If you are just joining us, I am doing a special series to share my answer to the question, “How should I spend my limited time as a blogger?” If you missed them, here are parts 1, 2, and 3. Today’s topic: how learning the technical basics of blogging can help you grow your blog.
After one year of blogging, I decided to give my website a makeover. Nothing huge, just change the logo, colors, fonts, and graphics. I knew just enough coding to be dangerous.
After hitting save on a change to my header size, I went to see how it looked and got an error message; site cannot be displayed.
I type in the URL to a few other pages and got the same error message. Clearly, I messed something up big time.
As panic set in, I remembered a coding Ebook I had received as part of The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (which I had purchased 9 months before this incident). Quickly, I found the book and skim the table of contents for something that might help.
Less than an hour after going down, my site was back up (thanks to that Ebook).
Now I want you to think, what would you do if that happened to you? How long would your site have remained down? How much would you have needed to pay someone for a simple fix just because you didn’t have the information to fix it yourself?
If you are like me, then your resources for blogging are limited. I don’t have time to deal with tech issues. But I also don’t have the money to pay someone to maintain my website, make my graphics and printables, or fix simple problems when they arise.
And that’s why I believe taking the time to become a little techie is worth it as a blogger.
Now, I want to be clear, I’m not telling you to go out and master HTML and CSS. But you do need to know enough of the technical stuff to save you time, to help you grow, and to stop you from throwing your computer against the wall (I’ve been there!).
Here are a few of the technical basics I think all bloggers should know.
Worth it Blogging Task #4: Learn the Technical Basics of Blogging
1. Create and maintain a beautiful, easy to use website.
When someone lands on your site, you want it to feel inviting (just like when a guest steps foot inside your house). You also want it to be easy for them to find content that speaks to them. A lot of the visuals will depend on the theme you use.
Theme options are seemingly endless, but personally, I love my theme from BluChic. I chose BluChic because their themes are beautiful, yet clean. This theme also gave me all the functionality I wanted without having to purchase the Genesis Framework.
BluChic also has great customer service, excellent tutorial videos for setting up your theme, and they are easy to customize to fit your unique brand. If I ever have a problem with my theme, help is just a quick email away.
You’ll also need to know basic maintenance. Because if you haven’t yet experienced things going wonky after an update, you will at some point. Being able to fix little issues quickly saves time and brings peace of mind. For help with WordPress problems, I recommend joining the WP Tech Café Facebook group.
2. Create beautiful graphics and printables.
Beautiful graphics and printables can make a huge difference in whether a reader connects with your content or not. While we know “content is king,” research tells us images are what sells.
Now, maybe you are thinking, “but I don’t sell anything,” and to that I’d say, oh yes you are! You’re “selling” your message! You want readers to keep coming back and to sign-up for your email list. And maybe, you do indeed want them to buy products from you.
The best part is you don’t have to be a designer to make beautiful graphics and printables! I recommend using Canva because it’s free and easy to use. You can also buy templates from designers to use on Canva. My favorite templates for printables are from Vanessa Ryan. I also use some social media templates from BluChic.
3. Understand how to analyze your analytics.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from bloggers who haven’t set up their Google analytics because the technology scares them. Or bloggers who have it set up but never look at it because they don’t understand how to use it. This is a huge missed opportunity!
Analytics tell us what is working and what’s not. They tell us how people are finding us and even information about who is reading our content. Essentially, analytics give us insight into how to use our time more effectively.
If you want to learn more, LeeAnn over at Kingdom Bloggers wrote an excellent overview of how to use Google analytics for grow your blog. Read it here. You can also learn how to set up your Google Analytics account here.
Even if technology is not your strong suit, I hope these tips have encouraged you to learn these technical basics of blogging. I promise it’s worth it! And you might even enjoy it once you get the hang of it.
Stay tuned for the final post in this series, it’s an important one!
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