Jason Das, the co-founder of both SuperVegan and Vegan Drinks, is returning to Vida Vegan Con this May to share his expertise and thoughts in a few of our exciting panels and classes: Ethics Beyond the Plate, Vegan Invasion: Community Building, and Tech for Effective Web Presence.
For this third class, Jason asked us if he could solicit some ideas on just what *you* would like to know more about.
This is your chance to design his class. It’ll be more than a mere general presentation with some handy tips—Jason wants to address your concerns!
Here are some topics being mulled around for the Tech-orientated class:
- Intro to CSS
- Responsive Web Design
- Best SEO practices
- Tumblr theming
So, what interests you? Let’s make the most of his versatile expertise and innovative planning—it’s now in your hands!
Be sure to check out the full agenda for Vida Vegan Con II here.
It’s the return of our blogging Q & A! This time, we’re joined by the super talented and lovely Amey Mathews. We are so excited to have Amey return as a speaker for Vida Vegan Con 2013—whether you can make it or not, check out her blog, Vegan Eats & Treats. We love Amey for her positive, genuine attitude. She is smart as hell and is an endless font of adorable little drawings.
Where do you see blogging going?
It’s amazing how many blogs there are now—which is really great. When I first started blogging, there were just a small handful of vegan blogs. Today there are so many, that everyone can find a sense of community for exactly the way they enjoy eating and being vegan. There are all the PPK community blogs, all the raw date-ball blogs, the no-salt-oil-sugar blogs, vegan athlete blogs, and so on. Sometimes I’ll stumble onto a new blog that’s outside of my usual favorites, and find a whole sea of comments from other bloggers I’ve never discovered before… It’s pretty amazing.
Also, I was just looking at some old posts the other day and looking at how crappy my pictures were. Ha ha! There are a handful of bloggers like Hannah at BitterSweet, or Susan at Fat Free Vegan, or Allyson at Manifest Vegan, who take SUCH great pictures—I think they’ve really helped raise the bar for the rest of us. Even if you’re not gonna spend 30 minutes staging your picture (I gotta eat dinner, man!), you’re also not going to be satisfied with a yellowish picture with dirty dishes in the background.
One last thing, is how many bloggers are turning their blogs into cookbook deals. It’s amazing and exciting! I wish I could write recipes, but it’s really not my strong point. But if anyone needs little doodles for their cookbook, I’m here to help.
What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use ArcSoft Photo Studio if I want to actually cut and paste and combine my doodles and photos and all that, but usually I just use PhotoShop for simple things like brightness or color balance. The best is making dinner before dark so I can just use natural light, and not need a photo editor at all.
What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
Liking: Great photography—especially the folks who really take photography seriously. I love that blog writing is evolving into something much more focused and not just “I had some seitan and broccoli for dinner,” like it was in the old days of blogging. I’m LOVING all the mofo themes, and people who are doing a different theme every day for the whole week. It’s a cool idea even for non-mofo-season! In general, I love that the blog designs seem to be getting more attractive, more classy, and more appealing to look at. I love that Blogger—my old faithful blog host—has really improved its design options…and I LOVE that we can finally respond to individual comments on Blogger!
Disliking: my number-one blogging pet PEEVE is the whole weird giveaway thing that is going on. Kittee calls it “Like Gate,” which I think is hilarious. This is the situation where someone says “I”m giving away a free pizza coupon”…”but first you have to ‘like’ me on Facebook, and ‘like’ the company on Facebook, and tweet about this contest to everyone you went to kindergarten with, and leave 10 voicemail messages on your parents’ answering machine, and leave a comment for every single thing you do, so that I have 1,000,000 comments by the end of it!” It makes me grumpy, as you can tell. For me, it makes the blogosphere feel crass and corporate and pander-y, instead of having it feel like a community of friends who want to do something fun like have a giveaway for the fun of it. I feel that as vegan bloggers, we should be serving one another (our fellow vegans or aspiring vegans), and not serving the companies. I don’t mind product reviews or cookbook reviews, because I think that’s news everyone can use…but I think some discretion is needed. Changing the whole tone of your blog post into something with an advertising tone just so someone can win something worth $5 isn’t worth it to me.
What blogs/websites do you read?
