Monday, 9 August 2010

How I improved my blog after Ann Hawkins' seminar

From Wordle-images

Ann Hawkins of the Inspired Group gave an excellent seminar on Blogging, with items for everyone; from the novice to the active blogger, at the Huntingdonshire Business Network monthly seminar last Friday. I left with my mind buzzing with ideas on how to change my blog.

Here's how I improved my blog in six steps

1. Updated my Blogger Template


Blogger has included some additional user friendly design features  to the blogger dashboard since I first set up my blog in 2007. I therefore had to update my blog to a newer template to be able to use these. Fairly straightforward, though I did have to reintroduce my Google Analytics tracking code.

The real benefit is that the Blogger dashboard then has a tab called "Design", which makes changing the layout and adding elements very simple by adding "Gadgets" that you desire!


2. Adding Labels/Categories to organise my articles.


My overall interests are wide and varied, under the umbrella of helping businesses communicate in Print, Pictures and Person. I can equally be active facilitating transnational company meetings, doing a local photoshoot or publishing a book for a local author. By adding the "Labels" gadget to my blog design, I was able to categorise my blogs into subject areas and present them in a Tag Cloud form in the right column.

3. Adding a search bar

Another useful addition was a search bar so people could search by keyword. Oh Bliss, it was so simple to set up compared to what I would have had to do a couple of years ago!

4. Social Media Links

Since many people are now on a variety of social media, it only seemed appropriate to add links to my locations in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to the blog template. This was a little more complicated as I had to obtain HTML code snippets and logo images from each social network. Fortunately, I was able to copy this from my Newsletter template. Blogger provided a gadget that permitted the introduction of  your own HTML or Java code blocks.

5. Newsletter subscription invitation

Another key element was to introduce some code that would allow people to subscribe to my Newsletter for updates. I use Aweber for managing my newsletters and mailings and provided a short javascript code that  I could just copy and paste into a new Blogger gadget field. (I spent more time ensuring that the opt-in responses did contain links to the free gifts offered).

6. Including Key text elements in the blog

Ann's talk was a timely reminder to be

  • interesting and useful
  • use attractive headlines
  • think about recurring themes for the search engine optimisation of the blog
  • Finish with a Question to invIte responses
Well, I certainly think my blog has been dramatically improved after following some of Ann's tips in her excellent Seminar! 

But what do YOU think? What would you have done differently?

3 comments:

  1. Chris, thanks for suck positive feedback. I think your blog layout looks great - really easy to read with inviting links to follow. I particularly like the use of a wordle image at the top - so useful when the subject of the blog is abstract http://www.wordle.net/
    I hope your updates attract lots of new readers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 心中醒,口中說,紙上作,不從身上習過,皆無用也。..................................................

    ReplyDelete

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