Why I REALLY don’t like Disqus

I really don’t like the Disqus commenting system.

If you use Disqus as your comments plug-in, not only will you not be getting any comments from me, I’ll also avoid reading your posts. I use BlogLovin’ to follow my favorite blogs and I absolutely refuse to follow any blog that uses Disqus.

Why I really don't like Disqus

Here’s why.

1. It wants me to register an account with them.

I have plenty of accounts in so many services. I see no benefit in registering for one more just so I can comment on your blog.

2. It won’t let commenters add a link back to their website.

No, I don’t comment on blogs for SEO benefits. I know very well that WordPress comments have a “nofollow” attribute and that’s just fine. I hate comment spam as much as anyone.

When I see an interesting comment by someone, I want to follow through to their blog. It’s very frustrating not having a link to go to other than their very boring Disqus profile. Why should I care about their Disqus profile and why should you generate traffic for Disqus which does not benefit your readers in any way?

These two reasons make Disqus very frustrating for me as a blog reader, whether I want to comment on your post or even if I don’t.

I don’t understand why bloggers use Disqus in the first place. Yes, I have read about their “advantages” but I see more disadvantages there.

1. They store the comments on their server.

I want to contribute content to your blog. Not to Disqus. I would never use that plugin on any of my blogs because I want full control over content, comments included. Now and in the future too. Even if down the road they decided to charge for the service.

2. It deters some users from participating in the conversation.

Those without an account, like myself, are far less likely to add a comment.

Why would anyone choose Disqus in the first place?

I do wonder.

WordPress has a perfectly ok system for commenting.

  • It allows users to add their email address without publishing it, so you can contact them while keeping their privacy.
  • It allows fellow bloggers to present their blog in a non-obtrusive way, helping develop a community around your topic.
  • It lends itself beautifully to various template designs.
  • It handles spam very well once you activate Akismet.
    I don’t see how Disqus is any better in that respect. I have seen blogs where spammers filled the Disqus comments section with links to their sites. Left open to links and unmonitored, there’s little Disqus can do to stop spammers.
  • It’s there already. No need for additional plugins.

With such an effective and useful system already in place, why use a plugin? The only motivation I can see is that Disqus pays bloggers a small fee when they activate the built-in ads. Is it really worth it though?

Why won’t I even follow your blog if you use Disqus?

I’m the kind of person who likes to engage others in conversation. I’m the one who can’t help but respond to people’s Facebook posts, or tweet back when something catches my eye on Twitter.

I do the same with blogs. When I read an interesting blog post, I like to leave my paw mark and reply with my own insights and thoughts. I also appreciate the opportunity to present myself to the blogger and to other commenters by adding a link to my blog. I want this process to be simple and I don’t want to have to create an account with a third-party just so I can comment.

If your blog uses Disqus, you’re in effect shutting me out of the conversation. Even if I have something that’s very useful and interesting, or if I want to ask something. That’s not nice and it means I won’t go back to your blog. There are TONS of great blogs out there where I can speak my mind, so why waste my time on the ones who don’t let me do so?

Why should you care?

I’m just a grumpy old web publisher (not really! I’m awesome!) and your blog will do just fine without my comments or my readership (not really! You want to hear what I have to say!)

I’m not the only commenter you’re losing though. People who engage with a website tend to return and to stay for longer. Commenting adds stickiness. To get them to engage with your blog, you need to keep things simple. Disqus complicates them.

When you use Disqus you may be losing commenters and readers. I doubt I’m the only one.

What makes blogs so successful (and how to make yours so too)

Everybody blogsBlogging has taken the world of web publishing by storm over the past decade. In this post, I want to review the reasons that made blogs evolve into the leading form of online publishing.

The core aspects that made blogs into the absolute rulers of the industry are the ones you should be focusing on, in order to make your own blog a success as well.

Once Upon A Time…

About a decade ago, online publishing was about mostly about creating static websites. These beasts were coded in HTML and PHP, or published using a content management system such as Joomla or Drupal.

They looked something like this website which I created back in 2004. It took me a weekend to create it. That’s it. Coded by hand without using themes or plugins and with almost no need for updates. It’s made just over $2,500 over the years. Not bad for a weekend’s worth of work.

Like many webmasters, I used to create dozens of these websites. Some I sold, others died out, a few are still here, making a nice drizzle of entirely passive income. At the height of my empire of websites I had more than 400 domain names, about half of them developed and the other half awaiting development.

In my previous post I reviewed the 5 things that have changed in web publishing over the past decade. Quite a lot has changed but the most notable change is that blogs took over the place of “regular” websites as the preferred platform for web publishing.

There are a few good reasons for why this has happened. I think each one of them is incredibly important to understand, especially for those new to blogging. These are the key reasons for the success of blogs as a “genre”. Understanding – and following – these lessons are also key to the success of your own blog.

First things, first –

What is a blog?

I checked Wikipedia and I think their definition for a blog is – at best – lacking.

A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

Hmmm. Here’s what I think most people mean when they use the word “blog” in 2016 –

A website that offers a unique personal perspective (by one or more individuals) through constant updates in the form of posts.

A blog is a form of a website. A unique form, that has gone through a process of gradual evolution over the past two decades. People have been publishing personal websites since the beginning of the internet but about a decade ago, blogs gained an evolutionary advantage over other types of websites which gained them unprecedented dominance, especially in the unique ecological niche of independent web publishers.

Understanding the four key aspects that brought on this evolutionary “jump” is crucial to the success of your blog. With that in mind, here what I think they are and along with the key industry players that brought them on.

1.The Right Platform: WordPress

WordPress is so much more than a piece of software. It’s a vibrant online community of developers who collaborate to constantly improve the infrastructure of blogs. It triggered nothing short of a revolution. The ability to instantly create a professional-looking website has opened the gates to a flood of new web publishing initiatives.

WordPress was released back in 2003 and caught like wildfire. It offered a clean and easy-to-use interface – far easier than that of other content management systems – and took away the need for advanced coding skills. Now, anyone can be a web publisher.

Lesson #1:

Stick to wordpress. In 2016, WordPress is definitely the platform to use if you’re an independent web publisher looking to start your own website.

2. Fresh Content And Constant Updates

Back in 2004 when I published Goldfish Care and hundreds of websites like it, Google loved them. Throw in some link building and on-page SEO and you could fairly easily score a good place in the SERP’s.

