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Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blogger Interview with Stephanie Faris

Today I have Stephanie Faris as a guest for my second Blogger Interview. When I found out she had big success as a blogger on Myspace way back when, I knew I had to pick her brain. She’s a talented blogger, that’s for sure. She’s also a great author with a new children's book out called 25 Roses.


1. I read a post on your blog about your Myspace blogging days. Can you tell us about that?

Sure! I started blogging on MySpace in 2006 and gradually built up a readership. At my blog’s peak, I was averaging thousands of views a day…but MySpace ranked bloggers, so once you reached a high readership, people found you just by clicking on “Blogs” at the top of any page on the site. The MySpace blogging community was very strong from 2006-2008, then it started to quickly dwindle as MySpace started dying.

She beat a post written by Matthew McConaughey!
2. I remember being sad when Myspace started dying. How did you decide to create a blog with Blogger?

Actually, I set up my Blogger account as a backup for my MySpace blogs because that site was so unstable. You never knew if you’d wake up to find everything you’d ever posted was gone. I moved from MySpace to here in 2009 and began posting every day, but I didn’t discover this great writing community Alex  has created until last year. (Insecure Writer's Support Group)The group here reminds me of the MySpace community—only much better because many of us are writers and none of us are crazy! There were quite a few crazies on MySpace, as you can imagine.

3. I can imagine! What was your very first blog post?

I don’t have it anymore, but it was called “Nice Purse” and it was about seeing a former best friend on the street. We once shared all of our lives’ hopes and dreams and we’d now been reduced to just saying, “Hi,” and, “Nice purse” as we passed in the hallway. At least I have her to thank for that!

4. What do you love most about blogging?

The community. Writing and posting are fun, but it’s really all about interacting with our fellow bloggers. Otherwise we’d all just be talking to ourselves!

And there she is in the top 5!
5. You have over 900 followers...any secrets/tips on how to gain followers?

In my early days on MySpace, I would post a blog and nobody would read. One day I went out there and started commenting on other blogs. Some of them commented back. I realized that if you want to have readers, you have to read other people’s blogs. When I’m reading blogs, I go through my comments on the past few blogs and read the blogs of those who have commented. That keeps me reading only the blogs of people who are still actively reading mine. You’d be surprised how often someone just stops reading anyone’s blogs but keeps posting.

6. What are the top 5 most-viewed posts on your blog? (Include links.)

I won’t say I understand why, but here are the posts with the most views:






7. Share your number one tip to bloggers just starting out.

The top tip is to post consistently. Whether it’s once a week or every day doesn’t matter. Just make it consistent. If you post only on Mondays, your readers will know to check in every Monday. Also, read, read, read. Most of us read the blogs of those who comment ours, so by reading other people’s blogs, you’ll get readers for your own.

Stephanie also has a new book available!

Hyper Round:

1. Favorite time to post blogs?

I set mine to post at 5 a.m. That catches all the people just getting up and the rest will catch it later in the day!

2. Blogger or Wordpress?

Blogger. I tried WordPress, but it doesn’t integrate with Wix, which is where I have my author site, so I switched back to Blogger once I started setting up my website.

3. Blog Hops: Yay or Nay?

Google’s algorithms see links as a good thing. The more sites that link to your blog, the more of an “authority” it will seem to Google. Blog hops give you that one extra link. That said—most of the time when I participate in a blog hop, nobody else participating reads my blog unless I read theirs first. So if you’re participating in a blog hop, read the other blogs—it’s probably the only way you’ll get new regular readers.

4. Do you host guests?

Anytime! I love hosting guests. It gives me the day off and brings another perspective to my blog. If anyone would like to guest blog, let me know. I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge in April and I have a few book promotions I’ve committed to do, but other than that, my blog is wide open!



Bio:

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Find Her Here:

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for agreeing to be my second Blogger interviewee! You and Alex (my first Blogger interviewee) sure set the bar high!

Please leave her a comment! :)


98 comments:

  1. You nailed all the secrets! (And thanks for mentioning the IWSG.) I've never had a My Space account, but I am super impressed with how well you did there.
    I also think being consistent makes a huge difference.
    And if you are visiting a lot of people and commenting, but not getting a good portion of those comments in return, time to re-evaluate what you're posting or your approach. (Or yourself.)

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    1. I'm guessing you were too young to have a MySpace account at the time, right?! Most of the people my age I knew were too old, but it was popular with artistic types at the time. One cool thing that Facebook doesn't have was the ability to customize your page with backgrounds and music players. All you can do on FB is change your cover photo.

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    2. Yes, there are a few things about Myspace that I miss...like being able to customize out pages. I used to spend hours looking for backgrounds and even add pretty cursors and extra doodads. :)

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  2. I had a My Space twice. Closed it both times because I got too many weirdos following me. I always wondered what happened to it.

    I've had my blog for ten years now, and in the beginning, bloggers didn't really connect with one another. There wasn't even a way to "follow." That it's now grown into a community, including smaller communities like the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is a wonderful thing.

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    1. MySpace did tend to act as a singles' bar at times. Facebook is so private, I don't think it has the same issues. MySpace was just much more open. I think that's why Facebook took off with the older generations who had no interest in displaying their lives to complete strangers.

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    2. Facebook definitely has a lot more security. The weirdos and people looking to umm *coughs* get laid came out in force.

      It must have been interesting to see how blogging had changed over these past ten years.

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  3. I was never on MySpace but I find Stephanie's experience there so interesting! And impressive. I had to laugh about the crazies, I can just imagine.
    These are all great tips - thanks for sharing.

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    1. It was a unique experience for the blogging community. Many of them had no interest in being writers--the complete opposite of what I've found on Blogger.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

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  4. You gave great advice, Stephanie! It does take work to get readers to read your blog, but I too love the community of bloggers :)

    betty

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    1. We all get to follow each other's journey's.

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  5. Totally true about the blogging/writing community and IWSG! I like your system of responding to comments on your blog and visiting those commenters back.

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    1. When I first created my blog here, you couldn't reply directly to each comment. Someone clued me in that they'd fixed that problem--they probably fixed it two years ago and I never realized it!

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  6. I was never on My Space,, enjoyed reading your post, Have a great week-end.

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  7. oh my goodness, myspace! ha, I had one when I started college and I remember having the hardest time moving from that to FB...now I'm more partial to Twitter lol...and I completely agree on consistency. I think that's the most important thing!

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    1. LOL! I was firm against Facebook when it first started. So much so that I was the only one left on Myspace. All of my family and friends ditched me! When I got too lonely I finally made the switch.

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    2. Twitter is a little closer to MySpace, as far as the openness of it.

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  8. Great advice, Stephanie! I really enjoyed reading this. And I had no idea Myspace even had an option to blog. But then again, back then, I didn't even know what blogging meant!
    I learned the only way to have followers is to read other blogs as well. We have such a diverse community of talented writers and I love it! The support is incredible.
    Congrats on all of your accomplishments, inside and outside of the blogosphere!

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    1. Yup, I remember blogging on Myspace, but I had no success with it. Haha!

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    2. I didn't at first, either, Chrys. Just one comment from a friend on the first one! Then I commented on a blog and she commented back. She had a few blogging friends who commented mine, too, and I grew from there.

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  9. stephanie is a great blogger as she reads and comments on folks' sites that are different from her own content. i'm not a writer or even a good photographer, but she's a loyal follower and commenter. i feel bad, sometimes, as i have nothing to add to a discussion about writing or books i've read, but she still keeps me in her reading list. :) she's a gem.

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    1. Absolutely! She's a great blogger! I read many different blogs too because my interests run from several different things. It would get boring only reading about writing. :) Thanks for stopping by, Tex!

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    2. I found a lot of non-writing bloggers back in the A to Z Challenge days. It's so much fun to see TexWisGirl's pictures and follow Betty's adventures (she commented above). I do try to blog about more than writing, although sometimes I get stuck in a period where it's all writing blogging for a week or two, especially around the time a book launches.

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  10. Does myspace still exist or has it completely gone away? Stephanie really knows how to drive traffic to her blog and she posts lots of helpful ideas.

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    1. Surprisingly enough, Myspace is still around.

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    2. I logged into my MySpace account the other day and had no idea what to do. I don't even know how to find people over there anymore. They deleted all our blogs, though. There was supposed to be a way to get them emailed to you, but it didn't work when I tried it.

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  11. Great post! And I completely agree about the reading and commenting elsewhere to gain readers--that's definitely what's helped me out over the years :) Also, what fun to learn a little more about Stephanie's MySpace posts!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed Stephanie's interview, Meradeth! Commenting on other blogs has definitely helped me too. It's the easiest thing someone can do to build their blog.

