Anyone who has been online for the last few years has noticed a remarkable shift away from busy, poorly designed websites and communities; and towards streamlined, almost minimalist sites and applications. While we are undeniably more digital than ever, it seems that we are taking a step back — not to move backward, but to regroup, realign and refine our online experiences as we move forward.
It’s been quite a year for marketers, the advancement in technology have lead us to be able to create more immersive brand experiences for consumers and evolving the ways that we engage them online. Because of digital progression, it’s not just consumer facing marketers that have had to evolve, it’s also bloggers. And no better example of this is the website PR Couture, founded by Crosby Noricks. Bloggers can no longer just be pretty faces in pictures, they have to be business people. In the past year and half, Noricks has evolved her blog, PR Couture, in a leading industry resource for fashion PR and media professionals. I spoke with her on her achievements.
New York Fashion Week is coming to a close. From runways to realways, if you haven’t learned, fashion blogging is no passing fad. In fact, bloggers are getting savvier and are marketing machine unto themselves.
No place was that more evidently clear that the LuckyFABB and IFB Conferences. Here are 58 insights for fashion bloggers from IFB:
In writing the LuckyFABB business guide for bloggers for New York Fashion Week this year, I interviewed three brand professionals that I respect for their opinions and work with bloggers.
The Front Row. In the fashion world, a seat that signals to others that you have a priceless commodity: Influence. For bloggers, this means even more: acceptance amongst the “old guard” and recognition of their dedicated audience’s value. However, the struggle for those looking for more than their “15 minutes” is figuring out how to turn this power into profit.
Whether you’ve established your place in the blogosphere or are just entering this relatively new world, you can always afford to learn something new. The Internet never stops growing and shapeshifting, so it’s important to be open to learning on an ongoing basis. And that’s why I didn’t bat an eye at the opportunity to review Susan Gunelius’s new book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress.
With three years of WordPress under my fashionable belt, I like to think I’m not an idiot when it comes to this popular blogging platform, but I’m certain I don’t know all there is to know.
The book review pitch particularly piqued my interest because I wondered what it might offer to someone who really has a lot to learn about WordPress. Over the past few years, I’ve talked with several Blogger (a popular user-friendly blogging platform owned by Google) users who have expressed fear about switching to WordPress, which seems to have a reputation for being not only more sophisticated, but a little less user-friendly. Having been a Blogger user myself and finding that I prefer WordPress, I thought it’d be smart to review this book to see if it’s something that could point new or potential WordPress users in the right direction. Of course, I was open to learning something new, too.
So, the challenge was on… Could The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress provide value to new WordPress users? Could the book offer helpful information to seasoned WordPress users?
- Part 1: Welcome to the World of WordPress
- Blogging Basics
- WordPress.com Versus WordPress.org
- Part 2: Writing for the Blogosphere
- Creating Content
- Blogging by the Rules
- Part 3: Starting Your Blog with WordPress.com
- The Nuts and Bolts of a WordPress Blog
- Creating a WordPress.com Blog
- Customizing Your Blog’s Settings
- Modifying Your Blog’s Appearance
- Creating Blog Posts
- Enhancing Blog Posts
- Adding Pages to Your Blog
- Using Popular WordPress Features
- Paying for Upgrades
- Part 4: Using WordPress.org
- Domains, Hosting, and FTP
- Installing WordPress.org
- Customizing WordPress.org
- WordPress Themes Galore
- A WordPress Plug-In for Everything
- Part 5: Attracting an Audience
- Search Engine Optimization
- Feeds and Subscriptions
- Networking and Community Building
- Web Analytics
- Part 6: Blogging for Big Bucks
- Making Money with Your Blog
- Advertising, Affiliate Programs, and More
Judging by its volume (445 generously sized pages) and its contents (above), you can see that the author left little to the imagination. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress is organized very well. In addition to clear content, each chapter offers key points, quick tips, familiar icons and helpful illustrations.
In my opinion, this is a useful resource for new WordPress users. Personally, I can’t say that I learned anything new, but I did find a lot of helpful resources listed in the Appendix. From CSS & HTML Help to FTP Tools, there are several sites that I’m sure will help me improve my WordPress game.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress is reasonably priced at $24.95, and is definitely worth a look through even if you just want to freshen up your WordPress knowledge.
About the Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress
Susan Gunelius is President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a full-service marketing communications and branding solutions provider. She is also the author of five books. She has one of the leading blogs for business women, WomenOnBusiness.com, and is also a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com’s Work-in-Progress blog, and the Guide to Blogging for About.com.
Since its inception, the world of fashion blogging has been dominated by “full-blogging” platforms like WordPress. These sites give users the flexibility and unlimited potential to create customized content and design with full control. For fashion bloggers, full service blogging platforms are reliable, cost-effective and enable bloggers to create full websites without incurring huge co a graphic designer. However, updating these platforms requires an internet-enabled device and is naturally more time-consuming to update.
