Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let's Talk Blogging...Q & A

     I started my blog the end of August. I had no idea what I was doing, or the best way to do it. The one thing I decided that would be the most important to me was to actually build friendships and create my own little space in Blogland. I've been truly blessed to have that happen and I found myself really missing my blog community over the holidays.

     I still find myself with questions about blogging and no one to ask. I realize there is a help forum, but that isn't always effective as some questions just aren't "the norm". So, I thought I'd try an experiment today. I'll start with a few questions I have, if you have answers...please share them in the comments. If you have questions...leave those in the comments as well and maybe someone will be able to help answer your question.

1. I use the updated blogger editor and I can't find spellcheck. Is there one?

2. How do I add my email address to my blog page (not just on my profile page)?

3. Just how much higher is shipping out of the U.S. I'm getting very close to my 100th post giveaway. I notice many people limit shipping to the states only. Some of my favorite people live in Australia, England, Canada...is it really going to cost me a fortune to send them something?

4. I've seen a few people offer discount codes for candles and other products. How does that happen? Do companies approach some of the more successful blogs and ask to be sponsors...or do bloggers approach companies? What about the giveaways from other companies. I've seen blogs where someone will say they are giving away something from "whatever" website...did the website approach them or vice versa?

5. Blogging for fun or profit? I am blogging for fun, but I notice there are many blogs with ads on them. I had Google Ads for the first few weeks, but they closed my account. Upon appeal I was told my account "poses a significant risk to our advertisers". How that is possible considering my blog is about cooking, decorating and basic living is beyond me. Anyway, there is nothing I can do about it...so, the question is, what now? I've tried another ad company and the ads aren't interesting at all. I tried Amazon Associates, which I thought was fun and looked great on the blog page...but no one was inspired to shop. While I certainly don't plan on making money blogging, it would be great to make enough to pay for some of those dishes I've been buying for Tablescape Thursday! However, I don't want anything on my blog that would clutter it up or turn off readers...because the visits from all of you are the most important thing about blogging.

Let's Discuss!


Blondie's Journal said...

Hi Sue!

You have some great questions here. I have been wondering about a lot of the same things. So...I have no answers. I am going to check back later to see what you find out.

Hey, did you know we are both Illinosians?


Blondie's Journal said...

Okay...now I need to learn how to spell Illinois!! ;-)


susan said...

Sue-You are smart to do this. So many people have been helpful to me. About the email--
Go to your dashboard and click layout. Then select add a gadget. You will see a list. Click on the + beside TEXT. You can write a message an email or whatever. You can also include your email in your profile message. Hope this helps! I am anxious to read some of the answers also!

susan said...

ps-I noticed you have a test blog. I try every new thing out there first!

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Sue you have some great questions there...now I have the update edition of blogger and I also have spell check on it...Now that your home I will get your gift off to you..I don't know about all the ads and how people get them...so many of my favorite blogs have them now...I don't care about getting paid to blog that's not why I started mine in 08...it was to meet and share with other ladies...its my hobby as I retired many years ago and don't care to work now ha ha!! I will be back later to see if someone can answer these questions...Many blessings to you my Dear friend...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

Okay, I can help with a few of your questions.

First, to add email to your sidebar, go to "Customize" and click on "Add gadget", then choose HTML/JavaScript.

In the content box type this in:
<123a href="mailto:XXXXXXX">XXXXXXXXXXX< / a >

Take out the 123 (I added that hoping this will not show as a link, but as what you need to type).
Replace the first set of X's with your email address and the second set with what you want the link to read. Something like: Email Me Here.

Then you need to delete the extra spaces in the closing tag. Sorry, but writing html in a comment produces an error about tags. I had to add the extra spaces so that it will think it is not html and just print the code.

I don't put anything in the title above the content box, but that's your choice.

I'm going to post this and make sure its working and then I'll come back and tell you more about our other questions.

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

Okay that was a little confusing, but strictly writing the html here would produce an actual link, not the code. Here is what it will look like in your sidebar:

Click here to email Shellbelle at the Tiki Hut

This of course is my email as an example. This hides your actual email from weirdos and spammers, but your readers can contact you.

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

Okay, international shipping is expensive. When I had my cookbook giveaway, I opened it to everyone. I checked out the international shipping and found an envelope whose contents could be shipped overseas for $12.95 (or maybe it was $14.95). That was just for what would fit in that envelope. A package would be much more.

Blogging for fun or profit? I started my blog in May. There are links on it for my Zazzle store, but I've never really posted about my Zazzle stuff. I have had readers purchase stuff, not much, but I'm planning to do more with it in the near future. Much like other artists do. This is my attempt to become more confident with my art. On it's own, my store has picked up every month. I also added the Amazon link to some books I love. I want to do some postings this Spring on great books for the beach. I'll never get rich off Amazon, they pay like 4%, so on a $10 book I'll make 40 cents. But I liked the idea of making it easy for someone to find the books I recommend.

