13 Ways to Kill Your Blog

Matt Mullenweg is the creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic. Over on his blog, he mentioned 6 ways to kill your community an added 7 more on top of that. I found these tips to be extremely useful, so I’m posting them here all together for a total of 13 ways to kill your blog.

I won’t list them as sarcastically as Matt did–rather, I’ll give them to you straight.

  1. Don’t Moderate — If you choose not to moderate your blog, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to keep you blog organized and relavent. If you’re noticing your posts getting lots of comments, but most them are not adding any real value to the topic, you’re actually doing a dis-service to your site. Clean up those comments and make sure that they stay on topic. Your readers will appreciate it too!
  2. Spam Comments — Your blog should (at the very least) be running some type of spam filter plugin. Akismet is just that and it comes with every install of WordPress so there’s no excuse not to use it! If you end up letting spam in, you’re just opening the door for MUCH, MUCH more spam to come your way. Also, if the spammer starts spamming the links of your authors, they’re not going to be too happy either.
  3. Forceful Signups — You probably experienced this one personally when wanting to comment on a blog somewhere. How many times have you really wanted to post something, but as soon as your forced to signup as a member, you simply close the page and move on? You don’t like it and neither does anyone else! Allow your visitors to post comments freely.
  4. Comment Participation — If you intend to ignore your visitors, why are you blogging in the first place? You should be thankful that people are even coming to your site. One way to do this is to respond to comments as part of the dialog. This is especially true when a user asks questions.
  5. Posting Random Junk — The Internet is filled with crap and LOTS of it! Don’t add to the trash heap by posting automated comments from people’s Twitter accounts, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Eventually it becomes too much to follow and along with making your site look cluttered, it’ll be a surefire way to send people packin’.
  6. “Design like NASCAR” — I had to quote this one because there was no other way to describe it! If your blog is covered in widgets, banners, ads, sharing buttons, etc., then you won’t have much of a blog left in short time. Some bloggers think that adding more “function” to their site(s) creates loyalty and having too little creates a lack of substance. The fact is, if you focus more on your content and less on your “experience”, you’ll notice that in time, your content will become the experience. As time moves forward, you’ll discover new things that you need to add to your site, but do it in small doses.
  7. Search Engines — Hosting comments on external systems and then injecting them into your site in an effort to make your site appear differently to search engines as it appears to your users is a shady practice and you don’t want to get caught doing it. Getting ranked in the search engines is a never-ending game, but the most important things you can do is create original content and have other important sites link to yours. Both of these requires time. Take the time to make your blog relavent and unique and the results will come naturally.
  8. Comment Pruning — While you’re advised to prune unnecessary comments and other irrelevant notes, don’t go deleting comments just because they shine a negative light over you or your site in an attempt to make it seem like you can do no wrong. This is just bad business and if people catch on, you’re going to look a lot worse.
  9. Comment Box Placement — Keep the comments below the post. Not to the side, not on top–at the bottom. The point of having such a place to leave comments is because people are supposed to read your blog and then make a statement. What sense does it make to have comments anywhere else but after the post?
  10. Subscriptions — Give your visitors a reason to come back. If they don’t want to come back, at least give them a way to still get your content via services such as RSS or email. This allows users to keep getting your content without having to come back and look for the latest stuff.
  11. Too much Clicking — K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s really that obvious. As a web user yourself, you already know how annoying it is when you’re on a website and you’re looking for something, but to get there you have to click about 15 times. On blogs, this is usually related to loooong posts that get separated onto multiple pages or huge comments lists. My advice: just let it ride. Leave that content on one long page if you have to. The user will be happy to know that everything they need is right there.
  12. Comment Moderation — There’s an option in WordPress to moderate comments before they’re posted to the site. Although this is a great tool for filtering spam, it’s also a great slap in the face to posters that have previously posted and been approved for their comment(s). Make sure these users can get through without the extra hurdle. They will appreciate that you know they’re not spammers.
  13. Audience Participation — Get your users excited about coming to your site. They love participating in polls, surveys, contests, etc. These features are generally used when your site starts to have regular traffic, but in most cases, it’s not too early to start. Just don’t forget rule 6!

