DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

20 June 2013

Blogging for beginners - 2


If you read yesterday's post you may well have your blog set up and ready to go. Let's take a look at content and how to customise your blog now. There are all sorts of strategies that will help you create an audience but I think it comes down to one thing - content. If you write well, write information that people need or find interesting, and if you write frequently, you'll build an audience. You can also build an audience by visiting other blogs and commenting. If you comment under your blog name, or under a name with your blog link, it will leave a little trail back to your blog. That link will stay on that blog and anyone who clicks on it will be transferred to your blog. You can leave another trail by adding your live blog link to your emails, in Facebook and if you belong to any forums, in your forum signature.

I think comments are like payment for a blog. I doesn't take long to leave a comment but it means so much to the blogger. Feedback and adding to the subject matter in comments adds to the value of a blog. Comments can make or break a blogger. I know of people who have given up blogging because of the comments - there either aren't any or they're nasty. Usually it's just one disagreeable person but when you get one of these nutters, they can make your blog life miserable. My advice is to always moderate your comments - the setting for that is in "settings", then "posts and comments". Set the "comment moderation" to "always". Moderating your comments means you read each comment and give your approval before it's published on your blog. That gives you control over what is seen on your blog. If you get a nasty comment, or one that is rude or offensive, delete it and no one will know anything about it. Delete it and don't think about it. These people have nothing better to do with their time. Always remember, it's not about you, they don't know you, it's their immature response, nothing more. So promise me you'll delete any nasty comments and just get on with your blog. Those people are not worth a second thought.

Gadgets: gadgets are a way of adding extra functions to your blog. You can install gadgets for a calendar, a link list, searching, followers, adding an image to your sidebar and many other things. You'll find the gadget function in the Layout section of Blogger. Once you've installed the gadget you need, you simply drag it to the place you want it to be. Please note, adding too many gadgets will slow down your blog.

Mobile Template: If you have readers who read your blog on a mobile phone or tablet, you can check to use the mobile version of the Blogger template you choose. BTW, I have chosen the Simple template and it's the one I keep going back to time and time again. It also has a version of mobile template attached to it.

Respect your readers: Write well and be careful. Make sure your spelling is correct, that you punctuate well and make your writing as clear as possible. Your writing is the only way you can communicate your message to your readers so if readers have problems understanding your writing, the'll leave and find other blogs to read. There is plenty of competition, you have to make people want to come back. 

Reduce size of photos: Photos add a lot of interest to our blogs and if you can, you should add a few photos that illustrate what you're writing about. But you need to reduce the size of your photos. I've been blogging for six years and I'm still under my storage quota. Google gives you a certain amount of space to store photos - the photos that are on your blog. Once you go over that limit, you pay for storage space. Reduce the size of every photo you add down to under 150kb. I use Apple's built in export photo facility and that reduces the size when I export. You can also use a free program called Gimp, I think you can reduce size in Paint and possibly Picasso.

Legals and ethics: Never post copyrighted information, it is illegal to do so. Never write anything that might defame someone, that you know to be untrue or will invade someone’s privacy. Here are the Australian guidelines for blogging copyright. Please search for a similar guide for your own country: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/19714/1/Australian_Copyright_Blog_Guide.pdf 

How often should you blog: In the beginning, to establish an audience, if you can, blog every day or every weekday. That might go on for six months, then you can ease off a little. You do that to get readers into the habit of checking your blog, putting you on their reader list and hopefully visiting you every day or two. Readers love knowing there will be new material waiting when they visit. If they visit a few times and nothing has changed, they’ll drop you. There are so many other blogs, you have to be up there, reliable, interesting and delivering to make a mark. If you're not concerned with building an audience, then blog whenever you feel like it.

We added a new blogging forum to the Down to Earth forums yesterday. It's here.  In that forum you can either ask for help from our experienced bloggers or you can list your blog link in our blog list.

Blogging is such a big subject but I hope I've covered the topic enough in this limited space for you to give it a go. If you have a specific question, go to the forum and post your question there.

Next week we're going back to basics and going over some of our key simple living elements. We all need to revisit subjects like budgeting, paying off debt, cleaning, gardening, food storage, grocery shopping etc. Well, I know I do. It helps me stay on track and look at ways of improving what I'm doing. If there is a certain subject you want covered, let me know.

43 comments:

  1. Thanks for these posts on blogging as even though I have for 5 ursine learnt new things! I am glad for spell check on my Mac as i often overlook them when writing too fast. Hope you are healing up after your fall, my daughter fainted last week and split her chin and it is quite frightening to have black and blue faces!

