About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

Plan with Purpose

This entry is part 18 of the series Build a Better Blog


Welcome to the next letter in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

We’ve now reached P as we work through the alphabet so . . .
P is Planning with Purpose. 

Hopefully by now you have a clear picture of the purpose of your blog. Briefly, to remind you of this, answer these questions:

  1. Why have I started this blog?
  2. Who do I hope is reading the blog?
  3. What do I hope to achieve through this blog?
  4. When (how often) am I posting to the blog? (Remember the importance of writing on a regular basis, even if it’s only once a month.)
  5. How much time do I have to spend on writing the posts for the blog?

That done, you now remember your purpose for the blog.
So how can we plan to see that we’re meeting these criteria? read more

Ongoing Opportunities in Blogging

This entry is part 17 of the series Build a Better Blog

Welcome back to our series on how to Build a Better Blog. As part of the A to Z Challenge we have reached the letter O.

O is for Ongoing Opportunities.

Blogs are in themselves great opportunities as well as they create opportunities to reach out to the community.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is a list in no particular order of opportunities in relation to blogs. read more

Nuggets and Newsletters

This entry is part 16 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Today we are continuing with the A to Z Blogging Challenge as we look at a topic which is as relevant for the writer as it is for the mom who wants to keep in touch with her far-flung family, or perhaps build a heritage to pass on to her children when they are old enough to be interested in their family roots.

The same principles apply whether you are looking to build your blog as a writer or you are writing a family blog. You want to draw people in to your material, to hold their interest, and to be topical. So

N is for Nuggets and Newsletters.

Here are a number of suggestions for getting a good email newsletter that will stand on its own as well as drawing readers (or family members) to your blog material as well. read more

Marketing Methods

This entry is part 15 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Today we’re moving on with our ways to build a better blog, and we’ve reached the letter M. So here we go: .

M is for Marketing Methods.

“But surely,” some of you may be saying, “I don’t need to market my writing? This is a blog, not a book!”

Well,  it may be “only” a blog, but it’s still taken you time to think about the topic and write the text. Perhaps you’ve spent time, maybe a long time, searching for suitable images. Why have you gone to all this bother, if you don’t want anyone to read what you’ve written? So  yes, of course you need to market your blog. And, you writers  out there, most of these ideas will also help you when you’re marketing your books. So let’s get started. read more

Live and Learn

This entry is part 14 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I’m continuing with the A to Z Blogging Challenge and today we look at the letter L.

L is for Live and Learn.

Writing blog posts about topics we know can be fun, but I have also found another great value. Blogging is an ideal way to learn more about a topic. Here are some suggestions I hope you’ll find helpful. read more

K is for Kindle and KDP

This entry is part 13 of the series Build a Better Blog

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I’m continuing with the A to Z Blogging Challenge and today we look at the letter K. To me, K can only stand for one thing, and that’s

K is for Kindle. 

Before looking at the topic of writing for Kindle, I would like to make one observation. Before either of us owned a Kindle, a friend and I signed up for a Kindle account, and downloaded the Kindle app for our computers. We could then “buy” all the freebies that appealed to us, as well as a few other books which were on special and we didn’t want to miss them. Some months later, we both received gifts of Kindle e-readers. Immediately we registered them, our entire library of e-books was available to us on our machines. Amazing! I have no idea how this works, but it does. So if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t miss out on the opportunity. Download the appropriate app today – Free!

Although, for me, K goes further.

K is for Kindle and KDP.

K is for Kindle and KDP. #atozchallenge. Have you published with them? Click To Tweet

I love writing, and several years ago the main-line publishers, Revell/Baker published my book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer. It was a great experience, and I grew tremendously as a writer as a result of the process. However, I also found a number of major problems.

Problems in traditional publication.

