Archive for October, 2009
One of the things social media promised is the proverbial “conversation”– an authentic feedback mechanism where the publisher and reader become participants in a discussion.Â The way it goes is that the blogger/writer will post something and the readers who are compelled enough will respond with a comment and the blogger respond to it correspondingly.
But what if the reader who comments is a spammer?
I’m sure at some point, a blogger will receive seemingly authentic comments that actually are spam. This sophistication means that spammers are staying away from “Buy XXX drug” and moving to intelligent responses.
So how do you deal with it? Here’s a couple of suggestions:
- User better comment moderation tools – There’s Disqus and Intense Debate to help you moderate the comments. The interfaces and features of the two tools are much better the default WordPress or Blogger moderation tools.
- Turn off blog commentsÂ completely – While this is the ultimate “last resort,” this may be the feasible option for bloggers that don’t have the time to mark or moderate comments or when the volume of the spam comments have become unmanageable. In my experience, I turned commenting off for a few weeks, then turned it on again and the spam attacks subsided considerably.
Responding to relevant and authentic comments is one of the joys of blogging. But when the conversations become fake, it’s becomes the blogger’s worst nightmare.
Blog Usability is something taken for granted because most bloggers don’t design the template of their own blogs. But that shouldn’t be reason for bloggers to ignore usability completely.
If you’re a web designer, there are some easy to implement practical usability methods, such as basic heuristic review, user research, and prototyping. Bloggers who are more into the writing can do other little things that can go a long way to improving the blog’s usability:
- Write in short paragraphs – The principle behind is that research found that people who use the web scan pages rather than reading them outright. Meaning good spacing between paragraph blocks is a must. Â This also means that you have to alter your writing if you’re used to long and meandering paragraphs.
- Place elementsÂ consistently – One thing about usability is setting the expectations of your users. What this means for you as a blogger is that it may be better to lay-out images, block quotes, and even headings. This will help your readers “learn” how your blog is laid out and avoid getting confused with other elements.
- Avoid overriding your template’s styles – While most blog software like WordPress and Blogger do have a mature WYSIWYG editor, overriding the default styles defined in the template can do more harm than good.
Just remember, the guiding principle of blog usability is to make it easy for your readers to use your blog and read your content. You don’t really have to invest much to achieve improvements in your blog’s usability.
Attention all WordPress Plugin authors! WPMU.orgâ€™s annual WordPress MU and BuddyPress Plugin Contest 2009 is now open!
The contest aims to encourage the creation of plugins for WordPress MU and BuddyPress. Winners will get the chance to win cash prizes as well as recognition from the WPMU.org community.
The deadline for the competition is October 16. Check out their blog post for more details.
The 9rules blog network is accepting submissions for a new round of blogs!
The new round ofÂ submissionsÂ has begun and will end at 11:59 PM EST today. This is consistent with 9rules’ 24-hour window of blog submissions.
If you’re interested in joining a network of quality blogs, then submit yours now! Remember, submissions end within the day and feel free to spread the word.