This post is by Ashe Mischief
It’s a phrase I’ve heard before– “I want to grow/go pro/learn XYZ with my site, but I don’t know how.” Then I always ask, “Are you using IFB?” The answer is almost always the same: “I’ve tried, but I find it confusing and just haven’t gone back.”
IFB can be a confusing place the first time you sign in, but remember– so was MySpace and Facebook (hell, FB is STILL confusing whenever they implement new changes). The best way to optimize your time at IFB is spend some time here and get to know the functions and how they’ll help you develop as a blogger.
IFB was created as a means for fashion bloggers to find information on taking their blogging to the next level. We have such a unique situation compared to some niches. Some of the information found on sites like ProBlogger may not pertain to fashion bloggers. IFB was created to fill in that hole, to answer the questions that other pro-blogging sites were unable to. If this isn’t what you’re coming to IFB for, then you may find the resources we have simply aren’t for you.
If that’s what you’re here for, you’ll find there are a lot of amazing resources on the community to discover (and figure out which work best for you!). In the meantime, here are a few shortcuts to get you going.
Help! I’m looking for information on “Monetization/Interacting with PR Agencies/Text Advertisers/What Platform to Use”!
While this may sound like the idiots answer, there’s a treasure trove of posts in IFB dating back the past 3 years– sometimes there’s no need to head to forums for answers, because the answers you want are in the most overlooked place: the content.
Help! Where do I find anything once I’ve logged into IFB?
Once you’re logged into IFB, your primary means of getting around is the black toolbar at the top of the page. The toolbar is broken down into the following tabs:
- Home: simply gets you back to the main page!
- My Profile: a view of your public IFB profile, along with settings control, finding your friends & groups, see blogs, respond to polls, etc. My Profile offers you one stop access to most of the features on the IFB forums.
- Dashboard: the dashboard is exactly as it sounds– a customizable page of widgets that you specialize. It’s IFB site optimization at its best! Above, you can see how I’ve customized my Dashboard– so that I can see my friends easily and browse for new users quickly. On the right you’ll see Click to add a new widget and a list of options below it. If the default Dashboard doesn’t provide what you want, you have the ability to create it.
- Community Links: This is where you’ll find, in my humble opinion, the second most useful part of IFB– the forums. By clicking on latest discussions, you’ll be taken to the most recently updated forum posts. However, if you click on Groups, you’ll be taken to a master list of all the groups in IFB and can seek out specific information (whether you’re looking for Southern Bloggers, Chictopia & Lookbook, or the Business Side of Blogging).
- Useful Links: In a quick pinch, it helps the new blogger submit their best posts of the week to Links a la Mode, find IFB Badges, or contribute to the site.
- Friend Requests (not shown, as I’ve approved all of mine recently– it’s a little figure silhouette with a red + number next to it, indicating how many requests you have)
- Mail (like friend requests, this is also lit up red when you have unread messages)
Now I know where things are, but how do I use the forums?
First off, familiarize yourself with the Forum Rules. These are a recent addition, but make the forums a much more useful place!
When you check out the Latest Discussions, you’ll see something like the screen above: two permanent posts (the Forum Rules and Links a la Mode), followed by the most recently updated threads. These will change each time you login, giving you new opinions, viewpoints, and topics to read about.
Say though, that you’re looking for a certain group or thread? So long as they’re tagged, you can use the Search option as below. In this example, I was searching for the group on 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
How do I promote my site on IFB? Isn’t that what it’s for?
While IFB has elements of social media, it’s a site to learn about the professional blogging elements from a fashion blogging standpoint. Self-promotion comes from being a useful member of the IFB community: find bloggers and add them as friends; comment actively in the forums with useful information; contribute guest posts; submit your best personal blog post each week to Links a la Mode.