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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:

<!– If comments are open, but there are no comments. –>

For example, here on Pro Blog Design, we say the following on our comment-less pages:

“Sadly there aren’t any comments yet. That means that the article above was pitifully poor, or brand new. Either way, you need to use the comment form below!”

The “Comments Number” Template Tag

WordPress also offers a template tag which lets you display different messages depending on how many comments there are.

<?php comments_number(' ', ' ', ' ' );?>

Text between the first pair of apostrophes is shown when there are 0 comments, text between the second pair when there is one comment, and text between the final pair when there are at least 2 comments. In the final set, a percentage sign (&) will display the number.

For example, placing the following before “<ol class=”commentlist”>” in comments.php starts off with a pretty standard usage of the tag, but then uses it again to a more unique effect.

<p><?php comments_number('No responses so far', 'One response', '<strong>%</strong> responses' );?> to “<em><?php the_title(); ?></em>.” <?php comments_number("Now's your chance. Get in there first!", 'Shall you join in and make it an actual conversation?', 'Join in!' );?></p>

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Another area typically lacking personality is the footer. It’s true that we all love WordPress, but can’t you think of a more creative way to say it? Even changing this text in footer.php to “… the fantastic WordPress,” is enough, because it shows that you put in effort.

There are many ways to customise a blog, like jazzing up the 404 error page. What customisations have you done on your blog? What was your most creative writing?

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