I must admit that, although I feel I am becoming a successful blogger, I have been rather complacent in my blogging in terms of active marketing, fostering social activity, and personally sharing on a regular basis.
Considering the fact that I personally write for and manage four separate blogs, marketing has taken a back seat because it requires a lot of work and attention that I have preferred to dedicate to the article writing.
My past attempts resulted in my quitting because of total frustration with the plugins and services available for bloggers and social sharing, due to the following issues:
- The social sharing promotion plugins worked acceptably well, but caused major loss of page load speed and in some cases broke my site completely, due to excessive server requests, poor coding, etc.
- Blog broadcasting or publication services such as Networked Blogs automatically publish blog posts to sharing services, but do not allow flexibility for the blogger, including the ability to choose which posts are broadcast and when.
- Use of one or more plugins in conjunction with a broadcast service resulted in frequent duplication of publication of posts to social media.
- Sharing promotion toolbars take up valuable browser window space, and can have the same ill effects of the plugins as mentioned above.
I also tried manually posting select posts to social media services including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and RebelMouse, finding this process time consuming.
I really needed to find one or more truly automatic, user friendly solutions, and the two I finally selected are RebelMouse.com and the Shareaholic plugin and features.
RebelMouse’s main page for my blogs and services.
Options bar that appears upon hovering mouse over top right of any post. The options in the bar apply specifically to that post – not the rest of the posts on the page.
The first solution I found and stuck with was RebelMouse’s blog broadcast service. RebelMouse allows account holders to set up blog feeds of their choice to be broadcast using an attractive, Pinterest style page. It also provides options for setting up to have Pinterest pins included, tumblr items, Instagram, and one can also import their Google Reader feed or create a RebelMouse page with a Facebook page.
Rebel Mouse is an ideal, centralized page providing access for readers to all related blogs, while at the same time promoting content from other select blogs and services.
RebelMouse’s page design and setup options.
Each Pinterest style cell holds information leading to a post or service including the post title; an image taken from the post (if one exists); a selection bar in which one can add an additional like, photo, video, or blog post; a button to preview, edit or post the final post; an options bar (see above right) that allows one to choose a Facebook like, stats, edit, move, freeze, or remove (above blue arrow in image at above right); time posted; link to the originating blog (see blue oval in image at above right); and options to repost or share.
I also appreciate the many design options on the RebelMouse design page including two page layout selections, numerous font and heading format selections, and the option to create a custom layout and design.
The WordPress dashboard showing the Shareaholic options tabs.
I do use a couple of browser toolbars for SEO purposes. They also offer social sharing buttons and stats but I’ve found them to be totally ineffective, most probably because the icons are so small and too far from the page content.
After trying several plugins, I finally found Shareaholic (see image below left) and I love it. The ‘sexy’ icon selections offered are big, bright, eye catching and are definitely showing positive results on my blogs.
The Aesthetics settings offer a wide selection of bright graphic and text combinations to use anywhere on the blog page. I have found that a smaller selection in the upper right sidebar gets the best results. In some cases, numerous icons can be selected and only those that fit in the area show. In these cases, hovering the cursor over the icons opens up more selections downward.
I implemented both RebelMouse and Shareaholic the same day – the very day I decided to do more detailed research and make a more concerted effort to increase my blogs’ social network presence. The interesting thing is that the posts written prior to this date show no social activity at all. The posts written since implementation of RebelMouse and Shareaholic show much more activity in both quantity and consistency. The bonus of all this is that neither of these adversely affects the speed or function of my blogs.