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Remembering Why I Retired and Some Advice

Warning: Non Geek Types May Suffer Eyes Glassing Over

As many of you may know, I had a career in IT. I started as an intern working in an IT shop on an Army base in Alaska. I was one of a few women in the field, but my manager was a glass ceiling breaking black woman who was the first of many women who revealed what women were capable of in the work place. My daily mentors were predominately men, who were kind and generous with their knowledge.

After 40 years in the field and experiencing many downsizing and right sizing reorganizations, I left the field to teach art to an underserved population and then after five years went back to school to learn web design. 

When I retired and shuttered my business, I worked for someone else for a while, but it did not suit me. I was no longer able to choose the kind of work I did and honestly, it was not lucrative enough to make it worth losing my beloved retired life. I did retain several clients on my hosting service.

During the last few days, I have been in front of my computer, performing backups and preparing for a forced upgrade of PHP software. Normally this is not a problem except these are legacy WordPress systems, many of which are running themes and plugins that are no longer supported or compatible with later releases of software.

Of course, nothing works as planned. There are glitches and voids where different people have differing levels of understanding. I have been in online chats with the hosting company, often explaining why their process does not work as they thought. It is frustrating and it reminds me why I decided to retire. After experiencing all the latest and greatest software over 40 or 50 years, sometimes the intrigue of new technology loses its appeal.

Now for the advice. If you ever plan to self-host your WordPress site, take some time to learn the basics of the hosting side. A little knowledge can go a long way.

Try not to get tempted to purchase themes from smaller theme companies. If you plan to purchase a theme, do some research on the company. Make sure they are going to be around a while. There are so many themes out there on production sites that are no longer supported. This makes keeping your software updated and current much more difficult.

I have found that Themes by Automattic or the WordPress team are the most likely to always stay in step with WordPress software releases. Some premium theme vendors require subscription fees in order to get support for their products and to receive updates. Always do your research.

Now a couple of every day blogging tips. WordPress suffers glitches. Like this post. I tried to write it with the block editor, but suddenly, there was no place to put in a title. That’s a new glitch to me.

Also, understand the reader settings. I was trying to re-follow a fellow blogger via email. There was already a glitch for this person in that their followers were being dropped. I could not get a follow to work for any email address. BUT, I found that because of a setting I had used in Reader, WordPress used that setting to prevent me following via my WordPress email or accepting an invitation to follow. Here’s the culprit. I had it set so I did not receive both reader and email, but then suddenly I was missing posts in reader:

Now I am again getting his Posts via email! But that still does not answer why he was dropping followers or why I could not subscribe with a different email address.

Bottom line, if you have problems or glitches in WordPress, just ask. I guarantee someone has already experienced the same problem,. 

Blog

A Word on Comments and Following

Since I have several new followers, I thought it might be helpful to share how I approach comments and following new blogs.  If other established bloggers have other ideas, I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

First of all, initially, no comments are posted until I have approved at least one comment from that person. For me, it requires several steps before that happens.

  1. First, I read the comment. Does it make sense in response to the post? If it seems way out in left field, the comment will be deleted.
  2. If the comment makes sense, I then check the website and Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) associated with the user.
  3. If the Gravatar seems authentic (meaning there is a photograph of some sort and a profile or links to a blog or website), then I check the blog or the website. If either is obviously fake (no about, no content, only an aggregator, default WordPress pages and posts), then the comment will likely be deleted. EXCEPTION: I do realize I have followers that do not have blogs or websites, but I generally know them or can tell if the email address is valid.
  4. Once the first comment is approved, further comments will be approved automatically.

What I will do:

  1. Read all comments.
  2. Respond to comments. Some comments that are simple like a smiley face, I may just ‘Like’.
  3. Block commenters, URL’s, and spammers in a heartbeat.
  4. Check out your website or blog. If I find what you write interesting or compelling, I may follow you.

What I will NOT do:

  1. Follow your blog just because you ask me to.
  2. Tolerate any disrespectful comments to me or any of my followers.
  3. Allow spam comments or comments or referrals to spammy websites.
  4. Leave a comment asking any other blogger to follow me.

My advice to new bloggers is to write authentically. If you love animals, write about animals. If you love photography, share your photos and how you approach photography. If you are a mom struggling with life in the pandemic, write about that. If you are a writer, share some of your work. If you love music, share it and tell the world why you love it. Just be yourself. Authenticity comes through in your writing. Engage with bloggers you follow. Leave comments and when the blogger responds, acknowledge them.

This blogging community is a generous one. If you have questions for a blogger you like, ask the question.

Note: If you do not have a Gravatar or understand what they are, start here:  How to Sign Up for an Account