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Should You Care About the Technical Side of Blogging?

There’s a lot that one can learn about blogging, and one of the things I like about it is that there’s always more to learn. But do you actually need to fuss over learning the technical side of blogging? And by technical side of it, I mean anything that goes beyond your basic writing, publishing, reading, and commenting. The short answer is no, absolutely not, but let’s chat about it.

I’m of the opinion that a lot of the technical stuff can make it easier for other people to find your blog, but it doesn’t necessarily make your blog any better. Things like categories, tags, and search engine optimization (SEO) fall into this category.

Sometimes learning things can help to make your life easier. I know quite a few people hate the block editor, but if there are things that you reuse across posts (like the bit at the bottom of this post about my Blogging Toolbox page), reusable blocks are a wonderful thing. If you’re on the free WP plan, learning how to resize and compress images can help you stay within your media storage limits.

When it comes to figuring out all you can to customize your theme, I think other people’s level of caring about the finer details of what your site looks like is 25% or less of your own level of caring. A lot of people are reading it in the WP Reader anyway, so they don’t have a clue what your actual site looks like.

Then there are all the shoulds from website gurus, like how you should write your titles, what your formatting should be like, what your post URLs should be like, etc., etc. Some of that advice might be worth taking if you’re trying to monetize, but as a regular personal blogger, it’s all totally optional. Are your posts easily readable? If yes, that’s all that really matters.

I like learning about the nuts and bolts about blogging because a) I’m a geek, and b) I have a lot of time on my hands. But if you have zero interest in any nuts or bolts, that is completely okay.

Do you have any interest in, or ever feel like you should know more about, blogging’s nuts and bolts?

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The Blogging Toolbox has tips & tools to support your blogging journey.

54 thoughts on “Should You Care About the Technical Side of Blogging?”

  1. I try not to care too much, but I do try to tag and title well, just so that if someone is searching for relatable content, or a specific topic maybe they’ll have an easier time finding it. But other than that, I find it distracting from my thoughts, and sometimes, I really just want to write for the sake of writing.

  2. I’m interested in tech stuff that can make my blogging experience easier, but I no longer care about attracting random readers. They ones outside my blogging community generally don’t become regulars nor do they buy my books…

  3. 🙂 I love this topic of yours, Ashley.

    Having knowledge about the technical side of blogging has its advantages. For example, if you are a personal blogger who utilizes the self-hosted version of WordPress, you will need to know which security plugin will help to protect your site from malware (We on WordPress.com do not have to worry about those things because the Happiness Engineers handle those sorts of things for us; therefore, it is a non-issue).

    Having knowledge pertaining to SEO can work in the favour of both the personal and the professional blogger. SEO helps your blog to be visible on search engines.

    Also, the right usage of categories and tags helps in making the feed to our blog visible on the WordPress Reader.

    When I was on Blogger (which is also known as Blogspot or Google Blogger), I learned how to customize my theme via HTML and CSS codes.

    Here on WordPress, we can only customize our theme via HTML or CSS codes if we are one of WordPress’s premium customers (Someone who is paying them a fee for a domain). So, this type of knowledge would be useless in the hands of a person with the Free plan on WordPress.

    I have learned the importance of formatting years ago and seeing to it that posts are easily readable is a must.

    1. All very good points! And I agree, readability is key.

      I initially found CSS intimidating, but once I actually started using it, it was easier than I’d expected, and it’s definitely helped me get my blog looking the way I want it to.

  4. I know a teensy bit about the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. The thing that irks me most is how complicated ‘they’ (WP) make what ought to be simple things to do. Putting more time into developing lay man friendly tools would be amazing. You have a valid point about the block editor style. If you reuse something over and over, why not have it set up to copy and paste? Their worst point (IMO) is how complicated they make editing images (Widgets or the ones someone might insert into the post). And for gawd’s sake why have that ridiculous little pop-up box that asks one to choose a block, even when the block has been chosen. Get that crap off the page IMO. It’s confusing to the newbie, who may think they’ve messed up and need to choose and re-choose ad infinitum a block. Simpler is better to me.

  5. I have never done SEO. I use some tags, but I am not super convinced that it does much. The only thing I have found to work is comment on blogs you enjoyed reading. Those will sometimes result in new regular readers. I’m still not super sure what I’m aiming for with my blog anyway. My goal was always to simply churn out words every day, so that I would be a word machine whenever I would need it in my job (which is often, but not daily and not even always weekly).

    I do like learning and nerding out on that stuff, but I don’t have the luxury of time. Too many cool things eat away at my limited hours.

  6. I am too chaotic inside to worry about that which frustrates me so I keep it simple 🙃 I’ve learned all the aspects of the personal plan I can so that’s good enough for my humble user experience 💚

  7. I think it’s important to get down the technical stuff. It does take some experimentation especially with tags. For example I’ve tried to only use 10 tags because anymore can be excessive. You also don’t want your title too long or Google and other search platforms will ding you. Things like that you learn along the way.

  8. It’s mildly interesting, yet at the same time incredibly frustrating. All the optimizations that we can do for blogging results in more headaches and not focusing on writing. The results too can be so slow and imperceptible that you might not even be sure that the effort you’re putting in is working. That’s a lot of wasted time and energy for not knowing.

    Of course, as you said, it’s what you want to get out of it. If you’re looking to make a living doing this, prepare for annoyances on top of frustrations on top of more anxiety. If you’re only looking to express yourself and share your thoughts with may be only a few people, then your peace of mind will be much more intact.

  9. I have often wondered how people self-host, it sounds so pricey and daunting.

    These look really helpful, thanks for sharing. Saving for later!

