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Blogging has a vocabulary of its own

It’s English, TimeThief, but not as I know it, not as I know It. By Guest Author, Jill who blogs at

The blogging world once was an alien world to me. When I realised that millions of people are publishing posts every day for anyone, anywhere to read I wondered if we might be heading towards some dystopian, Borg dominated future. Why do that, I wondered, and who exactly reads it anyway?

Then my children began blogging about their travel adventures. I glimpsed not only their new lives but fascinating cultures and places I’ve never visited. And I thought maybe people will be interested in our way of life in small town New Zealand. I put up a post – three photos of iconic Kiwi food. I had a title – I’d figured out that was a good idea – but no narrative. It was another eight months before I posted again.

Oh, how I struggled up the learning curve. I besieged my children with questions. And I reckon sometimes they replied in Vulcan. “Can you repeat that s-l-o-w-l-y?”  was my most frequent response to their replies. (Sometimes I probably sounded more Klingon than human but they were very patient with me.)

You see blogging has a vocabulary of its own, most of which can’t be found in any dictionary I use.

Kathryn Janeway

Kathryn Janeway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t know what a theme was, or a widget, or the difference between categories and tags, blogs and posts. And how can something be a page if it doesn’t turn? And what exactly was a splog? And that WordPress dashboard – it seemed more complicated than anything Captain Janeway faced. As for followers – the very idea was worryingly messianic.

Basically, this hands on learner was confused by the blogosphere. But, as they say about Vulcan, once you get the basics sorted its perfectly logical – mostly.

The turning point came in November 2013. I was in Bangkok during protests that eventually lead to a military coup. In the frisson of the moment I tapped a post into my cell-phone. Suddenly, I had followers and it didn’t feel too creepy. I returned home determined to learn more.

In March 2014 I discovered one cool site. TimeThief’s Nine Guides for Beginning your New Blog are a must read. Her post Relevant Anchor Text Matters taught me a lot, too.

These days I look forward to posts from my favourite bloggers and I relish the lively conversations that can occur in the comments section. I have more ideas for posts than time to write them. I’ve passed several milestones since March but the best of all, apart from writing a guest post for TimeThief!, was the day one of my children messaged me with a blogging question. I was chuffed. I wasn’t exactly assimilated, heaven forbid, but I was learning the lingo.

educationTips for beginning bloggers that will help you feel less of an alien:

First: follow and read one cool site and then
  • Sign up for the Daily Post. You’ll get writing and photography prompts, information about new themes, and lots of blogging tips.
  • Sign up for the WordPress Blogging 101 Zero to Hero workshop – it was there I finally mastered widgets.
  • Purchase the WordPress ads free upgrade, otherwise you’ll have tacky ads that distract from your content.
  • Follow TimeThief’s advice – switch on comment moderation  – it will help to protect you from the spammers.
  • Take the time to learn your way around the WordPress dashboard. In the small print right at the bottom of the page is a hyperlink to WordPress tutorials and, guess what, they have a glossary! Although it doesn’t have a definition for splog.
  • Remember, unlike the Borg, we can flick the switch. Sometimes stepping away from the computer and the net is a good idea.

Last, but by no means least, a big thank-you to TimeThief for being there, teaching me that content is king, and reminding me I don’t have to work it all out at once.

You are welcome to visit Jill’s Scene and read a small town take on the big, wide world.

Related posts:
Top 5 Site Title Tag Tips
Creating an Effective Tagline
Why About Pages are Essential
Creating an Effective Blog Description

49 thoughts on “Blogging has a vocabulary of its own

  1. Well done Jill, great accolade being invited to do a guest post. I chuckled along with reading about your growing obsession with WordPress. Remember I told you it would happen… ;)

  2. Pingback: Another blogging first – a guest post « Jill's Scene

  3. Hi Jill,
    I wanted to post this comment to let you know I appreciate you sharing your experience here and providing advice to others. I’m sorry I did not do that right away but I had so many medical appointments that I was short on time.

    • Hi Timethief – I hope the medical appointments have gone okay and that you are doing all right. Every time I visit your site I learn something new. It’s a great resource for bloggers – newbies and oldies. Contributing a guest post has been a huge privilege. Thank-you.

  4. Hooray for you! It’s an odd world but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed becoming part of the blogosphere.

  5. Great post. We all start out like that. My kids don’t blog though one is an artist and the other a photographer. Have the kids moved on from blogging like they did from FaceBook?

    I’m in the process of moving to self-hosted and looking strait up that learning curve!

    My advice to bloggers is to attend any WordPress Boot Camp in your area and look for WordPress Meet Up groups in your area. You can get lots of help at these meetings.

    • That’s good advice – There was a WP gathering here in NZ at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t find out about it until it was too late. Maybe next time …

  6. I second the no-ads upgrade. I once had a little tribute post about the Japanese earthquake ruined by an opportunistic ad selling earthquake preparedness kits. The ad was bigger than the post. And I didn’t see it right away because I normally run AdBlock. I’d completely forgotten that WP runs ads.

    • Ouch! That would have brassed me off, too!
      I hadn’t realised how distracting they were until someone showed them to me. I’d been doing exactly what Disperser describes below – visiting my blog as the author rather than checking it out as a reader.

  7. I think of all the things that can hurt a blog is a poorly thought out About page. It is so helpful in attracting readers. The About page shouldn’t just be about the blogger. It should be concerned with what the blog is about. A mission statement, so to speak.

    Just to show you what I mean, I stumbled on a blog once upon a time that looked like the chapters from a novel. I read one of the chapters and think that this is interesting. Let me check out the About page to get an idea of the scope of the thing. All that was on the About page was a couple of sentences, saying the blogger was married with two kids and a dog. “Yes, but what is your blog about?” I wanted to ask the blogger. The blogger had just lost a potential follower.

    If there is no About page, nine times out ten if there is none, I don’t follow.

    Also it is helpful to have a photograph of the blogger on the About page. People want to know if this is a real person just like me.

  8. My ‘like’ didn’t take, so . . . ‘like’

    I ditto the no-ads thing (if you can spare the money). I know a few good blogs who have ads at the bottom, and they detract from the posts themselves.

    • I had my blog for a while before I went ads free. The problem was the ads didn’t necessarily reflect the tone of my blog – some of them were for products I would never endorse voluntarily. And people from my real life who also read my blog remarked on them. So, for me, if I could only afford one upgrade, it’d be the ads- free every time. It costs $30.00.

      • Yeah, the ads are normally “targeted” meaning they take a few key words and assume what the person is writing about.

        So, for instance, if I write negatively about homeopathy, there would likely be an ad for homeopathic products at the bottom of the article.

        There are a lot of bloggers who forget ads appear at the bottom of their blog because they don’t usually see them unless they come in as a reader as opposed to coming is as the author.

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