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Learning the secrets of interesting blogging is important to keep
your visitors coming back :) I've put together some general tips to
keep your blogs interesting and lively.
The (Basic) Golden Rules
- Don't rant about how few comments you're receiving or beg people to comment. It won't work and gets annoying quickly.
- Letting your visitors know when you're on hiatus or going to be away is basic manners if you don't intend to blog for a long period.
- Think carefully about your audience. If you think it will be younger people, talking about reduplicated monosyllables probably isn't a good idea. On
the other hand, you don't want to patronise your blogs by explaining too much or talking down to people.
- Thinking about your audience is also important in terms of the words you choose. Remember, not all slang is universal, and British English is very different to, say,
Australian English or Amercian English. You need to also consider the fact that you may well have people reading your blogs whose first (and even second) language may not be English at all.
The Balance of Blogging
- Try to blog every few days, as your blog is often the first thing a visitor notices about your site.
Blogs that haven't been updated for months suggest the site owner is being neglectful about their whole site. This is not a good look if you're trying out for cliques etc.
- However, don't blog if you have nothing to say. Rambling pointlessly on or one sentence probably won't inspire
your visitors to comment. Saying that, a blog of a few sentences when something important happens can be good for effect.
- Don't make your blogs too long. You need enough material for at least a couple of paragraphs; no novels, but enough to
capture your reader's attention and give them something to comment about.
- Some bloggers have sentences such as: '...on saturday
i went out and i bought a cd it was christina a i love nelly dont you
think shes a great singer my friend doesnt like her but i have her album and after that
we went to eat at mc donalds and i had a strawberry milkshake not a coke like i normally do
coz i wasnt that thirsty we went to look at more shops i dint bye anything else oh no wait i bought
some chewing gum but i didnt like the taste of it so that waz a waist of monny...' Ugh. It takes forever to
read, and is confusing as well as pointless. Sentences need to be much shorter and to the point than that.
Your reader will give up quickly if they have to face an entire page of that!
- Although you may not have thought it, blogging is actually a very visual thing, and there are several things to consider:
- Text: At its most basic, easy to read. This means a font which is simple and easy to read in an average/small size (but not too small). Make sure it can be seen easily on your background. Black or dark colours are a good idea; but
then again you may want to be different and go for white text on black or dark blue, which is easier to read but some people find more annoying.
- Break Up: Break up huge blocks of text into paragraphs, or divide your blog into sections each with its own separate subheading. That way, your visitors can jump to parts they are most interested in, or skin through more easily.
- Layout: Consider what your text is sitting on. It doesn't have to be a work of art, particularly if your blog is the focus of your site. As long as it's something fairly fast-loading,
preferably not animated, and with one or two colours, it should be fine. Playing with the transparency of backgrounds if often a good idea. Remember what looks easy to read to you may be completely different
on other computers or for other people!
- Widen Your Audience: Following on from the last point, checking your blog in other browsers is always a good idea. You may not realise it, but someone with Firefox or Opera could have huge problems viewing your blog
due to colours or styles that may look very different in Internet Explorer. Try Google to find browsers to download; most are free.
- One of the biggest challenges you will face as a blogger is persuading people to comment on your blog - and keeping these commenters coming back. There are several different strategies you can try:
- Questions: You may be asking something related to your blog or asking for opinions on a controversial issue. The latter is probably best, as most people tend to have strong opinions on things like war or even reality tv shows. Just remember
to keep your audience in mind.
- Feedback: Ask for feedback on your new layout/design/content etc. Make sure you can take the constructive criticism though ;)
- Return Comments: If you return comments, you're more likely to get them back again so get commenting :P
- Plug Commenters: List all the commenters and their urls at the bottom of your next blog entry. If they get a few hits each time, they may well be back.
- Comment: Commenting on other blogs is a good way to get them back. You may not always, especially with site owners (like me), who get too many to return, but you never know. Keep a list of sites bookmarked and comment on them regularly.
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