Archive for May, 2009

Why Do You Unsubscribe from a Blog?

By Gloson On May 22, 2009 19 Comments

Do you know the orange icon with radar-like waves? Well, that’s a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) subscription icon. When you see that icon, it means there is a feed (A feed is the queue of updates you receive) you can subscribe to.

When you subscribe to a blog, it means you like its content and you want to be notified whenever it has a new blog post.

You can either subscribe to an RSS feed via email or a reader. A reader is a place where you can read the updates of all the blogs you subscribe to. If you subscribe via email, you get updates sent to your email.

When you unsubscribe from a blog, you’ll no longer receive updates from it.

Sometimes, I unsubscribe from some blogs because of these following reasons:

  1. The blog updates too fast and I couldn’t catch up with all the posts.
  2. The posts has dropped in quality.
  3. It suddenly changes to a whole new topic (e.g. From blogging tips to golfing tips).

Why do you unsubscribe from a blog?

So, why do you unsubscribe from a blog? What makes you unsubscribe from a blog? I’m looking forward to hear your views in the comments :) .



7 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Blog (Most of which you haven’t done)

By Gloson On May 18, 2009 31 Comments

In this post I’m going to show you 7 things you can to improve your blog. You probably haven’t done most of them. If you do, you give a better impression of your blog and make it more reader-friendly (and friendlier to you, too).

And so, here are the 7 things you can do to make your blog better.

1. Make links titled

A link title is what you see when you hover your mouse over links. For example,

@Gloson

When you hover your mouse over that link, ‘My twitter profile.”’ will show. That is the title of the link.

I recommend that you put the title of the article you are linking to as the title of the link. You could also put a short note on the post (e.g. How To Set up a Blog – All the information you need if you are starting up a blog) in the title of the link to give it a better impression.

Usually, when you want to link some text, you highlight it and hit the ‘Link’ button, right? In the link option also lets you add the title of the link.

linktitle

Titled links give a better image of what the visitor is going to visit after they click the link, and if they are interested, they might click it.

2. Use a favicon

A favicon is the icon that you see beside address bars when you visit a site. It is also shown beside your browsers bookmarks.

Giving a favicon to your blog helps to brand it. It helps to make your blog unique (and stand out in a person’s browser bookmarks, if he bookmarked your blog).

To learn how to give your blog a favicon, read this article.

3. Enable Gravatars

In case you do not know what gravatars are, ‘gravatar’ mean Globally Recognized Avatar. And, they are the avatars (pictures) of the commentators you see on some blogs.

You can get a gravatar at www.gravatar.com. Every time you post a comment on a blog that has gravatars enabled, they can find your avatar by searching for the avatar assigned to your email address, and you would see your avatar next to your comments.

Gravatars give personality to your blog. They also help your readers recognize the people who comment. However, there are some themes that don’t have the gravatar code in their comments code.

But…you can still enable them! All you need to do is insert the code which calls for the commentators gravatar. Here’s how to enable them if you use wordpress.

4. When placing update notes in your posts, write the date

Update notes are the notes bloggers place into their posts because they’ve made a mistake, missed out something, wants to tell their readers something, etc. An example of an update note is:

Update: Oops! I’ve just found out that this plugin isn’t free anymore. Luckily, I found another similar service that is free, that you can use. Click here.

That update tells people that a certain service the blogger mentioned isn’t free anymore, and tells them to use another similar service (Of course, the link isn’t available. It was just an example).

But, wouldn’t it be better if there was a date? If you don’t write the date, your readers will never know whether that update was posted 1 second ago, or 1 year ago.

Update (3th September 2008): Oops! I’ve just found out that this plugin isn’t free anymore. Luckily, I found another similar service that is free, that you can use. Click here.

P.S. Be sure to write the month in word, not numerals. It is to avoid confusion as different countries read numbered dates differently (In Malaysia, we read 3-9-2008 as 3rd September 2008. But in some other countries, it is 9th March 2008).

5. Make an archives page

An archives page is where you can find every post in the blog, listed. You should create an archives page. You would generate more page views because your readers can find more articles to read.

To create an archives page, install an archives plugin on your blog. I recommend SPR Clean Archives (the archives plugin I’m currently using for my blog) and Snazzy Archives. This is how Snazzy Archives looks like.

