Wednesday, May 10, 2006

20 insights from 2 years of blogging

I started this, my first blog, Vaspers the Grate, in May 2004.

You might ask, "what have you learned since your first post?"

So let me just spew forth some random insights that pop into mind.

20 Insights from
2 Years
of Blogging:

(1) A blog is an easy way to have an effective, professional web presence.

(2) But a web presence is not enough, your site must be an interactive, relevant, frequently updated web presence.

(3) You must respond quickly to reader comments...and engage in Reciprocal Commenting by posting comments at their blogs.

(4) Eventually you'll get hit by a shitstorm of spam comments, and you'll need to use Word Verification (Character Recognition/Captcha), and Comment Moderation w/Delayed Comment Posting.

(5) You can get the attention of A Listers and Key Influencers of the Blogosphere, if you blog smart enough, and post lots of enriching comments at other high quality blogs.

(6) Study the super popular or very professional blogs in your field, and be open to what their style and content can teach you.

(7) Be yourself--but be your Best and Most Unique Self. Mediocrity, timidity, and conformity will make you totally unknown in the blogosphere. Only strong, memorable, wildly funny, or extremely informed and intelligent voices stand out in the midst of over 40 million other blogs.

(8) Be prepared to blog for a long, long time...with no comments, no praise, no one blogrolling you, no one quoting you. Blog because you love expressing truth, art, wisdom, narrative, or business expertise.

(9) SAVE YOUR TEMPLATE...or risk accidental deletion of it and losing your entire blog forever.

Go to your blog dashboard, then Settings, Template, and highlight or select all, Copy, Paste it into WordPad or other text editor.

Be sure to Save Your Template every time you make major revisions to it.

(10) Don't gaze lovingly, admiringly at your blog. Hate your blog...stare at it critically and ask why it is the way it is. Seek to make little improvements continually.

(11) Change your total design once a year at least.

(12) Stay focused, but include occassional, interesting tangents, and unexpected surprises.

(13) Forget popularity, success, and monetizing your blog. These values can occur, but your primary goal should be to maintain a blog of great relevance and usefulness to your readers.

(14) Measure your blog's results by the satisfaction you get from writing good posts, not by how many comments you get. You may have many loyal lurkers, who are just too inarticulate, shy, or satisfied to add any remarks to what you post. You said what needed to be said, and they're happy just to read it.

(15) Self-effacing humbleness is far more attractive than strident arrogance. But you don't want to be a wimpy chump, either. Mix sincerity, aggressivity, and some comedy. Try to think of a funny way to make a point, rather than always attacking your foes or ideas you're opposed to.

(16) A "friend" you make online, via blog comments, or emails, can suddenly, with no explanation, vanish. You never hear from them again, and you will never know why. It's probably something you wrote in a post, but you'll never know what exactly.

(17) Effective blogging is a discipline, not a whim. It takes stubborn persistence to post something clever or informative every doggone day. Feel good about your sticking to something so abnormal as daily journaling of your thoughts or analysis.

(18) Learn HTML, CSS, XML, web usability, web design, micro-content composition, RSS, beta testing, and other skills you need to make your blog more than just a generic clone.

(19) Learn about Safe Blogging, in regard to online sexual, homicidal, and financial predators, and identity theft scams. Know what your children or employees are doing online.

(20) Always think: "what do I know that might benefit my readers?" and make that your blog post. If you're learning something new every day, and everybody can, then you'll have something fresh to post every day.


carrie said...

very thorough.

i like number ten.

steven edward streight said...

Your blog exemplifies #10 quite nicely. You change your blog design, and even your blogging style, far more often than anyone else I know.

Humour and last laugh said...

I love my blogs. Hating them is difficult. May be I will ask you to criticise them. Is that you in the photo captioned by the name of your blog? Beautiful!

steven edward streight said...

Humour and Last Laugh: [I love this nickname "humour and last laugh"--this is really good, it has Triumphalism and Comedy mixed together, it's a whole lesson in itself]:

When I say "hate" your blog, I use shorthand for shock effect.

What I mean is: quit being in love with Self, which is Illusion, as Self is Manifested in Blog, which is Digital Effluvium.

Bad blogs represent Self.
Good blogs reveal Mind.

Humour and last laugh said...

'Enlightenment hurts...' Hope you are brave enough to do what is needed regarding your mother. Take care.