Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.
If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?
The best advice I can give is to be honest but have control over what you say. Honesty is the best policy, as the old adage is fond of saying and it keeps blogging simple as you don’t need to remember any lies you’ve written in order to keep your blog internally consistent. However, honesty has it’s limits, and that has more to do with sharing and privacy. Depending on why you blog, sometimes you may find yourself wanting to write about something private. I think that assigning posts passwords is a great feature to WordPress and makes sharing securable.
Some things are worth talking about, writing about. Some things you share aren’t really meant for your coworkers of your employer and then the best policy here is to slap a password on the posts and keep them private from wandering eyes.
There are a lot of great reasons too, to blog independently from WordPress.com. Having control over your content, not having to worry about quotas or paying for extra services all make self-hosting with WordPress.org really worth it in the long run, especially with the right hosting provider. I’ve found a lot of the plugins that enrich the self-hosted option of WordPress.org makes the product really shine. Here are some things to look into if you think blogging may be for you:
1. Fixing your .htaccess file on your blog. This can be configured to restrict your blog from foreign browsers. I’ve decided to ban entire countries from reading my blog mostly because I don’t agree with their politics, and in the case of China, I’ve gotten quite tired of comment spam. By limiting incoming traffic from browsers using this file, you can preclude them from ever being a problem. Just because the Internet is global doesn’t mean that you should feel forced to respect that globality.
2. Blacklist & IP Filter – These two plugins help identify unwanted IP addresses that are unwanted on your blog and the plugin IP Filter helps you block those with more configurability than you can get with .htaccess.
3. Akismet and Jetpack really help protect and extend your blog. Every blog I host has these two plugins and once you get them configured properly they add so many wonderful features to your blog that it’s difficult to imagine using the blogs without them.
4. PhotoDropper – This plugin makes searching for and inserting pictures in your blog posts a cakewalk. It takes care of searching for the terms you want, only shows you Creative Commons licensed imagery so you don’t accidentally run afoul of image copyright holders and automatically includes credit lines to your posts to help respect the people who are sharing the imagery you are using on your blog. It’s about as turnkey as I’ve been able to find when it comes to finding and crediting blog pictures that I use to enrich my blog posts.
Beyond plugins it’s also worth it to mention AgileTortiose’s iOS app Drafts. This app makes writing anything, journal entires, emails, and blog posts a snap. You can update on any connected device until you are ready and the destination selector feature makes pushing your updates out to various service a snap. I journal with DayOne and I post to WordPress using Poster. Drafts has options for these other apps and a dizzying array of more just for the tapping.