Follow You, Follow Me

July 2010 I had the idea for a book. A frustrated housewife, facing 50, would write a humorous diary about her life. However, after researching it I realised the diary format was “old hat”, so, after several more glasses of Chardonnay, I had a eureka moment. The woman would write a blog and end up making hundreds of friends online. How difficult could that be? Of course, I had to set up a blog, and then I had to find friends or as I now know them, followers.

Setting up the blog was simple enough, even for an internet dunce like me, but followers?

If I tell you that after one year of blogging I had over a thousand people following the blog, then you’ll realise it is easier than you think.

First off though, you need some way of letting people follow your blog so they know when you have posted.

I originally started blogging using Blogger as my platform. It has got even easier to use over the last two years. First, make sure you are signed into your blog. Top right of your blog will show three options: NEW POST, DESIGN, LOGOUT. Click on DESIGN then on “Layout” to be found on the left hand side. When clicked, it turns orange. That should open a page similar to this:



Now click on the “Add a Gadget” option written in blue on the right hand side. A small box crammed full of gadgets (also known as widgets) will appear.



You now have a number of choices. Play about later with gadgets for fish that need feeding or Twitter add-ons. For now, look out for following options. You’ll see that the Google+ Followers widget is at the top of the list and Follow by Email, further down the list. Try these too when you are confident. Start by scrolling down to a gadget called “followers”. This will allow people to connect and follow your blog using GFC (Google Friends Connect). Click on it and you’ll get another box:



Change the text in the title box to whatever suits you. You could put “Follow this blog” or “Become one of my elite squad”, whatever takes your fancy. Then press the orange save button.

Your box will now appear on the right hand screen with the title you have given it.

It might now look like this:



Click the orange box at the top of the screen marked ‘save arrangement’. All done! Now press “view blog” and see how it looks on your blog. Goody! I seem to have attracted two followers while preparing this tutorial:



Using these gadgets you can create boxes on your blog so people can follow you by email or using Google+ Friends too. It’s similar procedure to the one above and Blogger hold your virtual hand so you don’t get into difficulties.

To gain extra followers you could join and also ensure you link to Networked Blogs on Facebook. (There will be more about increasing your number of followers another time.)

Recently, I made the daring decision to change platforms to WordPress. This took some adjusting but I am now satisfied with the decision. Have I lost my followers? No. I can’t see their little faces anymore under GFC on my blog, but they subscribe by email to the new site.

Of course, the easiest way to follow a blog is to press the follow button at the top left of the blog, but if you would like to offer people the opportunity to subscribe and find out when you have posted, then WordPress also has widgets. First, log in and get into your dashboard then scroll down to “Appearance” on the left hand side. Once you click onto it you’ll find these options under that heading:



By clicking on “widgets” an entire list of goodies will be displayed. Don’t be afraid. They are user friendly.



The “Follow Blog” widget is to be found in the third column. Click on it and drag it over to the left hand side of your page called the sidebar widget area. A space will magically open up for you to plop your “Follow Me” into. Once it is there you will see a down facing arrow on the box. Click it and a smaller drop down screen will appear below it:



Now you can change the title text so it appears to be less formal if you wish. Click on the blue “Save’ button and as we say here, “Bob’s your uncle!”

Your followers will be updated when you post and you will know how many people are reading your blog. Don’t forget to check out the blogs written by your followers. As Genesis said, “I will follow you will you follow me…”

Author: Carol Wyer

Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post. For more about Carol, go to her website or her Amazon author page.

14 thoughts on “Follow You, Follow Me”

  1. This is just three weeks too late for me – wish I’d had something like this to help, but as you say, it is quite easy. I’ve started reading Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines – it’s brilliant, so funny!!

    1. Hi Amanda! I should have written the tutorial sooner! If you need any “advanced” help let me know. Very, very pleased you are enjoying Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines…keep giggling…it gets even funnier!

  2. Great post Carol. I’m interested in knowing what prompted your change from Blogger to WP? I use Blogger myself and like it, although I’ve heard people say it’s harder to ‘follow’ a blog using Blogger, but that can’t have been your reason with over 1000 followers?
    Janice xx

    1. It’s definitely not harder to follow on Blogger but I found lots of WordPress users were finding it difficult to leave comments on Blogger so following advice (I’ll email you more about that) I switched. Xx

      1. As a WP user I do find sites harder to navigate, and to make comments, but perhaps that’s just because I’m used to a different interface.

    1. Hee hee – wit, charm, leaving endless comments on other people’s blogs that attracted attention to my own and countless blog hops. Plus weeks and weeks visiting other people’s blogs to return comments!

  3. Bravo—you’ve got it right. I don’t have a blog or website yet, but I do own a domain name. Should I just blog, using WordPress, or do I need a website as well, that also has blogability? I’m doing exceptionally well with my print book and will shortly also have an ebook. Thanks for laying this out so well, and good luck with all your writing.

    1. Hi Ester. I think having a blog and an official website that you can keep updated with your author news works well. That way you can have a more formal website and a ‘chatty’ blog that will interest followers. The blog will allow you to interact with other bloggers whereas the website is more for your fans.
      Many congratulations on your book and very good luck with the ebook version. If you need any help setting up a blog just get in touch.

  4. Carol, I’ve wondered why I never get comments on blogger. Are people required to have a blogger or google account in order to comment? Thanks for the helpful info. I’ve wondered myself whether we should have used wordpress for the blog. We’re just learning as well.

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