Alice Elliott, an award-winning blogger, and digital marketer is with us today for an exclusive interview so without further ado, let’s hear it from the girl herself.
WPJuicer: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
Alice: I came from an artistic background: music and design, but I didn’t touch a computer until I was 22 (that’s how old I am)! Of course, computers were much simpler back in the 1980s. The technology was only just starting to get off the ground. But I had a knack of understanding and explaining it to others who were still stuck in the old ways.
I started to blog principally to promote my business, and I found the process fascinating! However, others didn’t share my fascination. I realized the majority of people I approached couldn’t cope with technology. And in 2003 suitable instructions or technical teaching sites for WordPress were few and far between, produced by geeks who didn’t know how to teach beginners.
I created Fairy Blog Mother to fill the gap in the market to instruct non-technical beginners how to blog. I principally used ordinary, everyday language in easy to understand step-by-step screenshots showing every tiny little transaction many WordPress instructors would not bother with and explain the process to make it more meaningful for the user.
WPJuicer: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing these days?
Alice Elliot: When bloggers started closing down their commenting facilities in 2014, I realized something had to be done about this. The main reason was that the rise of spam was swamping real comments and people moved over to social media, where real-time conversations and discussions could take place.
This was fine for the blogger’s regular readers, but blogs became ghost-towns for new readers who failed to see any social proof these bloggers had a large loyal audience. After their readership numbers started to fall, bloggers turned their commenting facilities back on a year later.
However, engagement on social media is different from commenting on blogs. Hand-held devices promote quicker commenting styles, and people fail to see the need to say much to get their point across. Before 2014 I could guarantee to get blog comments which were worth publishing. Now if I get a ‘Nice post’ I’m lucky. People have forgotten how to comment more than a few words or even to bother at all.
So I created The Commenting Club blog to resurrect the art of commenting, not just on blogs but anywhere people socially congregate. Commenting has many benefits for individuals to form relationships and businesses to boost their marketing strategies.
WPJuicer: Did anything surprise you during the process of growing it?
Alice: Yes, the fact there is so much more to commenting, engaging, and interacting than meets the eye. There are many marketing strategies that require commenting to make it work better, all based on relationship building.
For example, pitching for guest blogging. If time is taken to actually read the blog, find out about the main subject, learn more about the author, and show your interest with a few well-written comments, then the approach for guest blogging isn’t cold, but warm. The same principle applies to approach influencers, too.
So much marketing is done cold when it could be warmer. Commenting gets you or your business noticed, shows off your writing skills, creates relationships, helps expose your expertise, enhances your reputation, and so much more. And yet many businesses only use it to spread their website’s link as far and wide as they can, which is classed as spamming tactics.
WPJuicer: If you weren’t into blogging and marketing, what career path would you have chosen?
Alice: My degree was in classical music, and I was a newsletter designer before I had children. I would have loved to be a doctor but I wasn’t clever enough, and my school said girls who did art and music weren’t allowed to do science. I attempted publicity design and wedding stationery businesses before creating Fairy Blog Mother. At least blogging has trained me to become a better writer.
WPJuicer: What do you look for in a managed WordPress host?
Alice: As well as the usual stuff: reliability, stability, adaptability and being totally up to date, it is important to have a good chat facility for people who struggle with technology to be able to speak to a ‘human being’. These chat hosts must avoid using confusing jargon and techie-speak, and must be willing to perform tasks the website owner’s cannot do, rather than foisting instructions on them to make them go away.
WPJuicer: Who should we interview next, and why?
Alice: Why not interview Shane Melaugh from ThriveThemes. He has built up an amazing business based on providing WordPress themes and plugins which are easy to use and perform vital functions. He is also rapidly moving with the times to expand WordPress’s capabilities with his drag and drop facilities to enhance good web-design combined with advancing digital marketing functions.
WPJuicer: What do you do in your free time? Could you share some interesting stories/pictures of your hobbies, travel, etc?
Alice: I revel in natural beauty, mainly in flowers. I once did a 365 blog on photographing flowers from 1 January to 31 December, and I never missed a day! I like to capture a beautiful flower and post it on Instagram, just for anybody else who also values natural beauty.
WPJuicer: Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Alice: Be as individual as you can. There are over 4 billion blogs out there, so how are you going to get yours noticed? What extra specialty do you have which could mark you above all the other noise and dross which is going on? There is a heck of a lot of crap out there, so make sure what you produce is the absolute best you can do. And above all, work out a consistent plan to deliver this, so your blog never goes dark.