Thanks to everyone for weighing in on the cover debate yesterday! It was interesting reading all the responses and seeing everyone's reactions to the two different covers.
Today's Ten for Tuesday will be something a little bit different. In the past two years, I've read a lot of blogs and slowly come to figure out what makes a blog 'work' for me, and how to grow your following. I'm no expert so please feel free to chime in with your own bloggery loves and hates; I'd love to hear them!
1. If you want to increase your followers, follow others! This may seem like a no-brainer, but I'm always surprised when people ask me how to get followers. Follow blogs, and usually people will follow you back. Which brings me to my next point: if someone follows you, follow them back (unless, of course, it's something you don't agree with on a philosophical basis). If you don't want to add the blog to your Google Reader (which happens automatically now if you follow with a Blogger account), sign in and follow using a Twitter account. I think it's just good blog etiquette.
2. Comment on other people's blogs, and return comments. I have two blogs: one that I started almost two years ago and this blog, which I started in March. On my other blog, I don't usually return comments and I don't comment on other blogs (I didn't really 'get' the importance of it at the time). After almost two years, that blog has 108 followers. When I started this blog, I made a decision to comment, to return all comments, and to proactively follow blogs. After four months, this blog has 340 followers! A massive difference!
3. Make your blog posts short and try to limit them to one subject. I have a Netbook and I hate scrolling through screens and screens of text. I understand posting extracts of work every now and then but if your blog posts are long all the time, I may resort to skimming. I also find myself more drawn to those posts that keep to one subject and pose a question I can answer in the comments. Make it easy for people to comment.
4. Use easy-to-read fonts on plain backgrounds. One of my blogs is white text on a black background and I got emails from readers complaining it was difficult to read. I must admit I hate struggling to read text when it's faded or covered in swirly designs. Also, be aware that if people read you in Google Reader, using a strange-coloured font (i.e., pink, yellow) will show up as pink or yellow in Google Reader, making it very difficult to read.
5. Have a 'Followers' gadget! I'm amazed that some people with Blogger blogs don't have this! I want to follow you! I could be wrong, but I think Wordpress lets you have this gadget now, too?
6. Put your 'Followers' gadget towards the top of your page. I don't want to scroll through loads of awards to find it.
7. Make your page easy and quick to load. If you have tons of videos and heavy photos sometimes it takes ages. I don't like waiting.
8. Turn off word verification! Argh! I know, I know, there are spammers out there, yes. But how many do you really get? And it is possible to moderate commments that are older than whatever date you choose, so you can eliminate the threat of spammers on your older posts. I detest word verification. If I'm returning 40-70 blog comments each night, it just takes SO much time to type in those silly silly words.
I have failed yet again to come up with ten, but I probably sound curmudgeonly enough without any more! I'd love to hear any other tips or pet peeves others may have!