Blogging 102

Note: Also see

Blogging 101

Blogging 103

Blogging 104

Blogging 105

MY OTHER RECIPES

This is a continuation of my Blogging 101 post which seemed to be quite popular, so here’s Blogging 102.

As was the case with Blogging 101, this is in no way a comprehensive list and it touches on different aspects of blogging but here are a few thoughts.

Each and every point is my opinion only, of course:

6. Install a comment reply notification system.  But don’t flood.

Your readers will ask you questions in your comment field, and should answer them.  Yes, answer their questions. To ignore reader questions, unless it’s truly off base or just an isolated circumstance or oversight on your part, is not advised.  I know some bloggers don’t answer their readers’ questions but that’s not my style.

However, you wouldn’t want to spend your precious time replying to your readers questions in the comment field for them never to be seen.

Most people and readers (based on many informal polls I’ve taken) do not go back and re-read comments on someone else’s blog.

They may, but what a nice gift to give your readers to have a system that delivers your reply into their inbox.

And it’s a gift to you, too, because you know with 100% certainty your reply was emailed to them and it wasn’t just wasted keystrokes.

For Blogger blogs, Intense Debate or Disqus has these capabilities to some capacity but it’s a little trickier.

For WordPress blogs, I like this Comment Reply Notification system.  A very simple plugin to install from your dashboard.  It’s affiliated with FairyFish.net (which has a lot of characters I can’t read) but the two work together.

A caveat on comment replies: Your readers/commenters don’t want to receive every single other person’s comments nor your comment replies to others, in their inbox.  I call this flooding and no one likes a flood.

Sometimes on WordPress blogs there’s the option of checking a little box to “receive email updates”.

I have checked those in the past only to receive every other person’s comments who comments behind me and/or the blog author’s comment replies to everyone else.  Bad!

Flooding your readers’ inboxes with all your other readers comments is a way to really tick them off.

Make sure you have tested your blog with some friends who can act like “guinea pigs” for you with trial and error and testing it all out to make sure if someone checks that box they are not being emailed 50+ comments.  I have done that on some high traffic blogs by mistake.  Never again!

7. WordPress is better than Blogger. I recommend using it.  There are so many, many reasons why, and too many to even bother going into, but just suffice to say I think it’s far superior.

Ok you really want to know why I believe it’s superior:  plugins, pings, greater customization capabilities, more functions and tools, it’s just more.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have started blogging on WP but I didn’t, and 18 months later had a helluva time migrating to self-hosted WP, but I did made it to SH-WP and am so happy I did.

I strongly urge you to make the move to WordPress if you’re on Blogger, sooner rather than later. You can do this yourself by googling it, or you can pay for help.  (See 8 & 9 below)

If you’re just contemplating starting a blog, start it on WordPress.

I am not familiar with Tumblr, Squarespace, or some of the other blogging platforms personally, but I’d advise going with WordPress, period.

8. Google is your best friend.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s ok because no one starting a blog does.  Google it.  I cannot repeat this enough.

Use google or other search engines, YouTube videos, chat room forums, and anything you can find online.  If you want to learn how to do something, figure something out, it’s probably out there somewhere on the internet already and just have to find it and apply it to your own situation.

As with everything in life, do your own research.  Blogging, technology, and various aspects of them are no different.  (It all goes back to point #5 in Blogging 101: time)

9. Know when you’re in over your head and ask/pay for help. As much as I’d love to be able to do every single thing myself on my blog, and I did for the first 18 months, I now occasionally pay for tech help and minor blog maintenance services, as needed (such as my blog revamping and blog name change).

The migration from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress was a challenge too great for me.  I paid for it.

Having certain graphics created for my site, or disclaimers added into the CSS style sheet in the footer of my blog, yes I could do this.

I googled it and read about it and almost deleted my whole blog and therefore decided it was better to pay for it.  It was a better and more practical use of my time to hire certain things out, but again, I use paid help very minimally and for 18 months was a 100% Do-It-Myself blogger.

Ask other bloggers who they’ve used, and who they’ve been happy with.  Most bloggers will tell you I used so-and-so and liked him/her or don’t use so-and-so because of these reasons.  Word of mouth referrals from other bloggers you “know” are worth their weight in gold.

You want someone working on your site and working for you who is hard-working, trustworthy, shares your vision for your site and can get the job done; which isn’t necessarily the cheapest person.  Make certain you know what you’re getting into before hiring someone from timetables to turnaround times to fees to creative vision.

You don’t have to be made of money to start a blog.  You do have to be resourceful and determined (see #8 again) and just dive in.

10. Have fun & Find Your Own Voice! If you’re not having fun, re-examine why you started a blog.

There have been times over the past few years where I was not having fun with my blog.  It felt like a chore and as I look back, it likely felt that way because I was pandering too much to what I thought my readers wanted to read about rather than just finding my voice and blogging from the heart and being true to myself.

As I said in point #1 in Blogging 101, Thou Shall Not Steal, and that includes stealing another blogger’s vocabulary or voice.

You must find your own path in life, and on your blog.

Yes, you do need to keep readership and their desires and what they will find interesting in mind when you’re blogging, but this is your blog and if you’re not having fun, they’ll know it anyway.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, it is fun. Not every day is easy, sometimes there will be some doosie things that happen that throw you for a loop, but overall the good far outweighs the bad for me.

In fact, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and is a platform for my career fantasies, goals, and doing what I want.

Time to stop talking about blogs and blogging and talk about food.  Food that has chocolate in it, too.

