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The old and the beautiful

Blog-writer-turned-author Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan gives you tips on blog improvement. Read on.

tech reviews Updated: Oct 14, 2008 17:17 IST

The last few weeks, I’ve been sticking to broader, blog-related subjects and as a result my unread mail has been piling up.

But since this column is all about you, I can’t be neglectful any more, and I’m going to deal with two emails this week.

The first invitation to critique a blog comes from the editor of www.seniorsworldchronicle.com. The email doesn’t say much, and it amused me that it began, “Pranam Guruji.” Me? Guruji? Such responsibility!

It doesn’t seem like this blog needs me at all as the stat counter reads close to 30,000 visitors since February — pretty cool for a new blog. Also it’s a website with its own URL, hosted on Blogger and nicely laid out. I’m unsure who this site is aimed at though — from what I’ve seen, “seniors” normally have fairly limited access to the Internet.

Still, it has a nice set of labels — though a little too many, I think. Also, it’s text heavy, so I’d condense the posts a bit — since you mention where the posts are originally from, you can chop them to one para, put links in and display a lot more per page.

Think Boing Boing (www.boingboing.net) or Gawker (www.gawker. com) for an idea of what it should look like.

The second mail of the day is from Rishi who blogs at www.pissd.blogspot.com. He says: “Due to work commitments, I cannot update the blog as often as I’d like. So whenever I publish a new post I have to inform all my contacts. Is there any application I can use to email everyone saying a new post is up?

I’ve used Blogger’s new feature that lets me send the entire post to 10 people. But I don’t like this feature as it reduces the number of visitors to the blog. Also, please take a look at the blog and help me improve it.”

I know exactly what you’re talking about because I’ve used it myself! Go to Notifylist (www.notifylist.com) and sign up. There, you’ll get a code to insert into your template where people can enter their email address.

Every time you update your blog, send an email to your Notify List, which then pips your contact list and other people who might be interested.

If typing an email seems like too much work, you could put little RSS feed reminders at the end of each post (just enable your Blogger settings to do that) and if your friends use a feed reader, they’ll see your blog automatically when you update.

I went by to your blog: it made me laugh. I like the idea of having a blog where you only rant about things. It’s not a new idea, but it’s always fun to read each time someone does it. I don’t know why rants are funner to read than raves. Anyone? So, you’ve got one big hurdle out of the way — content.

Now the bad news. Template, buddy. Dump this one quick. Yank up the About Me, switch the font to something more readable and make it more user friendly with labels and things. You should be getting a lot more footfall, but your display is holding this blog back.

Well, that’s all I have space for this week. Happy writing!

Meenakshi writes a blog at www.thecompulsiveconfessor. blogspot.com.
You can send her your queries at meenakshi
madhavan@gmail.com