Thursday, August 04, 2005

Blog Reform: hot new trend in blogging

Blog reform is the hot new
trend in blogging.

Yes, gentle reader (whatever that literary quirk means), that which Vaspers the Grate has been ranting and debating about is now "all the rage". But you, dear reader, are way ahead of the pack, if you've been paying attention to what I, and other blog reformists, have been saying all along.

Bloggers everywhere are discussing and arguing about how to take blogging to the next level, just as the mediocre masses are starting to investigate and explore blogs.

Just as the average folks are finally asking about blogs.

What is "Blog Reform"?

Here's a quick overview.

7 Essential Aspects
of Blog Reform:


(1) Realizing that new blog readers understand NOTHING about blogs.

Blogs are being publicized like crazy all of a sudden. I mean, it's been steadily progressing to a fever pitch, and now it's pretty much arrived: Blogs are Mandatory Hipness.

Everybody's hearing the hype, but not getting good, detailed explanations.

That's our job as bloggers: educate, simplify, set an example of blogging at its best.

(2) Clarifying our own blog functions and features.

Define, in your blog, as captions under headings, or sidebar links to further information, all terms:

* blogroll
* trackback
* comments
* perma-link
* ping
* flaming
* comment spam
* blogocombat
* link farm
* previous posts
* archives
* categories
* tags

...and any other terms we blogheads throw around like biscuits at a gravy convention.

(3) Designing our blogs, or re-designing them, to make them easier to navigate, understand, and enjoy.

This may mean you need to buy some photo/art tools, like Paint Shop Pro, to enhance your blog, and some image uploading software, like Hello/Picasa, to post photos, cartoons, artwork, diagrams, to your blog.

It may mean exporting your entire blog into a new template. Or tweaking your template. You may need to learn some HTML and CSS. Don't whine about it. Do it. Fast.

(4) Writing better and better all the time.

You may need to shorten your posts (mine are often rather lengthy)...or beef them up with more informational content.

Or you may need to add more hypertext links in your posts, to verify your claims (my posts used to be full of links, with almost no informal chats on web topics).

(5) Identifying your site as a blog.

This is something I want to do, put something in my sidebar, clarifying the fact that yes, you're in a "blog" right now.

Most people don't know your blog is a blog, they think it's just another web site. A conventional, boring, static, corporate fluff web site. Or a "personal home page" that's the same deal: nothing for readers to do but look, and maybe buy crap.

(6) Benefiting your readers.

Provide real value, solid advice, documented sources, interesting links, good information, even humor or downright silliness, if that's appropriate for your blog and your audience.

Blogs that link only to friends ("clinking": clique linking),

blogs that bore,

blogs that repeat what all the other blogs are doing,

blogs that care little for the readers,

blogs that are poorly written with abundant typos and large blocks of solid text,

blogs with ugly design,

blogs that are arrogantly self-impressed,

blogs that don't interact with users via comments and replies to comments...

...are dead blogs.

(7) Hating your own blog.

Hurry up and criticize it...before some else does, and you look inept.

Don't gaze lovingly at your blog, all dreamy eyed and full of satisfaction. Try to see your blog as though it belonged to someone else. What is wrong with it? What stinks? What bothers you?

Then fix it, or seek help from someone like me.

Soon I'm going to post "What I Hate About My Blog" to show you how to do this.

There are some things about my blog that I truly cannot stand. Maybe I can fix them myself, or maybe you, gentle reader, can offer help. We're a team.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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