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.

 

End GFC Widget Headaches With A Stand Alone Button

I get tons of emails  saying that my GFC widget doesn’t show up- very irritating for my readers trying to follow me, or trying to enter a giveaway. Irritating for me as well, as I’m always messing with it trying to “tweak” the darn thing into submission.  I had seen several tutorials on how to add a stand alone Followers button but not a single one worked. I even added the GFC plug-in but deactivated it when it did the “disappearing act” on me. So, I thought I’d share the code that finally worked.  This is how I added the Stand Alone GFC Follow button to my sidebar.

It will look like this when done: 

For Word Press blogs:

1.  From your dashboard- go to Widgets.

2.  Choose the text box that has your existing GFC widget code and locate your blog ID.

3.  Add your blog ID to this code, where it says “YOUR BLOG ID HERE”:

<a href=”http://www.blogger.com/follow-blog.g?blogID=YOUR BLOG ID HERE DELETE THIS TEXT AFTER YOU ADD YOUR ID!” target=”_blank” title=”Follow With Google Friend Connect”><img border=”0″ src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-h3YRBHYfF5g/TeYuZ6lly6I/AAAAAAAAEOQ/e4YcH4LGnjw/s1600/follow-with-google-friend-connect-button.jpg” /></a>

4.  Copy and paste that code into a text widget box and place on your sidebar.

5.   Done!

That was easy, right? Well, I think the other codes I was trying to use were messed up because this worked perfectly- the first time. Now my readers can follow me even when the main GFC widget is down.

 

For Blogger blogs:

1. On your dashboard, click on any post or page and look up at the address bar. You will see a long string of numbers. Copy those, that’s your blog ID.

2. Paste that ID in the code (#3 above) where it says “Your Blog ID Here” and remember to delete the “Your Blog ID Here ” text.

3. Go to your Design tab, and on your sidebar click “Add a Gadget”, choose  HTML/JavaScript and then just paste the whole code string in the box, save and place where you want it on your sidebar.

4. Done!