Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Blogging Tips: Make Sharing Easy | Allow Subscriptions and Why You Should

Mulluane | Friday, January 23, 2015 | 2 Comments so far

Welcome to my Book Blogging Tips Series!

Today I want to start with the very basics of sharable content. Making it possible for folks to track your posts! Before we get started, if you haven't already, please feel free to read my premise for this series and/or my disclaimers

Note: all the links in this post are affiliate free and while most of the advice offered here is aimed at Blogger / Blogspot users, the core principles apply to everybody!

Done? Good! Lets get started!

The Importance of Sharing

Sharing is fun! How to make it easy.

One of the things that I have learned about building a blog following is the importance of content sharing. Content sharing does two things. It builds relationships and it establishes you as someone with authority; someone who is knowledgeable about the book industry.

While I was researching curating sharable content there was one lesson I took to heart. The 80/20 rule. (See #3) This rule states that you should share 80% other's relevant content and 20% your own.

Sounded good to me, so most nights I comb through my feeds looking for interesting content to share on Pinterest and Twitter. I then schedule 10 tweets on Buffer to go out in non-spammy hourly intervals the next day. Anything for Pinterest I pin to a secret board and manually post those in between my buffered tweets, checking the box to crosspost to twitter. 

The results are amazing. If people like what I share they not only reap the benefit of new sources for the things they are interested in; they get curious about the person who found the information for them! I call that a win/win.

How I find content to share

To locate shareable content, I utilize several methods. One is a RSS feed on my Yahoo page. (I have an entire tab devoted to my favorite blogs.) Another is email. A third is Bloglovin. A final source is twitter itself by way of Tweetdeck filtering. Facebook I've given up on but I do check it periodically and Google Plus I'm just now getting around to exploring. (Could use some advice on that one.)

However, much to my surprise, there are some awesome blogs and websites that I'd love to promote, but they don't offer a way for me to subscribe to their posts!

There is no link to their RSS feed. No mention of their twitter account. No option to subscribe by email. No bloglovin button... nothing I can use. Blogger does have a link to atom feeds but not every reader will accept those nor do most people know how to use them.

It makes me sad. All that great content and I have no way to keep track of it. I NEED subscription options!

How I Offer Subscription Options

I use Feedburner for my email subscribers. You do need a google account to use it but it is free. Despite all of the internet buzz to the contrary, I don't believe Feedburner is going anywhere. There are far too many big companies still using it, including major publishers.

As for follow buttons, I personally made my own using Powerpoint and coded them myself. But I'm thinking of remaking them. It's what I do for fun, lol!

Make Your Own Follow Buttons!

If you want to make your own follow buttons there is one site I recommend over all others. Code It Pretty has wonderful tutorials but even better than that, her code is up to date, elegant and it works! 

Click on the link and it will take you to her step by step instructions on how to make ombre follow buttons. 

And they don't have to be ombre. You can choose any colors you want! Even better, her instructions for the buttons apply to self-hosted Wordpress, Blogger and Typepad Unlimited.

PicMonkey is also a fun (and free) choice. There is a great tutorial on how to use PicMonkey to make themed buttons here: Fabulous Blogging. This is how I'll be making my new set of buttons!

"But Mulluane! I can't code!" 

Neither could I at first, but I learned and I'll warn you; it is fun, frustrating, rewarding and addicting! (You've been warned...)

Following any of Code It Pretty's tutorials will teach you alot. Even if you have never coded anything before. She very patiently walks you through every aspect, step by step.

Other Button Methods

Another, easier method is using the individual buttons offered by various platforms. Since they can sometimes be hard to find, I'll link them below. You can get the major ones here:

Pinterest: Follow Buttons
Facebook: Follow Button
Twitter: Follow Button
Feedburner RSS: Blogger Widget List or use "Publicize" in Feedburner (Instructions)
Tumblr: Buttons
Google Plus: Blogger Widget List or Direct (Advanced Options)

Note: I couldn't find any RSS button tutorials I trusted that didn't require either making your own or using Feedburner's. They are likely out there, I just didn't find any.

Feed Readers

If you don't use social media, (and even if you do) you should still provide other ways for followers to easily track your posts. Bloglovin is the feed reader I prefer since it shows your actual blog and not just a text version. Other feed readers strip CSS, and most if not all of your javascript, leaving your blog looking like a mess.

You can add your blog to Bloglovin for free then get a widget to put on your blog.

If Feedly is your thing, (I don't like it myself), you can also get a follow button from them. If you use other feed readers, I'm sure they offer their own buttons. I've only listed the ones I've personally used.

Tip: Subscribe to your own blog in a variety of ways. RSS, feed readers and email. This serves two purposes. First you can see if there are any formatting issues. Email and some feed readers don't "see" your CSS style sheet, strip jquery and javascript plus disallow attributes like "onclick." You may find things misaligned strangely or looking odd. You may even discover that there are elements, like certain divs, that you should wait to add after your blog has been picked up by the readers and email. You'll also know instantly if your blog is hacked. Faster you see it, faster you can get it stopped!

Mobile Friendly Subscribing

Mobile is becoming a huge source of traffic but with mobile there is one huge drawback. No sidebars, so no widgets, so no follow buttons! 

If you are like me, and use a separate mobile template, (something I bless blogger for every day,) you need to make sure that you make following and subscribing available on mobile too. 

What I have done is make a page containing both my email subscription form and my follow buttons. Since I use my pages as my menu, all of my sharing methods are available on mobile!

I can't speak to other blogging platforms but I'd imagine that as long as your menu works in mobile, creating a follow page or post, then adding that to your menu, should work the same. 

Add RSS buttons, an email subscription form and lots of follow buttons!

I love sharing. Doesn't even matter to me if you return the share, though it would be nice. What matters to me is sharing my love of books with as many people as possible. To do that I need to build relationships, be interesting, establish authority and garner followers.

Making your blog post shareable in as many ways as possible will help me and others share our love of books and our appreciation of your quality content. It really is a gift that keeps on giving...

So what about you? Do you curate and share content? Have you seen a positive result? Ever run across great content you couldn't share? Questions? Suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards


  1. WOW, so many links to explore and things to learn! Thanks indeed for *sharing*! :-)

    1. You're very welcome! I figure since I saw a need, and I've already done the research on what works and what doesn't, I'd pass along my research! It's also a way to acknowledge all those great sites that have helped me along the way...


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