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May 2012

The BlogWorld New York 2012 Keynotes


As the Conference Director for BlogWorld & New Media Expo, I’m pleased to present you with the Keynotes for our New York show.  All three of these are going to be must-see events and the line-up is fantastic.  As our industry takes shape and matures, we know how important it is for our attendees to learn and be entertained.  And these three Keynotes do just that.  They will be June 5th, 6th, and 7th at 5:00 pm in the special sessions room.

Tuesday, June 5th

“The History and Future of Media”

Gary Hoover   Deanna Brown   Paul Kontonis  

“The History and Future of Media” is going to be an amazing discussion split into two parts.  The first part will be led by Gary Hoover.  Gary is a legend in his own right. He is the founder of the famous company site, hoovers.com as well as BOOKSTOP which was sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million.  Gary blogs at hooversworld.com and produces content for his YouTube channel teaching entrepreneurship based on over 50 years of experience.  He will be talking about the history of media with a discussion titled, “The Makers Of Modern Media.”

Following Gary’s talk, we will cruise into the future with an incredible interview done by none other than Robert Scoble (Rackspace, Scobleizer).  Robert will be interviewing Deanna Brown, the CEO of Federated Media.  Before joining Federated, Deanna served as President for Scripps Networks Digital where she led Scripps into the future of the digital space. She then founded CondeNet, the digital division of publisher CondeNast.  She has worked with Yahoo, AOL and has over 25+ years experience in digital media.

Joining Deanna will be Paul Kontonis.  Paul is the chairman and founding member of the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV).  We are very excited to have Paul be a part of this Keynote.  He is the VP, Group Director of Brand Content at The Third Act, Digitas’ brand entity who has executive produced over 25 web series including successful online branded entertainment for Warner Bros, Armor All, Experian, Holiday Inn Express, Phillips Van Heusen, and IZOD IndyCar.

Join us on the big stage to learn about the history and the future of new media with Gary, Robert, and Deanna and Paul.

Wednesday, June 6th

“Power Up Your Blog: Lessons Learned Over 11 Years of Blogging”

Our keynote for Wednesday will be “Power Up Your Blog: Lessons Learned Over 11 Years of Blogging” with Chris Brogan. Chris is a blogger, author, coach and all around awesome guy. In fact, when you see Chris, it’s hard not to walk up and shake his hand or give him a huge hug.  He’s just that type of a guy you wanna talk with.

We are happy to have Chris back as our Wednesday keynote.  Chris is the President of Human Business Works and co-author of the New York Times Bestseller, Trust Agents as well as Google+ For Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything.  He blogs as chrisbrogan.com and speaks with companies all over the world including Disney, SAS, Ford, Pepsico, and many others.

Whether you are a blogger, podcaster or WebTV producer, you don’t want to miss this Keynote as Chris never fails to educate in all areas of content creation and new media.

Warming up either Tuesday or Wednesday will be Tom Webster reading his spam (yes, we said spam).  Tom is one of our speakers and the blogger behind Brand Savant, however, he also has a Tumblr blog where he frequently reads his email spam and it’s a comedy warm-up that you really don’t want to miss.

Thursday, June 7th

“New Media LIVE!”



Get ready for another BlogWorld “New Media LIVE!” event. If you have been to our show before, then you know how exciting New Media LIVE! can be.  It is done in a fun, humorous and sometimes irreverent way so you can unwind after three incredible days of learning and networking.

For BlogWorld New York 2012, the host of New Media LIVE! will be comedic filmmaker Mark Malkoff.  He will be joined by guests: Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson, YouTube star, Chad Vader (Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan), satirical humorist, blogger and author David Thorne; with an opening warmup by comic blogger, Jordan Cooper.

Join Us!

If you haven’t already registered for BlogWorld New York, there’s still time (get your ticket now!). Remember, we have 175 sessions, 140 speakers, an exhibit hall, and the best networking parties around! We can’t wait to see you in New York!


How Will You Use Open Google+ Hangouts?


