13 Ways You Can Be a Successful Guest Post Author

13 Ways You Can Be a Successful Guest Post Author — Follow these tips to help you rise to the top of the pile when approaching successful blogs with your guest post ideas.

Writing guest posts for other blogs is a great way to expand your reach and increase the audience for your own blog. Ideally, you want to write guest posts for successful blogs with large audiences but you can almost guarantee that these blogs aldready receive many offers of guest posts from other people so here are some tips to help you rise to the top of the pile.

  1. Be specific when presenting your article idea

    If the host blog is successful, odds are good that the blog host is also very busy and doesn’t want to spend weeks going back and forth with you about what you should write about. Figure this out before you approach them. Provide details. Provide potential headlines.

  2. Don’t waste time by suggesting an article outside of the blog’s content niche

    Just don’t do it. Familiarize yourself with the topics of the articles on the blog and if you can’t offer something that falls in line with the established subject matter, go elsewhere. If you are determined to write the article, find a blog where the topic fits and approach that blog.

    For example, don’t offer an article about baking cookies to a blog that talks about car repairs. Even IF the blog host agreed to run your article, which is highly unlikely, the audience for the host blog isn’t likely to follow you back to your blog.

  3. Ask for the guest author guidelines

    Most successful blogs will have guest author guidelines. If they aren’t offered, ask for them, and read them. They’re in place for a reason and although they’re called “guidelines” which implies flexibility, consider them to be the rules for guest post authors.

    Guidelines will probably address matters such as:

    • Exclusivity
    • Article length
    • Restrictions on backlinks
  4. Don’t offer an article that reads like an advertisement for your book, product or service

    It’s reasonable to expect a backlink or two somewhere in the article or byline in exchange for your article, after all, why else would you be writing the article, right? But, flogging your wares on someone else’s site is not good form and your offer is likely to be rejected.

    An exception to this might be if the blog host had signed up for an affiliate program you were offering for your product or service and could potentially gain some sales because of your guest post.

  5. Follow the established tone and style of the host blog

    For example, if the host blog uses a lot of headings, bullet points and lists, use a lot of headings, bullet points and lists in your article if at all possible. Likewise if the tone of the blog is warm and personable, the existing audience may not welcome something structured and stilted.

  6. Format your blog post in HTML

    Make it as easy as possible for the blog host to use your article. Ideally you want them to be able to copy and paste your article into a post in their blog.

    Tip: If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, right mouse click on a commonly used heading style in an existing post on the host blog, then select “Inspect Element.”

    Inspect Element menu

    A new browser tab containing the HTML code for the site will be opened and the heading you right mouse clicked on will be highlighted. See below.

    Inspect element

    In this case, the heading style is h3. If you do this for images, you can learn the typical dimensions for images used on the blog also.

  7. Provide or suggest appropriate visuals to go with your post

    If your article requires screenshots, provide neatly cropped images of the right size and dpi (dots per inch) and in the file format most commonly used by the host blog.

    If you know of royalty free images that would work with your post, suggest them, but remember that the decision is ultimately that of the blog host.

    If you have an idea of what would work well subject-wise for the post image, suggest it, but again, remember that the decision is ultimately that of the blog host.

  8. Proofread, proofread, proofread

  9. Suggest which tags and categories used by the host blog are likely to work best with your article

  10. Provide a headshot and bio

    Take note of the size of the headshots used by other guest post authors for that blog. Where possible, offer the same sized image so that it doesn’t need to be resized. Although it doesn’t really take all that long to resize an image, every little thing you can do to make it easier for a blogger to publish your guest post, will increase the odds that they’ll want you to come back again.

    Try to make your bio interesting. It is what will draw people back to your own blog and remember to include those back links.

  11. Enthusiastically promote your guest post if it is published

    Spread the word with a link to your guest post on all of your social media channels and on your own blog, too. Remember, you have a vested interested in seeing that post succeed.

  12. Promptly respond to comments if your guest post is published

    If your blog host wants you to respond to comments generated by your article, make yourself available and interact with the readers who leave comments.

