Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blogging 101

I'm sorry, this post has begged to be written for a very long time, but I never had the chance to sit down and actually write it.

This is, in essence, my personal blogging fundamentals.... basic things I think bloggers should and shouldn't do. No, not rules. Just my suggestions. 

Continue reading at your own risk.

If you want comments, ditch the comment moderation.

While people may still comment, no one is happy to type in tyghrd or pingu or ented, I promise. It's an awful inconvenience, and will discourage commenting. 
If it's spam you're worried about, then two things: 1) Blogger automatically detects spam and will remove it to the spam folder for you, and then you can delete it. 2) most likely, spam will not come flooding into your comment section like locust, meaning if you get any at all, it'll be manageable. 

If you want, disable commenting on posts that are older than __ number of days, whatever you set it to, because most of the spam I've gotten has come from my oldest posts. 

Your font choices should all be readable. 

You can have pretty fonts that are still readable. Anything that's super calligraphy-esque or curly, etc. will be difficult to decipher, and sometimes, looks unprofessional. You do want people to know what your blog says, right? ;-)

Use tags in moderation. 
Having 200+ different categories when they aren't all necessary will most likely overwhelm people. Not so say that you shouldn't use any at all, either-- that's just as bad. 
Thin them out, though, if you can. You may still have a large-ish number-- I have about 26. But again, if you do in fact have enough subjects/posts that actually need different tabs, then at least they're being put to good use. Savvy?

Have an "About" page. 
At least half the people who visit your blog will want to see an "about" page, I promise. It's the first thing that I look for when I visit a new blog. And the "view my complete profile" link doesn't count. Tell us what the blog's about, a little about yourself if you so desire, and anything else you would want to tell a newcomer. Having an about page is like shaking the visitor's hand and making acquaintances for the first time. 

Unless you're looking to freak people out with a sudden noises they weren't expecting, please don't include autoplay music. 
Aww, come on! I know that's what you're saying. 
Yes, yes, I know some of you really, really love your music and want to share it with us. I understand.
But it scares the heck out of people sometimes; and we'll just turn off the music or close out of your site. Yeah.... sorry. Keep it if you want to, but don't say I didn't say anything. 

The "enter" button is your best friend.
Why, you ask? Well, you see.... 
Biiiig chunks of words on a computer screen= major headache and no reading. 
Break up what you have to say into smaller paragraphs as much as possible- it's much less daunting, easier to read, and makes your blog look friendlier. 
I mean, it's like a big chunk of concrete in the middle of your way if you write posts that consist of one or two huge paragraphs. 

Pictures and color give life to your blog-- it's a good idea to include at least one picture in each post (I'm still working on that.....) and have your blogger profile picture in your sidebar- and maybe pictures of your favorite books, movies, people, buttons for other people's blogs, whatever! Think of your blog as a picture book. It makes people happy. 

This isn't a rule book.... just my opinion :) Take it or leave it. Better yet, comment and let me know what you think: did I forget anything? Did I include something that I shouldn't have? Let me know, please! I don't have CAPTCHA ;)

Thanks for reading!


Marian said...

Good post! I've been trying to include more photos on my blog, too, but I don't always get around to it. :P

Tom said...

Great tips! Thanks!

Lainie said...

Can we please add... make things easy to find? How about some organization skills?!

Good post :)

Everyone's Favorite Composer said...

Wonderful post, as always!

Maybe add what you told me: Pictures are nice and all, but don't use too many of them.

And were there supposed to be examples of other fonts? They all looked the same.

Leia Skywalker Organa said...

I agree with everything you just said! As for the music, it's really just annoying. Sometimes I'll pull up several blogs at once to comment on and have music playing on my computer. The blog music interfers with my computer music then I have to go through all of the blogs I pulled up to find which is playing music and turn-it-off.

-Leia <3

Katie said...

Yes! Thank you, Abby. :) I went and changed my comment-verification-thinger right away -- it annoys the living daylights out of me, and I had no idea I could change it.

Abby = Lifesaver. ;)

And I have to heartily agree with your music point. It annoys me so badly when people have those automatic music-player-thingamajiggers (can you tell I want to go into English, not Engineering?). Mostly because I'm usually listening to my own music whilst I browse the web, and when a sudden clashing noise is added to that... ARG. It's annoying. To say the least.

And it also really throws me off when people use curly/different fonts on their blogs, as you mentioned... It's fine for the titles of posts and such, but not for the whole blog. It's headache-inducing. ;)

Thanks for a great post. :D

The Director said...

