The Southern Bloggers Conference – Oct. 12th and 13th

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I’ve got some exciting news y’all! There’s a new blogger conference and it’s coming to my neck of the woods!

Mark your calendars! If you missed out on a blog conference earlier this year, or you’d love to attend one more, I’ve got great news. The Southern Bloggers’ Conference will be in Raleigh, NC, on October 12-13.

Have you been to a blogging conference yet? Or have you been to a huge conference where you felt overwhelmed? Either way, this conference will be the perfect fit of size, workshops, and ability to network. The Southern Bloggers Conference is guaranteed to be warm, friendly and open arms inviting. There are very limited tickets available (and more than half are already sold,) which means that you will get a chance to meet just about (if not all) of the bloggers attending! You can see some of them here.

I spent today with the organizers. These gals have thought of everything! You are not going to believe the workshops, the sponsors, the decorations, the fall decor contest and the swag bags.

The speakers are all top notch, I’ll let these names speak for themselves: [Read more...]

Haven 2012 and my trip to Atlanta

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Top Row left to right: Kate, Diane, Erin, Rhoda, Sandra, Carrie, Jessica and Me
Second Row: Sherry & John from Young House Love, Ana White 

Remember when I told you how much I liked the SNAP Conference because it was more intimate and I felt like I belonged? Well, the same can be said for Haven! At just over 250 attendees it was easy to network and not feel frantic trying to find bloggers in your niche. I was overwhelmed by how many bloggers I knew once we did actually meet (Twitter and Instagram are great for pre-conference networking.) It truly is nice to finally put a real face with a blog.

Not only were the bloggers all in the same niche, but the sponsors were tailored to DIY blogs as well. No more walking around searching for a sponsor that I think I could work with. The sponsors at Haven were so generous for helping make the conference happen and for providing some really fabulous swag! A BIG thank you to: [Read more...]

Sweet Faerie Designs Giveaway

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I’m über excited to share a new giveaway with you today! Sweet Faerie Designs is giving away a custom Blogger design! Who out there doesn’t want a fresh spankin’ new blog design? [Read more...]

What I Learned at Blissdom

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Blissdom is the blogger conference to attend if you need to recharge your bloggy battery. The keynote speeches alone will send you home with enough juice to hit the keyboard typing for months!

 

 

 

 

  • Jon Acuff, Keynote Speaker at Blissdom 2012:

 

This year’s keynote speaker was Jon Acuff, the author of Quitter. His talk was truly inspiring! If you ever have a chance to hear him talk, it is well worth the effort to get there. Here are some of my favorite quotes from his speech:

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle!”

I can’t even begin to tell you how grand this statement is to a new (or not so new blogger.) Every single blogger started at 0 page views, 0 followers, and 0 readers. [Read more...]

Blissdom 2012 Recap and Photos from Nashville, TN

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I’ve been mulling over this post in my head for several days now.. And although I love a good challenge, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read through a book today. So, today I’m sharing some photos from Blissdom 2012. Stick around for the lessons I learned at Blissdom on Friday.

This year I drove to Nashville from North Carolina. Luckily I had some good bloggy buddies to keep me company along the journey:

Erin: Two Story Cottage, Sandra: Sawdust and Paper Scraps and yours truly.

 

At Blissdom, the best place to catch up and get to know other bloggers is through the meals! [Read more...]

I Broke My Blog and WordPress Plugins You Shouldn’t Blog Without

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If you happened to glance this way yesterday you may have seen a blank screen…nada…nothing! And if you came by today, you probably saw the home page with some error codes and not much else but 404 errors when you tried to go to a post.

I admit it, I broke my blog!

How did I do it? Well, in short, I blatantly disregarded the written warnings not to mess with the code in my theme files in WordPress. Being the do-it-yourselfer that I am, I was determined to fix something on my own. You know that motto of mine? “If a human being can do it, then there is a 95% chance that you can do it too!” Well, I guess I finally found that 5% that I can’t do!

Have I learned my lesson? Will I leave my blog code files alone? Maybe, at least for now I will.

Until that future date when I become a proficient coder, I will be relying on the fantastic WordPress Guru, Ashley, from MyFrontPorchSwing.com. She was able to recover my blog and bring it back from the dark abyss. I’m not exactly sure what she did or how she did it, but I am forever grateful!

Ashley is the code savvy person I used to switch me from Blogger to WordPress at the beginning of 2011. She was super helpful and spared me the headache of trying to learn to do it myself. She provides WordPress support and Blogger to WordPress conversions (in addition to social media promotions.) If you are thinking of making the big switch, contact Ashley.

 

Back Up Your Blog:

After this harrowing experience of breaking my blog, I have learned the über-importance of having a back up of my blog. Lucky for me, my guardian angels at BlueHost had made a back up a week ago. The tech support person I talked to was able to reload my blog from the back up they had created. However, the scare of losing all my posts has made me realize that taking back ups into my own hands is a necessity. Ashley recommended this WordPress Plugin that emails regular back ups to you: WP DB Backup

Stop Those Spammers:

When my blog was moved to WordPress the spam commenters came out of the woodwork. That was when Ashley told me to install Akismet (I installed the free version.) It catches about 99% of the spam comments and moves them into a folder for you to go through and delete anytime you have time (yeah right.) The spam comments add up quickly and there were repeat spammers. Which is why I loaded this other spam filter: Block Top Spammers. When you check a box next to the repeat offenders, the plugin  recognizes their IP address and stops their disgusting spam before it even goes into the spam folder. This has been a huge help for me because I don’t have time to go through thousands of spam messages and delete!

Speedier Loading:

This has got to be the biggest change I made to my blog! It is the one silver lining in this whole debacle that I endured for 2 days. Ashley told me about the W3 Total Cache plugin. It single-handedly turned my blog’s loading speed into a speed demon. I seriously can’t believe the difference it made! Load this sucker right away.

Uploading Multiple Images:

One of the biggest hassles I had when moving to WordPress was dealing with the image uploads. Being a tutorial blogger, I load oodles of pictures for each post! Faster Image Insert is a nifty little plugin that allows me to upload multiple images at once and choose one or all of them to insert into the post. I <3 this plugin!

Auto-Email Replies to Commenters:

Have you ever left a comment on a blog and months later you are back on that blog and realize that someone responded to your comment? Reply Me is a plug-in that automatically emails replies to the commenter and it is sent from the commenters email address so they can reply back with ease.

Creating a Site Index:

I have been struggling (and still am) with the best way to help my readers find past posts on my blog. But, I also wanted to make sure that the web spiders were able to crawl my site more efficiently. I found this cool plugin called AZIndex. It takes all of my posts and creates a site index. I placed the links on a page which is now my site index. The index is only customizable to a certain degree though. Some day I want to create a beautiful thumbnail directory for y’all, but until then this will have to suffice.

Loading the Plugins:

To load any of the above mentioned plugins into your WordPress blog, simply go to your WP dashboard, chose Plugins > add new and search for the plugin name I’ve highlighted above. I’ve linked each to their respective sites for more detailed information about each plugin.

I hope some of these plugins help you. I’d love to hear about any WordPress plugins that you love!

P.s. I hope to be back to the normal DIY tutorials this week. Thanks for your patience ;-). XXXOOO