Category Archives: Blog Site Tips

5 Reasons Why Blogs are Dying (Part 3)

Every day this week I am going to write about the five main reasons why so many blogs are dying out.
1. Lack of Time / 2. Lack of Content / 3. Lack of Focus / 4. Lack of Response / and 5. Lack of Tangible Benefits

Lack of Focus

Most writers find it difficult to write about one main topic. Choosing a blog name and finding a niche is very difficult. That’s why choosing a focus will help you create a better following.

Narrowing down your focus (i.e. writing about basketball vs. just sports or reviewing bar and grills vs. just restaurants) is helpful because you can prove yourself an expert of your own niche. Start small and branch out eventually.

Choosing optimal keywords and categories and tags will help your blog become more search engine index friendly. This will help your blog to become more popular and inspire more targeted visitors to encourage real conversations.

This leads me to tomorrow’s important point: reader’s response whether in email form or comment form is validation and the lack of it is discouragement.

5 Reasons Why Blogs are Dying (Part 2)

Every day this week I am going to write about the five main reasons why so many blogs are dying out.
1. Lack of Time / 2. Lack of Content / 3. Lack of Focus / 4. Lack of Response / and 5. Lack of Tangible Benefits

Lack of Content

Don’t have anything to blog about? This is a tough one.

Listen to what people are interested in and find the relative topic to write your post about.

Get Inspiration Choose a Topic / Main Idea

Google Trends are similarly powerful to Twitter’s Trending Topics.

 

Don’t look into those “free website content” things.

The biggest key is making sure that your content is your own. Even if you are writing a post about someone else’s post, after giving proper credit to your inspiration, let the reflections or creative writing come from you.

Check out this Problogger.net article: How to Write Great Blog Content.

5 Reasons Why Blogs are Dying (Part 1)

This week’s mini series of blog posts are for those of you who write blogs like mine. We have the ability to share experience that others can benefit from.

It is our right and maybe even responsibility to writing about what we know and hypothesizing (without intention of presenting hypotheses as undoubted fact) out loud about what we don’t completely understand yet.

Every day this week I am going to write about the five main reasons why so many blogs are dying out.

1. Lack of Time / 2. Lack of Content / 3. Lack of Focus / 4. Lack of Response / and 5. Lack of Tangible Benefits

Lack of Time

I am starting with this one because for the first time in 18 months I completely skipped my blog post last week. The reason that so many like me who love to write still end up falling short of their own expectations is because we get tripped up by the bar we set for ourselves. No matter how much we are all fighting it, we are all burdened with the limitation of 24 hours to each day. So we try to plan out as much of that time as possible and whether we like to think about it or not, we all have missed out on spending enough time on one thing or another that we could have really made a difference with.

3 Bottom-line Dependent Questions with Variably Correct Answers:

1. How often do you have to post to your blog?

COMMON ANSWERS: Once a day, every day? 5 times a week? Every other day-ish? Once a week? Once a month?

REAL ANSWER: It depends. No. Really.
It depends on purpose. Some businesses use their “web log” for press releases which may only get released semi-annually. I still only blog once a week. Except for this week because I am not going to spread this particularly important tidbit over a span of 5 weeks. :) If I have learned anything from all of the blogs business or otherwise it’s this: quality and consistency that beat bulk and fluff.

2. How long should blog posts be?
People get stressed while over thinking each blog post. They get hung-up on the false belief that all posts should be massive blobs of words rich (or cluttered?) with a massive wealth of details supporting your idea. In truth, you just need one main topic for each post and between three and four (at the very least) sentences or references to other content supporting your topic of the moment. And as long as that topic is relevant to the blog’s main idea then it only adds value.

3. Should I limit the amount of time I work on it?

ANSWER: YES
This is another difficult question. I am so picky about my writing and I often have so many ideas that it is a time-consuming effort to articulate those ideas without overly complex details or overly vague statements. I’m working on that. :) I am trying to keep my entire process to under 45 minutes.

I failed horribly on that time limit today. :) Tomorrow I’ll do better.

Tag Clutter

I’ve been going through my website’s tags and after adding more content that I had written for classes but never posted. Somehow I ended up with 159 tags! This wouldn’t be bad except that many have only one or two posts attached to them, some had zero. So, I narrowed it down to 107 tags so far. I could definitely narrow them down more, but it’s a lot better.

Have you remembered to clean up your blog site categories and tags lately?

1. Go through all of your tags and see which ones can be consolidated, deleted, or changed to categories.
2. Go through some of your posts and make sure that your posts all have a fair number of tags and categories (at least one of each but no more than 8 or 9 total).
3. Also see my previous posts about this topic: Keywords & Categories & Tags Oh My!

