Top Tips for Blogging on WordPress
As mentioned in my recap of the Wordcamp Conference in Boston, I sat in on a session where the focus was on making your blog social (see my post here) and then I sat on a panel about making your blog functional. Not regarding post content, but about the functionality when people come to your blog page. For some, these may be basic blogging concepts, but overall, there were some key takeaways that should resonate with all of us.
First, have a redirect plug-in on your blog to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This will make sure your blog is running in tip top shape.
Second, have a broken link checker. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader than to click on a link and it doesn’t work. So install a plug-in that checks for broken links. Those plug-ins will enable you to either update the link or delete the link making it up to date. It is also a great way to be reminded of old posts. There have been times where, instead of updating the link, I take the post down since it is no longer relevant and may be even more frustrating for a visitor to see irrelevant content let alone an irrelevant post. (See what happened to me.)
Third, make sure your website is mobile friendly! Forty percent of American adults use their cell phones to surf the Web (according to a 2010 study from Pew Research Center in Washington) and inability to get content easily (and quickly) ranks as top reasons why people will leave your site. So they may leave for other reasons, but don’t let mobile-unfriendliness be one of them. Not when there are plenty of WordPress plug-ins, like WP Touch.
Fourth, make sure your blog is ‘reader friendly’. Set it up in feedburner so a variety of platforms can understand it. If you have a button linking people to your RSS feed, if they’re using an RSS feed reader which auto-discovers your feed (i.e. they just enter in your blog’s address and the software does the hunting for the RSS feed URL) then they’re not going to be using Feedburner, but your blog’s own feed so they won’t be a part of your Feedburner stats. Or, if people type in your blog’s feed URL or find it via Google, they’ll end up not being a part of your Feedburner stats too. So it is important to have a feedburner plug-in that will give you an accurate count.
The last concept I heard during this panel was to install the “What Would Seth Godin Do” plug-in so you can customize the experience for a visitor based on whether they were a first time visitor or a repeating customer. It would track cookies on your site so that you could ask new visitors to subscribe to your blog and it would disappear after a time. You could also create custom messages for returning visitors like “Thanks for being a loyal fan.” It reminds me a lot of the Facebook Page Landing Pages where you can create “Like Pages” for new visitors to get them to like your Facebook Page, but I am not sure how I feel about it for a blog. So I am curious to what others think?
All in all, while you want to have great posts, you want to add these elements to make them findable, usable and functional. Any other concepts to share?
- How to Email Your Blog Updates Like a ProBlogger (problogger.net)