Getting Back to Basics with This Darn Blog

loudspeaker horse with an announcement

It has come to my attention – actually, it’s always been in the back of my mind – that my new website is not that great.

I agree.

Are you surprised?

Don’t be.

Remember, I’m still a fairly new blogger; even though I have been doing this blogging thing for over a year now, I have only been a website owner for a mere few months!

Truthfully, it’s exhausting, sometimes, too.

Boring, Basic, Blogging Responsibilities

Before I tell you of my plan for getting back to the basics of blogging on this darn blog, I want to point out that there is a lot of boring work involved in maintaining a website. I don’t like these basic responsibilities, I didn’t expect them, and I didn’t think they would annoy me so much when I asked these numerous questions about moving websites.

I don’t like having to deal with the crappy parts blogging brings, like checking my spam folder for comments that are actual comments and NOT spammy comments, constantly updating all of my plugins, trying to improve the speed of my site, fixing broken links (even a plugin doesn’t do the whole job), and. . . the list goes on and on.

It’s a hassle.

Then there’s the whole promotion of my site.

I don’t like being one of those people who use social media to get discovered. Marketing just isn’t my thing. But it’s all a part of blogging, regardless of who you are and what type of blog you have.

My main problems are that I want to be Superwoman, doing everything myself, and I don’t always know how to do it all. I’m not talking about time management issues here; rather, I’m talking about being the owner of a successful site that provides great content and makes money, too.

I haven’t even started with Adsense or Adwords or whatever the heck it’s called right now.

Instead, I have been learning about some of the new SEO (search engine optimization) methods and even some coding (!) to help me become a better blogger.

And now my head is filled with all sorts of geeky knowledge that has turned my brain to gobbledygook.

In the recent months (basically, since moving to my own self-hosted site), I have found myself caring about things that never crossed my mind before. PageRank (PR) was not in my lexicon before I owned a computer! I also didn’t care about it, either, when I had a free blog, until my free blog somehow got rated as having a PR of 2. While this is not great, it’s not that bad, either, for someone blogging on a free platform!

The thing is, I’ve lost sight of why I began blogging to begin with. My recent contact and interview with The Productive Superdad made me reconsider my initial reasons, though.

The secret code?

I have even learned some html code! Even though I don’t truly understand how it all works, I have to admit that there are certain instances where knowing certain pieces of code come in handy.
I can highlight text. (You can, too, with this tutorial!)

I can create boxes to put around text.
I can change the colours of both the highlighted text and also the colours of the boxes, using hex code, and can combine them, too!

I can create page jumps (and did many in both this tutorial post I wrote for Dear Blogger as well as in my web hosting guide).

Coding, even though I don’t understand it, is not that hard to do if someone gives you the code to do it! I have to give a shout out Greg Narayan (from Dear Blogger) for providing me with such code. (Thanks, Greg!)

I even created an ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, which talks about the many different parts of a blog post. You can download it for free when you sign up for my newsletter – another thing I had to learn how to do! (I had to figure out how to make it easily accessible and downloadable!)

Back to Basics

But, getting back to the whole reason why I am writing this right now, and why I began blogging in the first place. . .

Why DID I start blogging?

Everyone has a different reason for creating a blog or a website, and my original reason, basically, was to create an author platform.

Essentially, this meant blogging, getting on social media and connecting with others and somehow obtaining a fan base. It’s kind of strange that I am expected to do all of this without even having a book written! (Yes, two are in the works. Still.)

Of course, I did write a book almost 20 years ago, called The Life and Love of Canadian Poetry: An Interpretative View, but I wrote this for a university course and never expected to make money from it. (If you want to see a video I made about this book, you can watch it here!)

Then I learned of The Writer’s Market – a book that lists just about every publisher there is, along with the types of books that each publishes. Generally, each year’s version is about two inches thick! Yikes. That’s a lot of information!

So far, I own three different volumes. Sigh. Heavy stuff! (Metaphorically AND literally!)

In the 2013 edition of The Writer’s Market, there is a lot of advice about what to do to increase your odds of getting published. I have now done a lot of what was suggested. I started a blog on WordPress, I joined several social media sites and spent months connecting with others and gaining a “following,” and then I even went a step further and got my own hosted website because I found a truly awesome host – Alan Langford, the owner of Abivia (a web hosting company that also cares about feeding the hungry and donates a portion of their earnings to Food Banks Canada if you check a box that tells them do so).

After I started blogging, I discovered many different things, and got swept up in it all.

But I’ve veered off course from my original goal.

And now, some days, I don’t even want to turn on my computer!

This hurts my heart.

I don’t like feeling this way.

Blogging Basics

Q: How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: 100. 1 to change it, and 99 others to tell the first one how it could have been done better.

Giving people what they want is part of blogging. Any blogger will tell you that.

Recently, a discussion I had with Lois (a woman living part of my dream life by taking so many cruises and then blogging about them) revealed to me a few things she didn’t like about my new site.

One of these things was the comment form.

I thought that using the CommentLuv plugin would attract more comments from readers. Ironically, the opposite has happened. Granted, I have never gotten tons of comments on my blog posts like some bloggers I know do, but I did have a lot of interactions with many of my readers.

To rectify this problem, I have now disabled the plugin and am now using the default comment form that is a part of WordPress.

Hopefully this will make commenting easier!

I have also chosen to moderate comments again, so that I can be sure of what is getting posted on my site, and also so that I can ensure I respond to each and every one!

I’m also going to add a more personal touch to my posts, and try not to be so serious and informative all the time. Just because I’m a teacher doesn’t mean I should be teaching you things all the time, does it?!?

Naturally, I will share things with you and will still respond to readers’ requests for specific posts – like I did when I wrote the post about how to get free social media buttons for your blog.

I want to help you, too, however I can.

Answering comments and connecting with others is one of my favourite parts of blogging. Some might say, “That’s what social media is for,” (and they are right) but so is writing in a personal blog!

So that’s my plan.

Now, tell me, does this sound good to you?

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P. S. Don’t forget to grab your free ebook: 20 Blog Post Must-Haves. A link will be sent to you once this form has been submitted!

 

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young / FreeDigitalPhotos.net