Now, I'm not talking about writing. That comes easy. I'm talking about the mechanics behind a blog.
So, today I share four mistakes I made as a beginning blogger (I'm sure there are lots more, but I'll cop to these for now). I hope you learn from my errors because if my boo boos can benefit anyone else in the blogosphere, that's a good thing!
- I didn't install Disqus on day one. Although I've always replied to readers' comments, it just isn't as clean and coherent if you don't use a program that threads commenting (for those not familiar with Disqus, it's a blog commenting system which you can learn more about HERE). When I did finally install Disqus, it didn't thread my old comments (there's no way it really could), so the comments on my older posts look different than my newer posts. As a stickler for uniformity, I hate that. However, I love Disqus and am so glad I finally started using it.
- I didn't know the magic piece of code that makes links open in a new window. Fortunately, Anita Nelson (aka @anitanelson) shared the line of HTML that I now use regularly. Here's what you do, look for your link in the HTML, then put target="_blank" after the URL but before the item that you're hyperlinking.
- I was too modest. When I added the tweet button, I had the option of adding "via @wordsdonewrite" in the text of the tweet. I thought it sounded too full of myself to add that, so I didn't. But what I quickly learned was that I didn't know who was tweeting my posts because I didn't see the mention in my Twitter stream. That's important to me because I like to tweet those people to say thanks. I've now added it and it allows me to better interact with those who visit my blog. (And, if you utilize the "reactions" option when you use Disqus, it will also let you know who is tweeting your post and what they're saying!)
- I moderated my comments. Comment moderation is a highly debated issue nowadays and I understand the rationale behind moderation. However, I also understand the benefits of throwing caution to the wind. I recently lifted the moderation on my comments and, although it was scary, I think it allows my blog to have life even in my absence. And, with Disqus, commenters can reply to one another and further the conversation even if I'm not online.