Open book blog hop – What are the best tools you use on your blog (widgets, templates, etc.)?


I started blogging in October 2016 and my first blog was robbiesinpiration which I still use extensively. I had been writing poems and children’s stories for a while and published Michael and my first Sir Chocolate book in August 2016. I was looking for a way to engage with other writers, readers and authors and blogging was recommended to me.

My brother-in-law, Justin, helped me set up Robbie’s Inspiration. He knew a bit about blogs and blogging and recommended WordPress as a good platform. He helped me set it up and write and publish my first post. Over the next year or so, I learned more about blogging from other experienced bloggers like Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord Magazine blog, Sue Vincent from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo blog, Chris from The Story Reading Ape blog and Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views & News blog. Each of these bloggers taught me different things about blogging successfully. Sally, Sue and Chris showed me that blogging was an interactive past time and I learned about the importance of commenting, guest posting and writing interesting content from them. Hugh’s blog also covers these points and he also writes informative posts about how to do a lot of things on WP. From him I learned how to insert the widgets which showcase my books along the side of my blog, how to include share buttons and many other things.

Through these four bloggers I met a whole community of wonderful people who all taught me more about writing, marketing and publishing. As time passed, I wrote more books for children and then, in 2018, I decided to take the leap into writing a longer novel for a young adult and adult market. In order to separate my children’s writing and baking posts from my adult writing and posts, I started this second blog, Roberta Writes, in September 2018. Through the Nethergate was published in October 2019 and I have also written adult horror and paranormal stories which are included in four anthologies, Dark Visions, Death Among Us, Nightmareland and Whispers of the Past.

On reflection, where I am going with this post is that for me, the most important tool for successful blogging is the comments section. That is where I engage with my readers on my blogs and engage with other bloggers on their blogs. I often comment on another blogger’s comment on someone else’s post if I liked their comment or want to add something. It is a friendship and a circle of support, encouragement and shared views. My blogs are not glamorous and I usually write a bit on the spur of the moment, so my thought pieces, like this one, are stream of consciousness writings, but it works for me and I am very happy in my lovely blogging community.

Have a lovely rest of the week and stay well.

What tools and templates do other blog-hoppers use?  Click on the link below to find out, or just add a comment:


  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

I am not doing a lot of active marketing of my books right now, but AllAuthor send me these amazing pictures so I have included a few here for you to admire.






36 thoughts on “Open book blog hop – What are the best tools you use on your blog (widgets, templates, etc.)?

  1. I have to agree about the comments section. It starts as a rule–a chore–and becomes like seeing old friends. I worry when people I regularly chat with aren’t around for a while and appreciate those who tell me it’s time for a ‘blog break’. Good choice, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jacqui, that is definitely the thing that makes blogging a worthwhile exercise for me. I also miss people when they disappear and prefer if they let me know about it. I sometimes email people to find out how they are.


  2. I think writing when the feeling takes you is the most natural way to do it, and that shows through in what you say. I think I do something similar, though in my case it’s more a stream of unconsciousness 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Comments rock, as are the readers who leave them! Also, it’s great to be able to share wonderful posts that inspire. Widgets are a great way to set up standard links that readers may otherwise miss. Excellent post, Robbie!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, dear Robbie. We’ve just weathered a major snow storm and power outage and grateful that things are back up and running and the daffodils are getting ready to sing. ❤ Hope is alive and well and we will all get through this together. Blessings to you and yours! xo


  4. You are a dynamo with all of the things you’ve got going on. It’s funny how we tend to gravitate toward the same blogs over time. Congratulations on finishing up your latest project, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was blogging for over four years before I discovered the blogging community; once I did, it made me enjoy blogging at a whole new level. Thanks for creating this blog hop; I’ve checked out a couple of the posts people have made…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Something I think we don’t appreciate much is how important it is to find that other blogger who shows you the way to get the most out of the blog. I know I got that dose from Charli and Miriam, but I also think about blogs that don’t interact with others fast enough. New blogs are more likely to fizzle, and bloggers that don’t find inspiration or community can get easily discouraged. Thank you for your post, Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

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