I Think, Therefore I Blog!

I think, therefore I blog!

I often get people asking me which blogging platform to use when starting a blog. I refer them to my Fashion Blogging 101 tutorial (which is a bit dated now, but still has a lot of good advice). I also say that I have tried and have blogs on all three: wordpress, blogger and tumblr and my preference is definitely WordPress. That’s just what I prefer though, mainly because of all of the features and customization it has to offer, but I also do like blogger and tumblr as well. I find this article comparing the two platforms, blogger and wordpress, very informative and unbiased: Blogger vs. WordPress @ ComputerWorld They were pretty fair with their comparison and didn’t bash one or the other. Once you read that, you can decide for yourself what you prefer.

Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

If you decide on wordpress, you can create a free blog on wordpress.com and start blogging right away at no extra cost or expense. However, because I wanted my own domain and hosting and wanted to be able to really customize and have ads on my blog, I decided to go the self-hosted wordpress route. I currently use GoDaddy for all of my domain and hosting (which I’m thinking about changing) but here’s an article that can help you find a good wordpress host: How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting? I also want to add that WPbeginner is one of my favorite blogs. I’ve learned so much from them!

Three WordPress Plugins I Love!

So once you have your self-hosted wordpress all setup and you start blogging, I really recommend you install and use the following three plugins. They are, in my opinion, must haves and the best plugins for wordpress bloggers!

  1. Jetpack – This plugin is a must have! It brings you so many features, especially those beloved ones you loved while using wordpress.com. You can check out the Jetpack.me website for more details but this plugin provides me with awesome statistics, free and easy to use contact forms, useful widgets, and so much more but my most favorite…the awesome social media buttons and the “like” button at the end of each post so people can like and share your posts (and my sincere thank you to all those that do)!
  2. WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache – These two plugins are supposed to speed up your load time. I am not familiar with this technology, however in the 3 years that I’ve had a self-hosted wordpress blog I’ve used both of these plugins and they both worked well for me for the most part. Except, one time something happened with W3 Total Cache and it was buggy and slowed down my whole site. I couldn’t figure out what was happening until one of the guys at my hosting place told me it’s one of my plugins. Since I disabled and removed that, my blog’s been working fine. I have a feeling I probably did something to the plugin to mess it up though, since I’m not that familiar with it so now I stick with Super Cache because it’s simple and easy for me to use. I also found a great discussion about these two on the wordpress forums a while back that you guys might find useful and informative: WP Super Cache vs W3 Total Cache.
  3. WordPress SEO by Yoast – I recently started using this I have to tell you, I am loving it. It took me a long time to understand and grasp everything, a lot of reading! But once you have it all setup and working, you’ll notice that it really makes a big difference. I learned so much from the plugin itself just by going through all of the features. I recommend reading WordPress SEO resource by yoast for an in-depth guide. I also learned a lot from Canary Beck’s posts on irez.me she did a few months back. She covered this topic well in three separate posts, you can read them all here: Search Engine Optimisation for your Blog Part 1 & Part 2 & Part 3. Part 1 and 2 are great for those that don’t understand SEO at all and need a simple “what is and how to guide”.

And a few more Plugins

Those aren’t the only plugins I use, but I do feel those are the really important ones that everyone should have. I don’t use many plugins though, I’ve been told that it’s not good to have too many plugins running as it can really slow down your site. I am currently using less than 10. Another plugin I use a lot is Akismet. However I actually switched to another plugin for spam recently but went back to Akismet as I felt it was working better. I also use a plugin for my blogroll page, lame I know, lol but I found it helps me keep it kind of orderly. And the last plugin I wanted to share but definitely not a must have is the Follow Button which lets you have that little follow button that you’ll find at the bottom right hand corner of my blog. This plugin encourages your readers to sign up to receive your blog updates via email, which I hope you guys do! :D

WordPress.com Reader

Another thing that I love about wordpress is the new reader they have implemented. If you have a wordpress.com account, this link should take you to their reader. I have linked my wordpress.org and wordpress.com accounts so now I can use the reader with ease and add and follow all of my favorite blogs on there. You can like and comment directly from the reader as well. I admit, since the sad news of Google Reader going down, I have been trying out many different readers in hopes that one will catch. These days I’m kind of liking wordpress but there are 5 or 6 others that I am also switching back and forth with. I am planning a big post about readers very soon and will tell you which one I like best and have decided to go with once I’m done all of my investigating. But for now, wordpress is definitely a good reader to try! Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like on my screen so you can get an idea.

I think that’s about everything I wanted to cover in this post. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time since I get so many questions from people who want to start blogging and are not sure how to go about it. I hope it’s not too confusing or overwhelming. If you do have any further questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll try and address them if I can.

This isn’t really a typical tutorial but I think I will add it to my tutorials page just because of all of the recommendations in platforms and plugins. Thanks for reading, I hope you found it useful!

Credits:
*Skin: –Glam Affair – Zara – India Clean RED by Aida Ewing
*Hair: >TRUTH< Elisha - chestnut by Truth Hawks
*Dress: Zaara : [Mesh] Aamani wrap dress (S) *print-sorbet* by Zaara Kohime
Furniture & Decor: A mix of [what next] The Blogger’s Office and {what next} Blogger’s Office Accessories by Winter Thorn
(click here for a raw shot of the image above)

10 thoughts on “I Think, Therefore I Blog!

