Category

Blogging

Category

What it’s Like With a Public Blog

It’s a been a few months since I’ve rebranded to October Rain and publicly and actively shared my blog again. If you didn’t know, shortly after high school, I created a new blog and kept it “off the grid”, meaning, I did my best to hide it from my peers. I didn’t promote it by any means – hell, I didn’t even mention to people that I was a blogger.

I kept it so private, that the only way you could’ve found me was stalking my online friends or following me as I moved through multiple URL changes.

(But, a few did find me, lol). 

I kept that blog “off the grid” for years! It wasn’t until last year when I shared little bits of my blog on Snapchat and casually mentioning to my peers that I blogged. Since then, the idea of having a “public blog” grew stronger and stronger until I talked to a few friends and ultimately decided to have a public blog again – thus, the rebranding to October Rain. 

So, what’s it like having a public blog again? It’s embarrassing and shy.

What it's Like With a Public Blog

It’s not like I’m trash talking anyone that  I know of or posting explicit things. For me, blogging has been such a big secret hobby of mine and for the first time ever in years, I’m sharing my hobby with everyone again. It was different having a public blog back in high school because I wasn’t thinking of the consequences or cared much about it. I didn’t think people were even reading my blog because I never got any engagement on it, nor was I promoting it (I mean, did Facebook and Twitter even existed back then – wait, Facebook did but not Blogging Groups). 

I feel exposed to the world for all my peers to read my thoughts and opinions. Including those who I normally wouldn’t share my thoughts with. I’m a personal blogger and always will be so I enjoy sharing fun adventures and deep thoughts I have at 3am. I mean, I can always stop posting about my life and transition into a lifestyle blogger, but then I get shy about that.

Who am I to “professionally” blog about travelling when I haven’t seen the world yet? Or talk about finances like I’m sitting on my ass raking in bank? I classify myself as a lifestyle blogger because I do blog about these topics but from time to time, and it’s from personal experiences. But I don’t want to blog about it full time like I know all there is to know about that topic. 

I’m also very shy about my blog still. I don’t know why. I want to hide it from my peers (but not the world) because I fear that peers would judge me about my interests and what I say online. It’s like… do I want my peers to know how frugal I really am? Do they think my money saving tips is stupid and lame? The other day, my boyfriend was telling our circle of friends about my blog and what it’s called, and what I do, etc. My face wasn’t growing hot but I squirmed a bit because I’m being exposed as a blogger.

I guess, after years of hiding and secretly blogging (hell, even my ex-boyfriend didn’t even know I blogged), it’s like everyone is slowly discovering my secret naughty hobby. It’s like hiding your darkest secret for the longest time and having it exposed to the world. There’s nothing bad about blogging or being labelled a blogger – it’s almost like a norm nowadays. 

When I re-launched as October Rain, I was also a bit scared and paranoid. You may have noticed that I blog under my middle name now, Claire. The reason being, I’m paranoid and conscious of my online footprint. I am aware that employers and people do Google you and back then, even if you didn’t search my full name and searched “[first name] + Vancouver”, I’m on the Google results. I hated it. I got so paranoid that I was so convinced that employers didn’t schedule any interviews with me because they found my blog and/or Twitter. I told my friends that if I was to have a public blog, I’d definitely be using my middle name, whether or not I do land on Google searches. 

But, I’m getting used to it. I promote my blog actively and am no longer as shy as I was before to talk about my blog. Maybe I won’t openly mention it and if it comes up in a conversation, I’ll go with the flow, but it’s something I’m happy about it. It’s an online journal of my life and articles where people do find helpful. I’m so happy to have discovered blogging back in 6th grade and it’s one of the only hobbies that I’ve truly invested in time after time. 

 

 

Reaching The Broadest Audience: What All Bloggers Need To Know

All bloggers will need to drive as much traffic as possible to their websites if they want to make a living from advertising revenue. Most people choose to use Google Adsense these days, but there are lots of other platforms you might consider. Regardless of your selection, this article will highlight some of the best ways to ensure you attract the broadest audience possible to your site. Follow some of these tips, and you might manage to go full-time sooner than you think!

