The Opinionated Manager

learning to trust my own opinions and expertise

This little piggy has some Blogging questions

pig to bacon

UPDATE: Oh My God! You guys are AMAZING!  So many fantastic and helpful comments!  As you can see, I’ve made a couple of changes already, and you’ve definitely given me some food for thought.  I hope some of you lovely other new bloggers also got some benefit out of this too.

I’ve been thinking about this bloggy business, and I have some questions for youse that have been doing it a while (or longer than me, right?).

Buying-in.  So far, so free!  I have been using a free WordPress site, and I think that this is a great way to have a go and see whether blogging sticks, and figure out at least a little bit of what works and what doesn’t.  But all the “super blogging articles” I am reading are suggesting that bloggers should buy-in and invest in their blog – purchase your domain name and host your own site.  Can I ask who out there has gone this route?  Is hosting your own site difficult if you’ve got minimal tech knowledge, or is it worth it so that you can have the freedom that you need – add in desired plug-ins, tweak your templates, host advertisements etc etc.  Hey, on that, who hosts advertising? Do you find it a good thing, or a pain in the bum?  Who out there is hoping to one day make some money from their blogging?  I don’t think that that is an aim of mine (although my husband is keen!  Anything that doesn’t involve effort on his part!) but is it still worth setting yourself up to make $ offsets against the cost of blogging?

Aesthetic. I liked my theme to start with – simple colours with those sweet little balloons.  But the more I blog, the less certain I am that it is the theme for me.  To start with, this may be a personal blog, but it is still also set in the professional world (to an extent) – does whimsical really fit with that?  There are other, more technical concerns: the font is pretty small – has anyone been bothered by this?  I visit some (quite well known) blogs and I find them SOOO hard to read.  It infuriates me, and I have a sneaking suspicion that mine isn’t too much better.  And then more technical stuff that I have become aware of as I proceed, my template only has one column so all my extra widgets and bits and pieces are tucked down the bottom, and who knows what other limitations I haven’t come across as yet.  What templates is your blog based on?  Have you found it easy to use and flexible for your purposes?  Any recommendations of standard templates that you reckon work really well?  And have you paid for the customisation options? Or built your own, you whiz, you?

Credits. I have not been crediting pictures – I just google image something along the lines of my blog topic and chuck it up there.  Is this really poor form?  I’ve noticed a lot of blogs put up an image credit – someone tell me the deal?  And PS. where do you find your images?

Other People. Have you hosted or done any guest blogging?  I’m not sure that I’m such a great writer that I would shop around my own abilities as a guest poster, but I do think it would be fantastic to get some of the new and interesting people that I have met to do a post for my blog.  Do people have the time and energy to write for pissy little blogs like mine?  Or are they too spent out from creating with their own blogs?  And if I did want to invite people to guest blog, do you tell them the topic or theme, or just say, here’s my blog, go for it?

Numbers. My short time doing this blogging thing has already reaped rewards for me by way of helping me to clarify my thoughts and communicate them, and this process has led to some deeper-than-I-had-anticipated reflecting.  And as someone who manages communications staff it has been a massive learning curve in terms of creating and marketing content through any and all available means – two months ago I didn’t even know what SEO stood for!  Lots of positives are coming from this before I even start thinking about being read by people.  But the fact of the matter is, being read is really nice.  And there have been more than a few comments that have set me off on new and interesting paths, and which have made me think more deeply about my position on matters.  So yes, I do want my blog to be a mild success in terms of readership.  I’ve heard others refer to reaching some of their goals with regard to their overall views, and I’m really curious as to what others in the Non-Professional bloggers category think of as a good number of views for a post, or on a day where you have released a post?  And what sort of timeframe did you work with in order to build up the following that you have?  If it wasn’t for link-up parties like this, my views would be damn small, so I’m also curious as to what promotion methods have worked for you in driving readers to your blog?  Or in writing a personal management-ish blog that doesn’t dispense wisdom and advice, am I actually writing anything that is of interest to anyone? I haven’t yet promoted this blog to all my networks – friends, family, facebook, linked in etc – because I have been very cautious about it, but also because I have been a bit embarrassed.  Like everyone will think, Who is she to think that people will be interested in what she has to say!  And I’m also a bit nervous because once I release the beast it is a bit hard to change my mind and put it away, especially if people I work with get a hold of it.  What do you reckon?  Can my blog stand up to that sort of scrutiny, or should I keep it tucked away for a bit longer?  How did you go about letting your friends know about your blog?