I read so many blogs! I usually read anything in my blog crawl on the side of my blog. I love reading randomofo.com SO MUCH—I’ve marked so many new favorites this mofo season. A few of my standby favorites are: ColdandSleepyCooks, Meet the Wikos, Cake Maker to the Stars, Tahini Too, Manifest Vegan, Julie Hasson… But gosh, the list goes on!
What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I actually lived in Seattle, for 2½ years after I graduated college. Back then, I was just a vegetarian—not yet a vegan, and Seattle had only a couple of all-veg spots. But halfway through my Seattle stint, a beautiful veg spot called Carmelita opened up, quite near my house. I was a pretty poor youngster back then, working part time for minimum wage…so I only went to Carmelita once, when my aunt took me out for dinner. I haven’t been back to Seattle in years, but next time I go, I’d really like to go back to my old neighborhood and try out Carmelita again. For old time’s sake!
Oh Portland! I love Dovetail Bakery and Back to Eden most of all, because where I live (in Santa Cruz), no one is making delicious vegan baked goods. I usually load up, and come home with a huge supply that go straight to the freezer for the times when I want a baked treat and I don’t want to bake it myself. For proper nutrition, my two favorites are Native Bowl and Blossoming Lotus. I love the bowls at Native Bowl—so full of flavor and veggies and proteins…filling and fun! I also really love the food at Blossoming Lotus—so far I haven’t ever had a dud there. Once I got to go there for brunch, and that was totally amazeballs!
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? Which is better?
I don’t know if there’s a single “better” between the two, but there is probably a “better for you right now.”
The obvious plus for WordPress.com is that it’s a potentially free, user-friendly service. In less than an hour you can have a blog up and running. For $13 you can map to your own domain name (registered through WordPress or not)—no domain.wordpress.com. The drag-n-drop widgets make it pretty easy to add buttons, links, and social networking functions. It does, however, have its limitations, even if you upgrade for CSS design flexibility or video hosting. Also, WordPress.com, in exchange for this free to low-cost service, will run random ads on your blog. For $30 a year you can prevent this, but you are not allowed to run ads of your own.
WordPress.org is not as simple, right out of the gate. You’re on your own for hosting, so to get it started, you’ve got to know a little something about FTP uploading, databases, and the like…or know someone else who does. But once it’s all set up and you’ve chosen your theme (of which you have many more choices and are free to customize) and plug-ins, it pretty much acts like WordPress.com. With WordPress.org, you can install plug-ins for monetizing ads, stats analysis, and e-commerce.
What seems to make the leap to WordPress.org easier is a hosting service such as Bluehost. For $5-10 a month, you can choose WordPress scripting and it’ll take care of much of the nuts and bolts of it, making this pro option more accessible to the less tech savvy among us.
So what’s the tipping point? If you just feel a little penned in by the “.com,” and it’s worth upwards of $100 a year to you, then it might be time for “.org,” perhaps with the help of a hosting service or a super geeky friend. And if you get stuck or scared, WordPress has a huge support site and community.
Bottom line, don’t feel bad about taking your time. Plenty of respected bloggers use free blogs. Focus on your content and get to the flashy stuff when you can.
Have you got a tech question? Hit us up at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail [dot] com. We’ll dig up the answers!
Whilst scouring the Internet for tech tips to share with y’all, we found so many great resources that we just felt we should highlight some. In the event you have NO questions at all and are perfectly happy with your blog, chances are you’ll still find some good ideas and be inspired to step it up.
For Bloggers By Bloggers published a list of blogging mistakes that make you look a bit the amateur, like leaving that meta widget in or not having share buttons.
Super intimidated by WordPress.org so you’re sticking with the limitations of WordPress.com? (Hey, that’s us!) WP Beginner is a fantastic resource for everything from themes to plug-ins. Tons of tutorials and current deals/coupon codes for savings on hosting and themes and such.
Daily Blogging Tips put together a list of 20 SEO terms you should know. (Pssst, that’s Search Engine Optimization, by the way.) If you’re blogging for the love of the feel of the keys, then never you mind this one, but if you’re at all interested in making sure others read that stuff you type, check it out.
Got Blogger questions? Spice Up Your Blog has a section just for you. They cover WordPress and general blog tips as well, you know, including a bunch of CSS info.
If you’re ready for a more professional-looking Twitter background, Bloggermint will point you in the right direction, whether you’re working with Adobe Illustrator or even PowerPoint. They’ve rounded up tutorials (including videos) and design basics.
So get to reading and get to work!