Venus Trapped in Mars

12 April 2014

Saturday Sessions: 10 Things You Should Go Do Right Now To Help Your Blog





These are things I personally feel will help your blog. You may disagree with some, and if you do feel free to leave a comment with your feedback! The more people that weigh in on these topics, the more information we will all have to help make decisions on which of these 10 things to use/not use!


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1. Turn off Captcha / Word Verification: 
It's annoying. We all hate it. I can't read the numbers. Is that an H or an 8? My guess is you have no idea you have it on.... Here's how to fix:








2. UPDATE May 2015: I have removed this item because it is no longer relevant.  


3. Confirm you aren't a no-reply blogger. 
Use this tutorial. Note: If you have Wordpress, there are a couple of other ideas you can use...

Wordpress Users:
1. Create a gmail account if you don't already have one, and login through Blogger.com. Then start at step 4 of this tutorial to be sure your email address is connected when you leave comments. 

2. When you leave a comment, include your email address. I know lots of people include their URL anytime they leave a comment, well, why not leave your email address too!

If you aren't sure if you are no-reply or not, feel free to leave me a comment with your email address written in the comment. I'll email you back and let you know yes or no. 


4. Take something off before you leave.
"Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." -- Coco Chanel

I was a PR major, if there is one thing I learned that was valuable it is to shorten everything. If you think it is short, go back and make it shorter. Being concise is key. So before you hit publish, remove one sentence, or one paragraph or one word. Remove something that isn't necessary for that post to make sense.

5. Remove the Nav Bar at the top of the screen
Tiny little change that opens your blog up and makes all the difference in the world.







How To Remove Nav Bar:





6. Get rid of "Read More" 
If you are a blogger that uses "read more" I would love for you to stop doing that. Some of my favorite blogs utilize "read more" and I'll still click and deal with it but only because I'm totally 100% addicted to their blog and content (i.e. The Londoner). But I hate it.

I realize it skyrockets page views, but I just feel there is more to blogging than page views, such as keeping loyal readers happy and coming back!

7. Make sure your links are a different color than your post text
This may be silly to some people, but I prefer to have links stand out, otherwise your readers may not realize you're even linking to something. If your text is black, make your links orange (or any color other than black).

8. Personalize your blog
Show your face. I've noticed that personalized blogs do much better than anonymous blogs. It is hard to form a connection with a blogger when you have no idea what they look like. Again, personal preference here.


9. Smaller is better
Massive fonts, gigantic header, column widths that don't fit on a standard screen size causing your reader to scroll back and forth while reading.... Smaller is better. When in doubt, pick the smaller size.

10. Get your posts organized and categorized
I suuuuuuuuuck at this. I am terrible. I never label my posts. I never categorize things. I always forget to update my Saturday Sessions tab. If you aren't sure how to label your posts, I have a tutorial on it! Your readers that are looking for something specific won't jump through hoops to find it, so make it easy for them. Don't be like me, get to labeling! 



So, what is something simple you would recommend that everyone go do right now to improve their blog?

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70 comments :

  1. Thanks for this! I'm new and when I got my new design I turned off the mobile view (because the design wasn't showing on mobile) and then I thought maybe people wouldn't like to view the normal site on their mobiles. Glad I found this post. Also my links were at first the same colour as my text (because I wanted my sidebar which is full of links to be in black writing) but I just changed it and it made the word of difference. Thanks! :)

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  2. These are pretty much the best tips ever. Especially the no-reply fix and personalizing your blog. I'm not sure why, maybe just because bloggers are visual creatures, but I find it hard to pay attention to blogs that are just generic designs with no photos or info about the blogger :(

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  3. Cheers for this! I had all the technical stuff nailed except for the Nav bar. Poof - It's gone!

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  4. Great tips! What is 'read more' and how exactly do you get rid of it? Thanks!

