Blogging as a social network

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People who use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., are always complaining about many issues. For instance, battling algorithms, dealing with trolls and hate speech etc. Social media has a lot of good, but there is also a lot of bad too.

Blogging is usually seen as a space for website owners or companies to express themselves and educate their readers. A lot of blogs don’t usually connect to services that allow for comments, followers or shares. However, when you pair WordPress with JetPack, you can create your own social network.

Right now, my readers are free to comment, and they’re also free to like, share and follow. It’s pretty much the basics of a social network, but the website owner controls the moderation. They are in control of how they want to lead their readers.

This is all done through the JetPack plugin and ecosystem. Without JetPack, my blog would have a lot more limits. This is fine if you don’t want any social experiences on your website. However, I think it’s a great addon and can offer more to my readers.

There are also web tools such as Web Mentions and federated networks using ActivityPub.

What are Web Mentions?

Web Mentions are a fairly new feature for websites. It’s an open web standard for mentions and conversations across the web, a powerful building block used for a growing federated network of comments, likes, reposts, and other rich interactions across the decentralized social web.

When you link to a website, you can send it a Webmention to notify it. If it supports Webmentions, then that website may display your post as a comment, like, or other response, and presto, you’re having a conversation from one site to another! Click here to learn more.

What is ActivityPub?

ActivityPub is similar to WebMentions, but it can publish your posts to federated networks such as Mastodon and more. People can then read, like, and comment on your website’s activity. The comments and likes are then pushed back to your website, and it’s a really nice push/pull of data. Click here to learn more.


Both work in a very similar way, but WebMentions can link to Twitter which I don’t think you can do with ActivityPub. However, ActivityPub opens your website data to a lot more open networks.

You still have control over what comments are allowed on your website, and you are open to moderate all comments that come back. This also allows for more potential readers as it opens your website up to the more social activity.

I have experimented with ActivityPub in the past using a WordPress plugin, and the experience was fairly nice. I haven’t used Web Mentions, but I have heard great thing about this too. Again, you can get Web Mentions set up with a WordPress plugin.

Have you used any of these tools? Are you open to having the social addons on your website/blog? Sound off in the comments below.

A screenshot of the Coil homepage. A new way to enjoy content.

Coil Blogging Review

A new way to enjoy content

Experience web monetized content in your browser while supporting sites you love in real time.

Coil is looking to standardise web monetisation. Think Medium, but for every website, including yours. How does that work? You may ask. First, you sign up and use a crypto wallet such as Uphold, and then they give you a little tag that you can place on your website. You can also connect to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. This means you can monetise third-party platforms without meeting the platform’s “standards”.

Once you connect your platform, you can create content like before. Then when someone who has Coil installed views your content, they will donate some money to you based on their attention. You can also create content on the Coil platform, and connect with other creators on there too. This is great, because it gives you a huge amount of freedom, and you’re not tied down to a single location.

I have been using the platform for a few months, and the creators on there have been supportive. A few posts of mine have been featured too, which I was surprised to see. Recently, I also decided to subscribe for $5 a month. This means, when I view content supported by Coil, I will be donating some of my money to that content in return for my attention. It works similarly to Medium but works on various platforms. It’s such a freeing and fantastic experience.

If you’re looking to create content, and you’d like to be supported by other creators, then I would highly recommend Coil. There are other third-party platforms which support Coil including; Cinnamon,, Imgur, Hackernoon, Hashnode and many more.

How much money do you make?

The money can vary depending on how many Coil subscribers read your content. On average, I receive 5 – 10 pennies per reader and have received 66 pennies in total. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I haven’t been using it for long, and the tech is very early. As more people subscribe and read your content, the more money you will receive.

Should you join Coil?

Personally, I think you should 100% join Coil. The community is super supportive, and there’s a variety of content creators on there and the more, the merrier. You can’t lose on such a platform, and you could potentially meet new, like-minded creators.

There are bloggers, videographers, musicians and many more different types of creators on the platform. You could learn a thing or two, and potentially earn extra income doing something you truly enjoy.

If you join, please comment your profile URL, and I will follow and support your content. Sign up to Coil today!

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The 100 + 20 rule

I read an interesting blog post, and it was talking about the different rules you have when creating free and premium content.

Every professional content creator faces a dilemma. On the one hand, you’d love to make your content as widely available as possible in order to grow your audience. On the other hand, you need to make money to pay the bills, so it’s unavoidable to add some friction in the form of paywalls, ads, and exclusive content for supporters. But those speed bumps inevitably turn away some potential followers. Content behind a paywall is less shareable, less searchable, and even users who would be happy to support you may be turned away by the hassle of signing up.