So there you have it.  B-A-C-O-N.  I really hope that you are willing to share some of your experiences and advice and feedback with me.

Linking up with The Lounge today, and Thankful Thursday at Francesca Writes Here, where I am profoundly thankful for this new community of blogging friends and the advice they are happy to share.

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34 comments on “This little piggy has some Blogging questions

  1. Leanne Winter
    June 27, 2013

    I’m only a newbie myself so I’m sure you’ll get much better advice from some of the others who are old hands at this stuff. But I do have a couple of comments for what it’s worth.
    -Yes, I think your font probably is a bit small – can you easily adjust it?
    – Based on what I’ve read and what others have told me, I only use photos that I’ve taken myself or that I know are royalty/copywrite free, my understanding is that you can get into trouble if you use other people’s photos without permission
    – I registered my own domain name, I have almost zero technical knowledge but found it quite easy to upload wordpress myself etc. You can google answers to just about anything you want to do these days.
    -I wouldn’t wait to get your blog out there to your friends and family via facebook, by clicking like they then share your stuff with all their other friends and you’ll find you’ll get more readers. Getting onto twitter has been helpful for me, too, in terms of increasing your audience. And so what if nobody but other bloggers read your stuff. I think it’s still worthwhile to put it out there. Apparently these things take time but if you’re patient and persistent it should pay off – at least that’s what I’m telling myself! Good luck.

  2. Judy Thornton
    June 27, 2013

    Keep it the way you want it. A little private I reckon. I have to tied to open it up to my personal friends most of them don’t really care that much. It’s more other bloggers and these linkies that increase traffic I believe. Its a tool to express our feelings and experiences to helps us grow. Some people blog get money – I don’t.

  3. The Tunnel
    June 27, 2013

    Getting your own blog domain is a good idea and is not particularly expensive. Our blog is hosted by a friend in IT overseas – have no idea how it works but the “.com” will give your blog some extra cred. As it is, you’re coming up first on Google under “opinionated manager” so your SEO is pretty good. And you’ve got more Twitter followers than The Tunnel (and we had a decent headstart) so imagine what you can do if you get friends and family on board too!

    Your current template is attractive but the font is small on a PC/Mac but it looks great on a phone. If you change templates, make sure to get one that is mobile/tablet responsive (i.e. changes its size depending on the screen it is viewed on) and is retina-ready (i.e. looks sparkling on Apple devices). There are plenty of retina-ready, responsive WordPress themes on Theme Forest and the like and they are usually no more than $50. A good template is money well spent. Wouldn’t have thought there’s any need to pay for plug-ins? If you get a good template, it will probably have plenty of snazzy features anyway.

    With photos, an important rule is to never use images from people who might sue you. Crediting the source is also polite – you can put this in the image caption in WordPress. The Tunnel tries to use its own photos when it can or else use something from the ABC (they wouldn’t sue bloggers, would they?) If you need free public domain images, you can also try: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Are bloggers ever happy about their numbers? Post a lot, tweet a lot. Enjoy yourself. Remember, most of us got into this game five years too late to be millionaires or blogging superstars. From what I’ve seen, you’re going just great.

  4. Have a laugh on me
    June 27, 2013

    So I’m pretty useless at the technical stuff, but yes your font is too small, should be able to change it without changing the theme. I am going to move to self hosted, not that I know how but I think it will make my blog easier to manage. I’ll be coming back to see what others say – I hope you get some answers 🙂

    • robomum
      June 27, 2013

      Totally agree with Em here. I don’t know anything either but I’m going to check back in on the comments left here by more experienced bloggers.

  5. Kaz @ Melting Moments
    June 27, 2013

    I self host the blog. I prefer the flexibility of WordPress (.org). It’s more customisable (if that’s a word).

