How Many Blog Posts Do I Need in Reserve?

A week ago, I did something really, really stupid.

I opened the car door, put my hand on the roof of the car and let the children get out from the back of it. And then I slammed the car door. Only I didn’t move my hand.

The pain was immense but the kids were there, so I only swore once. A mild, gentle swear word, and then I opened the car door and released my finger.

It happened so quick I didn’t quite realise that random act of stupidity would actually break my finger and put me out of blogging action for six weeks.

You see; I broke my typing finger. I half touch type and now I can’t use my main typing finger…

From this painful experience, I realised that I need at least six weeks worth of posts in reserve for when I commit one of my random acts of stupidity (and believe me, there are plenty of those, from a broken wrist to slipping over in the snow).

It seems that I was half prepared for this to happen as I have 156 posts in drafts waiting to be perfected in some way or another. It was time to let my children go, or give them away as Joey would say.

It’s strange having that many blog posts in reserve, some 99% prepared and some just 20% ready, and it wasn’t a planned strategy.

Luckily, my clients have given me some extra time to complete projects. I type very slowly left handed…
Do you have a plan for when life gets in the way of blogging?

Should you even have a plan for when you can’t type? I think so, and the broken wrist taught me that Dragon does not understand my east London accent, so I couldn’t speak my posts.

Blog Plan #1 Extra posts per month.

If you currently post four times a month, could you increase it to five times a month so you build up a reserve? For when “just in case” happens?

A little extra here and there can make a big difference. For me it gave me an extra 150+ posts.

Blog Plan #2 Comments

If you can’t write a full post, can you comment? It might be worth stripping the dates for your blog posts and then going on a mega blog commenting spree. Shorter bursts of writing, less strain and reaching potential newcomers to your blog, who at first glance, won’t notice that you are not posting as often.

Note to self, do this ASAP.

Blog Plan #3 Guest posts

Guest posts could fill the gap quite nicely, but I wasn’t planning to break my finger and there are few people who wish to guest post about transport.

Luckily, I have a newsletter for my personal blog, and I’ve asked my readers if they would like to guest post whilst I get my mojo back. I may have to offer them a hard hat and safety equipment as an incentive 😉

Do you have an emergency plan for your blog? Share with us your tips on how you cover your blog in an emergency. I’d love to know how you plan for when life gets in the way.

Pinterest for Bloggers: The FBBB Ultimate Guide

We’ve heard the stats: More traffic referred than LinkedIn, You Tube and Google Plus combined and we’ve  all headed over to Pinterest like the hordes of  Khan, descending upon the Steppe.

The regular users of Pinterest must be thrilled at all these marketers descending upon them telling them how to use the site and use it to their own advantage 😉

But can Pinterest be used by bloggers, too? Of course – and here’s how!
Setting up your Pinterest account is easy:

If you don’t have an invite, says so in the comments section and we’ll get one to you.

Then set up your boards – they key to getting found is accurate naming and categorising of the boards. You can use keywords in your board names and you should have a variety of boards. Not just one board stuffed with anything you like, but a board for each topic and that topic categorised correctly.
Pinterest: Create a Board

You can add a board to your account at anytime. You start out with 5 boards that Pinterest suggests for you. To create a new board, click the “Add+” button on which is located on the site’s top right menu.

Pinterest add 1

Next, you’ll get the choice of adding a pin, uploading a pin or creating a board.  We choose the “create a board” option.

Pinterest create a board

Next you can create a name for your board and select a category. For the purpose of this tutorial call the board anything you like, but remember you can make the title keyword rich.


You can choose to allow others to pin to your board. This is really useful if you’re working on a collaborative project, planning an event, planning a wedding, restoring a car, a road trip or something else that requires input from others.

If that’s the case, you can select “Me + Contributors”. Add an email address and then click “Add”.


You can also add people who are already following you, by starting to type their name and Pinterest will populate the field with potential choices.

