Thank you all so much for sending in your blog-related questions! There were so many questions, that in the interest of your time, I decided to make several posts out of your questions. Several questions even spurred ideas for entire posts. Stay tuned!
Question 1 is from S/he who asked to remain anonymous: When we have links in our posts to other blogs, should we have them open in a new window so that our readers don’t actually leave our blogs? I keep reading both sides of this issue and some people are annoyed when the link doesn’t open in a new window and some people are annoyed if it does. What’s the best way?
I had a discussion in the comments section several weeks ago with Mrs. Who about making links open in a new window. At first I thought, YES!!! Links SHOULD open in a new window. I did a little more research and have since changed my mind, though there are LOTS of differing opinions. I think it is up to the reader to decide if a link should open in a new window. If you push “ctrl” and left click with your mouse or you can right click and select “open in a new window” and voila! A new window opens! Problem solved. Or not because some people will disagree…I guess we can’t make everyone happy.
Question 2 is from Andrea: Is it preferrable (from a reader’s standpoint) that a person post every day, every week day, or less? I used to post every day, thinking it would help keep people interested. But as I find more blogs I like, I get overwhelmed by the number of unread items in my reader. Since a lot of people don’t seem to read on the weekend, are they more likely to just read the most recent post on Monday, or just mark all as read or what?
I don’t want to “waste” my posts by posting 7 days a week and having people just skip them because there are too many. What do you think?
I think that less is more. With that said, I personally have some sick compulsion to post most days. I’m going to try and go down to 4 times a week. You make an excellent point about “wasting” posts. I think when we have too much in our feedreaders, we can’t read it all and often miss great content.
The thing is, though, you need to post often enough to keep people coming back. I have NO EVIDENCE backing up my hypothesis, but I’d say any less than once a week is too little and everyday or more than once a day is TOO MUCH.
(Hello pot? This is Kettle.)
Question 3, Andrea also: (slightly paraphrased) I’ve read that our blog should have a focus and if we have further interests, we should have a separate blog for that. Do you think mixing things up on one blog is OK, or am I losing readers by not having a focus? Should I try to assign each day of the week to one focus? Do you think readers really care about all that?
This falls into the category of “You can’t make everyone happy.” I do agree that your blog should have a “focus,” but if your blog is about YOU and YOUR LIFE, I think you can talk about all of your interests. However, if you’re really trying to attract and maintain visitors, you probably want to stick to a select core of related interests.
For me, these “blog tips” posts don’t really fit into my regular content of personal injuries, parenthood, and marriage. That’s why I purposely only publish these posts on Saturdays and make it very clear in the title what the subject of the post is. That way, those who aren’t interested can move right along without wasting time here!
Question 4 is from Brianne: Share your ideas on the pros and cons of “renaming” kids inside your blog? Is it really necessary for a small blogger with a dozen readers versus, say, people who can quit their day jobs due to their blogging career?
For me, I chose early on when I had 2 readers (and at my husband’s insistence) to use pseudonyms. Now that I’ve been blogging for awhile, I’m glad that I chose to use pseudonyms. Since I write personal stories about my kids and husband, I’d hate for someone to be able to Google their names and have something I’ve written about them come up. This could happen whether you have 2 readers or 20,000. Again, though, it’s a personal decision.
Questions 5 and 6 are related…First up, Stefani: I’d love a short tutorial on how to reroute my blog from the blogger site to my own domain name, dropping the blogspot from my url address. I have a portfolio site through GoDaddy. Can I just buy another url on GoDaddy and host my blog there? How?
“Through your dashboard in Blogger, go to Settings, then Publishing. It will say you are publishing on a free blogspot address. It asks if you would like to switch to a custom domain. Click on that – also called advanced settings.
You will now have the option to buy your domain name through Blogger via Go Daddy or one other company, they choose for you.
It’s $10/yr, but it includes all the privacy options for your Who Is registry. Your domain can be automatically renewed each year.
It sets you up with Google Apps, but DO NOT ENABLE WEB PAGES. Basically, you are just automatically redirecting the server to your new address.
Google Apps will give you your own email @yourdotcom. Once your purchase goes through, you can hit the button where you started in Settings—>Publishing that says “Switch to Custom Domain” (or publish on) and it should take you right to your new blog address. Sometimes it can take a few days for the DNS servers to catch up and reflect the change.”
This video walks you through the whole thing: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=76543&ctx=sibling
Carma asks: I was curious about the various hosting options and what you recommend. I notice you, as well as others, have had your own site designed and that it is powered by WordPress. Is this so that it is possible to display ads? How does that all work?
My webhost is BlueHost and I’ve been generally happy with them. I think their control panel is user friendly, they have 24 hour customer support, and easy install and upgrade of WordPress. I’ve heard others say they use Liquidweb and have been happy with their service.
I chose WordPress over other blogging platforms like Blogger and Typepad because I really liked WordPress’s plug-in options. Also, I’d previously used Blogger as my platform and hated not being able to reply to comments. All the blogging platforms have their pros and cons.
As far as ads, you can display ads on hosted WordPress blogs, Blogger, and Typepad blogs. You cannot run ads on wordpress.com blogs.
Well! *claps hands* I think that is enough for today. Next week, more of your questions! And yes, if you’d like to submit a question you still can. PLEASE EMAIL me the questions, don’t leave them in the comments section, as I’m likely to lose them (unless, of course, it’s a question about today’s post…).
Until next week. Dismissed!