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  2. I have enjoyed reading these posts about blogging. I don't blog myself at the moment. I have considered it but I question whether I have anything to say as there are so many similar types of blogs, however your posts have certainly got me thinking about it again. Thank you
    Julia

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  3. Thank you for your information on blogging I'm a beginner , I love reading blogs and read yours everyday and have your book and love it. Any info on blogging as I havnt worked out all the gadgets and how to set it out yet x

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  4. Thanks for the blogging help Rhonda. How is the bruise...a nice yellow colour yet? I know that you have written about routines before but iam having difficulty with keeping to mine. I would love more on routines and what you do in an 'at home' day. Thanks

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    1. Hi Vikki. The bruises are starting to break up but they're still dark. I'll add routines to the posts for next week. It's an important part of home life and I think many of us struggle with keep to our routines. Thank you.

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  5. Hi Rhonda - thank you for these posts, I am interested in Blogging for Beginners, I recently set up a blog just for family, I don't know how successful I was with the privacy settings as after one little post I wrote on the blog I was advised via WordPress that I had a follower - someone I did not know!! I immediately panicked. On going back I found that I had not marked the latest post as private. I had thought that because of my main settings as this being a private blog that all posts would be just that, I learnt that lesson!! So I am glad to read all I can about how to blog.

    I also wanted to say good luck for your talk to the Beerwah CWA today, I do hope that you are feeling much better after your fall earlier this week and that the bruising is going away. I wish you better very quickly:)

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    1. Hello love. Here is some info about Wordpress privacy http://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/privacy-settings/ I hope it helps, I'm with you. I think if it's set to private then you shouldn't have to do anything else to each new post. There are plenty of readers here who blog with Wordpress, they may be able to offer some help too.

      Thanks for thinking of me. Yes, I'm off soon to meet the ladies. I feel much better now and I think it's all up from now on.

      XX

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  6. Thank you so much for this blogging series Rhonda. I kept one for about 3 years for family overseas and never got a single comment, so I got disheartened and let it slide. I am thinking of starting one about my interests cooking homemaking sewing knitting crochet gardening etc and too bad if its boring! What you said about comments being like payment for the blogger really struck home. As a shy sort of person who tends to sit back, thinking I really have nothing more useful to add it has made me think! I read you every day, Rhonda, you have basically helped pulled me back from an abyss, and I find contentment in every day now. I don't comment nearly enough, so now you will hear more from me! Much love Julia, in Bowen

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    1. I doubt it would be boring Julia. They are the subject I blog about and I only give my perspective. There is room for many more blogs about how we all live. It sounds like you know how to do it, maybe your task would be to build an audience and see what happens.

      I often think of you, Julia. It's great to hear from you again. xx

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  7. Hi Rhonda,
    First I hope that you are recovering well from your fall. I know you are strong and resilient but, as the lady from South Africa said, it's never nice to have black eyes.
    It is quite difficult for me to write as I am a very private and introvert person, but your saying that "comment are like payment for a blog" really made me think today. It's not fair that you put all these efforts on writting and that I don't reply. Also I am on a personal road of change on so many different levels that it's about time for me to open up a bit. So here I am ! Corinne from the Blackheath workshop.

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  8. Hello Corinne! Good to hear from you again. Change is always challenging but I believe it's the one true road to transformation. I wish you the best with yours.

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  9. Hi Rhonda,

    I am very guilty of not commenting - your words hit home to me as well! Thank you for writing these posts about blogging. Your blog has given me so much inspiration during the past few years. Thank you for all the effort and love that you put into it and everything that you share. I am looking forward to reading your back to basics next week :-)

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  10. Good morning Rhonda, I have not commented for some months as I have only had ipad which will not leave comments. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing knowledge in such a user friendly way.

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  11. Thank you so much for these posts about blogging. Periodically I get a bit disheartened that no-one comments on my blog, but then I thought about the reasons why I was writing it, and that helps me to keep going.

    I'm writing my blog as a way of putting my thoughts out there, and helping me to develop my ideas. Writing them down helps greatly in clarifying them. So whilst comments from others would help greatly, it isn't essential to my blog (which is loosely about retirement, particularly early retirement, by the way).

    And on speaking to a few friends, I've discovered that they DO read it, and they DO love it, so just because I don't get comments, doesn't mean it isn't being read and appreciated.