These would make an easy Memorial Day party dessert that everyone will love!

No Bake Nutter Butter Special K Bars

Or maybe some dip for fresh fruit.

Chocolate Coconut Cashew Butter

From my last pictorial post, Savoring Aruba, I am glad you liked my photos and thanks for letting me know which were your favorites.  And also what you’re savoring right now.

Questions:

1. What resonates with you in this post?

2. What do you want to hear more about?

There will be a Blogging 103 and some topics I’m toying with include:

Self-hosted vs. Free WordPress

Handling product reviews

Doing reader giveaways

Handling rvealing yourself to the world when you start a blog

What else?

3. Any plans for Memorial Day Weekend?

Mine include this in Aruba

Have a safe and fun Holiday Weekend to everyone celebrating!

64 comments on “Blogging 102”

  1. I totally agree with the FLOODING of the inbox. When I check those boxes.. I do so because I am hoping to get a reply from the author of the post.. but end up with tons.. (sometimes 100s if it is popular blog) of emails that I have NO interest in reading. Thanks for the post, Averie!

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  3. Very helpful post! I’m really interested in Blogging 103 because I’m trying to move from wordpress.com to self-hosted, and I’m totally confused. I might just pay the $100 to do the guided transfer because I don’t want to risk messing things up. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate this, especially your talk about comments, and blogger vs wordpress. I don’t get that many comments (yet?!) but I laboriously forward them to people manually. Blogger and disqus always send me the entire thread, which I am not always delighted by! I love how your blog and a few others just sends me a personal reply (and you’re right, they’re all wp blogs).

    Agree too about being proactive, figuring stuff out for yourself, but knowing when to ask for help.

    I’m so happy to hear that you’re feeling like blogging is great for you: I remember the times when it seemed like more of a chore, and am glad that that time is past. Your happiness definitely comes through!

    love
    Ela

  5. im still playing catch up on your posts – there are a TON since ive been gone, but i loved your 101 post yesterday and this one is equally as helpful. not too much info, but a nice sampling of your thoguhts. def enjoying. hope the vacay is going well. hope all the work part is done and youre living the easy life now. your pics are gorg. even though i just went on vacation im a bit jealous, haha.

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  7. I really want to switch to wordpress, but I am scared!

    I have had nothing but problems with blogger.

    Also, I have no way of replying to comments on my blog without them going at the end of the comments. I wish that I could reply to a comment in a way that it would automatically just email the reply to the intended person … if that makes sense.

  8. I’m loving this series, Averie! My film/book/tv review blog has nothing to do with food, fitness, or yoga, but I’ve been a fan of your blog for years, and I love reading your tips for us less experienced bloggers.

    I would love to see a post on Free WP vs. Self-hosted WP. I would also love to hear your thoughts and advice on revealing your own personal self through blog. I’m still deciding how much of my own identity to reveal, and I don’t even write personal life entries!

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  10. Self hosted versus free please! I’m on free wordpress right now but I’m contemplating a blog makeover and if I’m going to makeover I better go all the way – so is it worth it? Should I self host?

  11. Comment reply system: Yes! I love it when blogs have this feature.
    Testing: As a programmer I always recommend this – and backing up your files, photos & content :)
    Google: Best resource for anything really. If it is out on the internet, Google will find it for you.

    Amazing how so many of your tips can be applied to most other areas of life.

  12. I totally owe you an email ;) I think the most interesting topic for me right now is free wordpress versus self-hosted WP. I want to make the switch from blogger but i’m beyond terrified to lose all my followers, comments, and shenanigans in the process!

    great post girl!

  13. These tips are very helpful!!! Thanks for posting them..I’m just getting started as of TODAY. Although, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now.. and have tried a few of your recipes. (:

  14. Hi Averie!

    I started reading your blog recently and am hooked: you take beautiful pictures, and I enjoy your insightful writing. Skylar is such a cutie!

    I love your posts about blogging. Definitely bookmarking them! With time and lots of love, I hope my blog will grow beyond what I have even dreamed of. I really appreciate your helpful tips that will guide me along the way!

    Amanda

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  16. who can you pay to help?

    • Google and there are names that pop up. Be prepared to spend anywhere from $25 dollars an hour on up…is what I’ve found and some are by the project, i.e. a new header plus something else for a project total of $200 or whatever….that’s why self-learning in the end is great. Google away!

  17. This is a great post. Looking foward to reading more.

  18. Hi Averie! I was actually researching FM Publishing (prior to tangling myself up in a contract) and accessed your site through their Publisher’s page, though I follow your comment links here from other blogs on the regular (and I think you’ve commented on my posts once or twice!). This is the first time I’ve read this series and it is great!! I migrated from WordPress.com to WP-SH not long ago, and even THAT was a feat that almost reduced me to tears/a computer-smashing frenzy (I just wrote a post on that last week). Your advice is spot-on! Google is my bff, but I really just wanted to take a sec to say thanks!! for putting all this info in one organized place. That plug-in… priceless. I’ve totally been looking for something like it and am configuring as we speak. Thank you!!

    • Glad you got migrated over and that it’s behind you. All the tech changes are stressful and can give me a heart attack – I can relate to what you describe! I wrote this series on the heels of all my more major changes and it feels like a lifetime ago now but glad the info still is helpful!

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  20. Thank you for these tips! I assumed that emails were automatically generated when a comment was replied to. I had no idea I had to install a plugin! My goodness, I have so much to learn!

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