The long lost series on the 10 Commandments of Blogging is back. Just 3 Weblog laws left! So far we've discussed...
#1 Pick a Platform
#2 Win the Name Game
#3 Find your True Colors
#4 Hit Your Target
#5 Be Consistent
#6 Comment Unto Others
#7 Think Themes
The 8th Commandment of blogging is 'thou shalt add on.' Quality text is the stuff of a great blog, but the best blogs have some useful 'add-ons' that add value to the extended site experience. But first a note of caution: Just because you CAN add something to your blog, doesn't mean you SHOULD! Let me give you a for instance: When I was first getting started in the blogosphere, I found out that ESPN offered a ticker add-on that would flash live scores at the top of my blog. That sounded cool, but it wasn't what my blog was about. Don't add just anything.
So what SHOULD you add? My advice is to think of Add-ons like makeup on a girl. Makeup shouldn't be attention grabbing, but discreet. Some girls wear way too much makeup in general, or really go overboard in 1 particular area. The same problem exists with blog add-ons. Some people simply have too many. Others just have add-ons that are too bulky. Add-ons, like makeup, are best when they make a subtle yet positive difference. (Think about how myspace was ruined by add-ons, and facebook 'applications' are putting it in danger as well)
There are hundreds of potential add-ons. I actually have 7 items that could be considered add-ons. Each one has a subtle and important purpose. First, under my heading I have the alphabet. Each letter is a link to a site I visit often. Hardly noticeable, but highly useful. Obviously that is a self-made add-on. Second & third, I have 2 link lists which are used by dozens of people on a daily basis. Fourth, fifth, sixth & seventh are all 'stat' add-ons (we'll discuss stats later) including the interesting cluster map, a hit counter, an overall stat-keeper, and a online users update. These add-ons are mostly for my own benefit, but can be used to build momentum for your blog.