Journal 3

More Blogging Technology and Decisions

This is a very quick post about a few decisions I have made with my blog in the last hour.

I researched plugins and realized that, because WordPress.com is hosting my blog (though it has a unique url), I don’t have the option for plugins. The staff at WordPress.com seems extremely helpful and willing to customize existing widgets to fit my purpose, though this won’t be necessary for the time being.

Anyways, I have now re-added a meta section on my right sidebar. I had removed it initially because it looked to crowded with everything else I wanted to display, but it provides me with an ease of access that trumps my simplistic style. Also, I have added a “Follow this Blog” tab which users and non-users can click in order to follow Classy and True as a blog or by email. I think that this is an important way of ensuring that those who are interested in my blog are able to find it in the future. It is very frustrating when you find a site which you find helpful or entertaining and then cannot locate it in the future. This is often a problem for me so I made this choice based on my own experiences. I think that it is a really easy way of providing blog hospitality, by allowing readers to becomes followers without having to do much work.

On another note: After my journal post last evening, I had an increase in visitors, “likers”, and followers. This, to me, proves that a blog can look awesome and be very interesting, but the biggest thing which will draw attention to it is current content updated on a regular basis. Who wants to visit a blog that doesn’t have new information added on a regular basis? This is a fundamental difference between blogs and information-only pages; blogs must change and update and grow, whereas pages that hold lasting information are static and without followers. For example, I don’t follow Wikipedia pages about Broadway Musical or Victorian novels, I read them once or twice and move on with my life. I do, however, follow fitness and music blogs which are updated regularly and are current.

Just a few thoughts for my blogging process. I better write another actual post soon or else my followers will get bored.

Have a great day!

Kassieboo

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Journal 2

There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content. (David Sinick)

The Technology and How-To

For the past week or so, I have explored different plugins and widgets which I can incorporate into my blog. I’ve looked at attaching my Twitter feed to my sidebar, creating contact forms, adding a search bar, and the like. I’ve googled various techniques and guidelines for personal blogs/websites in order to help me decide on which technologies to attach to Classy and True, but have found little which fits my vision for my blog. I don’t want a money-making site or a site specific to a particular group of academics or thinkers; I want a blog which the average person living in society can relate to and think about after reading. Humour is important to my vision.

Tangent Time!

However, in doing my research, I found that many how-to guides and articles focus on the business end of blogging; of the commodification of thought and opinion. The plugin selections are based on drawing more and more people to the site, not entertaining those who have already found their way there. One article, in particular, seemed to turn a media which was once an outlet for writers expressing themselves in a nontraditional way into a new commercial enterprise for writers and non-writers alike. The article’s subheading that bothered me the most was labeled “Promotion” and the first sentence in this section stated that the topic is “the big one” (Dholakiya). I do understand that being a blogger is a viable living and that this includes promotion (like an author offline), but I find it troubling that being an online writer is no longer about being a writer, if it ever was. Articles, such as the one mentioned, suggest that “you don’t have to be an amazing writer to be a successful blogger” (Dholakiya). I find this troubling. No, you don’t have to be another Vonnegut or Atwood to be a blogger, but shouldn’t being a relatively good writer be at least part of the reason for blogging? Maybe it’s just me being an English major, but I believe that writing is not as easy a many would have you think. It is fairly easy to separate good writers from those who use convoluted sentence structure and nominalization to appear good. Many bloggers are the latter. Some write well, but lack conviction or real interest in their topic. They have great skills of promotion and an intuitive sense of which widgets most interest readers, but do not necessarily have the gift of the written word. In the past week, I have realized that modern writing (blogging and the like) consists of so much more than being a good writer or feeling the need to write down particular experiences or opinions and it sometimes doesn’t even include these things.

I’m sorry to get off track, but this lesson in blogging as a commercial endeavor really interested me. I’m not sure that I think that bloggers need to be excellent writers, but I never realized how many other aspects there are in running a successful blog. This tells me that I still have a very long way to go.

Back to Widgets and Plugins

Really, I’m still exploring widgets. I have found that I like the idea of a visit counter which I have titled “Are We Popular Yet?”. This is the most interesting widget I have found for my site to date. I like the simplicity of Classy and True at the moment so I think that I will keep with this for a while.  As I said in my previous journal entry, I believe that a blog has to grow organically with additions coming from need rather than fear of boring readers. If I see a gap in my blog or realize that I’m missing something, then I will add on, but I’d like this to be practical rather than showy or for technology’s sake.

Any additions I make, I’ll be sure to reflect on in a journal entry.

Happy reading, happy blogging, and happy growing.

Kassieboo

Work Cited:

Dholakiya, Pratik. “How to Blog (Even if You Can’t Write).” Socialmedia Today. Gigya and Infusionsoft, 20 06 2013. Web. 21 Sep. 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/hishaman/1545026/how-to-blog&gt;.