Thursday, April 28, 2005

36 Ways to Enhance Your Blog's Credibility

build believability into your blog Posted by Hello

To succeed, a blog must provide:

* practical value

* relevant content

* ease of use

* strong credibility

* interesting topics

* good writing, design, archiving

* friendly tone of voice

* authoritative presentation

NOTE: Be sure to CHECK all your blog's links, the hypertext links in the editorial (posts), sidebar links, blogroll links, ALL links.

"Link rot", meaning links that produce a 404 Not Found error message, must be avoided with all diligence.

Thomas Powell, Jakob Nielsen, and others warn us that "broken links" should be considered "catastrophic failures" (TP) for blog or web site credibility. It indicates either stupidity, slopping coding, or negligence.

Any blog, personal, business, artistic, literary, organizational, etc. can boost its believability...and win the loyalty and trust of adhering to these basic guidelines.

(1.) Professional and appropriate design, colors, typeface, photos, art, illustrations.

(2.) Good blog title, URL, tagline, slogan, logo, description.

(3.) Upfront display of name(s) of author(s), contributors, affiliations.

(4.) Upfront display of sponsoring company or organization.

(5.) Prominent display or link to type, purpose, mission, location, staff bios of business or organization.

(6.) Upfront "About Me", Bio, or Profile information or link.

(7.) Upfront "Contact", "Feedback" or "Email Me".

(8.) Quality writing: intelligent, interesting, personal, intimate, self-effacing, candid, honest, sympathetic, controversial, adamant, comical, or appropriate to blog author, audience, and purpose.

(9.) Absence of typos, incorrect spellings, vulgarity, street slang, grammatical errors, faulty logic, fuzzy thinking, prejudice, bitterness, drunkeness.

(10.) Absence of hype, no hard sell tactics, no high powered merchandising excess.

(11.) Perfect functionality: contact forms, registration forms, comment submission forms, captchas, file downloads, site search, print version page activation, image galleries.

(12.) Explanations of such anomolies as comment moderation/delay posting, required registration (tell benefits of), comments turned off on old posts to prevent comment spam, etc.

(13.) Presence of charts, graphs, lists, images of referenced objects and material.

(14.) Hypertext links within posts, leading to reputable substantiating information.

(15.) Timely and valuable response to emails.

(16.) Timely and valuable response to user comments, within the comment threads, and not just in a summarizing post. Avoid appearance of having staff tell you "users are saying such and such", which you then create a post to address.

(17.) Blogroll and sidebar links to relevant and reputable external sites. Not "clinking": clique linking, e.g. links to ONLY friends and other sites on your blog host. [But also see next point, #18 below.]

(18.) Links to other blogs, corporate web site, ecommerce or "store" sites, and other associated sites.

(19.) Testimonials, endorsements, caveats, compliments from reputable, trusted sources.

(20.) Editorial (post) references to reputable, trusted sources and sites.

(21.) Cite affiliations with, and memberships in, reputable and prestigious associations, trade guilds, educational institutions, discussion lists, forums, conferences, and professional, industry, or government organizations.

(22.) Display awards, commendations, certificates, honor enrollments, tributes, and other distiguished accomplishment evidence.

(23.) Minimum amount of ads, book promotions, pay-for-it downloads (e.g., e-books, white papers, PDF reports), add-ons (maps, weather advisories, calendars, chatboxes, site meters, hit counters), and widgets (audio, video, music MP3s).

(24.) Ready admission of faults, errors, regrets, shortcomings, problems, site dysfunctionalities, site limitations...with promises to fix or remedy, and clear statement of anticipated date of full compliance or realization.

(25.) Visible adherence to core values of honesty, competence, and integrity...with open debate without censorship of controversial opinions.

(26.) Courage of convictions, steadfast bravery, not wilting under pressure, not intimidated or compromised by abusers, crybaby bullies, flamers, cyber-vandals, or trollers.

(27.) Triumphant, postitive, futuristic, optimistic, forward-looking, trend-setting, pioneering attitude and environment.

(28.) Bold ability to, when appropriate, adopt a non-conformist, contrarian, herd mentality-defying, independent thinking orientation.

(29.) Relentless pursuit of ideals, tireless and eager investigation, and astute analysis of, negative aspects (that others ignore, deny, de-emphasize, sweep under the rug, or downplay).

(30.) Consistency, not deviating from ethics, organizational culture, promises, committments, obligations, standards, mission, goals and objectives.

(31.) Inquisitiveness, curiosity, openess toward reader opinions and ideas: seeking reader input, encouraging users to comment, asking readers questions, challenging readers, requesting advice, asking for suggestions.

(32.) True open forum: non-dictatorial, inviting the free expression of opposing viewpoints, protecting users from abuse and flaming, embracing diversity, anti-cultish environment, kind and welcoming to newcomers.

(33.) Strong vision and desire to accomplish mutually agreed upon goals of user community.

(34.) Tolerance toward, and willingness to learn from, enemies, detractors, those with very different belief systems, aesthetics, religions, fields of expertise, or cultures.

(35.) Tranparency (non-secretiveness) regarding strategies, influences, allegiances, alliances, agendas, guiding methodologies, tenets, organization memberships, ultimate goals.

(36.) Frequent updates, information freshness, current data, timely posting behavior.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

follow me to revolution Posted by Hello

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