Your Blog, Your Business

The Frugal Retailer's Guide to Getting Customer Loyalty
and Sales, Both In-Store and Online

The Third in the Survive and Thrive Series
of HowToDoItFrugally
Books for Retailers

What You'll Find in Carolyn's Practical Guide to
Your Blog, Your Business

The Frugal Retailer's Guide to Getting Customer Loyalty And Sales, Both In-Store and Online

Blogging is an essential part of any marketing plan, yet many avoid it because they simply don't know how to use it to their advantage of they fear the time it will take to maintain. Your Blog, Your Business convinces you of its importance, shows you how to cut the time it will take, and how to make it even more powerful by integrating it into an online media campaign.

  • Build a blog in five easy steps.
  • Minimize the time it takes to manage a blog.
  • Know what you can blog about.
  • Integrate your blog with other social media--easily!
  • Manage your blog frugally (read that "FREE," except for your time!)

“In thirty-five years in the industry, there are only a handful of retailers I have observed reach the success level of Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is only one thing you need to learn from her to succeed . . . everything she says!
~ Randy H. Eller, retail industry speaker, business consultant, and President Eller Enterprises, LLC

To order in paperback or e-book from Amazon.

gift shop magazineYour Blog, Your Business 
was launched at the National Stationery Show along with Frugal and Focused Tweeting.. Each was given as a handout to those who attended seminars conducted by Patricia Norins, editor and publisher of Gift Shop magazine. The magazine is also featuring these books in the summer issues of Gift Shop along with its sister older sister,  A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions. 

What People Are Saying
Your Blog, Your Business

“Experts say that when business is slow, the last budget one should trim is advertising. Your Blog, Your Business lets a retailer have their promotions online and do it very nearly free.”
~ Robert Ricciardi, President of About Face


“As a columnist for Home Décor Buyer, Carolyn’s no-nonsense approach to retailing and her easy-to-read writing style made her a coach to thousands of retailers.” ~ Jim Carper, founding editor of Home Décor Buyer


"Your Blog, Your Business is a mini-marketing course on retail blogging!"
~Kristin Johnson, editor, ghostwriter and author of business books


“Carolyn's online marketing strategies make readers feel as if they are getting an inside tip from a good friend, not being sold on a product.”
MaAnna Stephenson, Web site training and designs and author of Blogaid's book on using Wordpress.

Why this Book Is Better, Different
From Other Books on Blogging

  • You benefit from Carolyn Howard-Johnson's vast retail, publishing, and practical (not necessarily techy!) online experience.

  • She has the marketing experience inherent in founding and owning her own chain of stores.

  • Because she worked as a New York publicist, she knows the publicity side of marketing; that transfers easily to blogging.

  • She consults in both retailing and publishing.

  • Because she was a journalist, she understands both publicity and promotion from the viewpoint of editors and other gatekeepers. 

  • She manages several blogs of her own and has contributed to countless others.

Your Blog, Your Business

 1 h The Basics: What Is Blogging, Really?

2 h What Is Branding?

3. h Five Essential Steps for Building a Blog  

4. h The Why- Blog and How-to-Find-Time Chapter


5. h There’s No Such Thing as Bloggers’ Block


6. h E-Gifts: Combine Your Expertise and Your Freebies  

7. h Blog Interaction: Building Relationships

8. h The Blogging Law of Attraction  




9 h Now You’ve Got ‘Em, Convert Them to Customers  

10 h Now You’ve Got ‘Em, Keep Them Coming Back  

11 h Is It Ever “A Wrap?”  





Before We Get Started

My first Survive and Thrive book, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions, was designed to position any independent retailer as the go-to store for the products or services it sells. That book was based on my experience as founder and operator of independent gift shops serving several different clienteles. The second, Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers, is based on my experience as a tweeter—from the beginning of Tweetdom—for retailers and my fellow authors. This book is a little down-and-dirty compilation of my experience with my own blogs and my experience contributing to uncountable others.

