How To Improve Your Blog With Annabel Candy, Get In The HotSpot

Authors need a platform these days and in this podcast, we discuss how to improve your blog and your online presence with Annabel Candy from GetInTheHotSpot.com

In the introduction, I refer to the launch of Google Ebooks and also the Domino Project as top news in publishing this week. I’m also a finalist in the Top 10 Blogs for Writers at Write To Done. Thanks for your nominations!

Annabel Candy is a blogger, writer and speaker based in Noosa, Australia. Her website GetInTheHotSpot.com offers empowering tips for life and work, particularly focusing on entrepreneurs and online business. [Video segment below the show notes]

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • How Annabel started GetInTheHotSpot to share her travel adventures and then her tips on blogging. She invested in some great blog design after blogging for a while.
  • Annabel has recently written a book on Successful Blogging. Her top tips for improving blogs. (1) The blog has to look good as first impressions definitely count. Basic mistakes like column width can turn people off. Make sure your site is clean and simple so it’s easy to navigate.
  • (2) Don’t worry about stats for the first 6 months or more. See it as a long term project. Concentrate on getting some comments. Get together with a blogging buddy and post on each others for encouragement.
  • (3) Come up with topics that people are interested in reading. Sharing useful information is what the top bloggers do so focus on providing value.
  • Starting on a free blog is fine but to become more professional, you need your own domain. Annabel recommends WordPress (and so do I!) There is so much functionality and you can do what you want with themes and design. Invest some time/money in graphic design to make it truly professional. There are a few top bloggers who have a basic site but they have been around a long time. You need to stand out.
  • Blogging about what you are passionate about is important but what if you don’t know what that is! What to do when you don’t know what to do with your life. Blogging is a good way of exploring it. Just start writing and exploring. Most bloggers have switched topics over time. If you get bored, just switch topics. (I did this too, The Creative Penn is my third blog)

  • Annabel went to BlogWorld and tells us some of her biggest learnings from meeting some of her online heroes. People have passion and sincerity about their topics and this has enabled them to persist over a number of years. You need to know why you are doing it and if you want to make money, you need to have a path to that income. For authors, it can build profile, practice writing and also build confidence as well as getting immediate feedback.
  • On the community of bloggers. It’s an amazing group of people and relationship building is a surprising upside to an online presence. How Annabel has connected with John Birmingham and also Alexander McCall-Smith. Online can be a great way of introducing yourself. Building your profile up before you approach people is key to creating a good impression. Don’t disappoint with your online presence.
  • On how bloggers and authors are quite shy, but you just have to put yourself out there.
  • In every personality type suited to blogging? You have to love writing or creation in some kind. The key is persevering and making it a long term investment. If you write 2 posts a week of 1000 words, you’ll going to have a big body of work by the end of the year.
  • On marketing ideas! Annabel has just released t-shirts on RedBubble (click here to have a look at Annabel’s design) Can you use T-shirts to market your brand or book? With print-on-demand, there’s no reason you can just order one. It’s an interesting twist on personal branding as it can be a talking point.
  • On staying motivated. Getting a blogging buddy is a great idea as well as using Twitter for motivation. How Annabel is looking to redesign her site and her branding in 2011. Having fun is incredibly important!

You can find Annabel at GetInTheHotSpot.com and on Twitter @GetInTheHotSpot

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Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations on your nomination. I’m one who has benefitted from visiting your blog religiously.
    My blogging experience has been very successful. I’ve been blogging since 2005. I took a break (for a couple of months) to focus on marketing my manuscript. I was worried that I would loose all my readers. Fortunately, as it turned out, I need not have worried. They found me. I began my new blog (http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com) in October and have accumulated over 17,000 to date.
    The main character of my soon-to-be published thriller is a knitwear designer. So my blog, not surprisingly, focuses on knitting. I share patterns, writing, interviews with knitwear designers–among other things.
    Please drop by for a visit. You’re always welcome.

  2. says

    Had to come back to correct something. My numbers were off by a lot. I added a counter the total is 1, 700. oops, I’m sorry about that.
    I agree blogging is tons of fun.

  3. says

    What a wonderful treat to listen to you interview Annabel. She’s such an inspiration to me and I’m so glad I got to meet her at Blog World. Her book is fantastic and I greatly appreciate being able to see her and hear her talk so passionately about blogging and developing a blog.

  4. Bryan J Zimmerman says

    Hi Joanna,

    Very inspiratonal interview with annable, however, there was one comment made that I completely disagree with and that is paying a graphic designer $2,000 to design your blog. That is pure insanity!

    I went to school for GD, and although my education took me into a different field, it is not that difficult to design a nice loking blog.

    Between the templates and other accessories available for new bloggers, you shouldn’t have to spend more that $50.00 to get an eye catching blog up and running.

    Just my two cents, and keep up the great work!

    Regards,
    Bryan

  5. Bryan J Zimmerman says

    I couldn’t find anywhere to edit my post and found some spelling errors, so here it is again.

    ——————————

    Hi Joanna,

    Very inspirational interview with Annable, however, there was one comment made that I completely disagree with and that is paying a graphic designer $2,000 to design your blog. That is pure insanity!

    I went to school for GD, and although my education took me into a different field, it is not that difficult to design a nice looking blog.

    Between the templates and other accessories available for new bloggers, you shouldn’t have to spend more that $50.00 to get an eye catching blog up and running.

    Just my two cents, and keep up the great work!

    Regards,
    Bryan

    • says

      Hi Bryan, Thanks for that. There are different opinions on this. I definitely didn’t spend that amount of money on graphic design for the blog, but it’s good to have a budget for the things you will need. I think I paid around $200 for my logo which goes on my business cards, website, twitter page etc. I have a premium theme and a tech guy, plus hosting etc. I’d say that perhaps having a budget of at least $500 to make it professional would help, but clearly that’s not something that needs to be done straight away either.
      If anyone is reading this and looking for design work, try http://99designs.com/ which has some great deals.
      Thanks, Joanna
      Thanks, Joanna

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