Recently, Google opened up Google+ Hangouts so everyone can broadcast on air (previously, this function was only available to a select few). Hangouts are the best Google+ function in my opinion, so I’m excited to see this change. When you’re hanging out, you can also embed to stream on your site, and it will record and post to YouTube automatically. Here’s a video showing what people are doing with Google+ On Air Hangouts:

So the question is…how will you use this new function? Here are just a few ideas for online content creators:

  • Run weekly online course
  • Broadcast a webinar to promote a product
  • Hold a Q&A session with fans
  • Hold weekly meetings for a virtual club or group.
  • Record podcasts live

And of course…you can just hang out with friends and fans online this way, allowing others to join or just watch if they are too shy.

How will you be using Google+ On Air Hangouts? Leave a comment below!

Feeling unsure about being on camera? Check out Perry Lawrence’s Video Podcasting session at BlogWorld New York this June. We also have a complete Web TV track you can check to learn more about making the most of videos online.

Using Business Cards at BlogWorld: Some Things to Think About


You’re ready. We’re all ready. BlogWorld New York is less than a month away and Twitter and Facebook are a-buzz with conversation. In monitoring these conversations I’d say our attendees’ top item to bring to BlogWorld is business cards. I’m not going to disagree with their importance, but lets talk about their effectiveness and some best practices for using them. You see, the first few times I attended conferences, I also thought business cards to be the most important item to bring along, but over time my views about business cards and how I use them have changed.

Let me explain.

Say Hello First

Something I’m seeing more and more are people handing out business cards before they even shake hands or say hello. How do you know this person will use your business card? How do you know you even like or trust this person enough to hand out your personal details? How do you know the other person won’t just throw your business card away?

Scenario #1:

You need a place to sit down and work. You head over to the Blogger Lounge and spy a table with a few empty seats. You sit down, say “hello” and toss your business card to everyone sitting at the table. They all say “thank you” and feel obligated to pull out their own cards to pass around to everyone at the table. So far, you don’t know anyone’s name, what they do for a living, what kind of content they create and if they have any interest in you as a person. You just wasted half a dozen business cards on a bunch of people who, in all likelihood will toss them in their hotel room trash bins. Also? You’re going to get home and realize you have no clue who these people are.

Now let’s try another scenario:

You need a place to sit down and work. You head over to the Blogger Lounge and spy a table with a few empty seats. You sit down and say, “Hi, I’m Deb,” (If your name isn’t Deb, do insert the proper name instead) and shake hands with those on either side of you.  Wait for them to introduce themselves in return. Watch it go around the table. Ask questions:

  • “What kind of content do you create?”
  • “What brings you to BlogWorld?”
  • “Apple or PC?”
  • “What kind of work do you do?”
  • “Is this the best conference in the world or what?” (Say that one often. Make it a mantra).
Chit chat now ensues. You’re all learning about each other. One thing you find out is that you have nothing in common with the bricklayer on the other side of the table. He’s really there because his brother is speaking and has no interest in content creation or social media. He’s a nice guy and you may follow him on Twitter, but that’s where it ends.  Ditto a couple of the other people there, there’s no match. No spark. However, there’s also a blogger who interests you and you hit it off right away. There’s potential for collaboration. There’s also a P.R. person there who represents a brand you’re very interested in doing business with.  Now it’s time to hand out business cards, but only to the people for whom it’s a good fit.
Now, I’m the first person to tell you every single person you meet is a potential client or collaborator. But I’m also the first person to tell you that business cards cost money and you need to be choosy about who you hand them off to. At least half the people you hand your card to will never use it. And this isn’t a slight against you, or anything personal in any way. Mostly it’s because half the people won’t remember who you are. It’s not the business card that makes the impression, it’s the person. So if you want someone to call you, have a conversation and make a good first impression. Then there will be no question of who you are and why the other party has your business card.

Stacks of business cards

I hate to throw away other people’s business cards because I keep thinking I’ll use them again. The truth is, I have business cards dating back years, to the very first conferences I attended. Many of the bloggers don’t blog anymore. Many of the people don’t work for those companies anymore. Yet, I still have their business cards. If you’re like me, you have stacks of business cards you have no idea what to do with. And because I don’t know which cards are obsolete, sorting through them means most get thrown away because I have no idea who these people are and what they’re doing now. This isn’t to say I didn’t make good connections and that all cards are tossed into the bin. I simply used the cards of the people who made the biggest impression and the rest were put into “The Box.”

Don’t be a person who gets a card tossed into The Box.

Business Card Tips and Etiquette

Since we’ve come this far, let’s take it a bit further and talk about a few best practices for using business cards confidently and effectively. Because, yes, they are necessary. They’re just not necessary to give to everyone.

  • Custom Design – If you’re going to take the time out to order business cards (because you don’t work for a company that provides these for you), spend a little extra money for a custom design. A nicely designed card is a conversation piece and helps you to stand out above others. It also says you’re serious about growing your business. Check out the lovely card Randa Clay designed for me before I began working for BlogWorld – these cards never fail to start a conversation.
  • Watch fonts, colors and sizes – When you design your card, it’s awesome to have an eye catching design. It’s not so awesome to have a barely readable card because you thought you’d get creative with fonts or colors. If people have to squint to read your card, you’re doing it wrong.
  • List all the ways a person can reach you: In addition to email and mobile, don’t forget to list Twitter, and if you’re very public, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Many people would rather connect socially first.
  • Write on the back of your cards  – When someone gives you a business card, take notes. Turn the card over and write down where you met that person and why you’d like to contact her again. This way when you return home there’s no confusion and the card doesn’t go into The Box or The Bin.
  • Ask – “May I give you my card?” Goes a long way. I realize many of us fear rejection, but if the other party doesn’t want your business card you know he or she really wasn’t interested in doing business with you in the first place. It may sting, but it saves your card from going to waste
  • Don’t throw business cards on a stack on random tables or counters – The only person who will pick them up is the cleaning person as he or she swoops them into the trashcan.

Your Turn

Am I off base with this? What are your thoughts about sharing and receiving business cards? Do you have any best practices and tips you can share with the BlogWorld community?

Tell us what you think.


Like this topic? Want to learn more?  You may be interested in the following sessions at BlogWorld NY. June 5 – 7, 2012

  1. 12 Imperative Must Do’s for the Serious Blogger
  2. How to Humanize Your Business
  3. Social Media Lessons for Bloggers

Register for BlogWorld New York

Five Questions with Daniel Lewis: BlogWorld New York [Video]

Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis of the Ramen Noodle Podcast answers Five Questions

Are you going to BlogWorld New Media Expo New York? Let everyone know – we will have opportunities for your voice to be heard!

In this first episode of BlogWorld TV, Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine makes the call out to the public. If you are going to BlogWorld New York, feel free to create a 10-second video (send it to jeff@blogworldexpo.com) and he’ll add it to future episodes. All you have to do is get on camera and say:

My name is ________ and I am going to BlogWorld & New Media Expo in New York June 5-7!

Also, in today’s BlogWorld TV segment, Jeffrey talks with Daniel Lewis of the Ramen Noodle Podcast. Daniel will be speaking on two BlogWorld panel sessions in New York, “Podcasting 101, Parts 1 & 2”. Today, we find out what Daniel plans to do in New York in June, if there are any social media rockstars he wants to meet, and which social network he promotes.



How to Attend BlogWorld Even if You Can’t Make it to New York (or get much more out of it even if you do attend)


The 2012 New York BlogWorld & New Media Expo (June 5-7) is going to be one of the coolest BlogWorlds yet.

I’m not just saying that, either. From listening to The Podcast Report, it’s clear that BlogWorld is becoming the center of the entire new media industry.

But what if you realize how cool this year’s event is going to be… but you’re bummed out because you can’t be there?

Well, with the Virtual Ticket, you can still “attend” from home! Just like we did for last year’s Los Angeles event, we’ll be recording pretty much all of the conference sessions and providing them to Virtual Ticket attendees about a week after BlogWorld ends so that they can watch and re-watch (or listen and re-listen) from home, on their own timetable. But unlike last year, we’re adding and enhancing some new, very cool bonuses that will ONLY be available to Virtual Ticket attendees.

Here’s what you’ll get in the Virtual Ticket:

Over 100 hours of session content from BlogWorld

We have over 100 sessions at the live event, but you’ll never be able to attend all of them. Science (which continues to fail us on the whole “flying cars” issue) has yet to give us the ability to be in two places at once, so if Session A and Session B are being held at the same time, live attendees will have to choose between them. Not so with the Virtual Ticket. Thanks to the magic of recordings, VT attendees won’t have to choose. You’ll have access to pretty much all of the sessions, regardless of when they were held.