I’m not sure if it was the shift in people’s surfing habits that has made Google alter their algorithms, or the other way around, but things have definitely changed. Google now clearly prefers fresh content. A website that offers constant updates will be getting more search engine traffic. It will also get more returning traffic simply because it offers something new to the same readers.

Guess what kind of website is easiest to update with fresh content? And guess which platform lends itself so naturally to always having that fresh content displayed on the main page of your site?

Lesson #2:

Keep your blog updated. Constantly. Set up a schedule which includes at least one new post every week and stick to it.

3. Real People Coming To The Front

I blame Facebook for this one.

A decade ago, most people were afraid of having their identity out there “on the internet”. Many web publishers felt far more comfortable creating websites that never mentioned their name. If you wanted to contact the owners, there would be a contact form or a generic email such as webmaster@website.com. Communication between webmasters was mainly through forums where each one would have their own “handle” or “nick”.

Then Facebook exploded into the world and social media came to be. Facebook offered a huge amount of gratification for users but also demanded authenticity. The whole point was about connecting real people who actually knew each other. Using their real names and sharing their very real photos and stories. Bye bye anonymity.

This had a crucial effect on web publishing (which by now was fast becoming blogging thanks to WordPress and Google’s preference for fresh content). Suddenly, bloggers who presented their real selves, wrote in the first person and – lo and behold – shared their image, gained a huge advantage. Perez Hilton blogged about celebrities, Ariana Huffington took over the news world and Brian Clark began showing newbies how to create a successful blog. Today their projects are online empires but they all started as blogs with one identifiable blogger clearly and visibly at the helm.

Lesson #3:

Authenticity is key. People want to know who you are, so bring forward the real you.

4. Monetizing Through Affiliations

Yes, affiliate marketing has been around the block for ages. Many non-blog websites have effectively utilized both affiliations and other forms of advertising. Landing pages were the mark of affiliation-oriented websites long before blogs became popular.

However, once bloggers came to the front, the rules of the game changed. With the advent of authentic voices, showing their real self and putting forward their personal reputation, affiliation marketing took on a whole new direction.

Selling products no longer depended on sending a mass of traffic to shady landing pages with cloaked links. Instead, it became a matter of leveraging people’s trust in the blogger to generate sales.

Lesson #4:

Create quality content that offers real value to your readers. Aim at gaining followers who respect and trust you and promote products and services you feel will genuinely help them.

There you have it.

I believe these are the four key elements that made blogs win over the individual web publishing industry. A combination of an awesome platform and changes in search engines and social media – along with a financial reward for the people who supplied the new demand for authentic voices that keep constantly in touch with fresh reliable content.

 

If you want to join Team Success of web publishing in 2016, a quality blog with fresh content that brings forward the real you is definitely the way to go.

5 Things That Profoundly Changed in Web Publishing

There’s a science fiction theme where they freeze someone for 500 years and he then wakes up in an a totally different world. Something similar happened to me. Instead of 500 years, it was 7-8 years and I wasn’t actually frozen, just busy with a different kind of web project. I’m back now! And it is a different world out there! From this – rather unique – point of view, I can identify 5 major changes in web publishing.

First, a quick recap –

As you may already know, I started my career as a webmaster back in 1998. I created and owned more than 400 websites since then.

I took a break from independent web publishing back in 2011. In some ways, even earlier. For more than five years I focused on a joint venture where I was in charge of content creation and community management of my flagship website, letting others take care of marketing and monetization.

Now I’m back, launching or re-launching six blogs with the aim of creating an additional and separate stream of revenue. My main site is doing extremely well, thanks for asking. It’s just that with my kids growing up, I have more time on my hands and I think it’s time to lay a few new eggs and put them in a different basket.

Quite a lot has changed in the past decade!

back-in-my-day
I’m old enough to say “Back In My Day”!

I think I’m in a unique position to notice these changes because I sort of “wasn’t around” as they evolved in the gradual way that such things usually do.

My framework for comparison is roughly 2006-2008 vs. today. These are just my own impressions based on two things –

  1. My experience as a full-time web publisher back in that time period.
  2. Google Trends. I checked a few terms to see if my hunches correlated with actual search trends. You’ll see quite a few screenshots of my findings in this post.

Blogs vs. Websites

No, blogs are not that new. What’s new is the way they took over the world of self-made independent web publishers.

Let’s say you’re a beginner and want to make money online.

2006 advice: Create content websites!

Find your niche, publish good content, promote and monetize. You can code your website in HTML or PHP, or you can use one of the content management systems out there, such as Joomla or Drupal. They’re the future, man!

2016 advice: Start your own blog!

And yes, find your niche, publish quality content, promote and monetize. It’s a blog though, not a website and the one and only software you should be using is WordPress.

Here’s what Google Trends has to say on this –

blogvswebsite

Somewhere in 2005 there’s a dramatic shift in trends. Search volume for the word “blog” skyrocket while the ones for the term “website” go down. It’s interesting to note that searches for the term “blog” are on the decline as well since 2010.

When I compared searches for names of content management systems, the trend was even more impressive –

Comparison of content management systems in Google Trends

Bye bye Joomla and Drupal. WordPress is the undisputed king of content management systems for self-published content sites.

Just as websites turned into blogs, so did webmasters turn into bloggers. I confess, I still find it difficult to define myself as a blogger. I mean, I am a blogger too – obviously, this is a blog post – but I am first and foremost a web publisher. In my case, the title still applies because my flagship website is a community website and not a blog.

There’s a multitude of implications to this massive shift. For example, it looks like web hosting companies now offer packages specifically designed for wordpress blogs. It’s nothing more than a marketing trick, as far as I can see, and it certainly demonstrates the change I’m talking about here.

I think there are several reasons for this shift and I’ll be discussing them in more detail in a future post. Right now, I want to talk about the changes in the two main challenges webmasters bloggers face: promotion and monetization.

Promotion Techniques

Who moved my SEO?

SEO is still here but it’s oh, so different.

Let’s press that purple button in our time machine again and take a look at an average blog back in 2006. The one thing every blog had back then? A Blogroll.

Blogs as well as other types of websites focused their SEO on link building and the easiest legitimate method of link building was the simple – yet effective – link exchange.

Again, Google trends to the rescue, just to make sure I’m not imagining it all.

link exchanged died!

