Monday, February 12, 2007

You, you, you oughta know

My best friend Shelby is about to move to Iowa, and plans to start a blog to keep in touch with her friends and family. I was going to give her some blogging tips and realized that I have a few other friends who recently started blogs, therefore I'm sharing my tips with everyone!

Some of this may seem like common sense, especially if you're a seasoned blogger/web community user, but it's still worth revisiting every now and then.

Here's my advice, after 2 1/2 years of blogging:

Safety first
- No last names (yours or people you write about). If you do, your blog can easily be found via Google when people search for your name. And if you get fired up and blog about something/someone that/who pisses you off, and in turn they get pissed off and want to hunt you down, access to your last name makes it that much easier to find you and get all stalkerazzi on your ass. And, actually, you don't need to piss someone off. Someone may become enamored with you because you are amazingly fabulous. They'll go all Single White Female on you. *gulp*
- No info for people to find exactly where you live. Same reason as above. Stalkerazzi, suckas!
- No work place info. Same scenario, but this time they can find you AT WORK! Yikes!
- If you're going to post pics of other people - especially kids - be sure to ask the other folks. Some people (*ahem* justJENN *ahem*) are understandably wary when it comes to showing pics of themselves or their families.

Don't piss people off
- Be careful what you write. In addition to the pissing-random-person-off scenario, imagine if people at work, your family and other people you may not expect to find your blog do. Can we say awkward?
- Be careful if you blog at work. If your boss stumbles upon your blog and sees that the timestamp on your posts are during work hours, they may not be happy about that. If you have downtime and want to post, consider writing a post but saving it as a draft to publish after work hours. (Or change the timestamp via post options on your post to non-work hours. But ya didn't hear that from me.)
- If you're going to talk about your favorite show or a new movie, try not to spoil the ending. If you do (like I did recently), post plenty of spoiler alerts (like I did). And if someone in your comments posts a spoiler in your comment section, consider revising your post to warn folks.

So ya wanna attract readers?
- Blog often. It'll keep folks coming back if they know they can expect new fabulous fodder from you. Nothing like a dry spell of blog posts to scare away readers. Believe me - I've watched my site statistics drop when I post less frequently.
- Get your blog noticed by leaving comments on other's blogs. Give them some kudos for a cool post, blog, picture, whatever.
- Link to others. You can do this within posts or in your blog roll (more on that below). It's a good idea to give credit to other bloggers if you swipe ideas from them. And people, like me, are obsessive about site trackers, and want to know how people are finding their blog. If they see that you link to them, they'll come check out your site at least once. And if they like what they see, perhaps they'll come back!

Other tricks of the trade
- Consider the sizes of pictures you post. Folks have resolution set differently on their computers, so what looks good on your screen doesn't mean it will look the same on theirs. I don't post pics bigger than 400 pixels within my posts because anything larger can push all of my posts below the bottom of the sidebar text.
- List your favorite blogs on your blog. An easy way to do this is via BlogRolling, a link management system. You can add all your favorite blogs to an account on this site, and they'll give you a code to make it easy to add all the blogs in the sidebar of your blog. If you prefer, you can also have it indicate on your blog (usually with astericks) when those blogs are updated.
- Use a site tracker to see how people are finding your blog. I use Site Meter. Others that I know of are eXTReME Tracking and Google Analytics. They'll give you a code that you can paste into your blog template, which in turn shows you how people find your blog via their Google searches, links on other blogs, comments you've left on other blogs and even other blogger's site trackers.
- Post pictures on your blog via photo site Flickr. You can get a "badge," like mine on the left, that shows pictures from your Flickr account at random each time someone comes to your page. Flickr also makes it really simple to post pictures in your blog posts.
- Blog on the go with mobile blogging. Send pictures to your blog (like I did recently) from your phone. You can also send text posts, but I haven't tried that.

As an added bonus
- It's easy to read other blogs on one site if you use an RSS reader. I think the most user-friendly one is Google Reader. I've also used NewsGator, but it's more labor intensive.
- Find out who is linking to you or mentioning you using a blog search engine. Type in your blog's URL. Examples are Technorati (my personal favorite) and IceRocket. I also use these when I want to search for products, musicians, events, etc., to see what other people have said.

So, there it is, in one giant nutshell. Anyone have other tips for some of the blogosphere's newest bloggers?

"And just as you have planted your seed in the ground, I am going to plant my seed … in you." - Dwight, The Office


  1. Wait, Shelby's moving to IOWA? OMG!!

  2. Keep in mind who may be reading your blog, but not commenting. They may throw things you write back in your face or just make snarky comments to you. I'm referring to a few family members that regrettably know about my blog. Besides work, I think family is the biggest thing I censor myself over.

  3. Nice "bloggin-in-a-nutshell" post! :) There are a lot of "tricks" that you figure out as you go along. Personally I think it's a very fun community to be a part of. :)

  4. I have the same problem as Jodi. My family members read my blog but hav NEVER left a comment. Still, I can't talk about them.

  5. nice list of tips nanners! thanks for putting it together --- now i have more stuff to play with next weekend when hubby is out of town :-)

  6. Thanks for the tips...No one in my family even knows what a blog is, so no trouble from that corner. ;-)

  7. aw geez nanners, you so smart! Thanks for the tips!

  8. My Uncle recently told me, "Um...I read your blog." I said, "Really? Then you'll love my next post titled, "Uncle J is a bastard..."

  9. Delurking to say - thanks for the tips. I haven't been blogging long and these were very helpful! :)

  10. Also, don't blog about getting stuck in the elevator with alleged drug dealers and definitely don't mention any of their identifying marks, such as the tattoo on his neck. It turns out they too sometimes read blogs and don't care much for publicity.

  11. New blogging kid on the block here!!

    Soooo thank you for the tips!!

    I was totally wondering how the side bar links worked..