SPOILER: This means you might want to add the Virtual Ticket to your registration if you’re going to be there in-person, so that you can “attend” the sessions you missed while you were in New York. The add-on price is only $97, and you can add it during the registration process. (NOTE: If you’ve already registered and want to add the VT now, just email us at registration@blogworldexpo.com to request it.)


More in-depth speaker bonus interviews

Last year, we got a bunch of interviews with speakers who gave us more depth and more behind-the-scenes insight on their areas of expertise, but this year we’re taking it up a notch. We’re setting aside a dedicated space, with nicer, cleaner audio and video, and will be doing even more speaker interview sessions that are only available in the Virtual Ticket. (Think of these like “bonus features” on a DVD. The Virtual Ticket is like the “extended collector’s edition” of BlogWorld.)


More interaction on social media

We’ll be covering what’s happening at BlogWorld, sharing wisdom, and sending you photos as we snap them. It won’t be quite like being there live, but you’ll be the first to know if anyone famous is walking around with their fly unzipped.


New “audio dailies” delivered every night during the event

Don’t want to wait until BWE ends to hear from our speakers? People asked and we’re delivering! Throughout each day, we’ll be pulling speakers aside (in the halls, after their sessions, and while they’re attempting to eat and pushing us away with one hand) to conduct audio interviews that we’ll post that evening. You’ll get new interviews every day, hot off the metaphorical press.


So what’s this all mean?

Well, not only can you get the great content of BlogWorld from home, but you’ll also get a ton of stuff that even people who are there live won’t get. The Virtual Ticket isn’t simply “BlogWorld on tape.” Our goal is to give you more content than you’d ever be able to get live, while bringing you as much of the experience of being there in-person as possible.


Want to get yours? Just go here to sign up for the Virtual Ticket. But hurry — the price goes up on May 15th!


(Psst! If you’re going to be there in New York, you can add the Virtual Ticket to your registration for only $97 to get access to all the sessions you’ll inevitably miss live. If you haven’t yet registered, just add the Virtual Ticket during the registration process. If you’ve already purchased your event pass and would like to add the Virtual Ticket, just email us at registration@blogworldexpo.com.)

006 The Podcast Report – Dream Jobs – Self Improvement – Comedy Podcasting


Hey everyone, Cliff Ravenscraft here. I’m back with another episode of The Podcast Report.

Podcasting Your Way To Your Dream Job!
In this episode, I talk with Leslie Samuel who is leading a panel session that will certainly be a source of inspiration to everyone who attends. In today’s world of digital media, podcasting is quickly becoming a method for acquiring and sharing your expertise in the world. It is not just a hobby, but is something that, when done right, can set you on the path to success. In this panel discussion, we will be sharing how we’ve used podcasting and our online efforts to land our dream jobs and how you can do the same. Whether your goal is a dream job, or to leverage your podcasting efforts for other professional opportunities, this is the session for you. – Click here to see this session on the schedule.

Overcoming Your Biggest Obstacle To Successful Podcasting!
Did you think you’d be further along than you are in your podcasting journey by now? Do you feel like you’re just not reaching the full potential you dreamed of? Well then, it’s time you learned more than just the technical steps involved in making a successful podcast.

In Overcoming Your Biggest Obstacle To Successful Podcasting… You!, Tracy J Trost, an award-winning director of three feature films and co-host of The Successful Life Mindset will guide you through the process of discovering what’s been sabotaging your success. Before the session is over, you’ll be on the path to making sure you become your biggest asset instead of your biggest liability in your journey moving forward. – Click here to see this session on the schedule.

Stand up Comedy Invades Podcasting!
Podcasting has changed the face of stand up comedy. It seems that every comic has a podcast. Why is that? Why is it important for comedians to reach out to a new audience once, maybe twice a week? We’ll talk to the biggest stand up broadcaster about why it’s been important to take their act out of the clubs and onto portable media devices.

This session is going to be led by Adam Spiegelmen, host of Proudly Resents and Dream Tweet. – Click here to see this session on the schedule.