Oh, no! Link exchanged died! You might even think that active link building is pretty much dead. Not really. It has fancier names now, like “guest blogging” but people still work hard on building incoming links.

So, where’s SEO at now? It’s mostly about onsite optimization and a little bit of active link building by guest posting etc. Oh, and Yoast. Everyone uses Yoast (I do as well in this blog).

Mailing Lists

Visit a blog without a pop-up blocker and whoa.

Have you just arrived? “Subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll send you my top 117 tips on how to turn your blog into a money-printing machine!”

Scrolling down? “Join my list and I’ll send you my secret list of affiliate programs that paid me over $10,000 last month! Each!”

Leaving? “Oh no! You just have to join my list right now or you’ll miss out on my awesome e-book on how to make $234,000 on your first month of blogging!”

Back in the day, you could subscribe to a blog via your RSS reader or – if you insisted – you could get notifications about new posts by email and that was pretty much it. Web pages that offered you free ebooks and what not in return for your email? Those were shady spammy sites with landing pages waiting to trap the suckers who didn’t know any better.

From the web publisher’s point of view, mailing lists were a real pain to manage. Most webmasters – myself included – managed their lists using a script installed on their server. Sending out a newsletter was a huge deal. You had to use increments so that your server won’t be overwhelmed and your IP won’t be blacklisted as a spam generator. It would still happen occasionally with various ISP’s.

There were paid services for sending out newsletters but they were fairly expensive and not nearly as sophisticated as those available today. Basically, you would invest in one if you had a lucrative landing page and a product that made you enough money to justify the cost.

So what’s changed about mailing lists?

I think Mailchimp happened. You now have a top notch freemium service with so many bells and whistles, allowing you to utilize emails without the headache of sending them out yourself.

Here, I checked trends for MailChimp and two of the more popular mailing list scripts back in the day. I think the graph says it all.

mailchimp

Social Media

Some would say this is the most important change of all. I actually think that in terms of blog promotion, it’s not as dramatic as it appears to be at first glance. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are important to some niche-specific  but I have yet to see stats where social media is what drives most of a blog’s traffic. The exception would be sites like Buzzfeed where their entire model is based around viral marketing.

There, I said the V word.

Which is where I can actually see a significant change. Social Media has affected the way people consume their online content. In order to get the reader’s attention, you have to play by the same rules that make content viral. After all, that virality is based on immediate and intense plea for attention.

And so, competing with social media on the reader’s’ attention, bloggers now produce content that’s shorter and more user-oriented, i.e. lists, how-to’s and short pieces with sensational headlines.

Monetization

Quite a few bloggers are generous enough to post detailed reports of their monthly income and expenses. I have been reading quite a few of those lately, trying to see where the money is coming from in 2016. And yes, things have changed.

Affiliate Programs vs. Google Adsense

A decade ago, Google Adsense was the leader of site monetization. You could have had a very lucrative website based solely on Adsense revenue. That was the finest hour of MFA’s – Made For Adsense scraper sites with no original content. Fortunately that hour passed quickly.

These days, it seems like Adsense is no longer the #1 revenue source for bloggers. I think it correlates, once again, with the picture Google Trends shows us –

adsense

I’m not sure affiliate marketing replaced that entirely. Google trends show a decline between 2009 and 2013 for the term “affiliate marketing” as well.

affiliatemarketing

Judging from the reports I read, quite a few bloggers focus their efforts on creating and selling their own digital products, be them e-books or online courses.

Also, formerly major players in the affiliate marketing arena seem to have gone down in popularity. Commision Junction, Clickbank and Shareasale are names that I checked on Google trends. They have all declined in search volume since 2009. “Amazon’s affiliate program” has not though.

Judging by the revenue reports that some bloggers shared online, my hunch is that more companies now operate their own in-house affiliate programs and bloggers choose to market these products now.

Some things stayed the same!

I’m happy to see that some things stayed the same! Quality content still rules. That trend started before 2006 and it got stronger only the years. Not really surprising, considering Google’s constant improvement of their algorithm, along with more content being curated and shared by actual people via social media.

And domain names! A few years ago it looked like there may be a change coming, when registrars began to offer a slew of new domain extensions. Apparently, that was not a huge success and the world is still ruled by .com’s!

It’s been an interesting day for me, writing this post.

6 WordPress Plugins That Will Actually Benefit My Blogs

First, A quick recap:

I have recently decided to rejoin the blogging community which means I’m taking a fresh look at everything – from blog software through content writing to marketing – while at the same time using my own insights, generated over 18 years of web publishing. You can read more about that here.

This week I’m looking into plugins. I’m not too keen about using too many plugins and you can read here why. That said, I’m entirely open to using the ones that –

  1. Are secure.
  2. Seem to have enough of a community around them to offer support in the long run.
  3. Actually benefit a blog.
  4. Are easy to remove.

I’m happy to say that I found them. Here’s how I did it.

6 WP plugins that will benefit my blogs

I began by asking the Mighty Google which WordPress plugins does she think are relevant in 2016. As expected, over 17 million search results were generated, with quite a few bloggers competing over the first spots with their beautifully-written, helpful, expert-curated, handpicked and absolutely must-have lists.

Almost all lists had more than 10 items in them, some over 20. Hmmm… did I mention I have reservations about using too many plugins? Time to narrow down the recommendations. I’m a firm believe in the Wisdom Of Crowds, so I figured I’d check and see which plugins everyone seems to recommend.

Rounding up lists of recommended plugins for 2016… here we go!

Step 1 – The Lists

First, I’m just going to go through every search result on the first two pages, check to see that it’s indeed a list of plugins for 2016 and copy their list. Just the names of the plugins. Nothing more. I’m not even going to check what the plugins are or what they do.

