A Shocking Surprise: The New “Improved” Editor at WordPress.com
When I recently returned to the free version of WordPress after a long absence, I was shocked to see how much the editor had changed. I had started a business blog several years ago before I could self-host WordPress. I discovered that for some reason I was getting new subscribers, so I returned to write a new post for them. The new “improved” editor was very frustrating.
It’s apparently designed for those trying to blog from mobile devices, but it’s agony for those of us on desktops. What’s worse is that you can’t easily find a way to write new posts in the old Classic Editor. The new dashboard associated with the new editor is also confusing — especially if you also have self-hosted blogs tied into JetPack.
The New Dashboard at the Free Version WordPress
First, let’s see how your posts look in the new editor’s dashboard. As you can see in the image below, instead of the compact list you find in your dashboard on self-hosted blogs, you see previews, including images, of your posts. You need to do a lot of scrolling to find the one you want.
It’s harder to see your previously created tags so that you can put them on the new post. Instead of seeing a cloud of tags, you see a list you have to scroll and click on one at a time. What a pain! Previous tags may appear if you start writing a tag that starts with the same letters.
The New “Improved” Editor on the Free WordPress Version
The image below shows how the new “improved”editor itself looks.
As you can see, this offers no view of the handy interfaces for Zemanta, categories, tags, and the Save, Preview, and Publish buttons in the upper right corner where you are used to finding them on the right sidebar. They are on the upper left, except you only see the Save button if the post was not saved automatically.
The reason you don’t see those handy things is because most of them aren’t options in the free version of WordPress.com. The free version also limits you to 3GB of storage for your images.
Also, unless you turn it off, you have no choice in picking your related posts — even if you can see your Zemanta interface. If you check the box to show related posts, you will see a row of them. On my new post, the same linked image was repeated several times to fill the available space, since links were all picked by computer. If you want to show related posts you pick yourself, you will have to upgrade or get a self-hosted site. My related links looked so bad I turned them off.
When I started my blog at WordPress.com, it appeared I had a lot of freedom — as long as I didn’t try to monetize it. I could only link to non-affiliated pages. Unlike a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can’t place ads in your sidebar or anywhere else. If you upgrade to a paid version, they will take the ads they profit from off. To remove the ads and be able to profit from your own ads, you will pay WordPress.com $8.95 a month. It costs $2.95 a month just to remove the ads.
Upgrades offer you more space and added features, but for a price. By the time you pay the price for a premium plan, you might as well self-host and get a lot more features and control. This is especially true if you use the link below. Then you can place ads on your site and use affiliate links to help pay your hosting expenses.
Self-Host with SiteGround
I have been hosting several sites on SiteGround for over a year now. Their support people got me through a tough migration with no problems. They are reasonably priced and your web site is kept safely backed up. My sites hosted at SiteGround load more quickly than my sites hosted at GoDaddy. SiteGround also offers the best WordPress support and security.
If you want to monetize your blog, you should seriously consider investing in a course taught by experienced affiliate marketers who have proved they have made a good blogging income . I believe the best blogging course value for those interested in affiliate marketing is Pajama Affiliates. Click the photo above to check out their courses. Usually at least one of them is one sale. You may want to read these posts before you start your blog.
Free Blog Hosting Can Be Yanked Away Without Notice
Here’s how I learned the dangers of free blog hosting. A few years ago I almost had a WordPress.com blog deleted. At that time I did not know affiliate links were forbidden. I had never used them during my first two years of posts, but I almost lost all my work by using that one link. Fortunately for me, they warned me and when I appealed and removed the link they gave me another chance. Recently someone with more to lose than I had his free blog hosting yanked. His blog is gone. And that’s what inspired this post.
Blogger’s Free Blog Hosting Has Risks
In my last post I warned readers about the need to host their own sites. Now I’ve just read that artist Dennis Cooper’s 14-year-old Blogger blog was pulled by Google with no warning. I will admit I am not familiar with Cooper’s work and I have no idea what about his blog violated Google’s terms of service. I do know, though, from my own WordPress.com experience, that we may sometimes miss some part of the TOS or misunderstand it. That failure might cause the destruction of all our posts.
It’s one thing for Google to penalize content it doesn’t like in search results. It’s quite another to remove your blog.
