12 Blogging Tips To Improve My Blog

by derek on November 8, 2007 · 44 comments

As a blogger, I am always interested to hear what other people have to say about my various blogs as I think that can really help build a stronger blog for everyone to enjoy.
When I saw that Easton Ellsworth was offering five free blogging tips, I jumped at the chance to hear what he had to say about this blog. It must have been my lucky day as Easton sent me 12 tips!
Here are the tips that Easton offered for this blog, along with my thoughts on each tip.

  • The tagline is too small; make it bigger and turn it into plain text so search engines can crawl it.
    Easton is right that having a tag line that the search engines can crawl is important. As a reader of my blog, you see the image and assume that I am missing this tag line. However, if you look at the source of my page you will see there is an H1 tag containing the name and tag line of the blog.
    I’ve used CSS to hide the H1 tag from displaying yet the search engines will still see this information when they crawl the page.
  • Lose the technorati button.
    Interesting idea. It does seem like adding Technorati favorites has lost a little bit of the esteem that it once had around the blogosphere. When I added the Technorati button, I had hoped it would help take advantage of all the buzz around the Techno-memes that were floating around.
    Is it still worthwhile to have a means of someone adding my blog to their Technorati favorites? I’ll have to take this into consideration and would welcome your thoughts on whether the button should stay or go.
  • Lose the duplicate feed buttons.
    I’m assuming that Easton is referring to the RSS button in the header and the RSS button image that accompanies the text links in the sidebar. While I understand that the main page has the two in close proximity, once you are on a specific post you no longer see the links/image in the sidebar.
    For the time being I plan to keep the RSS feed button in the header and the sidebar, as one is an actual link to the feed and the other is an image accompanying the text links. But I can see how this might be overkill.
  • Put “Search this blog” in the search box at right.
    I’ve never really been a big fan of populating the search box with text. With the popularity of Google and Yahoo, I am sure most people recognize that the search box is for searching.
    I’ll throw this one out to the readers – do you think the search box should be populated with text?
  • Make headlines bigger.
    This is one tip I have actually thought about implementing in the past as the default sizes with this theme seem a little small. In addition to the headlines/titles being a little larger, I think I will experiment with the size and spacing of the other headline tags for use within posts.
    I’ll begin my experimentation on my XAMPP development playground so as not to mess up the live site until I have found a good combination.
  • Make sure “Featured sites” are very relevant. They don’t look like sponsored links, and I worry that someone might think they are your favorite sites.
    The original goal of the Featured Sites section was to display all of the text links that people bought on this blog. However, that hasn’t exactly worked out the way that I intended and instead it has become a spot to highlight a few links for people that have gone above and beyond for me.
    I’ll have to think about this as maybe Featured Sites isn’t the best name for this section.
  • Lose the footer and move everything up to the sidebar.
    With the previous theme that I had on this blog, everything was up in the sidebar and I found it to be too busy. This theme allows for a handful of information to be displayed in the footer and I think it looks nice and clean.
    I don’t think I will be making any changes to move the footer in the near future.
  • Change “About Me” to “About Derek.”
    Easy enough – I’ve already implemented this suggestion. I never really gave this much thought before but thought it made sense to update the link. As a reader, about me would be about you and you are not me so I think this works better. ๐Ÿ˜†
  • Not a tip – just an observation – I am also married with two kids – oh and sweet Harley dude.
    Easton, as a dad to two kids you might want to check out my site about work life balance for dads.
    Thanks for the comment about the Harley, I absolutely love it!
  • Put a bit more space in between posts.
    I’ve added a little additional space in between posts as I did see that it was a bit cramped. I’m not sure if I want to add too much more white space in between posts but I think the extra space does help.
  • Maybe promote http://www.mynewchoice.com/ more via this blog.
    Interesting idea – I’ve mentioned it from time to time but haven’t really done too much promotion of my personal finance blog over here. For the most part I have tried to keep them somewhat separated other than mentioning the site during my monthly updates and having the link in the sidebar.
    How would you feel about more promotion of My New Choice over here?
  • In everything, think huge – big contests, memes, flagship posts, service to other bloggers, paid content, etc.
    I like the way you think. I’ve had a few ideas for contests recently but I would really like to try and make a splash. That is a little difficult when you are trying not to spend much money but I am trying to put something together.
    One thing that I really do try to do is think huge with service to other bloggers. While this doesn’t always get advertised on the blog, I do my best to help other people whenever they have questions or issues that they are working through on their blog and have had numerous IM/email debugging sessions with people.

Easton, thank you very much for supplying the list of blogging tips to help me improve my blog.
As I noted above, I don’t plan on implementing all of them but have taken steps to implement some of the suggestions. Even though I may not plan to implement a particular tip, I appreciate the feedback as it gives an additional perspective to consider.
If anyone else would like to offer their own tips on how to improve this blog, please feel free to add them in the comments below or contact me directly.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeep Parts November 8, 2007 at 4:56 am

I think maybe I would populate the search box, it could be quite easily missed as it is I guess. If you can code it so that when the user clicks in the box the text disappears (and the user doesn’t have to delete it) then why not?
I’m not sure about the footer. I see a lot of blogs doing it the way you have it recently, and it does clean up the sidebar alot, giving more highlight to the things that in the sidebar. However, I personally rarely scroll down to the footer…
For contests on a shoe-string, why not try to partner with an advertiser/affiliate who may be willing to provide a prize in exchange for shared promotion?
I have one suggestion, at the top you have buttons to add your site/post to LOADS of social media sites…Do they all get used/bring you any traffic? If not I would be tempted to just go with the 5-10 best performing ones, you can then use bigger buttons and make them more prominent.
Oh, and I have no kids and ride a push bike ๐Ÿ˜€

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Furniture Stores November 8, 2007 at 4:57 am

Thanks for sharing Ellsworth’s tips as well as your unique take on them with us. I had no idea that the size of the tag line made a difference to how the search engines view it. I learnt lots of other stuff as well.

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Mel T November 8, 2007 at 7:41 am

Hi Derek – interesting point on removing the footer.
However, I agree with you – less content on the sidebar and also a footer work well together. Actually, Armen recently changed his site design again from having a footer only. He found people weren’t scrolling to the bottom of the page to find the rest of his content.
Depends on the readers too I suppose – what they prefer, how web savvy they are etc.

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Nick November 8, 2007 at 10:02 pm

I kinda have mixed feelings on footers. In one regard they can be useful and help the sidebar from becoming too cluttered, but at the same time I don’t generally get to the bottom of sites that I am a regular reader of because the newest post is always at the top of the page and I’ve probably already read the ones that are farther down.

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Fred @ Newest on the Net November 8, 2007 at 7:42 am

Great post Derek. I just sent Easton an email. I hope that I can get some tips too.

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Nick November 8, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I thought about doing that, but then realized the date on the post and decided he’d probably rather I not….if he’s like most bloggers though, I’m sure he will gladly give you some tips anyway.

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Home Recording Studio November 8, 2007 at 8:23 am

This article goes into my archives for ready reference and constant reminder in case I slip.

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David November 8, 2007 at 2:14 pm

Good post, lots of good tips here…I’ve also just sent off an email to see if he’ll give me some tips.
As for the search box, I might populate the search box on my site, like yours, mine doesn’t say anything about searching. Most people would know that it is a search box, but there is always the few who don’t…

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Damien November 8, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Great post. Poor technorati. So much potential and it never gets it together. Tech faves are virtually worthless unless #1 you care about your rating there or #2 people happen to look at favorites when looking for blogs to read.

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Nick November 8, 2007 at 9:57 pm

From my experience, it’s always interesting to see what other people have to say about improving your site.
You could make the tagline a bit larger so that it fills the same width as the site name (you never addressed that aspect of the suggestion) and as for the search box, I don’t know if you need to populate it, but if you put a button next to it it might help people realize what it is.
I’ve also notice a lack of relevance in the “Featured Sites” and other than MNC and the TLA I can only assume they are paid links.
As far as promoting MNC on this site, I think the balance is OK right now, you mention it often enough that we don’t forget about it but yet keep the sites seperate. They are definitely different enough to have different audiences and be considered seperate sites linked only by the author so a mention from time to time is probably sufficient.

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simon November 8, 2007 at 11:33 pm

interesting comments he gave you, seems like most of us can apply them to our blogs too…

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Mike Huang November 9, 2007 at 6:35 pm

A lot of those tips don’t seem to be true. For example, using a footer is good because it takes off the clutter from your sidebars, but I guess it could also be bad when the viewer has to scroll all the way down for something.
Anyways, excellent post, Derek.
-Mike

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djahna November 9, 2007 at 6:43 pm

They seem really helpful. Maybe you should implement them all.

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Easton Ellsworth November 16, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I’m really glad that this conversation grew and hopefully became useful to you, Derek!

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Idetrorce December 15, 2007 at 6:27 am

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce

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Johnnie@Auto Insurance June 19, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Those tips are pretty good but one “out the box” tip is to submit your blog to as many online bookmarking website as possible. It wont improve your blog (technically), but the number of backlinks and the amount of traffic you will receive will increase. Also, using a footer to the fullest (to me atleast) is highly recommended since it makes the pages look “cleaner”.

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Bryantara November 2, 2008 at 5:52 am

great tips, I’ve looking on my sidebar and it has a lot of widget. maybe I’ll lose any..

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ooopinionsss December 3, 2008 at 8:11 am

How you think when the economic crisis will end? I wish to make statistics of independent opinions!

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Blog expert December 3, 2008 at 10:32 am

I never thought about changing the about me to about Franklin. That is definitely a great tip and I will sure be using it. You have a great blog and I hope to read more of your content.
Blog experts last blog post..Blog Headlines That Kick Ass

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Sunil Pathak March 23, 2009 at 3:27 am

those are some serious tips mate, its easily applicable and surely improves your blog. i specifically like Footer tip,i have my most commented and most recent post widget along with visitor widget in footer which saved lots of space for other thing on sidebar.
Sunil Pathaks last blog post..Finally the Duplicate content issue is sorted forever.

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nikko August 30, 2009 at 1:38 am

i just started my blog and is having trouble implementing html codes …. can some one help and how do i get traffic too my site
.-= nikko´s last blog ..Mixtapes =-.

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nkog@free mixtapes September 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm

thanks for the tips i will implement some in my blog.

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randy November 1, 2009 at 1:09 am

Yes, i think this post is really good. I’ve search many things to improve my blog post and this is the way…
thanks.

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Rich@Reverse Directory Phone Numbers November 1, 2009 at 8:36 am

Really good tips here and some food for thought for all bloggers.
Thanks
.-= Rich@Reverse Directory Phone Numbers´s last blog ..Reverse Directory Phone Numbers =-.

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Angela Paul November 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I have been a new starter in Affiliate Program, hope I can take this as a good starter tips.
Blogging is very new to my senses when it comes to marketing my site, these tips could really help me. Keep on blogging!
.-= Angela Paul´s last blog ..Affiliate Marketing- Most Profitable Affiliate Internet Marketing Tips =-.

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Hans Kristian Anderson November 28, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Some good suggestions, I have to agree with you, I don’t think the double RSS button has any negative impact.
.-= Hans Kristian Andersonร‚ยดs last blog …Twitter Traffic for Your Blog =-.

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Kelvin Servigon April 1, 2010 at 9:58 am

I really like this post. Those tips really helped my blog’s improvement process. And, I also agree with Easton and you about the “About Me” thing. ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Kelvin Servigon hopes you will read… 5 Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog =-.

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Imisi April 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

Great. Thanx for the heads-up
.-= Imisi hopes you will read… Death: The Ultimate Beginning =-.

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Agriya July 28, 2010 at 6:41 am

Some interesting food for thought, I’ve never thought about changing my About Me to About Peter, maybe I should and see if it increases the traffic to that page.

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vibram August 6, 2010 at 8:20 am

I will use your method to improve my blog. thanks

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James October 14, 2010 at 7:07 am

The 12 tips is excellent and I would love to implement it on our site. Changing the About Me to About James did not come into my realization until I read your article. Also spacing is a good way to look my blog look neat and easily be read by my viewers. Thank you again for the very wonderful tips.

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Chris Carter November 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

These are some really great tips! Kudo.

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Julia@Cross Stitch Centre November 15, 2010 at 6:39 am

Hi Derek. It seems unusual for someone to reveal the improvement tips they have received and discuss how they can be implemented in detail on their own blog. It makes it so much easier to understand the issues involved, especially for a newbie blogger like me. Well done!

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Mini Physics December 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for the tips! Cheers

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Gants webdeveloper January 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Interesting post, i really really need to follow these steps to make my blogging better and to make good visibility among search engines and visitors.
Thanks for sharing

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Paulette January 23, 2011 at 3:14 am

The most important thing about our blog is that we make each post meaningful and enjoyable to the readers as it fulfills us as a blogger.

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Cross Stitch May 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thanks for all the tips. What I liked most was the change the “About me” to “About Derek”, only thing is my name is not Derek ๐Ÿ™‚
You are so right on the about me, whey didn’t I think of that! thanks again.

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iyiola August 4, 2011 at 3:27 am

I think I will have to do similar changes on my blog. I use free blogspot from google. Thank you so much for this simple yet interesting tips.

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Web Designing Chennai October 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

May be i should change my blogspot to hosted wordpress and start posting contents like yours.

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Settlement Purchaser April 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

I have text in my my search bar, I can’t see how that would affect your site though. seems redundant

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