Source: WPBeginner.com (24 Plugins)

1. OptinMonster
2. WPForms
3. Google Analytics
4. MailChimp
5. Sucuri
6. BackupBuddy
7. Yoast SEO
8. W3 Total Cache
9. MaxCDN
10. Envira Gallery
11. Soliloquy
12. Buffer
13. IFTTT
14. Quick and Easy FAQs
15. Insert Headers and Footers
16. CSS Hero
17. Beaver Builder
18. Google Apps for Work
19. Freshbooks
20. SEMRush
21. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
22. BirchPress
23. Testimonials Widget
24. Slack

Source: ThemeTrust.com (27 Plugins)

1. Page Builder by SiteOrigin
2. Shortcodes Ultimate
3. Disqus Comment System
4. Easy Content Types
5. TablePress
6. Envira Gallery
7. Max Mega Menu
8. Rapidology
9. Leadin
10. W3 Total Cache
11. WP Smush
12. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
13. WP-Sweep
14. Wordfence Security
15. Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner
16. WordPress Backup to Dropbox
17. Yoast SEO
18. Linker
19. Simple 301 Redirects
20. Broken Link Checker
21. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
22. Revive Old Post
23. Social Metrics Tracker
24. SumoMe
25. WPtouch Mobile Plugin
26. WP Slimstat
27. Jetpack

Source: SourceWP.com (20 Plugins)

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
2. W3 Total Cache
3. Jetpack
4. Monarch
5. Google XML Sitemaps
6. iThemes Security
7. WP-Optimize
8. Contact Form 7
9. WP Smush.it
10. Bloom
11. WP Notification Bar Pro
12. BJ Lazy Load
13. Broken Link Checker
14. My WP Backup Pro
15. WordPress Subscribe Pro
16. BuddyPress
17. PubSubHubbub
18. Redirection
19. P3 Profiler
20. I couldn’t find his #20. The post title says 20 but I counted only 19 (twice).

Source: WarfarePlugins.com (12 Plugins)

1. W3 Total Cache
2. Yoast SEO
3. Ninjas Forms
4. WooCommerce
5. Redirection
6. Co-Schedule
7. Updraft Plus
8. Wordfence Security
9. Social Warfare
10. OptinMonster
11. Advanced Custom Fields
12. Google Analytics by Yoast

Source: MakeTechEasier.com (9 Plugins)

1. SEO by Yoast
2. Floating Social Bar
3. Contact Form 7
4. Updraft Plus
5. Sucuri Security
6. Page Builder by SiteOrigin
7. WP Smush
8. Yuzo – Related Posts
9. W3 Total Cache

Source: MyTipsHub.com (16 Plugins)

1. BackupBuddy
2. Yoast SEO
3. Gravity Forms
4. Disqus Plugin
5. OptinMonster
6. ShortPixel
7. Sucuri Plugin
8. AdSanity Plugin
9. Display Widgets
10. Envira Gallery
11. ThirstyAffiliates
12. Limit Login
13. Soliloquy
14. Edit Flow
15. Term Management Tools
16. Compact Archives

Source: 85Ideas.com (17 plugins)

1. WordPress SEO Yoast
2. Akismet
3. Intergeo Maps Lite
4. Editorial Calendar
5. Floating Social Bar
6. UpDraftPlus
7. Sucuri Security
8. WooCommerce
9. W3 Total Cache
10. Yet Another Related Post Plugin(YARPP)
11. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
12. Redirection
13. WP-Optimize
14. MailChimp
15. WP Smush
16. PolyLang
17. AdSanity

Source: WPDailyThemes.com (14 plugins)

1. Akismet
2. Jetpack
3. Wordfence Security
4. UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
5. Breadcrumb NavXT
6. WooCommerce
7. Yoast SEO
8. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
9. YouTube Embed
10. BuddyPress
11. W3 Total Cache
12. Polylang
13. Floating Social Bar
14. SumoMe

Source: ColorLib.com (7 Plugins)

1. Wordfence
2. UpdraftPlus
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast
4. Simple Share Buttons Adder
5. WP Super Cache
6. Contact Form 7
7. Akismet

Source: WPFreeSetup.com (11 Plugins)

1. Jetpack
2. SEO by Yoast
3. YARPP: Yet Another related post plugin
4. SEO friendly Images
5. WPTouch Mobile
6. W3 Total cache
7. WPForms
8. WP Db manager
9. WP Optimize plugin
10. Digg Digg WordPress plugin
11. WP Smush.it

Source: AuthorityLab.com (14 Plugins)

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
2. W3 Total Cache
3. Disqus
4. Google XML Sitemaps
5. EWWW Image Optimizer
6. Google Analytics by Yoast
7. Mailchimp Newsletter Signup
8. Optin Forms
9. BackWPup
10. BackupBuddy
11. WordPress Backup for Dropbox
12. Wordfence
13. Sucuri Security
14. Brute Force Login Protection

Source: 80proofdigital.com (25 Plugins)

1. WP Super Cache
2. W3 Total Cache
3. WP Optimize Speed By xTraffic
4. Use Google Libraries
5. P3 Plugin Performance Profiler
6. EWWW Image Optimizer
7. Yoast SEO
8. All in one SEO
9. Google XML Sitemaps
10. XML Sitemap & Google News feeds
11. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
12. Google Video Sitemap Feed
13. YouTube Video Sitemap generator
14. Udinra All Image Sitemap
15. Image Sitemap
16. SEO Smart Link
17. WP Optimize By xTraffic
18. 404 To 301 Re-direct
19. Broken Link Checker
20. Jetpack
21. Sucuri Security
22. Wordfence Security
23. SumoMe
24. Shareaholic
25. AddToAny Share Buttons

Source: LionsShareDigital.com (20 Plugins)

1. WooCommerce – Excelling eCommerce
2. Memberships for WooCommerce
3. Stripe
4. Duplicate Post
5. HTML SEO Sitemap
6. Google Analytics Yoast
7. WP Smush.it
8. Redirection
9. Manage WP
10. Gravity Forms
11. Imsanity
12. Bloom
13. Monarch
14. Business Profile
15. Google Places Reviews
16. Yelp Widget Pro
17. Event Calendar Pro
18. Cue Music Player
19. WP Rocket
20. Foo Gallery

Source: BloggingWizard.com (22 Plugins)

1. W3 Total Cache
2. WP Super Cache
3. iThemes Security
4. Wordfence
5. BackupBuddy
6. BackWPup
7. Redirection
8. All in One SEO Pack
9. Yoast SEO
10. Google Analyticator
11. Clicky by Yoast
12. Edit Flow
13. Editorial Calendar
14. Thrive Leads
15. SumoMe
16. LeadPages
17. OptimizePress
18. Thrive Content Builder
19. Social Warfare
20. Share by SumoMe
21. Akismet
22. Disqus

Source: OnBlastBlog.com (20 Plugins)

1. Scroll Triggered Box
2. W3 Total Cache
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast
4. Disqus Comments
5. The Hello Bar
6. WP Super Cache
7. 404 Redirection
8. Buffer
9. Jetpack
10. BackupBuddy
11. Edit Flow
12. LeadPages
13. Thrive Content Builder
14. Share by Sumo Me
15. Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (G.A.S.P)
16. Wordfence
17. WP Rocket
18. GetResponse
19. Hybrid Connect
20. iThemes Security

Source: TipsAndTricks-hq.com (34 Plugins)

* I ignored the section for e-commerce. Too specific for my need.

