I particularly enjoy reading what people are doing with their blogs to try and encourage traffic/make it look better and easier. The movement to a hosted WordPress site has been a massive learning curve to say the least. I hope people new to blogging can use this and develop their site. I say blogger tips, that is a bit of a stretch, how about my blogging trials and errors?
If you don’t know our story, a quick summary is that Alyson and I met when we were 14 and finally got engaged in 2015 (on the Isle of Skye). We are both very keen cooks and Alyson started blogging about a year ago and I started about a month ago both on separate pages and it sort of made sense to combine things into a single site (this one), since in May we are combining everything! I used to write a football blog and gave up because free time vanished and something had to give. I was keen that if we did this page together it would spur both of us on when times got tough in terms of motivation.
The most difficult thing was trying to find a name. Alyson suggested “Brookers of Blunty’s” – which is a running joke from our wedding venue as the owners just took their surname and put it in front of the place name so we did the same! A close second was “LessMessCress” – Another Alyson suggestion since I decided that every labrador I own has to be named something ending “ess”, we have had Tess and Bess. It is all leading to the day we have three and when I call them I will shout “Less, Mess, Cress”…Another silly joke we have.
So the name was finalised and it was time to get a shift on. Firstly, there was the signing up on all of the social media sights to have some consistency and then on to registering the domain.
Obviously I had to buy the URL and hosting, I used a company called TSO Host because I had heard they are excellent and also very good value. There have been no problems so far and the customer service is great. I would recommend them. Thanks to WP EAGLE for the discount code! – and all of your excellent videos.
Given that the two blogs were both started with us both lacking any sort of knowledge, when I got round to importing the two blogs into the new WordPress install, a few issues arose. I will go into this later but some are still about and are yet to be dealt with!
I wanted to get all the widgets, plugins etc all set up before we settled on a theme and then find a theme that fitted our needs by using the live preview button. I like the current theme, the only thing I would say is it would be better if the top menu was under the image slideshow!
My big problem – I suppose in life – is getting sidetracked. Setting up the site has been awful for this because there is so much to do and I found myself getting annoyed with something and flitting to the next thing and the only thing that was being achieved was opening more internet browser windows than anyone thought was possible!
I realise that there are so many things that still need to be done. I am on a mission to find some really smart follow us social media buttons for the sidebar but this seems to be a long process and ultimately, it isn’t a priority Here are some of the things I have done:-
- Worked out the method to crop all images for the slideshow to be the same aspect ratio – surprisingly easy, need to find some more pictures when I have a second!
- Set up Mail Chimp for email subscriptions. Please join! This was relatively easy in the end but took a lot of research to find a good company. Mail Chimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers so gives a bit of time to think about it! And get the button and form set up.
- Found some share post media buttons that look good and work.
- Get Google Analytics set up and bar Alyson and I from the data.
- Get the Instagram widget up and running.
- Getting the index page set up – this was trial and error but it is at a level where we are happy with it, we just have to go through our posts and re-categorise everything. Maybe Alyson can use that as an opportunity to proof-read some of her articles!!! Silly old Crispy Repper…
- Added a Twitter follow button. We have reached double figures, a fantastic time to be alive!
- Started to try and get involved with aggregator sites. This is very much a work in progress.
- A dabbling in SEO with Yeost. I’m even getting some green lights!
There is still plenty to look at getting done but I am just delighted to be getting some time to actually write an article instead of messing about – I even dabbled in doing some coding last night but that was a disaster.
I know everyone in every guide says that it gets tough battling through all of the posts where it seems like nobody is reading and becoming obsessed with checking Google Analytics. As far as I am concerned, you have to earn readers and it should be tough to start with. Just because 5 people look at a page today, it is a recipe in the armoury for people to look at when you have 10,000 people looking at your pages a day. Every photo I take, I am learning from at the moment and every post I write is practice for writing, honing a style and getting to grips with things.
What to do next month
I think next month is going to be about trying to find some avenues for people to find our blog. The nice thing about it is that we sort of have a 6 month grace period as we still live our separate lives and the blogging will really take off as a couples activity once we tie the knot and move in together, and hopefully do some YouTubing.
I am quite tempted to put an advert up just as a barometer of how many page views are counting in comparison to the Google Analytics data. This is more as an understanding exercise than trying to make any money.
We are talking a lot about how to get set up into a routine for doing posts and doing the things that aren’t obvious.
Oh, and get a picture on FoodGawker – just submitted my first one!
If you have any questions please drop a message in the newly formed contact section and we will get back to you promptly! And please leave some of your own new blogger tips in the comment section.
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