Blogging Q&A: Basic Blogging

***if you’re looking for the Linky Party Tutorial, scroll down about half way***

Wow. Thank you for all the great questions!! I decided to split them up into different posts by topic to make it easier to reference in the future. Plus, I think I would hold the record for the LONGEST POST EVER WRITTEN if I crammed all those questions and answers in one post. no joke.

I’m going to start off with Basic Blogging in this post. In future posts I will cover topics like: Networking, Social Media, Attracting new Followers and Subscribers, Giveaways and Sponsorships, Tutorials, Copyrighting, and Balancing Life and Blogging. {i feel like this is turning into a seminar….errr…webinar. lol}

I am the kind of person that won’t hold back anything that might help you out. I love to help anyone out any way that I can, so I will be completely honest here. I’m going to share with you what I have learned through blogging and any insider tips, tricks, etc that I know {or think I know haha}.

**But remember, I’ve only blogged for one year. There are plenty other, more experienced and better bloggers out there than me. I’m just sharing my opinions and experiences. If you disagree, that’s totally fine. I’m just here to share what I’ve learned from personal experience. If your experience has been different, that’s totally fine!**

Starting a Blog
Q: “I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for some time but am a bit nervous about it. How did you go about it to begin with? You’ve got lots of followers- and I can understand why with such delightfulness, but how do you go about attracting them? I’d hate to have a blog and have no one read it except my mum … ! Would love tips and advice!”  -kylie

A: Starting a blog is very scary.  Right after I created this blog, I was very self conscious about it. I didn’t tell anyone that I’d started a crafting blog. for over a week. not even Davis. All my fears and anxiety disappeared when I got my first random follower {other than friends and family}. I’m not sure how she found me, but I was amazed anyone, especially a stranger, would even care about the crafts I made. That gave me the confidence I needed and it’s all history now.
 
So my advice is, GO FOR IT! You can do it!! Blogging is very rewarding and fun. It may take a couple posts before you’re completely comfortable and find “your voice”, but that’s ok. We’ve all been there. {amazingly Pioneer Woman didn’t start with post #204! haha. All bloggers had to start from scratch….}I am the biggest cheerleader out there for new bloggers. The more bloggers the merrier and funner!

And if you’re interested, Blogger has a really good resource to walk you through creating a blog all the way to creating your very first post. Click here to go to it. 

And as far as attracting new followers, I will dedicate an entire post to that in the next Blogging Q&A. :) So stay tuned!

 Q: “What program do you use? Are there ones that you would recommend over others? And for what reasons?”
 A:  I started with blogger simply because I already had a family blog using blogger and I knew the program. But I also had no idea other blogging programs existed when I started this blog. Word Press is another really popular blogging host. I have never used Word Press, but it seems like a lot of bloggers switch to it after awhile. So maybe it’s better? I don’t know. I’m still happy with blogger….

Blogging Terms
Q: “I love your blog, but all the terminology is foreign to me. Please start with the most basic. I would love to blog, but I’m not a very interesting person.” -Marilyn
A: First off, I think of myself as a boring person too.But the uninteresting can be made interesting, just by how you write about it! Let’s see, I’ve recently written posts about orange burlap and an old fan. Both boring topics, but with pictures and a different writing perspective, they turned into fun posts. You may be surprised how un-boring people find you. {i know i was!}

Now onto blogging terminology. Yes, blogging has its own language and it can be difficult to follow. I’ll do my best, but I’m sure I’ll forget a few terms. So if you notice I missed something, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. {note: I used Wikipedia to help with the definition of some terms.}