1. Akismet
2. BackUpWordPress
3. All in One SEO Pack
4. WordPress SEO by Yoast
5. Google XML Sitemaps
6. All In One WP Security & Firewall
7. BulletProof Security
8. Wordfence Security
9. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
10. Google Analytics
11. WP Statistics
12. W3 Total Cache
13. FeedBurner FeedSmith
14. Add to Any: Subscribe Button
15. Category Specific RSS Menu
16. Contact Form 7
17. Contact Form
18. Gravity Forms
19. Social Media and Share Icons
20. Share This
21. Fat Free WordPress Social Share Buttons Plugin
22. Simple Google Adsense insertion
23. Google Adsense Plugin
24. Google Adsense
25. NextGen Gallery
26. Simple Photo Gallery
27. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
28. Download Monitor
29. Executable PHP Widget
30. Crayon Syntax Highlighter
31. Mailpoet Newsletters
32. WP-Polls
33. EWWW Image Optimizer
34. WP Video Lightbox

Step 2 – Crunching The Numbers

Whew!

That was a total of 16 sources, based on the top Google search results which should hopefully reflect a decent mix of relevance and authority. There were a few results I chose not to use because they were too niche-specific or overly self-promotional.

Total votes counted: 291

Total number of plugins mentioned: 149

And The Top Recommended Plugins for 2016 Are…

1. Yoast SEO – 15 Votes

2. W3 Total Cache – 13 Votes

3. Wordfence – 7 votes

4. Sucuri – 7 votes

Places 5 through 8:
Jetpack, SumoMe, Smush & BackupBuddy – 6 votes each.

Places 9 through 14:
Akismet, Disqus, OptimizeSpeed, Redirection, Updraft Plus, XML Sitemap – 5 votes each

Step 3 – Considering The Top Choices

Googling and counting is relatively easy. Now for some actual thinking.

My criteria for plugins were security, a strong community of users, significant benefit to my blogs and ease of removal (in case there are any issues with them in the future).

All of these plugins seem to have a fairly large number of users. Which means it’s unlikely they will be discontinued in the coming years. Fingers crossed, if the original developers decide to move on, there will be others taking their place.

I’m not a security expert so I can’t check the code of any of these plugins for security loopholes. That’s ok though. They are used by so many bloggers that we can assume there are actual coders and security experts among them. Security issues will hopefully be addressed with quick patches, should they arise.

The actual benefit to the blog is an interesting point. I think the full list brings up a few aspects that appear to be lacking in the original WordPress installation. Looks like most bloggers think there’s a real need for the following –

1. Tighter security – Wordfence and Sucuri appear to be the leaders. All in all, almost every list included a security plugin. Jetpack offers security features as well.

2. Improved SEO – Yoast, yoast, yoast… everyone wants it, apparently. A few other SEO plugins have been mentioned as well.

3. Faster loading times – W3 Cache is the hands-down winner but other plugins have been mentioned abundantly, so this seems to be a very real issue.

4. Automatic backups – WordPress has a built-in backup option of sorts. It generates an XML file which you can download to your own computer. Backups are important and I know it’s something I’m not too good about. I think a backup plugin may be a good idea for me.

5. Social Sharing – Can’t have a post without those social share buttons, now can we. SumoMe seems to be the popular choice. Jetpack offers social shares too.

Step 4 – Decision Time

And the winners are…

1. Jetpack –
It’s a semi-official plugin, designed and maintained by the same people that maintain WordPress. This means it’s here to stay for the very long run and shouldn’t have any compatibility issues during software upgrades. It offers so many features, there’s going to be a learning curve but hopefully it’s worth it.

2. Yoast –
Because 15 out of 16 bloggers can’t be all wrong. Am I giving in to peer pressure? Maybe. And maybe that’s not a bad idea.

3. W3 Total Cache –

There is always a need for speed. Always. Looks like everyone agrees WordPress needs a cache plugin to do that and this one got the most votes.

4. Wordfence –

I’ve had plenty of blogs hacked in the past (unmaintained ones), so I can appreciate the need. There was a tie between Sucuri and Wordfence in the voting stage, so I checked their stats in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Sucuri:
Compatible up to: 4.4.3
Last Updated: 5 months ago
Active Installs: 200,000+

Wordfence:
Compatible up to: 4.5.2
Last Updated: 3 weeks ago
Active Installs: 1+ million

That pretty much sealed the deal. If I’m going to install a security plugin, I want it to be kept up-to-date and at the very least updated with the latest WP version. Wordfence it is.

5. BackupBuddy –

I need some help with backups. This one had six votes and came in first out of several backup plugins, so I’ll give it a try. Backups are completely “behind the scenes” and should not affect the way users experience my blogs so if I ever want to stop using BackupBuddy, it wouldn’t be a problem.

6. Akismet –

Yes. Good old Akismet. I know what happens when you don’t use it. I’m not seeing any other anti-spam plugin so I can only assume that the bloggers who didn’t mention just take it for granted. After all, you don’t actually have to install Akismet. It’s the one plug-in important enough to be pre-installed for you.

So, that’s it. These will be my five plugins of choice for the new and renewed projects. All’s that left to do is actually install them, tweak and see how they do. In fact, I’m going to turn this into a little experiment.

Step 5 – Testing

Right now I have 7 wordpress blogs in various niches. All of them with aged domains and 100% original content. For the past couple of months I’ve been updating all of them with 4-10 posts a month but I’ve done zero promotion. As in zero. They get hardly any traffic as a result.

Akismet is already installed on all of them and it’s staying there. Wordfence shouldn’t have any affect on traffic, so why not install it on all blogs. The same goes for BackupBuddy.

The other three plugins: Yoast SEO, Jetpack and W3 Total Cache are supposed to have at least some effect on traffic, so I’m going to install them only on three of my blogs. The other three will remain yoast-less, jetpack-less and W3TC-less.

