This week the class of I am taking has covered a lot of ground and I am so thankful that I have already thought about and started some of Word Presses suggestions before I signed up for the class. The pace is fast and with all of my family health issues I have been working on the suggestions in groups. Hopefully the changes that I made were good ones and you can let me know what you think. One of the first changes the group talked about was themes and images we use as headers. I like my theme”Adventure” and the back ground that it came with “wood grain”. I have a country blog and wanted a theme that supported an outdoor country feel. I really did not want my blog to look like a term paper. I used to draw beautiful fonts and images all across the top of my term papers before turning them in ,so this was the nicest back ground I could find. WordPress needs more of these! Something with a rustic wood like barn wood would be even better! Those of us that write about homesteading, farming, country life, are usually left with just a header photo and a nice font and that is it. So I will continue to use country images in my header and I take most of the photos that in my header. I spend a lot of time taking photos that will show the season or fallow an idea I have for a post. I also changed the name of my blog slightly… It was just” Mountain Mama” but after thinking about that title and with the suggestion from a friend (thanks Lisa) and other bloggers, I did think I should include a the words, West Virginia. Since that is what I am trying to promote..so I am now West Virginia Mountain Mama. I had never really thought to much about “my brand” and this project helped me focus on what I wanted to say on my blog. I still will share my personal family stuff, but I really want this blog to reflect my passions of food, family, friends and West Virginia adventures. So no political ramblings, no reviews of books unless they are cook books, no product plugs unless it is food related… I am not much into this stuff any way but it is nice to say NO to things. We also have covered using widgets and images. I hate widgets in some ways. Yes, you need them but in general I hate programming them to work. Widgets are what you see on my side bar, my fallow buttons, my gallery,my calendar and so forth. I moved some around and added a couple of titles to a few but in general I was already happy with the ones that I was using and what they did. My personal favorite one is the About Me.com button. I am going to update that image as soon as I find time.I want to change it to a photo of me since most of my posts are about other people and food.I am sure that readers would like to see who they are reading about, commenting on, and building a relationship with. Do you agree? Then we talked about social media… the pros and cons. We covered the power of some of the social sites like Face Book, Twitter, and Reddit that they can really drive up your ratings and ad followers. I came from social media to blogging. So I have already linked my blog to Face Book. It is interesting to learn how many bloggers have FB pages just for their blog. It is a topic that I have discussed with several website owners and bloggers. How much do you really want to share over the web and Face book. Is your brand so important that you want to have more than one FB account? One for the family photos and terrible jokes and rants and one for your blog with only posts that pertain to your topic of blogging. I am on the fence with this. I have a Face book button on my side bar that allows readers to see and look at my Face Book page and I have a button at the bottom of each post so that any reader can add my blog post to their personal Face Book page if they want to. Most of my blog followers are part of my FB family already and most of them can see what I post everyday. I just take a little more time in thinking about what I put on both sites. I want readers to see things that are positive, informational, educational and fun no matter where they run into me. It is important to me to build up the world and its people not to tear them down.
We also looked at blog statistics and discussed what to look at for trends, popularity and comments. Some blogs are even setting up at calendar to publish by, making their posts on a schedule, that will NOT happen here! I am in no way promising anyone that I will be able to write on a scheduled day or time. I love to write and I have a lot of things I want to share but when that happens is when life allows it. I understand that many people need it to motivate them but I have enough stuff in my head to fill 25 more blog posts so you will see them when I have time to write it all down.I did find it interesting to learn that my most popular post was one about Markers Mark bourbon. The title is Goggled when some one searches for information about the distillery or about their bourbon. So Titles do have some influence on your views. So in the future I will see if I can use better titles to help new readers find my blog. My second best post was on how to can home-canned apple sauce. That post was a reader request and I am glad I followed through on writing it. The statistics of my blog were interesting. I did find that I had more readers on Sunday and Monday than most days so I will continue to try to post then. Over all with one year under my belt I am just happy I’am here and still writing. With the week almost over I have actually refined a few things on the blog and have add a couple of things to my “To Do” list for the weekend. I am finally starting to see a more complete image of what I want this blog about and maybe even a clearer image of myself along with it. Hope that you can keep reading along with me and let me know if their is something you love or hate about the blog so I can work on the weak spots and save the what it is that you all like. Maybe one day I will get it right! As always thank you for stopping by and helping me on this adventure. Jolynn.
This is exciting! I hope you get this moving in the direction you want it to go, but keep focused on that, as opposed to where popular wisdom would say it should go. You have a very special blog that I enjoy reading very much.
You should be so proud of yourself… you’re making so many wonderful, positive changes in something that makes you happy 🙂 The blog looks wonderful!
I just read this post (somewhat belatedly) and as a fellow blogger, find myself agreeing with your comments about the WordPress class. I think I signed up for the same one,but after getting in to it, I found myself wasting WAY to much time in the forum and found the directions for participating not working at all with my blog (I have a very specific subject – the whooping crane reintroduction program that began in Wisconsin in 2001), so much of what I felt the class was being asked to do would be a further waste of time for me I felt.
Still I think I could have learned a few things about technical issues and probably should have stuck with it. Like you, I have my head full of my own ideas, and mostly need more time, and that was n’t what the class could give! Still, all-in-all I think highly of WordPress and its many features and supportive atmosphere.
Good for you, JoLynn for having a full blogging year in !! I started in Nov 2013, and am working on it.