  • Blog Carnival: a blog
  • Blog Events: any type of event, festival, or celebration on a blog or group of blogs. Usually consist of giveaways, guest bloggers, products, promotions, freebies, etc meant to promote bloggers or vendors. Usually last 5 days, but can be any length.
  • Blog Feed: RSS feeds.
  • Blog Hop: to follow links from one blog entry to another, with related side-trips to various articles, sites, and more
  • Blog Roll: a list of blogs a blogger recommends displayed on their sidebar.
  •  Blog Template: the layout of your blog. You can change where your post and sidebar(s) are by changing your blogging template.
  • Blogger: person who writes/runs a blog
  • Blogging Week: Monday through Friday
  • Blogiversary: the anniversary of a blogs founding. (I just celebrated my 1 year Blogiversary 
  • Blogland: basically means the blogging community. Both readers and writers.  
  • Blogoholic: a blogger so addicted to blogging that it detracts from other areas of the blogger’s life.
  • Blogspot: a free hosting service for blogs operated by Blogger.com, which is run by Google.
  • Comment Spam: very much like email spam. Super annoying and often in a different language. Use Yahoo’s Babel Fish Text Translator to translate comments into your language to determine if spam or not.
  • Commenter: someone who leaves a comment on a blog.
  • Header: the top part of a blog where the title and subtitle are displayed.
  • Html: computer language. nuf said. only a few understand it! {i sure don’t)
  • Link Love: to post a link to another blog without being paid or solicited to do so.
  • Link: Using hypertext, a link is a selectable connection from one word, picture, or information object to another.
  • Linky Party: where a blogger hosts a party using gadgets from sites like Linky Tools (http://www.linkytools.com/) Viewers submit a permanent link to their post(s) that fit the description of the party. Most of the time, party participants are asked to link back to the hosting blog on the post they submitted. Viewers are encouraged to visit the links and usually the party host will feature their favorite link(s) in a future post.
  • Lurker/Stalker: a reader of a blog who never comments or otherwise indicates his or her presence but follows the blog regularly.
  • Mommy Bloggers: a common term used to describe bloggers that are moms. Especially if you blog about family life.
  • Permanent Link: the unique URL or web address of a post. You can only get this AFTER you have published your post. This is the URL you should use whenever you link with another blog.
  • Post: an entry written and published on a blog.
  • Posting Schedule: using blogging software to write posts in advance and scheduling them for publishing in the future.
  • Repost: to post a post that has already been posted, either within a thread or on another blog. Not a good idea to do this with someone else’s blog. Only do this with your own posts.
  • RSS Feed: file containing a blog’s latest posts. Shows up immediately when a blog has been updated. It may contain only the title of the post, the title plus the first few lines of a post, or the entire post.
  • RSS: stands for Really Simple Syndication which is Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts.
  • Sidebar: one or more columns generally found on the side of most blogs, usually containing a profile of the blogger, blogroll, advertising, feeds or other plug-ins and gadgets.
  • Sidebar Titles: names or sections to designate different blog features. For example: “Followers” is usually above the Google Friend Connect box.
  • Signature: found at the bottom of a post. Usually the blog author’s name or title. (scroll down to the end of this post to see mine.)
  • Subscriber: term for users who have added a blogs feed to their feed reader. Some readers send subscribers email notification when there are new posts in a blog.
  • Tag Cloud: gadget seen on a sidebar that visually displays tags from that blog. More common tags are larger and bolded.
  • Tag: when creating a post, you can add a tag(s) to it so that you can sort posts by clicking on a tag name.  Often used in blogs to identify the type or types of content that makes up a particular post.
  • Thread: is a series of posts or comments on a specific topic.

Hopefully that helps, Marilyn!

Subscribers vs. Followers
Q: “How do you check to see how many “subscribers” you have??? I’m assuming that is different than “followers”. I feel so silly asking but there is so much I just don’t know yet!” –MacKenzie
A: There’s a couple different ways to follow a blog; “following” or “subscribing”. When someone follows you, they are using Google Friend Connector, or this sidebar gadget:

A reader just has to click “Follow” to become an official follower.

If you’re using blogger, just be sure to add the “Followers” gadget to your sidebar. {I think it automatically appears when you create a blog, but I could be wrong.} The gadget will show you how many “Followers” you have.

When someone Subscribes to your blog, they have added your blog’s feed to their RSS reader, like Bloglines, or signed up to have your blog posts emailed to them. You can see both options on my right sidebar.

To set up your posts so that Readers can add you to their RSS reader or have your posts emailed to them, from your blogger dashboard click on “My Account” in the top right corner. Then click on “Feedburner” at the bottom to set up your account. Then it will walk you through creating an account.

Once you have set up your account, go back to your Dashboard and add the “Feed” gadget to your sidebar. You will need your “Feed URL” from the account you just created. This sets up so that your Readers can add you to their RSS reader.

