Having started my blog in February 2012, I have experienced a steep learning curve in terms of WordPress, social media and content writing. As an inexperienced blogger, I had a many reservations about having my writing online as well concerns about the mechanics of publishing posts through WordPress. Although I am far from mastering the features of blog posts and social media integration, I believe I have come a far way in the past 7 months.
Here are some basics I learned along the way:
For me, “widget” was just a word made using “witch” and “midget” until early this year – however once I created my blog it became clear that widgets are one of the most important features that bloggers have to familiarize themselves with. Simply put, widgets allow you to include different details into your blog, including twitter feed, category menu and the “follow” button. You can find the widget menu within your WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets. These features allow you to make the most of every space on your blog, including sidebars and the footer.
Search Engine Optimization
Everything is a business – including the internet and blogging. Irrespective of whether or not you are blogging for profit, you are blogging to be heard, to establish your online identity and to share your knowledge/opinions. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a procedure that allows bloggers to influence the position of their blog within search engines (e.g. Google, Bing and Yahoo!). By using keywords, or familiar terminology, you are able to increase the chances of your blog being picked up by search engines. So if “Content is King”, SEO is definitely its Knight.
Tags on Posts
Tags go hand in hand with SEO. WordPress enables bloggers to use specific words/phrases as tags in order to be indexed in search engines. They are specific keywords that you want your blog post to be found for. By using tags in every single blog post you publish, you are increasing the chances of that post being found in search engines. For example: for a blog post about Twitter and blogging, I would use the following tags: Twitter, social media, tweets, social network, blog, content, publishing and so on.
As a blogger who has a full time job, it can be difficult to dedicate time to socially promoting your content so we try to use easy and fast mediums… enter Twitter. It is easily my favorite social media platform because it is simple, quick and effective. The best thing is, you can integrate it as a widget into your blog, enabling visitors to follow you and stay up-to-date with your blog posts. One software that I found highly useful is TweetDeck. This allows you to schedule posts over a period of time therefore you do not have to spend hours on the social website.
Bitly for Links
Sharing is caring – it is what we are taught from an early stage and it is forever timeless. If you don’t share your posts through email, social media and other platforms, it is unlikely that they will generate organic (unpaid) hits. Bitly enables you to shorten the URL of your blog post to a simple 20 characters, instead of 60-70 character long. This is really useful for Twitter and TweetDeck. When sharing your blog post, you should use a link shortner as long URLs tend to scare people in clicking them.
Taking on Blogging, One Post at a Time…
So here were some of the things I have picked up in the past 7 months. The WordPress blogging experience is unparalleled by any site, and other bloggers are continuously supportive and offering help – which makes it an excellent community. It can be overwhelming at times as it is slightly complicated if you aren’t familiar with the software, terminology and features. Hopefully one day I will have mastered the art of blogging, but until then I will keep sharing my wisdom with other through my blog.