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View Full Version : Blogging tips and tricks - anyone got any?



Melchior
19-09-2005, 07:51 AM
So I've started blogging, but haven't had much time to make my blog my own yet. I'm going to be redesigning the damn thing once the semester is over I suspect, but in the mean time I was wondering if there were any little tips and tricks to organising blogs people would like to share?

I'm particularly interested in how to make categories for my posts so that a reader could looka t all the music posts or whatever. Any ideas?

Melchior
19-09-2005, 07:55 AM
And while I think of it, how do you check stats related to your blog? Like visitors, google searches etc?

john eden
19-09-2005, 08:59 AM
Is that S Buchanan of zerogweb? :)

errrrrrr I am not sure if blogspot does categories and all that, but I think you can do something clever with Technorati tags.

There a little widgets like siteweb or whatever it's called (sitetracker?) which can tell you about stats.

You generally get all of this built in if you get a domain, hosting and software like Wordpress or moveable type, tho.

Melchior
19-09-2005, 10:46 AM
Is that S Buchanan of zerogweb? :)

No, it's Kiwi anarchist Sam Buchanan (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0107/S00116.htm)...


errrrrrr I am not sure if blogspot does categories and all that, but I think you can do something clever with Technorati tags.

I just joined technorati, so I'll see what I can do,


There a little widgets like siteweb or whatever it's called (sitetracker?) which can tell you about stats.

You generally get all of this built in if you get a domain, hosting and software like Wordpress or moveable type, tho.

Yeah, for the moment I'm trying to avoid that route as I don't really want to spend extra cash.

john eden
19-09-2005, 11:06 AM
No, it's Kiwi anarchist Sam Buchanan (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0107/S00116.htm)...


Oh right - did he used to be in with McGillykuddys in Hamilton? I think I may have met him as well. Didn't know he'd been banged up in Genoa.

john eden
19-09-2005, 11:20 AM
I've sort've hijacked your thread a bit!

Best thing to do is look at other people's blogs and see what they use - there are usually links to set up your own code in your template...

Rambler
19-09-2005, 12:32 PM
www.sitemeter.com - free, and had basically no problems with this in two years (once it lost a couple of weeks of hits for some reason). You get basic user stats, referrals, that sort of thing.

Blogger catergories are trickier: Blogger doesn't support them, so you have to come up with an imaginative work-around. Usually these involve either a combination of Technorati and del.icio.us, or setting up separate blogs for each category that then feed into a master blog. I've never tried doing either of these, but here's a guide to the former:

http://blogfresh.blogspot.com/2005/04/how-to-use-delicious-for-blogger.html

and a more complex version (but quicker to use) that uses the Greasemonkey Firefox plug-in:

http://blogfresh.blogspot.com/2005/07/using-greasemonkey-delicious-for.html

the category results look like this:

http://del.icio.us/jrfj44/blogger

which is not all that classy, but there are ways (eg. feeddigest.com) to incorporate del.icio.us XML into your site template.

As for the latter, this looks like a pretty slick work-around:

http://oldcola.blogspot.com/goodies/BloggerCategories.html if you can ignore the errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar...

Melchior
19-09-2005, 12:53 PM
Oh right - did he used to be in with McGillykuddys in Hamilton? I think I may have met him as well. Didn't know he'd been banged up in Genoa.

Yes, that's the one. What a small world it is. The Genoa thing was pretty full on, not least the part here e was deported back to the UK without his NZ passport and then had to argue his way through Heathrow customs without documents. But he managed it all ok in the end.

Rambler, that looks great. Thanks for that. I'll have a play tomorrow maybe.

Ness Rowlah
21-09-2005, 02:04 PM
write short, clear headlines. blogs are often read through RSS-readers and then a headline like "Check out this cool link" or "Yesterday was interesting" are going to leave your potential readers baffled. Try something like "The giant whale-killing squid" or "Why Phil Collins is a genius" to give your readers an idea what the subject of your post is.
keep at it. I've gone from 0 readers to a stable readership of around 400 unique readers a day (and over 1 million "hits" a year). Don't expect audiences to find you straight away.
use paragraphs
if it's heavily linked elsewhere/the source is widely read (say Wired) don't bother linking to it, unless you've got something to say about the subject
many might disagree on this, but instead of having a hundred external sites listed on the sidemenus I prefer to list just a few (I trust people to go to Gutterbreakz via Blissblogger)
don't overdo the graphics (ie K-Punk has nice balance)

john eden
21-09-2005, 02:09 PM
use paragraphs



This is Rule Number One.

Nick Gutterbreakz
21-09-2005, 09:23 PM
I use Extreme Tracking to monitor activity. I like it.

http://www.extreme-dm.com/tracking/?reg

Melchior
22-09-2005, 12:16 AM
This is Rule Number One.

And one that I follow. I suspect proper spelling and grammer are rule number 2? Or rule 0?

I've installed that tracker Nick, cheers for the suggestion.

