BlogHer Demystified

BlogHer Demystified

You’ll be happy to know, or at least those of you who were here yesterday will be, that I cleaned my shower. Suck it, Carter.
But we’re not going to be talking about my werewolf hair today. Today, we’re going to be talking more marketing. Why?
It’s complicated. I was raised Catholic and am now a hybrid protestant/heathen Catholic/Buddhist-who-enjoys-bacon tendencies. But let me tell you something, kittens – Catholic guilt don’t go away, even if you, yourself, do. It’s indoctrinated. And so, as it is Good Friday, I felt weird writing about my uterus or Grumpy Cat obsession or how I have what my mom calls an “oral fixation” and always seem to have the collars of my shirts in my mouth when I am watching TV and so it looks like I've drooled everywhere because I’m precious like that. And yes, I know that the reason guilt works the way it does is because we project it upon ourselves, but still. So, this means that I will not be sacrilegious today… much… and will instead be sharing with you a wildly informative post about how to use BlogHer.
Ready? (Wheeeee!)

BlogHer Demystified 
Let’s get down to business, shall we? I have heard more than one fellow blogger complain about how mystifying the BlogHer website is and bemoaning the fact that it is difficult to navigate. And, at first, I completely agreed with them. (OK, fine. Until writing this post, I completely agreed with them. But I went into the trenches and figured it out so that you don't have to!) I realized that the reason the BlogHer website and interface is so complicated is because there is so. much. material. posted.
Why is this? I would guess it’s because BlogHer is a site that hosts and promotes blogs and their bloggers and since we bloggers tend to be the most prolific of writers, there is a ton of material to post. And at first, using the website is a bit like trying to speak Mandarin Chinese from a phrase book when you have no idea how to read the characters.
Ok, so it’s not that bad. But it is overwhelming. More like trying to order gelato in Rome with actual grown-up, Italian words rather than just going, “Uh….” and pointing to both the cup size and the flavor while the super-hot, Italian gelato-man smiles kindly but you can see behind his eyes that he’s thinking, “Geez, what a dumbass - can’t even say ‘small’ and ‘strawberry?’ Maybe she’s mute. Maybe I’m just being a dick. But she’s cute, no? And I like cute ladies. And she can’t talk to me so I that means I won’t have to listen and so we can just make out like monkeys all over the Pantheon.” …only in Italian. I may or may not have a thing for Italian men who work in Roman gelato shops. Ask Omar. Sorry, Carter. xoxo
Anyways, I’m going to demystify the process for you. Let’s start at the very beginning.
Ok…. Let’s not start at the VERY beginning. I’m assuming that all of you have BlogHer accounts. You know... since you're here. 
So when you log into BlogHer, you should see something like this:


This is the BlogHer Homepage and here are the main things you need to know (follow the numbers, kittens!):
1.   These tabs will take you to the sections which are part of BlogHer but different than blog posts. BlogHer TV includes video posts on everything from parenting to politics to makeup. It’s pretty cool.
2.   This is the nitty-gritty area that we’ll discuss next in GREAT detail.
3.   This is basically your main navigation bar. You can click on any of those topics and you will be directed to that topics specific page, where you will see posts that have been syndicated within that topic as well as people who have posted on their own and listed the post as pertaining to that topic. (More on this later)
4.   This is the section that displays the most popular syndicated posts. (Shameless plug for a friend here: the post you’re looking at was written by my friend and one of my BlogHer'13 roomies, the lovely Jennifer Bosse from Defining My Happy. You should check out her blog and then give her a sparkle on BlogHer! And yes, I’ll explain that, too.)
Got it? Good. Let’s move on to section 2. You with me? Click on Profile.
You will see something like this:
Your Personal Dashboard. So here’s what it means:
1.   This is your toolbox, essentially. This includes all of the links you will need to utilize to edit your profile, etc. (And yes, I’ll show you how.)
2.   Here is your picture, bio, and info about how long you've been a member. This is definitely useless to you since you know all about yourself already. But this is also the version of your profile that the public sees, and since they probably don’t know you, this IS important for them. Also, you don’t see it here, because I’m looking at my own profile, but under the blogger’s photo is a link that says FOLLOW. This is like adding someone as a friend on Facebook and it just expands your web and network further. (Which is a good thing!)
3.   This includes all of the links to your various social media, which you will add. I’ll get to that in a minute.
4.  You can’t see it (trust me, it’s there), but this is the section where all of the blog posts that you've cross posted on BlogHer are found. Cross-posting is an excellent idea because it brings a potentially different, greater readership to your blog. Plus, if BlogHer likes it, they might ask to syndicate the post. It looks like this:
You still with me? Ok. Go to the toolbox area and click EDIT MY PROFILE. You’ll see something like this:

I don’t really feel the need to baby step you through this part. Y’all know your names, etc. But do make sure that you make your “About Me” section descriptive and interesting – it’s what lets people know what you’re all about. But I will ask you to scroll down:

