Round 1 Followup and Suggestions
Since Round 1 came to a close, I will give my overall thoughts of what I have seen wrong with some blogs. I won’t pick out specific blogs, but I will point out problems that bloggers should improve on so their blogs will look better.
Avoid RandomC like Episodics
Throughout the whole round, there were blogs that would do a Random Curiosity like post by putting up a lot of screenshots and/or have a full synopsis and thoughts. The problem is that RandomC does it a lot faster than other blogs and it’s not very productive. Readers are most likely going to watch the episode already or read Random Curiosity, so it’s pointless just to do this. My suggestion is to write only your thoughts and add in interesting information along with a short synopsis if you wish. If you want, just do your impressions post every week so you can spend more time writing editorials. Be more creative… Even though editorials take more thinking than episodics, they are worthwhile in the end.
Try to keep up to date!
I noticed there was a few blogs that haven’t updated for a while. If you don’t update your blog at least 6 posts a month minimum, you are going to make readers disinterested because of the lack of content. Also, avoid announcing a hiatus, unless you absolutely need to. Announcing one will turn off readers on the spot…
Using the same theme… ugh…
Not avoidable on WordPress.com, but there is absolutely no excuse to be using a common theme if you host your WordPress on a host you are provided with. Be creative and play around with the CSS using a CSS editor or if you are brave enough, build your own using the Thematic Theme Framework. Keep in mind that your theme has to be properly formatted for a 1024×768 screen! If you don’t know what colors to use, head over to Colourlovers to get some inspiration. When deciding what colors to use, make sure they are readable… or people may have a hard time reading what you are going to say.
Poorly Done Banners
I know people cannot afford Photoshop because it’s ridiculously expensive, but if you can’t afford it, try using Photoshop Elements, which is a watered down Photoshop that contains the most of the commonly features used. On Mac OS X, Pixelmator is a excellent alternative to Photoshop/Photoshop Elements and having almost the same interface and Photoshop. If you want a free editor, check out Paint.net and The GIMP. Don’t use Microsoft Paint because you won’t be able to create good looking banners properly.
Wibiya/Gigya Toolbar and Annoyance
If you don’t know what is a Wibiya bar… it is a toolbar that floats on the bottom that provides social networking features. However, most will find them really annoying since they float when you move the page when you try to read something, the toolbar cover up some the text. It is also impossible to turn it off. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should be using a Wibiya bar since hardly anyone ever uses them and they cause incompatibility on multi-touch devices such as the iPhone and Droid. Get rid of them… you are doing the internet a favor by doing so and people will probably like you better if you do.
Avoid trash-talking, prejudice, personal attacks and bashing other blogs
Just don’t do it… This is what I have to say… unless you are a troll blog… but even if you are a troll blog, just don’t do personal attacks on other bloggers.
Don’t use gigantic banners
Banners should be at most 300 pixels in height and 960 pixels in width. Any bigger will cause longer loading times and making people having to scroll down further just to read your posts. Don’t do this people and just make your banner in the acceptable boundaries.
Make your site mobile accessible
Although I haven’t taken points off blogs that don’t have a mobile site, if you don’t have a WordPress.com blog, you need to worry. With multitouch smartphones becoming more popular, people want to read your blog on their smartphones without having to wait for the page to load. Use WPTouch or WordPress Mobile Pack to make your site more accessible on these devices.
If you using WP Super Cache, make sure you have the setting “half-on”, or the mobile theme won’t work properly.
Provide Better Navigation
I have noticed that some blogs completely lack an archive widget or page. Provide one! Readers might be interested in older posts and an archive will provide an easier way for them to find it. While you at it, include a categories widget as well, but most would have it already.
Also, use WP-PageNavi on your blog. This will provide page numbers on the index page and allows for paginated posts. People may find navigation a lot easier than just clicking Previous/Next Page to view another page of posts.
Don’t use Tumblr for your Anime blog
Although Tumblr is more powerful to be good enough for blogging, the problem is that it’s closed. Tumblr lacks a built-in commenting system and stuff. Tumblr is good for a personal or side blog, but don’t use it for Anime Blogging as there is better alternatives like WordPress, Blogger and Movable Type, which I haven’t seen anyone use thus far. If you going to use Tumblr, provide a commenting system so readers can interact without a Tumblr account.
Round 1 was pretty hectic, but from all the problems I mentioned, Synopsis/Thoughts Episodics, Keeping up to Date and Themes (excluding WordPress.com blogs) are the most problematic… Most of these blogs I seen are good, but some really need some improvements and this list of suggestions will kick start that. When I look into the second round, I will review blogs that were given a bye and hopefully it won’t turn out bad.
Also, stop using Wibiya for god sake! These bars drive me pretty batty.
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