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Query time

tech-reviews Updated: Oct 19, 2009 20:21 IST
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
Hindustan Times
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It’s been a long time since I took any questions, so I thought, new year, festive season, why not share the love?
The first question is from Chandni Shah, who sends me a succint and to-the-point email:
QI have just started blogging. I read your articles in HT CAFE. Please give me feedback about my blog as to how I could get better. http://chandni-musicoflife.blogspot.com/

ANew blogs are always really hard to review because there’s not much content on them, but let’s give it a shot anyway. Music Of Life has some weird colour schemes going on—some strange prune-like purple mixed with green that only reminds me of breakfast gone bad. That has got to go. Colours are great, I’m all for them, but you should know how to mix and match things so they look attractive and reader friendly.

Secondly, kill the ellipses. Too much... can.. make... sentences... look.. like.. this... and... so... disjointed. Also, ellipses are indicative of lazy writing. If you want to put a pause in a sentence use a comma or a semi colon, but use those sparingly too. Remember, punctuation is not a crutch, it’s just like a stage direction. If there’s too much surrounding your actors (ie, your words) then the whole paragraph can be overwhelmed.

But through it all, Chandni, I see some potential. You can connect with your readers, you can make a paragraph grab you. Just stick with that, edit some more and you’ll have a good blog by the end of it.

And then, an email from Shyam Govind, who asked me:
QThere are lot of addons, feedburner, Google friend connect, counters, subscribing to my blog, which I have no idea about. Do you think these are essentials and I should learn them fast ?

AShort answer, no. You don’t need every single add-on, and I wouldn’t recommend putting them on your blog anyway, unless you want to be overwhelmed. There are some that I’d recommend you get though. You need an RSS feed so that your readers can see your posts without visiting your blog (good for people on the go or who are checking blogs from their smartphones).
You’ll need a stat counter, so you can keep track of who’s coming in or out. Possibly, you don’t care about that, but I always find it interesting to analyse my stats and see which week gets more visitors and what I wrote about then which was popular.

Also you can check who’s linking to you and it’s polite to visit their blogs in return and maybe link back to them.
I’d get a Twitter account too, if I were you, in weeks of slow blogging this can be a life saver. Plus, practically everyone is on Twitter these days and if you’re in blogging to connect more on the social media front, it’s a good tool to have.

I visited your blog and while it looks clean and neat and the post are thoughful and analytical, the font is a little hard to read. Perhaps it’s the italics or the size, but I’d jack up the font size and get rid of italics for a while, just to make for easier reading.

Okay, I’m out! Have a good week, everyone.

Meenakshi writes a blog at thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot. com.
Send her your queries at meenakshimadhavan@gmail.com

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