5 Most Important Things Your Blog Should Have

I’ve been blogging for a long time now, and I’ve also seen lots of blogs. I’ve come to the opinion that not everyone has a good understanding of the most important things their blogs should have for them to be successful in some way.


by cambodia4kids

I’m not talking about making money. What I’m talking about is offering your visitors access to information that they might want that can only help you in the long run. It’s the overall combination of certain things that make your blog user friendly, and I’m all about being as user friendly as I can be when it comes to accessing information. So, here’s my list of the 5 most important things your blog should have.

1. Search function. I know that not all themes come with a search function, but I believe it’s imperative. Sometimes your topics might not fully indicate everything you’re talking about, and allowing people to search for certain terms or subjects helps them find what they’re looking for. It benefits you because you spent all that time writing those posts, so you might as well help people stay on your blog longer. If your blog doesn’t have the search feature then add the one from Google, which means you have the opportunity to make money and still offer something good to your visitors.

2. About/Contact page. Mine are separate, but you don’t necessarily need two separate pages. Showing people a way to contact you shows you care for people as consumers of the information on your blog. If it’s a business blog it’s imperative that you have this information, with at least an email address. If not, if you want to be taken seriously and not have people think you might be a scraper or have something to hide you should have that contact information somewhere. Adding it to your about page is a great way to do it, but if you want to say something more about yourself, which I obviously did, then have two separate pages.

3. Categories. No matter what your blog is about, having categories gives people the opportunity to lock in better on the content they want. For instance, I have lots of categories, but they’re specific to what I talk about. If you want social media you can get all articles in that category. If you want writing, the same thing goes. It’s definitely reader friendly.

4. Archives. This one might be debatable by some, but I think it’s an imperative. Your visitors can come by and see just how long you’ve been blogging, and if you’ve been blogging a long time it enhances your authority for others on your subject matter. It might not be as important for brand new blogs, but once you reach six months worth of material, no matter how often you write, it’s great to have this widget on your blog.

5. Blogroll. This one is definitely controversial to some, but I see it a different way. If you want to highlight blogs you like and want your visitors to see that’s fine. If you only want to use it to link to your other websites that’s a smart business decision. Many people miss this opportunity to always have a link to their personal websites. You get to set up the titles of the categories on your blogroll, so you can have blogs, business, information, etc.

Those are my top 5 most important things. Do you disagree or agree?

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Sometimes It’s The Simple Answer

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy. I accumulate a lot of information and knowledge, which helps me in many areas. Unfortunately, I often recognize that one can think of themselves as being so intelligent that they can do some of the dumbest things. I have two stories for you.


Simplicity
by Niklas Plessing

The first involves my car. I noticed one evening when I came home that the light on the roof of my car didn’t come on when I opened the door. That freaked me out because it’s pretty dark in my garage in the evening and we don’t have a light in there. I determined the next morning that I was going to figure out what the problem was.

I got my tools, went to the car, got out the manual and went to work. I knew where the fuses were, so I pulled out the pliers so I could grab those fuses and went to work. In about 30 minutes I’d looked at half the fuses, those that I thought addressed the light issue, and I couldn’t find a thing wrong. At that point I determined that maybe the bulb had blown; I didn’t test that first because I don’t have any replacement bulbs had that been the case.

The thing is, I’ve had my car about 4 years now, and truthfully I don’t know where everything is inside. I got in, started driving, and I only look at stuff when something strikes my mind. I look up at the light and I notice there are 3 buttons there; I’d never seen any of these before. None of them were pushed in, but one of them said “lamp”. I pushed that one in and the light came on. I closed the door and it started dimming like it’s supposed to do. I opened the door and it worked again; ugh! All that time when all I had to do was push a button. No idea how it got turned off, but there you go; it’s worked ever since.

A few days ago I went to a friend’s house because she had a computer problem. I didn’t remember what the problem was until I got there and she told me again, but I’d brought all my tools and some programs to check the sucker out, just in case I needed them.

She said there was no sound and that they’d been missing it for almost 2 months. I picked up the speakers, cheap Dell speakers, and they looked fine. I checked the connection behind the computer; all was good. I checked all the volume controls on the computer and made sure everything was turned all the way up.

Then I opened up Windows Media Player and started up a song. I heard something, and it was one of the songs playing. But the sound was really weak. I went to a different song and we could hear it, but it was low. We went through all the processes again, and the sound was still low for everything. We opened her iTunes and played a couple of songs there also; same problem.

However, the sound seemed to have increased in some fashion; that was odd. I looked at the speakers again. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t any type of volume control on them; who ever heard of speakers without volume control in today’s world. Then I took a good look at both speakers. One of them had a raised part that the other one didn’t. I thought the volume control might be under that, so I grabbed the one speaker and tried lifting it up. It wouldn’t come off, but the volume went up. I realized that was the volume control; duh! I had once again taken almost 30 minutes to figure out a problem that could have been solved in less than a minute. These folks, however, hadn’t figured it out in 2 months, so at least I was better than they were.

All of this reminds me of the apocryphal story of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The U.S. was trying to figure out how to write in space, so they spent millions working on technology for pens to work in zero gravity. The Soviets used a pencil; problem solved.

Sometimes the correct answer is sitting there in front of us and we miss it. Of course, that’s not as funny as going through the rest of the steps, but it would save some time. Something to think about on a rainy Wednesday; at least it is here.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

A Story Showing The Power Of Blogging And Twitter

Yesterday turned into a very interesting live lesson in the Syracuse area. In the end, it showed how powerful both Twitter and blogging can be, and how important reputation management is in today’s social media environment.


Twitter Unfiltered
by Creative Carrot

Here are the quick points of what happened; if you want to see more details on it, here’s the link. Someone went to a local grocery store which is part of a major chain in the area. That person saw something that irritated them enough that they decided to send a quick post on Twitter about it along with a picture of what they were complaining about. A representative from said company decided they didn’t like it, and went to the extreme position of calling the employer to complain about what this person had done, saying that it could affect relations between both companies. Strangely enough, turns out there weren’t any business connections between the two, but can you imagine someone trying to get you fired for complaining about something at their business?

When the person who had complained to begin with found out about it, he contacted a friend of his to ask for advice. Turns out the friend is not only a professor at the local university, but also has a lot of connections. The friend wrote the blog post I’ve linked to above, and then that post showed up on Twitter.

From that point, if you know anything about Twitter you know what happened. Many people retweeted the post and it pretty much went viral. I retweeted the post as well, but I included the company’s Twitter account in mine, trying to make sure the company saw it. Many people went to the blog in support of both the writer and his friend. Oddly enough, there a few people who supported the company, believing that the writer of the blog had jumped the gun without knowing all the facts. Of course he knew all the facts, as any educated person would, and some of us defended what he did as a legitimate thing.

Eventually someone from the company contacted the person who wrote the blog and they started a dialogue. The company then posted something on the blog saying that they had no idea that anyone from the company had done such a thing and that they were going to investigate it. Later it turned out that someone who worked at the company but didn’t have the authority had done this act, which confirmed it had been done, and both the company and the person who did it apologized on the blog. They even wrote me and probably a few other people who had sent them the message to ask us to go back to the blog to see their response. If the company hadn’t been on Twitter, who knows the damage that could have been done to their reputation before they had a chance to address it.

All in all I found it very interesting study, even if it wasn’t supposed to be one, of the power of Twitter in getting a message out, the power of blogging in explaining what the issue is, and then the power of Twitter in addressing something that’s known as “reputation management”. Though this company is a local chain, they’re the number three company in the area, and could ill afford alienating a whole group of people with the knowledge of social media. This campaign even drew the attention of a couple of local media celebrities, although it didn’t end up on TV; I know because I looked for it. It did make the newspaper though.

At a meeting today where I had the opportunity to showcase my business, I mentioned this story without naming the company. A few people gasped when they heard it, and I had some people come up to me after the event who wanted to talk bit more about it. If folks didn’t understand how social media marketing could help them in some fashion, including the concept of blogging, they got it now. Also today, the person who wrote the blog used it in one of his classes as an example of the power and dangers of social media.

The power of blogging and the power of Twitter; it can be an amazing thing.

Acer 24 Widescreen LCD Display

Acer 24″ Widescreen LCD Display






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Count Per Day Plugin

One of the people I write for had this WordPress plugin on his site that I hadn’t noticed until relatively recently, and I thought it would be interesting to run it at least for a little while to compare it to Google Analytics.

It’s called Count Per Day, and it’s creator, I believe, must be German, since you initially will see German on the site, but if you scroll down you’ll see it in English as well. Anyway, what it does is give you all sorts of stats about your blog, similar to Analytics, except it’s real time. In other words, if I left the blog for 3 hours and came back to look at the stats, they’d be different, even if only slightly. Well, that’s assuming I had visitors of course.

I wanted to see if the numbers I got from Count Per Day would be much different than what I get from Analytics. Strange as it always seems to me, you get different numbers from different places even though they’re supposedly looking at the same thing. I stopped looking at the numbers from my host because they just seemed, well, overwhelming when compared to that Feedburner box you see on the right side there. Analytics seems to make more sense, but every once in awhile it goes wonky; no idea why.

Since I installed it on September 9th, I decided to do a comparison from that point. Since it’s a live plugin, I know the numbers won’t match totally, but if they’re close then it’s all good. Count Per Day, which I’m now going to call CPD, shows I’ve had 6,211 visitors since September 9th; Analytics says I’ve had 1,119. I’m thinking that’s a pretty drastic difference. CPD shows I had 516 visits yesterday, Sunday; Analytics says 80. Already this isn’t going all that well.

Let’s look at some individual posts. Both show that my post on cleavage is still my most visited post, but CPD says it’s been visited 845 times since the 9th, while Analytics says it’s been visited 460 times. After that there’s no agreement on the rest of the top 10 at all, and I mean which posts have been visited the most by whom.

Am I confused? Absolutely! But who do I believe, and what to make of it? Man, I wish I knew. My mind tends to believe Analytics more than CPD. I keep thinking if I were actually getting the number of visitors the plugin tells me I’m getting that I’d almost have to be generating more income from this blog than I do. At the very least I should have way more subscribers to my RSS feed than I have with those kinds of numbers.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the plugin, especially if I’m not believing the numbers. My ego loves them, but the logical part of my mind doesn’t trust them. If you want to give it a try and see if your numbers are closer to reality, go for it.

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Sunday Question – What Do You Crave?

I’m on an eating plan for at least this week, though it might turn into three weeks. I’m going through what’s called a Metabolic Eating Plan, which is supposed to help me learn which types of foods make me feel better at some point, as well as helps me be more healthy, lose weight, and have more energy.


Chocolate Cake by Lisa B

I’m not quite struggling so far, but it hasn’t been easy for the first few days. I probably should have started this thing on a Monday after a weekend of eating bad so that I could tell myself that I was giving my body a break, but I started this thing after already having started something else, not knowing this was going to be a part of the overall plan. I started the day after going out to dinner with my friend Scott and his wife for a birthday dinner, and of course I didn’t eat great that night, but I was actually better than I could have been.

This means there are things I’ve been without for longer than a week, and I’m really craving some of that stuff that I’m not really supposed to be having. When I crave things, most of the time they’re centered around chocolate or peanut butter. Doesn’t matter whether it’s ice cream, cake, candy, cookies or pudding, that’s my craving of choice.

Every once in awhile there are foods I crave, but it’s rare for that type of craving to last more than a few days. In general, I crave something sweet, and I’m really missing it right now, but I’ll persevere.

When you have cravings, what types of things do you go for, or what do you want that you decide to stay away from? Another light Sunday topic. 🙂


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