Archive for : October, 2016

Simple Blogging: day 26.

I’m going to get right to the topic:

Consider starting a forum and/or community.

Disqus, can take care of this for you, but you can also use Reddit, for this, or even a free form host. This is something I’ve thought of doing if I ever decide to start a niche blog. There used to be a service called MyBlogLog that let anyone start a community for their blog. Yahoo bought it and shut it down a while later. Even though I’d like to do this, I’m not sure I’d have enough content. However, someone that writes a blog for more than just pleasure might. There used to be this thing called “a tiny thread,” and it was this thing where you could just start a conversation and the topic and all of it’s comments would show up on the site publicly.

Simple Blogging: day 25.

OK, this next one is going to be one of those things where I list reasons for something.

Email newsletters verses email digests. Reasons for both.

OK I could probably list the reasons against both as well, but really you should only have a newsletter if certain things apply, otherwise you can get away with just sending out Feedburner-like emails of “this is what I posted to my blog today,” type thing. Reasons for having an email newsletter:

  • You have multiple blogs, (say, 3-5, and you want to send out a weekly digest of all the updates in one-fell-swoop.
  • You want to have a discussion list.
  • You have a blog and an online store, and maybe you want to put the newsletter sign up form in both places to do some cross-promotion. Maybe once in a while, (very sparingly!) you send out a deal to your subscribers.

Those are the only reasons I can think of for having a newsletter. As for reasons against it well, you have to keep up with it. As someone who had one for a while with only 1 subscriber, it became a chore to keep writing. The reason why you’d want to have an email digest of your blog post is to notify readers who don’t use RSS of what your posting. Digests are very low maintanence once you get them set up, you ccan just give them your feed URL, put the code on your site and pretty much leave them.

Simple Blogging: day 24.

I had my first appointment with my new primary doctor today! This is interesting because since I was a teenager, I’ve seen the same primary doctor. He left this year to do hospital and urgent care work, and of course that put me needing a new GP. They told me I was going to have to wait until September, but when I had my extremely bad headache last April I really needed to see someone! That’s the person who I saw today, because I liked him back then, even though I was pretty delirious and out of it when I had a headache for 12 days.. Lol anyway, enough about me rambling on about my doctor, let’s get to the topic!

always provide full text feeds.

This was a big debate for a while in the blogosphere, as to whether you should provide full text feeds. this post from 2011, explains the dilemma and says that you should offer full feeds to get as many readers as possible. I agree with that way of thinking. Not only that, but sometimes, the RSS reader is just an easy way to read content. I actually do scan through the posts and click through to the site, when I come across a post I’m interested in in the feed, (if I’m subscribed to your feed, there’s definitely something I’m interested in reading in there!) So even though you’re providing full text feeds for me, I’m giving you the extra page views. The RSS reader is just an easier way to keep it all in one place, instead of having to visit each site. this post from 2007 explains why full text feeds actually increase page views. I’d have to agree with that explanation, because I’m the one clicking on all the links.

Simple Blogging: day 23.

Reasons for and against using paid themes.

So, let’s talk about paid themes, and when you should and shouldn’t use them. Let me put it this way, you don’t always have to use a paid theme if you’re using WordPress. People say that that’s another thing you need to be taken seriously, but I think they’re wrong. I’ve seen plenty of blogs on free themes, and I take them just as seriously. You should probably use a paid theme if you’re looking to start a blog network, or become an authority in a niche, and/or somehow become widely known from your blog. Also, if you’re looking to build a static site on WP, there are paid themes/plugins that will accomplish this, (there may be some free ones, but as of now I’m not aware of any.) You should use a free theme if you’re starting and/or maintaining a personal blog, just starting out with blogging in general, and/or are just doing it for fun. You can also start out with a free theme if that isn’t in your budget right away, and redesign 6 months later. Some blog hosts also have Paid themes, Tumblr is the one that comes to mind. ThemeForest has themes for Blogger as well.

Simple Blogging: day 22.

Share your own post sparingly, let others do the sharing for you.