I’ve added tons of posts to my Business category and Time Management tag and I’ve even added more posts to my newer tag:

College (which is a compilation of things that I wrote and learned during college but never got to shine up to make them a decent blog post. There is definitely more where that came from!)

This is very important for your visitors to get around your website and for SEO as well.

Now it’s time for me to go and make sure my sweetheart knows he’s special! ;) Happy Valentine’s Day!

User-Friendliness: 5 Basic Website Rules

A couple of weeks ago I started talking about good navigation and promised to write about making sure that your websites and blog sites are user friendly.

This study is of Human Computer Interactions (HCI).

So, here is a break down of the 5 most basic (and too often ignored) rules to building a user-friendly website.

1. Find the Perfect Color Scheme

Readability is key for all content on your website. If you chose to use dark fonts with dark backgrounds or light fonts with light backgrounds, then you are breaking a cardinal rule.

Of course, you know what your article says, but you don’t want your visitors to have to highlight your text just to be able to read it do you?

You always want it to be as easy as possible for your visitors to find and read more.

It is best to choose monochromatic (different shades of the same) color schemes. Just ask Apple or Microsoft.

If you already have more than one color, make sure that they go well together. Use a color wheel, or try this web tool if you have the html color code for a color to find it’s complementary colors.

2. Show Em What You’ve Got

The first thing anyone should be able to find when they get to your homepage is a “list” of what else they’re going to find on your site. Make sure that you have a navigation bar at the top or page list on your sidebar pointing to your main web pages or categories.

Gray Area: I’ve heard mixed reviews about placing the navigation bar above the logo vs. below the logo. I read somewhere once that most people don’t read any of the content above the logo. And yet many many websites (including Google) place their menu bars at the very top.

3. Have Attention Grabbing Subscribe / Submit Buttons

Orange buttons are definitely “in” right now. If you see a request for information form on a well-designed website, many of them are changing their “Submit”, “Check it Out!”, and “Download” buttons to orange.

I’ve always considered the color orange a very cheerful color. According to many sources, the color orange increases your metabolism (which gives you an energetic feeling) and activates some kind of social center part of the brain.

4. Don’t Make Everything an Emergency

YOU’VE SEEN IT. WEBSITES WILL HAVE PAGES FULL OF CONTENT IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION! DID YOU KNOW THAT IT IS MORE DIFFICULT FOR A PERSON TO READ A MESSAGE THAT HAS BEEN TYPED OUT IN ALL UPPERCASE?

Just follow the most basic rules for using capital letters. They are to be used for acronyms, the first letter of a proper noun, and the first letter of the first word in a sentence.

Just because you can hard-code this css code: “text-transform: uppercase; ” into your stylesheet doesn’t mean that you should.

Gray Area: Some higher profile websites do use all capital letters for navigation menus (e.g. – msn) and section headers (e.g. Yahoo!). Use this sparingly. You probably don’t want to have all nav menu items in caps and all section headers in caps. Maybe just use one or the other.

5. Don’t Have Broken Links

This one can be very difficult especially for those of us who have gobs of content or people who comment with links attached to their name etc. This one is important for your human visitors and your search engine spiders that crawl your site to index content. I wrote a lot of good information about finding and fixing broken links in my article called: 4 SEO Rules That Are Here to Stay.

Are Poor Conditions Slowing Down Your Web Traffic?

Winter storms and icy roads have been causing quite a slow down in traffic here in Indianapolis. It is definitely December and this is the time of year when everyone seems to do their own sort of hibernating. Don’t they?

I cannot believe that next Monday is the LAST MONDAY before Christmas!!! :) I will get back to continuing the discussion of holiday wishes with you next week. However, this week I really needed to write about slow traffic. . . web site traffic that is.

I am really noticing page loading speed more lately because I have been cleaning up darkbluesun.com and struggling with my page loading speeds. GoDaddy is a decent host at times. Yet, some days I have had nothing but problems due to how slowly WordPress runs (probably due to how long takes to connect to the Godaddy server “grid” and retrieve info from the MySQL database service needed to run WordPress).

Page Load Speed Checkers

Here is a webpage load speed test from Pingdom Tools that you can use to see about where your site stands and get a good overview of all of the files that are actually being loaded by your visitor’s browser.

Google also has a collection of page speed tools.

Also check out this post which includes 3 steps to Optimize Web Page Response Time (a 4th step for me might be choosing a new hosting provider. ;) )

Have a spectacular week! Remember the reason for this season. It’s about peace and goodwill toward everyone.

You have the power to be a holiday blessing to somebody…
Think about it.