Apr 29, 21
Blogging Tips

Updates and Plans for Blogging and Coding

       

Hey there! Missed me much? I did. Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been doing since my last post, a few updates and what’s coming next for this blog.

  • RSS feed for WordPress with Mailchimp
  • Designing images
  • Cool Plugins
  • Additions to Twenty Twenty Theme
  • Additions to Twenty Twenty One Theme
  • Finding new ways to schedule on social media
  • Making my nkotb.blog grow!

“Are You Still Alive?” A Note on WP, RSS Feeds and Mailchimp

If you received this post through my mailing list, you may have noticed it didn’t begin with an “are you still alive?” (I loved that inside joke) and also that it looks like an RSS feed one reads on… well, an RSS Feed, or through the WordPress reader!

That is because I have set up Mailchimp to grab my posts from WordPress and notify my readers.

Ergo: I don’t need to create an email campaign every time I publish a new post, and I have some extra time to play with my cats. Why didn’t I do it before, after years of blogging?

Linking WordPress’ RSS feed with Mailchimp is a great feature, but it needs a little bit of coding because:

  1. the WordPress RSS feed doesn’t grab the featured image of our post by default;
  2. the snippet from WP Beginner – which people are copying and pasting all around the blogsphere – doesn’t work (even with some tweaks)

A post on this coming soon.

Designing With Canva Pro

One of the things I used to struggle a lot was with finding the right image for a post and, moreover, with designing one from scratch.

As I mentioned in the post about changing the Hex Colors for the Twenty Twenty Theme, I used to be able to match black with white only (and there are not even colors!) BTW, did you know that? Black and white are shades; black is the absence of light, and white…, well, do the math. Focus, Laly!

Sick of losing time with my images when I should be writing content, I upgraded my Canva account and “I saw the light.” It is not only a great platform to design media (images and videos, with music!) with gorgeous templates, but it also has awesome tutorials (free ones!)

The free version is great, but the pro is game changing; seriously.

Cool Plugins for WordPress

There are a few plugins I started using and which are helping me a lot:

  • “Site Kit, by Google,” to manage Google Analytics, Ad Sense and the console in one place: our very own WordPress dashboard; hashtag super awesome!
  • “Download After Email, by MK-Scripts,” to offer freebies while increasing my mailing list (best plugin in its kind I’ve tried);
  • “BBpress,” to create a forum for my readers. It’s is a nice free option for those who want to build a private community, but it was insane to find out how to make it look good with the Twenty Twenty Theme; a post about this, is also in the schedule. (btw, a child theme is needed for this)
  • Last but not least, I switched from “WP Super Cache” to “WP Optimize” (this is a last minute addition to this post; so, hold this thought)

New Additions to the Twenty Twenty Theme

I tweaked the Twenty Twenty Theme a lot, with a Child Theme. The main changes are the following: 

  • the featured image on my posts are in a flex div with social share icons to its right
  • on the top meta of the posts: my gravatar plus links to my social networks;
  • sidebars on the right and left of the content;
  • horizontal widget areas above the footer;
  • a link to “leave a comment” way before the comment area;

I’ll write posts about all of that, as I’ll work on updating the previous posts. For instance: since the WordPress 5.4 update, the “Latest Post” block has now the option to display featured images; then, they added the possibility to make them clickable. Hashtag awesome.

Customizing the Twenty Twenty One Theme

(Since you’ve been asking) I started doing so, but I decided to finish flipping the Twenty Twenty theme as much as I can. After a year, I am still learning about the Twenty Twenty Theme and its coding is such a beauty that it makes it fun and easy to learn.

Still, I’ll create another tag to share what I’ve done so far with the “Twenty Twenty One” Theme.

New Ways To Schedule on Social Media

I used Hootsuite for a long time; the free version allows us to schedule on two social accounts (it used to offer three, until last month) and the pro version allows to use up to ten (10) accounts; but, it’s not worth it anymore, for many reasons:

  • with Twitter Business, we can schedule for free, and its very simple and easy to use;
  • Facebook has upgraded its game and now allows us to schedule for Facebook and Instagram.

To keep track of what I have scheduled, I simply created spreadsheets on Excel for all my blogs and its social accounts. Would you like a template? I think I’ll give you a template…

How to Make a Blog Grow

I won’t steal much time from you on this, even though I’ll go deeper into this topic eventually. What I suggest you to bear in mind is that:

  • up to an 80% (that’s a lot) of the traffic to my blogs come from search engines; so don’t waste your time publishing on social media like a maniac and learn how to optimize your posts for SEO; this truly matters.
  • on social media: reply to every single comment you receive; post always at the same time.

And that’s pretty much it! With those two things in mind, I increased my income three times in a few months (probably four.) It is that simple. Don’t go gaga searching for magical tutorials on this.

And…, I believe that sums it up; at least for now. I’ll be working on updating the posts, broken links and the Toolkits (which are a mess right now) 

See you soon! I’m very happy to be back.

Wear a mask, stay safe and alive!

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    1. Aww! Thank you!!
      I’m totally blushing ☺️☺️☺️
      I’m doing my best to come back next week with tuts for a child theme, by the way
      Have an awesome week and.. welcome!

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