#1: If you are in Fort Wayne, Indiana, join the Social Media fun folks for the monthly Social Media Breakfast Tuesday from 7:30 to 9am. Details are here: http://smbfw006.eventbrite.com/
#2: Realize that there are very few rules. Except stealing other peoples stuff, but that is true in all areas of life.
#3: Have Fun. Fuel Your Blogging shared these ideas recently:
Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:49 PM PDT
I’m A Bandit Goat Bounty Hunter
Taking yourself too seriously when first starting out as a blogger can be detrimental to the development of your voice and style as a blogger, so instead of trying to fit in with the pros, cut yourself loose from your readers, which probably haven’t populated yet, and have a little fun. Even if you’ve built a bit of a readership, try new things with your blog, express yourself, and see what works … your readership will understand and encourage your direction so long as it’s relevant.
Get started in the following areas of your blog, as they provide the most opportunity for expression and fun:
1. The Header
As one of the first area of your blog a visitor sees, the header is a great place to create a positive first impression. It’s also a great place to have some fun. Whether you feel like switching out your professional looking blog name for a fun alterative or even create a fun name for your blog, this is the place to do it. Obviously, the latter might be more tuned for those just starting their blog, but it’s never too late to add a tagline in effort to further diversify your blog from the others in your niche.
Caution, this happens to be one of the first places search engines see when crawling your blog, so going wild may result in altered rankings.
For those with two main areas in the header (one for the actual logo and the other for advertising or widgets), you could opt to include something fun where you’d place ads or widgets. This is a great place to tell your readers something about your blog or yourself that they might not have a chance to find out if they bounce before visiting your about page — something even the serious bloggers should consider.
2. The Sidebar
Like the header, this area of your blog is one of the first areas the visitor will notice when first visiting your blog. In addition to being the first places visitors go, this is usually accessible no matter where your visitor is on your blog, so providing something fun for your visitors in the sidebar is a sure way to be sure they see it.
A simple message near the top, random facts, or hidden treasures might be a fun way to use the sidebar in effort to make your blog more fun, but it all depends on your niche and style.
Has anyone been experimenting with this — what’s working?
3. The Post Footer
The post footer has become a great place to find out more about the blogger moments after finishing a post, and from what I’ve seen, it’s also where most bloggers inject their voice and humor into their work.
The key here is to surprise the reader by saying something he or she might not expect after reading your post. So if you write a killer post all about social marketing, then reveal you rescue space monkeys in your free time, you might just inspire a giggle from the reader, and thus become more memorable as a blogger.
That said, it’s crucial to be original and awesome … even the example above is a bit on the nose. Get creative and have some fun.
4. Image Captions
While image captions provide a great way to further enhance your search engine optimization, they also enable the blogger to inject something the reader might not expect during the time with your post. It doesn’t have to be funny per se, but rather provide another angle (a more causal voice) regarding your topic.
A great example of this can be seen at TentBlogger — John’s got a good sense of humor and usually provides a little something in the captions that other bloggers might overlook.
The 404 page is probably one of the most popular places to have fun, second only to the about page. The 404 page shows whenever your visitor somehow manages to navigate to a url that doesn’t exist.
Creating a custom 404 page is super important, as it can help prevent a visitor from bouncing away in frustration that he or she could find the page desired. There are two routes you can take: create a page that actually helps the user find what he or she was looking for, or a funny page users will remember.
6. Contact Page
Have fun on your contact page — the majority are … just boring, including my own at CreativeBlogger. We have the challenge of keeping it helpful and easy for those actually interested in contacting us, yet doing something a little different so the visitor remembers us.
7. About Page
Last but not least, we have the about page. This is where bloggers have the opportunity to really shine with their personality, voice, and style, but it’s all too common for bloggers to model their pages after the major leaguers and miss out on that opportunity to express themselves in a fresh way.
This is where you have to be bold. Convey yourself effectively to your visitors, but remember to include some notes that will diversify you from the rest of the crowd — similar to the post footer. Provide the visitor with something they won’t expect. Talk about what you did before blogging (narwhal wrangler, bandit goat bounty hunter, professional zombie hunter) … just have fun with it!
How Are You Having Fun On Your Blog?
And there’s always the actual content of your blog, but you knew that! I’m interested in learning more about your approach to creating a fun environment for your visitors — post a comment with some tips for those interested in having fun on their blog.
image credit: SigNote Cloud