I’m not ready to reveal my portfolio at this point so I’ll just say what my blogs are about, along with their current stats for the past 30 days. That’s May 14th, 2016-June 12th 2016.

#1 A blog sharing photos of cats along with some cat care tips.
Uniques: 118 Pageviews: 165

#2 A shopping blog about cat-related products.
Uniques: 147 Pageviews: 212

#3 A shopping blog about gifts for kids.
Uniques: 33 Pageviews: 44

#4 A shopping & advice blog about home decor.
Uniques: 345 Pageviews: 519.

#5 A travel blog with trip reports, tips and destination guides.
Uniques: 144 Pageviews: 144 (weird, I know. I suspect there may have been reporting issues with this one for a few days).

#6 A blog about my current web publishing projects. Oh, wait, I can actually reveal the domain name in this case. It’s Yeys.com.
Uniques: 181 Pageviews: 263

I’m going to install the plugins on blogs #2, #4 and #6. In one month from now, we’ll see if these three benefit in terms of traffic.

My task for July 13th is to review the plugins I chose and check whether there’s a significant effect to adding the three additional plugins: Yoast SEO, Jetpack and W3 Total Cache.

Are WordPress Plugins Really Worth The Hassle?

“What hassle?” I hear you asking.

They’re wordpress plugins! They’re the best and awesomest thing in the world. They are every blogger’s little helpers, optimizing for SEO, enabling social sharing, cleaning the office room and making us coffee. They should really be called “WordPress house-elves” and not plugins. Why would anyone think they’re a hassle?

Hold on, my little possums and heed the words of the old and wise.

WordPress is awesome. I can’t argue with that. A huge community of talented programmers keep this software brilliantly effective and safe to use. Kudos to them.

Plugins are a whole different story.

1. WordPress plugins are a security risk.

WordPress itself is checked scrutinized by so many coders, it’s as safe as any software can be. Once in a blue moon a potential security loophole is discovered and patched right away with a new update.

As for plugins – or themes for that matter – there are simply too many of them out there. The current count on the official WP plugin directory stands at 45,128. Do you honestly think all of them are safe to use?

Even the more popular ones are susceptible to security loopholes, hacks and leaks, let alone plugins that only ever had 400 installs. What’s more, a plugin that’s safe today, can be unsafe tomorrow. I’m not just talking about an existing vulnerability that’s suddenly discovered. I’m talking about how changes in PHP versions or in WordPress itself can render formerly safe plugins harmful.

I know. Plugin authors should keep them up to date and patch them up as software versions change. Emphasis being on “should”. I have seen so many plugins deserted as their developers moved on to other projects. Can you be sure your plugin will be fully secure a year from now? How about five years?

2. Wordpress plugins can die on you.

And by die on you, I mean stop working altogether. The result can be a mere loss of some insignificant “behind the scenes” function, or it could mean your site crashes. It can also be anything in between, like those sites you see where a couple of lines in PHP code suddenly pop up somewhere on the page to cheerfully announce an error.

If you’re lucky, you can just deactivate the plugin or maybe switch to a competing product. Sometimes the plugin is so deeply embedded in your content, there’s not much you can do.

Plugins die all the time as talented coders move on to the next project. Especially free plugins. I can’t blame the developers. There must be a point where they tire of providing free support to so many people. That’s when you see the dreaded “this plugin is no longer supported” message on their page. From their on, you’re at the mercy of the WordPress and PHP gods. Prepare plenty of black goats to be sacrificed at midnight with every software upgrade to make sure your plugin keeps functioning.

Case in point, I once used a plugin that made it easy for me to include internal links in my posts. All I had to do was insert a certain type of bracket and presto! that word became a link going back to the page or post with the same name. It was really cool, until it stopped working and I had no choice but to go back and edit my posts to correct them.

3. There’s a learning curve to plugins.

Installation is usually (not always) a breeze but then you have to learn how to use your shiny new toy. It can take a while to figure everything out and get the results you want. Sometimes it’s worth the time invested. Other times, not so much.

4. If it’s important, it’ll get incorporated into WordPress.

I’ve been using WordPress since it was launched, back in 2003/4. Someday I’m going to take you down memory lane with me and show you what it looked like back then. Bare bones WordPress. No bells, no whistles. You could blog with it and that’s about it (and boy, that was a LOT back then!)

Then came themes and plugins. People had needs and they hacked WordPress by creating add-ons and plugins. They needed something, coded to meet that need and released that piece of code to the community. If it caught on, that meant the need was shared by many users. Often, the concept would then be absorbed into Wordpress to become an integral part of the original software. In turn, this would make the plugin redundant.

Which is wonderful, in a sense. Plugins are a way of moving the platform forward and we all benefit from that. The problem with being an early adopter is having to deal with switching from using the plugin into using the equivalent new WordPress feature. Sometimes it’s easy, other times it’s not.

The bottom line is –
One does not simply install a wordpress plugin

No, one certainly doesn’t. Or shouldn’t.

It’s tempting, I know. WordPress makes finding plugins and installing them waaay too easy. Given half an hour, you can end up with 10-20 plugins that promise to make your blog a shiny beautiful fast lean money-making machine.

Then time passes. WordPress moves on to bigger and better versions and you get stuck with a bunch of plugins that are no longer supported and are just a security breaches waiting to happen. That’s if they don’t crash your blog first.

So, no plugins for me?

No plugins for you!

Let’s not get carried away here.

Plugins can be immensely important. There’s a reason why two of them are included with every WordPress installation. Just try running a blog without activating your Akismet plugin. Trust me, been there, tried that, deleted the blog altogether.

And as for Hello Dolly, well you just gotta have Hello Dolly. You simply must have the tune swirling in your head whenever you launch a new blog. If you don’t, your blog is bound to fail. I don’t activate it though, the title is enough to get me buzzing along.

If nothing else, you can be sure that both Akismet and the much-needed Hello Dolly plugins will always be supported and have updates. Well worth sticking to those two.

But what about other WordPress plugins?

Sigh. This is where things get complicated. For the past five years I’ve been busy with a major online project unrelated to blogging. Yes, I’ve always had a few blogs on the side. I occasionally rarely updated them with new posts here and there. I managed to keep their WordPress installation up-to-date (mainly thanks to auto updates) and that’s about it. If a plugin turned sour, I would just delete it and let the blog suffer the consequences.

