Finding the Forest for the Trees
Perhaps I should rename this post to Bloke’s Bloopers. I love to write about my blogging experiences, especially the bloopers so my readers can learn from my dumb mistakes. Believe me when I say after more than a decade online I’ve made my fair share of goofups.
Today I want to talk about some of those mistakes and hopefully you will find something that you can relate to. Or perhaps you might be willing to share your own experiences with us so that we can all benefit as bloggers.
Tweaking Our Templates:
Lets start with our templates. Sometimes when we are busy tweaking our theme we can’t see the forest for the trees. What I mean by that is we can get so wrapped up in the little details that we might miss the bigger picture.
For example, I was playing around with the images and borders to get everything looking pixel perfect. Or so I thought. I was so intent on making it the way I wanted that I hadn’t noticed some of the elements no longer lined up.
It had thrown off the symmetry of the theme and I didn’t even notice it at the time. It wasn’t until days later that I saw the problem.
Why? Because I was so focused on fixing the finer details that I lost sight of the big picture. It was also looking real bad in IE because I had forgotten to test it on all of the browsers at the time.
How embarrassing. DOH!
I’m sure you’ve done this yourself (at least I hope I’m not the only dope in the blogosphere). So the point I’m trying to make is when you are tweaking your blog theme .. walk away for awhile. Leave it alone and take a look at it again later with fresh eyes.
Instead of only just focusing on the minor details, don’t forget to look at your blog design as a whole (or should I say the sum of all its parts).
Hit the F-11 key and get rid of the browser’s top menus so there’s less clutter on your screen. Change the resolution size of your desktop to see how other readers who are using the bigger monitors see your blog. You will be amazed at how different your blog will look.
Sometimes our ideas which we initially thought were brilliant don’t work all that well in the real world. So while it’s good to sweat the small stuff, don’t forget the bigger picture either.
Because after all that’s what your viewers are going to notice at first glance.
Writing Good Blog Posts:
The same thing goes for writing your blog articles. It’s just as important for your posts to be visually appealing as well as the quality of the content.
Crikey! What am I saying? Well ok then, it’s almost as important as the content.
What I mean by that is visitors will only give you a few seconds of their time before deciding whether or not to stay awhile and read more. So while it’s important to check for bad grammar or spelling before publishing, there’s something else for you to consider.
If your posts have long paragraphs, no pictures, small unreadable print, no headings to break up the monotony of the document, or run-on sentences (like this one) then chances are they won’t be sticking around for very long.
In today’s multi-media world people want to be entertained as well as informed. Just look at the news today. If that’s not entertainment then I don’t know what is.
For example, although this isn’t about blogging it’s still a good comparison. When I was a litigator I always said I won my my case before I even entered the court room. (Considering that I won 97% of my cases I guess I was right).
Why? Well there’s a lot of reasons for that besides doing my homework. The document gave just enough information to be convincing to the judge while leaving out some information for the closing arguments. It’s also a good idea to save something for surprising the hostile witnesses if you know what I mean.
Most importantly, every word in the document was carefully chosen, my facts were well researched and accurate, my thoughts were reasoned and organized. I anticipated every obstacle or objection from the other side, so when I was in the courtroom everything went off like a rehearsed drill without a hitch.
The document was beautiful to behold as well. Showing a pride in workmanship gives a good impression and speaks volumes about the author.
Walking away from your Post is just as important.
I almost never sit down and write a post completely through from beginning to end. Each time I proofread the draft something else might come to mind.
It’s not until I can read the document all the way through without adding something more that I think it’s finished. Even then it’s still a good idea to let it simmer like a good pot-roast on the stove to make sure. It can only improve with time.
One More Thing. Before you publish don’t forget to hit the “Preview” button either because it can look totally different once it’s up on your blog.
Oh yeah, I just remembered the sub-title for this post is called “Bloke’s Bloopers”. Which reminds me I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve published a post and forgot to spell-check or preview first, or I didn’t think it through, or the grammar sucked, or…
You see I still make mistakes too and I don’t always remember my own advice. For more information about how you can make your posts more interesting you can also read “10 Blog Tips for Writing a Better Post” or check out similar posts under the “Writing” category.
So the moral of this story is don’t forget to see the forest as well as the trees. Both are important.
Do you have any more blog tips you can share?