    -Rebekah @ Blue Giraffes and Concrete Jungles

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  5. Other than the "read more" thing my biggest annoyance is font I can't read. I don't have the best eyes, but with contacts I'm pretty close to 20/20 so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to read your font, unless you picked a bad one. I don't know how some people can read blogs with all the curvy or tiny or badly spaced fonts.

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  6. I recommend that everyone go create a twitter account if they don't already have one. Seriously, how can one not have twitter?

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  7. Completely hate Captcha, I hope everyone reads this and changes that. It's so annoying! Thanks for the tips! Happy Saturday!

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  8. The no-reply blogger thing is HUGE! I like to respond to all of the comments I get and sometimes I have to search to find the person's email and then FORWARD my response to them rather than just hitting reply. It's a pain in the butt. Is that lazy of me? I mean, if you don't want people to have your PERSONAL e-mail that associate a different e-mail with your blog. I made up an entirely new one.

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  9. Great tips! Already made two changes :) thanks for sharing.
    Have a good weekend!

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  10. I was pretty excited when I figured out how to get rid of the nav bar. I do think it looks a lot better without one!

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  11. Thanks so much for these tips- I didn't even know I could take off the nav bar! Yay for becoming a better blogger!

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  12. Thanks so much for sharing this. I just went through and did anything that I didn't already have set up on my blog.

    FYI I'm pretty sure the pictures under "how to remove nav bar" are in the wrong order. I think the bottom picture should be the top one.

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  13. I love, love, love this!
    I think I utilize most of this already, but I will definitely be double checking, now!
    Thanks.

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  14. I love your saturday sessions b/c they really do help me out. The only problem is I'm on wordpress and your tutorials are always blogger, sigh. Doesn't stop me from reading though so it's clearly a personal problem haha..Keep up the great work girl :)

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  15. thanks a bunch! I'v used a few of ur sat sessions while setting up my blog and today I got rid of the nav bar, which I have wanted to do since I started!

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  16. Loved this post - so many things I have yet to learn. :) I'm not sure if I'm a no-reply blogger, though! =/ Can you let me know? justjessiedblog@gmail.com

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  17. I hate mobile version. It gives me anxiety because just trying to scroll around it will flip to different posts! Love all these and I love your Saturday sessions :)

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  18. Yes to the Navy bar! Also if I like your blog I also want to get to know you. Create an about page, link to posts where you shared random facts about yourself, and please show me a picture!!

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  19. I can't stand stand blogs with the "read me" option... I hate to say it, but I'll usually exit the blog if they make me click on links to read their post. I also hate blogs that don't have a picture and a mini blurb/facts about themselves.

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  20. I had no idea you can turn off "mobile version" these are great tips thank you!!!

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  21. Social media icons! If you like what someone is saying it's a real bummer when you can't find them on twitter or anywhere else.

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  22. Thanks for these simple and short tips!

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  23. Thanks!! I had already done a lot of these, but now I've disabled mobile and gotten rid of the Nav bar at the top!! :)

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  24. Ohhh I love your Saturday sessions :) Keep up the good work beautiful!

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  25. You are very right about making a sentence shorter or editing an entire paragraph before pushing publish. I'm brutal at keeping things short. But because I just started back at work I'm not able to read as many blog posts that I would like and I am super grateful to the bloggers that have short posts.. It got me thinking that I need to shorten my posts too!

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  26. so curious on your thoughts about using "read more" on blog posts that are older, especially photo-heavy posts. i generally will do this a few days after publishing a post as to not bog down page load time with loading all the photos. bad, ok, or annoying? :)

    love this list - i would also add pop ups asking for a facebook like or to sign up for a newsletter the second you load a blog's page! so annoying.

    xo. jenn @ hello, rigby!

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  27. Thank you! I agree about showing my face more... I'm going to update tonight!

