Six Improvements to Your Blog
I’ve done a lot of blog surfing lately, in search of new (best) blogs. What I found often, however, was that there are things people could do to improve the relationship and interaction value of their blogs, which would in turn build a better bridge between blogs and their readers.
- Display Contact Info Prominently– Put the author’s name right up there easy to read, and add a photo, an email written out to avoid spiders ( chris at lifehack dot org instead of actually clickable), and even a phone number, if you want people to reach you. Add your IM username, and other contact info. If it’s a multi-author blog, display an “About the Authors” link prominently.
- Fix Comments– I outright LOATHE blogs that don’t permit comments. It’s the opposite of a blog. As Shel Israel said the day before yesterday (if not further back), “It has been the dialog vs. the monologue.” So, make it fairly easy to let people communicate. That means disabling the “users must register to comment” type features. It means even considering killing the “capcha” features, those annoying “write what you see here” things. I still agree with whoever said all capcha should be corporate logos or animal pictures or whatever.
- Format Your Text– Take the extra time to write “pretty” posts, such as it were. Make it so that people can read what you’re typing, and do your best to keep the tone communicative, and not too dense. Translation: big fat paragraphs of dense text usually don’t make for “friendly” blog reading. (Look at David Byrne’s journal. Great stuff, but soooooooo long.) And get friendly with things like bulleted lists, shorter and longer paragraphs, use of bold, etc. But not too much. It’s a condiment.
- Use Tagging– The best thing about using Technorati tags and other tagging features is that it helps you AND others. As a blogger, it gets you more traffic from people interested in the words you’ve selected as tags for your post. As a reader, it helps you determine quickly if something is relevant to your interests.
- Link, Link, Link– When you talk about 43 Folders, give them a link. When you write about a hilarious video on New Year’s Resolutions, share the direct link. This has two effects: one is that it makes it more useful to your readers. Two, it shows Google that you’re alive and sharing information back and forth (which benefits you *and* the linkee). BONUS: it’s good karma, and people feel warm and fuzzy when they see you’ve linked to them.
- Stay Vibrant– There’s always a way to blog about what matters to you. If your blog features a lot about pens and Moleskine hacks and the like, there are plenty of ways to keep it creative. Just keep thinking about your “audience,” and bring them information that matters.
It’s what Leon and the writers of Lifehack do here (best as we can). We work hard to keep the blog vibrant, varied, and unique, and we try to show different perspectives on what we’ve got on our minds that might be useful to you.
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