Apr 2, 2012

A to Z - Blogs and Brands

If you have been thinking about being a writer anytime soon you know the essential nature of building a platform.  And the easiest way to build a platform is to blog. 

If you are here, I'm guessing you have one, but there are a few suggestions for how to make it better. 

First - make sure your name is dominant, easily seen, main feature of the blog.  Have a little about you and let people get to know you. 

Second - make the blog easy to read.  One thing that I have noticed about many writers is we have pretty significant screen time, and things that are cluttered, too colorful or confusing just get skipped.  The blog needs to be clean, font in a nice easy to read color and big enough for people to read easily.  Yellow fonts, regardless of the background color, tend to cause me really bad eye fatigue.  I have not followed blogs just because of this.

Third - for the love of all that's holy, please, please, please get rid of the captcha - the word verification that you need people to type in to prove they are people.  We are all time starved, writers or not,  and taking the extra time to have to type in some hard to read ridiculous word to share thoughts is just frustrating.  If you don't know if you have - ask.  Your commentors will tell you really fast, and here's a great post about how to get rid of them by J. A. Bennett.

Fourth - and tying in with the first - your name is your brand.  J.K. Rowling announced a new book idea which was a big deal because J.K. Rowling announced it.  As you are jumping around, meeting and interacting with others, they need to see your name everywhere - comments, twitter, facebook. 

Fifth - keep the posts short.  Poignant, brilliant, funny - but short.  Less than 500 words.

Blogging experts - any other quick and easy must haves?  Blogging newbies - questions you aren't sure about?  What makes you love the appearance of a blog, what keeps you coming back for more?

51 comments :

Catherine Noble said...

Totally agree with you on the yellow font! One of my pet hates is also visiting a blog that's so laden with graphics that it makes the page struggle to load! I've only recently embraced the "under 500 words" tip, but I'm still a relatively new blogger in the Writing World. Good luck with the rest of your A-Z challenge :)

Cristina said...

awesome tips. The word verification thing for comments drive me insane.. now they are two words instead of one and I seriously cannot figure them out most of the time. I've given up on posting a comment because I kept getting the words wrong, LOL so frustrating.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Good tips , what puts me off is the word verifaction even on the challenge there are many who still have theirs on. What makes me come back to a blog is the friendly atmoshere and the writer giving respect to the reader.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Working hard on the name everywhere part...

Kyra Lennon said...

Fantastic advice! it took me a long time to realise just how important name actually is!

Grammy said...

Hi, those are really great tips. I have been blogging for four years now, and love it! I can't say mine is always scintillating, because I quite often just write about what is going on in my life. Friends and family keep up on how things are going with me. it is a friendly blog. :) I agree about the yellow type and also the word verification thingy. I have run into a few of them on this round of challenge and hate them. (can't figure them out lots of times, too)
Regards to you, Ruby

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing! :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Excellent post and something we all need to remember from time to time.

Bob Scotney said...

Sound advice for everyone.

Danielle B. said...

Great post! I agree with each of you points. My page is a little busy tho.

"C" you tomorrow!

Mina Burrows said...

Excellent advice! Thx for sharing. FYI, wanted to let you know I gave the Sunshine Award on my blog:
http://minaburrows.blogspot.com/2012/03/fridays-with-fred.html. Congrats! :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

All good points.
Word verification is annoying but its no big deal to type it in if someone chooses to keep it on their blog. I wouldn't not leave a comment for someone because of it.
HMG

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Short posts, please! Sometimes mine go over 500 words if I'm really going into details on a topic, but lately I've kept them short.

Miranda Hardy said...

Great advice. That captcha is so annoying!!

Li said...

I'm guilty of running some longish posts sometimes ;-) I HATE the captcha thing, there are times when I don't get the words on the second try and I just give up and go away. I've been blogging for over a year and I've had maybe 5 spam posts at the most. it just doesn't seem to be much of a problem. (Unlike my email!)

Angela Cothran said...

Can I add my plea to the call for short posts? I like them even shorter than 500. I think 250 is perfect (unless it is an interview, then I'm okay if they are longer).

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm with you on the short posts. I know today I had a longer one but I've started really making my stories shorter. And yes, keep the captchas out of it.

Cassie Mae said...

Short posts... oh gosh, I have a hard time with this. My darn blabby mouth won't shut up! Lol.

Tracy said...

Great advice...love the 'short' posts! and yeah, need to work on the brand...

Matthew MacNish said...

