This series of posts has covered quite a bit on the different aspects of blogging and more specifically EMS blogging. There are still some practices and insights that I think I should share to try and be as comprehensive as possible. So, as briefly as possible, here’s everything I should have mentioned about EMS blogging but possibly didn’t:
Categories are a blog platform feature to help group your posts together. I think of categories as sort of a section in the library or book store where you can find a certain type of genre book, such as fiction, non-fiction, reference, languages. Categories allow your readers to easily find a certain type of post on your blog.
Some platforms also allow you to have subcategories. I view subcategories as being the specific bookshelf within a genre section where you will find a more specific type of book. For example while there is a Reference section in the bookstore, there are specific shelves for English dictionaries, another shelf for Spanish to English dictionaries, and yet another shelf for Thesauruses.
Categorizing your posts not only helps your readers find posts on similar topics together, but it also helps you in your search engine rankings. This is why category planning is actually important.
Tags are similar to categories in that they group posts together. I see tags as a way to indicate a reference in the post to a specific person, place, or thing as opposed to the genre of the post.
For example, although all of these posts have been categorized the same there are other posts within those categories. So to keep these posts together I used the tag Guide To EMS Blogging. Anyone clicking on that link will see only these posts whereas clicking on one of the categories would display ALL the posts within the category. I could have created a sub-category only for these posts, but I prefer to keep my categorical hierarchy relatively clean.
Tags in your posts can also help your search engine rankings but generally don’t require much planning, just as long as they are relevant to the post.
Syndication is one of those topics that really is pretty simple, yet everyone seems to get confused about it. The most common form of syndication is the Really Simple Syndication Feed. Your blog platform should have a built in RSS Feed that can be used by your readers to read your content in their RSS Reader or it can be used by you to offer an e-mail version of your posts and to spread the word about your post on services such as Facebook and Twitter. Writing the post is always the first step. Letting others know it has been written is the second.
Recommended apps for Twitter syndication: TwitterFeed
There are many different layout options you can choose for your blog. Three of them stand out as the most common. Those three are: sidebar/content, sidebar/content/sidebar, and content/sidebar. So I bet you’re asking which one is the best?
That’s really a decision best left up to you. Ask yourself what feels most natural when YOU are reading a blog? Usually that is the right answer, but don’t let that dissuade you from other layouts such as sidebar/sidebar/content or content/sidebar/sidebar or even content/sidebar/content.
Themes And Colors
There are usually a lot of theme options for the blog platform you’re using. If there aren’t a lot of theme options, you may want to rethink using that platform. Go with a theme that you feel the best about with whatever features you want hopefully built in.
Usually themes have color options or at least default colors that are pretty good. If you want to change the colors, here are just a few tips to keep in mind:
- Dark backgrounds should have light text on them and light backgrounds should have dark text on them
- If you decide you want the “Black Template of Doom” look, remember that your text should NOT be white. Go with a light gray, the eyes of your readers will thank you
- Hyperlink text should follow the same rules as regular text, but a reader should be able to differentiate a hyperlink from plain text
- Images as background art with text over it is very distracting, so use a solid background for your content
- Keep in mind that your images should be optimized in a GIF or PNG format, otherwise your load times may very well prevent readers from actually getting to your content
Any Questions Left Unanswered?
Thus concludes this Guide To EMS Blogging. Did I answer all of your questions? If not, feel free to ask away in the comments and I will do my best to answer them…