“Ask Not” — Fixing my Blog, and Asking for Nominations

I got the best compliment this weekend — one of my FriendFed friends nominated me to be the first recipient of a FF room full of help! She suggested a review club: every few days or so, someone nominates a web site and we all go look at it and make suggestions for improvement, then the recipient nominates another lucky sot to get the same help. And the first nomination? Me!

Now the site nominated at first was this one; this was a wonderful thing, but this is about the only website I’m playing with right now that was never intended to make any money, so I pointed people at Popular Delusions, which is the one I started after the 30DC (and the disaster which was my first blog). I got several helpful suggestions about my links (too pale and hard to see) and my lack of images (I need to go play with the CC license stuff on Flickr). I also got reminded that my index page was a sight to make people click the back button; practically nothing there. I’d always wanted to do other things with the front page, and the category pages, but got stuck and started the blog entries just to get something done. Since I’ve always just pointed to individual blog posts, I forgot the index. My bad.

See, I’m a big fraud. I write OK </humble>, but I know next to nothing about the mechanics of playing with WordPress. I can change my links colors, for example, but I have no clue how to make them “brighter,” or less pale; and I have absolutely no clue how to take a plugin and make it appear on a page without frelling it up and having it also appear in the sidebar. I went to install a plugin today, and it had a fatal error. I have no clue how to chase the error down and fix it; I’ll just have to find another one that does something similar. I have great ideas, and have seen sites do similar things, but I have no frelling clue how to implement them. And the tutorials I find are no help — “read the readme.” Most of the readmes I’ve read are version lists and how to install. I know how to install the bloody thing, but how do I USE it?

I also spent some time today crying over my front page text. (OK, I was having a bad day overall; ignore the tears.) Someone suggested my text needed to be “punchier” — I needed more appeals to like-mindedness or challenges to my readers; I needed more calls to action. As you can see, I tend to explain a lot and ramble a bit; as I said to MiLady at one point, “I’m not punchy, I’m folksy!” But I think I got better text on the home page — more pointers to parts of the blog, more calls to action. Now I need to figure out the “Featured Offer” thing. I need one — I just need to figure out the formatting. So the suggestions have been really helpful, and I’ll be implementing them as I write more posts.

Which leads me to my final problem — I’m supposed to pick the next blog to look at. I have a couple of good FF friends whose blogs I’d love to nominate, but I don’t know what they are. See, the 30DC had a problem with copycats ripping off site ideas (and occasionally the text on the site, as well!), so my friends aren’t putting their “money sites” through FriendFeed. The one friend whose site I do know has been too busy to hang out on FF, and might not appreciate a nomination with so much other stuff going on in her life. So how to pick? I don’t know — got any ideas? Want a free trackback to your site? Nominate yourself in the Comments! Use my Contact Me page! Help me out here!

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