Saturday, 27 May 2017

[discussion] Getting Down With The Technology

I can barely even take a decent photo for Instagram!

Getting Down With The Technology

Or, Oh God What Are All These Things?

Like any self-respecting up and coming book blogger, after a few months at this I decided I'd have a little poke around and see what all the hard hitters are doing. Two of the bigger blogs that I consistently read are Paper Fury and The Bookavid so I trotted over there to see what tips they have for beginners such as myself. Half an hour later I have half a dozen new passwords to remember and I'm slightly terrified by the inter-connectivity of the internet.

So, what changes exactly have I made as a result of this research? I'm going to walk through what I've done, why I did it, and what I think it might do for my blog, and what it did for my technologically induced existential crisis.

It's art, darling

The first thing that I'd been wanting to do anyway was improve the aesthetic of my blog design. It's not ugly, per se, it's just a bit basic and uninteresting. Unfortunately, whilst I am okay with art and artistic design, I'm no genius. Neither do I have access to my art tablet (at home & does not work my macbook) or a scanner to work traditional art into my design. Bummer.

I did manage to do a quick doodle which now sits at the top of my blog, which I hope you like! Hopefully, when my university exams are over I'll have a bit of time to work over my theme, add in some nice pictures and create a few nice graphics as post headers. I particularly love watercolour art, so I might drag out my old paints and give them a go. 

Either way, I definitely believe that a solid blog theme is important and that little artistic touches can really go a long way.

Analysis, it's what all the kids are doing

A little while ago I signed up for Google Analytics after I became aware the Blogger was still counting all the times I viewed my own blog, even though I told it not to. Grr. Google Analytics was a bit scary to set up - it looks very official and more like the sort of service an actual company that, y'know, sells things, might use. It is essentially a much more informative version of Blogger's statistics section.

The maths undergraduate in me loves it. I can see how many people are on my blog at the moment, I can compare number of page views to number of sessions over any given period. There's just so much information at your fingertips. I also find it super interesting to see what countries my readers come from - mostly they're from the USA or the UK, but sometimes I get the odd reader from Estonia or a random spike in Russian readers.

This is probably the service I am most likely to recommend!

To Disqus or not to Disqus

Quite recently I exported all of my comments to Disqus. I had created an account anyway to be able to comment on other blogs and I thought it was pretty cool the way I could connect to similar blogs, read comment chains easily, and just have all of my comments in one place. Then I realised that I could make everything just one step easier by putting Disqus on my own blog! Now I can centrally manage everything from one login.

The downside is that Blogger doesn't count these comments, so it makes it a lot harder for me to see which posts are getting more interaction than others. This is pain because it makes it more likely that I might miss a comment someone has made :(

On the plus side, Blogger had a hideous reply system where I could not for the life of me tell comment chains apart. Disqus does that nice thing where it makes a staircase of comments for easy reading. 

Not sure I'm Bloglovin' it

Bloglovin' appears to be some sort of blog database. I'm only really aware of it because everyone seems to have a little button on their blog. Cool. So, like the millennial I am, I googled it and decided to get on board because it looked useful as someone who browses other blogs, to keep all that stuff in the same place instead of getting emails through. Now, if you are a Bloglovin' user, you can click that shiny new, ugly button on the right to follow my blog. 

Honestly, I did find the whole process a bit confusing. First, I had to add my blog to Bloglovin', which was simple enough. Then I claimed it as mine, but then couldn't find it anywhere! Turns out it's under "Atlas Rising Books" and not "AtlasRisingBooks"... Somedays I really feel like my mother. 

If I could art, I could turn this cool thing I saw at a museum into a sort of banner


I'm not really sure how many of these are worth it. They take time to set up, time to learn to use, time to actually use properly. Disqus was a relatively quick job, but to properly utilise Bloglovin' and Google Analytics is most likely to be a massive time sink that I don't have the time for at the moment. 

I already use Instagram, Tumblr, Goodreads, and post reviews on Amazon. I'm not even going to touch Pinterest, Twitter, or manage weekly blog emails to my subscribers. Maybe at some point, I'll work it in. I think, after this voyage into technology, I just have a lot more respect for those blogs that do manage to do all these things.

What technology do you use to aid your blog or blog reading experience? 

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