Stitcher Radio Podcast Pavilion – Booth for only $1,000
I’m very excited to announce that Stitcher Radio is sponsoring the Podcast Pavilion at the NYC event. Because of their generous sponsorship, there is a unique opportunity that exists for any of you that has a company or brand that have products or services that you want to market to the Podcasting community on the Expo Floor. If you are interested in reserving one of these kiosks at the NYC event, please email me at Cliff@PodcastAnswerMan.com and I’ll get you in touch with the right person.

Did you know that you can earn cash while promoting the event?
BlogWorld has an affiliate program that can allow you to potentially earn enough commissions to pay for your entire trip to the conference. If you would like to learn more, please click here to sign up.

Register For BlogWorld Today!
If you are serious about your podcasting efforts, I highly recommend that you attend the leading podcast industry conference. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to get registered today. Use promo code GSPN10 for 10% off!

Subscribe To The Podcast Report
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21 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Starting a Podcast


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Starting a Podcast

Every week, BlogWorld’s fantastic podcast track leader, Cliff Ravenscraft, presents The Podcast Report right here on the BlogWorld blog. He covers tons of different podcasting topics, but today I wanted to do something a little different and give everyone a comprehensive list of links where you can find information about starting a podcast, even if you’ve never done this before. Lots of bloggers can benefit from having a podcast, but it can be daunting to get started. These brilliant bloggers (most of them podcasters themselves) have some great advice to help you join the podcasting ranks.

(I recommend you start with this podcasting beginner’s guide right here on the BlogWorld blog from Daniel Clark!)

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

Learn How to Podcast by Cliff Ravenscraft

Cliff is a no-brainer as our brilliant blogger of the week. He might be a podcaster first and foremost, but he’s a force to be reckoned with in all forms of content creation, from podcasting to video creation to blogging. On his “learn how to podcast” page, you’ll find an AMAZING seven-part video series, wrapped up with an 8th Q&A video. This series teaches you absolutely everything you need to know about gettings started as a podcaster, even if you have no experience. His videos cover equipment, setting up and RSS feed, and more. You seriously can’t find a better all-in-one guide to getting started than Cliff’s resource, and his entire Podcast Answer Man site is something you’ll want to check out to learn more about podcasting. You can also follow Cliff on Twitter at @GSPN.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Ewan Spence has also written some wonderful podcasting tips right here on the BlogWorld blog!

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about starting a podcast? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Week’s Topic: Storytelling

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Jamie Thomason Interview – DiviHQ Blogging Tools


Murray Newlands of Influence People interviewed Jamie Thomason of DiviHQ during BlogWorld 2011. DiviHQ makes a blogging tool that makes it easy for multiple people to collaborate on what they’re writing. In episode of Future of Publishing, Murray Newlands works with VigLink to get the latest news and insights about collaborative blogging tools from an informed DiviHQ employee. Find out how collaborative blogging tools work and what you can use them for:

Future of Publishing is sponsored by VigLink

New Media News Break: SlideShare Purchase, Space Tweets, LOLcats, and More


Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

LinkedIn to Buy SlideShare

When talking about social media, we usually mention Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+ and Pinterest, but let’s not forget about LinkedIn. This company is doing exceedingly well. This week the business and professional networking platform issued an earnings report and announced plans to purchase SlideShare in an $118.8 million deal. “Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity,” said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in a statement. I think he’s right on the money. This is a great way for LinkedIn to expand, as well as a great way to get more businesses to start using SlideShare to connect with others online.

Tweets in Space

This September, your tweets won’t just reach a global audience – they’re going to space! At least, that’s the plan if Scott Keldall and Nathaniel Stern, the duo beyond collaborative projects such as Wikipedia Art, have anything to do with it. Their team plans to send tweets with the hashtag #tweetsinspace to a planet that’s approximately 22 lightyears away. Known as GJ667Cc, this planet has the potential to support life, and the project is meant to give aliens that might inhabit this plant a look at our planet’s culture and daily life. Tweets will also be archived on their website. Here’s to hoping we send messages that are important, not just what we had for lunch and links to our latest blog post.

LOLcats in College

Believe it or not, LOLcats may actually be making us smarter or at least it can lead to some really smart discussions. Kate Miltner, who earned a Master’s degree after presenting dissertation on the appeal of LOLCats (pdf), is asking the hard questions about LOLcats and other memes: Why? Kate spoke on a panel at ROFLCon at MIT this past weekend called “Adventures in Aca-meme-ia” where panelists talked about what we can learn from studying the type of people who share memes. It’s an interesting discussion, and learning about the psychology of why people share or join a community can help you build your community, not just understand memes like LOLcats.

