Shaun Press has been writing about chess blogging in the last couple of issues of the Australian Chess Magazine. He's got a few tips on, for example, how to include games in blog posts, posting images, and blogging for your club. Next month he promises to cover advertising and their effects on blogs. I wonder what that will be about, but it should be interesting. Anyway I thought I'd slip in a couple of extra tips, too.
When you manage a blog or any website, you'll want to know about traffic. How many people are reading your site, where they come from, how long they stay for or which of your content is the most popular are just examples of web metrics that you would be looking at. Sounds complicated and expensive. Luckily, not so! You just need to sign up to anyone of the many services out there that provide web metrics tracking. A lot of these are free.
Google Analytics, like many services offered by Google, needs no payment. Just sign up. It's an awesome tool that can nearly match the functions of other paid-for premium services available today. You get a lot of information and I mean a lot! I recommend it.
Alternatives to Google Analytics are Site Meter and Stat Counter. Both are also available for free, though they do offer upgraded services that you have to pay for. I actually use these two in the background just as a second and third opinion to what I get from Google. Both are quite good, straightforward and easy to use.
My next tip is to install a commenting system that is more sophisticated than what you get by default with your blog software. The problem with the default system, like the one on my blog, is the lack of "threaded" discussions ala what you see in online forums. Fortunately for we bloggers there are some clever people out there who've thought long and hard about this and come up with solutions. There are three services I know of that you can sign up with. These are SezWho, Disqus and Intense Debate.
I installed Intense Debate a couple of weeks ago then removed it again almost immediately. It wasn't because I saw something wrong with the service, but more that I didn't want my regular readers to be confronted with a whole new and unexpected way of interacting with me. I basically just wanted to check what the system looked like. Other than that, it looked easy enough for blogger and reader.
That's all for now. I suppose in my next post about chess blogging I can talk about how to actually promote your blog, drive traffic to it, without relying on some unexpected mention in a Shaun Press article! I must thank him one day for mentioning TCG.