Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post by Nikolas Baron

Interactive Features That Can Change a "Blah" Blog into an Amazing One

Many writers wonder why they do not receive much traffic on their blog. They write insightful articles. They update content regularly with new posts. They invite people that they meet to visit the blog. However, the blog stagnates. How can you generate more traffic to your blog? One of my job duties at Grammarly is to pursue solutions to the problems writers have. In studying successful blogs, I notice that blogs with interactive features attract followers. Here’s a list; which components can you introduce to your blog?

    Question of the Day/Week: Ask open-ended questions on at the start of each day or week. Invite site visitors to weigh in with their opinion. Before you know it, people will be checking the blog throughout the day to check other’s viewpoints or for responses to their submission.

    Quizzes: Quizzes should not be like the ACT. Instead post short, fun quizzes that subscribers can complete in less than five minutes. Quiz takers should receive immediate feedback, but you can also compile and post statistics to compare results. Relate the quiz topics to your blogs. For example, imagine you post a travel blog. You can create a quiz, “What type of luggage are you? Test your travel personality!” The multiple-choice answers that quiz takers select should categorize them as duffel bags (budget), carry-ons (spontaneous), Louis Vuitton suitcase (luxury), etc.

    Surveys / Polls:  In a poll, site visitors vote on a question, often a simple one that requires a yes/no answer. As the votes aggregate, the data is displayed. For example, should Justin Bieber be deported? Add a display of the breakdown. A survey is similar, but usually consists of several questions. Surveymonkey is a great website to create quizzes, surveys, and polls.

    Games: This is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply go to, a website that hosts free games. Copy the embed code, and paste it on your blog. If you can find a related game, such as Job Runner for a career blog, it will provide a cute, relevant distraction for your fans.

    Videos: How you post a video depends on where the video is stored.  Google Help pages explain how to link videos from Youtube and how to upload from mobile phones and computers.

    Podcasts: A podcast is a digital copy of a multimedia file that you give your readers permission to access through your site. To kill two birds with one click of the mouse, visit the Smart Passive Income podcast to learn what a podcast is and how to monetize your blog.

    Freebies: People love free stuff. As a writer, consider giving away a few copies of your book. It is also a good way to get contact information from your blog visitors. If you prefer to cut the costs of mailing, offer a couple of free digital copies.

    Raffles and Sweepstakes 
This is another good way to create excitement on your blog and to minimize the expense of the prizes. With a single copy of a book up for grabs, hundreds of fans may enter the same contest. With permission, post the winner to show that the opportunity was legitimate.

With any interactive feature, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Will the feature interest your target audience? What is the time and monetary expense of running the feature? With links, including ads, individuals could be directed away from your site. If possible, make sure that links open in a separate window. Spellcheck your quizzes, edit your podcasts, and review videos in their entirety before adding it to your site. If you fail to do so, people will be commenting more about your errors than the new interactive formats. So, do you have big plans for how to improve your blog? I hope so!

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale Book One) Spotlight

I'm thrilled to be able to spotlight Dana Michelle Burnett's book Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale Book One) on my blog. Take a look at this awesome book!

Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale Book One)

Beautiful.  Secretive. Magical. You envy their freedom, but you are distrustful of their ways. A strange carnival has come to Corydon, Indiana and the Irish Travellers have captured the small town's attention--but it's Harmony who's attracted theirs.

Harmony sees the Travellers everywhere and just like everyone else in town she's curious. But once she meets the mysterious and captivating Kieran, Harmony's life takes an exciting and chilling turn. 

Up until now, Harmony never believed that fairy tales or myths were real, but Kieran and his family belong to an ancient tribe called the Tuatha de Danann and someone else has discovered their secret. 

An ancient battle is about to begin again, and now no one is safe, especially Harmony. Can Kieran resist the urge to be with her or will his feelings put her in the crossfire?

Harmony's life will never be the same...

Each and every day was just as normal, and just as boring, as the one before it...And then the Carnival of Wonders comes to town. Suddenly, her small town world is overtaken by the handsome magician Kieran and his Irish Traveller family. She discovers that not all fairy tales are pretend.

Kieran has waited an eternity for a love like this...

Life on the road is never easy, but keeping a secret is even harder. He can't deny how he feels, but he can't turn away from who and what he is. As an old enemy closes in, Kieran's feelings for Harmony put her in the very center of a battle between man and magic. Can he protect her long enough to make her his?

Available at:


About the Author:
Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines  including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more.  Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was include in The Best of Foliate Oak 2006. 

Dana Michelle's Spiritus Series introduced the idea of a ghostly romance and became a Kindle bestselling series.  She's an avid reader of anything dark and romantic. Dana Michelle lives in Southern Indiana with her dancing diva daughter and an assortment of pets.

Dana Michelle loves connecting with her readers. You can find her at: