Getting Back to Being an Effective Blogger, Again

This site is not dead but… I do need to find it again. Keeping focus and staying true to your own voice are not easy when you look around at other sites and start comparing yourself. If you can manage to do it constructively, that’s great. I’ve gotten sucked into my own wormhole of blog envy. Not envy, but self unsatisfaction. So, I need to pull myself out of it and get back to the basics, again. The key to sustainable blogging is showing up and showing up the next day too when you’re run out of stuff to say and feel like everyone is doing it better than you are.

This list comes from Katy Rose, the Modly Chic blog. I found it in submissions for fashion blogs at dmoz. I usually take a look around at sites I’m listing. Some just get a skim for the basics, to make sure they are original and focused on topic. Ironic, eh? So often we know the answers but we haven’t been paying attention or didn’t want to remember.

Blog Content When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Not every post needs to be text based content.

If you have a camera, take photos and illustrate rather than explain.

Let the image speak for you. You may not be ready to jump into video posts but these days it isn’t difficult to edit an image online to create something unique. Add text to the image and create a quote post. Turn an image into a background your readers could use on their own sites and devices. A calendar doesn’t have to be the year, take it one month at a time and that gives you something to post each month.

List posts are popular.

Consider a list of the best sites/ resources in your topic/ niche. Or, take it to Amazon and find products people would be interested in. Write up a review (an idea not on the list below).  Use a list post to highlight your own best posts of the month or year or all time. A playlist may not interest you. I don’t have one myself. Music choices can be personal, more than you want to post on a business site. An alternative is a reading list, the books you have found useful in your business, or for building/ keeping your web presence.

So, there are quite a few options for the days you feel less than brilliantly creative and can’t make yourself write a post.

VIDEO
1 | YOUTUBE VIDEOS
2 | PERISCOPE VIDEOS
GRAPHICS
3 | PRINTABLE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE
4 | BACKGROUND IMAGE
5 | PRINTABLE CALENDAR OR ORGANIZER
PHOTOS
6 | INSTAGRAM POSTS
7 | BEHIND THE SCENES
LISTS
8 | ROUND UPS
9 | PLAYLIST

List source: 9 Ideas for Blog Content (When You Don’t Feel Like Writing)

Time to End Picture Book Blogging?

I think its time to stop posting images with every post for the sake of having an image with every post. Unless your site is showcasing your art, illustrations and photography, most of the images posted are just decoration. How many stock images do you really need to see in a day?

We are adults, we read books without pictures on every page. Usually the only pictures are on the book cover. Magazines and newspapers run images with articles but not random, meaningless images. Isn’t it time to put away the pretty pictures in our sites too?

Unless an image is required to illustrate a point or give directions, why are they needed? I know people think the images help with SEO, but do they really?

Want your site to load faster, dump the picture book images.

Often the image is something barely relevant to the topic. It does nothing but add colour. We are not children. We don’t need colourful picture books.

Treat your readers like the adults they are and put away your picture book blogs.

Dear JetPack…

Can we have a feature to mass update JetPack’s modules for all our WP sites? I have had to reinstall JetPack due to update problems and each time my modules need to be re-set. This is time consuming and a little aggravating to do for several sites. Today 6 of them need to be reset and I can’t find any enthusiasm at all for the job. Could JetPack set this up as WP.com has made it work for updating plugins for all my blogs now?

PS- JetPack should not be on the WP.com updates. It does not work well with others there. The time before I forgot not to update it and this last time I was optimistic and thought it would work this time… But, no. JetPack has some kind of conniption each time I update it on WP.com, especially if I have other plugins to update. Why not just have JetPack update from JetPack and keep module settings there too? Please. The multi-bloggers will love you. For a few minutes at least.

I sent this request to JetPack tonight. I’m sure someone will read it but, tonight, I am still fixing/ adjusting modules cross checking between sites and wishing there was an easier way to do this.

Bookmarks are Reader Testimonials

You can hear the nay-sayers when it comes to web bookmarks and blogrolls. Not everything from the old, retro Internet has become obsolete.

Source: Modern SEO: The end of social bookmarking websites – BloggingConsult

But… are they right? Is keeping a list of your favourite links, the links you still visit to actually read, a bad idea? I don’t think so.

Of course, I try not to blog for SEO and Google in general. The very idea of doing all of this for a mindless machine is unappealing. Even if I don’t have many readers, or get feedback in comments or make fame and fortune through my sites… at least I’m doing something I really care about, my own way.

Back to the bookmarks!

People used to work at getting links from other sites. There were link exchanges, web rings and assorted other plans and schemes. Now Google put the scare into most people… duplicated content, too many links. etc. Google scares people because they want to be scared. In fact, Google works for us, the readers of blogs. Google wants us to find good content because then Google can sell more ads based on the people using Google and finding what they were looking for.

If we each keep a list of sites were really do like and find useful, we help our readers and we even help Google.

Each bookmark and blogroll link is a testimonial, a recommendation, from readers (real people, not machines).

I still look for a list of resources and links when I visit other sites. Isn’t that the point of visiting a niche site especially? You want to find information, resources and new ideas. Other resources are important.

Even if you have found a niche topic and you are the only resource there are still sideline resources, like supplies, maintenance and so on. Sidelines are great opportunities for you to run affiliate links for Amazon (for example) products/ books/ etc which you don’t offer yourself. Sidelines are a way to show readers you really know what you are writing about too. You can offer a complete package to readers of your site and keep them on your site by giving them all the information they need. Google will like you for it too.

Don’t think you can’t link to your competition either. You show confidence in doing so. Plus, you make yourself part of that group of well done, successful and popular sites in your topic or niche. Send a note to the other sites. Do not ask for a link exchange, be smart and offer them something they need: content and ideas. Interview them and post it to your site. Guest post (but make sure you have a great idea they really will want).

You can build your authority and readership with bookmarks and by having people bookmark you in return. But, the best are those who do it because they want to, not those done as an automated link exchange or some kind of deal about linking back.

Sincere recommendations and testimonials are the word of mouth you want people to hear. Blogrolls and bookmarks are not dead.

Modern Blogging is too Limited

Modern bloggers are limited by caring too much about other stuff – Google, SEO, readers who might or might not come back, advertising, and so many other business and marketing related things. Since blogging became a business and a marketing scheme, it has limited itself. Blogging stopped being really creative, innovative and inventive. It lost that loving feeling.

When did you last feel excited about your site? The day you started it? Over the holidays when you added some Christmas images? When you took that week off and came back to it?

We should be feeling excited, happy or at least interested in our sites all the time. Modern blogging has taken that away. If you blog to make Google happy, to make your readers happy, or to perform marketing tricks, when do you blog to make yourself happy? Don’t start telling me you blog to make money – it’s your business. If you really believe that why are you here? Go away. Yes, go, leave… now.

Creative blogging is about doing something you can love, enjoy, value beyond dollars and cents.

What do you really want from a blog? When you got the idea did you visualize something fabulous, in full colour, a showcase for yourself, your ideas and your path to fame and popularity as a celebrity of your own making!

Sure you did. I don’t know anyone who didn’t start a blog with the idea of becoming a web celebrity, even if they didn’t (and would never) tell anyone else or admit it to even their best friend and most trusted brother or sister. At one time people were calling themselves a web or Internet personality. It was a way of saying they were someone other people knew online. Setting yourself up as a celebrity tempts people to pop your bubble. So, the best way to be a web personality is to just do it and not talk about how famous, well connected and popular you are. Just be and let the chips fall where they will.

These days the blogging celebrities seem to be people who tell us they are celebrities – they tell us how to make money and market our blogs/ sites. Most of them, if you do the fact checking, have not had a site for a full year. Maybe they have an attitude, a way of writing, which people listen to. That does not mean they know what they are talking about. It does not mean you should listen to them and believe all they say or do anything they tell you to do.

Blog your own way. Be creative. Be inventive. Discover your own way to blog and be happy with it. Have fun. Creative something you really like rather than something you feel obligated to work towards.

You can be a happy blogger. Just stop caring about what what everyone else is doing.

Using Nulled Plugins and Themes

I hadn’t heard of nulled plugins and themes, as a phrase. I do sometimes look at plugins and themes beyond those offered on WordPress.org. I like shopping for plugins. I especially like trying them out and seeing if they magically make blogging easier in some way. Most don’t do what I hoped they would do. Some don’t even start once they are activated. Some give errors and won’t even load. Some load and activate but then I can’t find the plugin settings on my dashboard.

Some aren’t free.

Some plugins and themes come with a catch, hidden at times. This is what is meant about the risk in using nulled plugins or themes. You may be importing extra code to your site which is active behind the scenes. You may be advertising another site, for free. Or, you could be running a harmful code which will seem to originate from your site (and it may because you took a risk on a plugin or theme).

I will not say you should stick to the WordPress Plugin Directory 100% of the time. I don’t plan to. But, know there is a risk and don’t load up any theme or plugin without finding out how it works, what it does and what others have said about it.