You’ll notice I don’t inundate you with lots of techy words. In most cases we can get by just fine with plain English. When I need some jargon—or think it important for you to know the terms—I’ve put them in bold typeface to cue you to turn to their definitions in the glossary of this booklet. It wouldn’t hurt for readers new to blogging to peruse that section early on, especially if they are also new to much on the Web beyond e-mail.

Blogging is sometimes thought of as journaling—creative but far removed from the world of business. Don’t you believe it! That doesn’t mean that blogging for your business can’t be creative and fun. Like a journal, it can (and possibly should) include anecdotes from your life, especially those related to your store.

I can’t possibly cover all the possible places you might set up your blog. Rather, I give the simplest way to do it. If you are already an experienced blogger, you will still find much in this book for you. Practical suggestions of topics to blog about, as an example. Or ways to promote your blog so it will find readers and continue to attract more and more of them.

I want my books to be quick studies for retailers like you who want to focus on specific aspects of their marketing campaigns, in this case blogging and connecting that blog with your other online and in-store promotion. I hope this one boosts your entrepreneurial spirit and provides enough detail to take the fear (or dread!) out of doing what you must to carve your niche in the blogging world and attract those interested in stores, shopping, and the retail industry.

I also want to encourage brand-spanking new bloggers to go to Blogger (the service I recommend for easy blogging) as directed and take the first steps I describe to set up a blog. Do it as you read. My setup suggestions aren’t fragile nor is the easy, schmeazy service I suggest. The basics of blogging are so simple you can hardly go wrong, but if you do (or just want to start over), your beginning efforts can be deleted.

A caveat here. I do not apologize for recommending resources I know and have used. I could take others’ words for expertise, but firsthand knowledge is always better.

After a bit of playing and practice, I trust you will be so infatuated with the ease of the blogging process you’ll move ahead with your new-found expertise. All to benefit your online marketing campaign . . . and, yes, your store.

About the Author
Your Blog, Your Business

Carolyn Howard-Johnson puts nearly three decades of retail experience plus oodles more in the fields of journalism, public relations, publishing, and marketing into her Survive and Thrive series of books. She consults in the three Ps, publishing, promotion, and publicity, and is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and several award-winning books of fiction and poetry.

Howard-Johnson founded and operated stores ranging from home décor to gifts to antiques and other collectibles. She also owned and operated the souvenir shop at the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. She served on the boards of directors of periodicals like Gift Beat, of the malls where her stores were located, and on the boards of cooperative catalogs her stores utilized. She also served on the California Gift Show board of directors. She has written for assorted industry periodicals including Home Décor Buyer and LA Mart. She puts this world of experience in retailing to work for you with this series of Survive and Thrive books and in private consultations.

Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature. American Business Women’s Association Impact Council also named her Woman of the Year and Pasadena Weekly honored her for literary activism. Her Web site is She blogs at Here she is pictured with Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers.

Review for
Your Blog, Your Business
by Joyce White

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's nearly three decades experience as founder and manager of her own chain of stores, a stint as a New York publicist, and as a retail consultant and journalist has laid the ground work for her award-winning, How To Do It Frugally Series; as well as this gem of a study guide, Your Blog, Your Business.


No matter whether you are an independent entrepreneur working out of a store or writer managing your own website, social networking and blogging can leave your competitors in the dust. We are no longer depending on money exchanging hand-by-hand; and even big business is now participating in networking, which is one of the most effective means of communicating with large numbers of eager customers.


