Better Blogging. Now.

I have been blogging for quite a while now, and although today is not any specific day like “exactly-two-years-ago” or anything, it struck me how far it has come, and how much further I’d like to go.

Now, a long time ago I stumbled upon sites like BlogBloke with expert advises on blogging and the like, but somehow never really paid much attention to it.

When I logged in this afternoon however, it suddenly stuck me how lame the whole thing really looks.
I mean come on, a terrible looking design template, less-than-creative URL (that’s my name there), minimalist stats tracking and comment control, and no RSS…it really doesn’t get much dumber than this.


With this in mind, I’d like to take a deep breath, and announce that effective immediately I’m putting all my current blogging activities on hold and working full time over this holiday season on getting my blog back on track and in better shape.

I’m thinking maybe I’ll switch platforms, to something with better control (and a much nicer custom template!) or maybe even go pro on an owned domain; with my very own CMS and all the fireworks.

Whatever I do, I just wanted to let you guys know that I haven’t quit, so just in case you come back a month later and still find this post on top, you know I’m still working on it!

17 comments:

Blog Bloke said...

I bet you thought I wouldn't notice. ;-)

Thanks for the link and glad to see you're taking your blog to the next level. I hope you will return the favour sometime and leave a comment @ the Bloke's Blog too.

Cheers,

...BB

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@BlokeBloke

I must say, I AM STUNNED...lemme guess; backlinks huh?

Boy, I never realized how quick it works though.
I'll return the favor soon; right now I'm getting my head stuck in some horrible-looking xml tags.
:)

The Bollywood Lover said...

All the best for designing the template. You've learnt 'complete' xml. You have a good knowlege, man. I have learnt only basic tags :(

issam said...

all the best bro.. will take tips from you soon...

Ela said...

hmmm...it's amazing how the tidying up/making things better mood strikes everyone around the new year....i finally managed to fold all my clothes...so all the best!
and in case...Wish u a great new year ahead!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@saurabh
Na, I only pretend to know xml; truth is, I'm not really sure
:)

@issam
Hmm, haven't seen you online in a while...where you been?

@ela
Yeah, the cleaning-up mood does seem to strike us all at the same time doesn't it?
And wish you a great year ahead too...not sure I understood the "in case" part though.

Alok said...

A very Happy New Year to you, man!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@alok

Hey dude! thx a lot and wish you a great year ahead too!!
:)

Ela said...

Ohhh...that 'in case' was in case if i or u don't turn towards internet before 1st of jan 2009....

hee hee...but guess we are not that lucky enough to have other things occupy the life huhhh!

Prasanna said...

That's an innovative idea!

But, I suppose, any new electronic pop-outs would make you to do a post on it, even if the XML insertions are incomplete! Am I right?

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@ela
Yeah, I'll say!
I was actually online on new year'e eve at midnight believe it or not.


@Prasanna
:)
Actually I already have at least 3different posts ready...don't wanna write until I get this thing right.

the pink orchid said...

that's the spirit.. congratulations for the thought...i still feel that words matter more than the templates.. but nonetheless today "everything" counts.. hope you come back with the next post soon..all the best for the "novelty" you are looking for...
p.s. - now i am a follower too.. see you around..

Guru said...

Actually i like personal blogs better this way, ie. with basic, uncluttered templates.

The best thing about basic blogger templates is that they are stable over all the browsers. We tried a lot of real good, interesting looking custom templates for our college symposium blog, but the problem with most of these templates was that they show up different on different browsers. So if you optimize your template for viewing on Firefox, the IE users will get a different layout ( at least we faced this problem with the templates we chose). So be real careful with the template you choose and make sure it works fine on all the top browsers.

And for stats tracking, again Google Analytics works superb. I think it has all the necessary things we amateur bloggers will ever need. Some other stat sites give 'live stats' et. al., i don't really see the point of all that extra info.

Comment control isn't really necessary IMO cos' the few comments we get can be manually sorted/approved. Wordpress blogs get a huge amount of comment spam from bots, and they come up with different plugins etc. to filter comments. But thankfully there is no such problem with Blogger. Also if you want to avoid your older posts from getting manually spammed, you can close down comments on individual posts after say 3 months of posting.

And we obviously have the default Atom RSS from Blogger itself, that works fine again IMO. Else you could start using dedicated RSS services like Feedburner(from Google again) if you want to keep track of your feed subscriber count etc. You can set up an account in minutes.

About your blog url, best way - buy a good domain name and use a simple blogger redirect. All traffic to the old url will automatically be rerouted and you won't even lose your Google indexes.

Also, think twice before switching to a wordpress.com blog, again very limited features. But if you manage to set up a blog on your own server space and manage it with wordpress.org s/w That is samma gethu. You get complete freedom.

Actually we ( me with a few other friends) are looking to try that soon, proper server space costs upwards of 4$/ month. For that price you get a good amount of server space, decent amount of bandwidth etc. Also there is no limit on the number of sites that can be hosted/account. Our blogs won't require too much space, so we're looking to share the space between us. Hopefully even we'll shift around the same time as you (if only we somehow convince ourselves to empty our PayPal accounts for this).

Also, for a good (IMO) blogger template check my personal blog through my profile page. That is an ajax based (if i'm not wrong) template for blogger. The wonly problem with that template is that is does not have a sidebar. :(

Also, please contact me if you need any help/suggestions with your revamp.

Sorry for the very long comment.

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@the pink orchid.
Hey, thx for dropping by...and for following.
I hope to get this up soon; hope not to disappoint you


@Guru

Yo, thx a ton for the info bro, now I know why you're the Guru :)

Actually the worst thing with most custom templates (if you just download and install them without any changes) is that they're mostly shells that run scripts and pull images off another servers. And have 'fixed' properties which is why they appear different (browsers is one thing...another is the difference between normal and wide screens!).

Stats tracking I guess is a bit of an overkill...I dunno why I mentioned it, I'm not too sure I need it right now.
Ditto for comment control - what was I thinking when I wrote that post :)

And you're right abt WP as well; a lot of ppl recommended them, but I don't like wordpress (the dotcom site) because it behaves as if the users are little children; you can't tweak HTML (only CSS and even that only with a paid upgrade), you can't change colors combinations on a theme if the original one doesn't allow it etc...too locked up I guess.
But going pro with wordpress (the .org) CMS software needs time and skill - both of which I lack; mostly the skill part.
Right now I'm thinking to switch to a custom domain and let blogger manage the content. Believe it or not, the biggest problem I have with this however, is finding a good domain name (like that problem you had before!)...its not easy you know...
thx once again for your help...and you can expect a few questions from me on the subject soon :)

The Bollywood Lover said...

Hey, you can enable comment moderation. Go to Settings > Comments, scroll down to Comment Moderation and check 'Always'. By doing this, a link will appear at your Blogger dashboard in which you can Publish or Reject comments. This can control spam.

Mystique said...

hellloe.

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Saurabh
thx dude. I'll get to it...
Right now I'm too lazy to complete the design :)

@Mystique
Er...hi.
(Not everyday I get a "helloe" from a new face! I'm actually mincing words here on making a good first impression...not very good at it am I?)
Thx for dropping by!