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    2. I've attended SO many workshops and such where published authors say blogging is a waste of time. They blog and nobody reads it. I'm sure that's true--unless you have a huge fan base. It's not like there was an instruction manual telling us we had to return the favor if someone commented our blog. We just instinctively did it. But most authors who have any comments on their blog at all are either part of a blogging group or just actively read other people's blogs on a regular basis.

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  12. That is sure some great stats on myspace, I never used it. Was dead the moment facebook came along. I have another on wordpress but I like blogger better. Yep, right on indeed. Have to read and comment on others. Those that just post to hear themselves talk i avoid. Or the ones that post every other day saying they have nothing to say lol

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    1. I like Blogger better, too. I'm using Wordpress for my website and it's so confusing and hard to manage. Blogger is simpler.

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    2. In 2006, when I joined MySpace, Facebook was for college students. If you weren't in college, I don't think you were allowed to join. Even when they opened it up to others, they asked for your school information and were very clear that it was college-centric. It gradually grew from there, but it took a while. I think I joined in 2007/2008 but even then, we were encouraged to find all the people we went to school with first. That's how my Facebook ended up primarily consisting of people I went to high school and college with. Now it's grown to family and friends and former co-workers, but at the start, it was for connecting with classmates. MySpace didn't really care where you went to school!

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  13. Stephanie is a blogger rockstar!

    I started out on Blogger, but then I couldn't figure out how to make the blogger platform appear at a sub-page on my website, so I switched to WordPress. I haven't had any issues with it so far, but then, I don't have much of an author website either.

    I like the tip about visiting other bloggers. Stephanie mentioned that in her post Grow Your Blog too. I didn't know about the whole "visit to get visits" thing until I actually made a couple of friends who blogged.

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    1. It took a while for me to figure that out! Reading blogs is how I procrastinate my work... I'm supposed to be writing about new houses right now...but here I am, commenting!

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  14. Thanks for the GREAT advice, Stephanie. I can totally agree as I have also gain readers by reading other blogs and commenting. I am currently on Wordpress. I never had a myspace page though. Congrats on your accomplishments and have an AWESOME Friday :)

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    1. Thanks, Jccee! I liked WordPress--Wix just wouldn't pull it over, so I had to go back to Blogger.

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  15. I know you work hard at blogging and you are very consistent with your posts.

    Excellent tips.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thanks, Sandee! I post M, W, and F unless someone has a set day they need me to post something for them (like during a blog tour).

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  16. Great interview! It's inspiring and interesting. The "nice purse" post sounds intriguing. I remember MySpace blogging...I think I put up two posts in all on it.

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    1. I think I only noticed the blogging section because I was looking up someone and that person had a couple of really poorly-written blog posts. Somehow, while clicking around, I saw someone had done "brackets" for bloggers as some kind of competition. The winners were GREAT and it made me realize that blogging could be a really creative outlet.

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  17. I'm late to the party again, Chrys. This darn PST time lag LOL. Hi Stephanie, I've certainly been hearing many wonderful things about your latest book! It's nice to hear your blogging tips here. As far as Google goes, I just figure something out and it changes it's 'algorithms'. I feel smart saying that word. Not sure I understand it though. I'll read through the comments and see what others are saying about this blogging stuff. :)

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    1. You're right about that, Lisa! Google likes to keep it a mystery. I usually can tell when there's been a shift because my major clients will start requesting something new. With keywords, I'm now sent a list of keywords to incorporate ONCE each, whereas when I first started, I'd be sent one keyphrase and asked to include it multiple times. I'm also writing a lot of guest blogs now and longer posts. I don't see as many requests for 400-word blogs now--most people want 700, 1000, or more. Long-form blogging, they call it. Apparently Google likes longer articles/blogs more than shorter...but readers like shorter blogs, so that's odd!

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    2. Oh, the party is going on all day, Lisa...and even into the weekend since my next post won't be until Monday. :)

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  18. Yeah, that's why I got off MySpace, too. Too many posts that went POOF! It got annoying.

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    1. I read an article once that compared MySpace to Facebook and explained why the latter succeeded when the former failed. Basically, MySpace was run by business people while FB was started by techies and continues to be run by techies. They put the technology first and that makes all the difference.

