Tag: Blogging Tips

Spring 2017 #Bloggiesta Starting Post

Do you have a blog, particularly a book blog? Time to tune it up and get energized by participating in the Spring 2017 Bloggiesta running from March 20-26. Sign-ups are here.


What is Bloggiesta?

Bloggiesta is an online party where you can get your blog organized, take challenges to learn new things, and — best of all — meet some awesome book bloggers!

My Spring 2017 To Do List

    • Look into the new features of the latest WordPress system and try to incorporate at least one into my Roberta Gibson Writes website.
    • Write and post a better author bio.
      1. Help! It’s at the top under “About Roberta.” It’s massive and boring. I’m thinking about making the beginning more personal and breaking up each section into its own page with links to them. Would anyone click through the links, do you think? Suggestions? Thanks to Crimson at Crimson Blogs About Books for some great suggestions.
    • Prepare for Poetry month in April by writing and scheduling three or four appropriate posts.
      • One done, two more in preparation
    • Prepare a wrap-up post for Sunday. I’ve been neglecting those.
      • The Sunday Post meme is a great way to catch up with other book bloggers. Wish I had time to read every one.
    • Update the Bestseller Code 100 Reading Challenge Book List into June.
    • Cross-post some reviews to GoodReads, etc. -Wait there’s a challenge at Blame It On the Books to do even more. I’ll have to try that one.
    • Visit and comment on other Bloggiesta participants’ blogs.
    •  Check out the Spring 2017 challenges for more ideas.

Time to get busy. Hope you all have a fun and productive Bloggiesta.






#Bloggiesta Challenge: Bullet Journal for Your Blog

Andrea at The Overstuffed Bookcase has a wonderful mini-challenge for using a bullet journal to keep your blog organized.

I’m afraid I had to rush through this one a bit, because I’m due at a birthday party shortly. I highly recommend heading over to Andrea’s blog and reading more about the potential of bullet journals.




Okay, I admit I’m totally weird, but I have a lot of blogs so I keep track of upcoming posts in vertical columns. How it works is each column is a blog, and each row is a day of the week. This way I can see all the posts scheduled for a given day and how they flow within a given blog. Sometimes posts on two blogs tie together.

Again, I was in a hurry, so it isn’t very neat and pretty. Hopefully you get the idea.

#Bloggista Challenge: Trying A Weekly Wrap-up

Jeanene at Got My Book blog has a Bloggiesta Mini-challenge to “Increase Readership & Engagement with a Wrap-up Post.” I’ve never done one before, so I decided to give it a try.


Links to posts published this week:

This week has been a busy one, although I didn’t review any books. Instead, I

Upcoming posts:

  • Tips for editing manuscripts based on a workshop I attended yesterday
  • Review of a thriller Duet in Beirut

Reading update:

I am currently reading some nonfiction books as research for my upcoming NaNo writing project. I’m also hosting the Writer’s Studio this week, so I have out some of my favorite books about the craft of writing, such as Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and Stephen King’s On Writing. For fun, I have Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass (Yes, I’m behind).

Links to posts have read and enjoyed on other sites:

Mocha Girls Read has a great list of thrillers/suspense/mysteries to check out.

Oh, just found a list of new books coming out in all the different subgenres of suspense at View for My Books Blog.


Wow, writing a wrap-up was actually fun. Jeanene suggests copying a template and starting the post at the beginning of the week, filling in links as you go. That sounds like a great idea!

She also suggests sharing your wrap-up post with a meme. Today I chose:

Sunday Post #231 Thunderstorms and crisp mornings


Adding a Pinterest Board Widget to Your Blog Posts


Having trouble adding a Pinterest board to blog posts? Here are some tips for including a Pinterest board widget for blogs on different platforms. See below for an example of what a widget looks like. (Note:  This is how it can be done in September 2016. As you well know, how to do these things can change rapidly.)

For blogs that will accept javascript:

  1. Sign into your Pinterest account.
  2. Click on the stylized person icon in the top right corner to get to your Pinterest boards.
  3. Choose the board you want to include in your blog page and select it. It should open up.
  4. At the top of the board should show three Pinterest icons. Click on the icon that is 3 dots (…). It is on the right.
  5. A pop up menu should show up. Choose “make a widget.” That should take you to the widget builder page.
  6. Pick the “board” widget option, edit it, and add the code to your blog post as instructed on the page.

Recently, javascript has been susceptible to security concerns. Some blog platforms no longer accept it readily.

For WordPress.com blogs:

If you have a free WordPress.com blog, as of today you can simply add the URL of your board to the content of your post (without linking it!) and it should convert to a widget when you publish.


Self-hosted WordPress blogs:

To bypass the need for javascript, download a WordPress.org plugin like Pinterest Widgets.

You can download a plugin two ways. Either go to the Pinterest Widget page, download the plugin and then upload it manually to your server,


  1. Go to the dashboard of your WordPress blog and select “Plugins.” When the menu pops up, elect “Add New.”
  2. Type “Pinterest” or “Pinterest Widget” into the keyword box.
  3. Select “Pinterest Widget” or another similar plugin of your choice.
  4. Activate the plugin.
  5. Click the settings link (either on installed plugin page or Pinterest Widgets under “settings”) and follow the instructions for editing and adding a board widget.