It is really hard to resist when you see those premium plugins and themes available for free. The catch is that those freely available nulled premium plugins and themes are not actually free; they take your website as the payment. To put it simply, these nulled plugins and themes often contain malicious code which can do all sorts of things like redirecting users to other website(s), injecting links, creating backdoors, spamming other users, etc. In the worst case scenario, this malicious code in the nulled plugins or themes can effectively take down your website or blog.

The moral is, never use nulled plugins and themes. If you want to install a plugin or theme (be it free or premium), only download and install that plugin or theme from a reputable source like the developer’s website or WordPress repository. If you have already installed a couple of plugins or themes and want to test them for any malicious code, you can use Theme Authenticity Checker to check the plugins and themes.

Source: Make Tech Easier

I’m Changing the Way I Blog

I’m changing the way this site works. I think we are past the days when one person could run a whole site, alone while doing all the site maintenance, promotion, writing, publishing and so on. I think having a schedule for posting is more important than it has been in the past. Keeping a daily post does make a lot of difference for traffic to a site. I have seen that with my own sites, clearly.

However, I am still working alone here. I like it that way but it does leave me with more than I can take care of (with several sites now to take care of). So, I am changing the way I blog.

I’ve been a content curator in one way or another since 1998. As an editor at the Open Directory Project I decided which sites suited the topic and I edited the submissions before posting them. No one had thought up content curation then but that’s essentially what running a directory is. Later I worked on other sites, writing, listing links, publishing newsletters, managing forums and all that stuff. Currently I have several topics via the Scoop.it site. I’ve changed them around, deleted some and started up others again when I missed them. It has been a good way to find my focus or niche area. You need that understanding to find a topic or niche you can sustain.

Onto the present with several sites not so active for awhile. I’ve decided to continue posting them with a mix of my own original posts and posts created with my comments on curated posts from other sites. The hold up on getting it all flowing right now is just the technical side of making it work in the way I can work with it.

Anyway, this site is one which will be converted soon. It’s a topic I have a lot of passion about but anything about blogging is drowned out by the SEO “experts”. There is a lack of creativity and originality in blogging. I’d like to keep that element from disappearing. I’d like to see blogs go back to being free spirits rather than marketing hags.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need that and a lot of coffee. 🙂

Content Creation: The act of writing original words, taking an original picture, shooting an original video, etc.

Content Sharing: Taking a piece of content created by yourself or others and distributing it to a following or audience. This can be done in many ways and through many channels; blogs and social media outlets being just a few of the more popular examples.

Content Aggregation: This is like content sharing on steroids. An aggregator typically uses software that automatically pulls in content from multiple sources (such as RSS feeds) and reposts it all at one central location, usually a blog.

Content Curation: Similar to content aggregation, content curation also pulls from many sources. However, instead of automatically posting every piece of content pulled in there is a manual filtering and sorting process that takes place in order to select only the most valuable pieces of content for a given audience. Curation also involves adding helpful annotation that frames the information already provided from the original source in such a way as to add additional value and/or understanding.

Source: Curating Content for a WordPress Blog (How I Do It) – ManageWP

About the Versatile Blogger Award

I see this award on different sites but didn’t follow up to see what it was about. It doesn’t link to another site to just click and find out. Today I looked it up and found the source. So now you know (and so do I).
versatile-blogger

versatileblogger111

versatile-blogger-award

When you consider nominating a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.

Source: About the VBA | Versatile Blogger Award

Blog This! – I’m Not Giving up on Blogger

blogthisBlog This! – Chrome Web Store.

Although it feels like no one from Google is behind the wheel at Blogger these days. I still love Blogger. I’d like to use it but it’s not easy. Blogger is under developed and fairly ignored.

I think it began with WordPress snobbery.

There was a time when people either used Blogger or WordPress. A lot of people were using Blogger. It was simple, basic and you didn’t need to know a lot about HTML, scripts, plugins or themes. If you wanted to – you could work with extra code, themes and add-ons for Blogger too. But, ideally it was for people who wanted a site up without the hurdles of doing it all themselves.

You would think that would be ideal for most people. It was, for a time. Then came along the WordPress snobs. People who thought Blogger wasn’t good enough because WordPress let you do more and was gaining in community support with even more extras, gadgets and gizmos.

Blogger fell behind. It could have kept going, in second place but still strong… only Google put it on a back burner and didn’t keep developing it. There was a very big update with adding new themes, flexibility with themes and a lot more layout options. But, that was years ago.

I noticed a new post about using Blogger with your own domain, making it easier. But, that doesn’t give people a reason to use Blogger. It needs updates, new community and fresh ideas.

Please almighty Google, don’t let Blogger die!