Thursday, January 3, 2008

Every Rule You Break

I try to be good. I really really do.

When I started the mrontemp blog about a year ago, I wanted it to be all-encompassing and succinct. Well, I accomplished the all-encompassing part (although I probably need some more "art" and "stage" material).

For fun, I compared my actual practices in this blog against Chris Brogan's suggestions for fine-tuning of a blog. The result are mixed.

  • Write really good titles. Sometimes I'm pretty good at this, but sometimes my love for obscure song references does more harm than good. And yesterday I really did myself in - ironically, by trying to be succinct. I wanted my blog post title to convey the idea that, while it was silly to list me as an authority on anything, it was better to cite me than to cite Jayson Blair. Once I shortened this, however, it became I Trump Jayson Blair (twice), which probably left people thinking about Hairman rather than my contributions to the blogosphere.

  • Chunk your paragraphs up. I'll ask for your opinion, but my paragraphs probably tend to be the correct length. When I'm writing them (in plaintext html) they seem really long, but the final results don't seem too oppressive.

  • Have a good "About" page. I've worked so hard at highlighting the blog brand (mrontemp) that I've neglected the other brand (Ontario Emperor). In fact, it's so bad that Google Searches on my alias used to hit my old blog before they hit the new one. Something to improve.

  • Brevity is your friend. You can stop laughing now. Perhaps I should draft all of my blog posts on my mobile phone - then they WOULD be succinct. For the record, I did edit Every Breath You Take before I posted it, but I left a lot of stuff in (like the 1908 Montgomery Ward telegraph dialogue) that obscured my main point. But I should note that even some of my computer-written (as opposed to phone-written) posts are not overbearingly long - and that I did take the time to break the aforementioned "I Trump Jayson Blair" into two posts. Needs work in the future.

  • Answer comments often. I catch comments on most of the recent posts, but not necessarily the earlier ones. I have thought about turning moderation on just so I know when a comment is added to any post, but my experience in my Inland Empire Yahoo! group shows that my timeliness in approving comments may not be so good.

  • Use Feedburner for RSS. What I need to do is to make the RSS feed for this blog easily obtainable. It's hidden.

  • Limit widgets. The original Ontario Empoblog became an uncontrollable morass of widgets and sidebar content. mrontemp is better, though it could use a review.
Go ahead and evaluate your blog against Brogan's suggestions, which are spelled out more fully in his post.

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