    Sophie x

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  28. Thanks for the advice! Especially no. 1 & 2. Love your blog!
    New follower on Bloglovin'

    C:ndy | http://www.mazedays.blogspot.com

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  29. Hey Sarah!! Love the tips, very helpful! Have a great rest of the weekend! :) Xo

    Lisa,xo
    http://chiclittlethrills.blogspot.com/

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  30. I also forgot to mention G+ Embedded in comments is a no-no! Its looks a little sloppy and it counts your G+ promo's as comments. I higghhly recommend people remove that! ;) xx

    Lisa,xo

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  31. These are by far the best tips ive seen! I had no idea that you could turn off the annoying naivgation bar lol, thanks a ton!
    Rayann~Rayann410

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  32. Thanks for this. So what's your tips to get more comment? Or how to grow your blog.

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  33. These tips were extremely helpful! Thanks so much!

    ♥HB
    http://preetiest.blogspot.com

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  34. I have soooo many no-reply comments with this A-Z challenge I'm doing. I just don't understand how people can be bloggers and have no idea! Oh yes "Read More" I'm usually slow and wonder what the hell happened to the rest of their post. *face palm* Then I realize I'm supposed to click, skip to where I left off and continue reading. I still have the Mobile allowed on my blog, and you're making me second guess why I like it. I've checked it out and the only part I hate is when I accidentally swipe it takes me to another post!

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  35. A bloody great list and wise ideas some bloggers could do with following

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  36. Great tips! Thank you! I recently looked at my blog on my phone and even I was annoyed by the mobile version.

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  37. I'm going to remove my Nav Bar now. I never noticed what a difference it makes. One thing I would suggest for more viewership (coming from a gal that has exactly three followers) is to write, well and often, and follow/comment on popular blogs. That's all I'm trying to do, anyway. The commenting on popular blogs can't be "Great post! (link to blog)." It should be something real.

    (Now I'm realizing that I'm utilizing my suggestion by commenting here, but it really is a tip that could help some people.) ;)

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  38. I actually won't read blogs on my phone or Kindle fire without a mobile layout. mobile layouts can be done poorly and well, but they make your site accessible no matter how slow the visitor's connection or small their screen. That will always trump personal preference IMO.

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  39. I was so excited to see a Saturday Sessions post! I love these posts so much! okay, done fangirling now. haha

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  40. Great post!! I'm gonna have to take a look at some of these on my blog and see what's up!

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  41. all of this is so spot on. people should save this for the future. especially the nav bar- i think people don't even think about that!

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  42. Great post. I really appreciate it!

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  43. Love this! I totally went through it and made all the necessary changes haha

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  44. I'm surprised how many of these I've already done!

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  45. Interesting, I was at a blogger conference this weekend ( my first) and we were advised BIG FONTS are better. Most of the rest of your tips I have done ( thanks to you pointing them out, like the word verification and yes now it irks me) I tried the no reply to reply but I really like Google + so I will now insert your next tip and place the address here.
    Thanks for all the great advise
    Lindaandkent1@gmail.com

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  46. I would be SO HAPPY if the entire world was captcha free.

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  47. I always learn something new from your blog (you even emailed me about being a no-reply blogger), such useful posts :)

    Natalia

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  48. Having a mobile site actually helps readers, if it's built correctly. Let's face regardless if you are on wifi or not phones are made to use a data streamline. It takes it longer to load a full website or blog. I think this template used for mobile devices are poorly made via blogger. Google should be shamed of themselves for not updating the mobile template. There is a way to optimize your site for mobile devices without loosing web design itself. My blog and website works on iPhone, iPad in both viewing positions.

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  49. These tips are great! I'm wondering if I'm a no-reply, thatgovernmentgirl@gmail.com

    Thanks so much!
    Megan

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  50. Thank you so much for these tips! I actually went and changed a couple of things you recommended. Again, thanks!

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  51. You are literally a blessing to all us newbies out here on the big, bad Interweb. I commend you.

