I’m Not Ignoring You–Is it WP or the 1200 lb Gorilla?

I'm Not Ignoring You

Spoiler Alert: Anyone else experiencing these issues?

Many of you know that my blog stats suddenly dropped 107 followers the end of March. I’m not ignoring you–honest! I wrote the Happiness Engineers at WordPress regarding the drop as well as the increase in “followers” from Outlook email accounts. Eventually, I got a canned response that didn’t address the issues (either one, but directed me to check my listed follower status).

I wrote again, unhappy with the result of my inquiry, and finally got a response from Damianne who wrote, “Your followers are from social media as well as WordPress. We can’t manage followers from social media, so we don’t have any information about those changes.” That’s true, as my followers are made up of more than 750 social followers, 250+ WP followers, with the balance made up of email followers (no Outlook followers).

She went on to note that “Followers from outlook.com may be spammers and we are looking into the issue generally, and have already implemented some fixes. The follows in themselves are not an actual threat…so really all they’re achieving is to annoy people. We’re working on our end to get these follows blocked, and we’re also removing fake follows as we detect them. On your end, just ignore them for now.”

Wait, What? “Fake follows.” Are you considered a fake follow? Did you get unfollowed?

It wasn’t until later that I realized I was no longer getting notifications from my most active blogging buddies. That’s you! So I apologize–it wasn’t me–it was…WordPress?

I know you are not fake follows, so what happened? Damianne suggested my notifications may be going to my spam folder as a result of my email provider. They are not.

Dot Com vs Dot Org

As a dot com (not a dot org), I do not have the ability to download and use all those wonderful plug-ins that would give me some additional insight into the dynamics of my website. So frustrating! But trying to research what may be happening, I see one overwhelming theme–speed–and mobile technology. 

WordPress-Plugins vs Widgets from My Theme Shop

We know WordPress changed their algorithms this year, but I didn’t realize it would affect my little contribution to the blogosphere. Why? Because nothing stays the same–remember that old adage? People change. Technology advances to keep up with wants and needs. At the forefront of change is Google who has issued five (yes, FIVE, and they all have names) major algorithm updates recently, forcing search engines to change.

I’ve written before about some techniques to avoid being blacklisted such as keyword stuffing (I wouldn’t know how) or avoiding black-hat SEO techniques. Web gurus talk about the need to blog at least once a week (yes, okay) resulting in a “freshen” score, with posts of 2,000 words (fail). Then what?

Mobile First

Apparently, there is a shift for Google to “move their entire search index to mobile-first.” It’s called the Progressive Web App (PWA). Currently, there are two search indexes, mobile and desktop. BUT, these are going to be combined. And then they will crawl the mobile version first–that means “the mobile version of your site will be the one crawled, not desktop.”

It’s all about page speed then? Has my site been penalized because it’s slow? I don’t know–I can’t use a plug-in to check that and I can’t add any “code markups” to speed it up.

The 1200 lb Gorilla

Google has been rewarding publishers that have objectively delivered better mobile experiences to visitors for a while. It should come as no surprise that Google is talking even more about page speed. They are actually going to include it as a mobile ranking signal this year.

Angry woman shooting computer

One of the patterns I routinely follow before scheduling a book review or post is to check to see what it is supposed to look like on a tablet or a mobile device and correct accordingly. Maybe it’s not working.

I will try to “catch up” with some of your posts in the coming week, hopefully to re-establish the connection. In the meantime, I’m always grateful for the likes and comments, especially from Nina at Cozy Pages, Nicole at thebookwormdrinketh, FictionFan, Lynne at Fictionophile, and Cathy at Between the Lines. I’ll be looking to see what you’ve posted recently. I’ve really missed seeing the new posts from all my blogging buddies!

In the meantime, please let me know if you are experiencing somewhat the same with your stats too. Or perhaps you have a suggestion for me? I’d love to hear it! ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Unique Blogger Award

The Unique Blogger Award

I am thrilled to be nominated for a second award by Nina over at The Cozy Pages and so appreciate the shout out. Nina never fails to like and comment on posts, though I’ve no clue where she gets the time–she is a very busy mother of three and a professional outside her home. She posts very insightful and detailed reviews and always balances her posts with what she found that was good and what didn’t work so well. If you haven’t already, check out her blog, please.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-12 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Nina’s Questions:

1) You are in the bookstore and you see someone walking around for an hour looking at all the books looking lost. Finally, you decide to ask them if they need help. They admit they have no idea what book to read next, what book would you recommend?

Book tastes vary so greatly from person to person and age to age, it’s fortunate we have so many to choose from!

  1. Orangutan by Rita GoldnerFor a very small child, any book that offers large, colorful pictures and very short, simple descriptions that can be shared, such as my Phoenix author buddy Rita Goldner’s book Orangutan.
  2. My generation grew up on Nancy Drew for tweens and teens. Clean, imaginative, and resourceful, but these days the go-to book is Harry Potter.
  3. Adults: Anything from cozy mysteries to tear-jerking literary classics such as from author John Steinbeck. I’ve not yet begun to compile a “favorites” list this year, but if I knew a person’s taste, I might refer to the variety of great books from my 2017 list. These include a range of genres from historical fiction (Stone Song by Win Blevins), a travelogue (Dining and Driving with Cats by Pat Patterson), an anthropomorphic tale (Telemachus), to legal thrillers and men’s adventures (anything by Michael Reisig), even the enigmatic Dean Koontz (The Whispering Room).

