Saturday, March 30, 2013

Creative Bloggers: Your Basic Essential Guide to Blogging

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Like this tilted photo, blogging has been quite an adventure for me.

When I finally decided to take blogging more than just a mere hobby, I did a ton of research through books, online articles, experiments, advice, etc. all just to find the voice of my blog. I soon realized that it isn’t just a click on ‘new post’ as there was more to know about the world of blogging.

Sometimes it does get a little overwhelming, sometimes it’s all I can ever think about. But I never fail to enjoy that excitement and anticipation whenever I have a great idea for the blog. Through all my research and explorations to try and improve my blog, I have gathered a couple of information that I hope will be able to help creative bloggers like yourself- especially if there are some of you who are crafters or artists who just started blogging. Like yourself, I often wished that I have someone to guide me in this. There’s always that nagging voice in my head always asking so many questions in need of help to improve my blog. So, I understand what many of you might be going through if you are also starting up as a blogger.

Here’s some of  my recommendations:

1. Blogging Software: Windows Live Writer
Noticed that this is the first thing on my list? That is because I fully recommend this software for your blogging needs. I have gone through  a hassle too, figuring it out ways to write when there is no internet access, or where to archive my work, etc. I recently discovered this software on the account that I was looking for a writing programme user friendly for my blogging needs.
You can:
  • Insert pictures, maps, photo albums and more!
  • Plus there’s advanced featured too, like giving my photo (above) an instant Polaroid border, tilting it and adding watermark to protect your IP rights
  • There’s spell and grammar check
  • Archive your blog post in word doc and transfer it here to have it lay out- vice versa
  • Save it as a draft first before publishing
  • Recommended for blogger, wordpress and other blogging platforms
  • You can immediately select your blog post’s category and tags
  • Able to set a publish date too
I'll leave the rest for you to explore. You can download it for free. So even though you are the go and there aren’t any internet access, you can still blog like as though via a blogging platform. Even if you are not a blogger, but just running a blog for your company’s website, I would still recommend this software to you.

2. Planner / Organizer

I’ve seen a lot of these recommended by famous lady bloggers- mostly busy mom/artist/writer/entrepreneur who are always on the go.
  • I am recommending this too not because of I like stationeries but because I think it is important to be organized If you are running a blog/business/daily life.
  • You can always create a planner of your own, one that suit your needs. I personally think that it is good if you can have your planner or organizer personalized; after all, not everyone shares the same schedule, tasks, etc.
As for me, I am using both- an organizer to bring around with me especially to the office, and the other a DIY planner. A large blue folder that says “creative planner”, inside arranged neatly with dividers designed by me, customized pages. I would use it to plan my year’s resolution, monthly blog post schedule, ideas, administration stuff, and more.

Tip: Make it a fun planning with stationeries like Sharpie markers, a nice pen, stickers, label makers, highlighters and more. Go nuts!

3. Gadgets
I’m grouping this part of the list into one category- Gadgets, because I think this is the ultimate basic of all if you are planning to dive into the world-wide-web biz. Whether you are running a blog shop, blog, online magazine, etc., gadgets should be one of your priorities.
  • Camera
For quick captures, use a point and shoot. For travelling or photo shooting, use an advanced one. I don’t have an advanced one, but for starters, I can recommend you Canon PowerShot A2200. It is affordable, compact, light, and has quite a range of settings and effects too.
  • Smart Phone
Need I say more? With the advanced technology, a smart phone can help you keep track with your emails, things to do, planning… Also, if you are not keen in bringing along a point and shoot camera, opt for your smart phone camera instead. When I am not using my compact camera, I use my Sony Xperia Arc S phone camera instead. I take some of my photos with Lomograph applications.
  • Laptops
I don’t know if laptops/netbooks are still frequently used by many, but as far as I’m concerned, laptops/netbooks are one of the best gadgets to bring around, like my Acer Aspire One. And with the latest products in the digital market now, you can find the latest laptops that is fast and light that would be good for your blogging and designing.
  • Tablet / Pad
I would recommend a laptop more than a tablet because you get to do “real work” on a laptop instead. But of course, next to a smart phone, a tablet can fulfil your digital needs too.
  • Printer-Scanner-Copier
The wonder of all the wonders. I never really understood the importance of a printer until recently when I started designing my own blog banners, e-posters, and posting up my artworks. I personally think that this gadget is important to those who are doing their own designing. There are affordable ones like the Canon Pixma printer.

4. Notebook and/or sketchbook
Something for you to write down and/or sketch out your ideas. I know a writer who writes down her thoughts whenever she is on the go, and then transfers them into her blog on Wordpress as scheduled.

5. Hard disk
With all the files, online reference, stock images, archives and so on, this is one item you definitely need. Not only you can store your files away, but you know that it is in a safe place instead of saving it in the computer. Plus you can bring it along with you and work in any computer in case yours is down for the moment.

6. Images
  • Copyright free images
There are few websites you can visit for copyright free images. You can download these images to use them on your blog to support your post. However, don’t forget to credit it back to the contributor. Some of the websites are: Photopin, Freefoto
  • Image bank
While you might think that it’s a lot easier to use free stock photos from websites like photopin, but I recommend that you have your own Image bank collection instead; especially since if you are someone who enjoy taking photos. And no, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to start your own image bank collection. Also, to post up your photos, you can try posting them in Large sizes of 540px x 330px or so.
  • Model Release form
When you take your own photographs, especially if it involves people of all ages, you might want to look into acquiring a Model Release form to protect both parties’ rights. You can download it from here and here. Or you can even download a PDF Model Release form courtesy of
Prefer an App instead? You can download it from Google Play Store: Model Release Master form or purchase Easy Release.
  • Protecting and Crediting Photos/Images
There’s one thing I learned as a Blogger is the importance of protecting your photos/images as well as crediting it if you are using a photo from an external source. Here are the types of disclaimers you can use:
*To protect your photos/images:
Copyright (Year) (Blog name/URL)
Copyright (Year) (Your Name)
Photos property of (Your name). If you would like to link my photos, please email me at (Your email)
Image copyright (Your name). Please cite if borrowed.
*To credit photos/images:
Image by (Name with link-back)
Image source: (Name with link-back)
*I am not a lawyer, this information here is based on my research. You can also try creative commons.

7. Attend Events: Things to bring

If you plan to be the kind of blogger that cover events on site, here’s a checklist:
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Camera
  • Phone (with voice recorder for interviews)
  • Name cards

8. Name card
Ah yes. Name card is actually a blogger's essential. Even though your job mostly takes place behind a computer, a name card allows you to introduce your blog when you socialize. It helps others understand what type of blogger you are, and what your blog is about.

9. Best Day to Post Knowledge
If you are taking blogging seriously and plan to blog frequently, you might want to look into blogging consistently on certain days in the week. These days of the week are recommended days to post based on professional bloggers’ observation and proven results. The recommended days to post are: Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

10. Exercise and other hobbies
I've pretty much covered the essentials. Things that I think you would need to know as a blogger that is starting up, or a blogger in the midst. Either way, this final blogging tip is equally important as the ones I have covered above. This final tip of exercise and other hobbies is important for your well being. As I have mentioned previously, your job as a blogger takes place mostly behind the computer. You would be staring at it all day, whether you are writing, designing, or promoting your blog on social media; nonetheless, do try and fit in time to exercise (to make up for the hours you spent sitting down) or get involve in other hobbies too such as reading, dancing, travelling, etc.

That’s about it, I hope you find this article useful. If you have a tip of your own to add to my article here, please leave me a comment. With light and love.

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