Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 83--Is Your Blog Behaving Badly?

How well do you know your blog? I created mine so I thought I knew it pretty well. I was wrong.

My blog has been behaving badly. It is almost three months old and a reader named Wendy pointed out a problem with my comments today. This whole time, my comments have been set so that you have to be a registered user of Google, Typepad, Wordpress, OpenID or others in order to leave one. There was no way for an unregistered or anonymous user to post a comment.

I think this is terrible and it wasn't my intention. I'm a free speech kind of gal. I don't have comment moderation turned on and I don't require my readers to decode unreadable words in order to post their opinion. I apologize to everyone who has tried to leave a comment and failed.

I use Blogger and fixing the problem was simple. I went into my settings, then to comments and I changed "Who Can Comment" from Registered Users to Anyone.

In truth, my blog wasn't behaving badly, it was user error. I am grateful to Wendy for pointing out the problem. We aren't always so lucky. A lot of readers will get frustrated and stop visiting.

If you have a blog or an author blog (or even a website), I recommend doing the following to assess it's useability. First, log out of Blogger or Wordpress, or whatever you use and navigate your site the way an interested reader would. Try the comments, the links, the tabs, basically, take your blog on a test drive.

Secondly, invite a friend over who doesn't read your blog (if such a person exists!!) Ask them to check out the whole thing, leave a comment and contact you via the blog. Don't say a word while they set out to do this. Don't give them any hints about where to click. Just watch. After ten minutes or so, discuss with them the results. An exercise like this should give you invaluable information about any glitches in your blog or website.

My pet peeve with blogs is when I want to contact a blogger directly and I can't find a simple email form. I wrote about how to fix that problem here, EmailMeForm

To Do: Test drive your blog today!

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
author of The Pet Washer
a novel for children aged 8 and up!