Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steps To Optimize Your Site

Every other person that I've recently met has got a blog of some sort, but far too many of them seem to skip a very important part in the process. Understand here that it's highly important to take relevant steps in-order for you to optimize your site for your readers as well as search engines, without alienating either one. While some blogger's try very hard in focusing on how to monetize their site, there are still those that use these platforms to simply relay their personal feelings where they discuss daily issues, such as : what they had for breakfast today, or how they experienced some bad service at a fancy restaurant the night before, and so forth.

So it doesn't really matter what your ultimate goal is for your blog, the important keyword you have to remember here is - Optimizing! For some, the ideology of blogging is that it's a 'walk-in-the-park', you basically need to write a couple of lines, paste a great photo alongside it, post it up and you're done! In reality, I know you could simply carry on doing it in this manner, but sadly it's not gonna go very far if you want it to withstand the test-of-time.

But what I'm discussing here today is not your usual Search Engine Optimization (in short - SEO), because the majority of blogger's out there run off standard blog platforms or even run as a hosted blog with someone else's domain name, which makes optimizing for a blog a bit different, not to mention design issues which are unique to blogs that may have an impact in your rankings.

Step 1
Let us evaluate the many times we have changed our templates? I know a friend who has changed their template three times in the last six months. All because he didn't get the right background color! Yes, I reiterate that design is important and it counts, BUT, unfortunately not many of those so-called 'blog designers' that offer free templates, are also SEO's by trade. So, without you knowing, these designs could actually be effecting your rankings in a way. My best bet - get a designer to help you on this, or at the very least, try to customize your default template by changing the colors or even adding a uniquely brand new header.

Step 2
In order for you to optimize your blog for user experience, always make sure that their visits are hassle free - easy to access, interactive and most importantly - make them return. Blogs need repeat visitors, that's for sure. There are few methods in achieving this, take for example the commonly orange colored RSS button, every blog needs this, as it would allow yours readers to subscribe to your blog. Automatically many hosted blogging solutions do not have this feature, so it's highly recommended that you add one. FeedBurner is one good source for this feature. Another option you could offer would be to allow your readers to get your posts via email - FeedBlitz does this automatically for me. Finally, make certain that these buttons are well visible, rather than tucked far away at the bottom of the page or placed at another page all together.

Step 3
I remember reading a blog which did not even have a single paragraph break in any of its posts and boy were the posts lengthy. I was automatically off their site in just seconds. What does this tell you, it's always safer to break your posts into parts if you're planning to write a lengthy story, because how you write would eventually keep your readers coming back for more. And always remember to do a spell check prior to posting the article up at your page, this can help you save a lot of embarrassment and ultimately need not affect your image as an author.

Step 4
For some strange reason, I'm not sure why, but I've seen certain sites that display four to five different colored text in a single post or even better still, numerous different sized fonts placed all over. Yes, they may call it a unique talent or an artistic gift that they have, but ironically it simply doesn't work in the real world. Blogs such as these will eventually give their readers a painful experience, forcing them to leave, never to return. So, try not to kill the look of your blog by doing this. Choose a font that best suits your site and add color, only to certain crucial text.

Step 5
We tend to add anything and everything onto our blogs these days, one very common item has to be what we call - widgets. Every time you join something online there's always a possibility of them requiring you to place their widget at your blog. And no doubt there also some widgets that are so useful that you can't do without. But then again its always a wise choice to never overload your site with too many widgets as well. Adding a large number of javascript into your site will surely slow it down. Ya, I know some widgets have nice colors and all, but why sacrifice timely loading up time for something not all that necessary.


23 comments:

darlene said...

hey Nihal....how are you?...always glad to see a post from you.
This was very informative as we could always use a tip or two, i know i sure can..... hee hee
but i just do it for fun really, and have met alot of great people from mine like yourself.
Well i must fuel you now as you deserve it!...and well 'cause "i like you best"....;-)

ジェイソン (Jason) said...

I think I've seen that blog where the author uses different font sizes and colours in the same sentence. It's kind of like reading a tag cloud, but with a sentence structure ... annoying as heck, and hardly not worth reading :/

These are some pretty solid tips. Hopefully some of the people who make these mistakes will make the necessary changes to their sites and gain some readership.

NIHAL said...

Hi Darlene,

Oooh, how I've missed reading your comments. It's just that there's been a long holiday here in Malaysia and I've dragged it even longer.

