BLOGGER TIPS




Maybe not, but it's a start.

A few of my friends have decided to start blogs and asked if I had any tips to share.
In an effort to blackmail help them (and any other noob who asks for advice) into increasing my page views a good start I told them I would write this.
Update : This page is getting lots of views, and I am constantly adding to it. If you have any suggestions for additions or questions please leave a comment. Thanks :)

First and foremost write for you. Whatever your topic or theme or if like me your blog is just random, do it because you enjoy it.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that once you have a number of followers there is pressure to improve your style. Those people followed you because they liked what they saw and want to see more of the same. If your funny blog suddenly develops a political attitude (or vice versa) they might stop reading.
You will no doubt improve and find your style over time, but let it happen naturally.


Don’t think you have to post too frequently. Quality is always better then quantity and personally some of my favourite blogs are the ones that don’t post too often, because it’s a treat when they pop up in my newsfeed. Not everyone has time to read their followed blogs every day anyway. Even I don't and I pretty much do fuck all.

But, if real life stuff means you are going to be absent for a while ( maybe more then a month or two) it’s a good idea to write a short post saying that you will be back. You might be forgotten missed.

Make it readable. Use spell-check if you know that your spelling and grammar aren’t the best, especially if you tend to write long posts. And remember to paragraph, bearing in mind that people have to scroll the page to read longer posts it makes it easier to follow. I once saw a post that covered half a page with no punctuation whatsoever. I needed a lie down after reading that.


Take care over your template - there are endless variations of colour and font just from the built in editor, and plenty of good sites featuring custom templates. But whilst you might love your red and green design with its yellow script and pink jokerman writing, potential readers may not. Not everyone has 20/20 vision, some people are dyslexic, colour blind or suffer from migraines, keep the text clear and simple.

Don’t use text speak EVER. Nobody wants to read a blog that’s spelt lyk dis.




Add the translate gadget. Your blog might get visitors from all over the world, and with that it’s one click for anyone to read it.

Don’t have ‘instant music’. It puts a lot of people off, just because someone is interested in what you have to say doesn’t mean they share your taste in music. You might think your mates band is amazing but he probably gets you drunk before he makes you listen to it. Your readers are probably sober.

Don’t have too many gadgets, they can slow your pages loading time.
Be careful when adding non-google gadgets, especially those that require you to add a large batch of HTML to your blog, unless you know how to read code they could contain anything. I know someone whose blog was hi-jacked this way.

Adverts put a lot of people off. And seriously unless you have hundreds of followers you’re not going to make any real money. I have seen blogs where the real content gets lost amongst all the adverts and gadgets, so if you must have them put them in the sidebar, not all over the page. Too many and they will make your page slow to load (check your page load time here pingdom.com.) and you look like you're blogging for money.
It's a hobby not a job.


Personalise the ‘post page options’. Just click the edit post section in the layout page and tailor the quick reactions to suit your blog, they are more likely to be ticked if they are relevant to the posts.

Rather then captcha, which in my opinion can be annoying, use comment moderation. Then you can choose whether to publish comments ( you might get some abuse or spam, we all do) but it also means that you can turn off email notifications for comments if you want. And if a reader leaves a comment on an older post you are aware of it from your dashboard.

If you do get spam comments put them in the spam folder and delete from there, if enough people do this with the same person eventually the blogger spam-bots will pick it up.

Everybody wants their blog to be read, but not everyone that follows reads all the time and equally you may have readers that you are unaware of. You can only follow if you have a google account and some people may just save your blogs URL, follow via email, use RSS or Google Reader (check it - you may already have followers there, the first time I looked at it I had six ). Follow your own blog in order to see your posts in Reader then click the 'share' option. 

People may stumble across it by a random search, look at your search keywords in your stats (mine tend to be strangely pornographic . . . must be the swearing) and you will see after a while that the most random things can bring it up in a search engine.
Make sure you enable indexing in search engines from the basic settings.