For a couple of months I've been working on my Amazon store, sorting through all the beachy products on Amazon and hand-picking them for my own store. Again, not a fortune, but its been fun. Tedious though and not recommended unless you find stuff that is relevant to your blog. I've had people ask me where I got something from my pictures and that's what inspired me to do it.

My philosophy is if you offer things that many of your readers would like, then you are offering a service. If I make a few bucks doing it, its a good thing. I hate blogs that have ugly ads all over them that are completely irrelevant to their blogs. I love decorating blogs that tell me where I can find a particular item they've posted a picture of. I love learning about new products and small companies out there I never would have found on my own. That is my goal as I move forward with my blog. I hope everyone will still find it fun to read, I'm not planning on changing that aspect, I'm just hoping to enhance the experience. I've been talking with other bloggers who do this and they've been giving me great advice. It definitely isn't a free lunch, I've been putting in long hours as you know.

Hope this helps. And I welcome any comments!

Stephanie @ Bona Fide said...

OK, I cannot find spellcheck either. I have no idea about #3,4, or 5. (I have google ads, but have never received a dime from it).

As for email address in sidebar, I like Rhonda's explanation above. I have my email in my sidebar, but it is not a direct link to email. I simply went to my layout, clicked "add gadget" and chose "picture". I put in a photo of "mail" and added my email address as text below the photo. "BlogBonafide {at} gmail.com". You can't click on it to get to your email program, but it is there should anyone need to email me - they can just type it in.

Hope this helps! I'm interested in seeing answers to #3 and #4.

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Hi Sue!
For U.S. and international mail rates, you can go to usps.com. This is what I use for my ebay and etsy items. I think all your other questions were answered but thought this might help.
Have a good one!

Chrissy said...

Good questions indeed...wish I had some answers for you...thank you so much for leaving me that note this morning,you are always so kind!! Gotta go find that post you were telling me about,0x0x0x

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Janie-I didn't realize that we were both in Illinois...cold isn't it?

susan-I will try it out on the test blog, good idea.

Gloria-thanks for visiting, no rush on the package...but, I can't wait to see it!

Rhonda-lots of good information, thank you. I will have to go play around a bit on my test blog. I'll also have to look at your Zazzle store...I haven't heard of Zazzle.

Steph-it must be there, but I can't find it.

Coralie-I'll check that out.

Chrissy-thanks for stopping and I knew you'd love Gilchrist-Gilchrist. I thought of you while I was in there.

FrugalMom said...

Great questions Sue, I see you already got some answers as well. Shipping overseas can be expensive, but I would check out usps.com as Coralie mentioned for the specific rates.

dee dee said...

What fantastic questions! I wish I had the answers for you. I have yet to find spellcheck on my updated blogger either, however I have a spellcheck on my toolbar that I use instead. Rhonda has a great way of getting the email account on your side bar. I know my mom, who does not have a blog, will often email different people on a variety of subjects. Wow almost 100 posts! Congrats I'm only around 50 and started the same time you did! Way to go! I am planning a 100 post give away too, most likely a personalized sketch of someone's pet. Do you think that would be something that would interest a pet loving blogger?
I've decided to blog for fun and not profit, so I can't help you there. I'll be checking back to see if anyone knows the answers to the rest of your great questions! Now I'm off to do a post on a wonderful "surprise" I found this morning!... Dee Dee

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Hi Sue, I missed you! What a fantastic blog! We were really separated at birth... I have the same questions. I did find out how to get my e-mail on my blog, but I don't have spell check either, and I am a HORRIBLE speller!
I know my posts are full of misspellings (?) but I just don't know it!

I have been thinking about moneytizing but I am a little fearful- I want it to be very discrete, and I want to pick certain companies.
Can I do that?

Another question I have- I have been contacted by e-mail to do a giveaway for an on line decorating site. I checked it out and it is legitimate, but I am a little cautious. I just have to mention their site in my post. Has this happend to anyone else? There site is a large national company. I was thinking of doing a giveaway, and this would be a great opportunity. I just want to make sure what goes on my blog is good for me and everyone in blogland.
Sue, thanks so much for this informative post.
Looking forward to answers.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Sue,
I have been e-mailed numerous times now about doing give-aways for companies and running some ads! So far I have not done it but recently my hours have been cut through my job so I may do a little in the future. I have only liked one of the companies so far and so I say bide your time and see what comes your way. They always tell me they stumbled onto my blog and like it blah blah blah. I am so glad you posted this because when I first was approached last fall, I tried to ask other bloggers who I knew had ads and got no response. Hope this helps, Cindy

Kathleen said...

