Guest Blogger–WENDY PAINE MILLER–The ABCs of Creating an Engaging Blog

After I read one of my reader’s questions about setting up effective and appealing blogs, I went straight over to my guest blogger’s website and asked her to write a guest post!

Wendy Paine Miller has one of the coolest, prettiest and most interactive blogs around. I found myself modeling my blog revamp on her setup. And today, she’s here to tell us how blogs are done! Thank you, Wendy!
Here’s a little info about Wendy:
Wendy Paine Miller’s works have been published in multiple anthologies and online sites. Writing contemporary women’s fiction helps Wendy better understand the world around her. As a mother to three girls, she uses a great deal of ingenuity when it comes to finding time to write and edit. Wendy graduated with a BA in English, writing concentration and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency.
Wendy feels most alive when she’s spending time with loved ones, speeding in a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture, and trusting God.
To interact with Wendy Paine Miller:
And now, over to Wendy! 
The ABCs of Creating an Engaging Blog  
by Wendy Paine Miller
I’d like to hope when it comes to blogging that, like the saying goes, “I’ve come a long way, baby!” I find more than ever it’s become crucial for me to make sure my blog is primed for interaction. That’s the heart behind why I blog. I aim to drum up conversations and to stir thoughts. But in order to stir thoughts, I first need to get thinking minds to my site.
Here are three areas I tend to concentrate on when it comes to building an engaging blog:
A for Aesthetics
A few years ago, I was blessed to have Melanie Moore of Elegant Custom Blogs offer me a free “makeover” for my blog. She worked with me to come up with the header and sidebar I’d been envisioning. I wanted folks to be able to learn more about me. The sidebar buttons work well for this. I also wanted the header to be an expression of who I am. I love nature. And though I cringed through every snapped headshot (having my picture taken has never been pleasurable for me) I’m thankful I had them done. One surefire (and reasonably easy) way to say “I can be taken seriously as a writer” is to invest in professional headshots.
Currently, my right sidebar is a little crowded and unorganized (always something to improve upon), but I wanted to have all additional sites listed where I can regularly be found. 
Finally, people respond to pictures. It’s why Pinterest has taken off with such gusto. As a women’s fiction writer, I find a photo can add meaning to the essence of what I’m hoping to communicate. This is why I incorporate them in every post. 
B for Baton Pass
I view my blog as a wonderful means of sharing my thoughts, then passing the thought baton on.
I’m intentional about asking a question at the end of (just about) every post. It’s the best way I know how to get a conversation going. I think hard about what each question will be. What do I really want to know from my readers? So many times the answers to those questions inspire me to write a follow up post or inspire an entirely unrelated post. My blog thrives because readers take the time to comment.
I’ve discovered it’s important to write in such a way I’m inviting conversation. I spend a lot of time contemplating what other women would enjoy reading. Lengthy ramblings about how Aunt Sue (I don’t have an Aunt Sue…this is purely an example 😉 did me wrong doesn’t equate to wise blog fodder.
C for Connecting
This brings me to connecting. When you think about what you’re trying to do with your blog—the purpose behind why you blog, it’s important to understand the power of connection. I make a concerted effort to reach out and comment on other blogs. I also comment as much as time will allow to those who’ve left comments on my blog. I invest in my readers. I’ve read many excellent posts about loving your readers. My readers, for the time being, are those who visit my blog.  
Blogging is an excellent way to relate with and connect with others. I love communicating through my blog. Mostly, I appreciate how my blog encourages me to do exactly what I set out to when I first began—to grow, to learn, and to love.
Thanks, Wendy! And those professional headshots looked great!
****And now, if you haven’t already, please check out Wendy’s lovely blog and tell her what you like best about it! Did you take away any new ideas for your own blog? I love the way Wendy highlights interaction with blog readers! Let me know if there’s any way I can better interact with you (I think I’ve managed to remove those pesky “prove you’re not a robot” letter codes!)!****

23 thoughts on “Guest Blogger–WENDY PAINE MILLER–The ABCs of Creating an Engaging Blog

  1. Heather, Thank YOU for hosting me here today! I appreciate it and I'm honored you asked! Half the time I feel like I'm just making it up as I go along. Story of my life! 😉 I was up a good deal with a sick kiddo last night, but I hope to respond to everyone here today.Confession: That was round two of headshots. I was way too nervous the first time around.TC, Thanks for your words & for the new follow!Heidi, I've enjoyed connecting with Heather here too! And thanks for the bit about content–it's the heart of what I do. ;)~ Wendy

  2. The first time I ever left a comment on Wendy's blog, she was soooo sweet. She wrote me back and said I was welcome with open arms to her blog. And I dunno, it was just the first time I'd made a real connection with another writer online, and it stuck with me. And that is the secret of a good blog: welcoming and inviting.

  3. Great thoughts, Wendy and Heather. I've found it does help to have a certain formula in blog-writing. Photos and questions are definitely effective tools. Sometimes just the photo alone evokes the conversation. Thanks for sharing here today, Wendy.

  4. Aw…these comments are getting to me! Shucks, I need to do this more often!Lindsay, That means a lot what you wrote!Jennifer, Now I just need to crash your parties and we'll be all set.Joanne, I love your thought-provoking posts as well. It's why I keep coming back.Jennifer, All too often I feel like I have to fail and try, try, try again, so these words hit home. Thank you!Hey Jan, thanks. I owe a lot to Melanie from Elegant Custom blogs. She was great to work with!Humbled by your comments today, folks!~ Wendy

  5. Heather, you picked just the right person to guest post on this topic–Wendy is so engaging. That, and her talent stringing words together, brings me back to her blog again and again. Wendy, love your ABC's! Pass the baton–so true!

  6. Jill, You know just how much that means coming from a critique partner. I value your friendship so much!Heather, So glad you reached out in the way you did!Lauren, Isn't it wild how you can get to know someone through blogging? Thanks for sticking with me.Jessica, This is the stuff the truly pumps me up–when online friends connect like this. Love it!Way to go, Heather! 100 woo hoos!~ Wendy

  7. Wendy is awesome!!! I love her to pieces. Her blog is such a wonderful extension of the amazing woman she is. She's that cool in real life. I know cuz I've been priveleged to meet her in person.Wendy challenges this traditionalist to think outside the box. Sometimes she s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s me sooo much my mind gets a great workout. I love that about her.I'm in the middle of a website redesign, and Wendy's site is one of those I'm visiting for ideas. Not only is her contest top-notch, but her site is real pretty, too!

  8. Thanks for another excellent article. The place else could anyone get that type of information in such a perfect method of writing? I've a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such web blog online spiele ohne anmeldung kostenlos :: ::

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