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Posts Tagged ‘Google Alerts’

Blogging mishap: The content is overpowered by the background image

If you’ve been following Marcie and me for a while, you may agree that we have a generally positive, upbeat attitude and outlook on life and writing and book marketing. I feel the need to make that caveat, as I’m about to post the second of two cautionary (i.e., “DON’T do this!”) posts in less than a week.

And like my last admittedly opinionated commentary (about reposting someone else’s content not being blogging), I also came across this one through Google Alerts for “book marketing.”

It is a post titled How To Create A Successful Book Marketing Campaign, written by Bob T. Taylor for Vu Books.

Please understand that in this instance, I am NOT critiquing content. In fact, I reserve comment on the content, entirely. My point here is that the appearance is problematic. In attempt to create an interesting backdrop for this blog, the designer cleverly incorporated an image of some books, photos, and writing implements. The problem is that the image is too dark, so much so that it makes the text of the blog  the entire point of the page, as you are no doubt aware  very difficult to read. As I said, this is a clever concept, but if it is to work, the background image must be MUCH  lighter, creating significant contrast with the text.

Compare for yourself…

This is an actual screen shot from the Vu Books blog.

This is a mockup of the same screen shot I created using a comparable background image. The primary difference is that I made the background image about 70 percent lighter than in the original version. In my version, the text of the books is not competing with the text of the blog post to create illegible chaos.

This lesson applies equally to blog sites and traditional websites. A background image can go a long way to build interest, brand your site, and make for a generally more favorable experience, provided that it doesn’t overpower the text you actually want your visitors to read! In this case, I  might also consider increasing the font size and putting some space between the lines. However, depending on your blogging platform, choices like that may or may not be available.

The main point is to ALWAYS keep your reader in mind. Make it easy for them to enjoy visiting your blog/website and give them a reason to want to come back. If they can’t read the text  especially of a blog post  they will most likely click “NEXT!”

To appropriate background imagery!

Laura

P.S. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you should be. You can ask Google to email you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned in new online content. It’s simple to sign up and helps you stay up-to-date on your topic, industry, trends, or even your own name.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Reposting someone else’s content is NOT blogging

A while ago, I wrote a post about using public domain materials in which I said:

OK – this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out. It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.

Well, the same is true of your blog posts! If you’re going to blog, you owe it to your readers to come up with your own material. This is not to say you cannot or should not reference other relevant blog posts. As you may have noticed, I do it quite often. But there’s a difference between referencing another post and simply co-opting the material and putting your name on it.

Here’s an example. I was going through my Google Alerts for “book marketing” recently, and came across two very similar posts. The first was 5 Book Marketing Mistakes That Cost You Sales, on the Smart Author Sites blog. The second was Are you Making These 4 Book Marketing Mistakes that Cost you Sales?, by Judy Cullins on BookCoaching.com.

Hmmm… I thought. These topics seem awfully similar. Because of the number discrepancy, I at first thought that Cullins had taken material from Smart Author. As it turns out, it was the other way around. Cullins mistitled her post – she actually delineates five book marketing mistakes. And Smart Author, rather than writing an actual post with any real material in it, simply “borrowed” an abbreviated version of Cullins’ post.

The entirety of original content in the Smart Author post is as follows:

I came across a GREAT blog post today by author marketing guru Judy Cullins. Here are some of the highlights, quoted directly from the post…

—————

Amen, Judy!

As far as I am concerned, this is simply cheating. To be fair, I have not read any other posts on the Smart Author site, so I am in no way alleging that this is a habit. But even in this one instance, it’s not fair to Cullins, the original author of the material. How could Smart Author have made the material their own? By adding their own commentary (i.e., work) to Cullins’ thoughts. Why do they agree? What has been their experience with the five mistakes Cullins mentions? How would they expand or digress on said mistakes?

When it comes to your own blog, please do the work. You know how you’d feel if someone abridged your book and put their name on it, right? A blog post is no different. Your readers want to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your words.

To originality in blogging!

Laura

P.S. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you should be. You can ask Google to email you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned in new online content. It’s simple to sign up and helps you stay up-to-date on your topic, industry, trends, or even your own name.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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