Category:

Blogging

blogging, is blogging dead?

Is blogging dead? A conversation with a fellow blogger in which she mentioned that blogging was dead has stuck with me over the past few days. They say Mommy blogging is on its way out and the blogging market is over-saturated. Some bloggers literally recoil with disdain if you refer to them as a “mommy blogger” as if you’ve intentionally insulted them.

I don’t think blogging is dead at all but I do think that there are varying degrees of success in blogging, just like in anything else and some are definitely written better than others, some tell better stories or are more interesting. I read blogs for different reasons; humor, well-written stories, relateability, interests and to learn how to do something but what keeps me coming back are the people behind the blogs. If I like the person, I tend to love the writing because I am invested in what they have to say.

I came to blogging late in the game; my girls were 2 and 4. I’ve been at this consistently for almost 5 years. Honestly, I had no idea what blogging was before I started my own blog and I only did so because I wanted to build my online presence for my writing portfolio. I was too exhausted to have started when the girls were babies. I could hardly find the time to shower, never mind write about my adventures in motherhood.

I started my blog at a point in my life when I was a mother. I was a writer who had children so the term never offended me but there was no way that I was going to let that moniker limit what I was going to write about. After all, it was my only “me” space. I wish I had started my blog when I was single and dating but then it would have been slightly x-rated and it never would have survived the transition to motherhood. You all would have all been, “You raise your kids with that past?” It would have been like the Sid Vicious chronicles.

I don’t think blogging is dead or dying but growing and evolving. I am getting more inquiries than ever to write for various brands and publications. I think what is more likely happening is that people are starting blogs with either unrealistic goals or no clear direction and then finding themselves bored or disheartened because they never achieved any level of “success” and quitting. But success is relative.

If you are going into blogging with the expectation of making a lot of money…back away from the keyboard now because unless it is all about the money and you are willing to sell your soul to the SEO gods, you want no part of this world besides no one wants to read that mess. If success is building community, telling your story and creative fulfillment than I say write your heart out. Open up those veins and bleed all over your blog because if you write it without filter, readers will find you. If you are a writer and you crave a constant creative outlet and you want to be acknowledged as a writer, blogging is a great springboard to getting your writing out there. Blogging has made it possible for me to make my living doing something I love. I don’t think blogging is dead but I think that blogging is being redefined.

When I started blogging, the community was filled with other bloggers who were doing exactly the same thing; trying to survive motherhood and navigate the muddy waters that lie between who we once were with are who we were becoming. Blogging was about human contact; not SEO, traffic and no one ever considered how viral something would be as a qualification whether or not to write a post. We clung to one another for dear life. We needed and wanted the companionship with other women and men who understood what it was like to go from a career to spending our days with tiny people who spoke a foreign language. The shared loneliness forged a bond between us all.

We visited one another’s blogs, we commented, we were invested and then as time went on the kids got older, we found ourselves parlaying our blog into paid work and then no one had time to comment anymore. It became about sharing and liking and tweeting. We wanted our fellow bloggers to know that we were still there but now we had deadlines and after school activities and ambassadorships and press trips and we needed to maintain our own blogs. Blogging is not dead. It is simply growing beyond what we thought it could once be.

New bloggers are entering the space every day. The difference is not that new bloggers are not coming, or that blogging is dead, it is that we bloggers who have been at it for a while have changed and evolved and we are looking for the next step in our blogging career but no longer have the time to engage like we once did. If we want to maintain connections and not become obsolete in the blogging world, we need to engage. Blogging can’t be an unrequited relationship.

Writing is how I process life. I can’t quit blogging. I won’t quit blogging because I still want those connections and need that creative outlet. Blogging has become more than just words on a screen to me. It’s become part of who I am.

What do you think, is blogging dead? What would make you stop blogging?

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blog, blogging, 2014, New Year

Discombobulated. Exhausted. What time is it? What day is it? Wow! I am in the throes of one of the worst Christmas hangovers I’ve ever experienced. It’s outrageous. My poor blog has suffered and fallen to the wayside of my priorities. With all the moments saturated in holiday joy and togetherness, sitting down to write about it seemed to feel like it might spoil the magic. I wanted to live it not write about it and that is what I did and it was magnificent.

