Heisui’s Thoughts: Drama-blogging Tips
When I first wanted to make a drama blog, I literally searched “how to drama-blog” on the internet. *facepalm* Obviously nothing came up. 😛 Of course we all learn these things by experience…so I feel like I’m just saying what everyone already knows….but I think it still might be helpful to list some tips in case anyone needs them. Note that all of these tips are based on my experience at WordPress, so some of them may not apply to the other blogging platforms. >__<
Make a document with all of the tags that you will use for each drama. General rule of thumb is to include the title, the cast names, and the characters names. This way you only have to copy and past these tags into the “Tags” section for each new post you do on the same drama. This has saved me a lot of time and it also ensures that your tags will be consistent.
Have a naming system for your images. At the start you may feel like you don’t have too many images in your blog library but by the time you start writing a lot, chances are you will have hundreds of images with no way to find them again. An easy way is to have some kind of abbreviation for the drama/actor’s name (or even just use the entire name itself) and then add a number to the end. This way if you have to find an image, all you have to do is search up the name and it will pop up!
Archives / Categories
On wordpress there is the option to create ‘categories’ for your posts so you can group them together. For instance, I have categories for c-dramas, tw-dramas, etc. It makes it so much easier for visitors to look through your archives or to find posts that they want to read. It is really overwhelming if there are absolutely on categories to browse through your posts!
Page: List of all your posts by drama
If you are recapping or reviewing a drama, it will make it a lot easier for people if you have a page where you list the dramas and their respective posts. One of the most daily viewed pages on my blog is my “Dramas” page where I have all my dramas listed. You could also do a separate page for each category of drama posts if you like, such as having one page for c-dramas, one for j-dramas, etc. Another option is to provide a link to the tag of the drama in these pages. For instance, if I am listing the drama Legend of Zhen Huan then I could hyper link it to the tag. If a visitor clicks on the link, all of the posts with this tag will pop up. That way they can see all posts that are related to the drama.
Page: General info
One of the most interesting pages in a drama blog is the “About” page because it is your chance to find out the bloggers’ background, motivations, etc. A lot of times, these ‘about’ pages will only have like…3 sentences (I’m not even making an understatement here)…or maybe a paragraph. IMO this is not really enough because there is so much more you could talk about in this page. But it’s up to you!
Keep your files organized on your computer
This is probably a tip that everyone will say “DUH” to but…I didn’t do this in the beginning. A lot of my screencaps were all scattered throughout the pictures folder on my computer and I also had no naming system so…I was left with thousands of images to sort through. Actually I gave up on even trying to sort them all out. Just have a folder for each drama, and also separate the screencaps by the episode number. Trust me it will save you so much time and effort. It will also help if you want to get a screencap from a specific episode later on.
Reuse your images
If you are writing a post that is not specifically related to any drama (i.e. my Heisui’s Thoughts posts) you don’t have to go searching for other images to match along with your post. Instead it’s totally fine to reuse a previous screenshot or still that you may have uploaded before.
Resize your images
One thing you can do to save space is to resize your images to a smaller size. I would recommend this particularly if the image is originally a very large size that is over 1000 pixels large. Also, I suggest that you use a medium or large picture size in your posts and CENTER IT!!!!!! (just a pet peeve, I think it looks so much better centered :P) Again, just a personal preference but IMO if your image is so small I can’t even see it very well, then what’s the point? T_T”
Use a good collage maker. (if you’re making collages)
I would suggest Picasa or Photoscape to make your collages. It will save you a lot of pain if you have a good collage maker!
Making a header is actually very simple but ironically I can’t really explain how I make them because…I think it’d be too confusing, LOL. So I will give a very easy version of how to make a header–
1. Find an image that will be large enough to fit your entire header size. This way you won’t have to combine any pictures or anything. (<It is easy to do but I have no idea how to explain it.)
2. Adjust the image position in the header space. You can use interesting positions such as choosing to have an image upside down or horizontal (this often works for pictures from photoshoots), or maybe even asymmetrical. The subject of the image doesn’t have to be centered in the header. Sometimes it can be to the side, etc. and it will actually look more appealing to the eye.
3. (optional) It’s not totally necessary to have your blog name in the header. If you do add your blog name, try to use a clean font that will match the feel of the header. I usually use white or gray font color. Again, your blog name doesn’t always have to be centered. Use interesting positions for your blog name.
4. Use an editing program such as Picasa to make simple adjustments to the header. Simple rule of thumb is to adjust the contrast and brightness to make the picture stand out more. You can also use simple filters such as black&white, sepia, etc. that might make the picture look better. If the header is a bit blurry/pixelly, use the glow or soften effect. 😉
Don’t use too many images in your posts.
This is totally contradictory because I always use TONS of pictures in my collages. Oops. But what I mean is, you should not have too much but you also shouldn’t have too little. Using images will really help you break up your posts into smaller parts, which can help organize your posts. Overall images can really add to the aesthetics of your post and also make it easier for the readers to follow along.
Widgets can make your blog theme much more interesting and pleasing to the eye. For instance you can use the text/HTML box to add updates, images, music, videos, or visitor counters. They are also useful to make navigating your blog easier if you add an archives or categories widget.
I have had a case where another blogger reposted my recaps (in full text with my collages) without my permission. It doesn’t hurt to add a copyright disclaimer in your sidebar just to make sure it is always visible to all viewers. You can also get a Creative Commons license to add into the copyright.
BACK UP YOUR PICTURES!!!!!!
I think this is probably the most important tip, heh. >__< JUST DO ITTTTTT. It is inevitable that your computer will crash someday, so don’t let all of your screencaps and treasured pictures go to waste. (*cough* am I speaking from experience? *cough*) Just get an external harddrive (a small flashdrive that is like…1GB or even 3-8 GB may not suffice. But it depends on how much memory you need) with enough space in it and periodically back up your files.
Keep a list of all the dramas you’re watching
If you are aiming to do an end of the year review, then it will really help if you keep a list of all the dramas you’re watching/attempted to watch throughout the year. It may not seem like a big deal but last year when I had to write up my end of the year review, I actually had trouble remembering all the dramas I had watched. (including those I tried out watching) O_O” *update: Thanks to everyone who commented and suggested My Drama List. This is a good option if you want to keep a list of all the drama’s you’ve watched. 😉
Don’t be discouraged if your stats are very low in the beginning.
When I first started out, I got 0 page views per day. 3 pageviews was like a lot in the beginning. O_O” So really, don’t worry about your stats because no blog is going to have booming pageviews right from the start. It takes a long time to build up a following & to have a rapport with other drama bloggers. 😉
So, these are all the tips that I could think of off the top of my head. Let me know if you have any other tips and whether any of the ones listed above helped you out any. 😉