talk is cheap. yap is what we do. coz its easy, and free, and some people actually read what we write! since i'm in a particularly deep trough of my creativity and giving advice is a great way to cover your own flaws, here's an earful for those starting up or making over,
use movable type and host your blog on some cheap web hosting service, if u r a cheapo unemployed loser like me you can stick to blogger, it is easy and thankfully customizable unlike xanga which i found suffocating after a while
use colors that are easy on the eyes, both for the background and the font, slightly different shades of the same color for the font and background is a really bad idea. my personal preference is a white background or some pastel color (like yaz's) with a dark font
use verdana or georgia. please.
keep the font at a comfy 10pt or 12pt, anything smaller is too hard to read, and especially scary when the post is long, larger fonts make even small posts look too lengthy and suggest frivolity
music? sooooo 90s, be it a weblog, a personal home page or a commercial site, a song clip when your page loads is an incredibly bad idea, it is jarring, irritating and completely unnecessary
see to it that your blog is 'usable', ie it is easy to navigate, comfortable to look at and loads fairly quickly. check if possible that it displays correctly in atleast three to four browsers, perhaps ie 4.x-6.x, netscape, mozilla and safari
i always add 'target=_blank' to my hrefs coz it allows people to continue reading a post while opening a link in another window. there are ways to give the reader the choice to open hyperlinks in the same or another window, but i just don't see why you'd want to go away from all the interesting stuff i post on ublog |smirk|
provide a link introducing yourself, your blog, the intended audience and the purpose of your blog. this is absolutely necessary, i almost never go back to a weblog which does not tell me anything about the author. even if you wish to remain anonymous, provide a rough background so that people atleast know what's going on
preferably, provide a section for feedback and comments for individual posts, this encourages reader participation and brings people back
get a counter, it helps you know what degree of readership you have, who links to you and what keyword searches throw up your weblog in google searches. this can be amusing (someone came to ublog searching for something akin to 'jewish underwear during world war two') and gratifying, it keeps you motivated
keep your blogroll under control, don't add a weblog if you liked one post, a good rule is to only have those weblogs that you read regularly, say once a week atleast
beware of trolls!
get involved, spend time on other weblogs, submit your url to bloglists like globeofblogs, weblogs.com and blogwise (links on the left)
what you write depends on the theme of your blog, you might be sharing life secrets or ranting about bush's foreign policy, just remember that if you'd like greater readership you'll have to give your post thought and research for it to make an impact on your readers
blogging offers the terrific opportunity to defend your thoughts and beliefs and to correct wrong impressions. i'm a muslim for example, and i've seen some really silly attacks on islam by those with a negative/flawed image of islam and i've used ublog to present our side of the story and to disabuse wrong impressions
never leave a comment for the sake of leaving a comment, say something when you have something to say, keep quiet if you don't. when there is something you feel strongly about say it but without being rude or offensive. in large forums it is easy to see your voice get lost in the din, a solution to that is post something on your own weblog with a link to the post you feel merits discussion
don't steal, when you quote, provide a reference
don't ask for money for your web hosting/blogging expenses, it is simply not polite. if you get a zillion hits a day like dailykos and tacitus, or if you provide really readable content like the sentimentalist or joelonsoftware, in other words if you have been instrumental in creating a community there is no harm in asking for the members of your community to support your efforts. a website that gets twenty to thirty or even a hundred hits a day can in no fairness ask for money, that's crude
do a grammar and spelcheck
don't do as i do, do as i say ;)
i'll keep this list going so if you have anything to add/edit/delete to/from it, let me know.