Monday, February 6, 2012

How do you blog?

Photo by Tracy S. Williams
I read a lot of blogs. I'm a reader, stalker and groupie.

As I wrote in a guest post for The Word Shark Karen S. Elliott — "I get around. Some people might say a lot." Just like those boats, I see a lot of blogs that look the same, but they are different.

Some are on real websites and others are on formats like Blogger or WordPress.

Last week, I  noticed Roni Loren, who uses Blogger, decided to move her Fiction Groupie blog to her website. She has a huge following — by my standards. Then, I noticed another writer C. Hope Clark is leaving Blogger too. These ladies are part of the reason, I always remind myself "it's okay to have a blogspot.com address." When I read their reasons for leaving — especially about the ability to maintain control over one's own content — I got the itch to create a real website again.

I own my domain name. I have website notes scattered here and there. I have ideas from other writer's websites. I have a list of Wordpress Themes. I have a list of web designers.

I don't have a published book yet.

With my new writing schedule and goal for a completed draft of my memoir before April, I can't build a website anytime soon. So, I hope to satisfy that website building itch with a conversation here.

  • Can you tell me do you have a website or blog (Blogger or WordPress)? 
  • Are you a DIYer — Do it yourself — or did you hire someone to do it for you?
  • Anything you wish you had known before you jumped into the blog/website process?
  • Or anything else you want to tell me. I'm listening.

I'll be a guest blogger at Julie Hedlund's Write Up My Life site on Tuesday. She's hosting unpublished children's writers as part of the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge. I'll post a reminder here, if you are interested.

45 comments:

  1. Great questions, and I am looking forward to more experienced replies than mine.

    After some research, I went with a Wordpress blog and do own my domaine name. I think I would like to set a goal of actual setting up a website by the end of the year and moving the blog there. In Katie Davis' new book, which I am reviewing on my blog on Wednesday, she has some excellent advice about this.

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    1. I have Katie Davis' book on my list. So, I'm looking forward to your post.

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  2. I have a website and a blog. They are separate but linked. I started with a website I designed myself, but wanted something different so hired Donna Farrell (www.donnadoodles.com) to design my website and blog so they matched. She updates the website, I do the blog. But if you spend any the on the web, you always see new and different things, and the grass looks greener :) I am sure that at some point I will update and rearrange.

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    1. That was supposed to be "any time" - darn autocorrect :)

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    2. Yes. I love your matching blog and website. I actually made a "grass is greener" comment to another blogger on Friday, who was asking me about blogger. :)

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  3. A lot of people say you should have your own domain name on Wordpress so if you do decide to switch you could go straight to self-hosted. I think there's more benefits. Good luck!

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    1. I think the domain name/branding is key. Thanks!

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  4. I use Wordpress and I have "wordpress" in my blog name - doesn't seem to negatively impact readership in my opinion. I rarely have trouble making comments on Wordpress blogs, but I often have trouble on Blogspot blogs. I did have a designer make the new Word Shark banner. All the rest, I've done myself. Trial and error, headaches, huge learning curve. I realized early on that a great blog is not born overnight. I have made mistakes, I have made a few bad guest choices, my blog has morphed and changed, and I let it. I seem to get the most comments during my special theme weeks, so I am going to continue posting those. I have developed a good following, but it came after more than a year of blogging.

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    1. I agree that a blog is not born overnight. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I also enjoy your themed weeks too.

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  5. I'm a blogger with a website -- and I use Wordpress for both. I am anything but a DIYer because I am so tech-challenged. I try, really, I do.
    So I have a wonderful web-guru who keeps things working for me and updates info.
    The one thing I wish I'd known: How to do a web site right the first time.
    And ... that I'd be switching genres so that even doing it right the second time meant I'd still be redoing my website a third time.
    ;o)

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    1. Interesting point about switching genre. I appreciate your "wish I'd known" point. Your website is lovely. When you announced the change, I put your designer on one of my website lists. :)

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  6. I use wordpress and I own my own domain name. My husband is my go tech guy. I chose WP based on advice from Kristen Lamb's books/blog and I am happy I did. That being said I consider it a work in progress and I would like to have a landing site one day with my blog as a tab, etc.
    :)

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    1. It does seem WP is the way to go. I need to read Lamb's books. I should do that as part of my "I'm not touching my finished draft month" reading list. I think your husband does a great job with your site.

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  7. I hadn't thought of changing, yet Stacy. I am nearing just one year, so am doing okay figuring out just how I want things to look & have changed the blogspot blog just a bit. Thank you for bringing up the questions and giving me some ways to go to find answers.

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    1. Blogger is really easy and I appreciate the growing number of features. By adding pages, it makes it function like a website in many ways. I'm glad we can talk about it here. This relieves my itch to create a site, instead — I need to write!

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  8. I am so EXCITED that you are going to be the guest blogger at Write Up My Life on Tuesday! Woo hoo!

    You know I am on WP, and I am so grateful for your blog guidance and answers to all my 'how the does this work?' questions. Like Karen, I do have trouble from time to time in commenting on Blogger blogs, and I can't figure out why.

