Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

8 Blogging Maintenance Things You're Probably Neglecting | Book Blogging Tips (#49)

Blogging maintenance is probably the most underrated and most brushed-under-the-table part of blogging that nobody really wants to talk about. All of these are pesky things that you probably won't want to do. But trust me, you should.






#8: Replying to Comments on Your Crossposts
I am so notorious for being late on these. Bless the people who comment on my crossposts! Not all platforms are designed very well to actually notify you when people do - but please do keep an eye on the people that comment on your posts, even if it's not on your actual blog. It's just as vital as replying to the comments that you get on the blog itself. Also do keep an eye on your Goodreads comments!

#7: Fixing Broken Links
You just gotta randomly click through old posts for many reasons, the first one being that your blog is probably littered with broken links. Sometimes you just forget that you moved a scheduled review to a different date which then changes the permalink, or you simply deleted a post that you no longer want on your blog. Either way - go check.

#6: Disappearing Pictures
Everyone's least favorite magic trick. This might be just a Blogger thing. Blogger has been notorious for messing up both my theme and my content since the very beginning of my blog in 2014. Sometimes pictures just randomly get eaten. You won't know if you're not looking at old posts every now and then.

#5: Checking For Typos
Another thing you should be looking out for while reading old articles are the pesky typos! I do read my blog posts through about five to ten times depending on what kind of post it is before I even schedule them to be published - but ho boy sometimes these little pesky things manage to slither in. You have go back and read some older reviews sometimes, spellcheck can't find anything. Trust me, it's mortifying to find these, you better go and check right now.

#4: Updating Your Tabs
If you have links to about me sections or contact sections, it's absolutely vital that you update them. I update my contact info probably every month, but I'm notorious for neglecting my about me section. If you blog like me, you're probably constantly changing something about your blog. Might as well be consistent and give every part of your blog equal attention!

#3: Replying to Old Comments
Commenting back or not is a whole different discussion, but the one thing you really have to do is set up an email notification for your blog comments so you don't miss a single one, no matter how old the post itself is. I think replying to comments is vital and if your blog is at a size where the amount of comments you get are still manageable to reply to, just do it. To me it's absolutely mortifying to have to reply to a comment from like 6 months ago late because you neglected your email notification. That's just embarassing.

#2: Just Getting Rid of Scheduled Posts
Sometimes you write something really stupid when you're in a weird mood and end up queueing it anyway. If you queue as much as I do, you're really going to want to have a look on all that stuff that's been accumulating in your drafts. Not every post is a good post. Not everything you've written should actually end up published on your blog.

#1: BACK YOUR CONTENT UP
This is honestly not negotiable. Trust me. Back your content up at least every three months, you'll be devastated once your blogging platform randomly decides to eat your content. Save those posts. Save that theme. Thank me later. Yes, do it now if you haven't in a while.


What are some maintenance things you tend to neglect on your blog?


More Book Blogging Tips:

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review Copies ARE NOT Free Books, DON'T start a blog if you just want books free of charge! | Book Blogging Tips #40





I have no clue how this is even a thing people think. I know bloggers who started just to get review copies. Not necessarily because they wanted to read books in advance, but because
they thought:


"Yay, all I need is a blog and everyone will start sending me books... FOR FREE $$$$$$$$$!!!!"*

*an altered version of what I witnessed on twitter yesterday

A review copy is not a free book.  It's payment for a service!!

  • Reading the book
  • Collecting thoughts on the book and forming an opinion on it
  • Compressing all those jumbled up thoughts into a single blog post
  • Promoting said blog post

It's not just "I read the book and I write down something and I'm done". Book reviews aren't written quickly. It takes hours, sometimes even days to get my thoughts in order and then there's also the formatting. Reviews aren't easy to write, which is why there are hardly any book reviewers who earn their money doing so. 

Sometimes you won't like the book you read. Sometimes you'll realize halfway through that you made a terrible choice and it's not a book you'd ever pick up in your free time and it's actually torture to finish it. Sometimes you have to force yourself to read the book, because you've basically signed a virtual contract that you'd at least try. "Just reading" isn't easy.

You just don't "get review copies"

There is a reason why there are dozens of posts circulating on the internet on how to get review copies. They don't fall out of the sky the second you order business cards that say you're a book blogger. They don't come with the registration confirmation email from Wordpress/Blogger. You have to reach out, you have to have a solid platform and you're basically at the mercy of the publicists. 

If you're starting out, there is no way you're getting an advance reading copy "just like that". You have to have a platform and establishing that is HARD. Especially if you're American, the big five publishers won't even consider your blog before you have more than 500 followers. Let alone the views. Your statistics are super important and without a blog that gets frequent visitors, you're not "getting" anything.

