Blogging 101: Zero to Hero

A week or two ago, I clicked on an ad for these Blogging 101 classes from my Reader. I started receiving the to-do e-mails on January 4th, but felt hesitant about getting started. Was I ready to make my posts truly public? I primarily created my blog for myself, but I’ve found such an amazing, supportive community through The Commons. Seeing others’ posts gave me the courage I needed to openly publish my own.

As I’m also brand new to the blogging world, I’ve been a bit sluggish with getting started. I thought the daily tasks would be a good way to motivate me to work towards a single goal and/or post everyday. So, without further ado:

Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World
Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post on your blog.
I recently edited my “About” section, which includes a link to my first post and a bit about who I am.

Day Two: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline
Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline.
The title of my blog also happens to be my blog’s address. I explain why this is of significance to me in my first post.
The tagline is something I’ve been debating about. I eventually decided that I valued the simplicity of my blog’s look, but am still unsure about whether or not this makes my blog too vague. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Day Three: Say Hello to the Neighbors
Today’s assignment: follow five new tags in the Reader and five new blogs.
This was a bit of a challenge. Browsing through the countless blogs of talented and seasoned writers, photographers, athletes, etc. made me feel intimidated. There can’t be growth without challenge, though, so I’d like to say hello to these fellow Blogging 101 neighbors:
Any Idiot Can Run
Culturetastic (huge shoutout to Milena here, as she inspired me to write this Blogging 101 “condensed version” post today. It’s never too late!)
Dreamer9177’s Blog
The Other Science Blog

It was also a challenge in a sense that I actually don’t know how to use “tags”.  I’m also unsure if I’ll like them, as they remind me an awful lot of hashtags. They’re useful in categorizing and searching for specific topics, but I’ve never found the need to use them myself. I’m sure you’re thinking of the cliche old man/woman, resistant to change, shaking their fists at the naive youngin’ on their lawn. I think it’s because I’m still having war flashbacks from the constant changes made on Facebook. I’ll try to set that aside and keep an open mind here. Maybe I’ll end up loving it and use it to the extent of being crowned some tagging version of royalty (they do this, right?).

Day Four: Identify Your Audience
Today’s Assignment: publish a post you’d like your ideal audience member to read, and include a new-to-you element in it.

Day Five: Love Your Theme
Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you would never use.
I started out with the Penscratch theme, assuming I’d find something better when I had the chance to browse through the entirety of WordPress’s “theme pantry”. I’ve since tried multiple themes, but I keep coming back to this one. You know when you try something new that’s pretty good (I’m thinking food, but it can really be anything)? You go in search of things similar that can meet or exceed your newfound expectations, but keep finding yourself favoring the original version? It’s not necessarily that the things out there aren’t better. I think you develop a sort of biased “standard” for comparisons, which makes it difficult to beat out said original. My friends and I have had many a heated debate about In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack, and I’ve noticed that each one of us sides with whatever we’ve had first, regardless of regional affiliations/loyalties. Point being: I’m sticking with my OG friend, Penscratch.

I choose you, In-N-Out! Photo credits to this article.

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