You want people to subscribe right? And comments? Good! Ok, then you need some really basic things – and you can leave out other things that you might think are mandatory.
Stuff You Need
1. A description of what the blog is about
I’m not talking about a huge list of what you may or may not talk about ever – just the “main point” of your blog. Even if you think you don’t have a “point,” you do. Do you play a specific class mostly? A specific type (i.e. caster)? Are you a casual or hard-core player? Do you PvP or PvE? Are you a guild leader or officer?
You’d be surprised how many people omit this. You may think it’s obvious by the posts, pictures, or title – it’s not.
People browsing your blog for the first time don’t want to have to dig for this information. They don’t want to have to make an educated guess from the first few posts. They want to see “this blog is about druids and princesses.” And if they don’t see that, they may not subscribe, even if they want to hear about druids and princesses.
You have a lot of flexibility in where you put this information on your site, how you present the information, and how much information you give. It’s a matter of personal preference.
- Mana Obscura’s About Page
- Bossy Pally’s About Page
- Kiss My Alas’s .
- Ecclesiastical Discipline has her blog description on the right sidebar.
- Priest With a Cause gives a short description on the front page, with a link to more info.
- Pugging Pally has both an About Page and a short sidebar description for the front page.
2. A way to find important crap
If you write important and useful stuff, you need it to be obviously findable.
If people see important crap, your best work, while browsing your site for the first time, they might subscribe. If your important crap is only findable by category or search term, or is buried at the way bottom of the sidebar below your 400-entry blogroll, you’re not showing off your assets.
(If you have a mobile theme, make sure your important crap is also findable there as well. SO many people browse on their phones.)
- SlikRX just created Page TWO
- Jaedia has a main directory of – which link to relevant subpages by category. This prevents the long-long-long page of stuff if you have a lot of links.
- SamuelTempus links to both essential posts and leveling guides in the sidebar.
- Kurn links her Holy-How-To guides in the first box of the sidebar.
Important crap does not necessarily always mean “GUIDES”. It just means stuff you want people to be able to find.
- Looking for More Corporate Raider series.
- Revive & Rejuvenate has a Gallery Page.
- A View Through the Branches Wow Tourism by Topic.
3. Full Feed
Make sure your feed doesn’t cut off and make people go to your website. I know, I know, you want the hits and possibly ad revenue.
However, a lot of people read their feed reader behind a firewall and can’t get to your site. Or they are browsing on their phones and it is just too much of a pain to click through. So in trying to get more hits, you end up losing subscribers. That’s no good.
4. A way to comment without logging into anything
Whatever comment system you use, your readers need to be able to leave a comment using only their name and e-mail address. If people have to go through too much red tape to comment, they won’t comment at all. We bloggers may have accounts for just about every service, but “the normals” don’t.
Yes, I know, you’re afraid of spam. There are ways of dealing with spam without requiring a login, including the dreaded “captcha.”
5. Subscribe to comments by email
If someone is nice enough to leave you a comment, you hope he or she will come back to read subsequent comments, right? Make sure commenters can subscribe by e-mail.
This should be the default in WordPress.com and Blogger blogs, or something you can set from your basic options. For self-hosted WordPress, I recommend Gurken Subscribe to Comments. It just adds the simple check box to your comment form so it looks like your basic wordpress-hosted blog. Except, and this is a big except, you can choose whether or not to do “double opt-in” (default on wordpress.com) which asks the commenter to confirm the subscription via e-mail.
6. A way to contact the author privately
Just post an e-mail address. It can be any e-mail address you have. It doesn’t have to be the one you use to login to your blog! It should not be your battle.net address or one that contains your real name.
You can put it ANYWHERE, not necessarily on your “profile.” All you have to do is write it SOMEWHERE on your site: Sidebar, about page, whatever.
If you are worried about spam, write your address like Name [at] host [dot] com. Or open up MSPaint, type your e-mail address into the picture, save as a photo, and display that sucker like you’d display any other photo on your blog. Easy!
- Rhidach has a .
- Firespirit includes it in his about page.
- Cannot be Tamed .
- A Healadin’s Tear has a gmail image in the left sidebar. (There are online applications that will generate the image for you, if that’s what you like.)
- Oddcraft has a , but it’s not necessary to get that fancy unless you want to.
- Pewter has a nifty contact form and also lists other contact methods on the about page.
- Windsoar has an e-mail link and a formspring link on the main page.
Stuff You Shouldn’t Feel Compelled to Include
1. Armory links to your toons.
If you want to share this, by all means do it, but if you don’t feel comfortable with it, then don’t. Some people may question your credentials without an armory link to see how leet you are. Those people are losers.
- If you want to share your gear, spec, or glyphs without divulging other information, you can always make a profile on chardev.org like Kurn did.
- Or you can describe your characters, like Evensong, without giving names.
2. Real-Life Info or picture.
Again, you can choose to share this, but nobody is going to shun your blog because they don’t know that you’re an accountant. Unless your articles truly don’t make sense without knowing your personal background information, you are free to omit it.