Seeking Advice and Tips for Blogger Wannabes

July 6, 2006 at 9:59 am 5 comments

I am preparing to teach a mini-course called Become a Blogger in PPL’s Technology Center in August. It will the first offering of this course and (if it is a success) it will be the cornerstone of a new Web 2.o category on our class calendar. In the last few months PPL has offered one-shot sessions on RSS, Wikipedia and “Fantastic Freebies“, but this our first concentrated effort to bring Web 2.0 to the masses in a meaningful and in-depth fashion. Next up is flickr and a repeat of the RSS session.

The course will be taught to the general public and I suspect that the students will have a wide-variety of skill levels and I also suspect (or should I say hope) that they will have an even wider variety of topics and interests that they will be using as the basis for new blogs.

I have much of the course outline prepared in terms of the technical aspects and am now working on “filling it out” to give it a more human touch. I was driving to work this morning and thought “Hey, it would be cool if I could include some advice from current bloggers to my class of blogger wannabes”. I want to create a collection of tips, quips, quotes that I can use to create a post for the Become a Blogger blog that I have set up to use as the course teaching tool.

I came across this great tip that I love, but I am sure I will have to tame it down a bit in order to include it in my class ;-) I also found this advice on How To Become An “A” List Blogger that was posted way back in 2003 on A Networked World that I will include on the class reading list. And of course I will include Eric Kintz’s recent article Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore — an article that I am sure brough a collective sigh of relief across much of the blogopshere.

Still, I would like to compile a comprehensive list of lessons learned, advice, tips, quips, … well, you get the idea. Reply to this post with your pearls of wisdom and I will compile them for my class — and give you and your blog full attribution and a bit of “link love”, of course!

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5 Comments

  • 1. Liz  |  July 6, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    I wrote a bit about weblog ethics and why I don’t have rules for blogging back in 2003…

    rules? i don’t need no stinkin’ rules!

    That includes links to posts by a number of other great bloggers.

  • 2. Aggie  |  July 7, 2006 at 8:22 am

    I have 5 blogs and I’m considering adding another. For me, the most helpful thing is to brainstorm periodically on your topic. That way you have a list available of items you want to write about. With my book review blog, I’m finding it helpful to blog about things I’ve read in the past as well as blogging about my current reading.

    My theory is that if you can’t come up with at least 10 ideas for posts on a topic in a 30-minute period, you might have trouble keeping up with the blog.

    I’ve been working online from home, but now that I’m seeking outside employment, I will need to set aside time for blogging to make sure that it happens several times a week, especially now that I’ve added so many different blogs.

  • 3. T Scott  |  July 7, 2006 at 9:21 am

    Remember that what you write is PUBLIC. Your mother may see it. Your boss may see it. When you write about someone, is it something that you would be willing to say in front of them? If you write something out of passion, will you be willing to stand behind it six months from now?

    These facts should not intimidate you — be firm and bold and passionate and forthright. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s private.

  • 4. K.G. Schneider  |  July 7, 2006 at 10:10 am

    I have written about blogging and ethics as well, from a different point of view (what can I say, I’m into steenkin’ rules):

    http://freerangelibrarian.com/2005/04/my_ethical_blogger.php

    As T Scott said, assume your blog can and will be read by everyone–including children you haven’t had yet, future employers, neighbors, etc.

    Find a niche. That’s bad advice coming from someone whose blog ranges from ethics to steak marinades, but your niche may not be so much what you write about as the voice you use for writing.

    A few typos are tolerable, but try to proof and spell-check your posts.

    People love pictures. Get a Flickr account; with most blogging software you can post directly to your blog from Flickr.

    Generally, use shorter posts, shorter paragraphs, and shorter sentences than you would on paper.

    Don’t blog when you’re angry, sad, or have had more than one drink.

  • 5. Caryn  |  July 7, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Blog when you have something real to say, not just because you feel like you should blog on that day. I see plenty of blogs out there that are simply online diaries, and they rarely develop large and devoted followings. Those blogs that are more like a collection of columns, no matter the topic, almost always seem to be more popular. For me, the test of whether or not I should blog about something is: Can I make this topic interesting?

    As for gaining readership, the number one way I’ve seen, other than word of mouth, is by visiting other blogs and commenting. Many bloggers sit at their computers typing away and wondering where the traffic is, but they don’t venture outside of their own blogs, so how can anyone know that they exist?


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