Here comes my first opinion piece as a blogger and it saddens me to confess I won’t be Wonder Woman but rather Scrat (think about Ice Age movie, he was the unluckiest saber-tooth squirrel in the whole world).
As a blogger newbie I love visiting other blogs just to get a feel, see how seasoned bloggers build their beautiful blogs and gather tons of followers. They’re all my idols right now and I worship the net they post on. Well, kinda…
So when one of them gives blogging advice I’m all ears and studious little me takes tons of notes about “What you should do”, “What you should never do” and “What are the best plugins”.
Here we are. THE magic word: PLUGIN! It’s the blogger’s Saint Graal if you’re on a self-hosted blog because they have tons of useful tools and make your blog look so awesome.
Just to be on the safe side I even asked my hubby to build a virtual test server and install a blog clone I could play with, avoiding any disaster on my “real” blog. I was gushing about it just days ago as Corina at Happily Ever After Book Reviews, ranted about her new theme not working and how she was so mad and… Well Corina it’s your turn to laugh your @ss off now because I’ve acted just as foolishly.
You see that blogger praised this incredible/fantastic/wonderful/need to have plugin if you would write many reviews. It was not a free plugin but would be really worth every penny.
I just followed the link and was in Blogger’s Wonderland! The post was so pretty and professional looking. With the colorful book cover, informations about the author, the publishing house, the genre.. with a good looking synopsis, buying links and beautiful rating stars. It promised only 10 minutes to format every post and Tadaaa you’d have a slick and professional looking post.
I was just mesmerized by this shiny toy. Gimme, gimme, gimme…
So I paid for my brand new toy. I was feeling like my hubby when he bought his latest sports car: I was the King of the World! Or rather the Queen of the world.
What happened after I read all the instructions downloaded and activated the plugin? Well I spent 5 hours until 1:30 AM trying to make it work properly!!!!
And of course as it was a paying plugin with a secret key I did not think it would work on my virtual blog. I changed my REAL blog. Problems: no more social icons, shares and likes after my posts. Impossible to have the great looking synopsis displayed just like the demo. No use to try changing the font I don’t know enough HTML coding yet and all my attempts failed miserably. No more “related posts” links and pictures no more…
When I realized my homey little blog was nearly in shamble I swear I just wanted to cry.
But I’m tenacious and determined. I worked and worked and worked…until I nearly fell asleep on my computer. Sheer exhaustion and pure idiocy just beat me. And it was looking better. Not perfect with the still absent social links, related posts but I was on the right path.
Come morning I asked my daughter’s opinion. She’s a teen and there’s no better critic than teenagers. Well she had one look at my post and told me: “Mom it’s like looking on Amazon page. I don’t get your trademark anymore. I don’t know who you are now but you’re NOT YOU”
Pure words of wisdom and a big lesson: don’t try to imitate other’s blog. Pick ideas yes but stay true to yourself. I’m not a professional blogger and probably never will be. But my “self-made” blog with its homey feel and all its imperfections, THAT’S ME. And of course if I write a blog it’s in the hope of being followed and read. I want to share the love, to have contacts and chats with people sharing the same passion. But I’ll never be the Oprah of blogging.
Don’t misunderstand me this plugin is really genius if you know how to format everything and comes with tons of tools for book blogging. But it gave me some copycat feel of my blog and I did not like it.
So now my lesson’s learned and the plugging deactivated. I’m back with my homey blog and I feel like Wonder Woman!