Spruce it up

After shopping for Diwali, turn to your blog. And be generous enough to give it that facelift that’s been long overdue.

| Updated on: Oct 13 2009, 21:09 IST

After shopping for Diwali, turn to your blog. And be generous enough to give it that facelift that's been long overdue

The festive season is upon us, and what better way to mark it than by cleaning up your blog? Okay, I guess there are some better ways, but still, you could try cleaning up your cyber space by making your blog more streamlined and organised. Here are my top five tips for getting that done.

Paint your house
Get a new blog banner and buttons that your readers can display. It's a good way to jazz up a boring black or white template, and lets people know instantly what your blog is all about.

You can upload your own pictures to create a kind of collage or use the images already available online. I found a few sites that let you make banners and buttons easily: http://webheader-banner.blogspot.com and http://www.imagechef.com/ic/banner. Remember to keep it jazzy and yet, something that is truly you.

It's the season of gifts
There's no better way to build a relationship with your readers and fellow bloggers than by giving things away.
A lot of blogs have contests and weekly giveaways — it can be something small like a pair of earrings or a T-shirt.
Or you could start a postcard exchange where you and your readers send each other postcards.

Go through all those unmoderated comments you've wanted to get around to. Delete spam. Check your labels, see the ones you're not using and remove those.

Finally, look at all your widgets and promise yourself you'll remove all but one. Once you've done that, you'll be surprised at how clean your blog looks. It might be time to remove some of those Google ads as well — come on, are you really making money off them?

Respond to correspondence
I'm perhaps the worst in this regard. I put a red star on emails I want to reply to and promptly forget about them. But this Diwali, I plan to reply to all my readers, even if it's just a little note. If people take the trouble to email you, you should be nice and write back.

Once you have all your red stars removed and all that backlog responded to, you can start the year afresh. This might take a while though, so do it when you have the energy and time.

Do something new
And finally, mix it up a little. Do something to reward yourself for all that blogging and organising. Have you been dying to start a games review blog? Or join a new social networking site? Or try out Google Wave? Research on your new thing (Google Wave invites are hard to come by, but keep emailing and I'm sure you'll strike gold eventually).

I'd recommend taking virtual sign language lessons (http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lessons.htm), getting an account on YouTube (www.youtube.com) and producing videos, or simply learning a new word a day http://wordsmith.org/awad/).
Happy Diwali and see you on the other side!

Meenakshi writes a blog at thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot. com. Send her your queries at meenakshimadhavan@gmail.com

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First Published Date: 13 Oct, 21:09 IST