Today’s guest is going to share her true experiences with blogging, tech stuff, and coding. She’s been a blogger for over 5 years, has opened up a business built around words, and is one of the most amazing women I know… even though she is not a techie!
I hope you enjoy reading her story.
I didn’t know much when I first started blogging. In fact, back in January 2013, I didn’t even know what blogging was! I also didn’t own a good working computer back then, either!
But I bought a brand-new laptop and had my sister help me set it all up. I’m not very technically adept, and I needed help with even the basic stuff. My sister has owned many computers and laptops, so she showed me how to get my new laptop up and running, including how to password-protect it.
How and Why I Started Blogging?
Once my laptop was set up, I set up an email account, then joined Facebook and Twitter. I then spent four days watching blogging tutorials on WordPress.com, making notes as I went through the videos. I felt like I was back in school.
I have always been a good independent learner, and so I was able to teach myself many things by reading and watching videos. Although I’m not a “techie,” I was able to follow simple, step-by-step instructions and set up a free blog using the email address I created.
I chose a theme that appealed to me and then I wrote my first blog post.
I started blogging as a way of “getting my name out there” because I wanted to be an author and the book I had bought said that authors were now expected to promote their works through blogging and social media. The book I am referring to is The Writer’s Market 2013. I had purchased previous editions of this book, but this 2013 edition was the first one to mention blogging.
How I Became a Better Blogger?
Because blogging was new to me – and because I wanted to be the best blogger I could be – I started reading blogs about blogging. I read articles on Problogger. I read articles on Dear Blogger. I learned about SEO because I read blogs about SEO. I threw myself wholeheartedly into learning about everything that was blogging-related.
I did the same with social media.
I also left comments on most of the blog posts I read and made friends with several of the blog owners as a result. I even ended up guest posting on a few of their sites! (There are many benefits of guest posting, by the way.)
The 5 Roadblocks I Hit – and the Solutions (Techie Tips) I Found
I encountered many problems during my blogging journey. When I read others’ posts, I saw them do some neat things, and I wanted to do the same things on my blog posts. Four examples include using Click to Tweet links, highlighting text (as though someone took a yellow highlighter to it), creating colorful boxes around paragraphs of text, and using clickable links called “page jumps” to move from one section of the blog post to another really quickly (these are often used in guides).
I also didn’t know how to make my site load faster.
Solution to Roadblock 1 (AKA TECHIE TIP #1)
To learn know how to create “Click to Tweet” links in my blog posts, I asked other bloggers for help. Only one tried to help me – Ana Hoffman. The problem is that, when you’re blogging on a free platform such as WordPress.com, you cannot install plugins on your site because your site is not really yours! It’s only when you move to a self-hosted site that you have such freedoms!
I found a workaround solution, however, and wrote the following post as a result: How to Use “Click-to-Tweet” Links in Your Blog Posts. (I would later add other solutions to this post, updating it as I found them.) I even credited Ana Hoffman in that post and provided a link to the Google Plus post where she actually tried to help me find the solution.
Solution to Roadblocks 2 and 3 (AKA TECHIE TIPS #2 and #3)
Greg Narayan, the owner of Dear Blogger, was my savior when it came to learning how to do things involving “code.”
HTML is a form of “code.” It is the language that is understood by computers and techie people (but not me). This type of code can be seen in the Text Editor (not the Visual Editor) of WordPress CMS (Content Management System). I’m sure it can be found in other places, but I’m not sure where. Like I said, I’m not very techie! But still, I am trying to share some techie tips.
Anyway, Greg taught me a few tricks involving code so I am now able to highlight text in my blog post and even use colorful boxes around parts of my text!
The blog post How to Highlight Text in Your Blog Posts: 4 Easy Methods (#Tutorial) will help you learn how to highlight text.
The following code snippet is an example of the code you need to do this:
<span style=”background-color: #f9eb20;”>;THE TEXT YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT<</span>
The following code snippet will enable you to put a box around your text:
<div style=”margin: 15px 0; padding: 15px; background: #e3f7fa; border: 1px solid #ddd; font-size: 16px; font-family: Georgia;”>PUT YOUR TEXT HERE.</div>
More Techie tips:
To change the font, replace Georgia with a different name (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)
To change the color of the box, replace the hex value (e3f7fa) with a different one, using a Hex Color Generator.
To make the border thicker, replace the 1px with 2px (or another number).
Play around with the numbers and have fun making your blog posts awesome!
Solution to Roadblock 4 (AKA TECHIE TIP #4)
To learn how to create page jumps, I searched Google. Although I read a few different articles on how to create them, I found them all very confusing and hard to understand. So I wrote my own article about page jumps! I then used it as a guest post (actually, I think I was paid for that post because Greg became my first freelancing client) on Dear Blogger.
The post All about PAGE JUMPS will teach you how to make page jumps.
Taken from that article:
“Page jumps are special links that you can create to move from one point to another within a blog post, an email newsletter, or a blogging guide. Sometimes they are called internal links.
Page jumps are most often used in long articles found on the internet and allow people to access information faster. Instead of scrolling down on the page, which can take many seconds or even minutes, a simple page jump link can be clicked, allowing for instant navigation. In today’s world, where this type of gratification is desired by busy people who don’t have time to waste, page jumps are a fantastic solution, and are welcomed by many!
Page jumps are also handy when you are posting lists. You can allow someone to jump to a particular item on your list that interests them, rather than making that person scroll down and look at each item.”
Solution to Roadblock 5 (AKA TECHIE TIP #5)
After a year of blogging (and writing for Greg from Dear Blogger), I moved my free site to a self-hosted one. I imported all of my posts. I installed plugins. I was doing great!
I actually moved to a self-hosted site because many of my blog posts ranked on the first page of Google. (I told you earlier that I learned how to do SEO properly, from reading so many articles! I then implemented what I learned when I wrote my blog posts!)
I also wanted to monetize my blog with AdSense.
Plus, I opened my own business, Wording Well. At that time, back in 2014, And the freelancing services I offered were writing and editing. (I’m an English teacher by trade, and GREAT with words!) After I became an author, I added Author Assistant services to my business.
Time passed, and then my website suddenly slowed down and I started having a few other technical problems.
I still don’t know to fix certain issues with my website. To make it load faster, I hired someone to improve things for me.
To fix the errors I learned about when I checked stuff via my Google Console, I had a techie friend who fixes things for me.
Bloggers Need People Too!
The thing with blogging is that you can never do it all yourself. But the good thing is that others are there to help!
I like to help bloggers.
I also like to help writers, freelancers, authors, and even wannabe authors. (Anyone can become an author EASILY nowadays!)
I even created a free e-book to give away! Pick up your copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves today!