Blog basics | HT Tech

Blog basics

You’re using the glorious Internet as a medium, and remember that lively online discussions are the best way to get visitors. Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan gives some tips...

| Updated on: Feb 03 2009, 17:33 IST

Another week and I realise I have been neglectful of the many many questions you guys sent in, which are very usefully labelled and sitting in my Inbox. Since my job here is to serve you, I figure this week is a good time to deal with my once a month reader queries selection. Onward ho!

My first question is from Shyam, a relatively new blogger who wants some personalised feedback:

Q I started blogging only a year back and the link is . The blog mostly contains my life experiences, moods and views. But I have not been able to design my blog to make it look presentable. Can you guide me on how to make my blog look good? Give me your views on my posts and suggestions on topics to write about.
Shyam, I can give you template suggestions by the dozen, but as for what to write about, I think you're on your own there! Blogs are personal expressions, so basically write about whatever you like. And since yours is clearly a personal blog, talk about your life, tell some stories, see what USP you have that the world would like to read about.

I'm already inclined to like your blog because the title is a play on one of my favourite songs, Deep Inside Of You by Third Eye Blind. Plus the template, though a standard Blogger one, is inoffensive and black writing on white, which is the easiest to read in my opinion. But you don't want a 'non-offensive' template, I'm guessing. You want something jazzy and unique that says 'you' at the first click.

I see yours is primarily a poetry blog — well, the first page is full of poetry anyway. Why not theme it like that? You can do a simple set of images for your sidebar with various poets — your favourites and the classics. I'd suggest you leave the background neutral — a light shade, like sepia or lavender is both attractive and easy to read. Also, you might want to put bits of your most-loved poems. Make a day of the week, say Thursday, online poetry slam day, invite people to post their poetry as comments or via email. That way you make it more interactive, get more readers and have a theme you can use for a while.

The next email is from Smita.

QHere is my blog address: http://books-life-n-more . I usually ramble about books I read, Indian authors and life in general.
Ah, a books blog. My favourite kind! I absolutely love discussions about books, whether they're online or offline.

Clicking through, I am pleasantly surprised at how neat and organised the whole thing looks. It's a great template, in shades of brown, with attractive fonts and a good use of labels. I'd change the layout to have a sidebar on each side, as opposed to two sidebars on the right, because it gets annoying having to use the vertical and horizontal scroll.

But yes, Dr Tell-it-like-it-is cannot find another thing to change about it. Good blog, good writing, good job! (I love easy-peasy reviews like this!) And since we have no more space for another question, I'm just going to offer you guys some general words of wisdom.

Think about the blogs you love. Think about the way they look. Use that as a guideline to make your site look pretty. User friendliness is the key, even if it may be boring. And because you're using the glorious Internet as a medium, remember that lively online discussions are the best way to get visitors.

Until next time, hasta la vista. Keep writing!

Meenakshi writes a blog at www.thecompulsive You can send her your queries at

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First Published Date: 03 Feb, 16:29 IST