I use Live Writer to compose posts..and I love it! It has spell check! I could never go back..so much easier!

I have rec'd emails from a few places about pushing their products..but I am not interested.
I do not like the blogs with ads..
Looks like all the other ques have been answered, I hope, cause I am clueless!
I did buy that Blogging for Bliss..
One thing she stresses is to email answers as no one comes back to see if you answered their questions..so I do try to do that!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Cindy-thanks for some info on being contacted. Kathleen, I'll look into Live Writer.

Yvonne-thanks for asking more questions.

FM and Dee Dee-thanks for coming by, I think there is some good info in the comments.

I did get my email address on my page! Thanks!

JUST ME said...

Thanks for the love!!

I tried google adsense for a minute. It was completely stupid.

Lyneen said...

Su - thanks for all the great questions. I have never done any advertising on my blog. I like being in control of what is happening. I am not sure why but spell check has always be on on my blog? Thanks fro stopping by! i am only in this for the friends I have made, please stop by again.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Sue
It's been great getting to know you through this blogging wonder!! Making new friends is definitely the icing on the cake!! and visits from ppl like yourself make my day all the better!!

Well you have some great questions here... some have already been answered by the ever clever Rhonda... I've recently changed to a MAC pc but before that I used Livewriter and apart from having to fiddle and manipulate which image became the 'post icon' I was relatively happy with it.. alas it is microsoft so now I'm on MAC I'm back without a publisher other than blogger and it is WAY too time consuming and limited. MAC though does give me spell check on everything I write.. so even as I am writing this comment it will tell me if I have misspelt .. although the Australian spelling is often different from US and I refuse to submit!! haha

Another question you had about promotions and giveaways.. I've been approached a few times to have a sponsored giveaway.. the first time I was so surprised I wondered what the catch was... though I didn't go ahead with it as it was ONLY for US citizens and just like you ... I didn't want to place restrictions on who could win [not to mention i'm in Australia myself.. ha ha] Each of my giveaways I have just done myself but I have offered products or art from friends on blogging.. It really was nice to share and promote the good friends I have made rather than a big company...and about the postage.. i just took that on the chin also.. BUT if you choose the giveaway wisely it can be quite cheap... the charms cost me next to nothing to send to the US!! Really the reason i did giveaways, besides having won a few, was it just felt good to share and giveback to the people who have so warmly welcomed me into blogging...

Well that is my big big comment... hope you get all your answers and I think the add thing is just up to you... i"m still on the fence about that one... but if you can make a buck without losing the integrity of your blog... i say go for it!! lots of love... xx Julie

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I just downloaded Live Writer, I have no idea how to use it yet!

Maya said...

Looks like all your questions have been answered. I'm blogging for fun AND profit, and love it. I don't understand why you couldn't have google ads. I would try again, and open an account with google. It's easy money. The giveaways I have are all sponsored, which means the companies or artists have offered to give away a product and ship it to the winner..., and for some posts I get paid. I learned a lot just by "analyzing" the blogs I like.

And btw, love your header!

Life Laugh Latte said...

The spell check thing is frustrating...so I always end up composing and spell checking in a Word doc. before posting. We have an Amazon Assoc. account...but no one has used ours either. I think it really depends on your Followers. My sis in law sells things thru Amazon everyday thru her blog. She has been doing this for 3 years, and mainly gives advice on homemaking things. People go there to see what is new. And now she has a HUGE following, so there are more people to consider buying what she is showing off. Happy New Year. Holly

Holly said...

I am still figuring all this out too. Most of what I have done has been pure luck!

I did two giveaways...the first for 100 followers, I paid for at wholesale. The second was a company who sent me a couple of products which I LOVE and have ordered since...so far my experience has been good.

I have an Amazon Associates account, mainly for my book...I figure, might as well...it doesn't cost anything.

It would be great to make $$$ from the blog, but not sure I want google ads.

Honestly, at the moment, I am kind of feeling overwhelmed by it all.

What a good idea for a post. I really want to do one on blogging etiquette.

Spell check...cannot find it...my computer underlines misspelled words..I despise doing my posts in blogger...have such a hard time with positioning photos, etc.

In Three Rivers, Michigan said...

Wow, this is all so complicated - I must be using the old blogger because it auto-spellchecks, but that doesn't help me with my frequent typos. I think it is worthwhile to learn a little html, saves having to "wrassle" with editors!

Kathysue said...

Wow I just started my new blog this week and this was very informative, I also wanted to come by and say Hi and thankyou for stopping by, Kathysue