  13. Gracefully accept rejection

    If you’ve made your pitch to a blog host with a specific on-topic idea, followed the guest author guidelines to the letter, formatted the blog post in HTML to perfectly fit in with the style of the host blog, and they still aren’t interested, even if they don’t offer an explanation, accept the decision and walk away quietly.

    Don’t keep asking “why?” Don’t barrage the blog host with more ideas and articles unless you’ve been invited to do so. Move on to another blog—for the time being and go back with another idea after a few months have passed.

So there you have it, my 13 points to being a dream guest post author. Do you agree with my list? Is there anything that you think should be added? Let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

5 Tips for Turning Word Docs into Blog Posts Fast

5 Tips for Turning Word Docs into Blog Posts Fast describes five tips to use when formatting Word docs for blog posts.

As a virtual assistant, I format a lot of blog posts for my clients.

I usually receive the articles as Word docs and I manually add the HTML code. I hate the Visual editor in WordPress. As I’ve noted before in this post the Visual editor can do some weird and wonderful things to your formatting so I avoid it.

I know there are a few tools about there that you can use like Markdown that do the work for you, but if you know a few of the basics, it can get you a long way.

Step by Step Formatting

So, here’s how I do it—right in Word!

  1. I turn on all formatting marks in Word so that I can see where there are extra lines. This is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember anyway but it comes in handy for this. Go to “Word Options” then “Display” then “Show all formatting marks”. This could vary depending on your version of Word.
  2. Then I make sure there is a blank line between every paragraph in the Word doc that’s being formatted as a blog post.
  3. For the rest of the document I simply scroll up and down through the document to add tags. So, for example, for everything that’s in italics, I will add the opening tag for italics <em>. The first time I add it to an italicized word, I copy it and then for every italicized word after that, I paste the code immediately in front of the word all the way to the bottom of the article.
     
    In HTML you also need a closing tag for most codes, so once I hit the bottom of the document, I scroll back to the top of the document adding the closing tag as I go. And, like before, the first time I add the closing tag, i.e. < /em>, I copy it and then paste it for every time after that that I need to use it.

    Some of the common tags that I do this way:

    • <em> (for italics)
    • <strong> (for bold text)
    • <center> (for centered text)
    • <h3> (for heading—”h3″ is just an example, it could also be h1 thru to h6 depending on your style and blog setup)

    Remember to include / on all closing tags.

  4. For bullet point lists in a post, you need to decide if the bullets are to be numbers or just bullets.

    If they’re going to be numbers, the HTML tag for a numbered list is <ol> which stands for “ordered list”. The code for a bullet point list is <ul> which stands for “unordered list”. Not exactly rocket science is it?

    So, just above your bullet points you’re going to add the opening tag for the HTML code for the type of list you want to create, either <ol> or <ul> and in front of the first bullet point you’re going to add <li>. This is the same regardless of whether you’re dealing with an ordered or unordered list.

    Now, you should then add the closing tag to the end of that bullet point, but here’s where I cheat a bit. Technically HTML doesn’t recognize white space, so I don’t add my closing tag to the end of the bullet point, but instead I add it to the beginning of the next bullet point like this:

    <li>This is how the HTML code looks for the first bullet point.
     
    </li><li>And this is how the HTML code looks for the second and all bullet points after that except for the last one.

    I copy </li><li> and can rapidly add it to the front of each bullet point, much faster than I could do it if I was having to copy the code to the beginning and end of each bullet point. This may seem quite lazy and yes, it probably is, but when you do a lot of posts, like I do, it saves a lot of time.

    For the last bullet point, you need to add the closing tags for the bullet point at the end of it so it will look like this:

    </li><li>Last bullet point.</li>

    And, of course, you need to add your closing tag for the list itself which will be either </ol> or </ul> depending on whether you’re doing an ordered or unordered list.

