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Posts from August 2012

Blogging Best Practices: Grow Your Audience

We hope you're enjoying our series of posts on Blogging Best Practices! Each Thursday for 10 weeks, we're debuting a new post designed to help you create great content, share it with the world, and become a better blogger. Check out other posts in the series here!

For new and experienced bloggers alike, it can be a challenge to stand out from the crowd and have your voice heard in a meaningful way. These five basic guidelines will help you attract attention, make things interesting, and keep your readers coming back:

Find Your Niche. "Write what you know" is one of the most common - and best - pieces of advice novice authors receive, but it's great advice for bloggers, too. A depth of knowledge will provide you with plenty of content, and it can also help your readers see you as an authority on your subject. Are you into cooking? An avid birder? Maybe you know more about your neighborhood than anyone else on the block. Write about your passion, and you'll always have something to say.

Make it Personal. Ask a group of blog readers what keeps them coming back to their favorite blogs, and the first thing they'll tell you is that they relate to the bloggers who write them. No matter the subject, injecting your personality into your posts is a must. Relating a personal anecdote about the subject at hand is a great way to do this on a regular basis, and having a great About or Bio page complete with your background, hobbies, and a photo or two is another essential aspect. Letting your readers get to know you on a more personal level is key, so be candid, and show your face! Not sure how to start? Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess are a great example of how getting personal gets long-term readers.

Keep it Going. One of the most effective ways to build your readership is also one of the most simple: publish on a regular basis. Every blogger knows that it can be tough to find the time and energy to write regularly, but in order to remain relevant and retain interest, a consistent posting schedule is essential. Start taking a notebook and pen (or your iPhone) everywhere, and keep a list of topics handy. Too busy to write every day? Take a few hours once or twice a week and write (or at least start drafting) a few posts at a time. Still need help? Check out these great tips on posting frequently, direct from our Blogging Best Practices series.

Keep Things Interesting. If you're blogging about your passions, keeping it personal, and posting frequently, chances are you're not boring your readers, but it can be helpful to do a quick reality check every now and then to make sure your content is concise and relevant. Never make your posts longer than they need to be; keep it brief, but comprehensive. One good rule of thumb is to consider every post a first draft, and never forget to edit. Want some inspiration? Seth Godin has it down to a science.

Appearance Matters. By now you know that content is the key, but having a great design and using images in posts can also go a long way in attracting new readers and growing your audience. It's important to pay attention to your blog's style by sporting a good design and using photos in your posts whenever relevant. Clean lines, plenty of white space, and pops of color are pleasant to look at and provide the framing for your content. Lots of great themes for Typepad bloggers can be found in your account at Blogs > Design. For those who want to get a bit more fancy, the Theme Builder is fantastic, and we even offer professional design services if you're not into DIY. Be sure to check out our tips on photo use and attribution here, and check out Peck Life for a fantastic example of style and substance - the total package!

We hope this helps you dig in and start growing your audience. Be sure to check out all the great blogs and resources linked throughout the post!

Rangers Tribune's Sporty New Design


Nick runs a popular sports blog, called Rangers Tribune, about his local professional hockey team. He wanted to make the front page look more like a news website than a standard blog and to revamp the overall design. He contacted Typepad blog services and requested a custom design service.

Nick provided the images he wanted to use and our team set up the layout and created the new design. The new front page has a featured post with a large image and a grid of recent posts, each highlighted with a thumbnail image from the post (the screenshot above only gives a taste so click through to view the whole design on the blog). It's a great way to draw attention to posts and a good example of what can be done on Typepad using Advanced Templates. Nick is thrilled with the results and so are we.

Looking for something fancy for your blog, perhaps a non-standard layout? We can help you with that. Sign up today! And be sure to check out Rangers Tribune, especially if you're a pro hockey fan.

P.S. You can view this and many other great blogs in our portfolio.

Featured Blog: The Junior Project

NAME: Marc & Lin
BLOG: The Junior Project
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: The Junior Project is the topsy-turvy chronicle of Marc and Lin, two future dads careening through the surrogacy process. Join them on a journey full of ups, downs, highs, lows, plenty of emotion, and lots of photos, all documented with a stark and beautiful honesty that will have you awaiting each update in breathless anticipation.


FOLLOW: Typepad | Twitter

Did You Know?: Enabling Your Google Sitemap

Like lots of Typepad subscribers, you probably want your blog to be found by a large number of people.  After all, that's why you're taking the time to write such amazing posts, right?

A great way to get your blog found is to enable your Google sitemap.  This submits all of your URLs to Google and other search engines and gives you a much better chance of your blog being found when someone does a search.

To do this, you need to first make sure that your blog is publicized at Settings > SEO.  Once you've selected this, the "Yes, generate Google Sitemap" option will then be able to be selected. Please note that if your blog is password protected, you will not be able to make it public nor generate a Google Sitemap.

You can read more information about this in the Knowledge Base.

Once you've enabled your Google Sitemap, we recommend that you submit the sitemap to Google through their Webmaster Tools.

You'll need to first verify that the blog is yours by uploading an HTML file. While this may sound intimidating to some, it's actually pretty easy to do.  We have instructions on how to do this in the Knowledge Base.

Additionally, we've got an article to help you optimize your blog for search engines.

We hope you found this useful! Check back every other week for more "Did You Know?" tips to help make your blog even better!

Blogging Best Practices: Build and Engage Community with Comments

Welcome to our series of posts on Blogging Best Practices! Each Thursday for 10 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you create great content, share it with the world, and become a better blogger. Check out other posts in the series here!

