in future episodes will cover
content ideas, Why farmers should blog, compressing videos and images for fast upload, basic seo, page design, categories and tags, What’s important for agbusiness sites, advocating for ag industry, plugins or software reviews
Have your site featured by using the microphone on the left and send your guest intro. I’ll include a link in the show notes.
Think minimalism here. Too many widgets/gadgets makes an unattractive blog. What is the main purpose of your blog? Anything in your sidebar should help you accomplish this purpose. Everything else is a waste of valuable space.
What to include?
1. mini bio with pic of your face
2. subscription to site
3. popular posts
4. social media buttons
5. categories (rather than archives)
Optional: 1. pick one of the social media sites that you are most active in and give it more prominence with a bigger widget. such as instagram photos, latest pins, facebook like faces, lastest tweets 2. testimonials for ag businesses 3. search (some say this is important others don’t)
Widgets to dump: tag clouds (clutter), recent posts (redundant they are already listed), blog rolls (at least limit to 3 or 4), network blogs (readers don’t care), too many social media streams (pick one)
It is very important to limit any links that take people away from your site.
Bloggers can become very attached to certain widgets. You should remember that the sidebar is for your visitors not you. Help them discover what your site has to offer without overwhelming them.
This is is step three in my free ebook “8 Steps to Update Your Website”. To quickly update your site with the other steps fill out the address box below and click subscribe. The ebook will be sent to you after confirmation.
Recently I have been posting on topics that are on the technical side. With Brandi from Buzzard’s Beat nominating me for a blog award, I took it for a great opportunity to mix it up a bit. This one is just for fun. And you can learn a little more about the person behind this site.
Now to the Award
Leibster award which is a way to help bloggers interact and increase their networks, readership and just have fun. The point of the Leibster Award is to encourage fellow bloggers and build a larger social community. It is awarded to bloggers by bloggers with a following of fewer than 200 people.
First I tell 11 random facts about me. Then answer Brandi’s 11 questions. And choose 11 more bloggers to pass the award on.
11 Random Facts about farmNwife:
1. Before kids, I ran the pig farrow house and nursery on our farm.
2. I have an Agriculture Production Degree from Illinois State Univ.
3. I love cattle so much more than hogs.
4. I was not raised on a farm.
5. I married the farm at 19 and don’t mind the term farmwife one bit.
6. I can’t stand the sound of corduroy material.
7. But I don’t mind the screeching of nails on a chalkboard.
8. I can flex my pecs.
9. I hate the taste & smell of tuna.
10. I enjoy learning photography.
11. I know the words to Bonanza’s theme song.
Brandi’s 11 Questions:
1. Why did you start blogging? I started KidsCattle.com to show people how cute my kids were showing cattle. I had lots of traffic from homeschool forums that I used to frequent. 2. What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your life? That I preserved my generation’s story of our farm’s heritage for future generations. 3. What is the geekiest thing you have ever done? Created this website. 4. Who is your role model/idol? for farming it would be my mother-in-law, blogging for business – Marcus Sheridan 5. Do you have any pet peeves? If so, do you mind sharing one? incessant complainers 6. Have you ever been rendered speechless? Do tell! each time the kids won Grand Champion Cow/calf at the state fair 7. Do you prefer the blue Tweetdeck or the yellow Tweetdeck? neither, I use hootsuite & tweetbot 8. Dream vacation spot? I really like going to Lake Superior in Upper Michigan. 9. What is your good luck charm? prayer 10. What is your favorite Christmas song? whichever one Dean Martin sings 11. Do you have a celebrity doppelganger? (had to look that one up) I’m a dead ringer for Marylin Monroe, except for the hair, mouth, boobs. Other than that we could be twins.
My blog picks.
The Udder Side because it’s about secret agent cows and Ryan is funny.
Literally, I am getting no comments. I’m not happy about it. And it can be quite discouraging to motivate me to create more posts. Where is the incentive? Is anybody listening? I think many bloggers, especially newbies, feel this way at times. It can also be a big reason why bloggers quit posting altogether and abandon their sites. No one wants that to happen.
Encouragement for the Discouraged
So if you are not getting comments; what can you do to stay motivated and not feel so alone out there in the blogosphere.
1. Remember why you started your blog.
Did you create your site for people to talk to you. Not likely. I wrote a post on Why Farmers Should Blog. One of those reasons might hit home for you. But I think most bloggers want to get their ideas out there and maybe even help people to understand where they are coming from. Maybe you could focus on the enjoyment of creating something worthwhile to you. Take pride in a nice looking site. Feel the sense of accomplishment and follow-through.
2. Track Your Blog’s Traffic
This is a great time to find out some stats on your site’s traffic. If you haven’t already, add some kind of counter to your blog. You will feel very lonely if you can’t see that you have had some visitors. The stats will let you know that some warm bodies have actually seen your blog, even if it is a small number. When you are feeling down about no one commenting, go to your stats for a little boost.
3. Be active in social media
If I had not been on twitter, I would not have received these two tweets (one from this morning) from two sweet people.
They didn’t leave any comments. But boy do these types of contacts really put a spring in your step. And make you want to push on.
Thank you, Jennifer & Ryan.
You could say the same about facebook connections or google +. But you have to have skin in the game. You gotta be active or umm “social”.
Which takes me to the next point.
4. Comment on Other Blogs
While your lamenting the lack of post comments and wondering why people don’t say something, are you commenting on other blogs? ie.. Do unto others. The Golden Rule. How would you feel…? What goes around, comes around. That is all I can think of right now. I’m just as guilty of being a bad blog visitor as anyone though I am reforming my ways and have been commenting more. Oh, got another one: You’ve got to give to receive.
5. Keep Posting
The longer a blog is around and has continual updated content the easier it is to be found in search engines. So keep it up. Be sure you are making your posts search friendly and easy to navigate. Post interesting information that people want to read and throw in a little controversy from time to time for good measure. Also make it easy for readers to pass on with share buttons at the bottom of the post. This brings in more readers. Remember, don’t give up. Even if you let your writing lapse a little, start right back up again. No need to apologize.
Bonus tip: Contact Page – EVERY blog/site should have a contact page to make it easy for visitors to send you a message. Some people for many different reasons might not want to leave a comment but have something to tell or ask you. Make it easy for them or they will just move on.
Building a blog audience takes time.
Building an active audience takes even more time. So don’t give up. Keep this list in mind when you feel like packing it in because it seems like no one is paying attention to you. And if it makes you feel better, I’m not getting many comments either. But I’m going to Blog On!
Val at Wagn Tales won the farm blog contest. Here is the badge she is now the proud owner of.
With another Farm Blog Contest, it means that there is only one week left of the month. This time you will be linking to your most popular post of the summer and giving a short summary in the comments below. Since people liked the idea of winning a custom blog badge, I will be giving it away again this time. So lets see your hottest summer post.
1. link to your post about the current topic
2. Leave a brief description and link to your post in the comments of current contest post.
3. Must be a personal farm, ranch, or ag blog
Suggested but not required:
1. Get the word out about the contest on twitter, facebook, forums, ect. With a large showing of participants, I can work with sponsors for better prizes.
2. Visit other bloggers posts and leave comments. Let’s support farm bloggers and encourage them to keep up the good work.
3. Sign up for the updates in sidebar. You won’t want to miss future contests.
We are taking this site in a different direction. I have other websites that I am working on.
Together we will discover
1. how to reach an audience
2. make strong connections
3. get your message out
If you would like to join us to see how this can improve your site. Join the email list to be included. It's at the top of the page. :D