The Stat Connection

The StatConnection

Today’s writing prompt is about going over some of our top blog posts and writing about what made them so popular.

I’ll start with Hello, It’s Me. This one is obvious to me, and probably to you as well! This post was popular because of the hit song by Adele. I went above and beyond with putting it out there on Twitter because I knew people would be looking for it. I LOVE piggybacking on a hashtag like that! 🙂 Sure, it’s a little sneaky, but hey, it did what it was supposed to! I loved writing this piece!

Next is probably Coming Out – A Mother’s Story – Part One. This one was popular, and I think it may be because it’s hard to find a mother’s perspective out there. I know, because I looked. After my son told us the news, I went looking to see if my feelings about this were normal, or if I was just losing my mind. This post proved to me that no, I was not alone. Just last week, another mom messaged me through Facebook, talking about how she feels a lot like how I felt. For the record, we are all doing great… I think the next hurdle is when my son brings a boyfriend home. In due time (although I’m sure it’s going to happen sooner than I think!)

Lastly, one more of my top posts seemed to be the one about our vow renewal with It’s My Party, when we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I can picture everything so vividly, and I tried to give everyone else that same vision! I am still excited about this upcoming event, and I’m truly glad my readers enjoyed the post.


The Stat Connection


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On another note, I’ve been a bit on the quiet side with posting lately because I’ve been catching up on some reading… I rarely have time to read anymore, but I started reading Stephen King’s Under The Dome (epub). Have you read it? Did you enjoy it? I know it’s also a tv series, but I haven’t watched it. No spoilers please! I’m only about a third of the way through it because…

I found some books at the library that have been on my Goodreads To-Read list for-EVER, so I borrowed them, and since I have a deadline with these books, and not the Stephen King one, I’ve set that one aside to read these. I borrowed Ghost-Boy (what a great story, what a terrific and brave young man!), and I’m currently reading Grace of Monaco. We have the movie, but I know if I watch it before reading the book, I won’t be interested in reading it anymore… lol… so I’m trying to hurry with it because I really want to see Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly!

Are you a reader? What types of books would you recommend to me based on these?

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January 2016 Roundup

January 2016 Roundup

January was a pretty good month for us as a family, and for myself as a blogger. I am really enjoying the WordPress Daily Prompts, I love the challenge of writing about several topics and relating them to my own life. Here’s a breakdown of what’s been going on here at SMores and Sundresses:

My son, Tyler, shared his story about coming out. If you missed his brave and amazing story, you can catch up here.

I began my journey with 21 Day Fix… it’s been touch and go but I’ve lost a few pounds and I’m pleased with how it’s going. I plan to continue the program over the month of February. Read about my start here.

I shared my celebrity run-in from when I was a teenager… you can check it out here. It’s kind of funny, and it wouldn’t be a teen experience if it wasn’t at least a little awkward!

I wrote about a fun weekend shared with friends, which can be read here, and the music at that party can be checked out here.

I’ve shared the dreams of my husband and I, for our big vow renewal bash in two years, when we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. Can you smell the pork? Find out here.

I compiled my bucket list! It’s pretty awesome to see it in black and white! I encourage you to write yours down as well! Check mine out by clicking here.

I also started a fan page for Smores & Sundresses to keep my posts separate from my personal Facebook page. Bloggers are welcome as well; I plan to have weekly threads for bloggers to share their top posts of the week, and non-bloggers will have an opportunity to check out some other great reads! Let’s share the love, join here.

I wrote to my younger self in a post, you can check it out here. Writing it was so much fun, the words and sentences just poured from my heart!

I shared my concern for a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. He goes in for a scan tomorrow to check his lymph nodes. He would sincerely appreciate your prayers.

I wrote about my experiences with technology throughout my life… maybe my story isn’t much different from yours?

Lastly, I have set aside some time to return blogger love out to the blogosphere and have retweeted posts from fellow bloggers under the hashtag #sundayblogshare. I love how it feels when someone helps to promote your writing, and I’ve been lucky to have received RTs, so I wanted to promote writing that I’ve personally enjoyed!

I am blessed with some pretty fantastic followers, both blogger friends and personal friends. It warms my heart to have you on board. Thank you!

8 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

blogging

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Hellooooooo! So, my blog is about two months old now… and not quite sleeping all the way through the night. I say that last part because I sometimes have an idea for a post and I’m so excited to start on it, I’m up at least two hours before my husband is on weekends, and I LOVE sleeping in. I haven’t even turned the coffee maker on yet, and I’m tapping away on my laptop!