Tigger searched the internet for blogs about cats. . . oops ! Bad keyword.
Comment on the blogs you follow and respond to comments on yours. A little interaction makes it personal, which I really like, but other readers might be inclined to click your avatar and visit you as well. You could add a basic chat box so that anyone, even if they are not signed up to blogger, can leave some abuse a comment if they want.
Add the followers gadget, people often follow blogs that are similar to their own so on a blog you like it's often worth checking out other readers, and letting others do so with yours.

Don't feel obliged to follow someone just because they follow you. It's not Facebook, following does not need to be a mutual thing. Your travel blog might be regularly read by someone who reviews computer games on theirs and your dashboard 'new posts' feed is your personal reading list - why fill it with things you have no interest in. Yes it's nice to return a favour but personally I would rather have 30 followers that read my posts then 300 that don't.

Really the best thing you can do to gain readers is have content that interests them, and of course that’s a matter of individual taste.
Promote your blog in other places you visit online - Twitter, Facebook, Forums etc, but DON’T spam (most forums will ban you for spamming). You could make a separate page for it on the platforms that allow it. Use your URL as a signature in internet communications, ask friends who use other online platforms to mention your link.

Add the buttons for quick sharing on other sites such as StumbleUpon, Reddit, Twitter and G+, there are built in ones on the post editor but if you google "share buttons" you can find some fancy ones that are a bit more customisable to suit your blog.
Visit Bloggers own Coffee Shop, there are some very nice people there - go and say hello and get involved in conversations. Play nice and you might pick up a few followers, it’s where my first readers came from.
If you need any technical help there is also a forum 
for posting issue related questions.

I hope you found this helpful,

But mostly . . . . Have fun !!!


Because you love it !!!

Extra Safety Measures
From time to time blogs get mistakenly deleted as being spam, I know of a few bloggers that this has happened to. For the most part they get them back after following the appeal procedure but there are a few things you can do that might help to prevent the problem and make it easier to recover if it does.
Please don't let this worry you, out of millions of blogs it doesn't happen to many. But it's better to take any precautionary measures if you can, and just like putting on a condom it only takes a minute.

Make a note of three things. Your Blogs URL, your blogger profile URL and your google profile URL. 

Make regular back-up copies of your blog. This will give you an xml file of your content - worst case scenario you can make another blog and import this file to it.
Dashboard>Settings>Other>Export blog.

Follow your own blog. Posts are still visible in Google Reader after blogs are deleted, so if you had any recent posts that weren't saved in the last back-up file you would still be able to retrieve them from there.

Use an email other then gmail as your log-in for Google products. Often when the deletion happens it is done via locking the gmail account, so you can lose access to any other Google accounts also linked to that address - youtube, blogger, g+ etc as well as access to your mailbox.

Set up two-step verification for your Google account from your main page, you can also add a secondary email to this. It will ask for a mobile number, this is used for logging in when you are not at your usual computer.

Make a second blogger account and add this as an admin on your blog. That way if you get locked out you can still access it via the other user. There is one minor problem with this - if you have more then one admin your about me gadget will convert to a list of contributors instead of a picture and your comment. You can get round this by making your own using the HTML gadget.
Here's how.
That's Yoboys blog - have a look around - he has lots of really easy tutorials about tricks with HTML. He's been a big help to me with my template. Even if you don't see anything there you want to use at the moment I suggest following him in case you need help in the future.

And if you do decide to have a play around with the code on your blog remember to make a back-up of your template first, so if it goes wrong you can always revert to the original.
Dashboard>Template>Backup/Restore(top right)>Download full template.


FAQs
From time to time you may see odd URLs in your stats as referring sites to your blog. Sometimes they appear to be from porn sites, other times they might just be oddly named and often they will appear as a random spat of referrals, they may even cause a spike in your graph. I often see questions asking about these in the forum.
Ignore it, it's referrer spam, meant to make you look at the source, it does your blog no harm.Your blog is out there on the www where anyone can see it - take it as a good sign, it wouldn't be there if your blog was not appearing on the search engines. Best advice - don't click on any links you're unsure of in your stats, eventually googles own spam bots pick them up and get rid.

