It’s Blogmas day 11, and also Leonidas! By the time you read this I’ll be packed into a car with my four best friends, on our way to do some ridiculous things. We don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing yet, but it’ll be fun. If they don’t have any objections I’d like to do a photo diary of the celebration, but we’ll see.
I’ve been looking forward to doing this post for awhile because it speaks to me as a blogger and someone who likes receiving gifts.
Since I started blogging a few months ago I’ve realized that it’s not just about sitting down at a computer and spewing word vomit; there were things I ended up needing to do what I wanted with my site. Here are a few of the things I’ve found helpful so far, and a few I might need in the future.
This is really important, as just using spell check doesn’t detect grammatical errors, using the wrong tense or confusing things like they’re, there and their. Right now I’m using the free version of Grammarly, and it’s enough for me. My spelling and grammar are pretty good, though I do sometimes use a passive voice and all kinds of other things my high school English teachers would yell at me about.
A decent camera
For the most part, I use my phone to take photos of products, and I used it to film the one video I’ve done. If my blog were focused more on visual things, or if I wanted to be a YouTube star, I might spring for a more expensive fancy camera.
I have several tripods; a tiny one for a tabletop, a 12″ flexible one with a cell phone mount and remote, and a flexible one connected to a small ring light. I use them all for different things, but they’ve all come in extremely handy.
Lighting has proven tricky for me. For a while I was enjoying the benefits of daylight and summer sunshine, but it’s now winter and natural light is a hard thing to come by. The lighting in my office isn’t great but again, I don’t need anything major, so the little ring light I mentioned has come in really handy. Again, if I were doing something more serious I’d invest in the big ring light and the softboxes and all of that jazz.
Photo/video editing software
My camera came with some basic photo editing software, and some video editing software came preinstalled on my laptop. Neither program includes anything fancy, but it’s enough for what I do. I honestly don’t know much about this type of editing software but there’s plenty of advice online from credible sources.
I’ve read a few blogging books and found them helpful, especially How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. I’m interested in reading Blogging for Dummies because I am still a dummy about a lot of this stuff. If you search Amazon for blogging books there are hundreds, and though I can’t speak to their usefulness I’ll probably end up reading a ton of them.
I had no idea this was a thing until recently, but there are conferences for blogging, for website building, for WordPress… basically everything you can possibly imagine. I recently attended a WordPress conference; they’re called WordCamp and they’re held at various times of the year all over the country. A lot of the sessions were geared toward people who use WordPress in a way more serious capacity than I do, but I learned a lot and when I’m ready to make the leap to hosting my own site, I have the knowledge to do so. Which brings me to…
Not everyone wants to have their site options managed by and limited to what WordPress.com has to offer, so they host their own sites. There’s a whole lot involved here, and I’m not at the point where I’m comfortable doing it, but it’s pretty affordable to give someone an entire year of web hosting. Bluehost is just one company among many that offer hosting.
So my blogger friends, what do you want for Christmas?