There are several blogging platforms out there — the most frequently used and popular is Blogger, owned by Google. I blogged on Blogger for 4-1/2 years until they changed the Graphic User Interface (GUI) — the web-based platform from which a blog author manages his blog and writes his posts. In April, 2012, the GUI changed to be much more difficult to use and totally non-intuitive.
I had been thinking about switching my blog to its own domain — what some people erroneously call a website — for a while before that, but it was easy and comfortable to remain with Blogger which was working fine until “they” changed it. I like it so much when “they” make changes that “they” think are better. Not.
Anyway, those changes to Blogger’s GUI were the tipping point for me to buy the domain bootedmanblog.com, put it on a web host, install WordPress, and start blogging there. I reviewed various blog engines or platforms that would allow me to write and create my blog and decided to use WordPress. How has it been going? What have I learned?
It was quite a learning curve to switch blogging platforms. There are so many things you stumble upon that you have to do and that “they” don’t tell you about (at least directly.)
I learned that I had to install several “plugins” which are snippets of code that do various things — like affect how my blog appears to viewers, display my images, and most importantly, capture comments for evaluation and redirection as spam.
I learned very quickly that blogs hosted on WordPress are quite vulnerable to spammers, most of which are nasty little automated programs that troll the internet 24/7 and attempt to post comments with links. The links go to nefarious websites that probably would introduce malware, spyware, and kidnap your first-born. Gosh those things are awful. Plugins I use capture all of those attempted comments which at first glance, seem to be flattering and innocuous. All of that — gone, gone, gone — after I click on “bulk action — delete permanently”.
I moderate all of my comments anyway. That means that whenever a real person posts a comment, I am notified. I read it then decide whether to approve its posting or not. A great thing about WordPress comment moderation is that it also allows me to edit comments. I do not do that often, but being a stickler for the proper use of grammar, spelling, and capitalization, I may make adjustments to correct someone’s errors. (I have a strong pet peeve against using “u” for “you” and “ur” for “your” and other forms of “text-speech.”)
I learned that it is easy to avoid advertising from appearing on this blog — I refuse to get in bed with advertisers. Their paltry pittance in what they offer for revenue sharing is not worth the aggravation to my readers for exposing them to a constant barrage of ads.
A pleasant thing I learned is that the hate-mongers and homophobes don’t comment. Good. They can continue to harass gay people elsewhere; not on this blog.
I have also learned that one has much more control over a WordPress self-hosted blog. As my skills and comfort increased with self-taught coding and technical matters, I have been able to implement them, make adjustments, try new things and if they didn’t work, take them out — quickly, efficiently, and easily.
Another thing I learned is that I have to change my password often to a random “strong password.” I can tell from logs that many attacks on this blog platform are made by neer-do-wells who, if they gain access, could wreak all sorts of havoc.
I also learned, much to my delight, that this blog is indexed by the major search engines quickly. I see that various posts that I write appear in the top 10 rankings of some searches on various keywords. I knew that Blogger-hosted blogs did that, since Blogger is owned by Google and Google still is the most frequently used search engine. But I am pleased to see that Google ranks this blog well for some topics about which I write.
One last thing I learned is that it is quite risky to post photos of the joy of motorcycle riding in January, lest I get beset with a plague of locusts cast upon me by a biker buddy who lives in the Great White North. (Snow melted yet, S?) LOL!
Blogging well requires work. You have to keep up with it. Not only with new content posted frequently, but also with the behind-the-scenes maintenance, spam detection and removal, and other administrative work.
Blogging with WordPress on your own hosted domain isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is not that difficult to do. There are a lot of helpful videos, instructions, guides, and a user forum to help. Or, you can do what I do — when I encounter a problem or have a question about how to do something on this blog, I enter “WordPress xxx yyy” where “xxx yyy” is the issue about which I want to know more information. When I do that, I get a helpful result.
Thanks for reading!
Life is short: keep on bloggin’