Drop(down) the Monthly Archives.

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Monthly ArchivesArguably, the most important feature in your blog’s design is its usability. Can the reader get what they want? A large part of that is giving them the space to manoeuvre unhindered by clutter and superfluous gadgets.

In order to keep your blog clutter-free, you must be ruthless with your sidebar content. There are thousands of Wordpress plugins available, and it is very tempting to install them all. The wise blogger knows to add only the options which will be beneficial to the user, which begs the question;

How are the monthly archive links useful?

In most cases, they aren’t. The monthly archives are a remnant from when blogs were literally online diaries. When the posts are a biography of someone’s life, then it can indeed be very interesting to look back to what they were like in the past. The monthly archives were also a lot less hassle than properly categorising posts.

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Personalise Messages and Stand Out

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Personality
Photo by Aki Jinn

There are millions of blogs out there. You need to stand out from all the rest; be different to be remembered. However, standing out doesn’t just mean using a custom theme, it means customising every part of your blog, including the default messages.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 9:17 pm and is filed under General Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

We’ve all seen that message on blogs before, and what opinion does it give you of said blog usually?

It doesn’t. That’s the problem. The owner hasn’t bothered to put some personality into the blog, and as such, you have nothing to remember it by.

This is the most extreme example of course. The quoted paragraph is usually changed (removed?) by blog owners, simply because it is so over-worded and unfriendly to readers. What other lines in your blog can be given a personality of their own?

Encouraging Comment Messages

When your post has 0 comments, you want to do everything you can to encourage that to change. Wordpress offers an easy method of doing this through comments.php. Simply enter the message you would like to display where you see the line:

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Make it a Date

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Blogging Dates Being a dating blogger isn’t easy. Sure, you can turn a lot of eyes, and it’s true that no-one looks better than you in your flashy widget-ready theme, but that on it’s own just isn’t enough. You need to be able to pull-off the first date as well!

There Has to Actually Be a Date

How can you court your reader without having a date in the first place? It is hard to realise when you are writing your post, but ask yourself, will this information still be relevant and useful in a year from now? Two years? Three? A large number of blog posts simply aren’t timeless, not because they were poorly written, but because of the nature of the topic. The posts age, and their value ages with them. If your topic falls under this blanket, then readers will want to know how fresh every post is.

Another reason is that blogging, more than any other type of website, is expected to be transparent. At the very least, you are expected to show the date. Blogging itself is a time-focused process, with posts ordered chronologically. Readers will expect to see the date, and denying them this simple courtesy will do you no favours.

Prepare For the Date Accordingly

Now that you’ve agreed to go on the date, you need to get dressed up. I’m afraid that your default “ This entry was posted on Monday, August 7th, 2007 at 11:22 am and is filed under…” suit just won’t cut it. The important thing to remember about dating pages online is that different customs around the world mean that different people may read the same thing differently.

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Feedburner on The Page, Regardless of Stats

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The feedburner logo. Feedburner provide a free service, whereby they monitor a number of stats about your RSS feed, as well as offer a few other tweaks (Like the email subscription option we offer here). All of these services are fantastic, yes, but arguably the coolest offering Feedburner has is the little subscriber count button. But what do you do when you don’t want your readers nosing into those stats?

NB – This method will only work for Wordpress users.

Why Is the Subscriber Count Button Useful?

  1. The statistic itself is a valuable one. The subscriber count tells you how many people have decided that what you write on your blog is important enough for them to read it regularly. There are many other ways of judging a site’s success, each with their own drawbacks, but for a blogger, what could be better than knowing that someone out there considers your writings to be worth reading?

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