Thank you for attending our class! Below is the information we shared plus additional resource links for learning more! 🙂
Womens Conference 2014 – Williamsport Stake
Blogging & Recording Family History
SETTING UP YOUR BLOG
Blogger vs WordPress
- Integrated with your Gmail account, 1 less login to remember
- More simplified dashboard interface
- Simple and quick set-up without having to know any code
- Using Blogger you have the added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform. You don’t need to worry about managing your server’s resources or securing your blog.
- Limited settings, allowing you to only add the widgets they provide, theme designs they provide (if you want to add a custom theme, you’ll need to copy & paste the code and hope it works)
- Blogger by default only provides a limited set of templates to use. You can modify the colors and layout of these templates using the built-in tools, but you cannot create your own layouts or make modifications. There are some non-official Blogger templates available, but those templates are usually very low quality.
- Moving your site from Blogger to a different platform is a complicated task. There is a significant risk that you will lose your search engine rankings, subscribers, and followers during the move. Even though blogger allows you to export your content, your data will stay on Google’s servers for a very long time.
- If you need help/support – it is very limited. They have forums, but are slow to reply and the documentation is sparse.
- Does not update regularly at all, and Google has a history of ‘killing off’ programs that they provide, so you’ll want to backup your blog regularly and hope they don’t kill off Blogger.
- Blogger inner community is weak and hard to navigate
- WordPress also has an easy free hosting option similar to blogger at wordpress.com. You are limited to only their themes and widgets, but you may later easily move your site to host it yourself for full control, which is another option with WordPress, you can learn about this option at WordPress.org.
- By hosting your blog yourself, you open a huge world of opportunity in design, what you add to your site (i.e. e-commerce, galleries, full website with pages + your own blog), and cool features added via plugins, etc
- Much easier to achieve a very professional look for any niche of blog &/or website
- If you blog on wordpress.com, the inner community is very active and easy to navigate other wordpress.com blogs
- WordPress has a very active community support system. There is online documentation, community forums where you can get help from experienced WordPress users and developers. Apart from community support, there are many companies offering premium support for WordPress.
- WordPress is an Open Source software which means its future is not dependent on one company or individual. It is developed by a community of developers and users. Being the world’s most popular content management system, thousands of businesses around the globe depend on it. The future of WordPress is bright and reassuring.
- WordPress is quite secure, but on a self hosted solution you are responsible for security and backups. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that make it easier for you.
- WordPress can be simple to set up like Blogger, especially if you begin at WordPress.com free hosting solution. There is a learning curve when hosting your own site, and when comparing free to paid, some may see paying for hosting as an inconvenience.
- When hosting your own site, you’ll need to learn how to manage your own site. If the site goes down/offline, there may be some things you’ll need to adjust to get it back up or work with your hosting provider to learn why it went down and repair if necessary.
- There is maintenance you’ll need to keep up on if you choose to host your site. This means running and installing updates when they become available regularly and often.
We strongly recommend the hosting provider: ASmallOrange (Please AVOID hosting with GoDaddy!)
Categories, Tags, and Labels
When writing your blog posts, on Blogger you’ll have what are called labels and on WordPress you’ll have Categories & Tags. These provide two benefits: they are used as keywords for search engines, and they help your visitors navigate your site. Best practice states that the fewer the better. They should be relatable to the content written and make sense to navigate other related posts. For example, if you’re writing a post on a yummy recipe you made you’d add a label/category of ‘Recipes’ and a sub-labels or tags like: dinners, chicken, rice, stir-fry.
Keep Search Engines Happy and Followers Interested – Post Often!
At the very least post to your blog once a week. A good amount would be 3 times a week. The best would be once a day. The more often you post, the more likely people are to follow.
Upload smaller images, ideally images that are no larger than 960px. Watermark your images whenever possible for extra security.
Be Social & Network
Add social sharing & follow links. Blogger has an option you can turn on to add social share to your blog posts, WordPress does as well. If you choose to host your own site, I’d suggest installing WordPress.com Jetpack plugin. There are many other share options if hosting your own site that may be worth researching… The best sites to add for both share and follow are: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, others are optional.
Create social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram. These sites will help you update your friends, family and followers of updates to your blog and help you find new friends and followers.
Forums – if you have a special niche (i.e. cooking, crafts, mommy blogging, art or photography), I’d suggest creating profiles with your blog address and become active in forums for better search engine rankings and networking opportunities.
Comment & follow others who relate to your blog. If you link to other blogs on your own site, it’s best if they link back to you. Google will also see you as more credible because your websites relate to each other.
- It’s important to comment on others blog posts and not just ask them to link to your site and follow you. People are more inclined to ‘give back’ if you’re also back to them.
- If people comment on your posts on social media sites, reply! Start a conversation or engage with your followers. They’ll be more inclined to comment again, and again and share if you show you are sincerely interested in what they think of what you shared.
Call to action: i.e. ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Follow’. The best way to spread the word about what you’re offering is to ask your friends and followers to share your post, like your post and follow you. People by nature want to help, so ask them! No shame in asking for help. This way your friends and followers may take a personal attachment to your blog and or/product if you invite them to help and participate in the conversation.
Keep your word: If you say you’re going to do something, or provide a reward, keep your word or else you risk appearing not credible. Like ‘calling wolf’, if you provide a contest or say you’ll provide something and then don’t follow through, people will lose faith and slowly stop following or lose interest. So if you’re going to run a contest/giveaway, or declare you’re going to post x amount of times, do your best to keep to your word. The more you do, soon you’ll see people check in on you often and will be more likely to engage and spread the word about your blog and share your site with their friends.
Ask questions, reply, thank your followers. Learn what is interesting to your friends and followers. If you can relate to them, they will of course be interested in what you have to say because they can relate! If you’re starting up a mommy blog, the content will be mostly about you, but there may be topics that your followers have questions about that you could answer. So take a poll often, or on a social media site ask your readers a question on a topic you plan on writing about and include their replies in your post or reply to their questions or concerns in your post.
- Say ‘thank you’ to your followers often (but not too often, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing 😉 ), will reassure your followers that you take notice of the effort they give in following you. It takes time out of others busy lives to follow and participate on your blog. Your success is not just your doing, it’s all of theirs too! So say thank you, and acknowledge their part in it all. 🙂
Forgive yourself, cut yourself some slack, keep trying and don’t give up! Those of us who have experience blogging for years, are not perfect. Things change online all the time, and there are always ways we can improve. Don’t let regrets or mistakes discourage you from pressing on. Take those as opportunities to improve and look at them as practice. Each day you’re just practicing, and each day you’re improving. If someone criticizes what you say or put out there, forgive them for anything harsh they say, and keep focus on the positive. We all have a light to shine, so let’s light up the world with as much positivity as we can! 🙂
FOLLOW US! 🙂