Pinterest -user-contribute

You can edit your board at a later date, including adding or removing contributors later.
The Actual Pinning Part…

To create a pin, you can

Do it directly from the Pinterest website,
Add a “Pin It” button to your browser
Or using the iPhone mobile app (at the time of typing other Smartphone apps are not available).

We’re going look at how you can pin from the Pinterest website and using the Pinterest Bookmarklet via your browser.
Pinning from a Web Page Using the Pinterest Website:

At the top right menu, click the “Add+” link.

Pinterest Add

You can add a pin from a web page or upload a pin from your computer. To a pin from a web page, click “Add a Pin.”

Pinterest -add-pin

Enter the web page address that you’d like to choose a picture from. Enter the specific page you want, not just the website name. The website name will give you a very limited choice of images to pin.

Pinterest Find an image via web

Click “Find Images” when you’re done. Now, Pinterest will locate the images on the page you specified. Choose the image you want, specify the board you want to pin it to and add a little description.  You can also highlight the text on page and Pinterest will pull that text into the description box. Click “Pin it” when you’re done.

Pinning an Image from Your Computer Using the Pinterest Website

Pinning an image from you computer is a great way of adding an image to a pin and then embedding that pin into your blog post.

Pinterest add 1

After you’ve clicked the “Add+” button in the menu, this time you’re going to choose “Upload a Pin” instead.


Next, choose a picture from your computer, select an appropriate board and add a description. The description is important – if you add a price in dollars your pin will show in the gifts section of the site. The description should be keyword rich and image related wherever possible. When people search they want to find relevant images. If you keyword stuff or describe a pin inaccurately the searcher will get bored and move away from your boards.

Remember to click “Pin It” when you’re done.

Pinning from the “Pin It” Button on Your Browser

The “Pin It” button is the easiest way to pin from a website, so I recommend you set it up. To add it, go to and read up on the “Pin It” Button. All you have to do is drag and drop that button into the bookmarks toolbar near the top of your browser.

Now the button is on your toolbar. To use it, go to a web page you want to pin from and click it.

Pinterest 13-pin-it-browser

Pinterest will find all the images on that page. Just hover over the one you want and click the “Pin This” button that appears.

It’s as simple as that.
A Note About Images You Find on the Web:

Before you get really into pinning (it’s quite addictive) have a look through Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette page at:

Pinterest stress the importance of providing proper credit for the images you use. This means you must go to the original source of the image,  rather than directly pinning from Google Images. If you are using Google Images to find your photos, click to view the original page and click the “X” at the top right corner of the image. That will bring you to the original web page and you can pin from there.

When an image is pinned through Google, if it’s not pinned from the source it will be attributed incorrectly. That doesn’t help anyone and at best seems lazy and at it’s worst it could be copyright theft.

If you are an artist or creative you will understand the important of attributing the images you pin correctly. Make sure if you use Google for images that you click the “x” and pin directly from the website.


You Can Also Pin Video

Pinning video

Although I have struggled to pin videos directly from You Tube, it is possible to pin Videos onto your pinboards. In this instance I find it works best when the video to be pinned is in a blog post or article and pinned directly from that page. When I have tried to pin from You Tube it tells me there are no videos  or large images on the page 🙂

At the top of the Pinterest site you will see a selection of videos that are pinned. You can watch them directly on Pinterest and repin them from the site.
Repin, Like, Comment and Tagging

You can find great images, by viewing the pins of other members. Whether you look at the public timeline or people you’re following, you can participate in Pinterest by repinning, liking or commenting on their pins.

Hover over any pin, you’d like to repin and you’ll see 3 options. Choose “Repin”.

Pinterest repin

Then you’ll be able to choose the board you want to pit in it to and you can also change the description( if you’d like to) before repinning. If you highlight text on the page, then click the pin button, the highlighted text will be pulled into the description box.

Check to see what is actually in the description box before you re-pin. Or you could find people think you are the one saying how cute when you re-pin a photo of jellybabies.

