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Hey y’all! This is the last “normal” post in my Blogging Success Series, and I’m going to try to tie up some loose ends that I didn’t cover in my other posts (either because of my faulty memory or because these tidbits didn’t fit into the other categories). I’ll be posting one more blogging success post, and that will come this Saturday as my weekly devotional post. I’m going to talk a little bit about why I don’t blog on Sundays.
For today, let me just jump right into things:
Back your stuff up. I learned this very important lesson the hard way. Twice. #embarassing I lost everything on my computer: pictures, notes, recipes. Once this February, and again a few weeks later. It was not cool. I still haven’t recovered much of anything, so I started from scratch. One good thing out of the whole deal: I learned that one can survive losing all her records and pictures. It doesn’t feel good, but it will teach you not to get too attached to earthly things. That being said, the smart thing to do is to back everything up. I lost a lot of memories when I lost all my pictures. A lot of hard work, too. Thankfully my site and all its post drafts are online and were not lost. I now back my computer up quite often, and of the important stuff I have multiple copies backed up in several places.
Back up your site as well. I use a service called VaultPress, which I consider well worth the money (it’s not that expensive) for peace of mind.
Link back to your own stuff in your posts. Reference related old posts in your new posts and link to them. This gains you some extra traffic, plus it piques the interest and curiosity of your readers, causing them to surf through your site a little more. “She has a cauliflower chocolate cake recipe? I wonder if she has a healthy frosting recipe to go with that?”
Put posts in categories and tags for easy reference. I categorize and tag each post so people can find them easily. The categories automatically populate my recipe page. I also created a neat page full of buttons for different tags that my recipes fall under so people can go to pages of single-serve recipes, s’mores recipes, low-carb recipes, egg free recipes, etc., etc., etc. Every time I post a recipe, I tag it with its fuel type (low-fat, low-carb, or fuel pull, which is both low-fat and low-carb), allergy info, and any other significant points. Is it chocolate? Peanut butter? Does it include cottage cheese? Is it an E dessert? Those tags are easy to pull up later for reference when someone wants a list of, say, ways to use egg yolks. And that kind of organization just makes me happy.
Don’t run ads on product sales pages. I don’t run ads on my 12 Cozy Soups Ebook page because they’re distracting. I want people to buy the ebook, not look at the ads. This nifty tip came from Bjork Ostrom at Pinch of Yum. There are some other pages I don’t run ads on either just for the sake of looks, like my recipe classifications page.
Fill in the “Alternate Text” blank for your photos. This is what shows up when someone pins your photo without adding a description of his own, and naming your pictures just lends a more professional edge than “DSCN_116”.
My Favorite Plugins:
Awhile back, I did a list of all the plugins I was currently using. That list has changed somewhat, but you can still check it out here if you like. Here are a few of my current favorite plugins and what they do:
- Akismet – does all the work of blocking spam comments. Trust me, you need this one.
- Bottom of every post – lets you put something at the bottom of every post. This is the plugin I use for my affiliate disclaimer.
- Contact Form by BestWebSoft – pretty self-explanatory. You can see my contact form here.
- Easy Recipe – nifty printable recipes
- Image Widget – lets you put images in your sidebar
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – this is how I view my site stats. My email subscription service is also run through Jetpack.
- Lazy Load – improves page load times by only loading images as you need to see them
- Limit Login Attempts – just a security precaution
- Pinterest Pin It Button For Images – a nifty “Pin it” image that appears when you hover over one of my pictures
- Relevanssi – a good search engine for your blog
- Share Buttons by AddToAny – a simple plugin that takes care of the social media share icons at the top of each of my posts
- Simple Social Icons – what I use for the social icons in my sidebar
- Thirsty Affiliates – awesome plugin that cloaks all my affiliate links and keeps them in an easy-to-reach spot!
- VaultPress – site backup
- WP Super Cache – caching plugin that improves site load time
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – great plugin that provides the additional related posts that show up at the bottom of all my posts
- Yoast SEO – good SEO plugin that allows you to input keywords, descriptions, etc., etc. I had good SEO capabilities through my Genesis framework, but I got Yoast because Facebook wasn’t uploading the right pictures to links to my site and Yoast lets me set a specific picture to use for social media links to each post.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the plugins I’m using, but these are the main ones.
Well, I think those are all the loose ends I needed to tie up. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Blogging Success Series, and be sure to bookmark the official series page so you can go back and find these posts later. If you’ve been following this series and learning, feel free to comment below with a link to your own blog!