To add the email sign up on your sidebar, add the “Subscription Links” gadget through your Dashboard.

Now, to check how many “subscribers” you have, go to your Dashboard, click on “My Account” again, then “FeedBurner” and then select your blog account and it will tell you how many subscribers you have.

Linky Parties
Q: “I hate to admit it, but I don’t have a clue how to look at the Christmas in July gifts {in the Christmas in July Gift Exchange linky party}, or how to post mine. I would really like to see what every received.  I truly enjoy your site and thank you for all you do.” -Linda
A: Great question! I’m sorry I have never explained this before. Maybe that has held a lot of people back from participating in these fun parties. bummer!!! :(

*Please note that I will be using terms from the terminology list above to explain this. So if you’re not sure what a word means, please refer back to the terminology list.*

To participate in a Linky Party {I use linkytools.com when I host one} you need to have a blog. Doesn’t matter if it’s your family blog, a craft blog, or a photog blog. You just need a blog where you can post something that you’d like to share with others in the Linky Party.

Before you can join the party, you have to have a post published on your blog. Once you have a post published, your post will have a Permanent Link assigned to it. Here’s where you can find your Permanent Link:

If I was going to link up my Ruffly Sandal Makeover post, my Permanent Link that I would use is: http://diaryofacraftaholic.blogspot.com/2010/06/ruffly-sandal-makeover-mini-tutorial.html. I would highlight the entire address. Then right click and copy it. You are now ready to PARTAY!

Next, go to the blog that is hosting the Linky Party. We’re going to pretend I want to link this up with my Christmas in July Gift Exchange Linky Party. Scroll down past all the entries until you see “Click Here to Enter”. Click on that button.

You will then be taken to Linky Tool’s entry form. You will paste your Permanent Address in the Link To field and then enter a Title for your post as shown below.

If it is a Thumbnail Linky Party {which most are} that displays a small thumbnail image from your post, you will then click either From File or From Web. I usually click From Web. It will then display images from your post. You will then select the image you would like displayed for your thumbnail and it helps you crop the image to size and click save when you’re happy with it.

You will then be taken back to the blog hosting the Linky Party. Scroll down until you see your entry.

 Yay! You did it! Now for the fun part….going to visit other party goers!! {Party Etiquette is to visit at least one other entry and leave a comment. Who doesn’t love a comment from a new friend?!}

To check out other links/party entries, all you need to do is click on the thumbnail or title of an entry and it will direct you to the party goer’s blog post that they submitted. You may need to enable pop-ups on your browser because a new page will open to the link you clicked on.

Now go have fun and socialize!! :)

Headers
Q: “How did you go about doing your picture and title on the top of your blog page? Did you do it yourself or do you have to get someone to make one for you? Just curious.” -Tasha
A: That is called a Header and the header you see on my blog today, I did myself. And please don’t think I’m a graphic designer or even good with computers, because I’m so not! If you’re interested in creating one yourself, I posted a tutorial on how I did it a couple months ago, Creating a Custom Header tutorial. It is an easy tutorial that many have used. You can save money by doing it yourself instead of paying someone else to do it.

That tutorial is part of a short blog series that I wrote about Beautifying Your Blog. to help readers with simple blog design. Other posts in that series include; Creating a Simple Linked Button ,Creating a Custom Signature and Comment Formatting, and Creating a Linked Blog Menu.

Linking Back
Q: “When I use someone’s tutorial, I don’t know how have their name highlighted so when people click the name it goes to their blog. Right now, I have a link but the link is there entire IP address. Does that make sense?” -Krista
 A: First, I want to make sure everyone knows how important it is to give credit where credit is due by doing exactly what you said and linking back to the original source. Many first-time bloggers don’t know that when you use another blogger’s ideas, tutorials, etc, you should always mention the source by name and link back directly to the post you used.

Now to add a link to specific word(s) in blogger, you’ll want to highlight the words that you want to add the link to and then click the “Link” button.

 Then paste in the complete URL of the page you want to link to in the pop-up window and then click ok.