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  19. Stephanie and Chris, Thanks for this very interesting and informative post! I started blogging back then too, on a site called Vox, no longer in existence. Glad you are still blogging, Stephanie. I always enjoy reading your posts!

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    1. How did I miss Vox? I don't remember that one!

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    2. Thanks for visiting, Karen! I never heard of Vox back in the day, but quite a few bloggers have said they started there.

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  20. This was such a great interview. I especially loved learning about Stephanie's first blog post and the meaning behind it. And I agree about posting consistently. Otherwise, people will forget about you!

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    1. 2006 seems like a lifetime ago...most people who are blogging now only started a few years ago--mostly because they're younger than I am!

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed Stephanie's interview, Quanie! She's my second blogger interviewee. :D

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  21. Some excellent tips from a mistress in the art. I have reservations about the timing one though - it assumes that people are in your time zone, which often isn't true. Which is wonderful. Different zones, different lives...

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    1. Stephanie is the mistress of blogging, that's for sure! ;) Time zones can be tricky, but posting early allows people in other time zones to catch it throughout their day to, or whenever they wake up.

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    2. There's no way to catch everyone... I do find that most of my readers are in the U.S., so it captures most of them. On MySpace, people used to tell me they would read my blog while drinking their morning coffee. I guess I got in the habit of just posting first thing in the morning. Now that I work from home, often the blog posts before I even get up. That wasn't the case when I worked in an office and got up to be at work by 7 a.m.!

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  22. Great topic, Stephanie! Lots of great tips and good reminders. I may need to start scheduling my posts instead of willy nilly posting. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind, and my blogging has taken the hit.

    Great second interviewee choice, Chrys!

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    1. Thanks, Ava! :D

      Scheduling posts is awesome! It allows me to personally plan ahead so I don't have to stress out about posting on specific days, or on time.

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    2. I always schedule. I have my blogs posted and ready to go for the next month. If something comes up that I want to blog about earlier, I just bump something to the end of that line but I try to keep a month's worth of posts in the hopper.

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  23. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful interview, Chrys. I enjoyed it so much! :)

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  24. I used to blog on myspace as well...around the same time Stephanie was at it. But I was very new at it and my topics were all over the place. :)

    I also set my blogs to post at 5 AM. :) Nice meeting you Stephanie!

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    1. I used to blog about politics on Myspace back when Obama and McCain were fighting for the presidency. I'm glad I'm not doing that anymore! ;)

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    2. Nice meeting you, DL! So cool to see so many former MySpacers on here! Wish I'd met you guys back then.

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  25. Wow, you got huge on MySpace! You seem to be the biggest non-celebrity there was!

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  26. I was never on MySpace, but I remember going and back and forth on it. I was a teacher and we were warned not to be on there.
    Great advice for bloggers.

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  27. Getting readers includes writing interesting content. Good post you two.

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  28. Thank you for the advice, Stephanie. Blogging can be overwhelming and time consuming. I enjoy hopping to other blogs and commenting, which takes away from what I should be doing, writing. However, at this point, I'd never give it up. I love my online friends and all the wonderful people I've met. They have all become part of my life. If I don't have a comment from one of my regulars, I get worried.

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  29. Hey Chrys, and Stephanie, great interview. Loved the questions and the answers. I never did MySpace. WOW. You've been blogging a lot. My blog was hacked, and every time I logged in I had to do a new password. It was horrible. I had burnout because of it. Now I love it again. Although, I decided I didn't want to deal with following. I took that down. I watched bloggers in this race to have more followers. That ain't what it's about, you know? Great post you two!

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    1. Thanks, Robyn! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

      Your blog was hacked! Gosh, that would be my worst nightmare. Actually, that would be my second worst nightmare. The first would be logging on to find all my posts gone, or my blog gone all-together.

      The following race...just I've noticed it. It's taken me a long time to get past 200 and I'm proud of that number. I enjoy blogs with as little as 16 followers to as many as 2,000. The number of followers doesn't represent how great a blog is. Just like FB likes.

      Thanks for your comment, Robyn!

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  30. What wonderful advice, Stephanie! I love visiting other blogs and reading the posts and comments. It is nice to see what my blogging friends are up to and I always learn about new books, writing tips, and all kinds of things. Definitely important to join in the conversations and comment to other bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  31. I never had a MySpace account. And I've only been blogging for over a year now (it'll be two years this May). But you've definitely hit the nail on the head about reading and commenting other bloggers. You can learn a lot from other bloggers and it can inspire blog post(s).

