Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blog Advice, Do You Have Any For Me?

Mama Kat's workshop this week included a prompt to write some blog advice. I don't have a lot of blog advice, but I do have some questions that have been rattling around in my brain a while.

1. Why does Blogger sometimes add lots of space between paragraphs and sometimes scrunch things up with no space at all? No matter how I try to fix it, Blogger does what it wants.

2. I have two blogs; this one and Eat at Home. This is my fun blog. Eat at Home is fun too, but I'm also trying to build it up. Sometimes I'd like to get these two blogs together into just one, but they are so different. I'm not sure how I could do it that would make any sense.

3. Plus, I would need to get different templates with some navigation buttons at the top and I don't know how to do that.

4. Of course, I really would like a blog makeover with a custom header and logo. My quandry with doing this is wondering if it's really worth paying for. Should I invest real money in this bloggy thing? Would it pay off by growing Eat at Home?

5. What is up with the rss feed thing? I do not get this at all. I tried to put an option for people to subscribe to Eat at Home in rss (is that even how you say that?), but I don't know that it worked. I used feedburner. For a while, I could log into feedburner and it said I had no subscribers. Now I can't log in at all. I know that some people subscribe through a reader, because they've said they do.

6. And what does a blog look like in a reader? Can you see pictures? Pictures are a big part of Eat at Home, and sometimes this blog too.

7. And how do you count those people? Do they show up in statcounter? What about people who subscribe through email? Do they show up in statcounter?

8. I keep thinking about starting yet another blog - Peanut Butter Sandwich 365 - but does that just divide my traffic? When someone views my profile and sees 3 blogs, they'll probably just pick one to visit. Is it a good idea to have more than one blog if you're really trying to grow one of them?

9. Twitter - time sucker or useful tool?

I'm sure I have more questions, but now the fluff in my head is strained so I'll stop there. Anybody have any answers for me?

For more Mama Kat's workshop, probably even including real blog advice, visit her site here.

17 comments:

Luke said...

1. Blogger treats every line break (time you hit enter) as a <p> tag... which adds the space. If you add another element (such as indenting, or a list of items) it adds another break ...which means you end up with tons of space.

2. Two blogs is fine. I have three [smile].

3. Templates are a blast, but a huge time sink (even if you're good at coding).

4. Investing money? No more than you would your other beloved hobbies. There are a bunch of helps out there (and if you need to know how to do something, ask me and I'll try to come up with a tutorial).

5. RSS readers allow you to subscribe to hundreds of blogs and read them all in one place very easily. Feedburner was taken over by Google and changed. You could probably sign up again if they locked you out. Log into Google Reader and add a few blogs just to try it out. Ask if you have any questions... but it rocks!

6. You can totally see pictures and sometimes video. It depends a lot on the blog's feed settings, but optimally you should see all the post content.

7. I added the Google Analytics tool (it has instructions and is fairly straight-forward). It's awesome. I believe people who read via RSS are still counted.

8. People visit blogs that interest them. If that's all three of yours, that's all three. In any case, they will find more joy from content they want. So three blogs is fine... I have three [smile].

9. Twitter is a tool. Some find it useful. For most, it's a waste of time. Don't sweat it unless all your friends are using it.

~Luke

Call Me Cate said...

I struggle with some of the same questions.

From a tech perspective, I'm a webmaster for a living so some of the coding and graphics come easier to me. And sometimes, it's harder because Blogger seems to do certain things in a completely proprietary way that infuriates me.

I don't know what to think about multiple blogs. I have more than one and they serve separate functions so it makes sense. No reason they can't co-exist.

I don't think I helped.

{Katie Lane} said...

I think Luke described things well. But here is my take.

1. When paragraphs get messed check the html part of your post. Delete any codes that Blogger placed between them and try spacing them out again.

2-4. Having multiple blogs is fine as long as they each have a distinct purpose. Creating templates with navigational links will help tie each one together. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it. If it will simplify your life and make you smile every time you see it, it probably is. {my blog servics are on sale right now!}

5-7. I love Goggle Reader. When you follow a blog it is automatically added to Goggle reader, {it's the only way I can keep up!} it's easy to use and helps keep things separated. All of your post shows up including pictures. Not sure how to count your subscribers but the amount of followers you have is a good starting point.