Hey, thanks! I understand, sometimes it's just too much trouble to put up pictures... haha ;)

You're welcome! :D

Blogging 102

Ah, yes! Not enough pics, too many pics... I forgot about that ;)
And about the fonts: unless your computer automatically re-formatted them, they should be five different fonts.

Yes...... dreadful, is it not? :P Glad you liked the post! <3

I love you, you're hilariously awesome :D Thanks, and you're welcome! <3

Squeaks said...

I love it! Excellent suggestions :P I agree with the font fave font is Century Gothic...I find it cute looking and quite easy to read :)

Signed with a coupon (? lol)


Jane said...

Ok, the voting link is a bit hard to see so I'll walk you through it. : )

Go to this link:

At the top of the page, there is a box with links in it. Ignore these links.

Under the box, it says, "Jane Austen-inspired short story contest ~ Submissions are closed."

Directly under those words are some tiny little words that say "Click here to vote."

That link will take you to a list of the stories and you pick your top three by checking the boxes next to them.

Let me know if you still can't find it or if you had any trouble with the actual voting part! Thanks again for voting for me!

Amaranthine said...

AMEN to #1, #2, and #5! And #3, #4, #6, and #7 while we're at it!

Laura @ Our House Of Joyful Noise said...

Hi Abby!

Great blogging tips here! I've been blogging for a few years now, and the suggestions you make are very sound ones. #6 is a good one for me to work on - I tend to be long-winded. #7 I may over-do - as a pro-photog, I am really into the photos, and there is sometimes 20-30+ in a blog post, depending! I did have another tip if I may: I think it is a good idea to have a photo of YOU, in your About page. It's my opinion, that when readers know what you look like, and are able to have that visual in their head of you, they are able to feel a better connection with you, and your blog. It makes you far more REAL, to them, if that makes sense to you.

(Just used my ENTER key! : )

My daughter visits and enjoys reading your blog here, although I don't think she has commented much. I am subscribed too, but I am subscribed to so many, I can't keep up. I hope it is ok for even a 40-something girl to drop in now and then? :) I am just really impressed with you, at your age - on so many levels. There is no doubt, you are 'going places' in your life. Really beautiful places.

One last thing: I loved the song your shared, too, by Brandon Heath. 'Heath' is my maiden name. I wonder if he and I are distantly related somehow. :)

Sarah said...

Hail, Ch- oops, Director. (I'm not on the UG, but I read it anyway. I'm like "Fake Elethia" minus "real Elethia".) This post is very good, and I shall try to use your tips. I have a few comments.

Paragraphs are a good thing to put in any writing, not just blog posts.

What if you don't know what to put on your "about" page?

Why must one have a picture? I don't have that many pictures on "my" computer!

-Lady Sarah, Dreadnaught of Berinfell, Swordmaiden of Alleble, or Elven Princess of Middle Earth, depending on who you ask

The Director said...

Well hello! Thanks for the sweet comment! Of course, you can drop in here whenever you want! :)
About the About Page picture: well, that's some good input. I just have to find an up to date picture of me know!
Thanks for the advice!!

Oh, and lol about what you said about "Heath" :D

@Sarah aka Fake Elethia (?)
Hee hee-hi there!
Yes- paragraphs are very god ANYWHERE! :)
Well..... about the about page again ;) ........ you should always be able to scrape together something- a little blurb about yourself, a little something about the main focus of your blog, your statement of faith if you want-- there's plenty of stuff to put! :) But, if you really, really can't think of anything, then of course, you don't have to keep a blank about page ;) did that help??

Have *a* picture?? Well, when you post, those posts show up in your followers' readers or blogger dashboards, for one thing, and it's nice to have a little picture to accompany it. ;) Also, it just makes the post easier on the eyes and helps with illustrating what you want to say, sometimes.

Even if you don't have a lot of pictures in your iPhoto or whatever, there's always Google Search! I take half my pictures off the internet- as long as your parents are okay with you doing searches like that for images (sometimes it can bring up super-icky stuff! ew.)-- that's an easier way to get fun pictures for your blog.

Hope that helped!

Sarah said...

Thank you very much! I know that the internet can sometimes bring up weird stuff . . . I wonder what clip art and weird photos I've got?
-Lady Sarah, Dreadnaught of Berinfell, Swordmaiden of Alleble, or Elven Princess of Rivendell, depending on who you ask.

Carol said...

I think those are good suggestions. I'm teaching a class on blogging for teens, and I'm going to share your advice with them. So thanks!