  5. For hyperlinks, this can be a little bit fiddly but still, it’s not too bad and works up quite quickly.

    • Before each word or phrase that will be hyperlinked, type &#60a href="" target="_blank">. As before type it in the first time then scroll down and copy it and paste this in front of every word or phrase that is to be hyperlinked.
    • At the end of each word or phrase being hyperlinked add </a>, typing it the first time then copying it and pasting it after every word or phrase to be hyperlinked as you scroll back up the document.
       
      So, at this point your hyperlink in your Word doc will look like this:
       
      &#60a href="" target="_blank">hyperlinked word or phrase</a>
    • The Word docs I get usually already have the hyperlink embedded into the word or phrase so I then right mouse click on the hyperlink and select Copy hyperlink from the menu options.
    • I then place my cursor between the "" and select Paste Special and then Unformatted Text.
    • Make sure there are no spaces between the hyperlink you’ve just pasted and the double quotes. If there are, delete them, then save your document after each hyperlink, otherwise it might revert back to a hyperlink instead of the HTML code for the hyperlink.
    • Sometimes when you right mouse click, you won’t see the option to copy the hyperlink because you will first need to select Ignore if the word isn’t in the dictionary and Word doesn’t recognize it. Once that’s done, the Copy Hyperlink option should appear when you right mouse click on the hyperlink.
    • Once you’ve copied the hyperlink to the HTML code, go back to the embedded hyperlink, right mouse click again and select Remove Hyperlink.

There are a few other tricks and short cuts I use but those are the main ones. I hope this makes sense to you. At first you may find it slow going but I promise that if you give it a try, you’ll soon understand HTML better and will soon be flying through your Word docs formatting them in HTML for your blog posts.

Let me know how this works for you or if you have any other tips to share with us.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Booking Your Blog: A Couple of Things to Consider

Booking Your Blog: A Couple of Things to Consider discusses issues you need to be mindful of if you decide to utilize your blog posts as content for a book.

Joel Friedlander used the term “book my blog” when he published his book A Self-Publisher’s Companion. Similar to Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book concept in a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” (i.e. the book concept or the blog), sort of way, both ideas ultimately suggest turning blog posts into a book.

If you plan to use your blog posts for a book right from the get go as Nina suggests in her book and on her blog How to Blog a Book, you may be able to avoid the issues in the list below because you can write your posts to avoid these pitfalls. But, if you decide to utilize your posts as content for a book after they are written as Joel did, be mindful of the following:

  • References to dates and times: It’s easy when you’re blogging to say something like “yesterday I read about…” or “at lunch today I thought about…” or “did you see that article this week about…” In your blog post these sort of references have context but in your book they won’t work, at least not without some tweaking. Try “I read about…” or “I thought about…” or “did you see the article about…” These may not be the best examples but I think they make the point.
  • Hyperlinks: If you’re publishing an e-book, the hyperlinks from your blog posts are likely to transition without too much difficulty. You should, of course, verify that the links are still active and working correctly. If you plan to publish a print book, however, proceed with caution. I’m currently reading a print book copy of The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. This book is a classic example of, in my opinion, what not to do with hyperlinks in a print book. There are numerous mentions in the book like this one: “Here’s a directory of LinkedIn groups.” The underlining implies that there was, once upon a time, a hyperlink, and presumably these hyperlinks still exist in the e-book version of The Art of Social Media. It is both frustrating and disappointing that some effort wasn’t made to type out the URL for these links. If the example above had been re-written to something like “A directory of LinkedIn groups can be found here: URL-goes-here” and the URL had been hyperlinked, it could have worked for both e-book and print book versions. Without the URLs it feels very much like being left out of the loop and several of the Amazon reviews for the book echo this sentiment. For your book, forewarned is forearmed, right? Keep all of your readers happy and avoid this.
     
    Note: Despite the absence of URLs in the print book, The Art of Social Media is a good read if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to get started with social media, or expand your social media reach.
  • References to past or future posts: Often if a blog post subject is complex, it can be split over multiple blog posts. Watch for references to previous or upcoming posts on the subject like “Booking Your Blog – Part 2”.

These issues can be corrected if you opt to convert your blog posts into a book and should be caught during editing.