As a blog writer and a blog reader you'll find that one of the most valuable practices you keep revolves around the comment form. It's not enough to simply open commenting on your own blog, waiting for random blog cruisers to pop in and comment; you have to be a commenter too.

The effort made in making relevant, high quality comments on blogs you read will help build an audience and reputation for you as a commenter. In creating or joining conversations on the blogs of others, providing value with your voice and thoughts, you will find that your commenting peers will want to know what else you have to say. How do they do that? By turning to your blog. In time, you will notice that the community surrounding your own blog will begin to grow.

As you receive more comments on your blog you'll need to put forth the effort of replying to comments left for you. If you want the conversation around a post to keep flowing, make sure your comments have content and aren't just a "thank you!" to your reader. While enthusiastic replies can be nice, the conversation ends when nothing of value is added.

If you're not certain what makes a good, or even great, comment, there are invaluable resources available via a quick search for "how to write a great comment." One particular link that you might find useful is How to Write a Great Blog Comment by Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty. Do your own search to read what others think brings value to a comment, then try them out for yourself. Not every tip may be suitable for your specific blog, but remain open to trying them and seeing what works best for your blog's community and the communities to which you belong.

Remember that great content doesn't have to stop at the end of your blog post; often times the best content happens when engaging with your audience after that post goes live.

Make Quick Changes To Text & Link Formatting With CSS

With the Custom CSS feature, you can make hundreds of major or minor changes to any theme applied to your blog. If you aren't familiar with CSS, however, it can seem overwhelming to determine the code needed to make the changes you want. We're going to detail some CSS attributes you may want to use to make changes to text on your blog. The example CSS code provided can be added to your blog's design at Design > Custom CSS. If you don't have the Custom CSS feature, upgrade to the Unlimited plan.

The text-decoration attribute can be used to apply one of the following values to your text:

  • underline - Adds a line under text.
  • overline - Adds a line above the text.
  • line-through - Adds a line through the text. Also called strikethrough.
  • blink - Causes text to blink.
  • none - Removes all text decoration elements.
  • inherit - Applies format from parent element.

Most commonly the underline value is applied with the text-decoration element. If you would like the links on your blog to be underlined, you could apply the CSS:

a:link { text-decoration: underline; }

Continue reading "Make Quick Changes To Text & Link Formatting With CSS" »

Featured Blog: Creatorstand

NAME: Erick Mott
BLOG: Creatorstand
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: San Francisco based creator and visionary Erick Mott is a man on a mission, tapping into the popular Crowdfunding effort with his blog and business, creatorstand. As a product, the creatorstand provides an easier and more meaningful way to learn, work, shop and be social with your computer, tablet, smartphone and web. It's eco-friendly, too. As a resource, the creatorstand blog provides invaluable mentoring to goal oriented creators.

With a strong start to his Indiegogo campaign and a long, storied background in business, Mott provides valuable resources to those looking for solutions to their digital clutter, and features a clean, dynamic blog full of insight into achieving challenging goals in business.


FOLLOW: Typepad | Twitter | Indiegogo

Blogging Best Practices: Publish New Posts Frequently

Welcome to our series of posts on Blogging Best Practices! Each Thursday for 10 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you create great content, share it with the world, and become a better blogger. Check out other posts in the series here!

The most important tip for getting traffic to your site is add new content regularly and often. Every time you publish a new post to your blog you remind Google and other search engines about your site.

Here are a few tips for posting:

  • Post On The Go: From your mobile device of choice, you can publish anytime, from anywhere. Use the Blogsy app on the iPad. Post via email or text message using the secret email address. From your iPhone or iPod Touch, use the Typepad app. You can also sign in to from your mobile browser.
  • Schedule Posts To Publish In The Future: The Publish On status allows you to designate a future date and time for your posts to publish. Scheduling posts is not just for when you go on vacation. If you have multiple ideas for a post, spread out the ideas across several posts. Publish one post now and set the others to publish over the next few days.
  • Blog It BookmarkletReblog From Your Favorite Sites: Browse your favorite sites for inspiration and use the Blog It bookmarklet to start your post adding your own commentary.

Check back next week for the next post in our series on Blogging Best Practices! If you have your own suggestion, let us know in the comments or the forum.

For one-on-one assistance with optimizing your site for search listings, check out the SEO Service.

Getting Off To A Great Start On Typepad


Valerie wanted to start a blog for her company's new venture, ECM Reflections. She needed some help with getting the blog up and running, so she signed up for a Power Launch Service. We worked with her to set up a custom URL and subscription and sharing tools for the blog, streamlined the blog navigation and sidebar, and set up other recommended Typepad features. Valerie provided us with a banner image and we matched the blog design around that so that everything fits well together.

Ready to start a blog but not sure what you need to do? Or just need some extra help setting everything up? Check out our Power Launch Service. And don't forget to visit ECM Reflections.

P.S. You can view this and many other great blogs in our portfolio.

Featured Blog: Sunny Buick

NAME: Sunny Buick
BLOG: Sunny Buick
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: An American expat, talented painter and tattoo artist Sunny Buick has called Paris, France her home for the past 9 years. Art follows her in everything she does. As with life, her fantastic blog is filled with personal musings and great photos on a wide range of topics from travel to art to vintage kitsch; all the things that reflect her uniquely artistic personality. Daily posts might find her decorating her home and office, styling outfits, or sharing her newest tattoo creations.


FOLLOW: Typepad