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  12. All great advice! I always love how helpful your blog is with step-by-step instructions! I started blogging in 2005. I don't get many comments, but I can look at the stats on Blogger and I see that I have lots of visitors! I ran out of space for photos and almost stopped blogging over that until I figured it out. Now I use the free website picmonkey to resize and edit my photos and then resave the edited photo as a different name into a photo file just for my blog. I think it is good to save your original photo in case you ever want to use it for something else (or even to print it out) you might need the original format. Cheers! Evelyn

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  13. Hi Rhonda, thank you for these last few posts on blogging. I've really enjoyed reading them - there's always so much to learn! Katie

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  14. Good points, Rhonda. Especially about comments! I am taking your advice to not give nasty comments a second thought. I wish I had a thicker skin! :)

    How do you feel about link-ups? Do you think they are a good way to grow a blog or do you think commenting is better?

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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    1. I don't like link ups although I do like linking to other blogs. With linkups and those Mr Linky type programs I don't know what I'm linking to, so I don't use them. I prefer to search around, look at the links of other blogs and check them out myself. If I like them, I'll put the link of my blog or show the link in weekend reading.

      Don't make nasty comments more important than they are. Just toss them out with the rest of the rubbish and don't think about it again. :- )

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    2. Thank you for your advice! This helps me a lot. I appreciate it! :)

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  15. Couldn't wait to come over and read part 2...I've only one time I had trouble with someone and there attitude towards me, although nothing threatening.
    So we part our ways.
    Personal I don't do Anonymous comments.... People will be more careful what they put in there comments when they have nothing to hide behind....But if one didn't allowed anonymous comments wouldn't the person who is leaving the comments be careful how they posted there comment.
    Honestly I have trouble with Moderating your comments...I wonder if you nicely disagree that the blogger will be up set and won't post your comments.
    Confession time...I do come and visit blogs who moderates there comments.
    One can say I don't allowed Anonymous comment is an insurance policy to keep the comments civilized.
    For having dial up..I'm limited what I can post on my blog and also waiting for other blogs to load up.
    One thing I at times I would like to check out a video that been posted.
    One thing I need to learn and work on sizing my picture down...Are they some where in blogger that tells you how much space you have for pictures?
    Coffee is on

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  16. Hi Rhonda, I started blogging after I was diagnosed with my illness, after almost losing my life, and not able to work anymore this would become a way to keep me interested in what was happening with me and my family. I did'nt know much about the computer and nothing about blogging when my daughter helped me to set up my blog. Along the way I have often thought about stopping, but then someone would make a comment and I would become interested once again. So, you see, you are right people need to comment. Thankyou, it is also great to read about someone my age and the experiences they are having.

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  17. Hi Rhonda,
    I do love comments too, and they make your posts into a conversation! I love all the new people that have commented today - coming out of the woodwork! For those people that don't have comments on their blogs - it is a two way street - start commenting and following other blogs and soon you will have a lovely network of online friends :) I also like to reply to comments as you have here Rhonda, but I found that formatting difficult - it changed how comments came up. How did you fix that Rhonda? I will post the question on the forum.

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    1. I fixed it myself through trial and error!

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  18. g'day again rhonda
    hope your talk went well, i sent your post to my sister who has been curious about blogging & has thought about it a bit, me not so much, i barely remember to keep things in my diary as it is, found it interesting to read about & love how simple you make it sound
    have a great weekend

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  19. Hi Rhonda
    I am another of those that reads but doesn't comment. So thank you for all your advice and wisdom. I have been reading your blog for just over a year and have been inspired and transformed. My kids bought me your book and I love it! (Especially the looks I received when I read it on the train to work!!)
    I have now left that job and am spending time at home, cooking, gardening and spending one day a week developing a small business with a friend, doing what we love. I had dreamt about this life and after reading your blog and many others I realised that I could make it happen. Budgeting, menu planning, making laundry liquid and listening to the community of people out there who love and value this life gave me the inspiration and courage to jump. So thank you again. I lent in close to hear you whisper and it has transformed my life.
    Warmest regards
    kate

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  20. Hi Rhonda
    I started my blog last year firstly so that I could post some of my sewing and quilting items. I also thought it would be good for me to start writing as I have always found it very hard to write anything. I learnt in my 50's that I have dyslexia. I thought it was just that I was a very bad speller and could never understand written words, which there to use for instance no matter how many times my sister tells me it just does not sink in. With the spell checks I can now get over most of the problems except the their thing but I just let that go now. I still struggle to find interesting things to say so have almost stopped my own blog just read other peoples. I will start twice a week and see how that takes me.
    Thank you for your blog I love reading about your way of life, an inspiration.
    Pippa

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  21. Rhonda, what you wrote about comments is very true as I have discovered since starting up my blog! It certainly makes one feel appreciated for taking the time to write a post and it has made me aware that I too need to comment on the blogs I read as it makes such a difference.

