Friday, February 11, 2005

Blog Success Tips 1 - 10


"lissome"Posted by Hello

Tips 1 - 10

(1.) CONTENT: Distinctive, frequently updated, relevant, credible, well written, idiosyncratic (your unique "voice"), practical, funny, bold, profound, unusual.

(In accordance with your target audience, industry, specialty, and personal style.)

Ignore the prevailing wisdom about "hurried, spontaneous, faulty grammar, poorly written" posts. Correct all typos, misspellings, mangled URLs, and other errors. Revise. Update. Edit. Polish. Make your blog posts as perfect as possible.

For 18 vital aspects of web (or blog) content, please see:

Try to keep sentences and paragraphs *short*.

When you read your posts, don't be shy or timid about revising them, chop those dense, unscannable paragraphs into mental bite-sized chunks.

Go ahead and use ALL CAPS once in a while, especially if you have no easy way to make some text bold or emphasized.

Sometimes you have a right to SHOUT from the rooftops. Sometimes all caps is a good way to signify a sub-head, warning, or important key statement. If you do use all caps, keep it for one, two, or three word subheads.

All Caps Sentences are ridiculous, very hard and tiring to read, and basically ineffective: never do that. I've seen entire long paragraphs, mostly in blog comments or online discussion forums, that were all caps. Looks really stupid.

Then again, the prefered use of *asterisks* seems clunky and weird to me, though I use them now and then.

Blog about what you know, and, especially in business blogs, go easy on the private, exhibitionistic, confessional, excruciatingly intimate and mundane details of your life. A little personal revelation goes a long way.

I don't go to a business blog wondering, "What does this marketing expert like to eat? What movies does he love the most?"

I go to a business blog wondering, "How can I increase traffic to my client's web site? How can I write more effective emails, especially the Subject: lines? How can I acquire more clients for my services?" and so forth.

Mentioning your hobby, favorite music, preferences in food, etc. is okay once in a while. But I've seen business, marketing, and software blogs where personal details overwhelm the blog, and thus, I derive almost no practical insight into matters of true professional importance. So please don't go gushing your guts out all the time in a business-oriented blog. Thanks.

Write like you talk, but a little better. Writing gives you the chance to edit, revise, improve, which is not really done much when speaking. Imagine someone constantly correcting, erasing, respeaking his or her spoken statements.

Be yourself and a little bit of someone else: the mentor you admire, the teacher who got you started, the pundit you enjoy the most. Great writers were heavily influenced by other great writers, their contemporaries or those who came before them.

"Yourself" is NOT enough. Go beyond the limitations of your puny ego. Expand, explore, evaluate, assimilate. Do not imitate, but emulate and promulgate.

(2.) BLOGOSPHERE: Link to and interact with other bloggers.

Read other blogs.

Write posts on your blog about posts you've read on other blogs (Jennifer Rice at "What's Your Brand Mantra?" blog) reminded me of this important, but overlooked, technique.)

Leave intelligent, relevant, interesting, funny, appreciative, radical, shocking, affirmative, diplomatic comments at other blogs.

Increase the value of other blogs by adding rich user-generated content to them. Be altruistic.

Avoid leaving your own blog post URLS (links to specific articles on your blog), even when relevant. It looks spammy and desperate. Do it once in a while, but very seldom.

Most blogs enable you to embed your blog URL in your name with your comment post. Let that be sufficient most of the time.

(3.) LITERATURE: Read good, classic literature: Proust, Dickens, Twain, White, Hawthorne, Borges, Goethe, Kerouac, Pynchon, O. Henry, Poe, Rilke, Rimbaud, etc. Read difficult material to stretch your brain.

Read good business books, especially leadership and marketing titles. Seth Godin, Tom Peters, W. Edwards Deming, Peter Drucker, Harvey MacKay, etc.

(4.) COMMENTS FUNCTION: Enable comments, at least for relatively recent posts. Jump into the comment threads and comment on the comments. This will make your blog seem more personal and interactive.

Monitor your blog. Quickly catch and delete every whiff of irrelevant, trite, insincere, URL mongering, page rank boosting, con job promoting, credibility-reducing instances of comment spam.

Consider ways to combat and prevent Comment Spam: moderation and delayed posting of comments, captchas, closing comments on older posts, required registration, etc.

(5.) BLOG SPAM: Watch out for RSS feed spam, Trackback spam, "email this article to a friend" spam, guestbook spam, etc.

(6.) MORE POSTING: Post comments on discussion lists, bulletin boards, online forums, web sites, etc.: mainly those online resources that are about your specialty, interest, or expertise.

Post good information and relevant links on them. Answer questions, mention brief anecdotes, or pose thoughtful challenges to prevailing wisdom.

(7.) URL UBIQUITY: Put your blog title and URL on everything.

On all promotional, advertising, marketing, and corporate material: tee shirts, coffee mugs, pens, calendars, ball caps, television commercials, print ads, email signatures, letterhead, packaging, owner's/instruction manuals, every blasted thing. Even posters and morale booster trinkets in the office.

(8.) SELF-EDUCATION: Keep improving your knowledge of blogs, blogging software, computer security, writing, blogosphere, emerging tech trends, marketing, business, whatever your specialty or expertise is.

This will help ensure that you'll have something interesting to say and be able to post frequently on your blog and on other online resources.

(9.) BLOGROLL LOGISTICS: People may judge your blog by who is on your blogroll.

If you have no blogroll, your blog might seem claustrophobic, closed in on itself, self-centered, afraid of visitors leaving and finding a better blog to become loyal to, or arrogant and self-impressed, even out of touch with the rest of the blogosphere.

Consider adding relevant blogs, plus blogs that may be irrelevant, but fun or enlightening.

Monitor these blogs, make sure you still endorse them, check for link rot (URL no longer leading to blog, blog deleted, etc.).

Too many blogs makes a blogroll seem like reciprocity out of control ("I'll blogroll your blog if you'll blogroll my blog") and possibly just a ploy of little value. Users cannot go to 50 blogs every day.

Too few blogs makes a blogroll seem inadequate, restricted to a clique (blogs of friends only, no outsiders), or simply out of touch with the blogosphere.

I also think it's a good idea to give a brief, one to four word description of blogs that others may not be familiar with, so users can quickly get some idea of what each blog is about, and whether they might want to check it out.

Blogrolls with lots of names only, never any descriptions, seem like a laundry list that I don't have time to check one by one.

(10.) HYPERTEXT LINKING: Make some words or phrases hot links that users can click/select to travel to other pages of your blog, or to other, external internet resources.

Not having any hypertext links in any posts may communicate to users that you are not willing or able to do research and document your statements. Blogs are part of the web which is a network of hypertext linked documents, graphics, and interactive functionalities. No blog should appear to be an isolated island.

Do not use IntelliTXT hypertext content spam, where a "text link", when clicked/selected, causes a pop-up window or tool tip to appear, with an advertisement in it, and leads users to a paid sponsor.

This IntelliTXT type of hypertext content spam is a counter-productive violation of objective, credible information practices on the web. It will surprise, confuse, and probably offend many users.

The convention of hypertext linking is to link to good, relevant, reputable, safe, non-spyware attaching, non-spoofed sites.

Including paid hypertext links to sponsor sites will downgrade the entire realm of hypertext systems, thus causing damage to the integrity and true usefulness of the web as a whole.

(11.) to (257.) ... [sorry, top secret, for clients only, pull out your wallet]

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