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

By Gloson On May 18, 2009 Under Blogging
  • Sumo

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!

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3 Trackbacks

  1. Link- & Lesenswert: Verbesserung der Conversion, Fundraising, Blog-Optimierung | Gründerszene
    June 9, 2009 6:01 PM
  2. Happy 1st Birthday to Gloson Blog
    July 27, 2009 7:03 PM
  3. 7 More Things You Can Do To Improve Your Blog
    August 28, 2009 11:22 PM


31 Comments Add yours

  1. kelly
    (16 comments)

    May 19, 2009
    8:07 am

    I am guilty of 1, 3 and 7!! Omigod! Time to do something huh!! Thanks Gloson! Exams over for you right? Keep shining!

    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      May 22, 2009
      7:20 pm

      I’m glad this post has benefited you, and yeah, exams are over :) . I’ll have a 2-week holiday! :D

  2. abdullatef
    (1 comments)

    May 20, 2009
    5:37 pm

    Thanks for the tips.

    abdullatef’s last blog post..Maktabah Shamilah

  3. Héctor | Blog for Bloggers
    (4 comments)

    May 21, 2009
    10:48 am

    I find the custom 404 page tip to be the most underrated of them all. There are literally thousands of blogs out there that don’t know how useful a clever 404 error page can be.

    For example, let’s say that someone hit a 404 while browsing my blog. What’s a good 404 page? The one that says “Oh, sorry. Nothing’s here”, or “Hey, you got it wrong but there are these pages that you might be interested in reading”? ;) Do your best to keep your visitors around!

    Héctor | Blog for Bloggers’s last blog post..What Does It Takes To Be A Good Blogger?

  4. Héctor | Blog for Bloggers
    (4 comments)

    May 21, 2009
    10:50 am
    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      May 22, 2009
      7:24 pm

      It’s ok. Double posting is ok if you’ve missed out something. Yes, that’s one way I would improve my blog . But I’m not sure how. Thanks for reminding me to do that, anyway! I’ll google it and ask ;)

      • Héctor | Blog for Bloggers
        (4 comments)

        June 2, 2009
        8:19 pm

        If you need help for that, I can fix it up for you for free. Email me your theme and I’ll adjust it so your header links back to the homepage :)

        Héctor | Blog for Bloggers’s last blog post..Rauru.com Rebrands as BloggingDiary.com!

        • Gloson
          (527 comments)

          June 3, 2009
          5:27 am

          I think I already know how to place a link in my header, but I only want the text in the image (Gloson Blog) to have a link, not the whole header.

          Do you know how to do that too? And, which files of the theme should I email to you?

          Thank you so much. :)

          • Héctor | Blog for Bloggers
            (4 comments)

            June 3, 2009
            8:07 pm

            Yup, I know how to do that. If possible, just email me the entire theme so I can test it locally. Once I’m done, I’ll send it back to you (I will delete it too, so don’t worry :P )

            Just out of curiosity, do you have the PSD of this theme?

            Héctor | Blog for Bloggers’s last blog post..Rauru.com Rebrands as BloggingDiary.com!

          • Gloson
            (527 comments)

            June 3, 2009
            8:19 pm

            Ok. I have emailed you the theme. Thank you for your help!

            And sorry, I don’t have a PSD of this theme.

  5. Jacky Chong
    (1 comments)

    May 22, 2009
    2:23 pm

    Hi Gloson, I’m really amazed and proud of you at your little young age could create this fantastic blog. I wish I could share and exchange views with you. I’m from Subang Jaya, Malaysia and just started my first blog last April and to tell you, I’m addicted to it more than Facebook I use now. I’m still learning to blog and get update what is happening around.

