Day 2 of the A-Z challenge.
B is for blogging expertise
The world of book blogging can be exciting but it can also be frustrating.
When you’re starting out, there just seems so much to learn and so many decisions to make. What do you call your site? How do you add images? What the heck is a widget? How do I get more comments?
Even people who have a few years’ experience under their belts struggle at times. Social media moves so fast it can seem overwhelming. New tools are launched, new functionality is introduced.
Now you might not be the kind of person that feels they have to keep up with the latest trend. But sorry to break the bad news: you’re not immune from change. Because social media providers are constantly making changes to keep one step ahead of the competition. So just when you’ve mastered a tool, they change it or even remove it from their service.
If you use WordPress as a blogging platform you’ll know what I’m talking about – the new Gutenberg “block” editing system. I’m a fan but I also know many of you haven’t taken to it or struggle to understand how it works.
Recommended Sources of Blogging Expertise
The good news is that, whether you are a beginner or an experienced blogger, there are easy ways to get help. There are plenty of people who’ve done all the hard work of identifying best practices, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some of my favourite resources. Yes they are heavily focused on people with commercially-focused blogs but you can easily skip over anything that isn’t relevant. There is still plenty of advice left, that will be applicable to bloggers like us.
This is a site I highly recommend for newbie bloggers and those who want help to take their blog to the next level.
ProBlogger describes itself as:
The site is run by Darren Rowse, an Australian who has been blogging since 2002, so successfully that it gave him a full-time income within two years.
ProBlogger is absolutely crammed with about 8,000 articles and tutorials. They’ll give you tips, advice and guidelines on everything from the length of blog posts to how to create content calendars and effective headlines.
But if that’s not enough for you, there is also a very active Facebook group and a podcast. Occasionally Darren runs a free blogging challenge to target a specific challenge. He’s just finished a “7 Day Content Sprint” which was intended to help people struggling with the motivation to write new content.
I’ve been listening to the podcast for about two years. It can get a bit repetitive but I’ve also picked up loads of ideas.
Smartblogger is the brainchild of Jon Morrow. His personal story is inspirational. He was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy when he was a child. His hands, feet, arms, and legs are almost totally paralyzed.
Despite that he has created several lucrative businesses and now trains people to become professional bloggers.
The site has similar content to the that found on Problogger. What I like about SmartBlogger are that Jon’s blog posts are highly practical. A recent one called How To Write A Blog Post is an easy to follow step by step guide and there’s a handy glossary of words that convey an emotional punch. Very useful when you are struggling to find alternatives to “engaging” or “exciting” in your next blog review !
I’ve only recently started listening to Jon’s podcast so I can’t yet give you my opinion on how useful that will be.
If you want ideas on how to improve the visual content of your site, Natalie could be your answer.
She’s a poet and blogger who has a passion for graphic design. On her site you’ll find some great tutorials explaining how to use the Gutenberg block editing system or how to add an image carousel to your blog site.
I noticed just now that she has a tutorial on including “swishes and swags” in graphics. I don’t know what those are exactly but I’m going to make a date to find out. Maybe you’ll see the result of my labours on bookertalk.com soon…
It’s thanks to Natalie that I was able to add and customise social media icons to my blog and learn how to use an image gallery. She’s also very good at answering questions if you get stuck.
I can’t possibly leave Hugh out of this list. The very fact he’s from Wales and lives only an hour from my home, earns him a place.
More importantly I love his very down to earth advice. His blogsite is a mixture of topics reflecting his interest in fiction writing, photography and blogging.
He writes about some of the practical aspects of blogging, topics that you don’t always see covered in depth elsewhere. His articles are always very practical; every time I read one I find something I can apply to my own site.
Particular favourites of mine are his post about how to protect the intellectual content of your blog and how to create pingbacks (which help generate visitor traffic).
Plus he’s a really nice guy who loves comments and always responds.
Join The Discussion
Where do you turn when you have a problem with your book blog? I’d love to build a list of resources so please share any websites, blogs or podcasts you’ve found helpful. You can simply leave a comment below or follow the discussion on Twitter using #A2Zbookblogging.