When you own your own site, you have a lot more control. It’s true that paid hosting sites also have their terms of service, but they generally only disallow illegal content or behavior that threatens the server or other sites that share it. I use SiteGround for hosting my newest sites, and their terms are pretty typical. They don’t host MLM sites, though.
Whichever host you choose, be sure to read the terms of service before you sign up. Make sure the type of site you have in mind is compatible. Also read the details of your hosting plan to be familiar with its space and bandwidth limitations. You could be in trouble if you use too many resources. That happened to me on Hostgator once.
I once hosted my most important site, Books to Remember, there, but I no longer felt good about it after some problems with tech support. One person I talked to made it sound like there would be no charge for a certain support task, and I should just call back when I was ready and any support person could help. I did that. After the task was complete they charged me $75 I had not counted on.
That’s one reason why SiteGround, now hosts that site. Click link above or one of the sidebar banners to check it out. I heard from many others how reliable SiteGround hosting is and how helpful the tech support is. I have also found that to be true since I moved my site there . I’ve always been happy with the results. My tech support call waiting time is also very short compared to that I spent when I was with Hostgator.
Even if you lose your hosting suddenly, you will have your content. It’s easy to export your blogs on a regular basis as XML files. In Blogger, click settings on your dashboard and select other. It will have an option to back up your blog. Click it and you will have your backup XML file. Save it wherever you want it to be.
If you have a WordPress.comsite, you choose settings again and at the top you choose export. Save to wherever you want to keep it. On a self-hosted WordPress site, choose tools on your dashboard. Then click export. I just exported one third-party hosted Wordpress.org blog to a new site by just importing that file.
My exported arrived blog with everything, even the photos, comments, and theme, intact. I decided to change the dates on all the posts and upload them one at at time to start the new site. That gave me a chance to edit the posts and improve them with what I learned from The Pajama Affiliates Blogging courses.
Set Up Your New Self-Hosted WordPress Blog the Right Way from the Beginning
I had already set up several self-hosted WordPress blogs before I discovered the Pajama Affiliates Courses. When I signed up for my new blog on SiteGround, I wanted to get off to a good start. I decided to do it while watching the 20 Pajama Affiliate videos in the WordPress in a Day Course.
I went step by step, with my blog open in one tab and a video open in another. I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t known when I set up my other sites. I still need to make changes in those first sites I built, but at least I now have one that was set up properly at the beginning. This one isn’t it.
Check Content and Prices on All Pajama Affiliates Courses. They are often on Sale.
I highly recommend the WordPress in a Day Course if you are just starting a new self-hosted WordPress blog. You can look all these great courses over and get a free sample to try before you buy. I now own most of these courses.
It’s Time to Leave Free Hosting Sites Behind
Back up your sites and move them to sites you own. The Pajama Affiliates can help you. Even if all you have is the free sample course, you will have access to the Facebook support group where you can ask questions and find answers to your blogging problems.
You simply should not risk all the work you’ve put into your blog by keeping it on a site you don’t control. Buying hosting and a domain name is a small price to pay to maintain your independence. Check out SiteGround. They often give you your domain name free for the first year if you sign up for a new site. They did that for me. Get it before January 3 while it’s still 50% off.
Please share this post with someone it might help.
It’s very tempting for affiliate marketers to take advantage of “free” blogging platforms such as BlogJob or revenue sharing sites using a WordPress interface. These platforms have their advantages and many of us have used them with varying results. BlogJob is great if you want to be in a community situation and be able to earn with social activity as well as your blogs. If you are a serious affiliate marketing blogger, who wants control over the monetizing options and how your blog looks, it’s important to self-host your WordPress site.
I have six blogs on BlogJob. I wanted to try some different themes that were new to me. I chose the Arcade Basic theme for my blog Trees in My World because I wanted to feature a lot of photos and I liked the large photo header. What I could not predict when writing my posts was what would happen when BlogJob’s placed their Adsense ads on my blog. Here’s what did happen.
As you can see, the ad is covering my text — not something readers will appreciate. It makes me look bad and most readers will just click away, increasing my bounce rate..