Now I’m back. I’m embarking on a fresh blogging adventure. Part of it might turn out to be this very blog although my focus will likely be on one or two other new blogs. As part of my refresher course, I am now looking into WordPress plugins, the ones where the benefits outweigh the risks. My current plan is to visit those lists of “Must Have Plugins for 2016” and see what other bloggers recommend.

Will soon share my conclusions in a follow-up post. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why And How I Make Content Plans For All My Blogs (Except For This One!)

“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

I spent a couple of hours today planning future posts for three of my blogs. The plans runs for 1-2 months (depending on the blog).

why and how to create a blog content plan

Why create a content plan for a blog?

The answer isn’t just a simple, “Why not?”

After all, creating a content plan is time-consuming. I’ll share my method in a minute, but for now suffice to say it takes me about an hour to prepare a solid content plan for one month. That’s an hour I could have been spending on actually writing content and promoting it.

There are several reasons why I choose to lay out my content plan in advance –

1. Applying my content strategy: Balancing types of content. 

Depending on the topic of the blog, I have various types of content items. They can be recipe posts, inspirational quotes, blog links roundups or photo posts.

A content plan helps me put turn these into action items, spacing them out as needed and making sure the overall balance is what I wanted to have on that particular blog.

2. Applying my content strategy: Staying on theme.

With some of my websites I have monthly themes. A content plan helps me focus on that month’s theme, making sure I have enough on-theme content items of different types.

3. Avoiding Writer’s Block.

Writer’s block is rarely a problem for me. However, most days it’s just easier to get my next writing topic from a pre-made task list. It allows me to start hitting the keyboard right away.

4. Getting my research done in time.

If I know I need to research a topic in advance, I can schedule the research as a separate task for the previous week or even longer. If it’s a difficult topic requiring reaching out to experts or surveying my readers, planning ahead is key.

5. Buying illustration photos in bulk.

I like to get the bulk discount when buying stock photos. Knowing in advance what I might be needing on several websites helps me do that.

Jotting down ideas.

When I get an idea for a post, however vague it may be, I put it down in writing. I keep a document for each one of my websites/blogs where I just type in all of these ideas. Good, bad, stupid, awesome, it doesn’t matter. I just write them down and then forget about them.

Ideas for posts can show up at odd times and strange places, so if I’m not by my desk, I use my phone to enter them. If I don’t even have my phone by me, well, in that case, it must be the apocalypse. Forget about blogging, I need to focus on zombie-smashing techniques instead.

Planning to plan: Setting up a content planning task

I try to plan my content for at least 2 months in advance. For some websites, it’s a quarterly plan. Whatever the time span, I have a task scheduled every two or three months, respectively, to start working on the next content plan ahead of time.

The spreadsheet.

I use a Google Docs spreadsheet for my content plans. I don’t think the medium is that important and I guess you could even use a notebook. I like the digital format because it allows me to easily shift things around as I work. I use the same spreadsheet for all content plans, one tab per website. I hide rows of past months so they don’t distract me.

Each item on my plan takes up one row in the spreadsheet. There are 3 columns: Title, Date and Post Type.

A sample content plan spreadsheet

The Title

I deliberately use a temporary title. It’s short and descriptive and not yet optimized for readers or search engines. It’s just there to provide me with the general scope of the piece.

The Date

I have different publication frequencies for each website/blog.  Usually it’s 2-3 times a week. For one blog it’s currently a daily post schedule and for another it’s weekly posts.

Post Type

These are often niche-specific. They can be things like product reviews, trip reports, recipes or special reports. They can be recurrent weekly or monthly features, or maybe a type of content I want to have occasionally and not on a specific schedule.

Populating the spreadsheet

The first column to be populated is the date column. I may mark special dates there (holidays etc.) Otherwise, I simply insert publication dates, as per the blog’s updating frequency.

Next, it’s the “post type” column. If there are weekly features that are supposed to be attached to specific dates, I enter them. Next, I fill in the remaining cells in the column with the types of posts I want to have on the blog. My focus in this stage is on balancing various types of posts. I tend to throw in more “easy” posts and fewer posts that need a lot of research, always keeping what the readers want and need in mind.

Only then do I start filling in the actual items, or title drafts. First, I use my notes where I have stored my post ideas. When I run out of these (it certainly can happen), I focus on the type of content I want and that helps me come up with more ideas. If I use content-themes for the site, I draw on these and beef up the plan with on-theme pieces, sorted out by the different post types.

I continue the process until the table if all filled up.

A good plan forms the basis for changes.

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”

My content plans are anything but perfect. That’s one reason why I blurred the actual titles in the image above. These temporary title drafts are not meant for public consumption. They’re a tool I use and as long as I understand myself, they work 😉

I write my content plans knowing they’re flexible.

I do mostly stick to the plans. I use them to create my monthly, weekly and daily task lists. I’d be lost without them.

That said, I will sometimes add, change, swap, mix and delete items. If a topic comes up which I need to address in a timely manner (like a news item), one of the existing items will be re-shuffled to the following available slot. And if I start writing about a topic and absolutely hate the result, then the post gets trashed and I pull up the next one from the list, again reshuffling things around a little.  After all, that’s one huge benefit independent bloggers have: We don’t have to report back to anyone and we’ll only be held accountable by ourselves and our readers.

My content plans achieve their goals, even if I implement them in a somewhat flexible way. They help me create a good balance of content on my blogs and churn out quality content quickly and efficiently.

So far, I haven’t made a content plan for this blog. I’m sure it shows too. I basically use Yeys.com as an outlet for my own notes and thougths about work processes, so for now, I just blog on whatever comes to mind. I hope you’ll still find this post helpful!

Recipes for blogging success: Do they really work?

Do you want my own recipe for generating a monthly five-figure income from a blog? Maybe add that to your growing book of recipes for blogging success?

My recipes for blogging success

I’m not giving it away. Sorry.

For one thing, I’m not making that much money.  My sites make as much, as it happens, but my actual profits only hit the 5-figure range (upper, I’m happy to say) on an annual basis.

Also, I don’t have a recipe to share. The thing is, I don’t think anyone has. If anyone had a foolproof recipe, they would hire 10 people and replicate everything to make 10 times as much. At least, that’s what I would have done.

I guess there are such people and they have done that. And that’s how they eventually got to making five-figures a month from blogging. I don’t think that’s what you were looking for when looking into recipes for blogging success, were you?