Besides tips on retailing and getting and keeping customers, Carolyn hits on spicy bits about Google’s free blog, Blogger. Like people, Blogger has as many voices as there are brands of commodities needing to be sold and bought. But, if you’re new to blogging and worried about writer’s block, don’t be. Blogging is just like journaling. Journaling is like talking without being interrupted. If you can journal, you can blog. If you blog, you are a writer. You don’t have to carry the conversation all by yourself. Try some of the ideas below:
ˇ Use guest bloggers with similar focus
ˇ Get partners for your blog, try out permission gadgets
on Blogger to let others post at their convenience
ˇ Recycle old articles, bits and pieces, into new docs
ˇ Use the carnival concept – of providing live links
for your readers to visit  (Only get the best with the same focus as yours!)
ˇ Outsource your blogging – trade off with other bloggers
ˇ Suggest readers subscribe, teasing them with whitepapers and regular gratuities
It helps businesses large or small, online or off, to set up a blog, integrate it with their other social networks like your own website, Twitter and/or Facebook. I think her most important lesson is to keep your focus on what you can do for others. Offer incentives for subscribing like white papers or eBooks, present or old.
Recycle the past into the present and give your readers a taste of what it is your selling. Even though it is human nature to want free stuff, it is important to remember, free is the gift that keeps giving back. I highly recommend this book for store retailers, beginning or experienced bloggers and anyone interested in becoming their own boss.
Five Stars for
By Joyce White
Sculpting the Heart Book Reviews

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.
Both of these books are out of print. They are available only on Amazon's New and Used feature for about $1.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader.
Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC!

"Careers that are not fed die as readily as
any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King


Frugal E-Book Tip

Kindle E-Books Aren't
Just for Kindle Anymore

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle e-books are a low-cost/no-cost way to access books even if you don’t have a dedicated Kindle reader? You can read Kindle's e-books on smartphones, desktop computers and any e-device in between. You can even store the books on the Amazon cloud.

~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author and marketer

To subscribe to Carolyn's FREE online newsletter send an e-mail.

Learn more about Carolyn's newsletter and blog.

Read past issues of Carolyn's Newsletter.


Video Trailer

Click on the logo below to see an example of Reno Lovison's trailer for my Survive and Thrive Series of books.

Authors Broadcast for reasonably priced and thoroughly professional video book trailers. 

Find Carolyn on the Web

  writers retailers

Carolyn's Blogs

The Frugal Retailer Blog
Carolyn shares nearly three decades of retailing experience   with
an emphasis on marketing.

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
an emphasis on book
promotion. Named to
Writer's Digest
101 Best Website list.

The New Book Review
Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
mileage out of
a great review.

The Frugal Editor Blog
This is the Frugal, Smart
and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Covers editing, grammar, formatting and more.
Get the answers you need.

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Master's in Online Universities'

101 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter; Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Published Works Almanac

Other Interests



Carolyn's Poetry

Imperfect Echoes
Celebration Series

Carolyn's Literary Works

This is the Place
Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

Retailers are definitely writers, too, these days. To compete they must write blogs, ad copy, store and business mottos--or pay a bundle to have it done for them.


Don't let anyone convince you that blogging is too big to handle. You recycle, you cross promote, you network to keep blogging time within reason.  Besides, you find time to do all the old media essentials like advertising, right? Well, new media is even more powerful and lots more frugal--of both time and money. It can't be neglected.

  Find tips on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Website Sponsor

As Featured in Publishers Weekly

Honoring this unique book for its achievement helping emigrants, international students and those who must conduct business with Americans or in America. The business section is a force in and of itself.

This book paints a revealing picture of America for those foreigners who will benefit from a better understanding of America. Endorsed by ambassadors, teachers and editors, it even examines our culture, customs and language.

Available on Amazon bookstores worldwide, at Vroman's in Pasadena and other fine bookstores.

Celebration Series of Greeting Card Books for Your Point-of-Purchase

Cover art by Vicki Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Cherished Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most sought after emotion."
~ Lucille P Robinson for


Third in the Celebration of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball, Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and other masculine apparitions."

She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood: thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

More on Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.

Sublime Planet is an e-chapbook and paperback published in the time-honored tradition of poets everywhere. This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal. Photograpy by Ann Howley.

“Whatever your age these poems celebrating women will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

Also by Carolyn:

Tracings is winner of the Military Society of America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads of 2005

Imperfect Echoes is Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. 

Cover and interior art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International