On December 14th the Nutcracker ended and then I played the most intensive game of catch up that I’ve ever had the misfortune to take part in. My blogging has been shit because I had so many obligations that I needed to get done. Then Christmas came and I have purposely been spending time with my girls and the Big Guy. I am like a damn quality time camel, I am trying to suck it all up while we are in this holiday bubble, before people start going back to school and work, before deadlines are mounting and the out-of-control-ness of life takes hold once again.

I do want to get back to blogging like I did in the beginning before I had to worry about who was or wasn’t reading. I’m forgetting that my mom, mother-in-law and Homeland security have all been known to frequent my page. I want to blog like no one is reading once again. I want to comment and read blogs. I want to know what’s going on outside my bubble. I want people to give me their perspective on what I write even if they disagree. I want to have long, drawn out conversations in 140 characters. I want to make new friends online. I want to hug the necks of all those who have taken the time to engage. I want quality to matter over quantity. I want content to be king again. I don’t want to worry about fucking SEO, my “numbers” or how much to charge. I want to write what I feel and say what I mean and not give a damn.

I have a list of goals for my life, the blog and my family (by the way, I always have a list of goals not just on the brink of a New Year. I am a chronic list maker, if you are one too, I am sure that you have a list of goals at all times too. Go ahead, flip through your phone, notebook or journal, I’ll wait). I want to be better and yet, I want to be who I am; loud and proud and free of over-thinking. I don’t want to worry about other people’s judgment or care what they think about what I have to say. I want to blog like no one is reading. I want to live like there is no tomorrow and I want to dance like no one is watching.

Life is too short to do anything else. So this year, I have my list of things that I want to accomplish. Most are things that I do already, some are things I need to remind myself to do and others I have completely forgotten or given up on but I like a challenge so on my list they remain. 2013 was good to me, better than 2012, but I want to blow the roof off of 2014, in so many ways. Mostly, I want to be better, love harder and live fully. I want to mommy with compassion and patience, I want to be more present in my life and more passionate in my marriage. I want to give 110% to the things that matter and most of all, I want to be happy with myself with no regrets.

I wish all of you an abundance of love, peace in your heart and success in your every endeavor. Be brave, blog like no one is reading and live like each day is a new beginning of your story. Embrace it with enthusiasm and wonder, because each day is a chance to rewrite your story. Each moment is redemption and salvation. Don’t plan for how you want to live your life…just live, right this moment; every minute of every single day for the rest of your life.

Wishing you all the happiest New Year filled with moments that take your breath away!

I am serious about wanting to read and comment of blogs and I am serious about more conversations on Twitter and I really want to have conversations and share on FB not just read and like links like its a job. I want to look forward to hearing what you have to say. Let’s do this. Let’s bring it back.Let’s blog like no one is reading…like it’s 2009.

Leave your blog url, twitter handle or FB page in the comments and I will check you out. Here’s to 2014!

What’s your #1 goal for 2014?

 

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babble top 100, reader's choice, blogging

They like me, they really, really like me! These are the words running through my head as I read the email that I had been selected as one of Babble’s top 100 bloggers of 2013 reader’s choice in the Latina category.

I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years and in that time, I’ve come to know and love a lot of bloggers. I know it’s cliché but you ladies have become my true tribe. You’ve seen me through some of the best and worst days of my life and some of you are like sisters to me, even though we’ve never met. I know it’s genuine because those of you who I have met in person, it was like seeing an old friend not meeting someone for the very first time. Many of you are on my speed dial. I love you broads. Blogging is about so much more than just tapping away at a keyboard; it is sharing our stories, our lives with other people. For me, it’s about opening up and being real.

Friday, Babble announced it’s top 100 bloggers of the year. It wasn’t just mom bloggers this year but spanned 10 different niches. I was chosen as the reader’s choice Latina blogger and I am honored. I’ve been sharing my life, my children, my successes and failures with you all in a very honest way over the years and that is scary. To be acknowledged for that, was surprising because I usually feel like I am writing for an audience of one…myself.

Honestly, I was shocked. I am not the most popular blogger on the Internet, I don’t have the outrageous top tier numbers nor do I write about what everyone wants to read. I am honest and sometimes abrasive. I know I piss people off. I am the Throat Punch Thursday girl, for God’s sake. I am a loose canon sometimes who writes without a filter and that is not exactly attractive to some people. I am rough around the edges, so to be chosen by Babble was flattering but to be the reader’s choice was humbling.