Woman on laptop
Image

Write content with mass appeal

Firstly, you need to take a moment to think about the content you upload to your WordPress blog. Ideally, you’ll want to ensure that all posts have mass appeal. So, try to avoid niche topics as much as possible and write articles that will connect with people from all walks of life. That said, there are some profitable niches in which you might consider focusing your efforts. Some of the best ones right now include:

  • Finance
  • Investments
  • Business

If you don’t have any expertise in those areas; it’s sensible to keep your posts as broad as possible. Maybe you could focus on national news or something similar?

Translate your content into different languages

If you want to connect with people all over the world; you’ll have to pay experts to translate your blog posts and internet content. Specialists from traductionslrr.ca say lots of bloggers do that these days. The service is not expensive if you shop around, and you can usually get the translated version of your article online within only a couple of weeks. You can then promote your site to people living in other countries, and that will increase your potential traffic. Do not make the mistake of pasting your articles into Google translate and hoping for the best. That tool isn’t the most reliable thing in the world for lengthy passages of text.

Laptop Computer
Image

Lastly, you’ll need to open social media accounts with your blog so you can reach people on platforms like Facebook.ca and Twitter. You can also use the paid advertising tools to ensure your articles get as much attention as possible. Try to post at least one status update every single day, and engage with your audience by replying to comments, etc. Also, use emotional language and ask questions that require a response. Every time someone “comments” or “likes” your status, some of their friends will see the action. So, your posts will reach further, and you should grow your audience faster than you otherwise would have done.

Now you know how to reach the broadest audience possible with your blog; nothing should stand in your way. It’s just a case of creating a plan and setting the wheels in motion. There is always more to learn, and that is why you should take a look at some other posts on this site before clicking away. If you want to learn everything there is to know about blogging; there is no better place to uncover the best information. Enjoy!

Why WordPress Is Great For Bloggers

Why WordPress Is Great For Bloggers
Image

WordPress is the most popular blogging format in the world. Over 20% of websites on the internet are powered by this giant. But why is it so popular?

The beauty about wordpress is that it allows anyone to become a blogger within 10 minutes. You can choose between two versions of wordpress: .org and .com. .Org is the most popular in terms of professional websites as it give you the control to alter the code, add plugins and really play around with the layout to make it your own .Com is a simplified version which is great for the wider audience who don’t possess the computer skills, as it talks you through every step of creating a website and allows you to choose from a whole host of set themes. You can edit parts of the theme to suit you and the process is a little easier than on .org.

One of the biggest benefits of using wordpress is that it is free when you start out. If you don’t have the money to be paying for expensive hosting and someone to build you a website, you can create one yourself for free on this site. You can find WordPress tips all over the web which help you as you start out, and the navigation is pretty simple.

You are able to choose from hundreds of themes, both paid and free options are available, and you can really get creative with the website you decide to create. There are options or wedding photographers who want to share their portfolio, for restaurants or cafes who want to show off their food and menus, and of course for bloggers who want to share stories about life, beauty and everything else in between.


There are a few different types of theme you can choose on WordPress, and the first is to create a static website which will allow you to constantly update the information on your landing pages t keep your audience up to date with the business. The big advantage to creating your static website with WordPress is that it enables your website to rank higher in SEO due to the plugins within WordPress and the way they write their code. This is a great help for any personal brand or business because it means that your content is much less likely to become lost in a sea of other people’s content.

 

Perhaps one of the more beneficial parts of creating your site with WordPress instead of a site such as Blogger is the reputation which comes with it. WordPress is recognised and trusted throughout the whole world. By simply having your website associated with WordPress means that people will trust you more as a brand.

 

After you have gain some traction on WordPress as far as daily views you receive, you can monetize your website. This means that you can add in advertising to your website and gain money from advertising things on your website.This is the main way bloggers will make money.

 

*Please note that this post may have affiliate or collaborative links. Any products listed or reviews and opinions are as always of my own and true to how I feel. For PR and media enquiries please email claireoctoberrain@hotmail.com

Why I Left Self-Hosting WP for Free WP (Je Suis Jessica)

If I was a regular reader, I’d slap myself for changing my blog… again.

Yes, not even a year into my self hosted blog (and after preaching about moving to self hosted), I realized it’s not for me. I had a first year promo rate, but after the first year, I would be paying nearly $100/year just to maintain my blog.

And, as someone that’s cutting back on literally everything in life to save money for my move to New Zealand, $100/year is expensive compared to a free service and a yearly domain fee.

I don’t make money from my blog. I don’t consider myself a professional blogger so all the fancy SEO plug ins, and expensive themes weren’t for me. I can go months without blogging and it wouldn’t matter to me. But to know I cough up $100/year and not blog sort of eats at me.

I wanted to go back to Blogger but the process of moving my posts from WordPress to Blogger was a hassle and lately, my life doesn’t have time for stuff like that. So I chose to go back to WordPress which works out for the best and caters to what I need. It is a bit more expensive ($17 more) than Blogger, but I think I fell in love with WordPress over Blogger 😛

That being said, I also needed a new URL for WordPress. Exactly, Jess was taken but I wanted to have my name in my URL since it is a personal blog. I wanted French in my URL as well and next thing I knew, I came up with Je Suis Jessica. After claiming that URL, I realized there’s also Je Suis Charlie which in no means, did I “copy” their name. As bad as it sound, Je Suis Charlie was no where near my mind until I realized how ‘familiar’ my URL sounded.

Soooo, this is the last change for my blog, I promise. Even I’m getting tired of brainstorming new URLs and moving my blog back and forth!

5 Things to Consider About WordPress (from a casual blogger'sperspective)

Here’s the thing. I can go on and on about the lovely features of WordPress and why you should transfer your blog to self hosted WP but you’ve probably read 10 million articles gushing about the same features.

Admittedly, I was attracted to self hosted WordPress for the features. I jumped the gun without thinking much of the other things that comes with the WordPress package. I don’t regret it. Blogging is a huge passion of mine so I chose to invest in WordPress.

I am a casual blogger. I’m a full time student so blogging isn’t my job. I don’t earn money off my blog (aside from $0.01 from my Google Adsenses) or ten thousand sample products. I don’t speak fluent HTML or CSS – I Google all the codes I need to customize the blog I want. I don’t have fancy web designing/graphics skills. And I don’t have 10k followers. Blogging is a passion of mine but I do it casually and for myself.

If you classify yourself as a “casual blogger” , here’s five things to consider when switching over to self hosted WordPress.

1. The Cost

If your blog isn’t aimed at generating an income of some sort, then your hobby for blogging just got slightly more expensive. You can host a WP blog without breaking the bank but compared to free Blogger or just a yearly fee to have a domain name, the cost is something to consider about self hosted WP.

On top of the hosting fees, you should consider the price of WordPress themes. They’re much more expensive than a traditional Blogger template. For example, an average Blogger theme from a well known designer can cost about $150 (entire custom design) where as an entire WP theme can run you up about $500! Aside from premium themes, some best or custom plug-ins can cost you some money too.

Back on Blogger, I paid about $10/year. $10 for my domain name and I designed my own Blogger template. Since switching over to WordPress, my expenses have gone up to $60/year plus any additional themes I would buy in the future (which is unlikely).

2. HTML/CSS… and PHP

You’ve read that WP is extremely customizable and yes, it’s true… if you know how to design a blog. I know the basic of HTML and CSS but don’t talk to me about PHP. I didn’t think it’d be THIS bad but yes, I would say you have to know more than the basics of coding for WP if you want to tweak your theme a bit.

Don’t get me wrong. Most themes on WP have a simple customizer feature that allows you to edit basic stuff such as site title, widget placements and logo/banner. But if you want to center your entire menu or adjust the width of your blog, you’ll have to go into your theme’s files and start tweaking it a bit. It get’s confusing when your basic knowledge of HTML is bolding, underlining, etc.

3. Strict Designs

Adding to the ability to speak fluent codes, if you’re like me and sort of just want a template for your blog and be able to upload a lovely banner, tweak the colours to match your banner and call it day… well, that’ll be tough.

Back on Blogger, I used the Simple Template. I made a new banner every now and then and edit the colours and fonts on my blog to everything looks nice. On WP, very few themes that I came across takes headers. Many of them are aimed towards businesses so they allow you to upload a 150×150 but not your fancy 875×346 banner. If it does, it might look distorted. The best way is to design a header that is based on the recommended pixel sizes that theme suggests. Sometimes it works out but most of the time it’s just testing your creativity habits.

To fully customize your blog, you’ll have to pay for premium themes or learn to code/design a WP blog.

4. Limited Support

Remember how you can easily Google your question and it’d give fool proof tutorials/CSS codes for Blogger to get your blog the way you want it to look? You can’t do that with WP (unless it’s with an extremely popular WP theme such as twentytweleve or twentyeleven). Sure you can send an e-mail to your theme’s designer but most free themes would not have support. And while there is a chance that someone is asking the same question, there’s a high chance that the solution won’t work with your theme for many reasons.

There are so many sites that are dedicated to customizing Blogger and tips and tricks for Bloggers. Those sites rarely exist for WP and if they do, sometimes it gets confusing because all themes are different!

5. Viruses and Deleted Sites

Plugins? Super fun! I love checking out the plugins page and see which ones I can download. Same with themes! If I’m not in the mood to make a new header, I can easily transform the blog into a nicely coded site without any graphics (and without doing the work :P). So, if you’re not gifted in Photoshop, don’t worry – WordPress has SO many beautiful themes that are text based only that gives your blog a different and beautiful look.

That being said, the more you download for your blog, the higher the chances of getting a virus. There’s also risks of hackers targeting WordPress blogs. There’s a chance of deleting your entire blog with a push of a button. You can easily mess up your blog if you mistakenly delete part of a code. You can corrupt your blog if you accidentally delete a file.

It’s scary.

But WordPress is so fun and so amazing! Despite my limitations, I don’t regret switching over to WordPress. I’m currently taking coding classes online to help with my blog. I’m learning more about WordPress everyday. The list of features that everyone raves about is definitely worth it even with the tedious backstage work.

Blogging Tips: Switching over to Disqus Commenting System

Me, sharing blogging tips?!

HA!

I have been blogging for quite a while, however, I don’t do it on a professional level. So, being a personal blogger, I don’t give much thought to my blog as others would do – you know, scheduling posts, purchasing a beautiful template, Facebook Page, etc.

I did, however, switched over from the native Blogger comment system to Disqus Commenting System a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it!

What exactly is Disqus? It’s an alternative commenting method used by many, many, many, popular websites, especially news sites. It’s easily installable (literally, just a click or so to install to Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, etc.), and it’s highly customizable in colours and settings.

A lot of you will also be pleased that Disqus also drives additional traffic and activity to your blog!

I don’t know why I never installed Disqus the very moment I created my blog, but nonetheless, I hope you guys make the switch and marvel at how awesome this commenting system is.

Pros:

  • Easy 1-2-3 installation to Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. You can also choose to install it manually if your site isn’t supported by their auto-installation.
  • Customizable in colours to match your template and in settings (profanity settings, moderating, etc).
  • Syncs with your existing/new/future Blogger comments. So, if you chose to install it today, all your comments will be synced with Disqus, and any new/future comments left while having Disqus installed is synced with Blogger (so, if you ever choose to uninstall it, your comments won’t disappear).
  • Transferable. I’m not too sure on this feature but the site said you can transfer your entire Disqus to a new website if you wish.
  • E-mail notifications when someone replies to you. This is the key feature to driving additional activity and traffic to your blog. Before installing Disqus, I’ll reply to comments but nobody seems to come back and hold a conversation. Since using Disqus, I’ve seen a big improvement in activity on my blog. And, I also get notifications when other people reply to my comments which is nice too! 
  • Many log-in options! Your readers can leave a comment with their Disqus account, Twitter, FB, or even the regular, Name/E-Mail method.
  • Less spam! Oh my gooooodness, ever since installing Disqus, I have not received a single e-mail notification about spam comments! Sure, Blogger did a great job blocking spams but it still e-mails you when a spam comment is blocked. However, Disqus doesn’t allow any spambots whatsoever!
  • For those moderating comments, you can approve or disapprove via e-mail!

Cons:

  • When you sync comments, any threaded conversations you had with a commenter will be displayed like an individual comment. So, if you replied to Commenter A, once synced with Disqus, your reply to Commenter A will be a sole comment and not replied to anything. I assume that’ll also happen if you ever uninstalled Disqus.
  • You have to install the mobile version of Disqus manually, otherwise mobile readers will be greeted with the native Blogger comment. This aspect might be tricky for those unfamiliar with HTML.
  • Sometimes, it takes a while to load, or it might not load at all. This might be contributed from the amount of other downloads (heavy images blog), I’m not entirely sure. I’m a patient person and would click on the Reload button if Disqus doesn’t load properly, but I can’t say that for other bloggers. 

Do you have reasons to why you installed and loved Disqus? Let me know below! 😀