  1. Thank you so much for this post. Exactly what I have been looking for to help me along the learning process. ~ Briar

  2. This is excellent information, it inspired me to go look into more options on wordpress and I also had no clue about plug ins, now I do. Thanks Strawberry :)

  3. This is really informative. Thanks for the great post!

  4. I really appreciate that you despite all the possibilities still stuck on the chronological order. I really hope that more will go back to he fastest way for the reader to get an overview of the latest posts. I leave blogs which urge me to search around in old posts which I am not interested in.

  5. Adorable pix Berry!

    I do agree on the blogging advice. Blogger was pretty good when I left it, and it’s gotten a lot stronger since then, still, I do love WordPress. Tumblr isn’t a direct head-2-head comparison for me since it’s “different.” I have a tumblr that I mostly just let our iRez.me posts feed to. Sometimes I also like Tumblr for images or links or other things that seem short for a “real” blog post.

    Like you, I like the flexibility of self-hosted WordPress. However, I’ve been learning how much can be involved in maintenance, security, and performance. No way I’ll go back, but I’m more hesitant to tell peeps they should do self-hosted now. WP.com does do a lot for you, for as little as free. If you get a lot of goodies: Domain, No WP Ads, premium theme, custom CSS, etc, you can add up to a bit of cash, but you still have a solid, fast site that you never have to maintain other than your actual content. I’ve learned that there are a number of places where you can pay cash for hosting that winds up being slower than WP.com. Since speed pretty much trumps all else online, it’s kind of crazy to pay for worse than free! :P

    Your site does seem to run pretty well on GoDaddy, which is interesting since some peeps love to bash GoDaddy. iRez is on WP Engine which is quite good. Their security can be tedious sometimes with the complex passwords and the lockout if you type it wrong too many times. But I’ve learned that if you use one of the major site building platforms: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, then bots are knocking at your door all day, every day. One quick tip, if you have a WP install and your admin account is named “admin” you should get a different admin account and delete that one. Bots keep trying passwords against “admin” all day long. If you don’t want to go thru the juggling accounts to delete an “admin” admin account, then at least be sure you have a really strong password on it.

    Yes, Becky’s posts on SEO were great! What I love about the Yoast plugin is just that it reminds you to be a better, more specific, more clear, writer! :) As a professional rambler, it encourages me to focus my posts and to be sure I’m talking specifically and clearly about whatever it is that I want to talk about. I hope that doesn’t sound silly, but I really feel like this is a plugin that’s “on your team.”

    Under your “not really essential, but I really kinda like it” category, I do love the About.me plugin. Whether you use it in your sidebar or on a page, it’s really nice to have such a slick looking author bio and with links to your various social presences. Like gravatar it’s also nice in that you update one place and it propagates to wherever else you have it. We’ve got both About.me and Gravatar on iRez, so we can have author pix & bios that are always current and don’t require anything on iRez or the author’s part.

    Last thing: your photo at your work desk is so sweet! But you know sitting is terrible for your health! I recommend a treadmill desk in both RL & SL! In RL you can make your own for not too much money. In SL I will give you one! :) It’s free on marketplace, or at least it will be as soon as I update from my now dead Magic Box! :)

  6. Thank you so much guys! I’m happy you guys like it and really hope you find it useful.

    Vaneeesa, I remember all the troubles you had with the self-hosted and I don’t blame you for not recommending it. Luckily the three years I’ve been with GoDaddy I really haven’t had any issues except for my site going down a couple times for a few minutes each time. I also do like the About.me and Gravatar plugins you have on iRez, I think they bring a lot of character to the blog, especially with so many authors. And wow, a treadmill desk! That’s pretty damn brilliant, can’t believe I never thought of it! Now I need to find one in both RL and SL! LOL

  7. Great advices, I noticed the Jet pack but was hesitant to try it (read lazy to install) but will give it a try.

    One question, you say that you have linked your “wordpress.org and wordpress.com accounts so now I can use the reader with ease and add and follow all of my favorite blogs on there”.

    How do you link them? Is it an option when you log in to the link you provide? :)

  8. Lutricia, it’s an option through the Jetpack plugin. When you install that, there’s a button on there to link them. At least that’s how I linked mine.

  9. I really loved your blog and will try these plugins in my WP.I also want to share some of the plugins that you and all the readers will find interesting.
    Squirrly Seo plugin :What impresses me is that squirrly has multiple keyword research based on competition.
    Now I know if my keyword is searched or is there a keyword my competition uses and works better.

    And I really like the Seo live assistant that tells you the right keyword density and how many words to right.
    Akismet:The best plugin for me to keep my sites spam free.
    Piwik:Most of you will aware of Google Analytics.It is same as GA but it keeps user data safe on the other hand GA compromises with our privacy.
    Worth to try

  10. OMG!! How did you miss WassUp real time analytics plugin. You would definitely want to track your visitors traffic and this plugin would help you to analyze your visitors traffic with real-time stats, charts, and a lot of chronological information.
    Rest of the list is really awesome.Thanks for sharing

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