    I like having a side bar to keep my widgets tidy. I do think your font is a little small. Aer you able to change the size? I also had a balloon over some text so I couldn’t read part of your post.

    I get my images from here:
    http://office.microsoft.com/
    I always credit where I can as I’d expect someone to credit my images if they used them.

    I’m glad I found your blog today 🙂
    Kaz

  6. Kim@fallingfacefirst
    June 27, 2013

    I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I have a few.. I’m not very old-hand myself. (Only a pregnancy! My blog’s officially about to go into labour 😉
    1. For images, I like photopin – they are free and considered ‘creative commons’, and crediting is considered good form, though sometimes I’m stupid or tired and forget: http://photopin.com
    2. I’m self-hosted, and it’s inexpensive (perhaps $100 p/a?) to register domain name and wordpress self-hosted, IMHO, is awesome. I do have a little problem moving the balloon in your theme … i can’t read the writing underneath! It’s cute though. You do get a lot more customisable themes then, but even without customising they’re pretty good. I’m a techno-moron and it’s still very manageable. I like Twenty-Eleven for mine. Straightforward and clean.
    3. Guest-blogging: I have a couple of times, when invited. It’s a lovely and flattering honour. But not something I hunt down.
    4. Money: not really my agenda, but if it comes throwing itself at me, I won’t say no, if it fits with my content.
    5. I’m still trying to work out the rest myself, and have PLENTY of these questions still of my own that need answering.

    Blogging is largely about feeling your way as you go, building connections, friendships, and networks, and gleaning info along the way. Don’t be in a hurry – and enjoy the ride. 🙂

  7. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me
    June 27, 2013

    Really interesting questions. I’ll be watching closely to see everyone’s responses. I registered my domain name and am hosted with Go Daddy. I had issues with them initially, so I wouldn’t recommend them. I also use wordpress.org. I found having a sidebar really handy to put my widgets in. I am using a free wordpress theme and my friend jimmied up my logo for me. I would love to have something a bit cool in the future, but I’ll wait and see how things go. I would let everyone know about your blog. It doesn’t have to be perfect from word go. No one says you have to get it right straight away. It can be a work in progress. Good luck! You’re doing an awesome job so far.

  8. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me
    June 27, 2013

    Oh, also, Facebook gave me $50 worth of free advertising when I hit 50 likers. I’d totally recommend using it.

  9. Lydia C. lee
    June 27, 2013

    I have no advice – everytime I read a ‘how to’, I discover I’m doing it all wrong – but at the moment, I haven’t made the effort to change anything (and I wonder why I don’t get paid…)
    But if you are interested, I read a very helpful post on SEO’s – I can send it to you, if you like….

  10. Sarah @ Slapdash Mama
    June 27, 2013

    Right!
    1. I’ve been thinking about getting a .com too, but not sure. I paid someone to do the photo and header design on my blog and I am so pleased with it.
    2.I love your theme!
    3. I always try and credit pictures. Except if it is really obviously not necessary. Like a meme or something.
    4. I’ve done both. Guest blogging definitely worth it.
    5. I’ve got no idea about this. I just crap on and have a crisis of confidence every two seconds. Who knows where it will go??

    Thank you for linking up!
    xx

  11. Jacana
    June 27, 2013

    Thanks for linking in today.
    Only suggestion I have for your blog is I think your font also needs to be larger makes it easier to read.
    The best guest blogging session I have done is when someone send you questions to respond to and puts these up as a guest blog – it saves having to lose what your blog is all about to a subject you know your readers won’t be interested in.
    I haven’t thought yet about getting my own domain – happy at present. Guess it might come one day, perhaps when there is 72 hours in a day and I can find the time.
    If you want to advertise, I think the secret is not to overdo it.

  12. I haven’t done the self-hosted thing because I haven’t wanted to spend money on the blog – I don’t make money on it so I didn’t want it to cost me anything (besides my time!). I have played around with my blog theme, colours and fonts quite a few times. I think if I got a professional to design my blog, it would look much better, but I’m not really taking it that seriously at the moment! Maybe if I self-publish my book, I might get someone to design a website for it, but the blog is just fun tinkering for me.

