Categories
Blogging Other

The Most Useful WordPress Plug-ins for Book Bloggers

I have found lots of helpful plug-ins during my time in the blogging world, but have abandoned most of them along the way. Here are the most useful ones I’ve found:

Subscribe to Comments

This adds the little tick box at the end of your post allowing people to choose to receive all future comments on that post as an email. I love this feature – I think it really helps conversations to develop in the comments section and that is one of the best things about blogging!

All in One SEO Pack

This plug-in is a must if you want to increase page ranking on Internet searches. It automatically generates meta tags and keywords for all your posts and does lots of other fancy things which I don’t really understand. All I know is that this helps your page ranking a lot!

HeadSpace2

A meta-data manager with lots of extra features, including the ability to display special messages to first time visitors to your site. I have to admit that this one is a bit technical and I’m not using it to it’s full abilities yet, but this is a very clever plug-in which definitely needs investigating.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plug-in generates a site-map for use with the search engines. Another great one for improving your page ranking.

AZIndex

This allows you to create a page where all your posts are sorted alphabetically. I used this plug-in to create my Books Reviewed page. It is customisable so you can decide which categories are included in your list, meaning all your memes and other non-book review posts can be ignored.

Akismet

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. I found it a bit hit or miss in the beginning, but the more you use it the better it gets. Using this tool means that my spam is under control without the need for word verification.

Google Analytics for WordPress available at Google WordPress hosting.

This plugin is the easiest way to set your word-press blog up for Google Analytics. If you haven’t discovered Google Analytics yet then you really should sign up, especially if you love looking at your blog’s statistics!

Contact Form 7

A simple, but flexible tool to add a contact form to your blog.

TinyMCE Advanced

Advanced editing tool for post writing, adding 40 new buttons to the toolbar including smilies, styles and visual characters.

Have I missed out any really useful plug-ins?

Do you use lots of different ones on your blog, or do you stick with the standard template?

Categories
Blogging Other

I’m one of the best book blogs in the UK!!

champagne_glasses_6I am so happy! I have just been identified as one of the best book blogs in the UK!

I made it to number three in the list of the top ten UK book blogs!

Thank you all so much for reading and commenting on my blog – you have made it what it is, and I am really grateful.

Categories
Blogging Other

8 things to blog about when you haven’t read any books

See full size imageI often read other people apologising for not blogging, as they haven’t read any books recently, but I often find that the best posts aren’t book reviews.

Here are some ideas for blog posts you can write at any time:

  1. Think of all the books you read before you began blogging….you could review a few of your favourites, compile lists of ones you’d recommend or discuss the best ones from a specific genre. There are so many things you can do with books you’ve read in the past.
  2. Tell us about your favourite author. Why do you love them so much? Which is their best book? Do they have an interesting personal life? We love finding out about great new authors – especially if there is some interesting events in their past!
  3. Is your boyfriend/sister/mum/gran/boy next door reading anything interesting at the moment? Do you like their taste in books? Discuss their favourites.
  4. Have you found any interesting books on other people’s blogs? Link to books which have caught your eye. Not only does this help other people who are looking for something new to read, but it gives the blog posts you’ve found some link love!
  5. Are there any books you are looking forward to reading? Are they going to be published soon, or are you waiting for the people on that library reserve list to finish it? Tell us why you want to read that book so much!
  6. Have you seen a great book cover? Did it make you want to buy it straight away, or put it in a paper bag so you don’t have to look at it!
  7. Are there any books which you’d really like to see made in to films? Tell us why they’d be so great on the big screen!
  8. Join a reading challenge and decide which books you’d like to read for it.

Can you think of other great ideas for blog posts?

Categories
Blog Improvement Project Blogging Other

Blog Improvement Project Week #13: Blog Post Bingo, Round 2!

BIPThe Blog Improvement Project task this week is:

Blog Post Bingo!

We have to take a look at the 12 types of blog post below, and over the next three weeks, try to write as many of these different kinds of posts as we can.