Here is what I have learned so far in my virtual travels:

There are people out there who genuinely want to help you.

It’s heartwarming to discover this. Life can be competitive, and in so many areas of life, people don’t often extend a helping hand, but I’ve been blessed to come into contact with people who are so helpful and encouraging. I hope to help others one day, like those people have helped me.

Meet & Greets, Link Parties, Sharefests – These are oh SO important to get your writing seen, your voice heard! Search for them on Twitter, and READ the instructions… then read them AGAIN. Follow the host, and read at least a few posts from other people. Like and Comment. Go one step further, SHARE. It’s one or two clicks, it really just takes a second, and it means the world to fellow bloggers. Doesn’t it make your day when someone shares YOUR post?

I am FAR from being a pro at any of this, but my best blog days are the ones where I give and take, and share, share, share.

I’ve never been so unsure of myself before.

Being a perfectionist has definitely made me question myself. Even though I LOVE writing, there’s always that little question in the back of my mind, “Does anyone care enough to read what I have to say?”, or “Do I write well enough to do this, or am I wasting my time?”.

I have decided to ignore that little voice, and to just do this, because I genuinely enjoy it. For myself.

There REALLY is not enough time in the day.

Seriously. Really. Truly. Where did that stretch of five hours I had after work go? How is it bedtime already? I still have to do this and that! I had an idea for a post and never got a chance to start working on it!

This past week could have been better. My personal goal is to publish at least two posts a week, and I feel disappointed that I couldn’t accomplish that. I need to go easier on myself… I have a busy family and a full-time job. And those darned kids expect dinner. Like, every day!

Every blogger I’ve “met” has been in my shoes at some point.

They keep telling you not to focus on your stats and your numbers, but it’s hard not to when the page is RIGHT THERE! The people I look up to have been where I am, and wondered if they were doing this for nothing. I will continue to grow as a blogger just as I will continue to grow as a person. Remembering this, and reminding myself that I ENJOY writing, it really helps.

Social media WILL make your blog more visible.

Twitter has literally become my best friend. I probably over-use it, but if I used Facebook like I use Twitter for self-promotion, I’d be lucky to have three friends on it, and I can’t even guarantee that my husband and my son would be two of them. I am blessed to have every follower I have, and even more blessed to have the WP blog followers I have. Use Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Viewing other blogs and how they promote their posts can help you decide what you like and what you don’t like.

I love the look of Pinterest and Instagram screen shots for tweets, and I figured out how to do it myself. If you’re ever in doubt about how to accomplish something you like, Google it, or write to the blogger and ask. I know for myself, I would feel honoured if I was asked how I did something!

Edit your blog photos.

I used Paint Shop Pro for everything at one time, but, I think the program is too old for my laptop and it doesn’t always load properly. I don’t understand Photoshop very well (although I’m confident if I had enough time to sit and play with it, I could do great things with it). I’ve tried PicMonkey… I wasn’t overly impressed with it, but Canva! WOW! I am Canva’s biggest fan. I use it to brighten and fix the contrast on just about every photo I have on my blog. I only use my own photos, and once in awhile I’ll use some of the free elements, but it is really fantastic. It’s free to use and gives you web-worthy photos that won’t bog up your page’s load speed.

Browse Other Blogs.

I wish I had more time to do it more frequently, but I try to do this a couple of times a week. I love using WordPress’ Reader view to catch up on blogs I follow. They are all in one place, and easy to comment and like. BlogLovin’ is another place I don’t get to as much as I’d like, but it’s the same idea. All your favourite blogs, in one convenient location. Reading other blogs lets you get to know the authors and develop friendships.

Use a scheduler for your posts/tweets.

I tried CoSchedule… didn’t want to pay for it because I’m still new, and I don’t want to be charged for a service I’m not sure of yet. So I tried Hootsuite. LOVE IT! There is a paid pro version, but right now I’m using the free version. I get to schedule my posts and tweets, and when I have busy weeks where I can’t post as much as I’d like, my online presence is still felt, because Hootsuite is putting it out there for me.

Like I said, I’m not a blogging pro. I don’t know all the ins and outs yet, I am truly learning every single day. This is what I have learned so far, and I am grateful for all the help and encouragement I have received so far, and will receive in the future.

So fellow bloggers… I’d be honoured if you would share what you’ve learned! =)