6. Write in shorter paragraphs

Which do you prefer to read, a long paragraph, or short ones? People prefer the latter.

When I read long paragraphs, I find me reading the same line a number of times and having a hard time squinting at the text. But when I read small paragraphs, I find it easier to read. I can keep track of where I’m reading with ease.

So, break down the long paragraphs into shorter ones. Your readers would thank you.

7. Dress up your 404 pages

Instead of the “rude” default ‘404 error – Page not Found’ 404 page, why not edit it and make it friendlier?

When a visitor from a search engine lands on a default 404 page, they simply press the back button on their browser. Even I do that. Why? Because I simply can’t find what I’m looking for.

When writing your 404 page, be polite, but don’t write loooooong messages. The visitor won’t read it if he sees that it is long. Keep the message simple and to the point, like Digital Photography School’s 404 page.

Show a list of your latest posts on your 404 page. If your posts have a catchy title, 404 page visitors might click on the posts and even convert to loyal readers. You can also list your best posts instead of your latest posts.

Here’s how to modify your default 404 page.

If you own a wordpress blog, first, go to its administration area. Then, under ‘Design’, click Theme Editor. Now, on the right of you, there are the list of files in your theme. Click on 404.php to edit the 404 page.

Here’s how to create custom 404 pages -

WordPress tips and tricks – custom 404 (error) pages

(After you are done, you can edit it to write your very own 404 page. You need to have some HTML knowledge, though.)

For more tips on making 404 pages reader-friendly, click here.

By the way, you can have a look at Gloson Blog’s 404 page: http://www.glosonblog.com/this-is-a-404-page What do you think? :P

_____

Have you done any of these 7 things? I bet your readers (and you) would love your blog more if you have done so ;) .

Do you know anymore things to do to improve your blog that are beneficial but not many people are doing? Let us know in the comments!



Why I Haven’t Been Posting Frequently in April

By Gloson On May 11, 2009 16 Comments

Hi guys :)

If you’ve been around Gloson Blog for a while, you’d have realized that I rarely posted on April. I’m very sorry for not posting because I was really, really, really busy with my upcoming funny poetry book for kids.

One day (13th April), as my mother flipped through the mock-up of my poetry book, she realized how plain the illustrations are (which I illustrated in December 2008), and how much it can be improved!

For example, my poem mentioned cakes and milkshakes, but there are no cakes or milkshakes in the picture! Only the main character is drawn.

Here is a shot of the before and after of the illustration of my poem, Shopping List.

Before
poepic05 

After
poepic05

Shopping List

“A bicycle,
some comic books,
a basketball,
some storybooks.

“A super robot
that’s  polite,
a  noisy  drum,
a giant kite.

“A model of
a dinosaur,
some chocolate
and sweets galore!

"A water gun,
a large TV,
a cold ice cream
dessert for me!”

Mom looked at list,
face full of gloom.
“I won’t buy ‘til
you clean your room!”

Here’s another one; Picnic (The one with he cakes and milkshakes)

Before
poepic38

After
poepic38 

Picnic

I’m going on a picnic and
am feeling like a king.
I’m packing all the yummy stuff
that I just love to bring.

Some biscuits and a giant burger,
marshmallows and cakes,
roasted chicken and soft drinks,
some lollipops and shakes.

Some chicken nuggets, chocolate bars,
refreshing cherry punch.
Some doughnuts and potato chips
and oranges to munch.

A big umbrella, just in case
the weather becomes hot,
and now, I am prepared to drive\
to the best picnic spot.

At last I’ve made it to the spot;
I hope there are no ants.
Alas, I have to go back home
for I forgot my pants!

I’ve been working for 12 hours in a row (4pm until 4am) almost everyday for almost a month. My mother accompanied me while I worked.

It took longer than expected, because I became committed to draw every detail according to what my poems described. I was very exhausted but I wanted to finish the book as fast as possible because I wanted to help my family.

And, I didn’t go to school for almost a month for the sake of this project; my family has financial problems and I pray that this book is going to help us.

I missed a lot of lessons and now, I’ve to catch up with all the lessons and revise for my May exam (on Monday, which is tomorrow).

I probably won’t be posting much this coming week because I have to study for my May exam.

I’m really looking forward to posting quality articles for you after my exam, so stay tuned for more posts after my exam ;) .

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