Perhaps “blogging” isn’t such a graceful word. For me, personally, it sounds like a worded drudgery the way cereals can be soggy, skies can be foggy, and the way minds can be groggy. But for now, it’s too late to rename this shortened word for web-logging. Widespread blogging is nevertheless one of the most engaging Internet developments of the past few years. As a medium it gives rise to many new and worthy voices and plays a new and vital force in shaping opinions, political realities, trends, and even our language.
I believe that a blog is simply a tool to use for someone who’s got something to say. Let me be clear in saying that a blog is a poor choice for someone who needs a megaphone to scream out to cyberspace in order to elicit a meaningful response from Internet users. If you want attention and want it now and expect blogging to bring it to you, then this will surely be a disappointment. However, if you like to write and engage others on subjects of which you have some command or experience, then it’s a wonderful application with which you can interact with people who share similar interests as you. The hype is well founded.
Anyway, here’s a list of blogging tips
1.) Be topical. Cohesiveness in message is not optional. Readers may or may not be interested in your topic, but if your message is haphazard that few will bother remembering to return to your blog because it essentially would offer nothing to remember. This doesn’t mean blogs can’t jump from subject to subject. For instance, a blog with a humorous focus has all the leeway in the world for subject matter, but it would be foolish for such a blog to turn the humor on and off. In such an example, the aspect of humor would be content’s glue, the strength of the blog. The beauty of staying on point and on topic is that eventually, due to the nature of the Internet, you will find those interested solely in your topic. (as opposed to online diaries. There are millions of them on the internet, few have any readers. Email me with examples if I’m wrong and I’ll be able to show you why you’re showing me a blog and not a diary.)
2.) Refresh your content Create a schedule and stick to it. Realizing that blogging requires time and effort, don’t create unrealistic expectations and be unable to deliver. An occasional lapse or holiday is generally understood but readers returning to find stale, out-dated content are going to find another blog with similar content. New blogs and rss feeds are popping up on a daily basis. If you have worked hard to develop an audience and a community you don’t want to lose them due to lack of communication.
And remember, what’s old is not new and, for blogs, thusly not interesting. 2006 isn’t the time to rail against Enron or Vanilla Ice. Insight doesn’t matter much to yesterday’s news.
3.) Clear Language Counts. Blessed is the blog with a clear line of logic. Write without inside jokes, clique-y catchphrases or ambiguous logic. First time readers need to be close to your message. They are more likely to return to blogs that strike them positively. If the first read is confusing there will not be a second read.
4.) Feed the Spiders. Search engines take notice of active blogs and blog search engines are especially sensitive to activity. If nothing else, search engines are smarter today than they were yesterday and are only getting smarter. In constantly improving they are seeking to aggregate quality; quality blogs are updated several times a week, if not daily, as opposed to once or twice a month. I don’t mean to scare you but a big spider is watching, so dance for them.
5.) RSS. Think of RSS like a magic to blogging world, because that’s the effect it’s had. RSS feeds are a way to exponentially sound your voice to the interested. These feeds are a great means to increase the distribution and readership of your original content.
6.) Spell check. Hey man, use the spell-check. I do if I didn’t you probably wouldn’t have made it to #6. It only takes a minute and can save you from looking like a hack.
Your weblog audiences will be small at first. And, frankly, that’s the way it should be. Who are you to think that half the internet will flock to you after three or four posts of your blog, anyway?
If you tough it out while maintaining quality, readership will materialize. You will link to good, relevant blogs and, in turn, they will to you. While your voice may be unique, your niche likely isn’t and if your content is emitted smartly to the Internet those relevant readers will respond through readership and interaction. That I guarantee.
Joseph Pratt Media Analyst ICMediaDirect.com
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