Whether you’re here because you were at the Catholic New Media Conference or you just so happen to have stopped by, thanks! Here’s a list of resources I mentioned during my talk on Building a Welcoming Blog Community.
Stuff You Can Find Here
The post I mentioned for “Internet Introverts” – folks who blog for one-on-one contact with other readers rather than for a greater audience – is here: So You Don’t Want to Be a Professional Blogger
You might also be interested in these related posts:
Chuck Norris, Facebook, and Personal Holiness – my ongoing love/hate relationship with Facebook and the question of whether strong emotions really build relationships with your readers
Putting Yourself Out There – on how the quest to project an image of “virtual perfection” can make you crazy.
And, since I talked way too much about dinner parties during my talk, here’s a post about easy party recipes. This would be an example of a time I wrote a post with search engine optimization in mind. It’s not a great example, actually, because I talked about too many different things instead of focusing on one specific recipe, but I think you can maybe tell it’s been “keyworded.”
Resources for a Better Blog
For Search Engine Optimzation, if you want to spend no money but a bit of time, you can use this Google Keyword Tool. There are some great tutorials out there on how to use it and I may revise this at some point to link to those, but if you’re willing to dive in – just type in the keyword you’re thinking of using and it will show you related searches.
I usually end up using Scribe for SEO. It’s a paid plugin but it’s worth it for the time it saves me.
This site, and all of the sites I build, are on the Genesis Framework for WordPress. (That is an affiliate link, so if you click and then purchase, I receive a small bonus). I love the Genesis framework because it offers you tremendous flexibility with the layout and design of your site, and the support offered through the StudioPress forum for their products is really top-notch.
The designer whose writing I recommended is Rafal Tomal and his post 5 Easy Tips to Improve Blog Design was the one I specifically mentioned. Rafal is a very generous contributor to the WordPress community in that he is always offering great advice (and his design skills are in another universe of excellence.)
I use MailChimp for my e-mail newsletters and I highly recommend it. They were also one of the sponsors of the CNMC so you should definitely check them out.
I forgot to mention them, but I use Gravity Forms on many of the sites I design. They are the best WordPress plugin for forms out there and their support forum is another one that’s very helpful and responsive to questions. Gravity Forms let me do things like create a form for a giveaway and ask people if they want to be automagically added to my email newsletter list, for (very basic) starters. They’re great if you’re running a membership site, working with letting users submit blog posts or other information…basically, many of the things that an organization might want to do for a website can be done via Gravity Forms.
My own design business is Convolare Design and I’d love to work with you. At the conference, a highlight was meeting Lauren Gulde of Santa Clara Design and John Flynn of Kickstart Media, two designers whose work I really admire.
And I can’t recommend enough Tiber River, a website for reviews of Catholic media that was developed by Ian Rutherford of Aquinas and More. Check it out! Here are my reviews so far. Now I need to go finish that one book.