I only discovered this was happening again when I was about to promote the page. These ads are pesky because when you are writing your post, you have no idea where they will appear and what form they will take. They don’t show up until someone is actually reading the post. This only has happened when I’ve been using this theme. In all fairness, the administration fixed this for me once, but the site just had a major update and it’s broken again.
When you self-host, you place all the ads. You don’t have to put one in the middle of your post if you don’t want the flow interrupted. You don’t have to worry about ads that will compete for clicks on the products you are linking to yourself. I remember times on revenue sharing sites when I was promoting certain Zazzle products and the same products would also appear in the ads to the right, competing for clicks and commission.
When you self-host, you don’t have to worry about nasty or questionable ads being placed by your host that you would never approve or want your readers to see. (In all fairness, BlogJob has never placed ads I was ashamed of. ) You have full control in Google’s interface over what ads you do and don’t want to see when you host a site yourself.
Third Party Display Aids
Affiliate marketers want to make their products look attractive on their pages. Some like to use Amazon’s Native Ads. I like to use Easy Product Displays. It’s a very reasonable paid service that lets you easily build attractive displays of affiliate products.
I’m still on the basic plan that lets me search Amazon and Zazzle, my two main affiliate programs. It costs a bit more to include Share-a-Sale. You can choose between several layouts to find the best fit for your page, preview it, and switch products around in the display until you get it just right. Then you copy the code and put it in the text view of your page where you want it. Here’s an example of a display I just built. (Disclaimer: I chose these books at random because they looked interesting to me.)
There are ways I could adjust this display in the code to make the Amazon buttons line up more evenly, but that isn’t the primary focus of this post. You can display only one product or more than fifteen, if you please, in different sizes or in rows of two, three, and four products. It’s fun to play with it before you get your code.
I cannot use this display in BlogJob because of code conflicts. Amazon Native ads also have to replace one of your Adsense ads at BlogJob. I discovered today I can’t even display the normal text/image ad from Amazon there. I have no control over how the code is written. BlogJob pays the bills and they get to call the shots. They have to make money, too, but if you want control you need to self-host.
Full Control of Affiliate Products Promoted
So far, BlogJob has not limited how many products I may promote per post, only how they are displayed. Revenue sharing sites like HubPages are the most controlling when it comes to this. I hate having robots decide where affiliate links can be placed and how many. Anyone using HubPages will understand what I mean. That is one reason why affiliate marketers are leaving HubPages to self-host. Many who have done that are making much more money after moving their posts to self-hosted sites than they ever did on HubPages.
If You Are Serious about Monetizing, Self-Host
If you are starting from scratch with self-hosted WordPress, I recommend you spend the small amount of money it takes to purchase the course that will show you how to set it up correctly to make money and get traffic. It’s called Set Up a WordPress Site in One Day, and I have purchased it myself. I thought I knew plenty already, since I had been using self-hosted WordPress for years. After getting this course, I was surprised to learn how much I didn’t know yet.
If you want to blog mainly for personal satisfaction or you don’t care if you make money with your blog, go ahead and join BlogJob. You can still make a bit of money there — probably faster than on HubPages — while enjoying the community aspects of the site and participating in forums. Just keep in mind that if you want to start seriously monetizing a blog to make a business of blogging, you will get much better results if you self-host.
If you found this post helpful, please share it. The image below was designed for pinning on Pinterest.
Get Your Pajama Affiliate Marketing Blogging Course Now!
Many of us struggle for years on blogs that don’t make any money from affiliate marketing. We put in our links, but they don’t convert to sales. We wonder why. That was me. I was working hard, but not smart.
Then I heard about the Pajama Affiliate blogging classes. I had read lots of blogs on blogging and affiliate marketing, but they didn’t help. My friends started raving about the Pajama Affiliates, so I first bought the Amazon Masterclass they were so excited about.
These video courses are very practical. You learn about finding the right niche, the right keywords, and the best way to make your blog friendly to search engines. You also learn how to use your affiliate links in ways that will convert to sales. You can find the details of what’s covered in each course here. There’s even the option of a free sample that lets you get a feel for the courses before you buy them.
The Affiliate Marketing and Amazon Masterclass is also on sale for a limited time. You might want to pick up this class now, since it was upgraded in mid-October and then the price may double any day. Those who already have the course get the updates grandfathered in. All sales prices are limited time offers. Meanwhile, if you click the links above, the current prices will be accurate for the time you are there. There usually is a sale on one or more classes going on.
