A. Time flies when you’re having fun! I’ve been writing online for about 10 years now, including my forays into another couple of sites. I write every week, and Friday is my deadline. There have been just a couple of weeks that I haven’t managed it, ‘cause life does interfere sometimes. On those occasions I’ve been touched to have emails from online friends and readers, asking if all is well! I’ll never forget a lovely subscriber from Kentucky who emailed when I was late, mildly chastising me because she always reads my blog with her morning coffee! The global community is amazing, and I’m privileged to be a part of it.
Q. How do you think of things to write about?
A. Oh, wow! Surely everyone has something to experience or think about at least once a week!
Yet this is a question I’m often asked.
Some, probably most folks, have what is called a niche blog. They focus on writing about one specialty. That’s how you get all the answers when you have questions about marketing, how to do things, writing, etc. Others just write for their families. I try to give more general information, exploring random thoughts and news that hopefully you find of interest.
A. It always seems incredible, but many thousands of friends, subscribers and readers turn to it! This isn’t solely due to the fabulous content! You can’t write for the masses in isolation online and be successful. You have to develop a network. Some folks do this by developing their social media contacts and followers.
Others, like me, seriously neglect this aspect, but my not-so-secret advantage comes from having a wonderful relationship with two other online friends, Maria Jordan from marcoujor, and Angelia Phillips from flashpress. We are separated geographically, yet we can instantly call on each other for our separate talents, and during times of need. You would be amazed to know how much goes on behind the scenes of blog production.
Further to this, all of us care greatly about others, and are always willing to help other bloggers with challenges, and to give them encouragement. If you look at the spinning globe on our Weebly sites you’ll see all the little lights on it. Those are readers, and you may even see some of them, including you, are actively reading as you watch!
Q. What is the difference between a reader and a subscriber? Why should I subscribe if I can read anyway? And what’s a ‘Shoutout’ that I see at the end of your weekly posts?
A. A subscriber can best be described as a reader who decides they like your work, goes the next step and signs up to receive notifications when you write new posts. Some sites do have a paywall so you have to pay for a subscription and to see their work. My ‘subscriptions’ are totally free, but when you do me the honor of subscribing they count towards my Google stats and ranking. The number of subscribers you have helps to show the importance people place on reading your blog. I never share your email with anyone else.
‘Shoutouts’ is webspeak for recommended reading! I don’t particularly love the term myself, as I’m not a shouter, but online folks know exactly what it means. So our little three musketeers group decided quite a while ago, we’d all use it. We love to promote the work of others on our sites too, and this is a good way to affirm them, and introduce them to folks who might like to read their work too.
Q. How do you make money on your blog?
A. A lot of bloggers use ads on their sites. When you click on the ads the blogger gets a tiny share of whatever it costs those ads to be there. Usually the ads you’ll see are those that Google knows apply to your interests or spending habits. So we don’t all see the same ads! And Google is always watching!
You may notice on the right margin of my blog pages there is a tip jar, and for a golden time bloggers and readers could tip me a free small amount if they enjoyed my content. Now I and others are still searching for an alternativeto the PayPal recommendation you see there. It still works well for folks in the USA, or Canada, because there are no extra charges for receiving tips. But if you Canadians want to send money...well that’s a whole different thing. You’ll be charged an exchange fee to US dollars, whatever you might want, plus the fee for PayPal. It certainly takes a big whack out of your budget!
Q. What else do you do, apart from writing?
A. I have a busy life, with leading two writing groups every second week, plus social stuff in our area, and of course caring for Dearly Beloved and our home and garden. To keep balance we have jigsaw puzzles at the ready all the time, and I also have a very slow-growing but fascinating little lithops succulent ‘farm” taking shape in the sunroom. I feel extremely blessed with the richness of life.
Q. How do you choose the winner each month?
A. This is simple. I have a spreadsheet with my subscribers each allotted a number. I bought some poker chips at the dollar store, and wrote all the numbers on them. They get thoroughly shaken up by Dearly Beloved, who then draws one. I get so excited about being able to surprise someone with a “winner” email!
So if you want to get into the possibility of a C$20 draw each month, please subscribe to my site if you haven’t during the last 5 months. You’ll find the special giftback form on my CONTACT/SUBSCRIBE page that you access from the heading telling you about my site.
The latest winner is Martie Coetser from South Africa. Her site is full of news about South Africa. I’m shouting out her latest post, in which she tells of her little windfall. Her response to a comment by one of her readers gives you a reason to think about doing this on your own blog.
“I can do a lot with $20. According to today's rand-dollar exchange it would be R233. Just to give you an idea: 23 loafs of bread, or 20 liters milk, or pure coffee for 2 months.... or 30% towards my monthly meds, or 50% towards petrol... and so forth. However, I prefer to spend gifts on something special, like material for a new set of clothes, or perhaps a piece of jewelry, or a pair of sandals, perfume, or.... mmmm, I have to go check my wish-list... “
Finishing here for the week with Jackie Deshannon
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely and loving weekend. Hug your children and whoever else seems to need one.