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  22. Great info. As a fairly new blogger I'm still learning my way. Thanks x

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  23. I've been blogging for a couple of years and I didn't know about having to make my photos smaller, aargh! I guess I should go through and change them all before my blog's full up! Thank you so much for the info Rhonda!

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  24. Hi Rhonda. I have been reading for a few months but haven't commented. Your words about comments being appreciated has made me think. I really enjoy your blog. I live in an inner city apartment in Perth.. No garden or chickens, but you have inspired me to enjoy my home more, cook more, be more frugal and stop shopping fo entertainment! Susan :)

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  25. Thank you so much for your posts on Blogging. As a new blogger I can see now that I need to spend some time re-focusing my blog. I continue to enjoy yours and I hope you enjoy mine.
    Kim

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  26. Rhonda, I've never gotten a rude comment on my blog but I haven't been blogging very long. I know some day it will happen and I wonder what my reaction will be. I'm a "wears-heart-on-sleeve" kinda girl sometimes. Thanks for your blogging information it's so very helpful to us newbies!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  27. Hi. I have followed you for years but not commented. your post today made me realise I should say "thank you". hope your bruises heal soon

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  28. I am not a blogger but, should I decide to start, I know I will be referring back to this series. My son and I once took part in a "365" challenge, which was a photo a day for a year . . . we didn't come anywhere close to 365, but it was fun to do. I mostly use Facebook as a sort of daily blog about what we're doing, pictures of the kids, etc.

    I am looking forward to reviewing the basics with you next week. I had been doing really well with my meal planning, routines, and all that at the beginning of the year, but it has become more difficult lately due to several circumstances (we had an unexpected car purchase that caused us to re-work our budget; my grandma suffered some ill health and eventually passed away, which called for several trips out of town; the general busy-ness of summer . . . ). I'm looking forward to getting back on track.

    I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better after your fall.

    Heather in California

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  29. A further note re photos - the compression method used by apps like "BlogPress" is truly horrible - leaving everything looking blurry and "soft" - so it's always best if you can to re-size pictures yourself before uploading to your blog.

    As for comments - absolutely - love people taking the time to discuss what they have read!

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  30. Hi Rhonda, glad your bruising is toning down to a mellow yellow. For those bloggers thinking they don't have any viewers or followers who don't visit - if they go to their dashboard and click on the arrow to the right of the blog name, next to the view blog button, a list of options will show. By clicking on stats it will take them to an overview page with a short summary of statistics. For a more intensive summary you click on the sub titles below the Stats heading on the overview page. I think I may have had to choose to permit this statistics function at some time. I've had 41 views on my latest post but only 2 comments.
    Hope this helps someone discover that their blog is not being ignored, just that no one has thought to leave a comment :).
    Cheers, Robyn xo

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  31. Well as to comments I hesitate to comment when there are so many already there. What's new to say? Not that I don't have thoughts on what's been written but feel that anything that I might add most likely won't get read by anyone. Maybe it's just me being me?

    I have enjoyed the last two posts about blogging. I love to write and have been thinking that it would be nice to start a blog of my own but it seems to be too big and complicated a project to jump into with the limited amount of time that I have at my disposal. Also I really think that probably no one but me would be interested in anything that I might write about. But maybe that's just me being me yet again.

    Victoria
    Southern Indiana USA

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  32. Hi there, thanks for this post about blogging - I'm always keen to learn new things. It was the 1st anniversary of my blog yesterday and I have very few keenly valued followers. It's not a main priority for me but I assure people that any comments are read and really valued and it does help you feel like you're not just talking to yourself!! My blog is a journal - of our family journey, different things and crafting so I appreciate it's not for everyone! Thank you for this information though! J9 x
    http://j9shappiness.blogspot.co.uk/

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  33. Rhonda: Thank you for letting me see that spelling and punctuation, or at least an effort in that direction, is important to you. Nowadays, they don't even teach cursive writing in schools anymore, so I am disappointed a lot when having to wade through countless mistakes in English, no matter which version we are trying to communicate in! It irks me to see basic mistakes (that people our age should know better than to make) constantly printed and takes away from the quality of the blog.

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  34. I love comments too. I have met a couple of nice ladies when I started following their bogs. They now follow mine and we have chatted either in comments or email about things going on in our lives. I also try to make sure I reply to a comment that was left, even if it is something simple.

    Heather
    http://heatherswannabehomestead.blogspot.com

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  35. very very helpful for new blogger like though my blog content is different.thanks rhonda

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