Get your bookmarking finger ready – lots of blogging resources ahead.
I received a care package from the WordPress.com team a few weeks ago after I guest hosted a writing challenge for The Daily Post. In that package was a book: The Year Without Pants, the cover of which our children thought was hilarious. I put aside whatever I was reading at the time and read Berkun’s story cover to cover. In it, he writes about his year at WordPress.com during which, as the title suggests, he worked remotely and had no need for pants.
This book made me want to work for WordPress.
(And when I told our kids why the book was called The Year Without Pants – because Automatticians work from home and therefore don’t need pants – they wanted me to work for WordPress too).
In addition to making me want to work for Automattic, the company that makes WordPress.com possible, this book also opened my eyes to how powerful WordPress is as a blogging platform, not just because of the tools, themes, and continual upgrades it provides, but because of the culture it cultivates. The WordPress community is vast – users produce about 44.5 million new posts and 56.7 million new comments each month (from WordPress.com Stats) – and the folks who work for WordPress, as Berkun describes in his book, are constantly striving to provide tools for bloggers to improve and become the best we can be.
The editorial team’s efforts include writing and photography challenges to spur users to posting, free Ebooks covering Photography 101, Writing Prompts, and How to Grow Your Traffic and Build Your Blog, essays on the craft of writing, and the course I am currently enrolled in – Blogging 201: Branding, Growth, and Traffic.
In my two years here on WordPress.com I have read many articles that I knew would help me hone my blogging skills, but at the time they pinged my inbox, I was not ready to process their information. Now that I feel comfortable in my blogging skin – enough so that I’m no longer focused solely on writing but also on crafting a user-friendly, easily navigable resource on my new Andrea Reads America blog – I am digging deeper into the tools WordPress provides. And despite my advice to you to warm up your bookmarking finger, I decided that instead of bookmarking (because I never go back and look at my bookmarks), I would list the resources I plan to dig into for Andrea Reads America (and possibly Butterfly Mind) here.
- It’s about Time: On Editorial Calendars (and Why You Might Need One)
- Going Serial: The Power of Intervals
- Digging In the Dashboard, Part II: Features for Longform Post
- Five Elements For Your Front Page
- Make a Great First Impression with a Homepage
- Custom Menus
After two years of blogging on WordPress.com, these are the elements that I keep coming back to each time I find myself wanting to tailor my sites. Over the next few weeks, as I work towards achieving the goals I set for myself in the debut Blogging 201 assignment, I plan to dogear – and ultimately implement – the pages listed above. I hope you find them helpful too.
Do you have any go-to articles that helped you get your blog just the way you like it? Please share if you do!