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    1. Glad you are excited Cathy. I began getting nervous. I hope it's okay. Julie is so kind to share so much of her time with us, now even her space. I don't know that blogger question either. I wish I did.

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  9. For now, I have a wordpress blog and I love it because it serves my needs.

    I can see the reason to obtain a domain name but I do not think building pricey websites are always the way to go.

    I also wanted to tell you Congratulations on winning the sunshine award! Details are on my blog post.

    http://christyfarmer.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/awards-and-write-campaigns/

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    1. Christy, Glad you feel that way about pricey sites, because I don't have a lot of $$. :) Thanks for the award. I'll stop by.

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    2. Glad I can offer 'some' insight. If it helps, there are successful writers who do not have pricey websites. I think secure the domain name is a good move :-)

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    3. Christy it actually has surprised me to find many nice sites on the free platforms. I keep this in mind when I "think" I have to have a site. I have my domain and that was an important step I took several years ago.

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  10. I use blogspot. I have two blogs, one for writing posts and one for other posts. I combined them once and didn't use the writing blog for a while, but recently starting posting on my writing blog again. There is a link to my writing blog on the top of my side bar of my regular blog. I like blogger and I recently added pages that you can click to at the top of my blog. For now, it fits my needs. Now, if I can just get one of my children's stories published :o)

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    1. Janet, adding pages to Blogger makes it feel and work more like a website. I think it's great that you link both your blogs. And, you will get one of your children's stories published.

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  11. I have a WordPress blog and a separate website. I've hired a web designer to merge the two soon and will continue to utilize the WP platform so I can perform updates to the site.

    I wish you well as you make plans for your site, Stacy.

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    1. With your release this year, I'm sure you are busy with all types of merging, marketing and blogging stuff. I enjoy your blog and I'm sure the merger will go smoothly.

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  12. I'm kind of where you are about a website. I have been frustrated with some Blogger things (like the problems with the comments) but also don't feel like moving. I have read lots of people saying you should have a website early on, but am unsure of the benefits of having one at this time, that isn't met with blogger. I decided to wait until I get an agent or contract before I make that jump. I hope it's a good choice!

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    1. I'm sure it's a good choice Lara (I hope so, because I'm right in there with you).

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  13. I have kept my blogspot blog, but I am constantly seeking out ways to change and make my blog better. Sometimes I wonder why the hell I have it all! But, I have kept with it and I do think it's better in the long run.

    I am not sold on changing to wordpress though...I feel like I will be betraying myself! :)

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  14. I can't wait to read what you say on Ms. Hedlund's site!

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  15. There was a great workshop on DIY websites at last year's PPW conference. Hopefully, they'll have it again, but I've got the notes if you're interested.

    ~Debbie

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    1. If I don't catch one this year, I might hit you up for the notes. Thanks for the offer Debbie.

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  16. I only have a blog at this stage because it's convenient for now. I am a DIY though, having studied and worked as a graphic designer for too many years. I also have a hubby who is a techie. It makes a great combo.

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  17. I've had my own Beverly Diehl domain and website for several years, BUT... my web designer set it up with some funky Mac program that would cost me beaucoup bucks and serious effort to learn. So it would be a major hassle to try to move my blog there, now that I'm blogging. And I don't WANT to design a website and do all the techie stuff; I want to WRITE.

    So, she helped me design a matching banner for my Blogger blog, to coordinate the colors, and added a blog link on the website so it toggles fairly seamlessly.

    I do advise all writers to at least reserve their names as domains, whether you build a site there or not. But it's doesn't HAVE to all be built at once.

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    1. Beverly, I like how your blog and website match. I think it is nice to be able to update little stuff on your own. I remember some of those funky Mac programs in my early newspaper days. :) So true that it doesn't have to all be built at once.

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  18. I have a couple blogger blogs... they are easy to set up and post to. I need something that is intuitively easy to grasp and doesn't require learning a new language! And they suit my needs for right now. Website to come in its own time...

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    1. Sue, Blogger is very easy to use and I like not having to worry about language.

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  19. I have a Blogger blogsite, and it's fine. I HATE leaving comments on Wordpress sites. I do it (sometimes) but it's more time-consuming. I also created my DIY website (still in progress, waiting for a book deal) using Blogger and turning it into a website. That way it's FREE except the $12 or so annually from Go Daddy to use my own domain name. Nice to meet you and your blog!

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    1. Carol, I had to figure out the right sequence to create a link to my blog on WordPress. After that, it was all OK. Hmm. I think I have the Blogger to website option in my list. If not, I'm adding it. Thanks.

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  20. I moved from Blogger and created a self-hosted Wordpress Blog in early 2009, after attending a local workshop on blogging. What I liked about Wordpress back then was the ability to create "pages" so it could function as a website and a blog. I did it myself and it took forever! But I'm glad I did because I understand how my blog works behind the scenes. This past year, I hired tech support after my blog got hacked (I think it came from installing an out-of-date plug in) and I realized I needed to focus on writing and not spend so much time on the technical aspects of my blog. The time saved is worth the expense.

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  21. Angie, that's a good tip that tech support keeps your focus on writing. Thanks.

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  22. Very nice article you have here! Thanks for sharing!

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