Coil blog

It starts by saying you can use the 5% free, 95% paid rule. This is when you have 5% of your content displayed as a teaser, and you hope to hook them into your content enough for them to want to subscribe and read the rest of the content which is 95%. It can be a good route if you have already built an email list of free members, and you want to persuade them to part with their cash for the extra effort you have put into your blog posts. However, it’s not great if you’re still trying to build some SEO and you’re attempting to rank your blog posts.

Then you have the 100% free and 100% paid plan. You have 100% free content that you use to lure readers in and build some SEO and page ranking. Then you have 100% paid-for content which is linked from your relevant free content. It’s a great way to build SEO, and build an audience, but it also requires double the amount of effort.

It then goes on to explain the 100+20 rule. You have 100% of the content free, but you add an extra 20% at the end. This is the bonus premium content. I realise that Medium, Ghost and Substack don’t have this feature. However, I realise they definitely should because it seems like a big win for both readers, supporters and the author themselves.

They use a recipe as an example. Say you have a recipe for a banana pudding. You would give your reader the entire recipe for free. Now, say you had a great cream recipe that would match the banana pudding. This would be your bonus content which your supporters can read.

It’s a great concept, and definitely something to think about when you write your content for your audience. Also, as I’ve said previously, I don’t think Medium, Ghost or Substack currently have this feature. However, there are two platforms I know who have this feature. WordPress if you pair it with their JetPack plugin and pay for a premium package and Coil which is currently a free platform. I think it will be paid platform at some point, but it will cost $5 a month, which I think is fairly inexpensive compared to other blogging platforms.

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Redesigning my website

My initial thoughts

Over the past week, I migrated my website from VuePress to Gridsome. This migration has now given me more freedom of design and development.

Inspired by Jack McDade’s awesome website and I wanted to create something that was more personable to me.

Also, I like funky designs, but I’m always less motivated to design websites for myself. I never know what I want and I’m not sure if what I’m doing is overboard to a point where my viewers will dislike it.

Determined to move past my anxieties

This is in part due to my anxieties and lack of self-confidence, but speaking to other’s about their experiences and gaining inspiration has given me the confidence to push past my own anxieties. I went ahead and created my design using Figma. Once I was happy with my creation, I decided to share it with a Slack group. Those that gave me feedback were very positive which gave me more confidence to share it to a larger audience.

I took a deep breath and posted it on Twitter who generally have more negative thoughts, but the responses were still very positive. It was time to transform my graphic into my actual website.

Designing my website

After about a day, I had most of the design complete and I was super impressed with my work. This is something I’ve never felt confident about. I love developing websites, but designing a website was something I constantly struggled with.

As you can see from the image above (and from looking at my website), I used black as my background colour with yellow as the main colour. The dark blue adds some sort of separation between blocks and my social icons follow the lines like they’re walking along a field at night.

My blog content is still the same white background with black text since it’s easier to read. My “Latest Post” has been moved further to the right and has an angle which follows the angle of the yellow square. This gives my website a little more character and breaks it up quite nicely.

The search is also using a yellow border to help make it stand out, and the results also do the same thing. Hopefully, my results can be read clearly, but if you struggle and have suggestions, then I’m open to feedback.

Closing thoughts

Please explore my newly created website and send me plenty of feedback if you have any. I’m always open to suggestions and would love to hear what works and what doesn’t. You can add your own comments to this post here, or you can @ me on Twitter.

Gaining confidence to start a blog

I had this discussion on my Twitter to which I said…

To anyone that doesn’t have a blog. What’s holding you back from creating one?

I had a discussion with a lovely lady who said her posts aren’t well written enough. She’s worried people either won’t like them, or they’re too boring and blogging can be very stressful etc.

It’s your blog, you can write what you want, when you want.

The great thing about having your own website or your own blog, you can write what you want when you want. The only stress you gain is the stress you put on yourself. No one demands content from you, and even if they did they can go elsewhere. Because this is your turf, your domain, your property. Your audience is being welcomed in, and if they like what they see, they can stay and even converse.

Start a blog by writing about your interests and enjoy the process. Share it with other who you think will enjoy it, it can be friends, family or someone you speak to online. Let them give you feedback and be open to that feedback. Your first round of posts will probably be terrible, but you will get better and you will gain experiences like no other.

Let me tell you a secret…

My first ever blog wasn’t good, but it was a good start. If you look at my first round of posts on here, they’re probably terrible compared to now. No blog post will ever be perfect, you just have to start and the best time to start is now. You can always build your site as you go, and you can edit your posts if you need to.

As Susan Jeffers has written you should “feel the fear and do it anyway“. Life is too short to be worrying what people might say or think. If you don’t do something now, then when are you going to start?