I have seen so many of my talented friends receive this award in the past years and I have always been happy for them; ecstatic! Because, lets face it, we bloggers are the book nerds, introverted, quirky and deep types. We’ve spent our entire lives afraid that people will figure out who we really are and yet we bravely write it out and share it on our sites. We make ourselves vulnerable by exposing ourselves through our writing. This is why I love my blogger friends so much. Our blogs are the one place in life where I feel like we are all seeing one another’s true selves. That means something to me.

Anyways, I was excited about this award because honestly, I am never nominated or win anything. Congratulations came pouring in from my blogger friends around the globe. Some of you made me cry with your too kind words. It felt great and then I began reading the flippant comments on Facebook about how meaningless the Top 100 was. How it was “stupid”, how no one cared about these bloggers, how no one wanted to scroll through these writer’s life stories, how it was bullshit and all the winners were not very good bloggers. It took the wind out of my sails a bit. It tarnished it.

I know the award means nothing really; there’s no new job, money, trophy or car involved. My life won’t change because Babble has given me this award. But for someone who’s stayed true in her writing, to who she is, being chosen by the readers as their choice was something. It is validation that my fellow bloggers appreciate my writing, respect me enough to choose me to represent them and that somebody else reads what I say besides my mom.

I am proud to announce that I am one of Babble’s Top 100 bloggers; Latina Reader’s choice and next year, when you win, I will be genuinely happy for you because you deserve it and I am happy when my friends succeed. I am sorry if you don’t like those who were chosen on this year’s list. But mostly, I feel sorry for those who were belittling the list ( and in effect the winners) because it would suck to be that jaded and cynical. Thank you all so much for the very sweet and kind words over the past few days. They mean more than you will ever know and thank you Babble for selecting me to be on this list. But most of all, thank all of you who read me because without you I’d still be writing to an audience of one.

 

babble top 100, award, reader's choice

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trolls, blogging, internet troll, haters

It’s wordless Wednesday and I am hard at work meeting deadlines so no time to write here but I came across this diddy and I had to share it because I know many of you bloggers can relate. It spoke to me and it will now be on repeat whenever I encounter a grumpy old troll. I know we’ve all had our fair share of “sexually aggressive,racist, homophobic, mysogynistic, cowardly, illiterate, wastes of human skin” trolls who love to spew hate whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or our blogs usually for absolutely no reason at all.

Thank you beautiful stranger, your comments count.

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rise of the real, how to blog, blogger, blogging, daddy bloggers, women's rights

Bloggers are full of shit. Some of them anyways. I’ve recently noticed a trend among a few select bloggers who specifically go against the grain just to stir the pot. I am not bashing male bloggers, some of my favorite people on the Internet are dad bloggers but there are a few who have been hitting a nerve. It’s like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern had a devil baby who is a pathological liar. You know who I’m talking about. Bloggers are story tellers, some truth, some fiction and then sometimes a little bit of creative license (bullshitting if you will) mixed in just to keep things interesting.

I not saying that they post on the occasional controversial topic. We all do that. These particular “bloggers” are all drama, all the time. They’re so full of shit, I’m not even sure if they know the difference between what’s real and what’s made up anymore. It’s exhausting just reading. I can’t imagine how taxing it must be to actually be the one trying to keep all that shit straight. Controversial things happen and we have opinions that is natural and hey, if we’re being honest, it’s not being a troll to throw your name in the hat for consideration by the almighty Google. What I am referring to is the intentional and habitual abuse of salacious titles and creating controversy where there is none just for the sheer joy of pissing people off and increasing traffic. Stop fanning the flames of the mommy war or any war for that matter. Matt Walsh I’m looking at you.

We’ve all fallen prey to these sort of blog posts. It either turns out to be the old bait and switch or the post is so outlandish that you think your head might explode Scanners style while reading it, all while assuming that you must be getting punked. Surely, this is not intended to be taken seriously. When did the guy next door turn into a rabid Bill O’Reilly? Maybe he took some bath salts or got a bad batch of Krokodil before sitting down to type, either way, this dude is a little bit batshit crazy.