It's great to know that these would come in handy, and yes, this 'Fuel My Blog' thing, now I know where my votes are coming from ??? *ha ha ha* Don't fret, I'll be heading there myself and give you my votes as well, since you're my favorite darling :))

As always, thanks Darlene, it means a lot :)

NIHAL said...

Hello Jason, my friend :)

Ya, at times, stuff like this can be really annoying I know. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they become aware that they've done a couple of mistakes and hopefully they'll correct them sooner or later.

I actually wanted to add a couple more things into this, but I think it would have been just too long, so maybe, I'll come out with a Part II somewhere in the future.

Jason, I'm wishing you're doing great in Japan. Take care and all the best, buddy :)

Nick Phillips said...

Hey Nihal, some great tips there buddy. I especially dislike the sites with numerous font colours. I mean, what the heck is that supposed to mean? It makes the post all that much more difficult to read! Good post buddy!

JesseTheCat said...

Nihal...another great and informative post, as usual...you honestly have a writing style that is easy to read and understand.
I must say that my blog is sadly in need of lots of optimising,hey,my problem is my pathetic isp...I can often hardly even get online, and this hampers my ability to go and do what needs to be done as far as tweaking and optimising the whole setup.

I agree that widgets also add to the loading time of the blog...but still,will you carry my widget here on your sidebar, Nihal??? Pretty Please :))) (joke)

Hope that you and your family had the best holiday period and now that its over,I can expect lots more cool posts from you! Take care and lots of hugs for your family and children :)

Jesse...

Ayesha said...

Thanks for the tips and the help later on via email...hey could you link me? I will do the same...

Bobby said...

Hi Nihal! I like these unique tips! I think you did a great job in not just throwing out the same tips you see on other blogs.

I think it's wise to use the default, plain text! However, girls do like to use coloured, pretty text! I let them slide because I like girls...LOL!!!

Thanks Nihal

Kim said...

excellent post Nihal...
you have covered so many relevant areas and I wasn't aware that changing your template would make a difference....eek I do it all the time in my never ending quest for template perfection haha....
btw you have an award at
http://poeartica.blogspot.com/2007/10/southern-cross-award.html
when you have time ...you don't have to pass this one on :)

Mariuca said...

Well said Nihal, thanks for a great article! :):):)

Mariuca said...

Nihal! Got new award from u, come see! :):):)

http://mariuca.blogspot.com/2007/10/time-for-more-awards.html

Jackqueline said...

Hi Nihal,

I love your site... I definitely need to come back and read your other posts. Thanks!

www.jackquelinelou.com

Jess said...

Hi Nihal,

Too much widgets can really slow the loading time as I have seen with some blogs.

By the way, I have awards for you at:
My Recent Awards

Congratulations!

Emila Yusof said...

HI Nihal! How are you? Thank you for sharing these great tips! Lol, but I do like widgets a lot hehe

Mariuca said...

Hola Nihal, long time no see! Hope all is okay on your end, have a pleasant night! :):):)

www.fingertalks.com said...

hi nihal!

how r u my friend? missed dropping by here and missed hearing from you!

am back to the blogosphere after a longish hiatus (first, because of no Internet connection for over four months)..then when i got back to the blogosphere last month, i messed up my blog for another month..

hehe it's ok now. i am now updated with ur posts..cos im using a feedaggregator to monitor ur new postings and that of my blogroll's posts.. hope u can try it as well. details here: http://www.fingertalks.com/2007/12/06/an-invitation-to-my-blogging-friends-to-try-this-free-feed-aggregator/

des(fingertalks)

Freddie Sirmans said...

Your blog is very, very interesting. Happy holidays.

Eddie Law said...

Thanks for the sharing. Just to let you know that I have just launched a law portal www.eLawyer.com.my pls have a look.

Sharon said...

Nihal, I also *love* reading those posts with no paragraph breaks.

Sometimes I have to tilt my head sideways, then to the other, to full understand it.

:)


Great job in putting this information together.

Now maybe you can put a tutorial on how I can sign in with WP Identity on blogger blogs because I just can't make any sense of it.

Mariuca said...

Hello fren! New year oredi still no update ke?

Just wanna wish u and ur lovely family a wonderful 2008. May the new year bring u better health, success and wealth! :):):)

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Diane said...

Nice to see you over at FuelMyBlog - thanks for the fuel...and the very useful reading over here on your blog.

I shall be back to explore some more :)
Diane

L.L. Barkat said...

Came over through Digg. Good basic advice here. Have you read Clear Blogging? After trying many of the recommendations in that book I doubled my blog traffic. So far it seems to be holding at the higher level, but only time will tell.