20 Usability Tips For The New And Experienced Blogger

On Tom Johnson’s blog titled “I’d Rather Be Writing”, he has pulled together a very valuable selection of usability tips for when you are setting up and adding content to your blog.

At Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog — Condensed from Dozens of Bloggers’ Experiences, Tom expands on each of the following tips:

1. Pick a topic for your blog.
2. Encourage comments.
3. Make it easy to subscribe.
4. Include an About page.
5. Present your ideas visually.
6. Keep posts short and to the point.
7. Use subheadings for long posts.
8. Link abundantly.
9. Make headlines descriptive.
10. Archive by topic.
11. Include a list of related posts beneath each post.
12. Allow users to contact you offline.
13. Present your real viewpoint.
14. Write for your future employer.
15. Include a Top Posts section.
16. Provide an index.
17. Get your own URL and match it to your blog’s title.
18. Include a Recent Posts section in your sidebar.
19. Reward commenters for commenting.
20. Post often.

Incredibly useful for new bloggers, and naturally a gentle reminder for the more experienced!

Highly recommend you check out Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog — Condensed from Dozens of Bloggers’ Experiences and then get in touch with us for any technical amendments you want for your blog.

6 WordPress Comment Plugins To Build Stronger Relationships With Site Visitors

When we set up your website using WordPress technology, you’ll soon realise that comments on your site play a very powerful part in encouraging people to continue visiting your site, and when they do arrive, comments are great at getting visitors to stick around.  People love to be part of a community, and comments allow visitors to interact with others who are visiting the site.

The longer that site visitors spend on your site, the more time you have to build a stronger relationship with them.  Stronger relationships result in greater awareness, and certainly better sales conversions.

Here are a selection of WordPress plugins that will encourage more comments to be placed on your site.

  1. The Subscribe To Comments plugin allows a commentator to check a box, which then notifies them by email any time someone else comments on the same post.  This encourages them to return to the site and stay immersed in the conversation.
  2. The Show Top Commentators plugin displays a list of top commentators (their names and number of comments) in the site sidebar, and it encourages discussion by the site readers.  This is a terrific simple way to show recognition to those who are contributing to your website community.
  3. The Comment Relish plugin makes you appear polite!  It sends a thank you email to those who comment on your site for the first time, making them feel good about coming back to comment regularly.  This is a more private form of recognition, but equally as effective as the Show Top Commentators plugin.
  4. The Brian’s Threaded Comments plugin places a ‘Reply to this comment’ link to every comment on the page.  What happens is that whenever this reply link is used, the new comment is placed directly below the comment being replied to, rather than at the end of the page.  This makes it easier for people to reply to comments rather than having to quote or refer to another comment, and prevents readers having to search all the way down the page when looking for answers to their question.
  5. The Get Recent Comments plugin displays the most recent comments in the sidebar.  This plugin can be set up to link the recent commenter’s site as well as an excerpt of their comment – the link to their site obviously encourages them to leave more comments!
  6. The Live Comment Preview plugin displays a live preview of the visitor’s comments as they type.

Get in touch and have us install any of these six plugins to have you build stronger relationships with your site visitors and truly tap into the magic of comments!

How To Set Up Your Home Office

The ideal home office is both functional and a joy to work in.  Here’s how to set up your home office so that it meets your specific needs, tastes, work style and physical limitations.

Step 1: Have Your Own Room: 

Arrange it so that your family members know when it’s ok to interrupt you and when it’s not.  A simple way to do this is by keeping your door closed when you don’t want to be interrupted at all, and keeping the door ajar when you are cool to handle minor domestic issues that pop up.

Step 2: Get The Kit:

– Desk: have your desk positioned where there is enough natural light for reading without having glare created on the screen.

– Desk Chair: a chair where you can adjust it’s height, the tilt of the seat and where there is lumbar support.  You’ll want to be able to sit comfortably in it if you’re spending most of your day there.

– Computer: a laptop which connects wirelessly to peripherals up to 30 feet away, with enough hard disk space and RAM to handle your business needs.

– Wireless Router: have the freedom of working wirelessly from any room in your home by having a wireless router set up, giving you the change of scenery you may sometimes want.  We recommend ordering one from Misco.

– All-In-One Printer: a laser printer and photocopier that operates at high speed, which has a fax machine and colour scanner built in.

– VoIP Phone / Headset: get hold of a USB headset which combines headphones with a microphone, to make long-distance phone calls for free using powerful Voice over IP applications such as Skype.

– External Hard Drive: back up all your important files regularly with an external hard drive.

– Security Set-up: keep your information secure by investing in internet security software.

– Lighting Control System: at the press of a button, recall a lighting preset to match your desired mood or activity.

Step 3: Start Working:

Once you’ve invested in and installed all your kit, you’re ready to get working!  What else would YOU add to your ideal home office?