Though I am not an extremely experienced blogger I have the following tips for beginners on how you go about improving your blog in terms of looks, contents and your way of communicating and interacting with your readers.
Basic building blocks
A blog must provide its readers and easy way of navigating around the contents. So the minimum expectations include ‘Categories’ or ‘Topics’, post ‘Archives’ and ‘Recent Posts’. Everything else comes next – that includes your favourite links or blogs, recent comments etc. Another important feature to have is a sitemap which is a page that lists logically organised navigation links to all posts on your blog. Sitemap creation plugins or widgets are available for all blog platforms.
Nobody would like to read and comment on anonymous posts. So please provide a description about yourself, your tastes etc in the ‘About’ or ‘Profile’ section. You should also provide a contact email address for readers to send direct feedbacks to you.
Style and looks
Your blog theme (or template) should convey your personality and the content. If your blog talks about sports let the styling be sporty and energetic with suitable colors and/or animations. Also, never ever use hard to read small fonts for blogs. Blogs are usually easy-reading material that people read in a relaxed mood. Also, if you have ads on your blog, let it not irritate the users by obstructing their reading continuity.
Keep your blog regularly updated. Though once a day is what I call regular, it could be a couple of times a week as well. However, if you have a blog that’s not updated for weeks together, you might as well discontinue it as you already lost readers. Also be very prompt to reply to comments as this adds or improves personal touch.
Establish your identity via your own way of writing and always write what you think (and not influenced). Be short and crisp, ideally readers would like to see a post within two pages of vertical scrolling limit (Max one page scroll, that is and within 500 words). Your post title should be attractive – spend some time thinking about improving your title. Add pictures and links wherever applicable. Link to your own old posts to remind the patrons as well as to invite new ones. Once you have completed publishing a post make sure that you read it once and also confirm that the link works – in the non-admin mode as well (ie. after logging out).
Syndicate your contents
Always syndicate (use RSS or ATOM) the entire contents of your blog as most readers prefers to read it from their feed-reader applications. This will attract a lot more readers to your blog. Also list your blogs on those public blog directories and under their right categories which will attract a lot of readers.
These are some of my views on blogging. Now I would like to ask you all to share your ideas and blogging experiences…