Blogging

Under the B

Thank you to everyone who has continued to send in their favourite blogging tip(s). As promised, I have written up the next set of suggestions shared. Again this has given me an excuse to extend my own comfort zone and try some new tools.

I checked with AlternativeTo for a substitute for Canva (just to shake things up a bit). Although many options were listed, I decided to try Easil (used here for the Feature Photo and the Bingo Card). As with Canva, Easil offers a free version and paid plans. The free option includes over 2,500 templates, 1,000,000+ images, upload ability, text effects and more. Again like Canva, it was quick and easy to use.

The Bingo Card was a perfect format to showcase 25 tips in a snapshot view. I then used Crowdsignal (via Gutenberg) to create a user poll (my first time ever).

This still does not cover all suggestions submitted. Please keep your ideas coming. I will continue to publish them. I will also publish the poll results (assuming that I can easily find them). 😀 Fingers crossed.

Strategies (starting from top left to top right) were shared by: Ann, Kate, John&Susan, Donna, Liesbet, Debbie, Dee, Hugh, Leanne, Marty, Suzanne, Natalie, Mr. Ohh, Anabel, Terri, Joe, Marsha, Deepa, Ally, Christie, Sue, Hilary, Pete, Bookertalk. Special thanks to all who commented on the usefulness of the tips. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Of the pointers above, which one do you rely on the most? Are there any where the opposite works better for you? Finally, please try the poll. I’m excited to discover the results.

73 thoughts on “Under the B”

  1. This is again an excellent post, Donna! Also, very easy to read. I love how you are playing around with the creativity. I have set up a file on my computer with many of the suggestions. I don’t want to miss anything and I will reread the suggestions. I am also adding a Pinterest file, specific for blogging tips/gems. I appreciate you summarizing the tips and sharing your wisdom.❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Erica – You were up very early this morning! 😀 Thank you for your kind words and positive feedback. I’ve appreciated receiving all of these tips. I’ve also enjoyed playing around with the graphics and learning new tools.
      I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Donna,
    Thanks once more fore sharing this great advice…it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was so comfortable with the format, theme, and editing tools I used for Easin’ Along, that I had neglected to keep up with what else was available. Technology moves at warp speed and I was living in a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” world. Still working on a new theme (debuts tomorrow). You’ve helped! Joe

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tips! As I was reading the suggestions in your delightful bingo, it came to me that blogging, while informal, is a form of essay writing where good writers take care with editing and work hard on style and content. And, of course, presentation as blogs also include photographs and other visuals. Anyway, what a treat to be part of this community and have friends all over the world.

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  4. Thanks for sharing these great tips, Donna. My favorite is not stressing about blog stats. I used Canva for years. I liked it, but I’m not as technically advanced as you and some of the others, so I became frustrated. When I discovered Book Brush…I couldn’t go back. It’s so user-friendly!

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      1. In your 125+ comments was there one about an on line writing class? I tried to sift back through them and find it. Perhaps you would remember? It started with a Th — but for the life me I can’t find it.
        Meanwhile I am making notes of your first and second blog post so I can go to the computer and slowly work my way through these items.

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      2. Hi, Bernie – Unfortunately, a specific writing class has not been mentioned as a tip (at least not yet). Janis (retirementallychallenged.com) is currently taking an online short story writing class, which she is greatly enjoying. Deb (debs-world.com) is taking a course on writing children’s books, which she also finds very valuable. I’m sorry that I could not be more help with this. Fingers crossed that another commenter will know the answer to your question.

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    1. Wow, Donna! You have been experimenting like a pro. So nice to see you’re having fun with the blogging. Right now, I’m at a point where I have little time for my blog and for interacting (but I still manage), so I filled out your poll, representing that sentiment! The results, so far, are interesting. Have a great weekend!

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  5. Well you’re on a roll with all this blogging advice Donna – you’ll be the go-to expert if you keep it up! I think we all pick up multitudes of little how-to’s along the way over the years and I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t know something that I thought was common knowledge. It’s also interesting to see what tools other bloggers use. Nothing like keeping the brain agile and picking up a new trick here and there. I’ve pinned this to my blogging tips board for future reference xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Leanne – I’d been in an extended holding pattern of using and reusing the same tools (same theme, same editor, same proofreading app, same design app, same, same). I’ve also been surprised when an old-standby tool for me is new to someone else, and vice versa. I love the generous sharing and support from fellow bloggers. It’s truly incredible.

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  6. There is a poll function in Weird Press I have used. I gotta get with the templates, right?