    I think your font could be a bit bigger so it’s easier to read but not so big that you have to scroll down after reading a paragraph 🙂

    I try to use my own photos as much as I can to avoid the credit issue, but if I get an image from the web, I always include the link of where I got the picture from.

    I’ve been blogging 3 1/2 years now, but I’ve only joined the blogging “community” in the last year or so. Prior to that, I just told a few friends about it. Now I have a facebook page, twitter account and am listed on a few directories. Linkies are a great way to find new blogs, both to read and to have your blog read.

    I’m by no means a professional blogger, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s do what you’re comfortable with. And keep enjoying it!

    Thanks so much for linking up 🙂

  13. Alicia - One Mother Hen
    June 27, 2013

    I am on blogger, I’m happy with things as they are for now and haven’t felt the need to get my own domain name. I’ve been blogging for just over a year. You’re font is a little small, and worked out how to get the balloons to ‘get out of the way’ of your text so I can read it, they are novel though and I quite like them. I am not tech savvy at all really and have to rely on google search to learn most about everything to do with blogging. Enjoying the learning all the same and have just dived in the deep end with much trepidation and doubt, into advertising PR and the such. Good luck, I certainly didn’t realise how big blgging was or how much was involved in maintaining a blog when I first started, so glad I did though 🙂

  14. peopledonteatenoughfudge
    June 28, 2013

    Love your use of bacon 🙂 – I’m not really qualified to answer any of the other questions though. I have hosted and guest posted a few times and its fun. I just offered up a selection of past posts and invited people to choose if they wanted to host them, in return I offered to host a post of their choice new or old.

  15. marleisa
    June 28, 2013

    I have only been blogging for 6 months so I have no answers for you, but I am enjoying reading other peoples responses!! Thanks

  16. Lisa @ circle of toast
    June 28, 2013

    I am a brand new blogger (two weeks now!) so am totally unqualified to answer any of your questions, but am definitely interested in the answers, as I have been wondering about a few of these too! The only thing I can offer is that I like morguefile.com for free pics, no attribution is necessary and they have a fairly good selection. Thanks for this post!

  17. Toni
    June 28, 2013

    I have only been blogging for a year and a bit and it started out as more of a hobby. I’ve started putting more effort into it now that I’m on maternity leave and actually have more time so I am by no means an expert. My tips are:
    – increase your font size at least to the next size up.
    – put in a sidebar as it allows for easier navigation around your site.
    – I think your theme is fine, I find simple themes work best. Nice neutral colours and not too much going on to distract readers.
    – I google image search images and I find it is hard to get the original source so in those cases I dont image source because it usually comes up as being posted from a number of different sites so I dont know which one to credit (I know this is bad). I do try to use my own images as often as possible.
    – I promote my posts on blogger network sites, facebook and link ups. I find link ups get me the most traffic. Although I still recommend having a facebook page for your blog.
    – I dont know what numbers are good or bad. Some days I get very low numbers then other days I get really high numbers without promoting at all? My numbers are also probably nothing compared to other bloggers. My all time readership is probably the same as the big blogs get in one day. My numbers have increased though the more I have been getting involved with blog link ups and blogging networks.
    – I share some blog posts on my personal fb page with friends and family. I was really nervous about this at first as its a personal blog and a lot of the posts are about them. I find though that not many of them actually read my posts on a regular basis and some people who I thought wouldn’t care at all have actually become regular readers. I have the separate fb page for my blog so I can keep it kind of separated so Im not spamming my friends and families news feeds with my blog stuff and then the ones who really want to follow can do so there.

  18. Raising Explorers
    June 28, 2013

    I have no answers – only the same questions as you – so thanks for asking!! Love the “This little piggy” bacon reference. 🙂

  19. Mystery Case
    June 28, 2013

    Great questions! I’m rather new to blogging as well but I’ve been ‘casing’ blogs as part of my business for a little while now and I believe that has helped me see some amazing results in such a short amount of time. I could possibly write an ebook on each of the above questions. Now that is something to think about.

