Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Is your blog a role model?

You've been blogging a while, and feel you're pretty slick at it.

But is your blog a role model, an example that other bloggers could learn from? Do you have any blind spots concerning your blog? Things you know you need to do, but have not learned how, or have not allocated the time to get them done?

What got me thinking about this was a blog by Kaye Trammell: so this is mass communication?


Kaye Trammell is an assistant professor of mass communication at Louisiana State University. She researches blogs.

Kaye's doctoral dissertation dealt with celebrity blogs.


She teaches blogging and other web design topics. She attends the important blog conferences. Since she uses her blog to discuss blogging techniques, it's a "meta-blog" (a blog about blogs). Like this one, except Vaspers is a mixture of business blog, meta-blog, and personal/music blog.

She admits, in "Designing Better Posts," that she has a poorly designed blog (a generic Blogger template), and does not implement all the techniques she knows and teaches to others.


The next natural thought is about me living in a glass blog, right? I want my students to have great CSS, when my own blog is a mess.

Well, I am planning a redesign of my own site -- I just don't have the time to actually do it yet. Alas, someday ...


Yeah. I admit that I don't always practice everything I preach, either. For example, I don't engage in Reciprocal Commenting (posting a comment on the blog of someone who posted a comment on my blog) as much as I really should. I try, though.

And since I try to use Zero Budget Marketing as much as possible, to prove that you can do a lot for no, or nearly no, money...it's hard to find good, free blog design templates. (I'm about ready to do a new design soon myself, in fact.)

You have to hate your blog, in the sense of not gazing dreamily in awe of it. You have to get annoyed with your beautiful blog and slap it around a bit. You have to look at it critically and figure out what can be improved and how to do it.

Blogging, on a Deming-inspired Continual Improvement Eternally basis, is hard, time-consuming work. No wonder many successful blogs are group or team blogs. They pump out multiple posts every day, because they have team members, interns, or staff to work on it. Many PR blogs are done this way.

On the reverse side of the coin, I generally expect other bloggers to see what I'm doing and, if they like it, to adapt it to their blog: post titles worked into graphic images, photos sprinkled into posts, Swicki custom search engines, Skype, prestige ads, music mp3s, YouTube video player embeds, feedrolls (Digg and Lockergnome), etc.

But...sometimes you have to spell things out. You can't assume that people really notice or know how to do what you do. Providing links to tutorials, or writing posts that reveal your blogging secrets, is a nice touch that benefits other bloggers.

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