Blogging Expertise Is Just A Click Away
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 home for those wanting to start a blog, create great content and grow their blogs and then go professional to make money blogging.
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.
28 thoughts on “Blogging Expertise Is Just A Click Away”
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Such a wonderful surprise, Karen! Thanks so much for including my blog here along with your kind words. I love sharing blogging and design tips, and I’m most grateful for your support! Thank you. Cheers to all. 🙂
Karen, thanks so much for including me on this list of blogging resources. I’m very honoured that you have mentioned me.
I’ve learned much of what I share from other bloggers, and see my blogging and social media tips blog posts as a way of saying thank you to my readers. And yes, I love comments, but who doesn’t? For me, comments are a key element to blogging because they often prove that your posts are being read. That makes me believe that what I am writing and publishing is worthwhile and not ending up in a big black hole unread.
I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying using the Gutenberg editor. WordPress have plans to discontinue the classic editor at the end of 2021, although it will still be available to use via the Gutenberg editor. However, it’ll only remain there until WordPress have improved some elements that work better in the classic editor (mainly the photo gallery blocks).
Comments are key for me too. I started blogging because I wanted conversations and discussions about books. The only way to achieve that is to comment in other blogs and to get comments on my own posts. If I fail tomreoly I’m shutting down the very conversation I wanted… so making blogging endeavours pointless
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I refer to the tips, tricks and tutorials by ProBlogger. But wasnt aware of the other experts. Thanks for sharing, will check out these resources.
There’s a lot to absorb on the SmartBlogger site too – enjoy the research Shilpa
Interestingly I have learnt to use the block system for our travel blog but I still use the classic editor on my litblog. I don’t mind the block system, but I don’t somehow feel the need to swap over to it. I’m not a fan, but I’m not not a fan either! Occasionally the classic editor does something funny with presentation but I haven’t really found it to be a problem overall.
I got tired of the classic editor messing up the placement of pictures. In the editor page it looks fine. On the preview page it looks fine. But then when I see the published page the photos no longer line up with the text. I haven’t had that with the block editor. There are some frustrations with the block editor too but not as many
More good stuff for those of us who just do it when we feel like it without having a clear idea of why! Must check out those resources. Thank you.
Sometimes instinct is good. It avoids the temptation to aim for perfection 🙂
Thanks for this post. I must confess I’ve ignored the block editor so far – my layout is pretty straightforward but the visual element is the one I’d like to improve, so I may take a look at Natalie’s site. I don’t intend to monetise – that’s not why I blog – so I’m not sure how relevant the other links will be!
I have no interest in monetizing either but still find the other resources very useful. I just pick and choose what to read/listen to
Done. Also deleted the message asking me to delete it. I’ll delete this one too shortly. So sorry to hear about your stress levels. We did think about having my parents to stay with us during this crisis but realised they wouldn’t have been able to cope with the stairs at our house. It would have been tough on us all.
Thanks for the blogging resources!
You’e very welcome carol. If there is something you’d like me to talk about just let me know. I am hoping I don’t run out of topics to write about!
I’m too lazy to mess about with my blog. I think people just read it for the reviews, so that’s what I do!
You lazy! Oh yeah really. Your blogging output is phenomenal
Ah, but you see, reading and writing is just like breathing for me, it’s just something I do. Learning how to jazz up a blog is hard work.
It can certainly feel like hard work when you are trying to get the page to look the way you want it to but WordPress just isn’t playing ball
ProBlogger is a brilliant resource – I binge-listened to Darren’s podcast from the very beginning when I was starting out, and picked up all kinds of tips and tricks. I’ve also been lucky enough to make some wonderful blogging buddies who I can reach out to for advice when something hits the fan; even if they don’t know the answer, I appreciate their camaraderie in tough moments!
I did the same binge listening. I used to have it playing in the car on my commute or in the gym. Not the smartest thing to do because I couldn’t take notes!
I’ve been avoiding blocks, even for my relatively new business site. I don’t think I’ve changed anything I do in the past 5 years. But. I’m on an extended break so I’ll take the opportunity to follow up your tips. Thank you.
I wasn’t keen initially but have been won over. It’s easy to use once you get used to it. The real benefit is that it gives you greater certainty that the post will look the way you want it to.. I got frustrated with the old system where it looked fine in the development mode but once published photos were out of alignment.
It took me a little while to get used to the blocks but now I find them much easier….
Thanks for these, they look really useful I’ll certainly look them up.
Even if you pick up just one or two things you can try out at a time, it;s worth it