DO add the links to all of your social media! (Note: there are two sections for Facebook – one for your personal page and one for your blog page. I don’t include my personal page, but that’s because I believe in the separation of blog and personal life in the same way I do the separation of church and state. But that’s just me. Do as you please, kittens!)Obviously save your work at the bottom.
Ok, once that’s all done, you’re ready to move on. Now, go to MY SETTINGS.
Here is where you can update your signature (this appears at the end of every blog you post on BlogHer) and your picture, as well as change your password, etc. Do your thing and then Save Save Save.
Feel free to play around with the other tabs on your Dashboard – I promise, BlogHer won’t bite. But we’re moving on now.
Once you’re all set up, you’re ready to cross post. Here’s what you do:
1.   In the right hand corner of your page, click Create Blog Post.
2.   Next, fill out the Title section. I usually just copy and paste directly from my blog into this form.
3.   Select your topics. You can choose 3. To choose more than one, hold down the CONTROL key on your keyboard(COMMAND if you’re a Mac person) and click away.
4.   Tag your post. This is like hashtagging on Twitter. Remember? Just be sure to put a comma in between each tag.
5.   Copy and paste the body of your blog post from your actual blog into the box on your BlogHer cross-post. (Be sure that you do it before your signature)
6.   Click Save and voila!
Now’s a good time to talk about the anatomy of a BlogHer post.
In the green box, you’ll see the information about the post in terms of analytics. It will tell you when it was posted, how many people have read it, under which topic it was posted, and a button for tattling to the principal.
In the blue box, you’ll see all the ways in which you can interact with this post. (Pretend this post was written by someone else, like Amy. You should go check hers out as well, kids. It’s HILARIOUS.) You can share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or StumbledUpon (That’s the red button that kind of looks like a snake. If you don't know what this is, fear not - I'm doing a post on it.) You can also email it to someone (the envelope, duh) or comment on it (the comment bubble, duh). OR, you can Sparkle it. This is the little star with lights shining out of its points. As far as I can tell, this works exactly like the “like” button on Facebook, meaning that the more people that sparkle your post, the more traffic it will get residually. Or maybe it’s just like flair in Office Space. Either way, I love to be sparkled.
In the orange box, you’ll see everything you need to know about the writer, including her bio, links, and recent posts. Click their name to view their profile and follow them and their links!
See? You’ve got this!
Another awesome thing that BlogHer can do for you has everything to do with networking. Frankly, on of the the best ways that I’ve attracted loyal readers who keep coming back has been through BlogHer sponsored NaBloPoMo ‘s. A NaBloPoMo is when you sign up to post every day for a month and share your link with everyone else doing the Po’ing. (That’s “posting” for the rest of you.)
On your menu bar, directly under the BlogHer logo, you’ll see a tab that says “All Topics” with a little arrow next to it. This will lead you to a drop-down menu.
Click on NaBloPoMo.
And what do you know! You’re just in time to sign up for the April NaBloPoMo! I really enjoy doing these. If you’re worried that you’ll run out of material, don’t! They offer topics for every day. You can write on the topic of the day or write about what you want. Explore this section and take advantage of the oodles of networking.
But don’t stop there! Within that “All Topics” drop-down, there are links to blogging events, as well as a plethora of very specific interests, such as “Humor” or “GLBT” or “Preschool.” Really – there’s a ton to choose from and you will definitely find people blogging in your wheelhouse.
This brings us to our final topic, which is etiquette. In blogging, paying it forward is important, I think. If you follow people and are an enthusiastic reader, odds are that they will follow you and be an enthusiastic reader in return. Unless they’re kind of an ass. And that’s not your fault, sugar. As my dear Grandma says, “The world is full of shitheads.” And she's right.
But it’s important to not be one of them. Comment and share. Help promote your fellow blogger and they, in turn, should do the same. This is why etiquette is important – if everyone is following it, then there’s no end to our potential.
This is not to say that if you have 1,000+ followers that you should reply to every single one of your 200+ comments on each post. You don’t have time for that. And no, it doesn’t make you a dick. Just check in every now and then and reply to a few comments. Then it becomes like a contest for who can leave the best comment and I'm wildly competitive, so that works for me. I’m not nearly there and I’m sure that a lot of you aren’t either (but we will be someday!) and so it’s important to tend your followers like you would a garden.
If a blog friend or friend from life gets syndicated on BlogHer, share it on Facebook! Tweet it! Shout it from the mountaintop! Why? Because it’s an accomplishment. And, I think, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If one humor or food or lifestyle or fashion blogger is getting published, it’s good for all humor or food or lifestyle or fashion bloggers. So be happy for them and help share the wealth!
And you, blogger who just got published, syndicated, or awarded – pay it forward.
BlogHer is  really neat tool. And even if you’re not cross-posting your blogs (YOU SHOULD BE), it can be an amazing forum and networking tool for meeting new bloggers and finding new blogs. Because that’s half the fun of it anyways, isn’t it?  
So remember:
-          Re-post your posts on BlogHer
-          Follow bloggers you admire on BlogHer (FOLLOW under their picture on their profile)
-          Network, network, network!
-          Have fun with it!
I hope this was helpful for you! Find me on BlogHer! ...It shouldn't be hard for you since, you know, I’ve pretty much showed you the undercarriage of my profile.
Happy Friday, y’all!

Katie Pilkington

Writer of Nested and Bourbon - Neat - and Baking on the Rocks


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