Advance copies aren't printed for free, generally review copies cost money and it is your job to make that money worth the effort. 


Blogging is not a joke. Blogging is not easy and it's not a quick way to never have to pay for books again. 



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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why I Regret Having Started Out With Blogger | Book Blogging Tips (#30)

Not a day goes by that I'm not super annoyed that I didn't have the foresight to actually inform myself about the different blogging platforms.

For some people, Blogger seems to be the perfect choice, but for me, it absolutely isn't. 

Since my blog is super small I'm actually scared to transition, because I fear losing the little audience that I have.



What's so bad about Blogger?

  • Themes: Finding a decent theme on Blogger is almost impossible. I had to learn to code to modify mine to be close to what I want it to look like, but I'm still not 100% satisfied. The default themes on Blogger are an absolute nightmare and without exception all look terrible. If you take a look at the Wordpress default themes, they aren't only more aesthetically pleasing, but also have more options to modify them than the Blogger themes.
  • Commenting: The Blogger commenting system isn't terrible, but it's by no means a great invention. It's not pretty. Had I not come across DISQUS, I probably would've quit straightaway and transitioned over to Wordpress
  • Widgets: The Blogger widgets are pretty much useless. They cover the basics but stand in no comparison to the things Wordpress offers
  • No Ping-backs: This is one of the features I miss the most on Blogger. Wordpress notifies you whenever someone mentions or links to your blog. In order to find out whenever somebody does that on my Blogger account -... well, good luck.

Why am I not changing to Wordpress?

  1. I'm scared to lose followers. Almost half of my followers follow via GFC. On Wordpress I can't use GFC anymore. Who knows if those people would follow me again.
  2. I'd have to start from scratch. It'll feel like I'm a blogging newbie again, Wordpress has a completely different structure than Blogger and it'll take me months to learn how to work with it the way I can work with Blogger.
  3. What if it doesn't live up to my expectations? What if I don't like Wordpress on the long run? It'll be a bitch to go back to Blogger. I'd also be insanely annoyed. 
  4. I feel like it's too late now, I've made my decision and I should stick with it.
  5. I think I've made the best out of the options I have on Blogger and I'd have to change everything about my blog to make it work on Wordpress the same way.
My advice:

If you're still a newbie and have less than fifty followers, consider the change. I mean, I'm not even a remotely popular blog, but I don't think I can afford to start new. If I decide to transition, I'll have to start from the bottom and I don't think I'm ready for that.

If you're already with Blogger:
  • Create a Wordpress account and make a hypothetical theme. Pretend you're actually transitioning and see if you like it.
  • Don't just delete your Blogger blog, export it first and shove all your content over to Wordpress. Under NO circumstances delete your Blogger blog!! You can still change the URL later if you're actually transitioning. Keep the Blogger blog as an emergency backup.
If you haven't decided on a platform yet:
  • Consider carefully where you're going to start off. Question other more experienced bloggers and make a list of advantages and disadvantages.
  • See what your favorite bloggers work with and think about what you like about their designs (if they're not using self-hosted themes obviously)


Do you use Wordpress or Blogger? Have you ever considered transitioning to either option?

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Monday, August 17, 2015

#BloggerBlackmail: Do You Think Bloggers Have a Right to Get Paid?


The trending hashtag #bloggerblackmail got me curious.
Apparently a food blogger and a bakery got in conflict. 
The bakery claimed that the blogger was making ridiculous requests (100$ worth of products in compensation for a review. 

The blogger claimed that the bakery was offering too little and expecting too much



#Bloggerblackmail: What happened? 

- Food Blogger is asked to review bakery
- Blogger visits the bakery and is offered a small goodie bag
- Blogger is unsatisfied with the offer, asks for compensation in form of various baked goods that add up to a retail value of 100£
- Owner refuses, Blogger is only offered hot drinks 
- Blogger leaves the store enraged
- Blogger returns, purchases some products themselves, and instagrams negative reviews of them
- They both put each other on blast online, twitter blows up when both posts go viral. 
Sources: The Bakery's side  The Blogger's side

This whole issue got me thinking about compensation for blog posts and what I expect or don't expect personally.

Since I'm a book blogger and most of my readers as well, this will be only about book blogging.


The work that goes into reviewing

There are a lot of bloggers who don't only post reviews, but also take pictures, or create edits. Even if it looks easy, blogging is a very difficult and hard hobby. A blog post can take up to two hours to write, not to mention the hours and hours that go into reading books. I personally can maybe read a 300/400 pages book in about six hours if I hurry, and I really like it. 


The Average Cost of a Book Review

300/400 pages:

Reading: 6 hours
Blogging: 2 hours
Formatting the post: 1 hour
_________________________

up to 9 hours of work


If you're lucky enough to receive a review copy, that's your compensation for those 9 hours of your life. Is that worth it? Are you entitled to a minimum-wage compensation for those 9 hours?