This one might be obvious, or it might not. It depends on how much blogging advice you’ve read. I suppose the moral of this topic is, don’t Tweet your posts all the time. Don’t put them on Facebook every time either. If someone likes your post, hopefully they’ll come around and share it. When you think you’ve written a post you want to draw attention to, though, you can Tweet it and/or post it on Facebook. I did this with the beginning of this series. I did this to promote the series at first, but I didn’t want to spam people’s Twitter feeds each day. I only did it for about the first week, then I stopped. If you do this every time you post though, people will probably think you’re just using Twitter to get them to click on your links. I’ve never written a viral post that people share automatically. However, I’m hoping it will happen someday! Have I written posts that got Retweeted after I Tweeted them? Yeah I’ve done that! I’ve definitely seen it happen though, so many people like a post that it gets lots of tweets and FB likes!

Simple Blogging: day 21.

Backup and archive all media.

We can talk about backing up/exporting your blog posts, (like we already have.) However, you should keep all the image/audio/video files you upload to your blog as well. This is because when you migrate your blog to a different service, references to these files will be broken. If you have the files, you should be able to reupload them. If you don’t, well then you’ll never be able to fix the broken references. It doesn’t matter how you backup these files, for me, I have them on my computer, I also have them on an external hard drive. Not only that, I use Backblaze, an online backup service. I’ve learned the lesson of bad backup stratigies, it’s a long story, and I don’t particularly want to tell it here. If you read my posts on Viddler, then you’ll probably understand.

Simple Blogging: day 20.

I voted today! I voted third party all the way down the ballot, (at least where I could.) This is a first for me, I’ve never done this before! Now, let’s get to the topic.

Use related posts.

This is another thing I need to get to doing. The thing is, there aren’t many related posts widgets for Blogger, in fact there’s only one. Related posts is one of those things that work better on a linkblog, because you can see what links are related to the post you just posted. Not only that, but it gives the reader related links as well. I also like the “this time last year,” widgets. It’s fun to look back in the archives! It’s also fun to look back in other people’s archives, so having those widgets there is useful.

Simple Blogging: day 19.

Make an about me page.”

This is something I need to catch up on! I used to keep a list of 100 things about me, after so many bblog migrations, I’ve forgotten to make the page again, (I still have the file, of course.) Whether you keep a list of things about you, answer questions, (as in take a survey,) or write a bit about yourself. An about me page is the best way for readers to start to get to know you. A lot of blog platforms offer profiles, and using that is fine. However, I think it’s best to supplement with something else. Another page that might be useful to consider making is a list of your social media presences. This allows readers to follow and get in touch with you if they need to.

Simple Blogging: day 18.

OK I’m just going to get right to the topic.

Don’t rely on the stats your host gives you.

Well, you shouldn’t completely rely on them anyway. Especially if there isn’t a way to ignore your own views, and Blogger doesn’t have this. I’m sure half the views it’s giving me are my own. Since I can’t use Google analytics, I could use something like Statcounter, or Sitemeter to track my stats. I think wordpress.com stats might be a bit better than Blogger’s, but I’d still use an outside service. That’s of course if you’re going to track stats at all, you don’t have to.

Simple Blogging: day 17

Blah, I’m 4 days behind. How did I let myself get 4 days behind? Usually I don’t do this to myself, as I have a certain theory about challenges. Oh hey, maybe I’ll use that to take on the topic of challenges in general!

Blog challenges are lots of fun!

It’s especially fun getting to follow blogs you normally wouldn’t get the chance to follow through a blog challenge. If you’ve ever participated in NaBloPoMo, which I consider to be a freeform challenge, it’s also fun trying to come up with things to write about. I also have a topic in my list to take on my theory of challenges so here it goes. My theory of challenges is that if you skip more than 3-4 days worth of content, it’s extremely hard to make up and therefore, you should probably just give up. This is especially true when it’s a challenge that relies on use of a Twitter hashtag. You see people who’ve skipped a week of posts trying to make them up all at once spamming the Twitter search results. of course this is less true if it’s a blogging challenge, but the more you get behind, the more posts you’ll have to write to try and make up.