Can you think of any other considerations when converting your blog posts to a book? If so, tell us in the comments.

Photo credit: Damesbaden, Scheveningen, Holland courtesy of The Library of Congress.

What Do You Do When Life Gets Too Busy to Blog?

What Do You Do When Life Gets Too Busy to Blog? explores options for when you’re too busy to maintain your usual blog posting schedule.

As part of your author platform it’s recommended that you create and maintain a blog and publish posts on a regular schedule. Many experts believe you need to publish posts at least twice a week.

But life is busy, isn’t it? And, there’re other aspects of your author platform to maintain as well like your social media, and if you’re working, have a family or other responsibilities that take your time, that doesn’t always leave you a lot of time to blog, not to mention actually write the books you’re trying to promote with your blog and social media, does it?

I get it. I really do. For months now I’ve been blogging three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I was really proud of my efforts and that I’d been able to maintain this schedule. But these past few weeks for a variety of reasons, I’ve struggled to maintain this schedule.

So, what do you do if you can’t maintain your blogging schedule?

  • Reduce the number of posts you publish every week. If, for example, you normally publish three times a week, maybe publish posts only once or twice a week.
  • Use guest posts. Other bloggers in your social network might be willing to write for you when you’re too busy to do so in exchange for you writing guest posts for them another time when they’re too busy. There are also many freelance writers looking for opportunities to write for established blogs.

    This solution may not be ideal because it involves you having to write articles in exchange, or create guest author guidelines, and you will still have to find time to format the blog post and schedule it to run on your blog. And, depending on the guest post author, it can sometimes take longer to edit and format a post written by someone else than it does to write your own post in the first place.

  • Write extra posts when you have time to do so and save them for when you don’t have the time to write other posts. Unless you’ve had the time to write a lot of blog posts this is most likely a short term solution but depending on your circumstances that might be all that you need.
  • Try to recruit regular contributors to routinely write for your blog. You can maintain the control over your blog but create a schedule for when each regular writer contributes a post and decide what subject areas each regular writer will cover. You will have more success with enticing other writers to invest in your blog if you already have a large following, but as with guest posts, this option still involves a fair bit of work on your behalf if you have to edit and format their blog posts for publication.
  • Collaborate with other authors to form a new blog and share the responsibilities for writing the posts instead of each writer struggling to maintain their own blogs.
  • Hire help. Virtual assistants can take on a lot of the work associated with maintaining a blog. If writing the posts isn’t the part that takes the majority of your time, but researching the topic and editing and formatting the post is, a virtual assistant can help with that and free up a lot of your time. A virtual assistant can also take on the responsibility of editing and formatting your guest authors’ or contributing writers’ articles.
  • Take a blogcation. I’d suggest that this option be a last resort. The internet is full of many blogs that have gone on hiatus, have never been revived, and if you go this route you run the risk that you will lose the audience that you have worked so hard to attract. But, if you feel that you have no other option, explain to your readers what you are doing and define a time line for your return and stick to that if at all possible.

As you may have guessed there is a reason I decided to blog on this topic tonight. I need to take a bit of a break from my three times a week blogging schedule, at least through the summer. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now with personal and professional responsibilities and I also want to open an Etsy shop for vintage children’s storybooks and pattern books for knitting, crocheting and numerous other crafts. It’s also been many years since I’ve had a proper holiday and while that’s not on the horizon for me just yet (it’s very difficult to get away for an offline holiday when you’re self-employed and have a zoo full of cats and dogs like I do), I would like to lighten my load where possible, just a bit this summer in lieu of a vacation so that I can sit on my patio and read a book or something frivolous like that periodically. Life is short and it’s important to take some time out to smell those roses.

So, starting today, I plan to blog only once a week on Fridays. I hope you’ll bear with me and that I’ve give you some ideas for how to manage your own blog should you ever need a bit of a break, too, for whatever reason.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Types of Blog Posts: The Almost A to Z List!