Here’s what I can share though, based on my own experience.

  1. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and the ability to do this for the long haul. And by long haul, I mean years. Blogging about what you love can help achieve that.
  2. You have to absolutely love web publishing. This includes every aspect of it: from deciding on a project, buying domain names, dealing with hosting, writing top-notch content and marketing. If any of these daunt (or bore) you, this isn’t for you.
    You absolutely can outsource some of these functions but  you need to have a good grasp of them to know what works and what doesn’t.Which brings me to my next point –
  3. You need to be able to write with a passion. I don’t believe you absolutely have to be an expert on the field. Being an expert helps in cutting down on research time and gives your writing an authoritative tone.  That said, there’s nothing wrong with investing some time to research a topic and with using a more hesitant, explorative tone. Either way, unless you care about what you write about, it’s going to be so much harder to keep writing for years on end.
  4. There are no formulas for successful web publishing. There are ideas, tips and techniques. However, it will always take some amount of creativity on your part to implement them in a way that works for you, your niche, your style and personality.

Don’t get me wrong, “How I made/make money” kind of posts are fun to read. They can be anything from educational to inspirational. Just read them with the understanding that what worked for that particular blogger, in his or her niche, with their own interests and abilities, may not necessarily work for you.

I suggest you read these posts skeptically, not because I think that  these bloggers  are lying. I never just assume people are lying (though obviously, some may be). I just don’t think their own way of making things happen will necessarily work for you. And that’s totally fine, of course.

My own “Dos and Don’ts” for reading this type of posts are –

Do –

  • Let their enthusiasm motivate you. Motivation is always a good thing!
  • Assess how close that blogger is to what you’re trying to do. Is he or she blogging in the same niche or vertical? Does their style of blogging resemble yours? The closer the affinity, there’s a better chance you can actually learn from them.
  • Scan their techniques and tips for those golden nuggets which may be pertinent to your own style of blogging, even if it’s a different niche altogether.
  • Engage in a positive dialogue with the blogger. Networking is always good, and leaving your paw mark in the comment link (if such a field is available) never hurts either. This isn’t SEO per se (the links are nofollow) but just a nice friendly way to get yourself known in the community.

Don’t –

  • Ignore the date. Found an inspirational blog post? Check the date. That magic-bullet SEO trick mentioned may no longer be relevant and in fact could hurt your blog.
  • Copy their techniques or blindly follow any step-by-step recipes. Web publishing simply doesn’t work like that.
  • Spam. Don’t just leave them a comment that says “Great blog post, thank you!”. You’ll look like a bot. If you have something to say, say it. Otherwise, move along.
  • Be rude or objectionable in your comments. Constructive criticism is fine but if you do leave a comment keep it polite.

I hope you find this blog post helpful even though it doesn’t provide you with a recipe. I do believe recipes are for cooking and baking – not blogging – sorry! And honestly, even when I use a recipe for baking, you can count on some tweaking on my part 😉

Looking for a “How I made a lot of money from my blog” post?

Do you want my own recipe for generating a monthly five-figure income from a blog?

makemoneyonlinerecipe

I’m not giving it away. Sorry.

For one thing, I’m not making that much money.  My sites make as much, as it happens, but my actual profits only hit the 5-figure range (upper, I’m happy to say) on an annual basis.

Also, I don’t have a recipe to share. The thing is, I don’t think anyone has one. If anyone had a foolproof recipe, they would hire 10 people and replicate everything to make 10 times as much. At least, that’s what I would have done.

Here’s what I can share though.

  1. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and the ability to do this for the long haul. And by long haul, I mean years.
  2. You have to absolutely love web publishing. This includes everything, from deciding on a project, buying domain names, dealing with hosting, writing top-notch content and marketing. If any of these daunt (or bore) you, this isn’t for you. You absolutely can outsource some of these functions but  you need to have a good grasp of them to know what works and what doesn’t. Which brings me to my next point –
  3. You need to be able to write with a passion. I don’t believe you absolutely have to be an expert on the field. Being an expert helps in cutting down on research time and gives your writing an authoritative tone.  That said, there’s nothing wrong with investing some time to research a topic and with using a more hesitant, explorative tone. Either way, unless you care about what you write about, it’s going to be so much harder to keep writing for years on end.
  4. There are no formulas for successful web publishing. There are ideas, tips and techniques. However, it will always take some amount of creativity on your part to implement them in a way that works for you, your niche, style and personality.

Don’t get me wrong, “How I made/make money” kind of posts are fun to read. They can be anything from educational to inspirational. Just read them with the understanding that what worked for that particular blogger, in his or her niche, with their own interests and abilities, may not necessarily work for you.

I suggest you read these posts skeptically, not because I think that blogger is lying. I never just assume people are lying (though obviously, some may). I just don’t think their own way of making things happen will necessarily work for you. And that’s totally fine, of course.

My own “Dos and Don’ts” for reading this type of posts are –

Do –

  • Let their enthusiasm motivate you. Motivation is always a good thing!
  • Assess how close that blogger is to what you’re trying to do. Is he or she blogging in the same niche or vertical? Does their style of blogging resemble yours? The closer the affinity, there’s a better chance you can actually learn from them.
  • Scan their techniques and tips for those golden nuggets which may be pertinent to your own style of blogging, even if it’s a different niche altogether. Write them down somewhere for future reference.
  • Engage in a positive dialogue with the blogger. Networking is always good, and leaving your paw mark in the comment link (if such a field is available) never hurts either. This isn’t SEO per se (the links are nofollow) but just a nice friendly way to get yourself known in the community.

Don’t –

  • Ignore the date. Found an inspirational blog post? Check the date. That magic-bullet SEO trick mentioned may no longer be relevant and in fact could hurt your blog.
  • Copy their techniques or blindly follow any step-by-step recipes. Web publishing simply doesn’t work like that.
  • Spam. Don’t just leave them a comment that says “Great blog post, thank you!”. You’ll look like a bot. If you have something to say, say it. Otherwise, move along.
  • Be rude or objectionable in your comments. Constructive criticism is fine but if you do leave a comment keep it polite.

I hope you find this blog post helpful even though it doesn’t provide you with a recipe. I do believe recipes are for cooking and baking – not blogging – sorry! And honestly, even when I use a recipe for baking, you can count on some tweaking on my part 😉