Pinterest -mum-babe

To like a pin, you just select “Like” option shown earlier and the pin will then be recorded in your “Likes” section. It’s a bit  like bookmarking and it’s very visual. These are public and anyone can see the content that you have liked. This is handy if you want to like something but not share it via your boards.


You can also leave a comment on anyone’s pin. Just click the “Comment” button and say what you love about the pin, or thank them for re-pinning. In the Pin-Etiquette section it asks you to be respectful in your comments as we all like different things. Wise words.

How Not to Comment…

To much text in a comment on Pinterest

Yes, that’s one image and a whole page of text. I don’t read that text, I am looking at interesting images and masses of text makes me less likely to re-pin something. The ideal amount of text is 3 or 4 sentences describing the image.

Just like on Facebook and Google Plus, if you use the @ symbol and start typing a friends name you can tag them in the description box of a pin. As you start typing Pinterest suggests people you may be looking to tag.
We Can Find Images from Pinterest to Use on Our Blogs

Searching images on Pinterest

Using the search function we can search using keywords, I used blogging. This pulls up all the images people say are related to blogging. To embed a pin you have to select one.

Embed a pin in a blog post

Then click the embed button

Embedding a pin into your blog post

When you have the html code, add into your blog post via your HTML editor and it will look like this –

Source: via Alaina on Pinterest

The pin, when embedded, credits the pinner and the original source.

If you add additional images you have a whole new type of list post, one created from pins. This can be used by bloggers looking to create product lists that are visually appealing or a different look for their online store.
Additional Blog Marketing via Pinterest

Pinterest can be used for more than just images when it comes to blogging. You can pin coupons to a board and show that board in your blog’s sidebar. The plugin just for that is  the aptly named Pinterest Pinboard widget. In your sidebar you can show the boards that are relevant to the content of the site and not every board that you have.

You can have a board of images with your URL or logo watermarked onto the images, when these are re-pinned they mention you the original source – useful in case the images land up in google images and not attributed correctly. My friend, the botanical photographer Anita Hunt, does this with her images. Her URL is in white, on the petal, in the 5pm position.

The Super Simple Pinterest plugin displays your most recent pins in a widget, well that could get a little dangerous for me. Charlie Hunnam would take over my sidebar and detract from my content 😉 … more on WordPress plugins for Pinterest can be found here – WordPress and Pinterest.
Images, Where Do I Find Fabulous Images?

Here’s the thing… if you are using an image created by someone else, you are not the source. Now is the time to learn how to get creative with graphics, how to take a better photograph, how to hack up the images that you do own.  It doesn’t take much, trust me when I say that (I don’t even own a copy of photoshop), to create n image that’s quirky or different. You can buy stock images and add to them / resize / re-shape and create something new.
But I Don’t Want Anyone Pinning My Images

Well the good news is you can add a snippet of code to the “head” of your site or a page on your site and prevent the images from being pinned. This is useful to photographers who wish to protect certain images or images of a commercial or sensitive nature.

You can find out more about “no-pinning” here.
Can I Pin Affiliate Links?

Yes you can Pin affiliated products. Remember to add the $ symbol so people are aware that it can be purchased. Also be aware that this is the exception and not the rule. If every Pin you post is one that is an affiliate link or a product promo people will soon get fed up with you and your pins won’t get viewed. Be sensible here.

Pinterest is an established community already.

With many people, who have been  happily pinning whilst we have all been working out Google Plus. They are mainly female (73% of users according to Experian Hitwise) and they have a great deal of influence (although the ratio in the UK is skewed towards man – go figure!).

I have read posts from blokes moaning that women are on Pinterest or it’s only shoes and wedding businesses there. Now is the time to put aside “gender” differences and go and mingle with people you have not  met before.

For blokes that lack the imagination to work out what to pin, start with classic cars and your greatest books and the best things on TV. It will grow on you and you will find that when you follow your friends you will find new people with similar interests.

You do not have to look at every single pin, you choose who you follow and what you see, just like you  do on Twitter.

