Fixing My Blogging Mistakes: No More WordPress.com Hosting!

Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros
Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros

I’m prepping to move to BlueHost!

When I first started this blog damn near a year ago (though I only really got into my groove in August 2014), I was a straight up noob/newb/n00b. So much so that I opted for WordPress hosting.

Will someone please think of the children?

It was a hasty move, no doubt. One that killed me the moment I realized installing WordPress plug-ins wasn’t an option. They denied me all Dikembe Mutombo-style.

Did I just show my age there? I totally showed my age there.

Sure, I found it silly that WordPress hosting didn’t allow for the installation of WordPress plug-ins, but I don’t have the time to poo poo my past decisions. “Live and learn” is what a bunch of smarter people who lived before me said. So yeah, I’m going to use that as my mantra here.

Commence learning.

With the move and possible/probable redesign of the blog coming, I want to take the opportunity to also figure out the focus of this blog. Since I started this the focus of my blog has been pretty much like my attention span: unfocused. I wrote about earning money independently, meditation, social issues, religion, veganism, and Ninja Turtles. I’ve posted spoken word pieces, book excerpts, photography, recipes, music, and a ton of podcasts.

ADD is great!

So I have an ambitious plan, one that I’m sure I’ll fail implementing. At least in the beginning. All I can do is keep trying to improve and see where I am another year from now. So here’s my crazy idea: I’m going to have a couple super-focused blogs that will be updated less frequently, but consistently nonetheless. Those posts will be reposted here along with original posts that focus mostly on positive living, creative writing, and my life experiences.

In short, I’m creating a blog network.

I’m fully aware that all signs say I’m going to face plant like a mofo trying to do this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Aim high, try hard, and I’ll at least land somewhere between failure and success.

Peace out, party people.

The Ramblings Podcast: Episode 49 – Susan Is Workin’ on Her Fitness!

rp49

The Ramblings Podcast is back and this time I have a new guest! Fitness and nutrition blogger and friend Susan Cabezas hops on the mic for the first time as we discuss healthy eating, working out, blogging, and vlogging. All topped off with a light sprinkling of rambling. Delicious. Check out Susan’s blog (http://www.workinonmyfitness.com) and her brand spanking new YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/susanjcabezas)!

Run time: 42:54

Download Here | iTunes | RSS Feed

Previously: Episode 48 – Life After Bacon

Blogging When (Almost) No One Gives a S*** about What You Have to Say

photo

I’m a blogger. I kind of feel like that’s the writer version of an attractive woman saying she’s a model. I’ve seen models at church runway shows. On YouTube, of course, because I might just spontaneously combust should I dare step into the lord’s house. Sex before marriage is still a sin, right?

Anywho, I started blogging back in May of last year, but I slacked immensely when it came to effort. I would basically post something once every two weeks, which means I was more of a guy who had a blog as opposed to an actual blogger.

I don’t know what changed, but sometime in August, I went full gusto and began blogging (and in some cases, over-blogging) consistently. I had a schedule. I started podcasting. I had recurring posts. I had… a limited audience.

Well, what in the H, E, double hockey sticks is that about? Don’t get me wrong; I largely do this because I love it. Writing is a passion of mine and I don’t think that’ll ever change. But I can’t lie, it’s a bit disheartening to put a ton of effort into something that only a small number of people enjoy. I’m only peaking at 100 visits per day, for Pete’s sake.

One.

Hundred.

And that ain’t everyday, folks.

I’ve read a ton about how to create a successful blog and, truthfully, some of those tactics work. I know because I used them. However, I prefer writing about the things that I like to write about.

Duh.

So now I’m in a bit of a kerfuffle. How do I get people to pay attention to my posts about achieving world and inner peace as much as my posts about achieving financial freedom and food photography?

Huh? Were you waiting for me to answer my own question? I have no clue how to do it; I’ve only been blogging since August! Jeez, you people have such high expectations.

I believe in doing things smartly in order to grow, but I’m going to keep writing what I want to write. Sure, I want to build an audience, but it’s going to be on my terms. I was already doing this, but it’s time to loosen the shackles a little bit and toy with ideas I never executed due to self-imposed boundaries.

No more, I say, no more!

Whew, now that I have that out of my system, allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Dre.

New Blogger Mistakes: 10 Ways to Combat Analytics Ignorance

Photo Credit: EOI Escuela de Organización Industrial
Photo Credit: EOI Escuela de Organización Industrial

How much do you really know about analytics? Are you like me where you think knowing how many views/visitors/referrals you have makes any sort of difference to your growth? Well, the old me thought that way. The new me now realizes these are just numbers and hold little to no weight on their own. After a little self-learnin’ these are some quick and dirty analytics tips to give some new bloggers an idea of how to grow their site. Hell, this is useful in general when it comes to websites.

 