8. Love the title! I say go for it.

9. I don't 'get' Twitter myself but if you enjoy it do it.

Jenners said...

I see you are getting some of your technical questions answered so I'll chime in where I might have something to offer you.

1. Blogger sucks. That is why.

2. I have two blogs too -- I think if you have two distinct audiences, you need to have two blogs. But definitely include a link on each one to the other.

3. There are some great templates available here: http://tips-for-new-bloggers.blogspot.com/2007/02/three-columns-blogger-template.html

And check out Sneaky Momma Blog Design for easy tips on designing and customizing your blog:http://sneakymommablogdesign.blogspot.com/

4. I think you can get some blog designs pretty cheaply actually.

5. I read you in a reader and you can see photos. Feedburner is one way of putting your feed out there. It was recently bought by Google so you might have to log in and do it again if you can't see it. You can add your own blog to Google Reader so you can see what it looks like to your readers.

7. When I got into my Feedburner account, it tells me how many "subscribers" I have for my feeds. Not sure how this gets counted in all your stats.

If you want to grow one blog, concentrate on that. If you spread yourself too thin, it gets to be too much. One of the keys to growing a blog is getting out there and commenting like crazy so it takes time.

I don't Twitter becuase I barely have enough time to blog. But lots of people seem to like it.

Hope that was helpful!

Karen (KayKay) said...

I don't have any advice. I'm still trying to learn the blogging ropes. However, I've learned so much from the responses that you've gotten!

Denise said...

Well crap. I tried to put in the "break" fix for your formatting issues and blogger is being a butt and says my HTML cannot be accepted lol.

I tried to help dang it, I really did. LOL

blueviolet@A Nut in a Nutshell said...

It looks like everything was answered really well here. Great advice.

Melissa B. said...

2 things:

Make paragraph markers in between your graphs, instead of just returning twice each time. Although I can't always get them to work...look in Blogger help (a p with a v-bracket on each side...I can't do it here for you);

Twitter? I'm on, but don't really understand it yet. Think I'll write a post about my confusion.

Sarah Mae said...

"No matter how I try to fix it, Blogger does what it wants."
So annoying!

Oh, and I think twitter is a useful tool - it has been for me!

Melissa B. said...

Missed you at 6-words yesterday! And PS: Please pop over to participate in Sx3 today. We're in serious Donald Trump Mode!

Dorkys Ramos said...

I'm still unsure about a lot of Blogger features so I just keep it simple. I'm scared that if I start messing around with templates I'll accidentally delete the whole thing!

But thanks to this post, I've gotten some answers through the comments.

I really like the layout you have now, by the way :)

the ungourmet said...

These are all questions I have had as well!

I am on Twitter but I don't see how it helps me unless I want to sell something. I tried having two blogs but I feel like I spend too much time on one as it is!

It looks like Luke had some great answers for you!

Jennifer Juniper said...

I find that if I write while in "compose" rather than "edit" I end up with my spacing all crazy.

Though I can't see the pictures in edit, things seem to go a lot smoother as far as the finished look.

I just hit "review" a lot to see how it is turning out.

Other than that...loving Luke! I need a smarty pants like him, because I have as many questions as you do!

Bethany said...

1. I don't know but it's annoying, sometimes I have to manually fix it after I post.

2. I don't mind people having two blogs! I have a few...my main one, a quiz one, a baby name one that I never update...

3. Ugh, templates.

4. I don't think I'll ever invest money in it, only because I like my template to change way too often!

5. I love rss feed- connects with google reader, which is just awesome!

6. Yep, you can!

7. Google reader definitely counts in stat counter. Not sure about email.

8. Go for it, if it's a different topic!

9. Eh...it's ok but I'm not a huge fan.

Amanda said...

Just responding to a few since Luke did such a great job answering your questions.

Yes, get a custom design because not only will it make your blogs look polished, but it will fix the nasty paragraph problems. I used to struggle with that also, but once I had custom designs uploaded it's never happened again.

Twitter is useful if you use it daily. I go in spurts with it.

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