A few weeks ago I put together a roundup post of blog post ideas. This list is similar but more generic, listing the various types of posts that you can write. This list would be appropriate for writers and just about anyone else who blogs and is looking for inspiration.

Some of these may overlap but I had fun trying to come up with a type of blog post for every letter in the alphabet and I almost succeeded!

A

  • A “Look Behind the Scenes”
  • Anecdotes
  • Announcements

B

  • Best of list

C

  • Call to action
  • Case studies
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • Comparisons
  • Compliations
  • Contests
  • Controversial topics

D

  • Debating an issue
  • Defining terms and jargon

E

  • Encouragement
  • Entertaining (humour, parody)

F

  • Feedback
  • Follow-up posts
  • Freebies (resources, tools, etc.)
  • Frequently Asked Questions

G

  • Guest Posts

H

  • How-to’s and Tutorials
  • Humorous posts

I

  • Infographics
  • Inspirational
  • Interviews

J

  • Jokes

K

  • ??

L

  • Lists

M

  • Mailbag

N

  • News story comments

O

  • Opinion posts

P

  • Personal stories
  • Podcast show notes
  • Predictions
  • Presentations
  • Problem solving
  • Progress reports
  • Project updates

Q

  • Question and answer
  • Quizzes
  • Quotes

R

  • Reader surveys
  • Research results
  • Resources or link lists
  • Reviews
  • Roundup posts

S

  • Stories

T

  • Tips
  • To-do posts

U

  • Updates

V

  • Videos

W

  • Webinars

X, Y, Z

  • ??

As you can see, I haven’t been able to come up with any types of posts for K, X, Y or Z. Can you think of any that I can add to the list for those letters or any of the others? If so, please leave a comment.

Photo credit: Pixabay

5 Ways to Get Blog Post Comments

5 Ways to Get Blog Post Comments suggests ways that bloggers can build their audiences and attract comments.

This morning I reviewed blog posts for a client’s roundup blog post. I do this fairly regularly and every so often I stumble across a post that has attracted a huge number of comments. While we all strive for this level of engagement with our readers, very few of us actually achieve it.

So how do some bloggers manage to reel in so many comments?

  1. SEO and social media savviness

    In a recent blog post Kristen Lamb amassed 170+ comments. Kristen refers to herself as a “Social Media Jedi” and has written a book on how writers can use social media. If the number of comments on this blog post are any indication, it would seem she knows what she is talking about.

    Writing our posts is one thing, and our regular readers will find them, but getting the word out that the posts exist and attracting new readers is where search engine optimization know how and social media skills kick in.

  2. Longevity

  3. If you offer something of value and blog consistently, over time your audience will grow. They’ll hang around and feel comfortable with you, comfortable enough to voice their thoughts and leave comments.

    Author and blogger JA Konrath has been in the business a long time. He’s written 24 novels and 100+ short stories and he’s been blogging for over 10 years. This post drew over 230 comments.

  4. Good topics

    We’ve all seen them, and some of us may have even written them without realizing it, but some blog post topics are done to death. But, when we write about something fresh, or something that people really want to know about, we’ll attract readers—and comments.

    As an example, check out this post by self-publishing advocate Joel Friedlander on The Book Designer. ISBNs are a subject that a lot of people struggle to get their heads around and there’s not a lot out there about them written in layman’s terms so it’s easy to see why this particular post got so much attention.

  5. Controversial topics

  6. Topic that rile people up often draw a lot of comments. Take a look at this post by David Gaughran. The trick to this type of post is to try not to offend anyone because the internet never forgets and even if you delete your post later, online cache files could haunt you forever.

  7. Dedication

  8. In addition to all of the above points, blogging takes dedication and each of the bloggers I’ve mentioned in this article have proven their dedication to the task time and time again. They’re not alone. I could add a very long list of other dedicated bloggers.

    A dedicated blogger knows:

    • or learns about SEO and social media
    • that developing an audience won’t happen overnight and is prepared to be in it for the long haul
    • understands his or her audience and picks topics that will appeal to them
    • if or when, and how to use controversial topics

Do you have other ideas for ways to get people to leave comments on your blog? If so, tell me in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

WordPress Themes: Assessing the Options

Wordpress Themes: Assessing the Options explains where a blogger can find themes for Wordpress.org and what information is available for each theme.