  10. I have sort of found a comfortable level of using the blocks to create posts. Some of the more behind the scenes things – plug-ins, jet packs etc – seem beyond me.

  11. I was an early adopter to the blocks and I like them just fine. I liked the point you make about how much the appearance really matters. 25% is an important number to keep in mind when I obsess.
    I don’t code, so I don’t do any of the really deep things, but I took the WP SEO course recently and it has improved things. I agree with you: some of the technical bits and pieces can help.

    1. To really be able to get things working a certain way you need to be able to use CSS, which requires the Premium plan or higher. It means I can do more, but I can also end up diving deep down rabbit holes trying to figure out how to do the things I want to do. Every time I do that, I’m reminded how bad a use of my time it is, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from doing it.

  12. I want to learn how to blog better because I’d love to grow my following but I also just throughly enjoy writing. The substance is more important to me by far yet I’d still like to understand it all.

  13. Great post, Ashley.

    Do you have any interest in, or ever feel like you should know more about, blogging’s nuts and bolts?

    Do l think the tech stuff matters? Yes and No. But ultimately, it comes down to the type of blog that is being maintained and where the audience is coming from.

    Like you l to am a geek, so many things like this fascinate me; I am interested in the nuts and bolts but do they always matter? Well, l guess that comes down to which nuts and bolts and what each one does?

    In the last few months, the ‘business only Earthly Comforts blog style has changed its stance to reflect more of a ‘niche business journal’ blog, which is how l originally wanted the GUY blog to appear to the readership.

    It might not be a business blog in a conventional way, but it is pretty past the personal blog status also. It is to appeal to internal and external readers – like yours – it will also have external platforms supporting it, and whilst the WP community will read, they are not the only eyes the blog is for.

    So whilst many can/could read-only from the Reader function equally, many will not be reading directly from the back entrance but the front gate, so visual theming is advantageous. But theme customisation has always been important to me because l detest the black and white drabness of the actual Reader and only read directly from blogs.

    I have spent a lot of time customising that themed area, and many bloggers do, and we both know many personal bloggers do not – because it is unimportant to them. They don’t need to worry about those little details, and to a degree, they are right – spot on – because they are mostly only writing content for social function anyway.

    Block editor is an excellent bit of kit, and it is a shame that many still struggle with it or refuse to try to adapt their mindset from fixed to more of a growth one. It would be easier for them.

    Many of the nuts and bolts will always come down to two things – who are you ultimately writing for, and who are you primarily trying to attract to you? The third would be ‘what for?’ Social communication, friendship, interaction, business and sales …?

    Do we need Categories – yeah, it makes life for US easy to find things quickly in our directories and others to find items more accessible in the Reader. SEO is beneficial to all types of bloggers, from personal social to business marketers, because everyone needs to be seen and read. After all, ultimately, if you forget all the other so-called key stats – your content needs to be read.

    As Renard said above, formatting and structure are essential, and spell checking and grammar are also crucial because if you are going to attract people to your blog, be it here in WP or external, the content needs to be readable.

    Oh, and the beauty of resizing and compression of images is such an immense delight! I used images aplenty in Guy, but on Earthly, l am using more. I am still on Premium Plan, and whilst l have plans to shift it into Pro, l do not need to do that just yet – but since discovering TinYPng and resizing tools, even at this stage of the game with the building when there are a good thousand images already, l am only now just hitting the 1GB storage. I would be lost without those tools or nuts and bolts.

    So to your question – Should You Care About the Technical Side of Blogging? – Yes, l think we should; l think we owe it to ourselves and our blogs, but more importantly, we should care about it for the readers we want to have present and correct and reading our content. If you want to sell your books as an example, aesthetics are important. Anyone can write a book, but getting the audience to read it and want to stay for more that’s the trick.

    Ultimately it comes down l think to NOT just knowing the nuts and bolts of blogging but the nuts and bolts of marketing.

    1. Marketing is definitely a whole other beast, and it’s the part I’ve always felt the least comfortable with.

      I also like the block editor. I can see why some people don’t like it, as doing the most basic things is more involved compared to the classic editor, but the block editor is good for any sort of added functionality.

      Resizing and compressing images is also good for page loading speed, which in turn is good for search engine ranking. I think it’s one of the more useful yet not obvious things to learn nuts and bolts-wise.

      1. Totally agree with you regarding the Block. Sure there are at times glitches and they can be hair pulling glitches when you first start to use it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s extremely versatile.

        Well l had the Business model with the Guy blog so you know that is 200GB of storage and l used to use nearly 50% [nearly 10K images]of that as it was without any resizing or compaction and the Premium is only 13GB and the Pro is 150GB. At 1124 [counted] images in Earthly now l only have 1.2 GB used and that is because l am paying so much attention to making sure everything is the right size and a good KB ratio.

        Oh yes it makes a huge difference with page speed which is a priority when you consider the average reader’s attention span and concentration these days. If a page takes too long they are gone.

        More writers and bloggers should learn about the tools. Both you and Renard informed me about TinyPNG and it has made the biggest difference to my blogging in the space saving department.

        1. If you do end up switching it to Pro, a plugin like WP-Optimize (which is what I use) can do your image compression in bulk rather than doing it one at a time on TinyPNG.

  14. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in the technical aspect of things and can forget to just enjoy myself! Thank you for this post. It reminded me why I write: because it brings me joy.

  15. I think tags, categories, etc. are important for SEO, and I also believe if you’re only focused on WP reader readers, then these things may/may not matter. If you’re hoping someone outside of WP will read, then these things are important.

  16. Interesting topic 👍I care about the technical stuff after I publish for first time 🤗Then I go edit it! I don’t like this to interrupt the flow of my ideas 😃

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