We jumped right into making our blogs better using our usual list of criteria. Monday's prompts included these points for consideration:
Basic Design Attractiveness?
Title and URL cohesive?
Consistency and clarity of blog purpose?
Let's discuss the second point. Is the URL consistent with the blog's title? Why does it matter? If you as an author plan to use your name in the http://yourname.blogspot. com then reinforcing this in your blog's title will make it easier for the reader to remember you. So your blog's header might read something like Your Name Talks About Writing. This is a simple form of branding that will serve you well in the long run. You should also try to stick to one name when setting up your accounts on other social networks. It's a lovely thing when a search for Your Name brings up six of your accounts in the first ten hits! So plan carefully early on.
Focus often on the blog's purpose. If you, as an author, use your name (and particularly if you have a pen name) in the blog URL and title, then it makes sense that your blogging will relate to your writing career, even though you may add personal notes to engage your readers. Periodically critique your blog to make sure it's sending the message you want to readers. If a major goal is promoting your books, then don't bury them in layers of unrelated material. This happens over time, especially as you add outside widgets and links. Housekeeping is important to keeping your blog crisp and on-task.
Everyone loves an attractive blog, but graphic templates can be so image-heavy, they take forever to load. Remember that your readers don't all have high-speed Internet, so don't try to get too fancy with your imagery. The best way to test your blog is to ask a few readers to comment about loading speed. Sometimes your blog header will take eons to load. Also be sure to keep third-party widgets a bit lower down in your sidebars, as they will tend to slow down blog-loading speeds.
Take a look at your blog today and assess how you stack up. Tomorrow we'll look at some widgets/gadgets that every blog should have.