Look, I don’t mind a little creative license but fuck is any of it true anymore? Is everything just part of the “storyline” , added for effect? Stop superimposing yourself into the “mommy wars”, you don’t belong there. You are not a mommy. Stop creating controversy. We all know it’s bullshit and if you are going to keep writing it, for the love of God, man, can you give us a disclaimer that reads that this piece is fiction? I mean, at least do us the courtesy of not pretending that we are stupid and please stop writing press releases about it. It’s nothing personal guys, I just wish we could get something with a little more meat to it. Give me some of your truth.

It’s like when you are pissed at your sister, you can call her on her bullshit but nobody else better say a word? Well, it’s sort of like that. We women live as women and we may not walk in everyone’s shoes but at least we share the plumbing to have an inkling of what’s going on with other women, men do not; at least not from the firsthand perspective. Men are allowed to have an opinion about anything they want but if you don’t have breasts, a uterus, a vagina and clitoris,

I don’t care what you think I should do with mine because you have no point of personal reference.

*** I am only talking about ME, you are welcome to weigh in on your wives, daughters and loved ones.

Don’t tell me how I should feel about breastfeeding! Don’t tell me whether or not I should have a home birth or one at the hospital. Do NOT even try to give an opinion about whether my labor should be medicated or not. I don’t need your feelings on abortion, transvaginal ultrasounds, date rape, miscarriage, stay-at home, work-at-home or work-out-of-the-home. I don’t care what your opinion is about my breast size, breast augmentation or how, when, why I get pregnant.  I don’t need you to weigh in on what size my ass should be or how often I should be want sex. I don’t need you to intervene on our behalf to other women in the mommy wars. I’ve got it covered. I don’t need you to be my shining knight in this area. I have my husband for that. I don’t need you to tell me that I shouldn’t experience mommy guilt or worry about whether or not my perfect balancing act of helicopter mom and free-range mom are coming dangerously close to falling completely uncrunchy. I don’t need you to tell me how hard being a mother is, I know and I certainly don’t need any commentary from you on how I should feel or behave as a mother, me and my uterus got it covered.Thanks.

If you really want to contribute to the conversation be a more interested husband, engaged father, committed boyfriend. Worry about you. Treat women like people, not china on the highest shelf in the cabinet. Go commiserate with your fellow penis people. Just write about something real that you actually have experience with and if that includes miscarriage, abortion, breasts, stay-at-home parenting, work-at-home parenting or whatever else that may include go for it. But leave the stupid controversy on topics you have no experience with to someone better equipped to understand the situation.

End rant.

Has anyone else noticed this happening? What happens when the blogging veil comes down and you realize that the blogger you used to love is full of shit?

***Update, those of you who know me know that I am not a feminist, angry bitter person and I don’t mind sharing traffic so, per the advice of many dad bloggers, I added the links to those full-of-shit bloggers that I was referring to so you can all know I am not speaking to the general population. In fact, I even linked to a couple of my favorite dad bloggers just so you know they rock. You who have read me before today know that the Big Guy, my husband,  is my favorite person in the world and he is involved in every facet of parenting our children and he is my trusted confidant in all things in life. He gives me his honest opinion about everything because I respect what he thinks and he is usually my voice of reason and when it is something that he cannot personally relate to..like how it feels to give birth or labor for 13 hours or have your body fail you in a pregnancy, he is there to support me and reassure me that it will all be alright, as I am for him. I’m really not the C U Next Thursday, you all believe me to be.

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blogging for dummies

Have you gotten your copy of Blog Design for Dummies, yet? I have and it has become a permanent resource fixture on my desk since first getting it. It is a great reference and I love to check my design ideas against what the professionals suggest. I like that instant gratification of thumbing through a checklist by a trusted professional in the field.

My friend, Melissa Culbertson, of MomComm, has written and published the amazing new book, Blog Design for Dummies. Talk about the keys to the bloggy kingdom.Many of you are already aware of who Melissa is but if not, she is the awesome blogger that offers honest blog critiques that provides fabulous feedback so that you can take your blog to the next level. Whether you are a veteran blogger like myself or brand spanking new, Melissa Culbertson is the blog guru that you want to follow. Her wisdom and experience allows her to teach you how to make your blog the best version of itself in a few simple of steps.

