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Wordpress

Writing

Passive-Aggressive Note to Blogger

Dearest Blogger,

What the dealio, yo? That was a long ass time that your platform was down. Two days of not being able to blog feels like four days of not being able to Tweet and six days of not being able to look at Facebook.

You know, to people like me who obsessively refresh their page every 5 minutes to see if someone posted a new comment, the past two days have been sheer torture. At first I thought you shut down my blog because I talked about my pubes recently. Then I thought, “Maybe I posted a picture of a bunch of penises and totally forgot about it and someone called me in?” Every time I would type in my URL some weird Klingon-looking shit would come up on the screen. Luckily, trusty ol’ Twitter told me that I was not the only one facing this problem. In fact, come to find out, you f’ed up EVERYONE’s blogging day yesterday and today. Look! Now I’m forced to write this half-ass post because I couldn’t write on you last night or this morning.

And now I think you spread your disease over to Twitter because she’s acting all like, “I’m going to do whatever the f I want, people!” She’s pretending like we’re not Tweeting at her and she keeps whining, “I’m tired. I have a headache. I’m over capacity right now.” Listen, you can behave however you want to, but don’t you be spreading your evil seed to others!

Maybe now is a good time to tell you that I’m starting to see someone else anyways. Yeah, WordPress has been giving me the vibes and, well, I think our time together has come to an end. We’ve had a lot of great moments but I need someone more mature. Someone a little more polished. Don’t tell me that WordPress is just all smoke and mirrors! WordPress loves me! WordPress wouldn’t lock me out of my blog for two days! WordPress makes me pepperoni rolls and tells me that I look like Deborah Harry when I ask it to and buys me iPads. Lots and lots of them! In fact, I have a room entirely filled with iPads because of WordPress’ love for me.

Blogger, I don’t mean any ill will. You’re still the number one blogging platform so what do you care what I think anyways? You have a million adoring fans. Or maybe used to. I’m not sure. You kind of PO’d a bunch of people this week. It will be OK though. Just try not to let it happen again, you hear? Or at least don’t lose all my posts before I make the switch to WordPress or I’ll go all Hobo with a Shotgun/Straw Dogs/Falling Down on your ass. Take your pick.

Wishing you the best,
Lauren

Hipstercrite Life

Sellin’ Out

So you know how I’ve been going blah blah blah about doing a blog redesign? Well, it’s finally happening.
Throughout this process I’ve written a couple blog posts and sent out some tweets asking for your input because I need constant positive reinforcement in my life.

You guys have been great. Your feedback encouraged me to move to WordPress and to not be such an f’ing pussy about this transition.

A few readers proposed the question, “Why change your blog at all? It’s the content that matters.”

I completely agree.

However, I’m changing the living shit out of this blog and here is why: I want to write more. I want to write about different topics. I want to write more than once a day. I want to write about what is going on in my life, what’s going on in pop culture, social media, non-profit, AND what’s going on in Austin or the World all in one day! I want to write about a cool new start-up venture I heard about in Austin or write about why I get constant charlie horses in my ass and why Nic Cage’s hair haunts my dreams all at once. I want to be able to interact better with my readers. Comment on comments. Because of this, I feel I’ve outgrown my Blogger template and Blogger in general.

Now that I’m taking the next step, I would love your feedback on a few other items.

First, this is what the new template is going to look like What do you think? Be honest. BE HONEST, DAMMIT!

 

Secondly, how would you feel if there was advertising on my blog? It would be tasteful advertising and pertinent to the feel of my blog. None of this “Lose Weight Now” crap with an animated fat lady shaking up and down in weight hanging out on my sidebar. I plan on only having a few advertisements and I promise they’d be stuff that’s interesting. Do I feel like a sell out for doing this? Abso-fucking-lutely, but a girl has gots to be smart. She’s gots to pay the bills, you know? If you read my post on Monday, you will understand why. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on advertising and blogs. Do you think it’s selling out?

Thirdly, I hate asking people for money. I won’t borrow money for anyone. The VERY few times I have, I felt like super duper tool. With all that being said, I was thinking of setting up a Kickstarter page to fund the changes I need to make to my blog. The campaign would be for $300 in total. There would be perks for anyone who donated. I’m very hesitant to do this and I would like your feedback beforehand. I don’t expect any of you to donate to my blog. It would simply be something available if anyone felt so inclined to donate.

Yep, feel like a tool.

Writing

Blogger versus WordPress

source

When I first started Hipstercrite in 2006 as the shittily titled PlasticLA- which garnered about 8 visitors a week- the only blogging platform I knew of was Blogger. It was common and easy to use. The templates were simple and I didn’t need anything fancy. I stopped blogging for awhile and started back up in 2008 where I jumped from 8 visitors a week to 10. I really only began taking blogging seriously in 2009 when I moved from LA to Austin to work on my writing and where I saw my followers jump from 4 to over 1,000. This was due in part to receiving Blogger’s Blog of Note in December of 2009. Blogs of Note is when Blogger features a blog of their liking for the week. My blog wouldn’t be where it is today without that honor. Between all my social media profiles and blog feeds I have almost 6,000 followers thanks in many parts to Blogger.

However, as time has gone on and Hipstercrite has expanded, the inevitable has happened. I want to move to a more professional and sleeker looking blogging platform. People have been telling me to make the move over to WordPress and I’m about 90% ok with the idea of making that transition.  So what 10% is holding me back? Money, alienating my wonderful followers, and the fear of the unknown.

Knowing what blogging platform is best for you is f’ing hard.

This has been a stressful and educational process for me. Unless I’m blind, it’s been difficult finding information about the pros and cons of Blogger versus WordPress. When I converse with web designers they’re mostly proficient in WordPress or Drupal with little to no knowledge of Blogger and Blogger aficionados don’t really understand WordPress. However, the other day I came across an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of Blogger and WordPress from one of my new favorite blogs, Will Work 4 Followers, by Dan over at Single Dad Laughing. This blog is a great resource on how to become a successful blogger. He also points out that his very good-looking blogs are made on Blogger.

I’ve been working with a wonderful web designer who is proficient in WordPress and studying Blogger in order to help me better with my situation. He has also been really patient with my back and forth on the two blogging platforms. He and I have come up with a list of pros and cons of Blogger versus WordPress and though WordPress definitely comes out ahead in terms of the next step, it is still a difficult decision to make. If you’re thinking of making the leap from Blogger to WordPress here are some of the questions and obstacles I’ve faced listed below.

*Note- I’m in no way an expert on Blogger or WordPress so my info below could be off. If you see anything that is incorrect or that I may be forgetting, please let me know in the comments section!

Blogger
Pros:
-I’m already on Blogger so I won’t have to worry about transferring content and followers over.
-Blogger has looked after me (loyalty to platform).
-Will cost me less money to customize versus create new blog at WordPress.
-Has a wonderful vast network of bloggers.
-I’m familiar with it and it’s simple to use.

Cons:
-Blogger now offers up to 10 static pages, but makes it difficult to divide old content onto them if you want to create separate categories of your content (i.e. wanting old ‘Austin’ tagged posts to get placed in a new ‘Austin’ static page).
-Doesn’t offer a lot of widgets, especially progressive and useful ones.
-Less snazzy looking templates (old school-looking) and often boring. Even when customized doesn’t always look that great.
-Web designers are less knowledgeable in customizing a Blogger blog.
-Less control over SEO as compared to WordPress.

vs.

WordPress
Pros:
-Better SEO than Blogger.
-Ability to self-host and own content.
-Snazzier looking templates.
-Tabbed pages to divide up content or have bio page etc.
-Better platform to incorporate advertising.
-Easier to create posts from mobile device.
-More progressive widgets.

Cons:
-Will cost more money to transfer content/followers over and set up new design/template.
-Wordpress is a platform I’m not familiar with yet.
-I can either use the free version, WordPress.com, which has limited templates and doesn’t allow customized templates or plug-ins, or I can use the costly version, WordPress.org, which requires me to find my own host and deal with my own back-up/spam/upgrades. Though self-hosting might not be much money a month, having someone knowledgeable in all of this (for I am not) and to take care of my blog for me could end up costing me a lot (see morehere).
-Potentially screwing up my migration of content and followers from Blogger over to WordPress.



What are your thoughts? Should I try to drum up the extra money to put this blog on WordPress or should I stick with the platform that I’m familiar with?

Writing

It’s Blog Redesign Time

Every once in awhile I get a giant bug in my ass to change my blog.
Much like changing your hair color once a boyfriend breaks up with you, I’m constantly anxious to shake things up a bit when I’m feeling complacent.

In the past, this anxiety typically builds and builds until one night I’m pacing the living room, drinking wine out of a juice box, and watching the same episodes of Arrested Development over and over for inspiration. Then I usually get distracted by something else and end up making only minute changes to my blog or dropping the idea all together.

However, this time I can’t shake the desire to make a change. It’s been months in the making and now has reached a point where if I don’t make a change, I fear that I’ll begin resenting my blog and shooting it disdainful glances when I wake up in the morning.

This may all sound a little over-dramatic, but I’m sure many of you can relate to wanting the aesthetic of a product of yours looking snazzy. Outside of looking more polished, I also want to make the blog more functional. However, that is what I’m in the process of figuring out.

This is where you come in.

As of now, Hipstercrite is a common one-column blog that broaches topics anywhere from the personal to pop culture to fashion to music to film. What I would like to do is have a more Gawker-style blog, with shorter post blocks in one column. This means I will be writing more posts in a day and they will fit into different categories such as “Pop Culture”, “Lifestyle”, “Austin”, “Social Media” etc. There will be tabs at the top of the blog to go to these individual categories as well. I want to broaden my blog, in other words. If there is a new Austin band I like, I want to be able to write about it and then stick it on my Austin page. If there is a new social media-driven non-profit sprouting up somewhere, I want to write about it and stick it on my Social Media page. If I want to write a list about the Top Ten Best Photos of Nicolas Cage’s Hair Plugs, I want to stick it in my Pop Culture section. If I want to write about how my blog has become more important than dating, I want to stick that in my Lifestyle section. This is a way for me to talk about more things that I want to talk about and support other writers, musicians, creative thinkers, and innovators. That doesn’t mean that I won’t talk about my own personal adventures. In fact, I hope that this will help me write more concise personal posts. The voice of my blog won’t change- it will just get louder and bigger.

My question to you, dear reader, is will this change be welcomed or do you think it’s unnecessary?

Secondly, should I migrate over to WordPress or should I stay loyal to the platform that has been so good to me and figure out a way to get the changes that I need?

Thirdly, if anyone is interested in helping me understand all of this. I’d love to talk with you.

Fourthly, what do you guys think of Disqus?

Fifthly, does anyone else feel like they need a blog mentor because figuring out this shit is hard.