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Want to Launch a Personal Blog? Try These Tips and Tricks

Want to Launch a Personal Blog? Try These Tips and Tricks

Okay, okay, I didn’t do any serious research around this, so strictly speaking I don’t know how much time one can save on average doing the things described below. That being said, I will still do my best to show you that working with WordPress can be a lot less time consuming than it is for most people.

The advice I have for you here revolves around: productivity, tools, hosting, and interacting with your future blogging community, which, when combined together, can make you much more effective and time-efficient as a WordPress blogger.

First of all, I’m a blogger myself. I have a handful of blogs I work with every day (either as the owner, or as an editor/writer). Over the years, I’ve learned that some areas of work related to WordPress management can be done with much less effort if we just set the right technology in place.

Let’s start with hosting.

Managed Hosting for WordPress

Having a quality hosting platform is a must. This is something I had to find out the hard way, when a month ago (or so) my site got infected with malware.

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It wasn’t my fault—I didn’t do anything shady, I didn’t use simple passwords, or any of the common mistakes. This was a problem on my hosting account. And to make things worse, my site got temporarily banned from Google as a result. This all happened on a shared hosting plan, and I lost three days figuring out the issue. I enjoyed not one minute of that time, by the way.

I was lucky, though: I have some development background so I was able to find the flaw myself and send my webhost some insights on how to fix it, but all of this could have been prevented if I had used a managed hosting platform.

Managed hosting is one of the popular hosting types, usually offered as managed VPS hosting (in this case it’s WordPress-optimized). The difference between standard shared hosting and VPS hosting is that in the VPS model, you get to use your own virtual machine, as opposed to sharing it with other customers. Even though the server is virtual, it is as close as you can get to the functionality offered by complex dedicated hosting machines, yet for a fraction of the price.

The managed part means that you don’t need any technical skills in order to work with your server. Actually, you’re not even the person working with it; it’s your hosting provider managing it for you, through their own resources and staff. That means that if any problem presents itself, it will be fixed by a professional, without you having to worry about it.

WordPress Security

Since we have hosting out of the way, let’s focus on WordPress security.

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I’m sure you don’t have time to read security forums and be up-to-date with everything that’s going on in the WordPress world, which is why I have a short two-step security routine for your blog:

  1. Once you launch your blog, update WordPress and the plugins you use once a week (if updates are available). This is crucial because every update introduces new security tweaks and bug fixes (by the way, you can ask your hosting provider to update this for you).
  2. Get a plugin called BulletProof Security. It provides quality .htaccess protection and takes care of all known holes in various web protocols and WordPress.

Blogging Apps and Software

Undoubtedly, the most time-consuming task for every blogger is the creation of new posts. While I don’t have any advice for you today that’s specifically about writing (let’s leave this for some other time) I want to encourage you to use one of the popular blogging apps just to speed up your writing.

For instance, the app I’m using to write this very post is Windows Live Writer. For me, it’s the best app available: it’s free (which is kind of a surprise coming from the Microsoft camp), and it allows you to craft your posts offline. To understand why it’s the way to write posts, let’s have a look at two of the most common alternatives:

  • Creating a post directly in the WordPress interface—you need to be online for this to work.
  • Using MS Word (or similar text processors) and then copying your post into WordPress—Word is not an optimized environment for WordPress, so most of the time your formatting will get messed up along the way.

Live Writer handles both of these issues. I can honestly say that using it has massively reduced the time I spend managing my posts. Everything is in one place, already properly formatted and just waiting to be sent out to any blog I want.

Tricky Proofreading

Proofreading is an essential step when publishing a post (and a time-consuming one). Naturally, we want our posts to be as well-crafted as possible, but at the same time it’s quite easy to overlook some typos or other minor errors. Although you still have to edit your posts by hand, there are some plugins that can help you with the final proofreading. I can recommend two:

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Jetpack. This is a big plugin, but one part of it—After the Deadline—is a really handy proofreading tool. It analyzes your text and points out a number of spelling, style, and grammar issues.

Error Notification. This is a plugin that makes it possible for your readers to join the proofreading process. Whenever a visitor notices an error, they can highlight it and then press a button to send you a direct notification.

Better Spam Management

Spam—every blogger’s favorite thing, ain’t it?

The most popular spam protection plugin is called Akismet, however, I’m not a fan of it. For some blogs, it does a very poor job at handling spam. There are even people reporting their own author comments being marked as spam. This is why I use something different—a combination of two plugins:

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin places an additional checkbox in your comment form that every commenter has to check before sending their comment.

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Antispam Bee is a free (and ad-free) plugin that delivers the final blow to the human-generated spam that gets through the previous plugin.

I literally haven’t seen one spam comment since I’ve introduced these two, which means that my spam management time has been reduced to zero.

That’s it for my tips. I hope you’ll take advantage of some of them and make them part of your own WordPress blogging routine. One last thing: How much time are you planning to spend interacting with your new blog on a regular basis?

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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