Monday, December 22, 2008

12 Blogging Tips To Improve My Blog

As a blogger, I am always interested to hear what other people have to say about my various blogs as I think that can really help build a stronger blog for everyone to enjoy.

When I saw that Easton Ellsworth was offering five free blogging tips, I jumped at the chance to hear what he had to say about this blog. It must have been my lucky day as Easton sent me 12 tips!

Here are the tips that Easton offered for this blog, along with my thoughts on each tip.

  • The tagline is too small; make it bigger and turn it into plain text so search engines can crawl it.

    Easton is right that having a tag line that the search engines can crawl is important. As a reader of my blog, you see the image and assume that I am missing this tag line. However, if you look at the source of my page you will see there is an H1 tag containing the name and tag line of the blog.

    I’ve used CSS to hide the H1 tag from displaying yet the search engines will still see this information when they crawl the page.

  • Lose the technorati button.

    Interesting idea. It does seem like adding Technorati favorites has lost a little bit of the esteem that it once had around the blogosphere. When I added the Technorati button, I had hoped it would help take advantage of all the buzz around the Techno-memes that were floating around.

    Is it still worthwhile to have a means of someone adding my blog to their Technorati favorites? I’ll have to take this into consideration and would welcome your thoughts on whether the button should stay or go.

  • Lose the duplicate feed buttons.

    I’m assuming that Easton is referring to the RSS button in the header and the RSS button image that accompanies the text links in the sidebar. While I understand that the main page has the two in close proximity, once you are on a specific post you no longer see the links/image in the sidebar.

    For the time being I plan to keep the RSS feed button in the header and the sidebar, as one is an actual link to the feed and the other is an image accompanying the text links. But I can see how this might be overkill.

  • Put “Search this blog” in the search box at right.

    I’ve never really been a big fan of populating the search box with text. With the popularity of Google and Yahoo, I am sure most people recognize that the search box is for searching.

    I’ll throw this one out to the readers - do you think the search box should be populated with text?

  • Make headlines bigger.

    This is one tip I have actually thought about implementing in the past as the default sizes with this theme seem a little small. In addition to the headlines/titles being a little larger, I think I will experiment with the size and spacing of the other headline tags for use within posts.

    I’ll begin my experimentation on my XAMPP development playground so as not to mess up the live site until I have found a good combination.

  • Make sure “Featured sites” are very relevant. They don’t look like sponsored links, and I worry that someone might think they are your favorite sites.

    The original goal of the Featured Sites section was to display all of the text links that people bought on this blog. However, that hasn’t exactly worked out the way that I intended and instead it has become a spot to highlight a few links for people that have gone above and beyond for me.

    I’ll have to think about this as maybe Featured Sites isn’t the best name for this section.

  • Lose the footer and move everything up to the sidebar.

    With the previous theme that I had on this blog, everything was up in the sidebar and I found it to be too busy. This theme allows for a handful of information to be displayed in the footer and I think it looks nice and clean.

    I don’t think I will be making any changes to move the footer in the near future.

  • Change “About Me” to “About Derek.”

    Easy enough - I’ve already implemented this suggestion. I never really gave this much thought before but thought it made sense to update the link. As a reader, about me would be about you and you are not me so I think this works better. :lol:

  • Not a tip - just an observation - I am also married with two kids - oh and sweet Harley dude.

    Easton, as a dad to two kids you might want to check out my site about work life balance for dads.

    Thanks for the comment about the Harley, I absolutely love it!

  • Put a bit more space in between posts.

    I’ve added a little additional space in between posts as I did see that it was a bit cramped. I’m not sure if I want to add too much more white space in between posts but I think the extra space does help.

  • Maybe promote http://www.mynewchoice.com/ more via this blog.

    Interesting idea - I’ve mentioned it from time to time but haven’t really done too much promotion of my personal finance blog over here. For the most part I have tried to keep them somewhat separated other than mentioning the site during my monthly updates and having the link in the sidebar.

    How would you feel about more promotion of My New Choice over here?

  • In everything, think huge - big contests, memes, flagship posts, service to other bloggers, paid content, etc.

    I like the way you think. I’ve had a few ideas for contests recently but I would really like to try and make a splash. That is a little difficult when you are trying not to spend much money but I am trying to put something together.

    One thing that I really do try to do is think huge with service to other bloggers. While this doesn’t always get advertised on the blog, I do my best to help other people whenever they have questions or issues that they are working through on their blog and have had numerous IM/email debugging sessions with people.

Easton, thank you very much for supplying the list of blogging tips to help me improve my blog.

As I noted above, I don’t plan on implementing all of them but have taken steps to implement some of the suggestions. Even though I may not plan to implement a particular tip, I appreciate the feedback as it gives an additional perspective to consider.

If anyone else would like to offer their own tips on how to improve this blog, please feel free to add them in the comments below or contact me directly.

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