Rambler
03-10-2005, 12:04 PM
write short, clear headlines. blogs are often read through RSS-readers and then a headline like "Check out this cool link" or "Yesterday was interesting" are going to leave your potential readers baffled. Try something like "The giant whale-killing squid" or "Why Phil Collins is a genius" to give your readers an idea what the subject of your post is.
keep at it. I've gone from 0 readers to a stable readership of around 400 unique readers a day (and over 1 million "hits" a year). Don't expect audiences to find you straight away.
use paragraphs
if it's heavily linked elsewhere/the source is widely read (say Wired) don't bother linking to it, unless you've got something to say about the subject
many might disagree on this, but instead of having a hundred external sites listed on the sidemenus I prefer to list just a few (I trust people to go to Gutterbreakz via Blissblogger)
don't overdo the graphics (ie K-Punk has nice balance)


Some excellent points here, which I admit I don't always follow (although I should). Along the lines of the first one, post titles should be properly coded (as, eg, < h3 >) so that RSS-readers recognise titles as titles and not as part of the opening paragraph. Just putting your post title in bold isn't enough.

Melchior
03-10-2005, 12:36 PM
Along the lines of the first one, post titles should be properly coded (as, eg, < h3 >) so that RSS-readers recognise titles as titles and not as part of the opening paragraph. Just putting your post title in bold isn't enough.

Ah... does blogger do this automatically?

Also, can anyone recommend a good PC RSS reader?

Oh, and cheers Gutterbreakz. I'm using that stats page and found out all sorts of interesting things. I write two posts about nazis and half the traffic seems to be about that!

Rambler
14-10-2005, 12:51 PM
Ah... does blogger do this automatically?

Sort of - it does once you set it up (there's an option in there somewhere about titles). You then need to make sure you've got < h3 > tags in your template, and you can style the header as you wish (or go with your template's default). I think some Blogger templates might already do all this, just not all of them.

droid
14-10-2005, 03:35 PM
Nice thread!

Ive got some nice little stylesheet tricks for getting around browser bugs... they've been clogging my mental hard drive for a while, so ill try and get them up here on monday

Ness Rowlah
18-10-2005, 12:53 AM
the MAN has spoken (Jakob Nielsen that is) (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/weblogs.html) . If you are only going to read on article on blogging tips this autumn etc ...

Rambler
18-10-2005, 09:45 AM
Ha! I was just about to post that myself!

john eden
18-10-2005, 12:34 PM
No Author Biographies

Yeah right.


not enough to simply say that Joe Blogger writes the content. Readers want to know more about Joe. Does he have any credentials or experience in the field he's commenting on?

No he doesn't have any fucking credentials. (Them never know Natty Dread Have Him Credential, after all!). He is making it up as he goes along, often whilst drunk out of his mind.

I dunno, the blogs I like are the ones which combine a bit of biography with the subject matter anyway (cf Martin Implode's classic Love's Secret Domain post) OR they write knowledgeably/funnily about things I am already fairly obsessive about.


Even weblogs that provide author bios often omit the author photo. [...] You enhance your credibility by the simple fact that you're not trying to hide.


Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

This is completely retarded. The idea that people should limit what they write because they may want to apply for some uber-corporate job in the future. I think all of the blogs in my sidebar would never have existed if they'd thought like that. And this seems like a great reason to not include a photo or even use your real name.

The downside is that you do get people wondering (for example) if you have dreadlocks because you like reggae. Which I would like to state categorically, for the records, is not has not and will never be the case for me. :mad:

There seems to be a number of assumptions about how people want to present themselves and be read here, which I don't think I agree with.

But having said that, the rest of it is alright really. :D

martin
18-10-2005, 03:58 PM
Who the fuck's Jakob Nielsen?

Rambler
19-10-2005, 12:00 PM
A well-known author of books on web design and usability.

martin
19-10-2005, 01:50 PM
Yes, but has he actually run a blog? It's a bit like a bloke who wrote a book about Marshall amplifier components and 24-track mixing desks lecturing DJ Scud on how his next track should sound

Rambler
19-10-2005, 02:05 PM
Not really - it's like an expert on studio components telling DJ Scud the most effective way to plug his equipment together, which seems fair enough.

But no, Nielsen doesn't have a blog himself.

martin
19-10-2005, 02:16 PM
Not really - it's like an expert on studio components telling DJ Scud the most effective way to plug his equipment together, which seems fair enough.

But no, Nielsen doesn't have a blog himself.

OK, I see. It's like the bloke who does the layout for Horse and Hound telling "Bugs and Drugs" fanzine how to present their "The Kids Hate You!" section. He's barking, incidentally, google his photo.

Rambler
19-10-2005, 03:32 PM
God, I don't want to be drawn into perpetually defending the guy, but web standards and usability are GOOD THINGS. Nielsen may not be right with all he says, and he may have an iffy haircut (as if this counts as a criterion for authority!), but in a thread asking for blogging tips - started by someone who I think wants to invest some care into how they post and how it looks - then advice like Nielsen's is worth reading. We're all free to ignore it; I happen to think it's mostly pretty sound, and I spend my life working in web publishing.

For what it's worth, I also think John touches on something important too - Nielsen is writing for a particular sort of blogger, one who sees it as a semi-professional activity, or at least a serious hobby. There are reasons why you might not want to include your name, or a photo (I don't have a good digital one of myself, for example, so I don't, but when I do I probably will put it up), and they're fine, but behind Nielsen's advice is that you should at least think about these things if you want your blog to appeal to more than the most narrow community.

Of course, if you include your name or other obvious identifier, you should always think about the possibility of an employer, or your mum, reading it. Not to is just dumb.

martin
19-10-2005, 03:41 PM
S'alright squire, I'm only messing around.

Rambler
20-10-2005, 10:02 AM
:)