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key note

I haven’t done a roundup for a long time, and am not really doing one today, but I do have a couple of posts I want to mention which are worth a read.
The first post from Jozen’s blog is a wonderful and optimistic post about finding love against the odds, using a crazy method, which worked.
It is also a post about deciding to fall in love. Deciding is not often associated with falling in love. Using the word Decision in association with love seems to suck out all of the Hollywood/Disney pink clouds of romance, and steal the hallmark moments from us, but in reality - it fits 100%. True love is about partnership and commitment, not only about butterflies and sweet nothings. One should certainly DECIDE who the right person for them to partner with and commit to is.
I liked this story, because like mine, it is a bit fantastic. When Jozen invited his buddy to find love via his blog, neither of them actually thought it would work. It was more of an experiment than anything else, and when the one girl the buddy was interested in lived clear on the other side of the country, it seemed even more improbable that anything would actually come of it. But it did. The spark was there, and decisions were made. Never lose hope. You too will find a partner and a love when you are good and truly ready to make a decision.

The second post I wanted to write about was “What Attracts a Man“ How often do we think about what he (or she) might want, or need totally disregarding what we want or need?
Ask yourself how often you have dwelled on the question “what did I do wrong?” or “how can I be better for them?” instead of asking yourself if this person is right for YOU, and what YOU need from them!
If you are not quite sure what I mean by this, you should read NightOrchid’s post in which she says

When you spend too much time dwelling on your partner, spouse or ex, you are focusing your energies on their place in the relationship and not where you are. You inadvertently begin to give your freedom and your decision making power away. Like Hare, you are so caught up on what they are thinking, what they are doing, what they want out of the partnership, that you forget to look at where your finish line is, or what you need to be happy and feel loved. And in the end, you may find that when you are disrespected/taken for granted, dumped or cheated on, you have no idea why or when it happened.

These are the two thoughts I am sending you off to your weekend with. Both happy and optimistic, the first because who doesn’t like a great love story, and the second - its nice to know that no matter how far and how high you look - you are the one who holds the answers to your own life!

photo credit creative commons license william.neuheisel ( a photograph of “Key Note,” a fantastic installation by sculptor Michael Christian, was made entirely of locks and keys.)

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headlines

Last week in my post about how to become a popular blogger, I mentioned the importance of headlines and I would like to expand on that this week.

The Headline is the first impression you leave on your reader. It will determine whether they click on your post to read further or think mehhh..., and click on the next more interesting, way more intriguing title.
Anyone who has ever learned anything about sales knows that a person has 3 seconds (scientifically proven) to leave a first impression. If you store, or stall, or pitch doesn’t grab your client in the first 3 seconds, you are history. Same goes for job interviews or dates... within 3 seconds you know where it is going.

You could say that headlines are your chance to dress to impress. They are the first impression you leave on your potential readers. If you want them to read what you have written, you need to dazzle them with the head line. Draw them in.
Wiki has a very informative page on headlines. This is my favorite part:

The film The Shipping News has an illustrative exchange between the protagonist, who is learning how to write for a local newspaper, and his publisher:
Publisher: It’s finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that’s what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, [pointing at dark clouds gathering in the sky over the ocean] what do you see? Tell me the headline.
Protagonist: HORIZON FILLS WITH DARK CLOUDS?
Publisher: IMMINENT STORM THREATENS VILLAGE.
Protagonist: But what if no storm comes?
Publisher: VILLAGE SPARED FROM DEADLY STORM.

Granted, Sensationalism has its bad sides, but great headlines don’t have to be about that.
In order to write a great headline, think of what your readers (all readers) are looking for:

1. Information on a certain subject (make sure the subject of your post is stated clearly in your headline.) “All you need to know about Love”

2. Readers want to know how to do things (how to get my ex back, how to make her love me, how to propose, how to deal with a broken heart) “How to..” posts always get a lot of attention.