I’ve taken her Content Brew course which offer daily lessons and tips for improving your blogging experience from content scheduling to developing engaging and thoughtful prompts to write about, as well as, her do-it-yourself blog critique e-book which I must admit that I purchased the first day it was available. She’s always provided tools for her fellow bloggers to succeed. She is a giver with a lot of blog wisdom. Now, she has written this new book, Blog Design for Dummies and it is all the advice you would ever need to make your blog design succeed. It doesn’t get much better than honest advice earned over years of experience.

The average blogger doesn’t always have the experience with design or coding to design a blog, but that doesn’t mean they have to have a design that looks unprofessional  either. The simple truth is that if your blog looks unkempt or to busy or all over the place, no one will stay to read. It’s like having a messy house or being the cat ladya nd wondering why no one wants to come over for girl’s night. Blog Design for Dummies is an easy-to-understand guide. Before you know it, it you will have the tools to establish a creative, aesthetically memorable blog that looks professional and everyone will want to hang around and read. As a long-time blogger, I can tell you that your blog design doesn’t have to cost a million dollars but there are a few simple rules that you need to follow and Melissa’s book will help you get there.

Blog Design for Dummies:

  • Provides the tools you need to understand what makes a successful blog from a design standpoint.
  • Teaches you CSS coding that can be used to create an effective blog design.
  • Aids you in making informed design decisions regarding colors, fonts, and imagery.
  • Places special emphasis on providing a site that is easy to use and navigate.

Blog Design For Dummies will allow you to have creative control of your blog. I can tell you after years of blogging, there is nothing harder than trying to communicate a design idea to a web designer without feeling like a nag and bugging the crap out of them. I am lucky, my web designer is my husband so I don’t need to worry about being charged every time I want to change something. Of course, it’s no fun telling my husband that I need him to change this and that, oh yeah, and that too. It’s hard to feel in control when every time you want to change your design you have to count on someone else to understand your vision and duplicate that on your site. With Blog Design for Dummies you will learn to create an effective blog design, apply design principles that make your site appealing and easy to use and you will learn to work with basic CSS and HTML. I love it because it’s helped me do some of my changes on my own and that is very beneficial to my relationship with my husband.

With Blog Design for Dummies you will make your blog standout with easy-to-use design techniques. This book will give you a checklist of what makes a aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate website design-wise. Blog Design by Dummies will help you keep your blog current and help you to improve readability.

My personal opinion is that Blog Design for Dummies is the must have book for anyone who blogs, veteran or newbie, or anyone who is thinking of starting a blog because it will help you make informed decisions about what works and what doesn’t in a blog design. As bloggers, we write so people will read but if you don’t build an easy to use and smart looking blog, readers might come but they won’t stay.

Go buy it now! You can get your very own copy here.

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BlogHer, Tracy Morrison, Erin Margolin, Jenni Chiu, Nicole Morgan, Deborah Cruz

As you might remember, for about a month and especially the week prior to my first ever BlogHer, I was quite the hot mess mentally. I was overthinking everything. I wasn’t necessarily nervous about going to the conference and being a newbie because I am not a newbie. I have been blogging for over 4 years and I was mostly having some anxiety about whether or not I would live up to what people were expecting. I know it sounds so high schoolish when I say it out loud. It is. High school is exactly what the anticipation of my first BlogHer felt like. Luckily, it was nothing like that.

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BlogHer13

This is me, the first night of BlogHer13!

I am lucky because I have the good fortune of knowing a lot of people online and even more fortunate that they extended invitations to me to hang out in person. I will always be forever grateful for Tracy Beckerman for inviting me to a dinner on Wednesday night with a wonderful group of men and women that are not only funny, they are some of the most wickedly down-to-earth, awesomely humble rock stars I have ever met.