  • I had limited say-so over the cover (although I absolutely love the cover they did produce).
    Strength Renewed
  • The title of the book was changed (from Rise and Soar over the Valley of Cancer) despite having a website titled Rise and Soar.
    • The interesting thing was that I feel their book cover suited my original title far more than it did their choice of Strength Renewed.What do you think? Rise and Soar? Or Strength Renewed?
  • I am not able to offer specials, giveaways, or free copies – unless I pay for them myself first. (They gave me a generous supply of free books and giveaways right at the beginning, but that was a few years ago and no longer applies.)
  • I have no control over the price. The e-books today cost more than the print copies! Why on earth?
  • There was a wait of three years between the book being accepted and finally coming out in print.
  • I got little or no warning when they ran specials on the book, which meant I wasn’t able to muster enthusiasm for the special.
  • Because I live in South Africa, it took a trip to the USA to attend the Florida Writers’ Conference for me to meet up with an editor who was interested in my book.
  • There is the need to write a polished Book Proposal and Query letter, and in most cases send this out again and again and again. read more

Joy of Journaling

This entry is part 12 of the series Build a Better Blog

We’re still busy with the A to Z Challenge, following the theme, Build a Better Blog. Today, we’ve reached the letter J and so I thought we’d look at the

Joys of Journaling.

I used to think a journal was a daily account of everything I had done during the day. This meant several things, none of them good.

  • I had to write it at night so I knew what had happened during the day.
  • I had to list everything relevant that had happened and some days that took a long time.
  • I had to find time to do both.
  • I ran out of enthusiasm . . . fast!
  • I gave up.Then I discovered the world of blogging, and I realised I could journal while blogging. So here are some suggestions of how to Build a Better Blog by journaling.

read more

Interesting Images

This entry is part 11 of the series Build a Better Blog

I’m still busy with the #atozchallenge. We’re looking at the theme, Build a Better Blog. Today’s letter is I, and we’re looking at I is for INTERESTING IMAGES

A picture is worth 1,000 words,

said Fred R. Barnard, an advertising manager in the early 1900’s.

Now, over 1,000 years later, this is probably even more relevant. Especially in the world of blogs and websites, As stated in previous posts, the general practice in reading blogs is for the reader to skim over the words, scanning for points of interest. So how important it is to use a picture or image that will give him 1,000 words at a glance! Here are some points to help you.

read more

How to Harness Your Hashtags

This entry is part 10 of the series Build a Better Blog

hashtag

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. It’s good to welcome members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 8th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to

H is for How to Harness Your Hashtags.

  • What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a label used for content. It helps other readers to find the topics they are interested in. By the same token, it helps you to find other comments or articles on the topic you’re researching. It was initially used in Twitter, but it is now often seen on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. If you’re a musician, you’ll recognise the hash symbol as the sharp sign or #. This is how the hashtags for the Pro-Blogger challenge appear: #writebravely or #writetribeblogger. If you click on either of those in Twitter, you will be able to read all the other tweets people have sent with the same hashtag.

  • Why would you use a hashtag in your blog?

And the answer is you won’t. BUT if you don’t promote your blog outside of your blog, you won’t have any readers. And no readers means no point in writing your blog. So although you won’t use hashtags inside your blog, you need to know about them so you can pass on news about your blog to the people who will be interested.

  • Hashtags are essential ways to build up traffic to your blog posts.

When you post about a new blog article on Twitter, if you add an appropriate hashtag you will be able to link up with other bloggers who have written on the same topic. The same applies to Facebook, Instagram and Google+, although they are used in a slightly different way. We looked at the topic briefly under Eager Enthusiasm where I explained how I discovered the effectiveness of this little sign. (Google the specific topic you want to learn more about.)

read more

Go to Google ~Post 6 in the Pro-Blogger Challenge. #writebravely

This entry is part 9 of the series Build a Better Blog

googleHello again to all you wonderful bloggers!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. So a special welcome to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 6th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to

G is for Go to Google

In recent years, the company of Google™ was unhappy when Merriam Webster included its name in its dictionary. They no doubt fear that the world will go like “hoover” which became a generic term for “vacuum” in many countries.

Right now, “to google” actually means to use the Google™ search engine. If the term comes to mean, “I searched the internet for . . . ” the company’s branding will lose its value.

Having cleared that, let’s move on to a list of the pros, cons and other things we need to know when we Go to Google™.

  • Google Images Advanced 

    There is a common misconception that if you want an image you can “Google” it, and if it shows up you’re free to use it. Others will insist it’s okay as a long as you give credit to the photographer or artist.

    Neither of these is correct. 

    There are other sites where you can get pictures, and I will cover them in a later post, but when it comes to Google, there is a way to play it safe. If you go to your Googlesearch bar, and type in e.g. Cape Town, then click on Images – and you will be presented with thousands of amazing views. BUT those are not all free to use. Read and work through the following instructions carefully. read more