2) Imagine you get the opportunity to go back in time, maybe a mad scientist has figured out the technology, who knows? Anyway, the only thing is you need to feed the contraption a classic book and you travel to the time that it was written. What book would you feed that machine?

Rosemary's Baby by Ira LevinThat’s a pretty funny question since I just finished a book about that very thing (time travel), Valley of Time by Jeremy D Holden. But no, I don’t want to go back to 1974. I would feed the contraption Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, 1967. Rosemary’s Baby came out after we were married and possibly thinking about a family. It scared me to death.

3.) You are in the library and you see someone reading at a table. Then you see the worst thing imaginable…. they are doing your bookish pet-peeve. What are they doing to that poor book?!

I have seen people dog-ear or fold the page in half–(even ripping a page out–but no–the worst? Writing in the margins.

My questions for you:

1.      When was the last time you bought or borrowed an audiobook, what was it, and was it as rewarding as reading would have been?

2.      The beginning of the year, there are myriad lists of reading challenges. Do you add challenges, find they increase your reading, or diversify your reading choices? Or not.

3.      It’s easy to come across little sayings in each book we read, something memorable. Have you begun to collect quotes, and if so when was your last, and what was the book and author?

Disclaimer: I’d love it if you would respond to this tag with your answers, but we are all busy. If you do, however, please link back to share your answers.

My Nominations:

CathyRy

Yesha

Kerry

Alysha

Jessica

Nicole

Cathy

Have a super week everyone! I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Valley of Time – #BookReview

Valley of Time by Jeremy D. HoldenTitle: Valley of Time: The Greatest Journey Ever Taken by Jeremy D Holden

Genre: Currently #4105 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, International Mystery & Crime

Publisher: Clean Publishing

Publication Date: November 5, 2017

Source: Smith Publishing, Cleaning Publishing, and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Valley of Time – Ethereal cover offers hints of subject

I can’t keep smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand and asking “What is this guy thinking??! Surely someone as smart as Mal couldn’t be this gullible twice?!

Is Valley of Time presenting much the same scenario as was posed in his first book offering, Sea of Doubt in which he barely escaped with his life? Much of the first half of this book is uncomfortably close. He has written about those experiences attaching threads to this sequel. Continue reading “Valley of Time – #BookReview”

Thank You – 1,000 Followers!

Thank you for 1000 followers!

This blog has now achieved 1,000 followers! Thank you to each of every one of you who has read and followed my reviews, posts, and rambling observations. I could not have reached this milestone without your support. I am grateful for all the likes and each and every one of your comments!

Thank you new visitors and regular blogging buddies!

I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Many Thanks for the Support!

Many Thanks!

This blog has now achieved 10,000 hits! The blog has been a labor of love, lots of work, and I’ve learned a LOT. I’ve appreciated each and every one who has tuned in, liked, and followed! Thank You, TY!

Okay, if I were honest with myself, I’d have to admit not all are human views (some perhaps attributable to bots?), however, maybe that’s not a bad thing. (I’m getting more referrals.) Still I’m pretty excited that this means two things:

  1. I’ve achieved my first goal
  2. I’ve stuck with it (and it’s taken awhile!)

I must admit that I began the blog as a way to connect via social media after I’d published my grandfather’s manuscripts. (Yes, I know that was actually backwards. I should have started the blog first–then published!) Like I said–I’ve learned–a lot.

As my “About Us” page notes, I discovered after a couple years of posting reviews for fellow authors (shout out to Idaho Authors Community and Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion that I was beginning to receive requests for read and reviews. Finally–a niche of my own!

The continued push on social media now has me posting on Instagram (and Bookstagram). I’ve gone back and linked my social media, so most posts will now hit Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn when I publish on this platform. (I’m not sure if that is a good idea or not, but I’m all linked up anyway. And I always need more followers there as well!)

Now confronting SEO and hash tags. Heaven only knows if I’m doing any of those right, but something must be happening. I have 10,000 hits.

Next goal–1,000 true subscribers, (or in my case, followers) since I’ve agreed with fellow blogger and author Joynell Schultz  all along. 1,000 true subscribers (followers) is a good goal. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Women Write More Blog Posts

In a report released by Nielsen in April 2012, the gender gap widens significantly when it comes to social media presence; specifically hosting and posting blogs.

The findings didn’t just indicate a specific difference in the propensity of women to blog, but in active social media presence in general, engaging in Facebook (no big surprise there) as well as Twitter. The subject has been the object of argument since blogs began. And as one blogger queried, “…the blogosphere covers more than just technology, does it have a gender?” Should we really assume men write tech, women write about social issues? (Or, are women writing the majority of blog posts–technological or not?) Perhaps it is time for a little poll of our own:

I loved the blog posted by Elizabeth on Goodreads in November of 2014 looking at whether or not men read men and women read women. Okay, okay, okay! But the argument is still: who is writing most blogs–today?

Women write to connect,

Men write to research, sell, and compete 

You can read those same thoughts on website after website, all showing beautiful graphics proving their points. Another blog posted January 2015 by Iris on BrandWatch also breaks it down to age and income. (Neil Patel posted the same stats and graphics in October 2014.)

It’s difficult to find a recent definitive answer. Perhaps you’d assume the stats haven’t changed that much. I’ll be adding additional polls from time to time and glean some up-to-date stats to post here later in the year. Hopefully, you’ve voted on the first!  ©2015 Virginia Williams

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