Category Archives: blog conversations

How to improve my blog for me me meme

I got a shout from Maurice over at his Cayman Islands blog on a a blog improvement meme started by Dane.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time. There is quite a bit on this blog that I think could do with a little attention, or at least make for a bit of a discussion.

General layout

For starters, I’d like to introduce a fluid theme (that’s one that stretches to a users screen size). My fixed theme is great, I love its look Ive used it for a while, its a great looking design and an impressive job. However, I’m losing out on a lot of screen real estate that could be used in better ways. I often feel like Im writing on paper and using huge margins left and right. I wonder if others feel similarly. Many of the good blogs I read these days use a layout that’s tailored towards the bigger screen resolutions.

Of course, my main reason for not doing so sooner is that I’ve made a hell of a lot of modifications to this existing theme which will be a bit of pain to add to any new layout.Add to that the need to upgrade to WP2.3 and I find myself losing the will to live.

Comment form usabilty

I’d also like to improve the usability of my comment form. Sebastian has some good reasons for doing so over at his SEO blog. I’m also going to take another look at my comment template and see if I can ajaxify some of the componants. I’d also like to alter the way I communicate my comment policy. As it stands, I link to some rant from within a big pile of words that are a bit of a mouthful – it isn’t an ideal solution. It might help to stick the words in a little pop up somewhere perhaps and drop the rant maybe.

Subscribe to comments

I’m not too happy with my subscribe to comments option either and find that my position has shifted somewhat from my original little rant. I thought about giving people a cookie option to choose. I thought about an onload event too whereby some div opened up asking 1st time visitors how they’d like to be treated, do they want follow up emails to their comments or do they not. I’m still undecided and kind of find myself thinking about going back to the default unchecked option. The problem always was that there are pros and cons on both sides and well, I sided with one that felt ok at the time.

Interacting with existing visitors

It could also be a good idea to give regular visitors some additional insights into say, how many people had read an article they’d commented on, what locations they’d came from, who was linking to the page that sort of thing. This could be a useful hook to grab a new subscriber or registration even. I can see the subtle attraction of an <? if(user_registered) { ?> show more stuff <? }?> option.

Writing better stuff that people will want to read

I’ve said it once I’ve said it twice I’m no Shakespeare . I do tend to waffle on and fly off on tangents that began in the recesses of my cannister and bounced off of the insides of my noddle a few times. I’d like to write a few more factual informative pieces, case studies things like that. Maybe make them available as a subscription or registered user option.

I try and avoid too many topical issues. I try not to follow the crowd and parrot a different version of what someone else out there is saying already. I think that by staying individual and true to who I am then some people somewhere will carry on reading me and as more stumble across my stuff then that reader base should grow.

I had 180 subscribers earlier which is really cool and a small indicator that I’m doing something right somewhere. I never really thought about getting lots and lots of readers here, but must confess to feeling a tiny degree of satisfaction that people around the globe find some of what I say interesting enough to hit a little button somewhere.

Getting out and about more

You can improve your blogs visibilty by getting out and about and commenting on other peoples stuff. I really need to do this more and expand my little circle. I tend to read the same people daily and whilst this is a good thing (they write interesting stuff) I do find that I might be spending too much time reading them and not enough time reading others.

I try not to be one of these people who targets A-listers or people with big established subscriber bases but it does need to be said that this is a good tactic for getting yourself better known. If you bang on the right doors hard enough and in the right kind of ways then eventually they might just open and send you a boat load of traffic.

Alas, such an approach doesn’t really fit with who I am, I’m not too good at it, I’m just not one of lifes schmoozers.I did give it a conscious try some time back but found myself thinking, hang on, what am I doing, I’m only commenting because he has a lot of readers, and heck they didn’t even acknowledge what I said, what the hell am I doing, so well… end of. I’m sure it looked far too transparent, sheeat the manipulative SEO strikes again.

Henceforth, the modus operandi is, one of if I talk about someone or comment on their stuff I’ll do so because:

  • They are discussing something that I’m genuinely interested in that has relevance to what I’m discussing and my readership
  • I simply like them or respect what they stand for and what they do and how they do it
  • I disagree strongly with an opinon or policy and need to let them know why.

I’ll probably see my blog’s subscriber base grow more slowly as a result, but I don’t really care so much. I’d rather grow my base on the back of being true to who I am, than as a result of being some comment attention seeking brown nosing whore.

It really is possible to grow a successful blog without being so.

Anyhow I feel myself beginning to waffle so I’m going to tag….a few people I’ve seen around at Sphinn I think, and see what happens, thanks for listening.

Ben Shana Bob Marty and Tancy01

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Why every blogger should have subscribe to comments checked by default

Ok, so this might come across as a bit of a rant, but i gotta say it.

I said it here, but I want to elaborate a little, so please indulge me for a minute ot two.

Subscribe To Comments

Allows readers to recieve notifications of new comments that are posted after their own. By Jennifer – Scriptygoddess.

This plugin is very useful. If your readers drop comments on your blog, then its a good thing to give them an option to respond. By using this plugin they can be notified when someone follows up a comment of theirs. I’ve changed the default to auto subscribe people to comments they’ve made, they can always deselect the subscribe me box should they so wish, most don’t which stands to reason. I figure that if people engage in a conversation then it follows that they’d like to be kept informed. You should too.

If you are a blogger and are inviting people to comment on your posts then the  first thing you should do is install a subscribe to comments option type plugin thing.

Once you’ve done that then you should change the default checkbox setting to checked.

IOW, if people commenting on your blog and DO NOT wish to subscribe to your comments and receive emails to their comments then they can uncheck the box! Let them action it, let them make the positive choice to unsubscribe from a thread that they felt motivated to respond to, my guess is most will not.

If you are thinking hang on a feckin minute I don’t want to get a stream of poxy emails every two seconds to some random comment I made on some random blog somewhere then I have to ask you, why?

WTF are you even bothering to engage in the 1st place? What is the point in commenting on a thread that a person or group of people are engaged in and talking about? Are you some kind of rude, I know I’ll just butt in say what I like then feck off out of it kinda dude? Don’t you want to respond to what people might say subsequently? Wouldn’t you like to be assisted in remembering?

Or do you remember every little blog post and place you commented on?

 I doubt it too, hell, I cant recall what blogs I’ve commented on 20 minutes ago! In fact if I see a blog that has the subscribe to comments checkbox checked I kinda smile internally, cos I know that I won’t have to worry about remembering where I commented. I just say my piece and forget about it, knowing that if someone should comment, I’ll get a little mail response with a piece of text showing me what they said. If I don’t like it, or get bored with it all, I can unsubscribe instantly takes me just two seconds. I don’t care if  I get 30 emails to a comment, it takes me  seconds to delete them or ignore them even. If I’m really bothered I can log in to my email account once a day and deal with them en masse even.

Do yourself and your commenters a favour, add the subscribe to comments plug in and edit the default checkbox setting.

End of sermon.

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