So, there you have it – the ultimate guide to Pinterest for bloggers. Ready to start Pinning?

5 Ways the Right Photo Can Get You More Blog Readers

If you are like me, your blog posts take some time to write. Sometimes lots of time.

And if you fight The Princess Syndrome, they can take even longer.

I’ll toss a topic around, let it marinate. Even start a post and abandon it because I’m not feeling particularly passionate about it.

So by the time I’m finished, I want to be finished.

I want to knock it out of my brain so those guys Stephen King calls The Boys in the Basement can come back. You know, the ones with more bright, shiny ideas?

But wait. Now I have to think about a photo?
Why photos engage your readers

Because words alone are boring.

Your visitor needs a reason to read your post. If she sees too many words squeezed together, all bunched up, like they’re in a hot room and can’t breathe, well, she’ll feel the same way.

Because, let’s face it, we’re all attention-disordered.

The right photo will pull us by the shoulders and make us stop long enough to read the post.

Because at least 60 percent of your readers are visual learners.

Cave men knew it. A picture just makes us sit up. Makes us remember a story. And the research on how we learn shows that 60 percent of us are more engaged by the visual. We actually take in and retain information better when we see it (as opposed to just hearing it).

Because photos work beautifully with analogies and metaphors.

The photo is the powerful partner of metaphor. Something is like something else and here, this photo helps you see that.

Because a photo will pull your readers into the post.

We are all curious creatures. We are hard-wired to want to know why. Photos can make your reader wonder, “Why is this here?” And she’ll have to read your post to find out.

Because photos evoke emotions and give your business a personality.

Photos set the tone. Love. Fear. Laugh-out-loud funny. On my own blog, I don’t take myself too seriously and my photos reflect that.
5 ways the right photo can get you more blog readers

The right photo can increase reader engagement and blog post views by:
1. Conveying the overall feeling or emotion of your post.

I wrote a post recently on why negative headlines work. I was going for hate or anger with my image. The photo: A crazy-looking rock star guy sticking his tongue out.

negative blog post headlines

2. Illustrating a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea.

I wanted a way to explain why we gave up our baby, our 10-month-old Internet marketing business and went back to a sole focus on our 16-year-old graphic design and copywriting firm.

I was looking for a way to show how needy and contentious the baby was and how jealous our 16-year-old was because she had lost our love and attention. The photo: A very cute baby staring out from the page, focused, looking like he wants all your attention.

3. Evoking surprise or curiosity.

I wrote a post on my marketing blog about finding your niche. In it, I talked about whether “nichifying” your business too much might leave you with too few prospects and clients.

I gave the example of Swedish cowboys who collect Star Wars memorabilia as perhaps too limiting a niche. The photo: A Marlboro Man-type cowboy with his horse.

4. Complementing your headline.

This is a good way to engage your reader. But don’t look for a photo that, in a boring way, is exactly what your headline is saying, I mean, literally.

In one post in a series on marketing with enewsletters, the one on building your list organically by getting permission to send your letter out first, the photo was a little boy in a classroom holding up his hand, waiting to be called on by the teacher.

5. Simply making your reader smile.

Okay, I’ll admit. Some photos I choose just because of the smile factor. I wrote a post called, The Crazy Cat Edition: Does the Real You Show Up Online? It started with the story of my cat, who is a ventriloquist. He imitates the sounds of lots of different animals and I never know which cat is showing up until he starts talking.

And that introduced my post on the importance of showing up online with a consistent and unique voice. The photo: the craziest-looking cat I could find.

What about you?

Do you use photos in your posts?

Do you enjoy reading blog posts with appealing photos more?

What kinds are you attracted to?

Any tips to share?

How to Use Keyword Research to Supercharge Your Blogging Strategy

One of the hot topics of discussion over the years has been the use of keyword research on a blog. Should it used? How often? How extensive? For what reason? All of these are questions that have been long debated in the blogging community.

