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What have I been up to lately? Lessons in blog management.

As I haven’t updated the blog in more than a week, I thought I should say a quick something about what I’ve been doing. It has been a busy week in the life of yours-truly.

I’ve had the usual nibbles and inquries from new clients, which is great. And I’ve been working on client projects. No earth-shattering news there.

What I’ve been doing with my blog-time, though, is making some improvements to the blog code itself. Some of them are for your benefit, some are for the benefit of my fellow blogger friends, and some are back-end stuff that only I care about.

Features for you: I added an archive section to the sidebar, to give you easy month-by-month access to past articles. Along with that, I limited the main blog page to only show the past 10 articles, which means the page will load faster. Yes, there will be some overlap between the most-recent-ten posts and some of the archive links, but I don’t see how that’s actually a problem.

The other thing I did for my readers was to add a simple comment formatting system. The blog should do a pretty decent job, now, of properly rendering your comments as you wrote them. Blank lines signal the start of new paragraphs, and you can use asterisks and underscores around stuff you want to be bold and italic, respectively. I’ll probably add other features as time goes on.

Lesson learned—presentation matters. It’s hard to express oneself without at least basic facilities to dictate not just what you say but how it looks. This is necessary to enable readers to engage in real dialogue in the comments, which is the whole point of allowing comments in the first place.

Features for fellow bloggers: Well, just one feature. I added a blog roll to the sidebar, containing some of the other good writing blogs I follow. If you have suggestions for blogs that ought to be on that list, by all means add them in the comments. I am going to try to keep the blog roll to a reasonable size, though, so probably only the top ten blogs I follow will make this list.

Lesson learned—reciprocity matters. You have to publicly recognize the good work of others before it’s at all fair to hope others will recognize your own good work.

Features for me: I’m using the same auto-formatting code for blog articles themselves as for the comments, which will make it faster and easier for me to write the articles. That’s a good thing. Also, I revamped my comment moderation feature, so it will be easier for me to deal with spammers and trolls (not that any of you would do that, surely, but it pays to be prepared). Along with that, I added a Terms of Use link way down at the bottom of the sidebar.

Lesson learned—efficiency matters. The easier I make it for myself to update the blog, delete spam comments, et cetera, the more likely I am to actually do it.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to this past week. I haven’t been blogging, but I have been busy. I’m hoping to return to the regular schedule of twice-weekly articles, but we’ll see what fun surprises life can throw at me to mess up that plan...

Features for fellow bloggers:

September 13, 2009 22:50 UTC

Tags: meta, blog

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For older posts, see archive links in the sidebar