I’m searching for a new blog theme compatible with my self-hosted WordPress blog.

I’ve just begun my search. I’m currently using Thesis, a theme developed by DIY Themes and I might consider the updated version of that. As you may have noticed this blog as it stands now, isn’t particularly user-friendly on a mobile device, particularly something with a small screen like a phone so that will definitely be part of the criteria for a new theme. Thesis is a commercial theme that I bought a licence for.

Free WordPress.org Themes

Did you know that WordPress.org has a massive directory of free themes?

You can search for these themes by:

  • Featured which currently lists 15 themes
  • Popular which lists all of the 1777 free themes available on this site according to popularity which is determined by the number of downloads.
  • Latest which lists the free themes from newest to oldest.

You can create a filter to search for particular features in a theme if you’ve got something specific in mind.

Filtering options include:

  • Colors – Black, Blue, Brown, Gray, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver, Tan, White, Yellow, Dark and Light
  • Layout – Fixed Layout, Fluid Layout, Responsive Layout, One Column, Two Columns, Three Columns, Four Columns, Left Sidebar and Right Sidebar
  • Features – Accessibility ready, Blavatar, BuddyPress, Custom Background, Custom Colors, Custom Header, Custom Menu, Editor Style, Featured Image Header, Featured Images, Flexible Header, Front Page Posting, Full Width Template, Microformats, Post Formats, RTL Language Support, Sticky Post, Theme Options, Threaded Comments and Translation Ready
  • Subject – Holiday, Photoblogging and Seasonal

If you place your cursor over the sample pictures for a theme you can click on the “More Info” button that appears and go to a detailed description for that particular theme. On the right panel of the pages describing the individual themes, you can:

  • opt to preview or download the theme
  • see the ratings for that particular theme given out of a potential of 5 stars
  • see date of the last updates to the theme
  • access the link to the support forum for that theme
  • see the list of tags for that theme that correspond to the Features Filter
  • see the number of downloads per day and overall number of downloads for that theme

For example, on the Homepage of the Twenty Twelve theme, we can see that:

  • it was last updated on December 17, 2014.
  • it has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating with a total of 119 reviews
  • there have been 1,732,253 downloads of this theme overall

WordPress.org Commercial Themes

WordPress.org also offers a directory of commercial themes. These themes are not free but may offer features and stability that some of the free themes may not offer.

I need to compile a list of my criteria for a new theme and then check out the possibilities and make some decisions.

What do you think? What features do you think are important for a writer’s blog? Is there a particular theme that you like or can recommend? Tell me in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Use Blog Carnivals to Grow Your Audience

Blog carnivals are a great way to grow the audience for your own blog. The premise is simple: submit links to your best blog posts on a particular topic to a blog carnival hosted on another blog and your posts will, in theory, be read along with all of the other submissions made to that particular blog carnival. If readers like what you’ve written they’ll keep coming back to your blog.

Blog carnivals used to be much more common and it’s too bad that there aren’t more of them running now. Below I have listed information about two blog carnivals that are still in operation. I’d encourage you to not only submit to them but also to take the time to read an issue or two.

AME Blog Carnival

  • This carnival runs weekly and is published on Mondays.
  • Submissions made by Friday will be included in the carnival the following Monday.
  • Submission categories include: Book Marketing, Book Publicity, Social Media, Writing, Book Sales, Self-Publishing, and Getting Published.

Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies

  • This carnival runs once a month and is published on the last Sunday of the month.
  • The submission deadline is the 15th of the month.
  • Submission categories include: Indie Author, Writing Tools & Tips, Book Design & Production, Marketing & Selling Your Books, EBooks and EBook Readers, and Self-Publishing Success.

