National Blog Posting Month Day 5
The Sunday Washington Post in its usually useless Sunday Source section has a very good article called Be More Than a Blip in the Blogosphere by Dan Zak aimed at the amateur blogger like me. Most articles about blogging are aimed at people trying to make a living of off AdSense revenue rather than people doing it as a hobby.
Be sure to read the whole article, but here are my reactions to each item.
1. TELL STORIES RATHER THAN STICKING SOLELY TO LINKS OR PHOTOS
The whole point of blogging is writing. Some people do the link dump well, but I learned a long time ago that nobody clicks. I put in links more for my reference and sense of obligation. If a few people click through I feel useful, but I hope most readers come to read me. That is the egotistical essence of blogging.
2. CREATE A VOICE FOR YOURSELF.
This tip says either stick to a topic or a style. My interests are rather eclectic, but not completely random. I do seem to have a few kindred souls out there, which says more for the vastness of the blogosphere than the universality of my interests.
3. MAKE EVERYTHING EASY TO READ AND ACCESS.
Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’ve gotten bored with all the sidebar gimmicks that have nothing to do with people navigating my site. I keep the most recent posts way down the sidebar, because most people don’t need them. The Best Of links and Labels don’t seem to get used enough, but they are they if you want them.
4. SIFT THROUGH BLOGROLLS AND CREATE YOUR OWN.
People on my blogroll are my most frequent commenters and that is a great part of the community part of blogging. Please check them out.
5. WIDGET YOUR PAGE.
He doesn't mean weather pisies and the like. Put in things that make your site easy to bookmark or subscribe to. I’ve got all the RSS feeds and aggregator links I think I need. If anybody uses something that I could use to make it easier to subscribe, let me know.
6. COMMENT EARLY AND OFTEN.
Here is where I need more hours in the day. I hit everybody on my blogroll at least three to four times a week, but I don’t always comment. Then again I don’t expect every reader to comment on every post. This is Golden Rule stuff. I should try to read a wider group of blogs every now and then, but it’s tough to find time. This daily blogging is definitely cutting into the random recreational surfing.
7. PRAY FOR A LINK FROM THE BIG BOYS.
I got hit by Gawker for the Studio 60 Drinking Game and it did wonders for my stats, but now that that's off the air, it's not driving a lot of traffic. Every now and then I hit a hot topic. I just hope that people that hit me for a specific post come back later and read more. I’m still waiting for a break through link for the Dowd Report. I have to think it will come sooner or later.
8. NOMINATE YOURSELF FOR AWARDS.
Blogger awards are so hokey and most seem to do more for the blogs of the people inventing the awards than the “nominees. I’m sure I could sock puppet and Astroturf my way onto some nominations, but I just can’t put myself through that level of effort.
9. POST WITH VERVE AND CONSISTENCY.
Zak says to post at least daily. In my circle of bloggers that is a little ambitious. I’m less than a week into NaBloPMo and it’s getting stressful. Three to four times a week is the pace that has traditionally worked for me. It's a hobby, not a job.
10. JOIN THE CROWD.
I’m on Blogtimore, Hon which is a great aggregator. Part of the advantage of blogging is not needing to have ftf contact. That said, I would like to be more social and go to things like the recently passed Baltimore Bloggers meet-up, but I don’t have the time for fixed time events.
Again, this is a good article full of common sense advice. Those dead trees are still good for something.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: Which tips make the most sense to you?