    Thanks for linking up for our Sharing is Caring Sunday, please pop back on Sunday and link your favourite post for the week. We promise to shower you with social media love throughout the week!

  20. redlandcitygirl
    June 28, 2013

    Blogging is a huge learning curve hey?!

    I do find the font a bit small on your blog even when wearing my glasses 😦

    I try to use mostly my own images to avoid the credit problem … and I paid for my own website and domain name as it is closely tied to my business, so that makes it a deduction. Hosting & domain name was only about $100 a year from memory. And I’m trying to entice advertisers – it’s a slow process, but I’m getting there 🙂

  21. Wendy Parks
    June 28, 2013

    I don’t really have any advice for your either, but I have enjoyed reading the comments!
    – I started on WordPress but moved to blogger as I didn’t want to pay as much to self host on WordPress as was required. I bought my own domain on Blogger and that was much cheaper
    – I use my own photos as much as possible, or make sure I credit the images if they are not mine; copyright can be a tricky issue and I want to be sure credit is given where credit is due
    – I’ve got the most traffic through link ups, but I only get about 150 unique hits per month. That doesn’t bother me as I blog for my own personal growth, reflection and development. If anyone enjoys the journey with me that is just a bonus

  22. Pingback: Dreaming a Pozible Dream | The (Mildly) Opinionated Manager

  23. Zanni Louise
    July 5, 2013

    I went self hosted eventually – took a couple of years, and I ended up coughing up and paying someone to do the transfer. I didn’t want to stuff it up by doing it myself. As for look, I think aesthetics are pretty important. They convey the feeling of your blog. It’s up to you to decide who you’re audience is and how you want your blog to feel. My is hopefully uplifting and a little bit whimsical. Hence the imagery. I always credit images which are not my own. I think it’s polite. And sometimes essential for copyright. Guest blogs are a good way of sharing the love and tapping into a new audience. I have written for others, and have had a series of guest posts on my own site.
    As for numbers, my biggest audience are still friends and family, so luckily there are quite a few of them. I don’t know, it’s taken ages to build up an audience for me. I am not very savvy, so don’t think I have followed the right routes. But big spikes have come from being shared on big websites etc.
    Visiting for rewind. 🙂

  24. Emily
    July 5, 2013

    My experiences (to draw from or ignore as you see fit!):

    B: I use blogger. I’m not interested in hosting my own, can’t see the point for me, and definitely can’t justify the expense.
    A: I had a blog overhaul earlier this year. Before that I didn’t even have a header, but had been settling on a ‘brand’ (for want of a better word) for a while and decided to run with it.
    C: I try to use wikipedia images that are okayed for general use (if you click on the images you can see the copyright provisions). I always link back to the original. Or use my own. Or none – a lot of my posts are just words.
    O: I just had a bub and lined up lots of guest posts to appear while I was in hospital and then recovering from the birth. I just approached bloggers I love and was totally surprised and honoured when every single one of them said yes. I’ve also written a few – I’ve both been asked and have offered when bloggers have sought them.
    N: I honestly haven’t paid much attention to numbers. I started a facebook page and a twitter account earlier this year because fellow bloggers suggested it, and have seen my numbers soar since then. But the other outlets can feel like high maintenance sometimes.

    Good luck!

  25. BACON – I love it! I’m self hosted and have my own domain name and I feel better for having that in place – I’m also lucky to have a husband who knows stuff about wordpress! With photos I always link to the source where I found it, although I may still get in trouble by not always using royalty free images. Good luck with this fabulous blogging caper!

  26. It’s a process! I’ve had a number of blogs over the years and I think only now I am at the point where I am happy with the layout, design and my blogging routine. It’s great fun along the way. And don’t stress about numbers, too many get concerned about comments and numbers (I used to) and really as long as you are authentic and blogging for you, you will succeed

  27. maxabella
    July 6, 2013

    The best thing about blogging is that you can try out new things and see how they go! change it up, try it out, have a go.

    Visiting from the Rewind, nice to meet you.

    x

  28. Allison Tait
    July 8, 2013

    Lots of great questions here – and lots of great answers in the comments. Thanks for Rewinding.

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