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 The 12 Types of Blog Post

A Link Post – share link (or series of links) your readers might find interesting
A Short Post – less than 200 words
A List Post – simple as it sounds, a list of some sort
An Opinion Post – take an event, news, or another blog post and share your opinion on it
A Poll or Question Post – post a poll or ask your readers a specific question for feedback
A How-To Post – You’re an expert in something; big or small, share how to do it
A Long Post – more than 700 words
A Review Post – self-explanatory, I think :)
A Definition Post – show your expertise about a topic related to your blog
NEW: A Personal Post – something that’s going on in your life, related to your normal blog topic or not
NEW: A Resource Post – you know a lot about something, share the sites/books/tutorials you go to on that topic. This is similar to a link post, except these links should be related in some way and be useful for other people who want to know about the topic.
FREE SPACE – a type of post of your choice (that is not the same as one of the previous posts)

I loved doing this task last time, but it was really hard work. I’ll do my best to complete the list, but I could do with your help. I need some inspiration for the How-To Post and the Resource Post.

Is there anything you’d like to know how to do? 

Or anything that you think I might be able to find out for you?

Categories
Blogging Other

What I’ve been up to and a few other links

You might notice that I’ve made a few changes around here. The annoying thing is that most of them are behind the scenes, so as you won’t be able to tell what has taken up so much of my time this weekend. I hope you can notice a slight difference though.

Here is what I’ve done.

  1. Changed my blog theme to one which supports threaded comments and performs better in the search rankings.
  2. Upgraded to Word-press 2.8.
  3. Found and added new plug-ins after I discovered half of my old ones didn’t work with Word-press 2.8!
  4. Added a broad column above the two single ones in my sidebar.
  5. Changed a few of the things I display in my sidebar.

It has taken me ages, but I am really pleased with the results.

The main thing I am really excited to have achieved is that I have now made the front page for people googling ‘book blog’ in the UK.

There are still a few things that aren’t quite as I’d like them, but I think I’ll leave them for another day!

A Few Links

Thanks to Cornflower Books for finding this link to the most Beautiful Libraries in the world

On a similar theme I have just discovered the RobAroundBooks Blog. He has a great bookshelf of the week feature along with lots of other interesting bookish posts. If you’ve never heard of him before, then go and take a look – I think you’ll like what you see! 

A Few Books Which Have Caught My Eye

Violet from VioletCrush recommended My Father’s Paradise by Ariel Sabar. I liked the sound of this one so much I bought a copy!

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Stuck in a Book recommended Parents and Children by Ivy Compton-Burnett. I bought this one too!

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Megan from a little breeze recommended Wanting by Richard Flanagan. I’ll buy this one when it gets a bit cheaper! 

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An Award

Finally I’ve just received this award from Another Cookie Crumbles. Thank you so much! I love your blog too!

Categories
Blogging Other

Lurkers – What would make you show your face?

cartoon-embarrassed-hiding-dont-mind-me

I am very pleased with the number of people who visit my blog each day, but only a tiny proportion ever comment on it. I’m very grateful to those that take the time to comment, but often wonder about those who don’t.

I realise that a large percentage just come via google to read about a single book, and I understand why they wouldn’t be interesting in commenting, but there also must be a large number who follow the blog and don’t show their face.

Do you ever lurk on blogs? I follow 173 blogs and I have to admit that I do not comment on all of them. Some are funny and always seem to have 50+ humorous comments by the time I get there. I don’t feel I can match their quality, so I just enjoy reading them. Some are technical (I don’t even understand some of the comments!), so although I sometimes thank them for providing information, I often just lurk. Then there are a lot of book blogs where I probably don’t comment very often. This is probably because they are reading a different genre of book to me (eg. science fiction) so I normally just skim them in case they have a useful blogging post. Is it wrong to lurk?, Should you at least let the blogger know you are there and appreciate their writing?

Was there a period of time when you first started blogging where you read without commenting? If so, what was it that made you decide to comment for the first time? I started commenting on blogs almost as soon as I discovered them. As soon as I found blogs covering the books I loved I was away!

I’d love to hear your comments on this, and whether you think there is anything we can do to get those lurkers out of the woodwork?

Are you a lurker on this blog? If so, why don’t you comment?

What do you think I could do to encourage lurkers to show their faces?

I look forward to hearing all your thoughts!