Judge Rules that Facebook Likes are Not Protected by Free Speech Laws

A Virginia judge ruled this week that Facebook likes are not protected by the Constitution and therefore, employees can be fired over them. This ruling came about after workers were allegedly fired for ling liking the Facebook page of a their boss’s political opponent. In Virginia, political statements are protected for public employees, but is clicking a button a statement? In the past, court cases have determined that actual statements on Facebook are protected by the Constitution, but this is the first time the like button is entering the court room. Although the judge ruled no, this decision is expected to be appealed, and the case could eventually go all way to the Supreme Court. I have to ask, if liking an opponent is not a political statement, then why was anyone fired over it? Hm?

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

Q & A with Bob: 5 of My Most Frequently Asked WordPress Questions


We live in a quick-and-easy culture. We want everything fast. That is why we hear so many WordPress peeps saying:

Set up your blog in less than an hour!

Start blogging in minutes!

WordPress is so easy, even my 90-year-old grandmother can set up her own blog!

Changing themes is as simple as putting on a new coat of nail polish! (Yes, someone actually said that on Twitter.)

The problem with that is it ignores the fact that there can be, like with any new experience, a learning curve. And it makes all those smart professionals feel stupid if they can’t create a blog over their lunch period.

The over-promisers are always going to be there. They know that ‘fast,’ ‘quick,’ and ‘easy’ are persuasive words in marketing copy.

But jumping in without giving certain issues some thought can create headaches down the road. WordPress is a powerful blogging tool, and once you learn how to best use it, you will love it. Just don’t rush into it.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you are setting up that WordPress blog:

1. Are the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org important?

Actually, yes.  In another post I wrote here I explained how some people are confused by the two options: WordPress.org (aka self-hosted) and WordPress.com (the blog is parked on the WordPress site). There are pros and cons to both. For example, it’s really hard to monetize your blog on .com. Choices of themes are also limited and you don’t have the ability to add plugins. On the other hand, self -hosted means that you have the added responsibility for keeping your site secure, updated and backed up.

2. What theme should I use?

This one is huge. Many new clients come to me because, after  spending hours installing a theme, they have found that it doesn’t fit their needs in the end. Some themes are more suited to simple blogs , while others work better if you want  turn your blog into a dynamic information source. And your options for presenting your expert content can be limited, depending on the theme’s layout, navigation and aesthetic design. Always look at a theme with an eye toward how you can plug your content into the layout and design.

3. Are there certain specific plugins I should use?

Of course. But remember: it’s always quality over quantity. Find those plugins that help with the critical parts: catching spam, SEO, site load speed, and things like that.  Choose ones that fill a specific need and don’t treat them like toys. Because they may be fun to play with, but are they really useful for your readers?

4. Does it matter where I host my site?

Damn well it does. A host can either make or break your site—literally. Don’t always look at price, although there are several good, affordable hosts out there. Listen to what other users are saying about them. Do a search on Twitter and see if they have experienced a lot of down time. Before you sign up, make sure they’ll work with you if you experience a problem. (Some hosts wiggle out by telling you that WordPress off is a ‘third-party software’ and it’s their issue to solve.)  And make sure you can get the support you need—when you need it. I look for hosts that provide both phone support and a 24/7 chat line.

5. Should I just dive into WordPress head first?

No simple answer here because it depends on your comfort level with technology. Although WordPress is a powerful blogging tool, I am the first to admit that it’s not the most intuitive. You can ask the dozens of people I have trained after they cursed and struggled with it. But do explore the dashboard. Poke around, see what does what. Find tools that will help you along the way, but don’t spend hours googling for answers to your questions. There are tons of resources to help you get started. And don’t be afraid to ask people you know and trust about the resources that best fit your individual learning style (podcasts for the auditory learner, print or video tutorials for the visual learner, etc.).

These five points barely  touch the surface. For more practical advice on how not to muck up your WordPress site as you get started, come to my session at BlogWorld in NYC. I promise to make you more confident to tackle your WordPress blog—and give you a few chuckles in the process. See you in New York.

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