Blogging: Hobby or Work? 
"[...] I don’t do eight hours of work for an eight piece selection box of macarons and marshmallows. Writing is notoriously badly paid and photography suffers the same, but I value what I produce as worth more than that."

- wrapyourlipsaroundthis

I think in order to answer that question, you have to decide for yourself whether you see blogging as your profession, or as your hobby.
To me, it's a hobby. I'm a small blog, I'm happy if I get recognized at all by publishers, authors etc. If you're a bigger blog and you're very selective with the books you read, does that mean you're also entitled to a bigger compensation? Do you expect more than just the book you have the privilege of reading?

Technically, we could do what the Blogger from the incident with the bakery did. We could define a price and say "unless the product is worth X, I'm not doing it." Would you be okay with that? I consider myself a casual blogger and I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in. I don't expetc anything for anyone. It's a hobby for me. Frankly, any blogger who defines a price would just lose credibility in my opinion.


Where does respecting your work end and becoming a sellout begin?

I think if you start charging, or expecting people to compensate you, it's very easy to lose yourself in it.
I hope I can speak for all of us when I say that we blog because we value freedom of speech. 

We think we have something to say and we're going to share it. 

If someone comes in and offers you 100$ for a good review, would you do it?


Do you think we're entitled to bigger compensations?

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

6 Commenting Systems and What Sucks About Them | Book Blogging Tips (#9)


I took on a little project with this edition of Book Blogging Tips. I went to a bunch of blogs, checked out their commenting systems and wrote down what's good and what's bad about them. 

Hopefully you'll be able to gain insight and maybe get inspired to change your commenting system.


At the end of the day, you're the one who has to decide what's the best choice for you. Whether it's Blogger, Wordpress, Disqus, IntenseDebate, Self-Hosted or something else. Everything has their pros and cons. Unless it's Facebook. Please get rid of that.

1. Default Blogger System

Pros
- You're able to comment anonymously
- Very easy for Blogger and Wordpress users
- Notification on your dashboard for each new comment 
- Supports clickable links as HTML
- Email notification for replies available

Cons
- Not really aesthetically pleasing: Looks a bit odd and chunky when there's multiple comments on your page
- Supports clickable links as HTML (have fun typing those brackets out)

___________________________

My two cents: It's alright design if you aren't tech-savvy and not too fond of third-party commenting systems. Consider changing to Wordpress, their default commenting system is much better.

2. Default Wordpress System
Pros
- Nice and clean look
- Option to like
- Easy to reply
- Email notification for replies available

Cons
- poor spam control
___________________________

My two cents: You're good to go. Wordpress is a nice choice and gives enough options to satisfy the majority of your readers.

3. Disqus

Pros
- Option to create own account so you'll be able to keep track of your comments 
- Notification in your Disqus account whenever you get a new comment
- Built-in anti spam and related posts features 
- Comments aren't lost if you transition from Blogger or Wordpress to Disqus
- Options to like and showcase comments
- Blog host can easily delete and edit comments
- You can drag and drop an image into your comment

Cons
- No Wordpress log in option
- No dashboard notification for Blogger users 
- Needs a few extra seconds to load

___________________________

My two cents: Congrats, you've chosen my favorite. I'm biased, obviously. 

4. IntenseDebate

Pros
- Let's you easily control and delete comments
- Users are rated due to their comment history
- Best commenters widget
- Collecting points for every comment you leave is fun!

Cons
- Users are rated due to their comment history (surveillance state much?)
- you lose ALL your previous comments when switching over to IntenseDebate

___________________________

My two cents: I like the look of IntenseDebate personally and it's an okay system, but after this Spring's Bloggiesta I noticed that I'm pretty much alone in that opinion. I love the best commenters widget, but if you're going to go with a third-party commenting system, choose Disqus. They're quite similar in looks and concept, but Disqus gives you way more options.

5. Self-Hosted
Pros
- Option to add CommentLuv: The commenter can feature their latest post on their blog in their comment
- Most themes let you add your website
- You can use elaborate html (strike, bold, italic, blockquote etc)

Cons
- Most self-hosted commenting systems don't let you log in
- Rarely options to comment anonymously without sharing your website's URL
- No option to upload icons

___________________________

My two cents: I'm not too fond of these. Consider either choosing a commenting system that gives more options or installing a third-party system.

6. Facebook
Pros
- Nice and clean design
- Options to like and reply directly

Cons
- Poor spam control
- Your Facebook friends will all see what you're commenting and where (privacy issues)
- NOBODY wants to use their facebook account to comment on a blog
- Don't do it

___________________________

My two cents: No.


What's Your Favorite Commenting System?

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