Okay, so I am not really that fabulous of a blogger yet, but in the last (almost) year of posting I have learned, and been frustrated trying to figure out stuff. I wanted to see if I could share a bit of what I have learned. If you see something working on my site that you like, let me know and I will see if I can help you. If you have something else cool that you have figured out, I would love to know. I am not computery so this has been a
fun growing experience for me.
Starting Blogging Tips
- Everyone who wants to should try blogging. It isn’t hard. You can keep going with it or forget about it and there is nothing lost.
- Find an easy to remember web site name. Something shorter and easy to spell is also good. It needs to be easy for people to remember and type back in. This does cost to get. I got mine at godaddy, but it is only about 13 bucks.
- Start free. Because blogger has some issues and, last I checked, it wouldn’t let you do your own domain (without the .blogger in it) I don’t like it. I started out on weebly, but I have also heard that tumblr will let you get your own domain. Keeping the same domain throughout your website life (no matter how big it becomes or where you move it) is huge for any links that might be set up to direct your way.
Moving and Growing
- I love wordpress. My site and lots to more of popular blog sites are on wordpress. Wordpress is free, but you need to pay for hosting. I pay for hosting on godaddy as well. It costs less than $5 a month.
- I started with a free theme. I moved from Weebly to a free wordpress theme in June after trying out the blogging thing for a bit. There are lots of theme options on the wordpress site and you can also google ‘free wordpress themes’ for other free options.
- I love Blogging With Amy for help getting blogs set up! I can’t recommend it enough. I have read through her whole site and found so much good information.
- In continuation of #3 it is hard to find books that have up to date information. I have read several but the best information I have gotten from other websites.
- If you want more than that for themes you can buy a theme. Typically a 1 time price. I am using the Flip Blog theme from themeforest. I paid $35 for the theme and switched over in Sep when I hit 100 blog posts.
- It is also possible to get someone to design a site for you. I haven’t done this, but I know lots of nice sites out there hire designers so that you can focus on content instead of trying to do content as well as learning all the designing.
I am not an expert on this. I am only sharing what I have learned and read, and am working on. I have read and watched videos on Think Traffic that have been very good. If you have any other info on this I would love to hear it.
- Good content
- Consistent posting (some places say multiple times a day which I think is a bit extreme for most content. Definitely at least several times a week. I try and post 6-7 times a week but not all my posts are really involved)
- Guest Posting
- Linking other sites (and getting links from other sites)
- Working on keywords (there are whole books about this and lots of articles. What everyone knows is that no-one knows exactly what helps search engines find your site. I have spent less time on this and way more time on the others for this reason)
Trying to make money
I am not a good one to tell you about this because I have yet to come close to making my hosting costs of $5 a month on my site yet, but here is what I have set up. Traffic is the big thing so this is a time and patience game from everything I have read.
- Amazon Affiliates. Most affiliate programs seem to have links at the bottom of the home page and that is where this one is located as well. Basically, what affiliate means is that if you send someone from your site they will give you a small percentage of the purchase that is made (if a purchase is made). You are advertising for them. On my site I love it because I can put links to books that I talk about and it helps the reader get a hold of the book if they want it. It is a service to help them find the book as well as hopefully making me a bit of money.
- Commission Junction is a great big affiliate place I have heard good things about. I have signed up with them, but haven’t done much yet.
- There is lots more information on this all over the place but it seems to be different for every blogger. If you get something awesome designed and going with lots of people coming and hooked than this is something to work on a bunch more. In the beginning it is better to give the other areas more time and attention.
If you have wordpress, here is a list of plug-in’s I use:
- Akismet-probably the most valuable plug-in ever. This filters out spam from the comments! … if you have had a wordpress site without it you will understand. It has filtered out over 500 spam comments from my site in the last few months.
- Comment Reply Notification-I set this up so that when I reply to your lovely comments it sends my reply to your e-mail. So few people ever come back to see if they get a reply so this is a nice personal touch.
- Do Follow-A blogging book told me I needed this one for SEO.
- Feedburner Feedsmith-This, along with setting up my feedburner account lets me have e-mail subscribers and RSS subscribers.
- Google XML Sitemaps-Something ‘Blogging with Amy‘ got me to set up. Submitting your sitemap to google is supposed to help with search traffic… but beyond her tutorial… it is over my head.
- Jetpack by WordPress-I got my stats info from here, set up my Gravatar (pic that shows when I comment), and got enhanced spelling and writing checks (which I really need)
- Social Media Widget-If widgets and plug-in’s don’t already have you confused. You can get a plug-in for this widget This gets me my ‘follow me’ buttons in the column. Beautiful little thing. It can link to way more stuff than I use it for.
- What Would Seth Godin Do-This adds my little note at the end of posts asking new visitors to subscribe.
- WordPress Database Backup-This is great! I set it up to back up every week to a specific place and then if I get hacked or screw up my site somehow I have a backup (that I have yet to figure out how to use… but I know I will be glad to have someday).
- Wordsocial-This lets me publish my posts to my facebook and twitter pages
annoyingreminding all my friends to come see my site.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in-This adds the related posts to each of my posts to help readers find more of the same and continue reading through my site.
There you have it. If you have learned something that you would like to share I would love it. I am learning as I go with this. I am so excited I have figured out this much