This may the most important point, but it’s the hardest. There are skadzillions of blogs out there. Being original and fresh is quite a challenge. The world of Christianity is vast. There’s an open niche or two out there. Find one and fill it.
12. Say it well
Good grammar, tight sentences, clear thought — all those things they taught you in English 101 — remain true. Except you can use sentence fragments and be informal and stuff like that. Just don’t sound ignorant. And do proofread.
The proofreading on blogs isn’t quite so strict as for a book. We all mess up. Just try not to mess up much.
13. Link to the site you’re talking about; Cite the book or article you are criticizing
There’s an odd difference between progressive and conservative writers in the Churches of Christ. The conservatives often criticize books and articles without giving the name of the author or the link to the site. It’s very annoying and even a little dishonest. I mean, if I don’t know who you’re talking about, I can’t read what that person wrote to let him defend himself.
Progressives are generally pretty good at linking or citing to whomever they are criticizing. Which is how educated people are trained to do it and how people who aren’t afraid of being fact checked will want to do it. Right?
14. Do not play music!
Now, I love music. But if your blog automatically plays a song when I go there, I’m leaving! It’s rude. Let me click a link to hear the song. Don’t impose it on me.
I often read while others in my house are asleep. I’m trying to type ever-so-quietly when all of a sudden I get some loud music screaming over my speakers! Don’t do it!!
15. No flash introductions
A few people have a beautifully crafted Flash intro to their site. No one has time for the show. They are there to read your stuff, not be dazzled by your graphics. If you must, give a link so those who care can click and see the show. Don’t impose!
16. Keep the font selection simple
You really don’t need multiple colors or fonts for an effective blog. I mean, check out Time magazine or your local paper. They likely use just one font and one color.
Lots of fonts and colors makes for visual clutter. The eyes struggle to find the right spot. Keep it simple. Put your desire for color and variety to work in finding great illustrations instead.
17. Link to those who link to you
I fail at this myself. But Google ranks pages by how many people link to you. You want to encourage lots of people to link your way. The only polite thing is to link back. If nothing else, occasionally make a post thanking those who’ve linked to you with links back to them.
18. Allow trackbacks
In WordPress and similar services, you can elect to allow trackbacks. If you do, then when you link to a site, that site will be informed. The link may even show up in the comment section of the other blog. If so, you’ve just helped someone else’s readers find your site! And the other author doesn’t mind, because you’ve sent readers to his.
This is especially important if you criticize someone’s post. The trackback lets him know and have a fair chance to respond.
19. Don’t use backgrounds
Do not put pictures of your children or Jesus or Elvis or your kitten behind the text. It’s hard to read and downright annoying.
20. Provide a “Home” button or link on every page.
Every once in a while, I’ll go to a post, love it, want to read more, and find myself unable to navigate to the home page. Remember: most people will find your blog via a Google search leading them to one of your posts. Few will start on the home page. But you want them to find your home page … so make it easy.