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  32. Great advice and good sound tips for people who do not know what they are supposed to do in blog land

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  33. Myspace's days were numbered before I started being social online, but it's interesting reading about your successes on it! I heard you were guaranteed at least one follower on it, the founder Tom? Imagine Mark Zuckerberg having time to like each of the millions of Facebook pages, lol. I agree it is very important to comment on, and learn from other bloggers and I couldn't be without my blogger buds now. No point only talking to yourself!

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    1. Yup, when you joined Myspace, Tom was automatically your first friend. :) I remember there used to be jokes like "No, Tom, I'm not your friend." Haha!

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  34. Commenting really is a huge one. I'm a big believer in getting out there and commenting and visiting too :D

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  35. I started out using Blogger on Zimbio 2006. Then Zimbio went pure entertainment. No more blogging or personal magazines. Lot of changes, but I keep loving it.Terrific interview! And my thanks to Stephanie for some nice advice and tidbits!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dixie! I never used Zimbio...and that's because I'm a bit later to the blogging world.

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  36. Yes, yes and yes. I agree with everything you said. Commenting back to the blogs that took the time to leave a comment for you is really important.

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  37. Stephanie is not only a talented writer, but wise! You've chosen a great guest post, Chrys!

    Thanks, Stephanie - great advice.

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    1. Thank you, Cherdo! I'm glad you approve. :D

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  38. Hey Chrys! Great interview with Stephanie who sounds awesome, but we knew that. Yep. Commenting is the only way to get readers, otherwise you are indeed talking to yourself. I had that experience when I changed my blog URL. All anyone had to do to find me was to google my name, but no one is that keen. So yes, I've always believed in reciprocal blogging, but not everyone does. And I'd just hooked up with MySpace when it shut down.

    It is much easier for US bloggers to set the time thing. Harder if most of your readers are in the US and are 19+ hours behind Australia...and that depends where you live in the US.

    Thanks again!

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    1. I'm happy you enjoyed Stephanie's interview, Denise! Yes, time zones are tricky. 5:00am Eastern time is 9:00pm in Australia. So if you want to catch your US readers first thing in morning, you could post at 9:00pm.

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  39. I started blogging on Blogger in 2009 but I did very little to get readers until early 2012... I asked my daughter what I needed to do to be successful... she said read, read, read and comment, comment, comment... she was right, I never looked back. I have awesome readers, you being one of the them Stephanie.

    Also, I think consistency is important... used to be all over the place and I posted nearly everyday... which is fine for some people but for me once a week or sometimes twice a week is about all I can handle at the moment since I follow many blogs and I am a mama who works full time... I do love blogging though :)

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  40. Stephanie is an amazing blogger. She knows her stuff.

    I had a quiet, unread blog on Yahoo 360 before I experimented with Blogger--because I wouldn't interact like I do today. Then I set up the blog I have today in '09. I post anywhere from 1-3 times a week.

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    1. My blog on Myspace was quiet and read by one-two people. Haha!

      And your blog is awesome, Medeia!

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  41. Great interview. Thank you for sharing your blogging tips, Stephanie.

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  42. Hi Stephanie and Chrys! I agree that being in tune with commenters is really the way to grow your blog. I have a Wordpress blog, as my Blogger days ended because I had problems with GFC, and no one would help. I found that very frustrating. My Wordpress site is also hosted.
    I think besides being consistent with posts, you have to speak your heart. Be true to yourself. If you aren't, readers won't want to stay with you.
    Nice to see you here Stephanie! I would love to do a guest post for you btw,
    Ceil

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    1. Hi Ceil! :) Speaking from your heart and bring true to yourself is excellent advice for bloggers. Thanks for stopping by, Ceil!

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  43. words of blogging wisdom right "write" there. myspace...memories!

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    1. Sometimes when I'm leaving comments, I end up typing "write" when I mean right. So I have to go back and fix it. LOL!

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  44. This is a fantastic post. Stephanie always has such great tips. And she is such a friendly person. It's easy to see how she beat out Matthew McConaughey once upon a time.

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    1. She sure is friendly! She's the best!

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  45. Great interview, Chrys! Stephanie is one of my favourite people. She's so open and giving and is always helping other authors.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my second blogger interview with Stephanie, J.H.!

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