BlogHer

I was afraid that even though we’ve “known” one another “forever” online, they were going to take one good look at me and ask “Who the fuck are you?” Surprisingly, they did not. Each one grabbed my neck and hugged my genuinely and pulled back with a knowing smile and instead of feeling like an overwhelmed newbie, I felt like I was at a reunion, returning to my blogging home. I mean these people GET.ME! They.Really.Get.Me and let’s be honest, they know more about me than most people who I see everyday. I don’t give people I know the url to my diary. It doesn’t happen. That set the tone for my entire experience. It only took one hug.

jenni&I

Then my roomie showed up; the phenomenon that is Jenni Chiu; Vlogger Extraordinaire and wickedly awesome wordsmith. She got in late Wednesday night. I was asleep but promptly woke up when she walked in. The first thing I saw was her smiling face (now that I think of it, she was probably laughing because I was most likely snoring like a boss). She hugged me like a long lost sister and we talked into the wee hours of the night. We were instant best friends and it only took one hug.

Sure, there were parties, events, dinners and meetings but it all boiled down to one thing for me; being myself and leaving myself open to getting to know a whole lot of amazing women. Putting faces to voices, seeing the knowing in their eyes, people who know all your secrets and still read you and want to meet you is a beautiful thing.peoplesparty

 

There were a lot of awesome people and amazing things. I won’t name them all because honestly, I don’t want you to be jealous of all the fucking amazing women I got to spend 5 days in Chicago with. My experience is not your experience and yours is not mine and I am sure you had your own amazing women you spent your 5 days with.

But I did learn a few things:

Don’t over pack! Dear Lord, did I ever. Seriously, you don’t need to take 15 outfits for 5 days. And don’t pack more than 3 pairs of shoes but pack loads of undies because these are some funny people.

Unless you are photography blogger, leave your ginormous DSLR at home.

You do not need your laptop. I am a pen and paper kind of gal.

Bring lots of water.Lots.Of.Water!!!

Take more photos! I got so wrapped up in meeting people that I completely forgot to capture the moment in photos, which is good because they had my full attention but bad because now, I have no photos of their gorgeous faces.

erintracymejennicole

Do not attend everything you are invited to. Honestly, I was triple booked every day all day long. I had to miss a lot. Pick what is a good fit for you and your blog and then focus on a few more intimate gatherings. Believe me the conversations that I had with women in the middle of the night in hallways and lobbies were awesome.

Swag is nice but it is NOT the reason to attend a conference. I prefer hugs and smiles, long conversations with new old friends over anything else.

Don’t drink too much. There were a lot of people trying to summons their liquid courage; it ended with dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld, slurring to complete strangers that you love them and crying in the bathroom. I don’t recommend it. I hear the morning after hangovers were epic.

Go to VOTY! It is the most important part of BlogHer. It is what we are all about; the writing. I hope.

Wear comfortable shoes!!! 5-inch heels have no place on the expo floor. Well, unless you are one of those awesome broads who has no feeling in her feet and can do that sort of thing. I, myself, have a tendency for my feet to mutiny and hyper-extend. Even in wedges, I wake up with punishing Charlie Horses in the middle of the night.

Give feedback! Don’t be a complainer, give BlogHer constructive feedback. For instance, I feel there should be an even more advanced track for bloggers who have been doing this for a long time. I also feel that a couple of my sessions that I really looked forward to, fell flat and were disappointing because the speaker didn’t focus on her topic. That was frustrating after a paid all that money to learn something particular and the speaker failed to share her knowledge in a helpful way.

Don’t be afraid to join the conversation. Say hi! None of us bite. I think by nature most of us are a little bit introverted (we work online from home, we are not the most outgoing people) but I swear, I will hug the shit out of you if you come up to me and tell me it’s nice to meet me, you read me or you follow me. Just ask Nicole.

Embrace the fan girl. We all have one and we all are one, on some level. We write online. For me, I write completely openly and honestly because, in my mind, I am alone on my computer but that actually creates a connection with my readers (your readers) as I found out this past weekend. So when a fan of your work comes up to you and squeals and squees about how great you are…grab that girl and hug her out do.not.give.her.the.blank.stare. If you do, you are the asshole in this scenario, not her.

Take time to make people connections, it is NOT all about the swag, or how many “famous” bloggers you can meet and cross off your list (even though FULL DISCLOSURE, I did go completely FAN.GIRL. on Ree Drummond. It’s embarrassing but I may or may not have completely body checked her when we were going into VOTY. Sorry Ree!)

