I had an interesting discussion with a client last week about when and how to implement a new blog design. She wanted to warn her readers that a change was coming, and take a few months to implement the changes step by step.
We talked about the process and created a timeline for the slow unveiling of the site design, a smart decision for those with a large audience, especially when making dramatic changes to the site’s navigation and content handling. Some audiences can handle it, and love design changes, but some can’t. They just don’t respond well to change.
We talked a little more about her readership, covering some basic web analytics such as where her readers come from, how they access the site (through the front page, single pages, tags and categories, or through aggregators, email or feeds), and I stumbled upon some stunning facts that shifted the entire game plan.
While her site gets a steady stream of visitors, several thousand a day, only 10% return. Of those, only three percent return to the blog at least once week. Honestly, that’s about 9 people a week.
In my article, “What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment,” I talked about some of the issues around debating where and when to leave a blog comment on a blog that hosts information or opinions you don’t support, or is filled with blog clutter, a clue that something isn’t right. About how your comment may be seen to support the blog, and impact your reputation by association.
As I wrote that post, I looked back over all the WTF Blog Clutter articles in the series and realized that many of these issues are ones that impact my willingness to comment on a blog. Sure, they impact my ability to even read the blog, let alone return and tell others, but they also impact my willingness to endorse a blog with a comment.
I started thinking about all the blatant, subjective, and even unconscious reasons that prevent me from leaving a comment on a blog. Here are some of my self-discoveries, most of them associated with various aspects of blog clutter. I’m sure you have more you can add, but these are big clues that this is a blog that doesn’t deserve my participation. read more
A few minutes ago I followed a trackback to a lovely blog post about one of my blog posts. It was quite complementary and made some good points. I was in the middle of composing a reply when I glanced over to the sidebar and saw the listing of the most recent blog posts featuring what were clearly pay-per-post or sponsored post titles. Ick!
That was my first response. Ick. Yuk. Oooey gooey, as one of my nephews would say.
We’ve talked about a lot of different design detail clutter and distractions in the ongoing series, “WTF Blog Design Clutter“, but we haven’t addressed the issue of perception when it comes to inspiring blog comments and conversation.
It’s true that a lot of people comment on blogs for link bait and Google juice. While that may be true, what is unsaid about the importance of a blog comment is probably the most important consideration when it comes to commenting on blogs: Association by commenting.
A blog comment says you want to participate in the conversation. It says you are interested in the topic. It says you are supportive of the blogger. It says you are who you say you are. It says that the link in your comment form takes the reader to your blog, which should speak well of you and match the quality of the blog you are commenting on. It says you want to be a valuable contributor to the blogosphere and the world of communication. Right?
The WPCandy Network is growing, with the most recent addition of a WordPress design gallery called WPInspiration. At first glance it looks like a typical CSS gallery site, but featuring WordPress powered instead of just CSS based once, but it seems as if the folks behind it will be taking it a step furter:
Unlike a lot of other galleries, each site will feature a short, personal review from Mike or Dan. We’ll note some things about the site, things we don’t like, and ways it might be able to be improved. Reviews won’t go very in-depth but will be more than sticking a URL and a thumbnail in our database. We haven’t gone back and reviewed every site in our database, only the 10 most recent ones.
My absence from the Blog Herald in the end of last week was due to me participating in a very cool event called 24 Hour Business Camp here in Sweden. Some 90 web entrepreneurs, split over 52 teams, gathered to create a web project each in 24 hours time.
Naturally, I went with launching a blog. I chose WordPress as my blog platform, although any other hosted one would do as well, of course. However, since I consider myself a WordPress expert, and given the immediate time crunch, I went with what I knew.
Now, 24 hours is a lot of time if all you want to do is to install a blog, setup permalinks, and slap on an existing theme. A decent theme is easy enough to customize, and then you’re basically ready to go. I didn’t do that, I built an add-on theme (or child theme, as they are also called) for my Notes Blog Core theme. That is something in-between, because the core is there, but not the defining elements. read more
Save us from the out-of-control blogrolls, lists of links that run on and on and on and on and on and on and on…listing everyone who ever started a blog on the whole planet – well, it feels like it.
Your blogroll links are important in the minds of Google, and they can add or subtract points in your PageRank scores. You better take your blogroll links seriously, ensuring you are linking to blogs that will complement yours as well as complement theirs.
Is your blog filled with “Your Ad Here” titles with empty space all around it? Honestly, WTF?
As part of our ongoing WTF Blog Design Clutter article series, let’s look at people’s attempt to inspire advertisers on their blog, and where it falls down as a design element.
The empty ad space that sits there with the note “Your Ad Here” isn’t very inviting. In fact, it’s just wasted space. If there are no ads there, then there is a lot of wasted space in your blog’s sidebar. read more
While most of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Clutter has been focused on the blog sidebar and design elements, a big clutter element is the continued use of the CAPTCHA with comments with the misguided belief that it would stop comment spammers. NOT.
CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, created to ensure that humans can read the letters and numbers in a way that computers can’t, so automated scripts and bots can’t leave a comment on your blog. Pass the test and you’ve earned the right to comment. Except that the CAPTCHA techniques have been broken and bypassed easily by computers for years. read more