All great advice. Thanks, Tasha!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I heard that some time ago, about make the name larger. I just changed my banner this past weekend to do just that--place the name on top and make it bigger.

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

All great advice! Esp. about the captcha! That annoys the heck out of me and if I don't have time to do it, I'll just abandom my replies.

Happy Monday!
Jaycee's A-Z

Emily R. King said...

Fantastic advice! Blogs and branding do go hand in hand. It's your outlet to the world as a writer. Be professional. Be consistent. But most of all, be yourself!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

All great advice! The short one is hardest for me :)

Deana said...

Great advice! Especially the one about getting rid of captcha!!!!

vjicha said...

Thank you for those helpful tips.

Bish Denham said...

Simple and too the point. I got rid the captcha long ago. Thanks for becoming a new follower, clicking on you right back!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I love tips like this because even though I've been blogging for 18 months, there's always something new to learn or re-learn. Thanks for this.

Clare said...

Excellent advice. Those following your tips are bound to have much greater success with their blogs.

Nicole said...

These quick tips are easy to digest. Yellow font? Yikes! If I was going to add any further blog tips it would probably be to refrain from displaying animated GIFs or other flashing graphics on a blog. While it can be fun to look at once, after a while, it can become distracting and maybe even also annoying to readers.

I say leave the flashing signs and graphics to MTV and Times Square! lol.

~Nicole
Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

jnana said...

These are good tips!

Julie said...

Great tips! And I so agree on issues like the yellow font. Some sites I have visited have just been so "busy" they end up hurting my eyes.

I am still working on building a platform and this is all great advice.

susan said...

Great advice as a relative newby. I find blogger quite mystifying at times. How you get all those designs for a start. How you find other blogs [apart from this challenge] But hope have got rid of the verification as suggested by the A-Z people. I'll keep coming back I think!!

Tracy Jo said...

Awesome advice! Thank you and looking forward to A-Zing with you!

Laura Eno said...

Great advice! I would add "music". Yes, I can mute my computer, but it will annoy me to have to do so and I won't go back to the site.

Laura A to Z of Immortals, Myths & Legends

L.G.Smith said...

I believe in short posts. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You hit most of the important ones.

Jaime said...

This is great & very helpful. I love reading blogs that I learn from.

Kelley said...

Love all these points. Totally agree.

Especially the shorter posts one. If the post is incredibly long, I skip it. Its bad, I know, but I want to be able to get to many posts from other writers too.

Stephen Tremp said...

All very good points! Branding is important. Wormholes is my brand and I hope people think of me when they think of wormholes.

Stephen Tremp
Co-Host A to Z Challenge

Heather Murphy said...

Very helpful hints. Thank you :)

Sharkbytes said...

Short- you said it, I'll say it again. Keep posts short. I just signed on to the A-Z challenge, nearly at the last minute, but I'm trying to visit every blog at least once.

Sarah Pearson said...

I've really got to put my name in my title somewhere.

Cynthia said...

I agree with your point about making the appearance of the blog viewer-friendly. Certain color combinations don't work for me.

While my first name is part of the profile, easily viewable to visitors, I haven't made it the main feature of the blog yet because I haven't decided on whether or not to use a pen name in the future. Thanks for sharing your tips!

elizabeth seckman said...

Captcha stinks!!! They are getting so hard to read...I just groan when I see them. Come on, what's a little spam shared among friends?

Leigh Covington said...

Love it Tasha! Totally agree. These are great tips. I'm glad you shared. It's one of those posts we can direct others to when they don't know what to do! Love it!

Elaine AM Smith said...

I'm a huge fan of the "under 500 words."
Blogging is a great way to find information and advice. Especially advice that worked for people who are doing what you do.
Good luck with the rest of your A-Z challenge :)

Susanne Drazic said...

Great topic for the letter B. I agree with the color yellow. I have a hard time with really dark backgrounds and gray writing. I have to squint too much to try to read it. Thanks for the tips!

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Good tips. I find that newer bloggers do a better job of keeping the clutter to a minimum, because they have new (fresh) site. It's good to do some virtual housekeeping from time to time.

michelle said...

This is sound advice! Thanks for these gems!

Alana said...

Great list. I am sure this will be very helpful for new bloggers in this challenge and in the future!

Te thing that keeps me coming back is simple. Great writing.

I like people who can have a little fun and add a quirky twist to my day. I also like heartfelt people, and all sorts of creativity. I will follow a photo blog or chef's blog or crafter's blog if they have something unique to offer!

Alana @ writercize.blogspot.com