Be yourself!!! OMG, the best thing said to me at the entire conference was a blogger who told me that I was completely the same person online as I am offline. I hope that was a compliment. Either way, I am taking it as one. Of course, she may think I am a complete asshole online:)

BlogHer. Vikki Reich, Lizz Porter, Jenni Chiu

Bottom line is BlogHer is for connecting; faces and voices with blogs was the connection I wanted to make and I did. I tried to see everyone I promised to hug and if I missed you, I am sorry. I honestly, loved meeting each and every one of you, even the woman who said hello, threw a card at us and ran away. Come back! I don’t bite. I might hug you hard and kiss your cheeks but I do not bite.

Jenni Chiu, Alex, BlogHer

Thank all of you who I met for making BlogHer an unbelievably amazing experience. I feel renewed in my blogging. I don’t feel like I am alone in a room anymore because I know there are people out there, connecting with me and to my story and they care. All this started from one hug.

What was your greatest take away from BlogHer13 or any blogging conference you have attended?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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BLogHer, #BlogHer13

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This is what I look like now.

This is what I look like now.

I am FINALLY going to make it to a BLOGHER! I am pretty excited. This is my third try but every stinking year, something has come up. A move, job transfer, one of a million things always seems to be cock blocking my plans to get to BlogHer. I’ve been blogging for 4 years and it’s just time. I’ve earned the privilege of meeting my friends, leaving my girls to have some Daddy/daughter time together, spending some time to grow my career and learning how to take this whole thing to the next level. Seriously, the blog and I are about to go straight up steady. We’ve been shacking up for 4 years so it’s time to make an honest blog of it.

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mommy blogger, mommy guilt, blogger, parenting, work-at-home

mommy blogger, mommy guilt,working mom, parentingThe first thing I read this morning was a piece by my good friend, Jessica Gottlieb, Which came first the Anxiety Disorder or the Blog? Her post really resonated with me in a lot of ways but the most important takeaway that I had was the realization that I need to live more and blog less. This is nothing new. I have known this for some time now. Hell, I know that I need to back the fuck away from the computer and get out of my head and into my life. I need to unplug and it has never been as evident as it is this summer.

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wordpress, wordpress plugins

wordpress, wordpress pluginsThere are a million WordPress plugins for WordPress sites and they are constantly updating an evolving. It is hard to keep up. Hell, if you are new to WordPress, it’s difficult to even know where to begin. I’ve had my site for almost 4 years (next month) and I’ve been on WordPress for the past 2.5 years. I still am finding new ones that I should have been using like Facebook page promoter, which is my new favorite this week.

My personal  recommendations for must have WordPress Plugins are as follows:

Akismet: Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

WordPress SEO by Yoast: WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

Alpine Phototile for Instagram: The Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram is capable of retrieving photos from a particular Instagram user or tag. The photos can be linked to the your Instagram page, a specific URL, or to a Lightbox slideshow. Also, the Shortcode Generator makes it easy to insert the widget into posts without learning any of the code.

Comment Luv: CommentLuv Pro has even more amazing features that can bring even more traffic and comments to your blog by giving you the ability to fight spam, add keywords, integrate twitterlink, add a top commentators widget, social enticements and by having it installed on your site, you get advanced backlink features on EVERY CommentLuv blog when you comment (there are 10’s of thousands of CommentLuv blogs)

Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox (My new favorite): All your visitors should know about your facebook page and tell their friends. With this plugin you can display a preconfigured Facebook Fan Page-Like Box inside a lightbox (overlay).

Official Statcounter plugin: The Official StatCounter WordPress Plugin brings you all the powerful StatCounter features to your wordpress blog.

 

I also did some research on Facebook and asked my blogger readers what they thought were the must haves. I have compiled that list for you! Enjoy, my friends.

 

Lizz Porter: Am I A Funny Girl

Tweet Old Post

Twylah

YARPP

No Right Click Images

 GiGi Ross: Kludgy Mom

NRelated Content

Pretty Pinterest Pins

Greet Box

Rebel Mouse

Super Cache

Editorial Calendar

Social Author Bio

Melissa Arce Culbertson: MomcommComment Reply Notification

Woo Commerce

Popular Post

What would Seth Godin Do?

Corey Feldman: Corey Feldman

W3 Total Cache

Google XML Sitemaps

Hotfix

WPTouch

iFrame

Copyrighted post

Jetpack

What is your must have wordpress plugin? Please share in the comments!

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