Intelligent Blogging

Posted on July 8, 2007 
Filed Under SEO News

"We, the humans, are creatures of habit, and our lives are ruled by it"

From the toothpaste we use to the choice of underwear we wear, we never let our habits change easily. Even when we know that the only thing that is constant in this world is 'change', we find it hard to get accustomed to some things.

So you might be asking what relationship does this have with blogging? Agree or not - we are caged by our own minds and hence we never dare to think out of the box. Just check out the list below and note the number of items you qualify for:

Using a big (really big) RSS button
Not having a 'About Me' or 'Contact Me' page
Using 3 Adsense ad units, 3 link units and all the referrals offered by Google's Adsense
Displaying a calender on your blog
Using absurd Google widgets on your blog that display IP address, etc
Using MBL or BlogCatalog or Spicypage or BUMPzee widgets
Using animations on your blog
Using background music
Using large titles that can be read from as far as 10 feet
Allowing anonymous comments
Not moderating comments
Not commenting on comments
If you agree doing at least one thing from the list above, you definitely need some lessons.

Change your habits
Get out of the habit of copying others - dare to be different. Several new bloggers live by the rule of i-see-i-like-i-copy. They are so blinded by some successful blogs and bloggers that they start copying each and everything they find on them. They start using fancy feed icons, useless widgets, out of control advertising, etc. Spend some time on Google and you'll definitely find blogs similar (in design) to ProBlogger & JohnChow.

Be inspired, don't copy!
God has given you a brain. So prove it that you have it! Don't copy others - be it in content, layout, logo design, colors, widgets used, etc. Its very much possible that a MBL widget that looks cool on some blog might look pathetic on your blog. Use features that contribute in making your blog more useful, and not just because others are using them.

Try and make your blog a wonderful experience for your readers. Remember that people visit your blog not because it is good looking, but because they find useful information. If a visitor likes your blog content, he will come back to check out new articles. But if excess use of widgets, colors and fonts turns him off, you will be at the risk of losing precious traffic.

In simple terms, it's all about intelligent blogging - using a good and unique blog layout that stands apart from others, creating unique content, networking with other bloggers, etc.

Here are a few things I'd suggest you, my fellow bloggers, to follow and make the world wide web a better place:
Use small RSS icons. I don't understand why some bloggers use big RSS icons. It looks as if the blogger is saying - 'subscribe! or else you're finished...' If casual visitors like your blog, they will subscribe to it no matter if you just provide a text-link pointing to your RSS feed.
Use minimum Adsense ad units. Google is kind enough to provide us with several ad layouts and types, but that does not mean you should use each and every ad layout/type possible. Keep it limited to just 2 or 3 units but don't give your blog the look of a newspaper by using all 3 ad units, 3 link units, and 4-5 referrals offered by Adsense. Keep in mind - minimum ads sometime result in maximum readership.
Don't allow anonymous comments. If a commentator is serious about what he is saying, then he will definitely take up the responsibility of his comments by providing his name and a link to his blog or email address. Anonymous comments are mostly spam. People comment anonymously especially when they want to express their anger on the blogger or what he just blogged about.
Use descriptive titles. If you think that by using 2-3 word titles that do not hint about the content of the post will attract your RSS readers, you are wrong. By doing this, you are losing a huge amount of potential traffic that is served by search engines like google. You must make it a habit of using at least 2-3 words from your post's content in it's title.
Get rid of stupid widgets. I'm pretty sure you're not here to check out what today's date is, what the weather gurus are saying, or what is your IP address. Then why use those stupid widgets that display time, temperature, IP address, visitor location, or other crappy stuff?
Socialize, but don't overdo it. Does social networking widgets from MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog, BUMPzee, SpicyPage serve anything good on your blog apart from making it look jazzy? Displaying just one of the widgets mentioned will make your blog look good without damaging it's decency. Displaying more than one widget is a big no-no. If you love checking out statistics again and again, then I'd suggest you to install the tracking code in your blog's template but don't display the widgets on your blog. I just use MBL, and I'd suggest you too go for it.
Use the right font sizes. I've noticed several blogs using inappropriate font sizes. Sometimes they're so small its just impossible to read them, and sometimes they're so big that the blog appears cluttered. I personally prefer using no more than three sizes on any of my blog. The title should appear big and bold, followed by a smaller size for blog posts. Since the sidebar is used for navigation, it's font size can be reduced to 80% or 90% of that of the blog's posts.
Don't forget to add 'About' & 'Contact' pages. Blogosphere is a place where people love talking about their favorite blogs and bloggers. I don't find a reason why some people don't have these pages in their blogs. Just use some common sense and add these, if you haven't done it yet!
Check your spellings. It doesn't really matter if your grammar is bad. What really turns of your readers are spelling mistakes! Every blog platform nowadays provide us with a feature called 'spell-check'. Use it - its not going to cost you anything.
Cross check your blog on different browsers. This is the biggest mistake I did when I jumped into template tweaking. I optimized several of my blogs for Firefox, but accidentally when I browsed my blogs on a friend's computer using Internet Explorer, I was shocked to see that the sidebar, header, buttons, posts were overlapping with each other.
Don't advertise your loneliness. Stop spamming other's blogs or social networking sites with comments like "Please visit my blog / add me to your blogroll / lets have link exchanged" Trust me, the impression you create with these messages will bring irreversible damage to your blog's reputation. Also avoid using FeedBurner's feed-count chicklet on your blog if you're having a low reader count. I've seen blog displaying feedcounts lower than 10. Now why would someone be interested in subscribing to a blog which has no readers?
I have a lot more to add to this list, but that will only make this post long and uninteresting.

Human nature is hardwired to find shortcomings in its environment. If there's a power cut, it is all to easy to complain about it - but it's a different thing to permanently do something about it. The choice to effect change lies within each of us. Its the same with blogs - everyone talks about spam blogs, crappy layouts, plagiarized content, but they forget what they themselves are doing with their blogs.

The moral of the story?
"YOU must be the change you want to see in the blogosphere"

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