Keyword research is, at its core, simply discovering what keyword or keywords that a user types into a Search Engine like Google to find information. Using these discovered keywords in your postings is referred to as search engine optimization or SEO.

Some purists say that you should write for your audience without the need for specific search engine optimization. The thinking goes that people as attracted to good, high quality content and as long as your are producing said content, people will read your stuff.

Others relay almost solely on strong research of keyword search terms and then base their writing around those terms. The thinking goes that you should be producing content that people are actually searching for. This is, in this groups minds, the way to grow a blog.

A third group uses a mixture of both methods. Keyword research is a part of their blogging strategy, but not the only part.

So who is right and who is wrong?

No one.

What is right is what you want it to be. In my experience I have discovered that all three methods work. Personally, I fall into group three. Some of my posts are optimized with keywords. Others are not – it just depends on the topic and my strategy for the post.

I would recommend the group three style but I realize that this deal is a choice thing. Choose which one feels right and works best for your particular blogging strategy (assuming you have one).
If you do choose to use keywords in your blog posts, here are three suggestions:
1. Make an extensive list of keywords for your blogs focus and purpose

Hopefully you did this when you were first setting up your blog. The idea is the brainstorm keywords that go along with the theme, topic, focus and or purpose of your blog. Consider all words that would “fit” with that purpose.

Here are some examples of keywords that would be fitting with the purpose of For Bloggers By Bloggers:

blogging tips
blogging styles
blog design
wordpress tips
social media
blog topics
how to

….just to name a few.
2. From your extensive list, pull keywords for further research

Now is the time to use a keyword search tool to help you determine which words will give you the best results when people do a search for that information.

There are a bunch of high powered keyword research tools out on the market. I have a couple of them, but more often than not, I use Google’s free Keyword Research Tool.

Through the process of searching for the best, most often used and searched keyword terms, you will come up with a list to use in your posts.
3. Write naturally and use your keywords sparingly

Remember, your audience wants to read good quality content that is written with them in mind. They do not want keyword stuffed posts that are more about getting traffic to your blog than their needs.

The easiest way to avoid problems is to write first in a way that flows with your chosen topic. Write like you are talking to one person who has a need that you are trying to meet. Once this is accomplished, go back and replace appropriate words with your keywords.

Keywords and the research that surrounds them can be effectively used in your blogging strategy. Use them when needed. Do so in a manner that enhances your writing and the purpose of your blog.

Most of all, have fun!
Your Turn:

Do you use keyword research on your blog? In what ways has it helped or hurt?

5 Guaranteed Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed More

Ask pretty much any blogger what the biggest challenge was when they first started blogging, and getting their blog noticed will probably be one of the most popular answers.

While we all want to be a Problogger or Copyblogger from the off, it’s probably not going to happen (unless you’re friends with either Darren Rowse or Brian Clark and they pimp the hell out of you!).

And with millions of bloggers giving up because they’re not getting the traffic to make it worthwhile for them, you can see why getting your blog noticed carries such importance.

While there’s no doubt a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time can help, there are also some ways that are pretty much guaranteed to get your blog noticed.

Here are just five of them.
Learn SEO

One of the most tried and tested forms of any website or blog being found is search engine optimization, or SEO. As the name suggests, this is making sure your blog is as optimized as possible when it comes to being found via searches on the likes of Google, Bing, Yahoo and more.

When you start blogging, usually you’re going to want to be known for a certain niche or topic, and be found by people searching for that topic. This is where knowing SEO and its benefits come in.

As an example, if you go to and search for “best blogging tips”, For Bloggers By Bloggers is currently at #3 on the first page for this term, and #2 on the first page of Bing (at the time of writing). Since most web surfers go by results from the first page of search, and the results that are higher up that page, it’s easy to see that we get a lot of traffic for this term, which we’re really happy about.

