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What EXACTLY have I learned, you ask?

By Pelf Nyok

OK, now.. I’ve recently blogged about how I find blogging a very good learning experience and how I’m using my blog to express myself and to broadcast the causes that are close to my heart. Since I’m always talking about the constant learning, changing and improving that blogging has taught me, what exactly have I learned, changed and improved on?

But before I proceed any further, let me tell you this. book has been a great help to me. I personally find it very useful, I’m not sure, is it because I’m one of those who prefer to learn from a book and then experiment on it myself? I used to teach myself HTML (yeah, in the 1990s) and Flash from books and I find the learning experience wonderful.

  1. Be careful how you name your categories.

    One of the earlier changes that I’ve made to my blog was the revamping of my blog categories. I used to have a category called “Everything else” which was later changed to “Et cetera” because I thought it sounded more high-class, which I used to contain memes and tags and basically every other things that didn’t contribute directly to the growth of my blog except the links that were going in all directions. And Lorelle was right when she said that your readers won’t click on such categories because for all they know, you could be talking about your pet turtles that they’re not interested in!

    So if you have blog categories that read, “My thoughts” or “Musings” or “Uncategorized”, you might want to consider making them more specific so that your categories are more appealing and your readers are more inclined to click on them. Moreover, with the increasing number of new blogs that are being created everyday, other people can always blog about their own thoughts and feelings and musings, so they wouldn’t want to spend time reading yours.

  2. Give your links proper anchor text.

    I used to think that my readers would be curious enough to click on links that read this and this and this. Fact is, those badly-named links would NOT make your readers click on them. Oh come on, an average blogger/blog reader probably subscribes to at least 30 blogs that he follows on a daily basis, so it is highly unlikely that he will click on a link before knowing where it will take him to.

    Again, with the increasing number of interesting blogs these days, people are very concerned about the the amount of time they spend on a particular blog. Like myself, for example. I wouldn’t like it if I had to click on a particular link before knowing its destination because I’d like to know beforehand whether I’m interested to click on it! I wouldn’t click on a link if it takes me to a post that I had already read, or to a post that talks about how people torture their pet turtles, see?

    So be smart. Give your links proper anchor text so that your readers know where they’re going. If you make things easier for them, it will keep them coming back for more.

  3. Name your images.

    Before I became active in the Blogathon forum, I didn’t know that blind bloggers use what we call a “screen reader” to read blogs. Needless to say, I didn’t know that they wouldn’t be able to “see” the images I include in my blog UNLESS I give those images a title. So this is where the ALT attribute comes in.To name an image, you will need to add this alt="your image description" into your image tag.

    Sleepy river terrapin hatchling

    In the example above, my image tag looks like this (please note the bold text):

    <img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Sleepy river terrapin hatchling" />

These are just a few examples of what I have learned, and how I have applied the new knowledge and how I have made some necessary changes to my blog to increase its usability, accessibility and readability. If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your blog, get your copy of book TODAY!

Pelf, the author of pelf-ism is contagious, is a Malaysian grad-student who is constantly rearranging, developing and improving her blog. You may subscribe to pelf-ism is contagious via the RSS Feed. Know nuts about RSS? Check out her step-by-step guide to RSS!


  1. Posted August 15, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points! Thanks.

    These are the simplest of things that are so often overlooked, forgotten, or ignored by so many bloggers, and yet they are the easiest to do. EVERY image and link should have a title and/or alt attribute, and links need to tell people where they are going, and the text around them needs to say why. Excellent!

    Thanks for reminding us of the basics which helps us help our readers more than most any SEO trick or technique.

    And thanks for the plug for my book. You didn’t have to, so thanks!

  2. Posted August 16, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the off-topic comment, but that is the most adorable little turtle. Between that and the reference to pet turtles in the text, I decided to track down your blog (via the complicated process of clicking on your name) and am now happily perusing your turtle posts. Thanks!

  3. Posted August 16, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle: Those were the mistakes I made when I started blogging but I’m glad I have a chance to correct them. So for new bloggers, it would save them a lot of time making these corrections later if they started with the right things!

    Mania: It’s called the “river terrapin” and it’s distribution is only limited to South and Southeast Asia, and has been recently classified as the Top 25 most endangered freshwater turtles and tortoises. I’m glad you liked it, because many people aren’t bothered with them..

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