Searching for other blogs.
Check out the followers of blogs you like, click on their pictures and you will be taken to their profile which should contain a link to their site. Make sure you set your own profile to visible and include your URL.
A lot of people have 'blog rolls' or other gadgets that show you who they follow, another good way to find new blogs.
In the standard Google search window there is an option in the left sidebar to select blogs, or try Google Advanced Search, it lets you be more specific, which is great if you want blogs with a particular theme as not everyone gives their site a title that reflects the content.
Complete the interests sections in your profile - doing so creates hyperlinks which when clicked will show you a list of other bloggers who share that interest.
The 'next' button in the navbar is supposed to take you to a random selection of similar themed blogs to the one you click it from. However most of the time this will work for a few but then it's just endless christian/ family blogs. Or maybe Blogger is just trying to save me. . . .

You blog may look different depending on which browser it is viewed in, especially if you have made customisations to your template. When I view mine in Internet Explorer I lose the rounded corners, transparency background and the shadowing around my titles.
If you want to check what yours looks like you can do so via this site http://browsershots.org/ . It's worth checking and it's free to use.

When using images from the Internet be careful that you do not use those that are subject to copyright. It's a good idea to put a disclaimer on your blog, just in case you do and the owner sees them. Wiki has a list of free image sites. Any image uploaded to your blog is also visible on the Internet, sometimes these can bring in pageviews but also means that someone else might use them.
Although there are steps you can take to prevent right click image copying, anyone can take a screenshot, so especially if you have a lot of original pictures it's a good idea to watermark them. I also give my own images numbers instead of worded titles as that can lessen the chances of them showing up in a search.
You can copyright your blogs content, I use My Free Copyright, it's fine for my needs, but there are other ways that are more legally binding. Depending on the nature of your content it's worth looking in to, especially if you are an aspiring author.

But, Blogger does not like it when people steal content so if you believe someone has plagiarised your blog you should report it to Google.







9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. :)

    I'm not concerned with increasing my "readership", but I worry that those who do stumble across it, might find it confusing. I don't even know how it renders in IE, chrome, or safari... although I have checked firefox, and reKonq (for KDE users). I have to look into that, and how fast it loads.

    Your layout, on the other hand, is very spiffy. :) Your candid style is also refreshing. I look forward to reading more. :D

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  2. @Florida, I use chrome and it looks great to me. More like a website then a blog, and I love the 'village' feature :)
    The feeling is mutual.

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  3. Thank you (: I very much enjoy your writing style, and your layout is very easy to navigate through (I wish more bloggers would listen to your advice when it comes to making it simple and eye catching!)

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  4. Great tips, dcg!

    I hadn't thought of all the consequences if the entire gmail account gets blocked; you'd lose your email AND Youtube access, in addition to your blog and profile, which in itself is enough to cause a heart attack. Luckily, I use hotmail...

    We should really get a blogger superhero to stand up for the people, fight spam and recover lost bloggers. Oh, yeah, we've already got nitecruzr. We should come up with a suitable name for him. Any ideas?

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  5. Hi!

    I checking in from the Coffee Shop where someone (Vee) mentioned this post wondering about following your own blog, and the idea intrigued me. I've been blogging for a couple of years, so most of this info isn't new, but it's still a nice reminder, plus some extra ideas about safety, readers etc.

    Have you noticed that among your xxx followers maybe only a tenth (if your lucky) actually read and comment regularly? It is a bit annoying... so I'm right there with you on preferring 30 real readers to a bunch of invisible followers! I've been addicted to the stats option lately, and it's so frustrating to see posts getting waaay less views than what I thought my "regular" readers were. Where'd they go? A blogging mystery...

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  6. thanks, your guidance is jelling my thought processes as i figure out how i should proceed, i think that i am about ready as a consequence of your thoughtful posts.
    no profile yet except possibly AIM, whatever that is. i am as yet unaffiliated, ted

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  7. I remember your first post and now you're giving advice on how to blog. And not just advice, good advice. You never cease to impress.

    The only thing I'd add is don't be afraid to try different things. Don't feel you have to always be serious or always be funny. Some of my most well received posts are out of character for more of what I write.

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  8. Thanks heaps for the info and your blog.

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