  1. Your number of visitors doesn’t tell you much about how people use your site. All it tells you is how many devices hit your blog. I personally don’t find the number useful unless you’re experiencing some real growth. Not by itself anyway.
  2. Your conversion rate is what you really care about. This is the number of people who perform an action that either makes you money or has some positive effect that leads to growth. A person who reads your blog is one thing. The person who reads and signs up for your mailing list is the real gold mine. What page did he hit before he signed up? Who/what referred her? What trends do I see that lead to successful conversions. These are powerful numbers to know.
  3.  Your goals give your numbers meaning. How do you want people to visit your site? What do you want them to do? What are you trying to achieve? If you don’t aim to answer questions like these, you’ll just look at your numbers simply as “higher equals better.” Good luck making improvements with such a generic idea of growth. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake. No more!
  4. All visitors are not created equal! Man oh man, I was an idiot for not connecting this together earlier, but people interact differently on a website for a host of reasons. For example, if I found your blog because of a web search, chances are I’m just going to view the article if it’s relevant or back out pretty quickly if it doesn’t If I came across it on BlogLovin, maybe I’ll browse a bit more. Each user type might be more prone to some actions versus others. You’ll never know if you treat all visitors the same. The groups of users based on actions or tendencies are known as segments. Defining and tracking segments are CRUCIAL.
  5. Google Analytics is a great place to start, but it doesn’t end there. Clicky, for example lets you view the actions of an individual user on your blog. I might put together a list of services sometime, but here’s a link to a pretty good top 10 list (searchenginejournal.com).
  6. All actions, like visitors, are not created equal! What matters more to you, signing up for a newsletter or sharing a post via social media? Clicking an ad or visiting a link for a product you’re selling? You want to focus on stats that lead to your most valuable actions!
  7. Okay, let’s be honest here: you should be assigning value to everything. Why? Because this is analytics and everything matters. Remember, you want valuable conversions. This means everything that led to that valuable action must have a value. Search terms, types of posts, pages, referrals, and more are all up for grabs.
  8. Your stats should indicate future investments such as targeted marketing campaigns or site modifications.These investments should, of course, enhance strengths and minimize weaknesses. They should always contribute to creating more opportunities for valuable actions.
  9. Analytics also require testing. If you aren’t experimenting, you won’t know what works. See what ignites some valuable conversions and repeat to see if you can pinpoint a trend to exploit.
  10. Make your data as complex as possible. By this, I mean track as many factors and combination of factors as you can. A language can’t tell you much if you only have a few words. Analytics will reveal the language of your blog and what makes it tick. The more data you have, the more it can tell you.

Do you see how powerful this is? It may not be the most fun aspect of blogging (it certainly isn’t for me), but it’s vital for growth. Of course, not all bloggers have growth in mind. If you’re doing this for the art of writing, more power to you. I personally want to make this my living so this is definitely important to my future. I hope I helped some of you on your path.

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Not Hosting WordPress Yourself

New Blogger Mistakes: Not Hosting WordPress Yourself

When I first started my blog, I wanted it online as quickly as possible, not taking future growth into consideration. So I signed up for a blog on wordpress.com and forked over $99 just so I could use my own domain.

This is what is classically known as a noob move.

Hosting your blog on wordpress.com is a surefire way to not have your blog grow. Not in the way you’re envisioning anyway. You can’t take advantage of plugins and things like Google Analytics and ad referrals become more nigh impossible.

So my next investment is going to be a hosting plan with a different company and install WordPress myself. I almost jumped at BlueHost, but I read enough negative comments for me to do more research. Anyway, I know this sounds like such an obvious thing, but I bet many people only consider this after they’ve started.

Don’t be me. Host WordPress yourself.

Blog Update: Schedule Changes for 2015!

Photo Credit: Jon Rawlinson
Photo Credit: Jon Rawlinson

Now that 2015 is here, I figure I may as well kick off this new calendar year with some changes to my blog schedules. My first big change is The Ramblings Podcast will be once a week on Mondays now. I’m also adding a new life coaching podcast I’ll be posting on Wednesdays. This will replace the 2nd weekly episode of The Ramblings Podcast. There are other new post types, but the biggest change is 3pm ET will be used for experimental posts that may or may not become regular features Check out the full schedule below!

SUNDAY
9am ET: 
Positivity of the Week I did a horrible job of consistently posting this. I’m getting back on my game.

MONDAY
11am ET:
The Ramblings Podcast
12pm ET: Lessons from a New Self-Earner
1pm ET: Daily Opinion
2pm ET: Inspiration 101 – I just want to share things that inspire me. Inspiration is always good, right? Right.

TUESDAY
11am ET:
Vlog
12pm ET: Peek’s Picks
1pm ET: Daily Opinion
2pm ET: Spoken Word Piece

WEDNESDAY
11am ET:
Everyday Life Coach – A new podcast that lends a helping hand to anyone trying to figure out this crazy thing called life.
12pm ET: Adventures in Photography
1pm ET: Daily Opinion
2pm ET: Book Excerpt

THURSDAY
11am ET:
Vlog
12pm ET: The Dream Chaser ProjectMy girlfriend and I want to explore the world and share our lives together. These posts will track our journey to making that happen.
1pm ET: Daily Opinion
2pm ET: Essay – A long-form piece about… whatever I feel like writing!

FRIDAY
11am ET:
The Gibbler Podcast – Television podcast
12pm ET: Friday Procrastination Links – I also sucked at posting this one. Let’s give it another go!
1pm ET: Daily Opinion
2pm ET: Lesson of the Week

SATURDAY
Nothing!

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Layout Tweaks and New Post Categories

Essay: The Day I Admitted My Feelings for God

god

My parents sent me to Catholic school after I got in trouble for talking too much in class. I suppose I should be grateful; my father wanted to send me to military school instead.

Jamaican parents, amirite?

The other perk of having some old school Jamaican parents was being sent to Baptist Sunday school.

Oddly enough, they never actually baptized me. Maybe I didn’t bear the mark of original sin.

Water conservation FTW.

I remember those Sunday school classes being downright torture. I sat and listened to a woman read the BIBLE. Silence isn’t as boring as that. This isn’t knocking the holy book or anything. All I’m saying is outside of the major stories everyone knows, the Bible is a total snoozefest.

Or bats**t crazy like Deuteronomy.

Back then, I remembered being scared as hell of… er… hell. Fire and brimstone forever? Screw that. I accidentally touched a hot iron back then. I couldn’t imagine that feeling FOREVER. I’d sooner endure an eternity of Sunday school.

But make no mistake about it; I’d have to think long and hard about that one.

Continue reading “Essay: The Day I Admitted My Feelings for God”