Do you know of any other self-publishing or writing related blog carnivals that I could add to this list? If so, let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Hyperlinks: Pretty, Smart and Short

Hyperlinks: Pretty, Smart and Short describes three options for modifying hyperlinks to make rename them, make them geo-aware or shorten them.

I’ve never tracked how many hyperlinks I use in a day, clicking on them, adding them to blog posts and emails, and so on. I bet some days I use hundreds of them and that’s not an exaggeration. They’ve become firmly entrenched in our day to day online operations, haven’t they? In fact, I might go so far as to say, without hyperlinks there’d be no internet?

But some URLs are so long and random that you couldn’t possibly type them from memory and they’re useless for use on social media, particularly on Twitter where you’re limited to a mere 140 characters. Other URLs take us to sites that we can’t practically use because of geographic restrictions. So, today, I thought I’d tell you about a few options you could try.

Pretty Links

This is a plugin that works with WordPress.org sites. It enables you to shorten, redirect and rename awkward links for affiliate sites or social networking sites or pretty much any sort of hyperlink on your site, even the links that aren’t particularly lengthy and awkward, using your own domain name. And, you can access statistics so that you know the number of hits per link.

So, for example, my affiliate link for Book Design Templates is: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=239841&c=ib&aff=292655.

With the Pretty Links plugin, I could change that to http://shelleysturgeon.com/bookdesigntemplates, and not only would it be easier to remember, I could also view the stats on how often that link was clicked on from my site.

There’s a free version and a pro version which offers even more features. You can see the differences between the two products here. The pro version currently sells for $37 for one website or $97 for multiple sites.

Smart URLs

Ever clicked on an Amazon link on someone’s site to buy their book only to discover that it directs you to Amazon in a foreign country that won’t ship to you or allow you to download e-books through their site?

SmartURL will take care of that.

This is a free utility. Its links are” geo-aware” so if you use a Smart URL on your site for your Amazon book, and someone in the UK clicks on it, they are sent to Amazon.co.uk. Smart URL is not Amazon-specific and will work with various sites.

For more information about Smart URLs features click here. FAQs for Smart URLs can be found here.

Booklinker

Booklinker is similar to Smart URLs but it is only for links to Amazon.

Link Shorteners

Link shorteners are helpful on social media or when a hyperlink is long or awkward and you want to share it. There are many link shorteners available on the web but I’d advise that you do your research and stick to reputable ones as some link shorteners have been linked (no pun intended) to malware and adware.
I regularly use the following three link shorteners:

  1. Google URL Shortener
  2. Ow.ly
  3. Bitly

So, using the URL for this blog post and shortening it using these URL shorteners, this http://shelleysturgeon.com/hyperlinks-pretty-smart-and-short/ becomes:

  1. http://goo.gl/au5Njt
  2. http://ow.ly/KBKRo
  3. http://bit.ly/1FgpcsA

Significantly shorter URLs, aren’t they? So I guess it’s pretty obvious why they work better on social media, especially on Twitter when used in tweets and you’re limited to 140 characters.

Generally speaking, however, it is a good idea to exercise good judgement when clicking on shortened URLs because you can never really be sure where the link you’re clicking on will take you. Make sure you trust the person or site providing you with the shortened URL.

So there you have it–three flavours of hyperlinks! I hope you find them useful.

Photo credit: Buttercups Springtime via photopin (license)

Write a Blog Post in 70 Minutes or Less?

Write a Blog Post in 70 Minutes or Less? shares a link to a podcast by Michael Hyatt detailing his routine for writing a blog post in 70 minutes or less.

Can’t believe it’s Friday again! This week has been a blur!

Found another good video to share with you this week. Blogging is something that we, as writers trying to build our author platforms, are advised to do, yet this is intimidating for many of us. Michael Hyatt has been blogging for years and in this video (audio also available) he shares how he writes a blog post in just 70 minutes.

HOW TO WRITE A BLOG POST IN 70 MINUTES OR LESS [PODCAST]

You may have other ideas, or already do it a bit differently, but it’s hard to argue with success!

Enjoy!

Photo credit: clsturgeon / Flickr