Here’s What’s in the Business Bundle
For a limited time, The Pajama Affiliates have also put the Business Bundle on sale . This course tells you all you need to know in order to start your own self-hosted WordPress blogging business.
These courses are about much more than blogging. They teach you how to find your blogging niche, how to organize your blogs, how to write blogs that reach and motivate people who are ready to buy your products . You learn how to offer your readers what they are looking for, and if you do that correctly, your posts will start getting sales. If you don’t take any other course, take “How to Write a Blog Post that Converts Sales.” It has completely transformed my approach to blogging.
Are you still undecided? Then sample some of the best of the course videos for free with no strings attached. You will not only get to see some of the videos that are part of the actual classes, but you will also get to join the private Facebook support group for Pajama Affiliates and see some very useful videos Robin posts regularly as needed. Those in the group also get the news immediately if any class goes on sale or if new classes become available.
Success Depends Upon Applying What You Learn
Of course, all the courses in the world won’t improve your sales unless you watch the videos, read the notes, and apply what you learn. But after six years of blogging without this course, I never got a payment from Amazon. I bought the course at the end of December and got my first check from the Amazon affiliate program at the end of the next January. I’m about ready for another one. My Zazzle sales are also improving, since I also promote my Zazzle products in my blogs.
I’m not yet making the kind of money Robin and Lesley are making. It takes time to start making hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. I need to redo most of my already published blogs and also write new ones applying what Robin and Lesley have taught me. I expect, though, that by the end of this year I will have earned back all I’ve paid for the course, pro versions of apps that help me, and website expenses for new blogs and renewals of old ones and still have more to buy services I need for my home.
It does take money to make money sometimes. One just needs to spend it wisely. If you buy a Pajama Affiliates blogging course, you will be spending it wisely. Just hurry so you don’t miss current sale prices Tomorrow may be too late. My income increases more every day as I apply what I’ve learned and am still learning.
It seems almost every few months another writing site closes. During the past three years Squidoo, Bubblews, Zujava, Wikinut, Seekyt, and sites I never even joined have closed or stopped paying.
When Persona Paper gave notice they would close, the site administrators, who have always been upfront with us, gave us fair warning so that we would have time to save our work. As it turned out, a new owner took over Persona Paper, but it’s no longer paying. Not very many people are still active there. Many of us have already backed up our work — just in case.
Besides Persona Paper, I belong to other sites which may or may not be around a year from now. The owners of Blogborne and Niume seem to have lost interest in them and activity has decreased. As income on these third party sites goes down, more and more people are moving work to their own sites.
Checklist for Exiting a Writing Site
Make copies of your work
Delete links to your work
Edit your social media automated feeds
Invest more in your self-hosted sites
Make Copies of Your Work
If you’ve been through a sudden site closure with no warning before, you probably already know you should be making backups for every single post or article you write. When Bubblews closed, many were caught off-guard and lost their work.
There’s another lesson I learned at Bubblews, though. A site can also make a site-wide change that will butcher what you have written. This happened during an update where Bubblews stripped most of the content from many posts that had used multiple images. I lost many photo essays, even though I had drafts of the text.
From now on, I plan to save every post with multiple images as a complete web page through my browser. In Chrome this is really easy. Just go to the dots in the top right corner. Click. Choose “More Tools” from the drop-down menu that appears. When you mouse over it, you can click “Save page as.” A window will appear to allow you to choose a file to save to. Choose and save. Wait for the download and you’re finished. What a simple way to have a model of your page exactly as it appeared when published so you can reconstruct it later.
Delete Links to Your Work
This is the part that is not fun. If you’ve been writing very long, you have probably been crosslinking articles you’ve written on different sites. When Squidoo closed I had lots of links going to my lenses from my blogs and from my Hubs on HubPages and from articles on other sites. Fortunately, many of those links forwarded to HubPages for pages that had been transferred, but I didn’t allow all my articles to transfer.
I have 350 articles on Persona Paper, and a good portion of those are articles I tweeted recently. I have linked to them from blogs. I have pinned them on Pinterest and shared them on Google + and Facebook. I have linked to them from content websites I own. If Persona Paper goes away for good, those will all be dead links. I will have to remove them. Maybe you also have some link cleaning to do if you have backlinks to work on closed or closing sites.
