8 Ways To Make Your Blog Better By Bedtime

 

Not only do I have a blog, I also love reading blogs and entering other blogger’s giveaways.
While there are some great blogs out there that I love, I have to admit that I am just like anyone else…first impressions matter, and I have often left a blog just because of the layout. The content might have been fun or interesting but if it’s not easy to navigate or is hard on the eyes, I leave. And you can assume other readers do the same thing.

Here are a few tips you can use to improve your blog and make it more user friendly.

1. Make it easy for your readers to follow you.

You just found a blog you like and decide you want to sub via your reader or like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, so you pop over to the sidebar and…you can’t find their follow options. After a quick scroll up and down trying to locate them in the cluttered  mess of buttons, badges, gadgets and widgets, you give up, leave the site and forget all about that blog. Studies have shown that when online, people naturally look up and to the right for contact type information, so put your FB/Twitter/subscribe/G+  follow options right there- all in one place. Or get a plugin that floats the linking buttons on either side of your blog. When you have a giveaway with several follow options as entries, don’t make readers search for twenty minutes to find out how to do that. When I can’t find a way to follow you- I leave.

2. Clean your sidebars.

Don’t put every gadget you run across on your sidebar- not that many people want to watch the swimming fish or the unicorn jumping over the cloud. It just makes your site look messy and hard to navigate. We all need ads to cover hosting costs and other expenses related to our blogs, or to pay the phone bill or whatever but place them wisely. People don’t really care if you have ads, they just don’t want to see a jumbled mess of them crammed into every nook and cranny. If you do have a lot of ads, do your best to keep them nice, neat and organized. Sometimes you can’t re-size them and that’s fine, but at least try to graduate them in size or make a spot just  for them, so your readers are not bombarded when they land on your home page. And don’t put ads in the middle of your posts. No one likes to be involved in the  story of that time when Great-Auntie Winnepeg lost her teeth at Mr. Savey’s Market only to be confronted with an ad on how to raise your own jellyfish for fun and profit, chances are – they won’t finish reading. Keep your ads, just keep them out of your content.

3. Turn OFF the music.

Just turn it off.

4. Tone down that color scheme.

I kid you not, I ran across a blog not too long ago that had neon yellow sidebars, a black background and red text. After I woke up from  my fainting spell, I promptly closed the tab. For all I know I am missing out on the funniest, most engaging blog writer EVER, but with a color scheme like that…I doubt it. Bright, happy colors are fine. They are cheerful, YAY!!  but stop and think… is your blog really readable? Is it hard on the eyes of those that have left their 30’s and have three different eyeglass prescriptions? If you have popping hearts and little frogs kissing in a rainbow pond…will drop ins think you have something to say or will they think they landed on a tween ” I hart froggies”  blog?

5. If you have adult content or content that may offend.

Keep it if that’s what you are about, but perhaps think about a little disclaimer so folks that don’t actually enjoy raunchy posts aren’t caught off guard. They found you because you posted a terrific recipe for mock apple pie, so decided to browse around. They loved your post with the funny pic of the polar bear, then began to read about the new dress you bought,  and BOOM!  they are f-bombed and grossed out because you are sharing about something that happened when you wore it the first time and… took it off the first time. Give your readers a choice about what they want to read. Just add a little something at the top that says Adult or Caution or RED LIGHT POST. I know I appreciate it when bloggers do that. Just because I don’t enjoy cussing and other R-rated things doesn’t mean I don’t like other stuff on your blog. Being considerate is nice. Thank you

6. Turn off captcha.

Just turn it off.

7. Link to yourself.

If you can naturally add a link to another one of your posts, do it. We like to see what else you have to say. Just like getting lost on YouTube because you followed a trail of similar links- getting your readers to click through and find other fun stuff is a good way to make sure they come back. I linked to two of my posts in #5. Did you go see what the polar bear was about?

8. Check your spelling.

Please? We all miss things now and then, yes. I have a sticky space bar, a screwy right shift  and my B,N,S and T keys have to be hammered in order to register the letter, so I am forever going back to fix something. Pleese tacke a minut to fix you’re spelling an grammer so its easer to read that grate post you wrot abut you new cooking clases and why you love capree pands.  their is just not enugh time in my day too waed threw an articl that is sew full of mistakkes that it lukks like a furst graeder wrot it.

