So after a major move, no internet (except my Blackberry), and a forced hiatus from visiting and commenting on blogs, I have been on a blogger binge this week.
Which brings me to reflect on ten tips for a better blog-- from someone who has a lot of blogs to choose from and limited time to read them (which is probably all of us who have been here longer than 3 weeks)--
1. Don't start your post with "Sorry I've been too busy to post here lately." That's boring. Also, hearing about your cold or your kids' or your coworkers' colds is boring. Descriptions of common colds and flu symptoms always send me running to the next blog down the line.
2. If you are involved in a blogfest that I'm involved in, I'll click to see what you're doing. If not, I'll move on. No offense, it's just about connecting with common interests.
3. I know the general advice is "keep posts short" but sometimes longer is better. Sometimes short is too short. Like, What? That's it? I wrote a post about homeschooling on my other blog that was one paragraph-- total cop out, I still feel bad about that one. I totally checked it in. Some topics need more treatment. My homeschooling experience was definitely one that did.
4. Edit posts and take out the wordy phrases and boring bits. A writer's blog should be well put together. I'm all for relaxing the strict rules of grammar and punctuation when blogging, but edit out those unnecessary words that make a post a hard- to- read time suck.
5.Then there's the captcha phrases, word verif, and comment verification. We all have our reasons for doing what we do, and there's a couple blogs I will always follow even with comment verif (Hello Old Kitty, I heart you), but it creates a distance. And captcha slows everyone down and also eats comments that may be lost forever. Want more comments? Then get rid of anything that slows down your potential commenters! Blogger catches spam really well now, so why worry?
6. I don't want to hear music. Not on a blog. Not at all. Unless it's Robert Smith and the Cure singing Piggy in the Mirror.
7. Too busy is bad for business. Too many gimmicks on the sidebar take time to load, are distracting and look cluttered. They direct attention away from the important part, which is your post, your writing, who you are. Do those swimming fish say anything about you personally, or are they there just to hypnotize me and make me sleepy? And Google ads are just plain annoying.
8. Wallpaper. Really? Wallpaper is outdated everywhere people, even in houses. Especially the flowery, busy stuff that looks like it was taken from a class on scrapbooking. No, your blog is NOT the cutest blog on the block.
9. Anyone who wants more traffic should search Copyblogger or Problogger for tips. Or find a blog you like that fits your audience and do what that person does. Only still be you.
10. Be yourself. Have fun and enjoy the experience without stressing over numbers (stats, followers, comments, views). Work on content, visit other blogs, put yourself out there and like-minded people will find you.
So those are my Ten Tips, anything you want to add? And while we're on the topic, what is your biggest pet peeve with blogs? Go on, I'm listening.
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf