7 Ways to Optimize Your Blog
by : Michael Zhang
1. Spend Time on Appearance
If you study Technorati's list of most popular blogs, you'll see that each has a unique and trademark design. None of them use the default template that ships with Wordpress or MovableType. The appearance of your blog says a lot about it, so either spend time developing the design yourself or have a talented designer craft a distinct look for it. Good content and good design should always go hand in hand. Additionally, different browsers behave differently, so make sure your design has cross-browser compatibility. An easy way to ensure this is to validate your website using the Markup Validation Service provided by W3C.
2. Focus on Information Design
Quality content is not always effective content. Teachers and professors are not the only people who appreciate clear organization and orderly formatting. Make it as easy as possible for your readers to absorb the material you're providing, and they'll be thankful that you took the time to organize your words and thoughts. Long entries are always easier to follow when they are broken into smaller paragraphs and sections with proper formatting. Images go well with words. Neatness counts.
3. Keep Things Futureproof and Scalable
Scalability is not mentioned much in blogging, but it is important to keep in mind. Develop and design everything as if your blog already has years of content and millions of readers. Minimize the size of your entries. This might not make much of a difference under normal conditions, but if you ever experience a sudden explosion in traffic, your server will be more likely to hold up under the strain. For futureproofing, use CSS whenever you can instead of hardcoding formatting directly into your entry HTML. This allows you to make formatting changes globally across all your blog's entries. By planning carefully for the future, you can avoid making irreversible mistakes in the present.
4. Standardize Everything Possible
Develop your own standards for everything on your blog, and stick to them. An entry you publish years later should be very similar in design, topic, and formatting to what you post today. Therefore, think and plan carefully about everything you choose to do. Be consistent in how often you post, how you format your entry titles, and what you post about. Everyone loves and appreciates neatness, so be systematic and standardize every aspect of your blog.
5. Streamline the Posting Process
The amount of time it takes you to write and publish entries might not seem significant when you start out, but it accumulates as the days, months, and years go by. Making the posting process as simple and efficient as possible helps you in post consistently while letting you focus your time, energy, and brainpower on the content itself. If you have programming knowledge, write software modifications and custom scripts that help you shrink repetitive chores into the fewest number of clicks and keystrokes. Look for any tedious, recurring tasks, and find ways to minimize the time it takes to accomplish them. If you don't have the programming knowledge necessary to write custom scripts, standardize your entries with a minimalistic mindset.
6. Keep Things Simple
Follow the example Google set in designing their homepage by thinking of each pixel on your blog as prime real estate. If there isn't a good reason that something should be added to your page, there's probably many reasons to leave it off. Thinking carefully about what you add to your blog helps you ensure fast load times and uncluttered pages.
7. Put Your Readers Above Yourself
While everyone seems to be preaching tips on how to maximize advertising income from your blog, it's easy to forget the fact that people visit your blog to read it. Sure, placing contextual advertising directly into your content could drastically improve your daily clickthrough rate, but content is best when read by the readers, not milked by the owners. Blogging is a mutual, symbiotic relationship between bloggers and readers, so don't sacrifice long term results for short term gain.