Edit Your Social Media Feeds
Many people have automated collections of tweets and Facebook posts which they set up ahead of time for a couple of hundred evergreen posts in a service like Hootsuite. They just keep being posted over time until you change them. If links to posts or sites no longer functioning are being tweeted, you will lose credibility.
Invest in More in Your Self-Hosted Sites
Sometimes I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round. Gather closes so I post an old Gather post to Bubblews. Bubblews closes so I republish that same post to Persona Paper. Persona Paper closes… Then what?
If you’ve been stuck on the content writing site merry-go-round, maybe it’s time to get off and invest in your own self-hosted sites. If your sites are already set up, invest more time in updating them and adding new content. Many who have moved posts from HubPages to their own sites are seeing increased earnings from them now. Check out the great hosting deals for WordPress sites at SiteGround. They are very helpful there.
If you don’t yet have your own blog, join Pajama Affiliates so you can learn to set up a self-hosted WordPress site correctly from the beginning. It’s a small investment up front, but most get it back in earnings if they apply what they learn there. I have found it valuable for myself.
My Pajama Affiliate Courses are Worth Every Penny I Paid for Them. The teachers are making thousands a year in affiliate income without being spammy. They can teach you to monetize your own blogs in a reputable way. The courses go on sale often. While you’re waiting for a sale, you can clean out your dead links in cyberspace.
Hope this post helps you set goals that don’t depend on a third party site to help you earn. Be adventurous. Step out on your own. Take control of your own destiny in cyberspace. I think you will enjoy creating and looking back on your accomplishments.
I recently read a post by Angie Tolpin, You Don’t Have to Be a Blogger to Be My Friend. That got me thinking about my own blogging experiences, and what advice I might give someone today who likes to write and may want to start a blog. Angie’s readers seem to be mostly mothers with children still at home. I am past that. There was no internet for me back in those days, or I might have jumped on the blogging bandwagon then, too.
I had always wanted to write, and I satisfied that urge with a journal and by writing to penpals in various parts of the world. That continued through my college days.
After I got married and began to be active in churches as an adult, we led the college group and what I had to say was usually specific to certain friends who had shared their problems with me. So I wrote letters of encouragement, especially to those who were away at college. I also wrote letters to some of my high school students who had graduated and joined the service. There was no shortage of ways to communicate in writing. In the days before social networks, people did actually use snail mail.
What Made Me Finally Start a Blog?
After my 14-year-old son died in 1991, I started a book business for which I did a lot of traveling. It kept me too busy to take on anything else. But after we stopped traveling and I took the business online, I heard that people in business should start a blog. So I did. I wasn’t really passionate about it, and coming up with ideas was hard. I probably should not have started it, now that I look back. I don’t post to it much anymore because other subjects interest me more than currently published educational materials.
I had one other blog I started in 2006 that still continues to this day — my gardening blog. It is a more satisfactory way to keep a photo history of my garden to refer back to than the written journals I had kept earlier. I was passionate about gardening, and only one thing kept me from my blog in those days — too much else to do in the garden itself, and the squirrels. After the attacks in which the squirrels destroyed my garden I had little to write on that blog anymore, so I changed the focus.
Something else kept me from the gardening blog for over a year. That something was a new and very profitable writing site, called Bubblews, which was great while it lasted. I started posting my gardening journals there instead of to my blog because I earned more from them there and had more readers.
But one dark day last year Bubblews finally went down, as many of us were sure it would. I have gone back to my blog to publish my garden journal — when I have time. I couldn’t work in the garden for almost a year because I’d had two surgeries, but I’m now posting again on Barb’s Garden Observations. The lesson I learned was that if something is really important to you, host it yourself and keep it on your own site.
Social Blogging on Medium: A Path to Starting Your Own Blog
Social blogging didn’t exist when I started my first blogs. As far as I know, Bubblews was the first social blogging network. I now use Medium for social blogging. Here’s my Medium profile so you can get a feel for it. I just joined a few weeks ago because I heard it was a great promotion tool. I’m not sure it is, but it will help you start writing online if you are new to it. You will make new writing friends. You will be exposed to new ideas and get in some interesting conversations you would never find on Facebook.
