Make your blog better

* If you don’t know who or what these are, check the Glossary page.

WordPress and blogging

WordPress

Did you know that in the upper-right of the Edit Post screen there’s a Screen Options drop-down menu that allows you to choose how your screen is laid out? I just found it a few days ago. Untouchable* is my favorite. It gets most of the newest, coolest stuff. It has a widescreen monitor that’s terrific for watching movies and Hulu. With all that horizontal real estate, it’s terrific for the two-column editor layout. Whitestar* and Defiant*, though, have traditional screens. When I’m working on one of them…as I am now…the one-column layout is better.

Make your blog better

If you’re simply reading blogs for entertainment, then read on and enjoy. If, however, your a blogger interested in both the story and the art consider setting a goal of finding one new blog each day (or week) that piques your interest. That’s what we’re doing here at TRF*. It’s surprising how difficult this is. Try it. Here’s a tip. Whenever someone clicks on Like…

(If, like me, you’re very new to blogging: click on the comment link, then scroll up the page. There’s a button with Like on it. Click it if you liked the post.)

…a link to their blog is left behind. At TRF, we follow the link and check out their blog. We’ve had more luck finding interesting new blogs following these links than by random browsing.

Make your visits more productive. PhilosopherMouse (PM) clicked Like for one of my posts. I followed his link to Warning: Granny bites (You really should read it; it’s a hoot.) Today, PM posted Shhhh. Requires Invisibility Cloak which I think is a terrific piece. Perhaps it isn’t your cup-of-tea, though. Don’t stop. Look at the theme PM is using, how he’s used pictures, and arranged text and graphics on the page. There’s so much great stuff here in addition to the story. PM is a gifted story-teller and artist. I’ve only read two of his posts, but already, I’m a fan. He’s given me a few laughs and some terrific ideas for making my blog better. Thanks PhilosopherMouse!

One last thought for bloggers: Think about comments as a gift…both for the author and for ourselves. The desire to share, through our blogs, means that we’re observing, thinking, and forming opinions. The fact that we’re blogging indicates that we want to share our observations and opinions. Consider leaving a comment on at least one blog each day. If a blog post intrigues you, what one thing caused your synapses to fire? Tell the blogger! What was something you liked? What was something you didn’t? What would you like to hear more about? This simple exercise for just one blog a day will improve our ability to think and reason; it will sharpen our focus; and, it will show up in our blogging.

Freemind

FreeMind

FreeMind has become an indispensable, mission-critical tool here on the LilyPad. I have FreeMind automatically start whenever I turn on a computer. Previously, I used Tomboy Notes to catch ideas and thoughts. Now, I use FreeMind.  Give it a try; I think you’ll like it.

I like having a plan. It takes just a minute to put together a mind map. (If you don’t know what mind mapping is, take a look at my post Creativity and content creation.) It helps me judge what and how much to try to fit into my blog for the day. The graphic above is for this post.

The central node is labeled 2012-01-17. There are four primary nodes: working files, chatterbox, backup, comments. Looking at this post, it’s obvious that I can only cover about two primary nodes without my post becoming an epic novel. That’s very useful information for future planning. It also tells me that I’m not going to run out of material anytime soon. The other ideas will keep. That’s enough for today.

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