Whew! Did you make it through all that? I hope so! If you need me to clarify something, just let me know. Stay tuned, I’ll be tackling more of your blogging questions!!
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Linda
Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥
Linda
Linda

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Comments

  1. 1
    Elisabeth S.

    Fantastic post and Great Advise! Thanks for taking time to put this together. It's very helpful to me and can't wait to implement a few new things to my blog!

    http://calleighsclips.blogspot.com

  2. 2
    Kara

    All great, organized info! Thanks for sharing!

    Kara @ Mine for the Making

  3. 3
    Sandy

    Linda, you are awesome! Thanks so much for all the great info. I just changed my header using your tutorial and it came out great (I'm at sandysewz.blogspot.com if you would like to check it out). I can't wait to learn more!

  4. 4
    Thelittlebrownhouse.us

    You did an amazing job with this post! I wish I had found something like this when I started –

  5. 5
    The Oxford Family

    great post! I have always wondered the differenc between readers, subscribers, followers :)

  6. 6
    CraftyMummy

    Fabulous post! I am linking to it on my blogging tips page to help out new bloggers. Well done!

  7. 7
    slommler

    Well done!!! Fabulous information all nicely organized!! Super!!
    Thanks
    Hey! My fiber sculpture is now installed! Come see!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  8. 8
    Ginia

    Thank You for the Linking Back info. I've never figured out how to do this. It's nice to get a visual tutorial. I'm sure it was a lot of work to put together.
    Virginia
    http://www.virginiawashere.blogspot.com

  9. 9
    christine

    thank you!! it probably would have taking me forEVER to figure this out! i read your beautifying your blog posts && they were SO helpful!

  10. 10
    superh2ogirl

    I've been trying to understand the whole RSS feed thing for sometime now. Thanks for clarifying but when I try to sign up for feedburner I don't see it on my account settings option. Maybe I already have it or I'm just not special like that! haha

    -Nicole
    http://www.craftmysoul.blogspot.com

  11. 11
    Tresa Black

    Wow, that is a ton of helpful info! Thanks so much for the hard work of putting it all together. Anxiously waiting for part two!

  12. 12
    Pinky

    Thanks for the great post – lots of information to digest – love it!
    One more question
    When you do a tutorial – can you explaint he process so it appears all nice on the blog please also advise from taking the photo and uploading to the comp – do you rename the photo

    Thanks

  13. 13
    Connie

    Thank you for taking the time to write out al of the above. So many things I never knew. I printed them out as future reference.

    Where did you learn all this ? It really is a big help and I appreciate your time and effort.

  14. 14
    Robin

    I can not tell you how much this post has helped me. Again you are my blogging idol! I was so stumped on my feedburner. I knew I had one, but I had no idea how to figure out how many people were linked up! Thank you from all of us bloggy novices out there!

  15. 15
    Sandy a la Mode

    what a great post! i've been blogging for half a year now but i still consider myself a newbie! i definitely might be a blogaholic too… eeks!!

  16. 16
    Bev

    fabulous.. i have a blog but not smart enough to make changes.. adding regular is fine.. but look forward to learning new things… many thanks

  17. 17
    Lisa

    Thanks Linda for posting all this wonderful info! I started a blog 4 months ago and (sadly) threw in the towel this past week 'cause I can't get anyone, including my "mum", to read it. I'm going to study everything you've posted regarding blogging and may decide to give it another go,

  18. 18
    Ashley

    OK, you clearly wrote this some time ago but I cannot tell you how very helpful it was!
    I am very new to blogging and wanting people outside my circle reading it, scary!! I have found that it seems kind of exclusive sometimes and you just have to figure it out because other bloggers don't want to help. I so appreciate that you are so willing to help us newbies! I want to be like that too when I am seasoned! Why not?! I so look forward to following your blog and being a part of this community.
    Your honesty in this post alone has made me a fan!
    Thanks again!!

  19. 19
    CaseyMarie

    Thank you!!!

    You have totally inspired me to use my blog for more than *just* re-posting others links. I do not know how quickly I will catch onto this blogging thing, but I am excited none the less. My husband, JB, & I have been talking a lot in the recent months about blogging. He is great w words. I do not feel I am at all… I have the worst grammar, but he is great.

    Thank you again!!!
    ~Casey Marie