Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Blog or Not To Blog...

For the last three or four months, I had been considering if I should write a blog or not. I have a close friend that blogs- she is a writer and editor though, and reads A TON. Other super smart people have blogs- and they seem to have so much motivation and really interesting information to report. Me, however, I wasn't sure if my enthusiasm over my obsessions would warrant a blog. Would my writing be interesting? Do I have enough to write about? I had many questions. After mulling it over for a few months, I decided (along with another friend) to take the plunge- see what it is like to blog.

Since then, I've been very enthusiastic about blogging. It is a BLAST!

Here is why:
  1. I find myself looking at my experiences with a blogger's eye. I am more apt to think about what is happening, and what kind of sense I can make of it.
  2. I feel like I am more accountable for what I (think I) know. If I am going to write it down for others to see, I really need to make sure that there is some research and "meat" to my writings.
  3. I don't usually write my ideas down, and now I feel like they won't be lost (because I forget A LOT of things). Wait, what was I writing about again.? Oh! Yea- blogging...

Here are some stats about blogs that intrigue:
--175,000 new blogs are being started each day. (Technorati)
--The number of active blogs grew from 56 million to 62.3 million between October of 2006 and January 2007. (Gartner)
--The total number of dead, abandoned blogs out there has exceeded 200 million.(Gartner). SAD!!
Found from: SFGate

There are some blogging basics to know however. I must admit, I have already broken some of the rules... oooops!! My information comes from an experienced blogger Michael Pick with info from by Robin Good.

What is a blog?
"The word blog is a contraction of "web log", a phrase not so commonly used these days. In the simplest definition of the term, then, a blog is a log of your thoughts, ideas, useful links, photos, videos, or the latest news."

Why write a blog?
"There is no single reason to write a blog, as it very much depends on your motivation. Nevertheless, blogging can have a number of benefits, whether it is to help boost the presence of your business online, or just to share and debate ideas with like-minded people."

What to write??
"While this will obviously depend on why you are blogging in the first place, one piece of advice you should definitely consider is trying to find yourself a niche. Unless you are writing for your family or a couple of friends, the best way to distinguish yourself and build a readership is to focus on a particular niche topic or interest."
"There is bound to be something that you are passionate about, that really motivates you, and that is in some way unique to you. That's where to begin your blog from."

If you want it to stand out:
"The most important part of your blog posts are the titles. Because that's what will make a reader that finds your content through a search engine decide whether to visit your website or not. This is the make or break point that determines whether you get read or passed over in favour of someone else's content. Robin Good, in his article on How To Write Great Titles And Headlines For The Web notes that: "Do not try to make the title "smart", by using irony, word play or other "journalistic" approach."
This is precisely the rule I have broken... My titles aren't really searchable....... I'll have to think about it- do I want to lose the cute titles?

How to keep a reader on your page??
Once you have a great title the next thing worth thinking about is what happens when your reader actually arrives at your website. A lot of readers will disappear from a site in seconds unless they are captivated and encouraged to stay.
Muhammad Saleem writes for CopyBlogger that: "Readers will often read content diagonally to determine its usefulness before giving it a proper read."
Robin Good (Information: Beginners Blog Design) writes that "chunking" is important in a blog:
"Chunking is an approach to the formatting of the text that strives to "modularize" contents into the greatest number of meaningful text blocks possible." So chunks of writing- not BIG blocks.

Be bold!
"In order to facilitate readers scanning page contents, it is a great idea to use some "bolding" to highlight the first three or four words of content paragraphs that are particularly important."

A picture tells how many words?
Use pictures- people love them.

Where to begin?
My suggestion is to start thinking about a theme and then decide if you want to keep up a blog. At that point, there are so many research tools out there you can run crazy and be a fabulous blogger! If you start one! LET ME KNOW!

Happy writing!

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