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  52. Loving all your suggestions, they were super helpful for those bloggin' newbies like me!
    Check out my blog for your chance to win a pair of Hunter Rain Boots!
    Megan Star | Beauty Brawler

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  53. Oh my goodness... seriously, every time I have to type captcha I seriously want to scream! It's so annoying. I contemplate not leaving a message out of spite...

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  54. I hate mobile sites in almost all cases, but I've had readers tell me they won't comment on blogs who don't have that if they're reading on their phone or table. It's not that I'm that desperate for comments, but I think it's preference. Hmmm...

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  55. I agree with everything EXCEPT the mobile sites. There is nothing more annoying to me than trying to read a full site on my iphone, and since I do almost all of my blog reading at work there's a good chance I'll just skip over your post if the link takes me to a full site. All the scrolling around the page is enough to drive a person insane!

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  56. Word verification drives me nuts. I hate it on other sites. I read this, I had no idea that I had it on after 2 years of blogging. No. Freaking. Clue. I checked because you actually told me I probably didn't even know I had it on, and low and behold your genius. Thank you for this. You have changed my life!

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  57. I agree wholeheartedly with you. I HATE mobile sites, so annoying. "Read more" causes me to close the site and not go back.
    Thanks for doing Saturday Sessions! I am now no longer a no-reply blogger. Yay.

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  58. So glad I found you and this post. I am a newbie and I am starting to feel very lost. I am going to take these tips into action NOW!

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  59. 1. Turn off Captcha / Word Verification- YES! I COULD NOT AGREE MORE!! If there is one thing I get completely annoyed by everyday in my productivity it is commenting on websites and blogs and having to "verify I am human". It takes away from my time and limits me to getting on with my day and commenting on someone else's work. Deleting spam comments is NOT that hard or time consuming if you put into factor is it really worth losing 10-15 comments a day because they are just going to not comment all together.

    6. Get rid of "Read More"- Strongly disagree. SEO and running an online business go together like a piece of paper and a writing utensil of some sort. You cannot write unless you have a piece of paper (piece of wood and carving tool, chalk and sidewalk...) and you cannot run an online business without SEO. In my website for example, money-saving tips, when I write store matchups every link I create after 100 hurts my SEO. In addition does someone who doesn't even have a Rite-Aid in their town, driving distance, or state for that matter really want to scroll for six minutes just to get to the end of the Rite-Aid weekly store matchups?

    Anyways, very interesting post and well explained! I'm new to your blog and very happy I stumbled upon it! Thanks for the article.
    Kayla @ The Midwest Lifestyle
    http://www.themidwestlifestyle.com

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  60. Oh my, just found your blog its awesome! Your posts are so informative, Thank you! Also am I a no reply blogger? I tried to make sure I wasn't once put don't know if it worked!(thebusybee39@gmail.com)

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  61. Does not taking off the Navbar mean readers will see it too when they are logged in with gmail? And how do you get to your blogger menu without the navbar?

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca

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  62. Extremely useful post! Thanks a bunch. :)

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  63. Great post! So helpful. Bookmarking!

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  64. If you could do a Saturday Session on how to show posts on multiple pages that would be lovely! :)

    -Eva
    www.thepreppyballerina.blogspot.com

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  65. Interesting, I actually think that the "Read More" makes it easier for my readers to find content they want to reader. Otherwise they have to scroll forever to get to a new post.

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  66. I love your tutorial posts and have utilized them almost since the beginning of my blog. I would love to get rid of the "Read More" but want to find a way to incorporate custom links to my content like you've done on this post. Can you do a tutorial on how to create the "More posts with the label" buttons? I could use your image mapping tutorial (which I did for my sidebar "favorite posts"), but I want a way to auto generate that. I'd also like to auto generate the sidebar content, but one step at a time!
    Thanks from a fellow Texas blogger!

    Becca
    farmgirlbigcityblog.com

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Comments make my heart go boom boom.

I respond to all comments, if you are leaving me comments and not getting a reply, you may be a no-reply blogger. Fix it HERE!