On the other end of the blogging spectrum lie “micro-blogging” tools like Twitter. This character-limited technology brings spontaneity to the forefront, but allows users to post content and photos from almost any mobile or internet device. Yet, Twitter is by its very nature ephemeral, which makes it perfect for fashion bloggers interested in tempting followers with text or photo snippets about a particular trend or the latest news about designers and brands.
However, over the past few years, a new group of “quick-blogging” tools, including Tumblr and Posterous, have arisen to fill in the gap that existed between “full” and “micro” blogging. Quick-blogging tools ostensibly combine the convenience of Twitter’s on-the-go updates with the more comprehensive text, photo, and video capabilities of a full blog.
For Fashion: Tumblr or Posterous?
Not surprisingly, there is a huge amount of debate among bloggers and critics, particularly within the tech and design industries, as to which quick-blogging platform is more superior. One often-cited opinion on this debate comes from Paris-based entrepreneur Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who commented in his blog, PEG on Tech:
“Tumblr is a New York company and Posterous is a Silicon Valley company. Or, to put it another way: Posterous is an engineered product, while Tumblr is a designed product.”
So, what are the real similarities and differences between these two quick-blogging platforms?
Tumblr is already hugely popular among fashion bloggers. The site, which was created by developer Marco Arment in 2007, is slightly older than Posterous, and was pretty much the first quick-blogging platform of its kind.
Design and content are king when it comes to Tumblr. For new users, it is relatively straightforward to get started with Tumblr. You can select one of a myriad of free templates for your site, purchase a designed template to use, or customize your own template to get the look you want. This is why CSS nuts love Tumblr because it allows you to insert your own code wherever you want, which is not the case with Posterous.
Creating and editing posts in Tumblr is done via the dashboard. When creating a new post, you must select the type of content you want to post, which includes traditional text, photo, audio, video, or even quotes. All options allow you to include captions and to preview before posting. There is also a plain-text option if you like to play around with HTML content in your posts. On the same screen in which you can delete or edit your own posts, you will also see recent posts aggregated from other Tumblr sites that you follow. From this dashboard, you can easily reblog posts that interest you, see who’s following you, and track your own posts and drafts. Thanks to a clever “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet outside of the dashboard, Tumblr also lets you parse websites of interest by shareable content, such as links, photos, or snippets of text.
Tumblr is also fully integrated with a number of third-party tools. You can post directly to Tumblr via a variety of methods, including email, text, or an IPhone app. You can even create an audio post leaving a voicemail at a particular telephone number. From the “Customize” button on your dashboard, you can also set Tumblr to post automatically to Twitter or Facebook or even pull in content from any site that has an RSS feed, whether another blog that you own or a site that interests you.
Similar to Facebook, you can “like” posts on Tumblr, follow other users, and repost things that interest you. Tumblr will track who you reblog and who reblogs you, thus creating a built-in communications network of users interested in each other’s content. You can also find other blogs of interest via the “Explore” option at the top of your dashboard, which gives you a list of topic areas from which to choose.
Posterous, on the other hand, superficially gives you less control over the template of your site but is arguably much more flexible for posting on-the-go across a variety of social media platforms. The site, which was launched in 2008 by Silicon-Valley based company Y Combinator, was designed, in theory, to streamline the quick blogging process. In its first incarnation, it was completely content-focused with no ability to customize your page template. However, this quickly changed to keep up with the competition. The site now offers a limited range of templates, though not nearly as many as Tumblr.
The main advantage of Posterous is that it is email based, which allows you the potential to post from anywhere by sending your post to email@example.com. The site has an easy set-up process and is relatively seamless to use. When creating a post, the subject of your email will form your post title and the body of the email will form the content of the post itself. You can embed tags into your subject and post in order to further customize your content. If you attach files to your email, Posterous will resize images or create a gallery of thumbnails for multiple images to post to your site. For video, you can just email a link or MP3 file and the site will automatically generate an embedded link.
Posterous is fully integrated with third-party tools—perhaps even more so than Tumblr. On Posterous, you can automatically share content with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and many other online sites simply by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, which creates what the service calls an autopost. You can also tailor to which third-party site your post is sent by emailing a specific address, such as email@example.com. If you don’t want to autopost to any external sites, you simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to send a post only to your Posterous account.
Like its main competitor, Posterous also gives you the option of capturing content that you like from other sites via a “Share on Posterous” bookmarklet. Akin to the Tumblr tool, this Posterous bookmarklet surveys other sites for shareable elements, like photos and videos. However, some users find the Posterous bookmarklet annoying because it overlays content on the current webpage in lieu of bringing up a popup window like Tumblr.
In the end, both Tumblr and Posterous offer faster, more flexible ways to blog without the tedium of having to login to WordPress but also with the freedom of posting fuller content than Twitter.
For fashion bloggers, like everyone else, the decision on a quick-blogging platform comes down to a matter of choice. What blogging features are most important to you? Street-style savvy people who like to take their IPhones on the town and post photos or text simultaneously across social media sites may prefer the ease of Posterous’s email-based platform. On the other hand, bloggers who are interested in longer text posts and reposting images from other sites may find Tumblr’s customizable templates and built-in online community much more appealing.