I’m working on a redesign, so posting will be light.
In the meantime, here are a few things that you, as a blogger, can do to make our lives as readers a little easier:
- Let us subscribe to comments. We’re a lot more likely to discuss something if we can keep up with the discussion. Reloading a page 20 times a day to see if there’s anything new is a real pain. If you’re using WordPress, consider a plugin like Subscribe to Comments.
- Publish a full RSS feed. I use Google Reader to keep track of over 400 blogs. Publishing a full feed instead of just a few sentences – or even worse, just the title [this means you, Teacher Magazine] – makes it a lot easier to keep up. If I wanted to load a page to read every article, I wouldn’t bother using an RSS aggregator.
- Check your feed’s formatting. Rule #1: Subscribe to your own feed. You’ll see how it appears for other people, too. If your feed mashes together paragraphs into one huge block of text, no matter how long the article, consider checking that formatting. We want to read things smoothly and easily, not sift through text.
And a couple smaller things:
- Don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS for EMPHASIS. Using the right words in a well-constructed argument makes THIS TACTIC irrelevant. Furthermore, it’s an offensive gesture. Do you really think your readers are too dumb to seize on key words and recognize their importance? If you NEED to do this, you’ve failed already. The alternative – and it’s a good one – is to use bold sparingly to catch attention.
- Strikethroughs. This unbearably banal charming addition to the blogosphere irks me. We have no gripe when it’s used properly as a copyediting mark; it’s instructive and honest, two pillars of blogdom. However, most of the time it’s used to denote cheap snark and cheaper sarcasm. There are less obnoxious ways to go about this.