Blogging Then And Now

By Sharon Hurley Hall | Blogging

Mar 25

If you were starting a new blog today what’s the first thing you would do? I’ve just started a new blog and I started thinking about the difference between my first blog and this one. Here are some of the things I looked at.

Then

I bought a domain, tying it vaguely to some of the services I hoped to offer. I simply added the blog onto that and it had no clear identity of its own.

Now

I thought very carefully about the topic I wanted to cover, and used to some online keyword research tools to find out what people were searching for. I then tried to combine these into some sort of sensible name and then I searched for domain names that combined my keywords.

Then

I experimented with a wide range of blogging software. Not only did I try WordPress but I dabbled with B2Evolution and Textpattern but I didn’t get very far and I managed to mess up my blog a couple of times.

Now

These days I go straight for WordPress, because this is the one that works best for me. Once I had setup may domain name and arranged hosting I did a one click install of the latest version of WordPress and I was good to go.

Then

I didn’t know much about plug-ins. After enabling Aksimet I basically left the blog alone and did nothing to help with search engine optimisation or connecting with my readers.

Now

I’ve tried a number of anti-spam combinations and I always install a set of key WordPress plug-ins including something to back up the database, Subscribe to comments, Comment luv, Google XML site maps and WordPress stats. I also include links to social media communities.

Then

I wouldn’t have known what to do with WordPress theme files. I could just about manage downloading and installing themes but I never interfered with anything. If a theme didn’t do the work that I wanted I simply got another one.

Now

I’ve used a wide range of themes, both free and premium, and I have no problem messing around with the code, though I still need some help to find certain snippets.

Then

It wasn’t very easy for people to subscribe to my blog and follow updates.

Now

One of the first things I do when I start a new blog is burn a feed in Feedburner, and put an email subscription form in the sidebar. Content is also syndicated through a variety of social media channels. My main blogs all have their own Twitter accounts (though generally these are not very active). I also make a podcast feed available on my existing blog and will do so on the new one if readers want it.

Then

I didn’t think about promotion and social networking in any sort of structured way. I was not a member of any forums and there weren’t many places that you could find me online.  As far as the online world knew, I was practically invisible.

Now

I’m a member of several online communities, some of them built around existing blogs, and interact regularly on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This gives me a head start in talking to people about my new blog and makes for a great community on my existing one.

How have your blogging practices changed in the time you’ve been online?

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About the Author

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

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