Thursday = Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
Participate, read, comment!
This week I’m choosing:
4.) Share some blogging advice.
Once upon a time, a lovely young girl named Goldilocks was playing happily on the Internet while her little baby slept peacefully nearby. (Yes, she had a baby. She had struggled to put the baby to bed last night but now the wee babe was sleeping peacefully. This is a literary device called foreshadowing. The sleeping babe will come into play soon.) She was frolicking around on the nice safe haven that is Facebook — completing quizzes, sending Easter Peeps to her peeps and struggling to understand what to put in the new empty box. After all, the prompt “Goldilocks Is…” had recently disappeared — leaving her unsure of what to write. (Goldilocks wasn’t a very bright or creative girl; she needed that prompt.)
As she was playing around, she accidentally clicked on a link that led her to a strange world — the Land of Blog. “We’re not in Facebook anymore,” Goldilocks thought to herself (confusingly mixing up her story references). “All these pages look so different.” But Goldilocks was intrigued…she wanted to see more.
She clicked on a little sign that said “Next Blog.” Suddenly, a loud noise assaulted her ears. It was music playing loudly. Goldilocks didn’t know where the music was coming from — and the loud music woke up the wee babe. “Waaahhh….waaaahhhh,” cried the babe. “What the flippin’ hell?” thought Goldilocks, panicking. “What is happening?” She frantically clicked on “Next Blog” and the music blissfully stopped. “Oh my,” thought Goldilocks. “I sure don’t like that. The music scared the bejeezus out of me and woke up my sleeping baby. I sure don’t want to visit that blog again!”
The new blog she had clicked to was much more peaceful…but it was taking an awfully long time to load. Goldilocks kept waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and then she lost interest and clicked “Next Blog.”
The third blog was just right. No music was playing and the page loaded in under 5 seconds. “Wow,” thought Goldilocks, “this blogger must have checked their blog loading speed at Pingdom and used some handy blog optimization tips found at MintBlogger. It loaded in just 3.9 seconds!”
Goldilocks decided to check out this fast-loading blog that didn’t have music playing. She looked at the first post. But it was really hard to read. “This teeny tiny black type on a dark red background is really hard to read!,” she thought. “I’m getting a headache.” She clicked “Next Blog.”
The next blog had posts that were in an easy-to-read font size and had dark text on a light background (the easiest on the eyes). But the post was long and and centered and hardly any paragraph breaks. Goldilocks soon lost patience. “Long blocks of centered type with little or no white space sure is hard to read,” she thought. “I just don’t think I can read anymore of this!” She clicked “Next Blog.”
The third blog was just right. The font size was readable, the dark text on a light background was readable, the text was left justified (just like in books!), and there were lots of paragraph breaks to give her eyes a rest. “This is wonderful,” thought Goldilocks. “Even though this post is long, the blogger obviously tried to make reading it as easy as possible by making some smart choices about type size, font, white space, text justification and page background! Plus the writing is so darn funny that I want to read the whole post!”
Goldilocks read to the end of the post and saw there was a place where she could leave a comment. “Oh,” thought Goldilocks (whose nickname was Goldie, which is much shorter and easier to type … so let’s just call her Goldie from now on) “I want to tell this blogger how much I loved this post. I think I will leave a comment.” She clicked on the comment link and a box popped up. Goldie happily typed her witty and erudite comment and hit the submit button. A strange word appeared. “Nichscieslgheelsdl?” thought Goldie. “What the heck does that mean? And why are the letters so twirly and hard to read? Apparently I have to type this strange word before I can submit my comment. Screw it. I’m moving on.” So she clicked on “Next Blog.”
The next blog also had a great post so Goldie decided to leave another comment. She was excited to see what her comment would look like when published. After all, this is part of the fun of leaving comments. But even though she didn’t have to enter a pesky, nonsensical twisted up word, her comment didn’t appear. “What the heck?” thought Goldie. “Where is it?” She finally noticed that the comment had to be approved by the blog owner. “Oh,” thought Goldie, disappointed. She clicked on “Next Blog.”
The next blog also had a great post that Goldie wanted to comment on. Hesitantly, she clicked on the comment button. Would she have to jump through hoops to let this blogger know what she thought? Would she get to see her comment appear on the post? She held her breath and clicked “Submit.” No crazy words appeared and the comment appeared instantly on the post with all the other comments! This blog was just right.
“Awesome,” thought Goldie. “This made it easy for me to leave a comment and have a bit of fun on this blog. I wonder if those other bloggers know that the crazy word verification thing is just to prevent spam from appearing on a blog and isn’t really necessary. In fact, many blogs don’t use it and they don’t get spam!!! Plus, you could always turn it back on if you did develop a spam problem. And I wonder if the blogger with the comment moderation uses it so they don’t miss any comments? Don’t they know that they can have all their comments sent directly to their e-mail so they won’t miss a single comment (even if someone leaves a comment on a very old post)? Plus, this way they can easily reply to their visitors via e-mail if needed. All they need to do is go to this easy tutorial or this one to find out how to set it up!”
Goldie sure was enjoying her visit in the Land of Blog. She decided to stay awhile and quickly amassed a huge blogroll that she tried to visit every day. The first blogger she liked had great stuff but seemed to post about five times a day. “I just can’t keep up with all these posts,” thought Goldie. “Although the blogger may want me to read all of the posts, I just can’t do it. It is too much.”
The second blogger that Goldie liked had some wonderful posts but then didn’t post again for two weeks. Goldie had forgotten about the blog by the time the next post came around.
The third blogger posted once a day for 3 or 4 days during the week. “This is just right,” thought Goldie. “The posts come often enough that I can form a relationship with this blogger but not so often that I can’t easily keep up with the posts.”
Eventually, Goldilocks created her own blog — a blog that didn’t play music, loaded in under 5 seconds, used a readable type size, used dark text on a light background, left-justified the type, had paragraph breaks on longer posts, did not use word verification or comment moderation, and had posts just 3 to 4 times a week. She was also sure to be a good hostess and visit the blogs of any new visitors and she tried to respond to comments via e-mail if possible. She also tried to visit the blogs of regular readers as much as she was able to let them know how much she appreciated their visits. All in all, Goldilocks had fun blogging and she lived happily ever after in the Land of Blog.