So, that’s it. 8 Ways to make your blog better by bedtime. Maybe not tonight’s bedtime, but most of these are tweaks that don’t take too long to do.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any pet peeves about blogs? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

 

The Reason For The Season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last few weeks I have been quite saddened to read articles that report that the PC police are still making headway in trying to remove Christ from Christmas. While I have consistently responded with “MERRY CHRISTMAS” to every “happy holidays” and “wonderful winter holiday” to each person who has used those generic designations, be it on the phone to a customer service rep or the checker at the grocery store, I’ve noticed that sometimes, they have reacted as though I made a racial slur or mocked a minority. It has been said  that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” but it’s awful that there is an actual movement to push another “christian” tradition under the rug  or out the door and that ‘everyday Joes’ are buying in. Our society is almost totally upside down when it comes to values, and the backwards morality really shows when the issue is regarding religion. Somehow it has become offensive to people to proclaim the reason we celebrate. To quote the DailyMail…

“The Daily Mail visited major outlets of the big four supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons – in seven towns and cities.Out of 5,363 cards sold individually or in multipacks, just 45 featured Christian scenes such as the Nativity – 0.8 per cent.Dr Don Horrocks, of the Evangelical Alliance, said supermarkets were ‘airbrushing Christ out of Christmas’.He added: ‘There has been a rise in cards that say “Season’s greetings” or “Happy holidays” which is evidence of the speeding up of the trend of stripping the religion out of Christian festivals.’    (Read more here) it seems especially glaring when you read that in the UK less than one percent of cards stocked in most stores are “religious.” Because Jesus and Christianity are offensive.

And what kinds of cards are replacing those that carry sentiments of Jesus Christ, his birth and the reason for it? Again quoting the DailyMail  ” Instead, scenes of the Nativity has been replaced on cards by designs or jokes with little or no relevance to the Bible story and the true meaning of Christmas. One ‘offensive’ card risked provoking Christians by suggesting the shepherds only saw the angel appear on the hillside because they were hallucinating after smoking drugs. And another card ignores Christmas altogether – wishing the recipient a “Happy December”. Other designs include a pan of Brussels sprouts, a shoe, a woman pointing a gun at ‘chavs’, a moonlit bridge and, bizarrely, a line of meerkats. (Read more here)

When you read about breakdown of our society, the incredible rise of violent crimes and the almost unbelievable acceleration of  crimes that are usually only portrayed in sick horror films, it seems obvious to me that …making Jesus unacceptable and offensive but embracing a card that tells you to “F*** Off, these are mine” (referring to presents) is a symptom of a mindset that is contributing to the moral decay that is destroying lives.  I plan on continuing to stand firm in proclaiming the “REASON for the SEASON is JESUS” and just hope that more people will wake up and realize that even a side issue like the PC policing of Christmas is a spiritual battlefield that needs soldiers.

 

Bad luck with Walmart bathrooms

I have nothing but bad luck with Wal-Mart bathrooms. Target, Fred Meyer, even Shopko are perfectly normal, and everything proceeds the way it’s supposed to in them. Entering a Wal-Mart restroom is like entering a messed up parallel universe. It started years and years ago, I’m pregnant with my first baby and I waddle in the bathroom. Do what I need to and the auto flush toilet goes off as I’m trying to stand up, and sprays my backside with some sort of turbo force jets- I was literally soaked to the small of my back. Not a happy camper. Poor sopping wet pregger  me. *Sniff* Another time, another Wal-Mart bathroom, I am innocently washing my hands when this woman comes in, drops all her junk on the counter, and proceeds to DIG IN HER NOSE, right there, with me standing there, no tissue, just HER FINGER. BARF! A few months ago, I am in line in a Wal-Mart bathroom being irritated by this lady talking LOUDLY on her cell , swearing and whining.
 It’s her turn and she goes into the stall and,  er, eliminates with lots of grunting and groaning , while STILL ON HER PHONE, and when she’s done she just WALKS OUT OF THE BATHROOM- SHE DOESN’T STOP TO WASH HER HANDS! I think that was when I started wearing latex gloves in public places. Well, I don’t actually, but I have seriously considered it. I keep a gallon of sanitizer in my purse and a thing of wipes with me always. Recently, the Wal-Mart curse got my mom. We were shopping together and hit the bathroom first thing. While she was in the stall I hear her kind of squawk. Huh? I hear her talking, but can’t understand what she’s saying. When she’s done and we are out and pushing our carts over to health and beauty I ask what happened? Well, she says, all of a sudden this 8 or 9-year-old boy ( I stop her there. WHY is there a boy that age in the women’s bathroom? We talk about that for five minutes) is looking up at her from under the partition. My mom spoke through the wall and asked his mother or whoever was over there to tell him to stop. This person replied ( are you ready?) “He’s not hurting anything.” Are you kidding me? I always avoid confrontation. But I was so ready to track that lady down and just go off. That was so rude, I’m upset all over again just writing about it.  I stop at the gas station to use their facilities before heading into Wal-Mart now.