Some things I've learned since I've been blogging:
Regarding Settings and Layout
1. Get rid of word verification, if you haven't yet. It's one more step that will keep people from leaving comments on your blog. Directions: click on "Settings", click on "Comments", then scroll down to "Show word verification for comments?" and click "NO".
2. Connect your email to your comments. When you leave a comment on someone's blog, if you have your email "showing", that person can reply to your in-box. Most bloggers who like to respond directly to comments prefer people have this feature enabled. Directions: Click on "My Account" in the upper right corner. Click on "Edit Profile" (on the left, toward the top, near your icon). On the right there should be 3 check boxes, CHECK the one that says "Allow people to contact me (without showing my email address)".
3. Have your comments sent to your in-box. If you aren't doing this yet, it enables you to 1. See who commented on your blog without missing any comments and 2. Respond to those comments easily. Directions: Click "Settings". Click "Comments". Scroll down to where it says "Comment Notification Email", and put your email there. If you are concerned that your in-box will get overly full, you can sign up for a free email and connect it to your Blogger account.
4. Pay attention to how long it takes your blog to load up. If it takes a long time, readers will get bored waiting and will go to another blog that loads quickly. To test this, open your blog in a new Browser window and count how long it takes for it to load. (Keep in mind that if you have been looking at your blog that day, it will be "cached" so it will load quickly, clear your cache to get a true loading time)
5. Blogs load left to right and top to bottom. Widgets in the side columns that have "live links" (links that change constantly because they load information to your blog) take longer than "static links" (links that stay the same but take you to another site) to load. So, if you have 3 columns and your left column has several "live links" your content will take a while to load. (PS - music players on your blog slow the loading up a lot, and are annoying to readers, remove them)
Regarding Good Blogging Practices:
6. You want lots of good comments? Go visit and give good comments. You want a TON of followers? Go follow, leave a good comment and tell them "I'm your newest follower, please visit and follow me back!"
7. If someone follows you, you don't HAVE to follow them back, but it's polite. When someone comes and takes the time to leave you a good comment (i.e. not "Great post"), go, visit and leave a good comment. Blogging is reciprocal!
8. Post regularly, but not too much. The blogs I read consistently are the blogs that post on a schedule. It doesn't have to be every day, though that helps with readership. But posting twice a day is probably unnecessary, and you don't give your readers a chance to catch up, because not everyone is online all day.
9. Be a follower! Link up with themed posts like a Friday Follow or any other themed writing that gets your name on a list, the more people see your blog, the more people will be likely to visit and follow you.
10. Remember to keep balance in your life. You can have 1000 followers and have 60 comments on every post, but you will spend 5-6 hours a day blogging. Your husband will hate you and your kids will feel abandoned. Decide when you get online what you will be doing. If you are going to write a post or two, just do that, don't read your email, don't go visiting blogs. If you are going to spend some time visiting blogs, set a number. For example, read just 10 blogs and leave good comments and then go do some laundry.
The previous list was only
You can disagree, let me know if I missed anything important!