    I need to find a way to submit comments without logging in on my phone twice. Ok, I use RoboForm to manage passwords. Maybe that is part of the problem. Log in from twitter requires log in 2x but Facebook does not. 😗

    The bingo font is hard to read on a phone. I usually use my phone to read posts. Try some other fonts. Don’t go down the cuteness rabbit hole.🐰

    Keep up the good work. 🎓

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    1. Hi, Ann –
      The poll that I used here is from WordPress. As it is brand new to me, hopefully, I will figure out how to get the results.
      Thank you for your feedback on the bingo font. I had experimented with a more straightforward style but felt that it did not have that same allure to draw in readers. I also felt that the Bingo font caused readers to slow down in reading each tip.
      You make an excellent point of previewing all posts on our computers, tablets and phones first.

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I’ve definitely been having fun on this set of posts. The graphics have been stimulating to explore and the engagement with fellow-bloggers has been fabulous. Right now, my three-year old granddaughter is sitting beside me singing as I type. What could be finer?

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  7. Wow! I am impressed. I get a headache after I read maybe just one blogging tech tip. I’ve basically been doing my blog the same way for the last five years and I find simple is better. That’s why I’m still using the classic editor I guess! Thank you thank you for sharing these blogging tips. I think the most important one is the one in the middle – to have fun as well as to connect with others. 🙏

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  8. Hi Donna, I used Canva when I was using Pinterest. Which I’m no longer using as I decided to concentrate on bloggers/blogging than a screed of SM apps. I like the idea of having the use of two or more apps just in case one becomes no longer free. The blogging tips are an excellent idea. Certainly has me thinking whether I’m doing it correctly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Suzanne – I’ve also reduced the amount of Social Media that I use. I don’t believe that there is a right way or a wrong way to blog. But there are some ways to be more efficient with time — and I’m usually striving for that. Thanks so much for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it.

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  9. I love how you are having fun with the design tools! When I was employed as a graphic designer, it was pre-computer. Now these tools are so easy to access and use.

    I’m not sure what “always link your blog to the comment forum” means. If by that the tipster meant to make sure your gravatar and name in your comment links back to your blog, than YES! If someone makes an interesting comment (or has a blog name that is intriguing) I will often click on their name so I can check out the blog. Too many times, the link doesn’t work. But. if the tipster meant adding your blog’s http address in the comment, I’m not sure that’s a good idea for a couple of reasons.

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    1. Hi, Janis – Thank you for pointing this out. That tip was meant to read ‘Ensure that your gravatar/name on your comment links backs to your blog.’ I have changed the Bingo Card to reflect this wording. Easy-peasy! I agree that this is an important tip. So often, I’ve gone to visit a new commenter’s blog and wasn’t able to find a way to get there. That’s always very frustrating! 😦

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  10. Looks good, Donna! Of your many bingo card suggestions, the one that spoke loudest to me is using preview before posting. There’s unfortunately a bug for preview for Safari users, but I’ve gotten around that by simply opening the WP Dashboard in a new tab and previewing it that way. I still end up with a few mistakes that I later have to correct, but I’ve always felt this is a good practice. Think of it as a dress rehearsal of sorts. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, you may have given me hope here. I used to be able to use the Preview function no problem (I think even the first few times I used the new editor), but now it doesn’t work for me. I can’t get preview to work on my desktop or laptop (both Microsoft) but it does work on my iPad (Apple). Maybe you can help me understand the workaround that you’ve found.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, same here, Janis. The old classic editor always allowed for the preview to work. But Gutenberg is an insufferable beast with many bugs in it. So you have to figure out workarounds (don’t even get me started on graphics/pictures, captions for them, making them “clickable,” etc.). So for a preview, just open up an adjacent tab and choose the “preview” viewing option from your draft. That seems to work for me. Clunky? Absolutely! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, Marty – Thank you for sharing this. It is amazing how different browsers can significantly affect a blog’s inner workings. When I was using Firefox, I could never click on any of Ally’s polls (and, thus, missed out on tons of fun). When I switched to Chrome, the clickable poll links were suddenly there and I could join in on the action!
      I currently use Chrome and have not had any problems with Preview. At least none that I remember. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Laura – I was just having this discussion with Marty (about how different browsers affect different blog aspects). I’m sorry to hear that Firefox did not allow you to take the poll. That exact same thing repeatedly happened to me when I used to use Firefox to read blogs. I later switched to Chrome which has worked out well…at least so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m loving all these tips, Donna, and thank you for including mine. As for something new, I’m going to check out Feedly, and I like the idea of writing every post with a specific reader in mind.

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  12. Wow creativity is your second name Donna! This is a seriously clever idea and I love the way you are sharing everyone’s tips – that’s what blogging is all about to me, learning from others and helping with ideas. Fabulous post 🙂

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  13. Hi Donna, do you mind me asking you which version of Canva you use? I used to use the free version but got a free upgrade which Canva extended for three months. Now the trial is coming to an end; they’ve told me how much it would cost to continue with the pro-version. It was great to use, but it seemed expensive for the number of times I’d use it.