3. Readers are often looking for quick fixes -for example 5 easy ways to.... 10 tips for a better...and so on.

4. The Truth. People will always click on a headline promising them the truth about whatever it is they are interested in. For example “The Truth about No contact”

5. People are worriers by nature. If you address their concerns and anxieties they will want to find out more. Beware of.... Warning signs that...will usually draw people in to read further. For example “Beware of Charming Men” Warning Signs That She Is Not Really Into You”

The query “writing headlines” on Google brings 313,000,000 results, showing just how many people are interested in this question.
If you would like to learn more about this, here are 5 posts about writing headlines. Notice their choices for headlines :-)

Copyblogger - How to Write Magnetic Headlines

Poynter - 10 Questions to Help You Write Better Headlines

PR News - 7 Tips for Writing Headlines That Pop in a Journalist’s Inbox

Freelance Switch - The Sexy Art of Writing Headlines that Kill

About.com Write Great Headlines

photo credit creative commons license javier.guillot

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grow your blog

Slowly but steadily more and more people are starting to blog on Relationship Talk. I am not talking about the folk who post once and then disappear into the sunset, but about the people who post again and again, opening their hearts and lives, sharing their thoughts experiences and knowledge with us all, to a point where we feel we know them. We want to know more about them, and when they disappear for a while, we worry about them, or, at least, are curious to know why they stopped writing and what is going on in their life. These people, who have created readerships and followers, are real, honest to god bloggers.

You might want to become a real honest to god blogger, but might not be quite sure how to accomplish that, or you might already be a blogger, but want to grow your blog some more. Here are 5 easy, practical ways to do so:

1. Post often. No excuses. Some bloggers post daily, some weekly, whatever the case; your readers want to make you a habit. They are waiting for your posts, don’t disappoint them and make them get satisfaction elsewhere.

2. Use great titles - ones that will let the reader know what to expect from your blog post, and compel them to click on the title to read further. Examples of outstanding titles on RT: Understanding no Contact, Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder, How to Overcome Failure .

3. If you get comments - answer them. In real life, when someone reacts to something you have said, you react right back at them. You carry on a conversation, or say thank you or even just smile. Use the comment section to create a conversation and a relationship with your readers.

4. Visit other blogs, both on RT and elsewhere and join the conversation. People love getting comments (You know that, you love it too!) and being human and curious, they will click over to check out your blog. If they like what they see, they might become part of your readership. To find other blogs, you can check out our blogroll on the right hand panel, read my occasional blog roundups, or search Google Blogs.

5. Give your readers value - even though your blog might be your sounding board, and your way to blow off some steam, make sure your posts will be valuable to others too. If you write excellent blog posts, others might refer their readers to your blog (As I did here), resulting in more readers and comments for you.

Any other suggestions? Please do share!

photo credit creative commons license yellowcloud

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speed dating

During my usual round on the relationship blogsphere I found a couple of thought provoking posts which I decided to share with you, along with my thoughts:

When I was still looking for my life partner, I was doing meeting lots and lots of men via dating sites on the internet. At the time, speed dating had just started, and since I was getting bored with bombed blind dates from the internet, I thought it sounded very cool and efficient, and a pleasant change from the awkwardness of meeting the real person after meeting the virtual one. (Hardly ever are the two one and the same...). It seemed like a lot of fun, and being the efficient type I wanted to spend one evening meeting many people, instead of spending multiple evenings with the same amount of new people to show for it. However, speed dating was never in the cards for me, since before I could find an event (they were few and far between at the time) I met Mr. Perfect For Me, and no longer needed to continue the quest after my life partner.

Since then, speed dating has taken off quite a bit. There are events every where in the world, for people from all walks of life and to me, seems a good fun way to spend an evening.

Apparently lots of people find deciding to go to an even like this stressful, and even more stressful to participate in one. Having 5 minutes or less to “sell yourself” can do that to people. I am not sure selling yourself should be the approach. The approach should be having fun.

Kelly wrote some speed dating tips, which could be used as a rule of thumb for dating in general.

Susan Walsh from HUS wrote a particularly interesting piece on lying in relationships or more delicately put - concealing. Since many of the discussions on RT deal with dishonesty, lying by omission, and trust, I thought it would be interesting reading.

This goes much further than trust and truth in relationships alone but pertains to life in general.

If you found these posts interesting, please feel free to join the discussions on the authors blogs, or better yet, answer with a blog post of your own!

photo credit creative commons license Mike Crane83

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