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The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogs

24 de June del 2009  |  Hay 3 comentarios. Querés dejar el tuyo?

There are some issues related to blogging that should not be ignored as they are of vital importance for a blog to survive, grow, and above all, achieve its aims. Lee Munroe deals with this on his own blog, especially referring to WordPress-based blogs. And I’d like to further explain this, extending it to Blogger.

1 – Backup
We should assume things might go wrong at any time and we’ll then regret we didn’t backup our blogs (someone hacking the site, author making a mistake or any problem on the site our blog is stored.)

WordPress: Automatic backup with WP-DB-Plugin (files are emailed to you daily).

Blogger: Follow the steps in this tutorial or use the Blogger Backup tool.

2 – Commenting should be simple

It’s important that users find it easy to leave comments on our pages. We should not put a barrier in their way, like the use of captcha images or the need to sign up. Even though the purpose of these is to reduce spam, we should find other ways which don’t make it difficult for users to leave comments.

WordPress: Use Akismet, use SP-SpamFree, accept comments manually (though the ideal would be not to get to this in order to encourage conversations).

Blogger: it’s pretty good as it is… However, if you face any problem, follow these tips.

3 – URLs
The blog pages addresses should be legible for both people and search engines.

WordPress: The default URL for posts like www.lawebdejuan.com.ar/?p=28 doesn’t mean anything to users or search engines. Something like www.lawebdejuan.com.ar/como-mejorar-mi-url/ is way better, isn’t it? This can be easily achieved through the WP options: Settings>Permalinks. It offers great flexibility.

Blogger: Again, it’s pretty good at it as it uses the structure year/month/day/post-title (but it’s not flexible). It’s recommended though, to have your own domain instead of using your-domain.blogspot.com.

4 – RSS Feed
Facilitate and promote the use of feed among your users. Put a link on the top of the blog or anywhere within easy reach! Generally, it depends on the theme you have on your blog (Do you know what RSS feed is?). It’s recommended that you’re acquainted with the way visitors use your feed… And FeedBurner is right there for this.

WordPress: If the theme you’re using does not have the RSS link handy, you can add it manually.

Blogger: Similarly, it’s not that visible in most of the themes, so it’s advisable to make a modification there.

5 – Actions

When someone reads one of your posts, it’s important that you guide them into their next action. This could be leaving a comment, reading other related articles, adding your post on social markers, etc. It’s a good thing to suggest said actions at the end of your post.

WordPress: There are different plugins that will help you with this, like Similar posts, Popular posts, and Sociable.

Blogger: Even though we can’t install plugins, there are other creative and simple ways to add social markers or list related posts.

6 – SEO
Positioning on search engines should be attainable to all (who doesn’t want to be on the top places on Google?). There’s a whole lot to do on this matter, but basically, what’s important to bear in mind at the moment you write a post is:

To give it a clear and descriptive title with “key words” –think of this in terms of the words you’d enter on Google if you wanted to find a post on the topic you’re writing about.

To use these key words throughout your post, and try to write a clear and to-the-point first paragraph.

WordPress: All in One SEO Pack plugin can be of great help.

Blogger: Look for topics that facilitate positioning, but most importantly, pay close attention to what I mentioned before.

7 – Text

People don’t read, but “scan.” Your post has approximately 3 seconds to catch your readers’ attention, so the text must be clear, legible and “scannable.” In order to achieve this, you can:

  • Organize the text in relatively small paragraphs
  • Use meaningful subheadings
  • Use lists where necessary
  • Put key words in bold type
  • Make sure links stand out against the rest of the text
  • Remove unnecessary text

I hope you’ll find this list useful To consider and implement these items will take you no longer than an hour, and they will surely improve the quality and effectiveness of your blog.

Of course, there are tons of other things we can do in order to enhance our blog… So, I’ll be looking forward to your comments and opinions on this.

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