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Why I Blog: Or, how to succeed online without knowing code

“A blog is what all websites wanted to be: it contains content of interest to a target audience and is easy to update and change.”- Anonymous

Having built many websites, I heartily second that emotion. Yet, I feel like I came into blogging late in the life of the internet. By the time I’d launched Tasting Room Confidential in 2008, this thing called social media was just beginning, and twittering became the new commenting. So in a way, my timing wasn’t bad.

I started a wine blog because I’m a writer and a bit of a wine slut, better at telling than selling. I wanted to publish as much as I could write about wine and maybe make some money. But most of all, I wanted perks. That’s why I blog.

With the decline of print media, many bloggers are now recognized as journalists. Wine bloggers get schmoozed by the wine business in the same way Wine Spectator writers were in the 1990s. That’s not just because of our mind-blowing store of knowledge or our vast epicurean experience, but because of our medium. Glossy magazines end up in recycling bins. Blog posts live forever on the internet. Which writer would you choose to pour for?

WordPress vs Blogspot

I’d heard that WordPress was the platform of choice, but initially I was put off by my own inability to understand it and download it, so I turned to the pre-Google Blogspot instead. Blogspot, now Blogger, was my training wheels for a couple years and it was great. For a while.

Eventually, I became bored and wanted more funtionality, like unlimited pages, multiple sidebars, and ever-increasing widgets. So, I changed my hosting, got WordPress uploaded to my browser, and it was love at first post.

I have found that WordPress is much like wine. You can never know everything about it, because it’s constantly changing. What I dig most is how a WordPress theme can look like a website while behaving like a blog. That’s why it’s called a blogsite.

Blog + Website = Blogsite

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) which, according to Wikipedia, is the “collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment.”

Since my conversion to WordPress and while gaining a Master Certificate of Internet Marketing, I’ve converted websites to blogsites for musicians, winemakers, and business people who have no intention of posting stories regularly.  They just want the functionality of email aggregating, commenting, calendar updating, and connecting to social media sites. So, you don’t have to be a writer or a blogger to have a blogsite.

But if you are a writer and want to put your work out there, WordPress is definitely the way to go.

Right now, I’m working with the West End Writers Workshop to create a blogsite to allow members to critique their writing on line. Using the WordPress User interface, each member becomes a designated Author with their own ID and Password to give them access to update their own page with new writing. When members post an alert and a link on the Home page, the Subscribe2 plugin sends an email to all members. When they put their critiques in the Comments, those too are automatically emailed to members.

WordPress has allowed WEWW to become a virtual writing workshop.

Why I blog more

But don’t just take my word on WordPress. Read this WordPress review at PC Magazine to learn more before making up your mind which blog platform to use.

And happy blogging!

 

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4 Responses to Why I Blog: Or, how to succeed online without knowing code

  1. Kelly June 30, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Hey Marikane

    Great post. I’m happy that you switched to WordPress because, like you said, there are endless possibilities of how you can style your website between the different themes offered and the tons of widgets. Blogs are very different from websites simply because websites only give information, whereas blogs offer opinions and voices as well. Blogs are a great way to connect with your audience. Recently I launched a website – http://www.whyiblog.com – to serve as a platform where bloggers could share why they blog and read others. If you want check it out and maybe even submit something! Hope the wine is satisfying your taste buds!

  2. Mari Kane June 30, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Thanks Kelly. You are so right about blogging. Good luck with your new blog!

  3. ruth kozak September 29, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Mari, I’m thinking of starting a WordPress blog as I worked on that system for the Vancouver Guide. I’ll definitely be contacting you for advice and help when I do. I want to change my travel blog as well as setting up one specifically for my novel.

  4. gomari September 29, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    That’s great Ruth. Call me when you need me. It’s a great system.
    M

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