I thought I would share some tips for blogging, for those that are new to it.
Firstly, if you have a Blogger/Blogspot blog, gtf off there!
The biggest problem with blogger is its login and comment system, so you might have reasonable hits, but hardly any comments for posts. I see this a lot with Blogger blogs, and I hardly ever comment (even though I might read) there. Basically it is a pain the bloody ass to comment at Blogger.
Next, and assuming you have now set up your WP blog, is moderation. The easiest way to stop spammers and unfriendlies is to set your moderation to “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” (that means they need a WP addy to comment, most radfems already do). You find this setting under your dashboard under: Settings, Discussion. Easy peasy. Then set “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”, that means your previously approved peeps will just go through automatically. If it turns out you have approved someone who is a bit of an undesirable, then just either blacklist or hold them for moderation (same menu selection). Don’t block them by IP address, pick something unique with their email address.
One reason, a fairly big one, to let your approved commenters go at it, is to keep the flow of comments going. If you moderate each and every comment, too many comments cross-post with a batch, and the conversation thread is fairly stifled, and slow. It disrupts the thought processes.
Next, you want to put a “recent comments” in your sidebar. This encourages peeps to keep checking back frequently (and is quicker for them). It will actually drive your hits up, as well as alert readers to comments on older posts (or multiple posts). If you don’t have your recent comments in the sidebar, then peeps have to scroll down through all your posts, remembering how many comments (by number) were last there. To add “recent comments” to your sidebar, go to Appearance, Widgets. Scroll down to find “recent comments” and drag the box into the primary widget area. From there you can adjust the settings to a maximum 15 recent comments, and play with the avatar size. Preferably have “comments” at the top or near the top, that also encourages frequent checking back. Recent posts are far less important. Seriously.
These are the main things that will increase your comments and increase your blog hits, and also, increase the interest in the threads.
Two more things you can do, not as essential, are to use a picture on the post (for those that glance over and notice something different) and also to put a comment into the thread (for those who check the blog quickly and only check the recent comments).
A couple of additional things, that won’t have a great impact, but should be taken into consideration for your readership.
Pick a template that is easy to read, also that the comments are not too small. Some of us getting a bit older, and our eyes are pretty rubbish, even with glasses.
Pick a template with a plain background, preferably white. It is the easiest to read, and the white background goes with everything. Avoid patterned backgrounds, too hard to read. Preferably avoid black backgrounds, no matter how hip and edgy you think they are – they should only have white or yellow (or perhaps cyan) text on them. Any other colour of text, including red, is very hard to read. I see a lot of Blogger blogs with black backgrounds.
Something that is not immediately obvious in the WP dashboard are some of the extras. For example, turning comments on/off requires the box visible on the “post edit” screen. Find it whilst you have a post in edit mode, and look for the “screen options” in the top right (click discussion) and the control box will now be visible. Different options are available in different modes, so check them out.
Defecting over to WP from Blogger. Set up a WP blog, and there is a function to import your entire blog, including comments, over to WP. You may need to adjust picture sizes and things if your new template is radically different. You find the defection kit under Tools.
That pretty much covers the basics.