I decided to do an «arbitrary number»-part series on basic steps people can take to improve their basic/new blogs.
Use WordPress. It really is the shit.
If using blogger, migrate to wordpress.com. I really recommend a self-hosted blog using the software from wordpress.org, but that’s not for everyone.
If you’re using WordPress, you’ll get an About page, a “Hello World” post and a fake initial comment.
Modify the “About” page 1st thing.
The first thing people do when visiting a new blog is check out the “about” page. When I visit your blog, before reading very far, I want to know who you are. How are you qualified to write to me? (e.g. if you’re an MD writing about medical stuff, I know that you know your shit, vs. a 1st year biology major, etc…). You don’t have to have important-sounding credentials… just tell the reader a bit about who you are.
Now delete the fake comment.
Modify the Hello World post and the title.
This will be the intro post for your blog. If you’re not ready to put up the first post, at least change the text to “this is my new blog and I will fill this out later. Oh, and if you want to know more about me then read my about page, which I have definitely filled out.”
This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jul 21, 2009 @ 17:28 CDT. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9. I distinctly remember writing this one in an internet café in Buenos Aires.
(hint for proprietors: Better service means more customers. Which means more cash flow. For you.)
You’re probably already using some kind of virus scanner, anti-malware and a porn filter and it’s likely your computers were all built within the last 5 years. Great job. Your customers are probably still frustrated as crap because you can’t take a few minutes to think about how you can improve their internet experience. Because at the most basic level, they’re the ones paying the bills.
A “business consultant” might charge you $200/hr for this info.
Get new keyboards. Swap out your crappy keyboards with keys that stick and change them for new ones. It doesn’t matter if they were new 2 years ago or even last year. It makes a world of difference.
Install Mozilla Firefox on every bloody machine. Damn, people. Get a clue. (hint: Logon to the machine as an admin, go to getfirefox.com and follow the instructions.)
Note pads and pens in every kiosk. They can be cheap, as long as people can write down an address and/or phone # or two.
Get real mouse pads. Not a piece of white or black paper and NOT a brown paper sack. If the people have to shake/wiggle the mouse and have a hard time getting the cursor to move, it’s not good. Also, if you are using mice with balls, change them out for optical mice.
This is the most important: USE YOUR OWN PRODUCT. Sit down at a CUSTOMER kiosk (not your desk at the front of the shop), and browse the net for 5-10 minutes. Besides, for you, it’s free, and you get to see what your customers have to deal with, and what would make the experience better. I think this advice would actually work with any business model.