This of course is just a smidgen of the things you should be weary of. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not sure what to do, just post content. Just post what you feel, what you want to talk about, what you’re passionate about and everything will come in due time. Your blog may not be ranked high in the search engines and it may not be considered popular, but as more and more of your words get out into the world, the more action you’ll see on your site. Don’t get discouraged and happy blogging!

Happy Anniversary Baby!

We officially got together on September 9th, 2009 and yes, the date was planned so we both would never forget. Could you: 09-09-09?

It’s been an interesting six months to say the least and I don’t mean that in a negative way at all! All relationships take work; work that can break one in half or make it last forever. Needless to say, we’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs, but as strange as it is, our “downs” never really seem that bad. It makes me feel good to know that our relationship requires less work than most.

Maybe it’s our personalities or our insane desires to remain independent, but whatever it is, it works.

In honor of this day, I’d like to share with you my top ten list of things I love about my sweetheart:

Number 10

She’s an artist. Although she may disagree with my taste for art (or anybody’s for that matter), I think that she’s a wonderful artist with a skill that most people could only dream to possess. It’s hard to get her to give up an original and it’s even harder to get her to draw something you ask for, but that’s what makes it all the more special if she does do one (or two) just for you. Here is my favorite:

Number 9

She’s sociable. I have never met anyone who can strike a conversation with the most random of people (including one that goes by the name, Red Wolf). In fact, it was this trait that I mistook for flirting that got us into this predicament in the first place! One thing I have learned from this is that everyone out there has a story to tell and if you just open your ears, you might find something very interesting about that person and by sharing your own tales, you may actually find a decent friend.

Number 8

She’s independent. I can’t tell you how important it is for me to be with someone that is not going to be attached at the hip 24/7. I don’t know how people do it and I certainly don’t know how people can rely so much on someone else that they become an extension of themselves. It turns the relationship into a necessity that they can’t live without. For me, this relationship is a lesson in growth and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for her.

Number 7

She’s not selfish. Everybody wants to feel important and because of this, it’s not hard to feel like you’re a little better than some of the people in your life. What’s worse is that you can be blinded by these feelings and end up taking more than you should. I’m a prime example of this. She, on the other hand doesn’t know the meaning of take. Even when people are taking from her, she still keeps on giving. And when you try to give it back, she just keeps on giving.

Number 6

She has a big heart. Although I haven’t gotten the full effect of this one, I can tell you that it’s there. She has an undeniable passion for the things she does in life and it’s never more prevalent than in the work she does. I’d advise anyone wishing to see what it means to love unconditionally, go visit the Biola University swimming pool during the summer weekdays.

Number 5

She loves family. This one is a combination of six and seven. She is hellbent on putting family first. If there’s one thing that upsets her most, it’s when people put their own wants and desires before those of their own children. She understands that life isn’t perfect and things don’t always go as well, so the willingness to lose a little in her own life to give 100% to her family is a daily mantra–and she doesn’t even have her own family yet. That says volumes.

Number 4

She has personal values. While the rest of us were caught in the vortex of the social pipeline, she was working on her future. While we all went out for the evening looking for a glimmer of excitement in the dim shadows of a local bistro, she was building her business. Does this make us less of a people? No, but it does say something about her. She found solace in the comfort of her own home and the friends at the gym. Her personal health is of great importance and it shows–in so many ways.

Number 3

She is trustworthy. I have never once been in a relationship where I can say, without a doubt, that I trust someone with my life. It’s a great feeling to know that no matter how bad things get, no matter how scary the future looks, you don’t have to worry about trust. She is also trusting. It’s hard when your significant other has friends of the opposite sex, but to be able to place trust and faith above small bouts of jealousy is an amazing feat. To be able to return the favor is even harder.

Number 2

She has a “nook”. This one’s of a more personal sentiment, but she has found a spot (on me) where she can place her head and effectively distance herself from the world and just be relaxed. She once said she could never fall asleep anywhere but her own bed, but I take great pride in knowing that this statement is no longer true when she gets in her nook.

Number 1

She’s with me. I’m nothing special. I often think about what I can offer the world and although I have a lot, there’s nothing really unique. Maybe I don’t have to be and maybe it doesn’t matter, but it does help the human ego when you can leave your mark in history. The point is, I did something to make her want to be with me and now, I just hope I can give her reasons to stay. With that said, I’m the luckiest guy alive to be with such a wonderful girl and nobody in the whole damn world can tell me otherwise.