I would advise anyone thinking about starting a blog who does not yet have a focus, to join Medium and start social blogging. Why? Because it is a good way to get your feet wet and develop a focus. It’s kind of like test blogging to see if it suits you, to make contacts for when you start your own blog, and to give you a wider perspective on the rest of the world and to communicate with people who don’t necessarily share your values and beliefs. If you want to start a blog now, I recommend you keep reading. Joining the Pajama Affiliates is one of the best ways to get the training you need to get off to a good start.
Learn How to Earn Money on Your Blog
Most bloggers, myself included, begin blogging without a clear plan on how to make it earn for them. If you haven’t started your blog yet, I would recommend you learn how to do it correctly from the beginning. Learn from experienced bloggers who have mastered making their blogs pay off and have the payment proofs to support their claims.
Recently many of my old friends from Squidoo started talking about how much they were learning in the Pajama Affiliates blogging courses and how their incomes had increased because of it. Since most of those people had made a lot more affiliate income on Squidoo than I ever had, I was impressed. I already knew of the teachers of the course because they had also written on Squidoo with me.
I had known part of what they did to make their money and be successful at affiliate selling, but I never knew how to do it myself. To tell the truth, part of me resisted having to do affiliate sales to support my content writing. But now that those content writing sites where I made my income are gone or paying peanuts, I need to make the income to cover my blogging expenses and buy some of the extras I want. The blogging course my friends were taking went on sale and I had enough in PayPal to cover it so I signed up.
Instruction is given by video and written summaries.There is a private Facebook group for all those taking the course to ask questions and get help. The group members also visit and help promote each other’s blogs. That in itself is worth what I paid. I’m already learning steps I can take right now to increase the effectiveness of my blogs.
Best of all, Leslie, who teaches the class, is showing me that I don’t have to write spammy blogs to make money. Her blogs offer a lot of information, cleverly presented, and almost sneak the product links in. The complete course price is $297, but the course is often on sale for much less. The best deal is the new all-in-one blogging bundle that has everything you need to know about blogging.
Medium is probably the easiest place to try out blogging. Follow the link, sign up for free, and start reading what others have written. Search by tag to find posts that may interest you. Follow the people who write posts you like. Highlight parts of those posts that speak to you. Comment on the posts. Any comment you make becomes a new post for you and goes on your profile page, along with your longer posts and passages from posts you have highlighted. Recommend posts you enjoyed to others by clicking the green heart at the end of the post.
You will find people responding to your comments and even starting conversations. This helps you get to know people and some genuine friendships can develop. You will also have people looking forward to your posts and following you so they don’t miss any. These are all people who may later want to read your blog because they feel they know you.
So what do you post? Anything that interests you and has general appeal. Personal opinions and experiences do well. Share information on subjects you know well from your unique perspective. Use some of your photos to write photo essays. You can even import blog posts from sites that you believe will close soon into Medium, photos and all, with a single click. Just check your work for errors before posting. Many of your readers will be professional writers and bloggers.
Gradually, you will find your writing voice — that style your followers will come to expect from you. You will also begin to see what you seem to be writing about most. That means you are beginning to focus on your passions. It also means the idea for your own blog is in the process of hatching.
If you plan to blog, you should start by reading other blogs — a lot of them. This will give you ideas on what is possible, themes you might want to use, how others monetize effectively, and what about a blog makes you want to read it and what makes you click away. I suggest you follow @MondayBlogs on Twitter or search the hashtag #MondayBlogs . It will introduce you to a wide variety of blogs and you can start following those you most enjoy reading and commenting on them. It never hurts to become a familiar face to your favorite bloggers.
By now you should have some idea as to whether you should start a blog. If you seriously want to make money blogging, you will need to monetize your blog and to do that right you will need to host the blog yourself.
I would suggest using SiteGround (affiliate link) as your host if you plan to use a self-hosted WordPress site. Prices are reasonable. I just opened a new domain there and I’m getting my domain name free for life. I opened the account because I was unhappy with a current host for my main site and I wanted to switch it over. They managed the transfer for me free. So far their customer support has answered all my questions quickly and easily and getting my new site installed was a snap.