Blogging Tips – Part 1 – Customising your blog
I have been doing quite a lot of work on my blog recently and I wanted to share some of what I have learned. This post will be in three parts
I use WordPress. This is probably a little more difficult to use than the likes of Blogger, but I can host it myself and hack the code. WordPress offers two options, the self host option which I use (I signed with the hosting provider Bluehost, who offer an automatic WordPress installation).
As for presentation I have used the standard Kubrik theme, but customised the header image. This ca
WordPress is great as there are loads of plugins which can be easily added to improve functionality. This is a godsend for people of limited programming ability like me. Here are the plugins which I find useful
- Anti-Spam image. This displays one of those "enter the number in the image" features which cuts down drastically on comment spam
- Snap Preview. Shows previews of the link location. Well I think that this is pretty cool!
- Add this social bookmarking. See below for details
- Technorati tags. Allows you to add technorati tags to posts
- Google Analytics. See below for more details
- Dagon Site Map. Creates an automatic site map for your blog
- Google Sitemap. Creates a google sitemap for your blog – great for SEO
- Contact form. Adds a contact form to a designated page
- Sidebar Widget. This allows the easy rearrangement of items in your side bar
Social networks are all the rage and great for building traffic. I use the Addthis service to give my readers the option to tag my articles. This is another wordpress plugin and so no programming is required.
I make my feed available through Feedburner. Feedburner offes a range of services for bloggers to customise your feeds and manage your statistics. One of their most useful features is the readers box which shows my many people have subscribed to your feed
I have started using a new service called myblogbackup to save my posts for a rainy day.
My newsletters are managed through Zookoda. This is a free service which allows users to create newsletters and easily manage subscribers.
Del.icio.us offers a daily blog posting service where they will insert your tags as a blog post on a daily basis. This is great for creating content.
To see how many people are looking at my blog, I use Google Analytics. This is a free web analytics tool from Google which allows you to track important ecommerce statistics such as:
- Number of visits. The number of times the site was visited
- Number of unique visits. The number of unique visitors to the site
- Number of page views
- Time spent on site. The length of each visit
This information can help you work out the effectiveness of any promotion you do of your blog. For example I submitted a few articles to Digg and my site traffic doubled.
To work Google Analytics requires a piece of code to be inserted into each page. This can either be done by editing the page template in the WordPress presentation setup or by installing a plugin.