10 Tips for New Wordpress.com Blogs
Whether you’re a new blogger on Wordpress.com or have been on it for a while, I hope you’ll find at least some of this stuff useful :
- ** If you’re on Blogger.. Move To Wordpress.com !**
It’s true Wordpress doesn’t allow Flash and some other stuff Blogger gives you, but if you’re really interested in getting a good reader base, Wordpress is better because it provides excellent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) facilities. Also, in general, the quality of Wordpress blogs is far superior, they look better, they are easier to manage, and they give you 3 GB of storage for your blog’s pictures, videos etc. So make the shift to Wordpress !
- ** Don’t be intimidated by the layout!**
Simply put, Wordpress has the best layout any blogger could ask for. When you login for the first time, make sure you click-around and check out the tonnes of features Wordpress provides you. Trust me it’s not as complicated as it looks. The left sidebar summarises typically everything you can do with your blog. Play around a bit and you’ll get a hang of it.
- ** Write your first post.**
Wordpress will have already written a sample post for you. Edit it if you want to, otherwise create a new post by clicking on Add New under the Posts header in the left sidebar. Add a post header ( probably Hello World and start typing out your first post ! Introduce yourself and the reason you started this blog, and anything else you might feel the reader ought to know. Wait, don’t click Publish yet ! On the right sidebar, add a few tags under the Post Tags header, and add a category under the Categories header. Then click the big blue buttton Publish. ( P.S. : Just so you know what tags and categories are : Tags are a set of keywords that give someone a general idea about what the post is about. Category, however, is a single word/phrase defining what category this post comes under. Both are important to get good recognition on search engines (this is SEO).. Eg : For this post of mine, relevant tags might be : tips, tricks, hints, tips for wordpress blogs, tips for bloggers… and so on.. Whereas a category might be “Tutorials”. )
- ** Activate Turbo**
If you’re not using a shared computer (eg : Cyber Cafe, Friend’s home … ) then activate the Turbo feature in Wordpress. It can be found on the top right corner of the page, between your username, and Log Out. Basically, Turbo can help you save a lot of bandwidth by saving images and icons that Wordpress uses, on to your computer, so it needn’t load them from the Web again. Hence, Wordpress will load quicker. Click on Turbo, and then click on Install Now. Follow the instructions and you’re all set !
- ** KISS**
Keep it Simple and Sweet. Nobody likes blogs with cluttered layouts, and tonnes of widgets in the sidebar they are never going to look at. Click on Themes under Appearance header on the left sidebar. Choose a theme that suits your style. Use the search filters to narrow down on what you’re looking for. Once you’ve chosen a theme, click on Widgets ( under the Appearance header too :) ). Only add widgets you feel others, or yourself might find useful. New blogs are good enough with the following widgets :
Links ( Your blogroll (blogs you read).. Create your blogroll by clicking on the Links header in the left sidebar. ) Meta (Login/Logout . Links to Wordpress.. ) Tag Cloud ( Extremely important if you want users to stay on your blog ! ) Categories ( Ditto ) Pages ( If your theme doesn’t have a page list header, you’ll need this widget when you add more pages ) Twitter ( If you are on twitter.com and twit regularly) Once you start getting readership, you could add :
But remember not to clutter your sidebar. KISS.
- ** Disable Snapshots**
This is one feature which many find irritating, and it is turned on by default. You’ll realize that if you keep you mouse on a link on your blog, a small window pops up next to your mouse pointer and the target page starts loading. This is a waste if you didn’t intend on clicking there, and it hogs bandwidth. And if your posts are filled with links, your readers are going to have a nightmare reading your blog. Don’t Fret ! It can be fixed ! Under the Appearance header on the left sidebar, click on Extras. Now un-check the check-box that says : Enable Snap Shots on this blog.
- ** Create your About-Me Page**
Very few anonymous bloggers ever become successful. People like to know who wrote the content that they’re reading, that way someone can be reposible for the content and authenticity is assured to an extent. So make your identity public ! ( But keep your email address and phone number to yourself :) ) Click on Pages header in the left sidebar, and click Add New. Title the page “About Me” and write away about yourself. I say this inspite of telling you to include it in your first post, is because when you add more posts, your first post will go into the Older Entries and will not be available on the first page of your blog. Save the page and Publish.
( P.S. : A little note about pages. Pages are static entries that do not appear along with your blog posts. By default, your latest blog posts appear when someone comes to your blog by typing the address yourblog.wordpress.com . However, if you want a static page , like an Intro page to come up first, and your blog as another section of your website, do the following :
Under the Settings header on the left sidebar, click on Reading. The first setting on the page will be : Front Page Displays :
Select the bullet “A static page” , and from the drop down box select a page. )
- ** Clearing the Writer’s Block**
Yes you’ve successfully set up a blog. But now you don’t know what to write about !! Yes it’s happened to everyone and it’s caller the Writer’s Block. Click on the following link for some websites which will help rid you of this disease :
Or you can always Google for ideas : http://www.google.co.in/search?q=blog+post+ideas&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t
- ** Follow your niche !**
Whether you’re a 75 year old grandmother of six, or an 18 year old guy who doesn’t know what to do with his life, you’ll have something dear to you, which you love talking about with your friends. Something that can never bore you ( apart from sleeping ! ) . That could be one of your niches ! Even if it’s a personal blog, you can keep a general pattern of posts so you can targer a specific audience.
- ** Wordpress Upgrades**
Once you’ve become a “chronic blogger” , you’ll see the need for your own domain name ( eg : yourblog.com instead of yourblog.wordpress.com ), or some extra space for all those pictures and videos of your parties, or you just want to get yourself a goodie for your birthday. Click on the Upgrades header on the left sidebar, and check out which of the stuff you could really use, and which you could do without. Remember, changing to a unique domain will require all your readers to update their bookmarks, and there is quite a chance you may lose some readers in the process. )
- ** Wordpress Support**
Whether you’re in a dilemma over some settings, or just don’t know what to do about some feature, head over to Wordpress support. The Wordpress community is huge, and you’ll definitely get help with your problems.
There is quite a chance your problem already has a readymade solution, so head over to Wordpress Support at http://support.wordpress.com and look around for a possible solution.
If you can’t find anything there, head to Wordpress Forums, at http://en.forums.wordpress.com/ , login, and ask the community whatever is bugging you.
Don’t worry about forgetting these two links. Anytime you’re logged in, you’ll see a small grey box called Help on the top right corner. Click it and Wallah ! The links are there.
I hope at least some topics help you out. You can always leave a comment if you have any more doubts or need something else..
So until next time… Keep blogging !!