    I like the bingo card, but I’ll be honest and say I found reading some of the text inside each box rather tricky. That could just be me, but I thought I’d mention it.

    Two more tips from me – remember to back up your blog content at least once a month. It’s so easy to perform a backup. And an easy way to get your readers engaged is to ask them questions in your posts. If those questions are scattered around the post, do a roundup of them at the end of the post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Hugh – Thank you for stopping by. Unfortunately, I cannot compare the free and paid versions of Canva (I’ve only used the free version.) I can say that I find the free Canva options to be ample. I’ve recently tried Easil, which automatically gives access to their pro version for the first 30-days (without needing to add a credit card number or similar personal information). I found it to be very similar to Canva but not redundant. It’s fun to be able to select from both platforms.
      Thank you for commenting on the Bingo text. It was the one that came with the original template design. I had initially changed it but then switched it back. I liked the total look better and thought it would help readers to pause over each tip. You make an excellent point about ensuring that your font and design aid (not hinder) readability.
      Thank you for your tips about backup and round-up questions. Both are excellent ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve loved this series of posts on blogging. Lots of very helpful tips and ideas. I learn something new all the time. One suggestion I might add – write each post as if the reader is visiting your site for the very first time and may live in another part of the world. When terms like “if you recall” are used, it makes a first time reader feel left out … out of the know. (Gosh, I don’t even recall sh*t from my own posts 🤣 let alone someone else’s)

    It’s also a good idea to clarify a location, in other words, if I’m in MN I’ll type out Minnesota and then somewhere in the post I might add upper Midwest. It’s so easy to add a few extra helpful words like ‘west coast of Canada’ or ‘Gulf Coast of Texas’ or something similar to help out a reader on the other side of the world get a general idea of location. So many U.S. writers will just list a town or city or like one post I recently read just stated “White Mountains”. Well, White Mountains in New Hampshire or Arizona?

    It’s so easy to ad and extra word or two to help a new reader feel welcome. Anyway, my two cents. Keep the ideas coming!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Ingrid – Thank you for sharing this excellent tip. After we’ve been blogging for a while, it is easy to forget about the first time viewer. It is also easy to miss that some blog readers may not be familiar with the geography of our area. For example, when I refer to Oceanside, I mean a series of nearby towns located on Central Vancouver Island and not Oceanside, Californa.
      Thank you also for your kind feedback. I greatly appreciate this.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great stuff, here, Donna! I may have to check out Easil. I’m still a fan of PicMonkey. My premium plan costs a whopping $39 a year. I use it for everything including a Kindle book cover for my still-in-progress fitness book. Great job on the poll, too!

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    1. Hi, Suzanne – It’s been very similar to home decorating. You know when you plan to replace just one chair…and end up renovating the entire room (…or house)?! It’s incredible how one small change can lead to another! Thank you for your positive feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! It’s hard to pick just one of the items in the poll, but I went with the tech tools because I listed a few of them down as I read. One suggestion – you rightly mention tags, but I am always surprised how few people use categories.

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    1. Hi, Susurrus – Thank you for dropping by and for taking the poll. Thank you for also adding the tip of ‘categories’. This is an important feature that is often overlooked by bloggers. When posting about my hikes, especially on the Camino, I quickly learned that many followers joined in exclusively for those posts. Great reminder!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. LOVE the BINGO board, so many tips that are critical to getting the posts to readers who matter. Thanks a bunch for the post. I’m printing teh BINGO board and pinning it on my desk blotter.

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  18. Not only was this clever and creative, it was super helpful! Donna, you continue to give so much back to the blogging community.

    You remind me of this famous quote: “You have to give it away to keep it.”

    Thank you again for giving us so much food for thought! You’ve been so brave in continuing to improve your blog and inspiring and helping others to also step outside their comfort zone.

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Donna what a clever way to share all of those ideas. Thank you for including mine as well. There is so much one can do and learn. I like the tip on remembering why you blog. For me that has been an evolving thing so perhaps time to do some reflecting on that.

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    1. Hi, Sue – You raise an excellent point. Why we originally began to blog, and why we now continue to blog are likely completely different reasons. On Jan 1, 2016, I began my blog as a New Year’s Resolution. I thought that my blog would be more like an on-line journal. I’ve continued to blog solely because of the amazing people whom I’ve met along the way. I would have never guessed this in the beginning!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. The tip to “review” before publishing speaks strongly to me. I love the way that WordPress gives you an option to see a mobile preview as well as a desktop. Using previews has alerted me to so many formatting errors – usually relating to the alignment of images and text

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    1. Hi, BookerTalk. I agree that ‘preview before publishing’ is great advice. I also must confess that I am guilty of wanting to press publish immediately after finishing my final sentence. For me, I think this stems from publishing daily on the Camino and desperately trying to press send before I lost all traces of wi-fi or data. 😀

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