As of right now, you copy the code on the Pinterest Widget settings page, replace the example url with the url of your Pinterest board and paste it into the text version of your blog post. You should be able to see the board in Preview and once you publish.

And there you have it:


Was this tutorial helpful?

Please let me know if you have any questions.



#Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Pinterest-Friendly Blogs


When it comes to Pinterest, don’t get caught napping! Spruce up your blog and join us for a Bloggiesta Mini Challenge for creating Pinterest-friendly blog posts.

As many of you probably already know, Pinterest is a popular social networking site that allows users to organize links, images, and videos by pinning them to virtual bulletin boards. Each link is represented by an image and a snippet of text.


Example Pinterest Pin

Pinning is a great way to keep track of and share information for projects, hobbies, and pastimes. It also helps you to attract followers for your blog and build your platform. Pins have a longer shelf life than other forms of social media. People may discover your links days, weeks, months or even years after you first pinned them.

Even if you don’t use Pinterest personally, many of your readers do and it pays to make it easy for them to share links to your work.

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

Tip I. Include Pinterest-Friendly Images in Blog Posts

Most bloggers know to include images in posts because they break up the text and increase page views (see a discussion why images are important at HubSpot). Because Pinterest users rely on images to identify interesting links, it is critical to pay attention to proportions, quality, and naming of the images in your posts. The good news is that Pinterest-friendly images look good on other social networking sites, too.

Step 1. Locate quality images appropriate for your topic.

If you like photography, you may want to take your own photographs for blog posts.

pinterest image poppy


Sometimes, however, you don’t have the luxury of taking your own photographs. If so, there are many places to find high quality images on the internet. Always make sure the image is either public domain or that you attribute the photographer properly if you use an image you download in a blog post.

A few places to find high quality images:

Step 2. Choose an image-editing program.

Adobe Photoshop has been the reigning champ of photograph editing for so long that it is regularly used as a verb (She was photoshopped). Not everyone can afford it, though. Learning to use it can take time, too.

Looking for an alternative?

Step 3. Crop images to correct proportions

Vertical images (those taller than they are wide) work best for Pinterest. The current recommendation is 735 pixels wide by 1102 pixels tall or a ratio of 2:3. I created the top image in Canva using their Pinterest template at 735 by 1102 pixels and then reduced it to 300 by 450 pixels to place in the post.

Step 4. Add graphics and text.


Remember to include your blog name and perhaps your URL, if the image isn’t too busy. I chose not to add it to the top image because it would have covered the adorable sleeping dog.

Name your image using keywords.

Step 5. Add the image to your post.

Encourage readers to pin your post right away by including the image at or near the top.

Once you have good, pinnable images in all your posts, go ahead and make sure the rest of your blog is optimized.

Tip II. Set up a Pinterest Board to Share Your Posts

Make your posts easy to share by setting up a Pinterest board for your blog and pinning posts to it regularly.


its-a-mystery-blog-pinterest-boardExample of a Pinterest Board

I’ve seen conflicting advice whether to give the Pinterest board the exact name of your blog. Common sense would suggest that if your blog title is self-evident and has a least a few keywords, the title should be fine. If you got creative with your blog title, however, you might want to add a keyword or two. For example, the blog title can be the board title if it is “Science Books for Kids,”  but “Wrapped in Foil blog” might be better as “Wrapped in Foil’s Children’s Book Reviews.”

Remember to add a board description using keywords and also categorize it. Most book blogs will go in the “Film, music and books” category.

Tip III. Include Pinterest Social Sharing Icons

You probably already have social sharing icons, but it won’t hurt to double-check them.

  1. Most bloggers have “follow me” social networking buttons on their blogs, often at the top of the sidebar. Once you have a Pinterest board for your blog, create a button and link it to your board so people can receive your posts as you pin them.
  2. Check your “share this” buttons to make sure Pinterest is included. Readers should be able to share your posts to their boards easily.
  3. Consider getting a Pinterest browser button for your browser tool bar.

Tip IV. Engage Your Followers

Some tips for attracting and keeping followers on Pinterest.

  1. Always pin good, relevant content and make sure the pins go to valid post links, not just to the blog home. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a promising pin and not being able to find the post. Take the extra minute and make sure the links work.
  2. Instead of simply re-pinning material added by others, mix in some original content.
  3. Pin regularly, at least once a week (rather than bingeing).
  4. Follow your followers. You don’t have to follow all their boards, but it is usually easy to find at least one board that you like.
  5. Re-pin their material (see number 1).


Pinterest Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge

For this mini challenge:

  1. Either create a new blog post or re-vamp an old one.
  2. Add at least one Pinterest-friendly image using the steps in Tip I.
  3. Leave a comment that you did the Pinterest mini-challenge with link to your post.

For easy sharing, I will pin your posts to a Pinterest Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge Board. Can’t wait to see how they look.


Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m learning how to do this, too.



Now, back to Bloggiesta.





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