    Jacky Chong’s last blog post..Facebook Quick Uploader

    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      May 22, 2009
      7:22 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad you like my blog. Hey, I live in Subang Jaya, too! I agree, blogging could be addicting sometimes :P . Blogging is very interesting and will help you learn a lot of things. So, go on and enjoy blogging! :)

  6. Simon | Teenius
    (4 comments)

    June 3, 2009
    11:40 pm

    Another great post, Gloson :) I find it amazing that you seem to connect with so many people and read so many blogs – you always seem to have a link related to like every topic, so nice one! :D

    Simon | Teenius’s last blog post..Blog Design Series: Interview With Gaya Kessler

  7. Earningstep
    (18 comments)

    June 6, 2009
    9:10 am

    i must do something about number 7 in my blog , thanks yo

    Earningstep’s last blog post..Fairshare | claim your work | fight against copycat

    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      June 6, 2009
      4:16 pm

      No problem! Glad to help! I am looking forward to seeing your new 404 page!

  8. Michelle Cheong
    (1 comments)

    July 20, 2009
    10:31 pm

    Your tips are really useful. I am thinking of starting a blog but haven’t quite got around it yet. Trying to gather more information and not to plunge head-on. You are such a talented young chap! I’m going to say again as what I said earlier in my email to you – kudos to your parents! Wonder if your mum can share some tips!

  9. amidkss
    (2 comments)

    July 29, 2009
    3:38 pm

    happy 1st birthday to gloson blog. i love your writing. i like to read cause it is simple and make me feel relax eventhough i’m an ederly person. tq and congratulations… keep writing..

  10. Jeremy...@jeremytey
    (1 comments)

    August 23, 2009
    11:25 am

    Gloson, how do you edit the 404 page if you are writing your post at the original website (www.wordpress.com)… not the program?
    .-= Jeremy…@jeremytey´s last blog ..Holiday…! =-.

    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      August 23, 2009
      1:18 pm

      I’m sorry, but you can’t edit the 404 page in wordpress.com because it doesn’t allow it. According to http://support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/, You can’t hack the PHP code behind your blog. Then if you want to get a good 404 page, you must choose a theme that has it. Hope this helps!

  11. kenwooi
    (8 comments)

    March 28, 2010
    9:51 pm

    cool.. thanks for the guide =)
    .-= kenwooi´s last blog ..Supporting Earth Hour: The Hidden Purposes =-.

  12. Debby
    (1 comments)

    September 17, 2010
    9:51 am

    Gloson ~ This is the first time visiting your blog. And, I watched your linked video with your mom being interviewed. How did you get started to do computer programming and blogging? Your suggestions above are excellent. I will have to investigate the ERROR404 and use the Update in some cases.

    I see a link to my blog below. Wondering how all of this works. Strange, but good.
    all the best to you young man
    Debby
    Debby´s last [type] ..Corn Sugar By Any Other Name Is Still Not Healthy

    • Gloson
      (527 comments)

      September 18, 2010
      1:37 pm

      Thank you very much Debby. :)

      I started blogging in October 2008 when my mom heard about blogging in the news. It was very popular, so she thought it would be good for me to start one (because before that, I’ve been building an site for one of my mom’s projects. It all came from experimenting with Nvu, a free HTML editing tool).

      So, I started a blog using a really small computer. When I looked at my blog using a widescreen monitor, my blog looked really thin! So that’s how I started to edit my blog CSS to make my blog wider.

      So from there, I’ve been doing CSS, coding, and stuff. It all comes from doing and experimenting :) .

      And about the link to your blog, that’s not done by me, but by the Comment Luv plugin, which I use to let my readers leave a link to their latest blog post.

      Cheers! :)
      Gloson

  13. Tim@英文法
    (4 comments)

    April 16, 2011
    12:15 pm

    Thanks for the link explaining how to enable gravatars. I tried using the code given in the WordPress codec but couldn’t get it work. Finally I have working gravatars :-)
    Tim@英文法´s last [type] ..A-AN vs THE

  14. @Hues of Madness
    (1 comments)

    September 18, 2011
    8:52 pm

    Luks Great!. I must try!.
    @Hues of Madness´s last [type] ..Hack Protect Your Facebook

  15. Hues of Madness
    (1 comments)

    September 18, 2011
    8:54 pm

    By the way,Whats your Age?.
    Hues of Madness´s last [type] ..Hack Protect Your Facebook

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