If you’re unsure how SEO works, or how to best use it for your blog, check out this great tip sheet from SEOmoz, the leading source for SEO best practices.
Write Great Headlines

While SEO is a great method for getting more visibility to your blog, many bloggers don’t like having to write with search engines in mind – they (often correctly) feel that it takes away the flow of their post, and turns it into a keyword-stuffed ramble instead.

So another great way to grab traffic to your blog is to write great headlines.

Great blog headlines

Take a look at some of the most popular blogs, and you’ll see that (generally), the headline has a great attraction factor built in.

Take Copyblogger, for example, with titles like 125 Tips for Building an Irresistible Brand and 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content.

Though I’m biased, I also think we have some great headlines here, with 10 Reasons No One Notices Your Blog Comment and How to Blog Like an A-Lister being just a couple of examples.

Since one of the first things a visitor sees when visiting your blog is your post title, you need to make it grab their attention. So think of ways on how to do this:

Read your title aloud and see if you can say it in one breath. If you can’t, it’s too long.
Think of what people would search for in search engines, and build your title around that.
Think how it’ll look when being shared on social networks – will the title grab interest right away?
Use powerful wording. No-one’s going to get excited about “Another Blog Post About Blogging”; but if you change it to “Why Your Blog is a Secret Goldmine”, it’s going to pique interest more.

You have anywhere between three and fifteen seconds to grab a visitor to your blog. Make sure your headline invites them in.
Make It Easy to Share

You have a blog. You write kick-ass content day in, day out. You make people think when they read, and they want to tell the world about your blog and how great it is. So they go to share with their social networks, by using the social sharing buttons on your post.

Except you don’t have any, or you have very limited options (usually just limiting those to Facebook and Twitter).

Why? Why would you erect any barriers to letting people share your post you’ve worked so hard on? That’s like getting a date with Jessica Alba and then spending the evening talking about your Jessica Biel crush.

So make it easy for people to distribute your blog post. There are a ton of options available, regardless of what blogging platform you use (Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or others).

Some you may have to hard code into your blog (Google how to do this for your chosen platform), some you can add as plug-ins. On For Bloggers By Bloggers, we use the Digg Digg plug-in for the sharing options at the top of each post, and Sociable Pro at the end. There are many more – see what some of your favourite bloggers are using, and ask what it is if you like it.

But whatever you do, at least make sure you have a decent social sharing option!
Comment More Than You Blog

This might sound like the last thing you want to be doing when you’re trying to get your blog noticed. After all, isn’t the whole idea meant to be growing your blog, as opposed to growing the comments of someone else’s blog?

Well, yes it is – but there’s method to this madness. Because as you comment more on blogs, the more people will start to notice you. The more people notice you, the more they’ll become interested in what you have to say. The more they become interested in what you have to say… well, all they need to is click on your URL and come to your blog.

Better still, if that blogger is using the CommentLuv system, you can choose to leave a link to your most recent blog post. This is a great way for others to find out about you – and more reason to write great headlines!

If you’re not too sure about how often you should comment, or you just want some tips, check out this great post by Judy Dunn on how to make your blog comments great.
Tell People About It!

Seems like a no-brainer, huh? You have a blog, you’re publishing left, right and centre (or will be) and world domination is in your grasp. Except it won’t be if no-one knows about your blog in the first place.

So tell people about it!

Register your blog on blog communities (especially ones in your niche). Sites like Scribnia, BlogEngage, ComLuv and more are great starting points.
Update your email signature to have your blog URL on there. If your email service supports it, use something like WiseStamp to give you a cool email signature that allows you to share your latest post automatically (via the RSS feed).
Update your social networks to share your URL, and send a message to your friends to ask them to check it out.
Put it on your business cards if you use them.
Ask your friends and social network connections if they can spread the news about your blog.

These are just five ways to help you get your blog noticed, either as a new blogger or someone who’s been blogging a while. While (technically) nothing is ever guaranteed, by following these five tips you should start to see a difference in your traffic.

How about you – what approaches have you found useful? Do you use any of the ones here, and how have they worked for you?