Friday, January 13, 2006

On Blogging

While I often slip self-promotion into my blog, I think of it mostly as a teaching/venting opportunity, as well as a chance to interact with readers and writers.

On that front, I want it to be read, to be discussed, to be successful.

Over the past few days, several statistics hit me at once.

Someone sent me this link, which I found amusing:

http://blogshares.com/blogs.php?blog=http%3A%2F%2Fjakonrath.blogspot.com%2F&search_type=url

The same day, someone else sent me this link:

http://www.business-opportunities.biz/projects/how-much-is-your-blog-worth/

I've done my own informal polls on how many people might be reading this blog on a daily basis, but these two links were so intriguing that I finally put some www.statcounter.com code on the blog.

And I was surprised. I'm getting about 1000 unique visitors a day.

Many are coming in from links on other blogs. I've checked out www.technorati.com to see how many people link to me. I'm grateful for the traffic.

If you'd like to trade links, email me.

That said, I'm baffled by the amount of power some bloggers seem to have over readers. I offer advice based on my experience, and I'm flattered many folks seem to follow that advice. But remember that what worked (or didn't work) for me might not get you the same results.

Here's a quick list writers should keep in mind when surfing blogs:
  1. Remember that no one is always right, no matter who they are or claim to be.
  2. Try different approaches, and discover for yourself what works and what doesn't.
  3. Be wary of bloggers on power trips, or those who try to inspire fear.
  4. If you're ever confused by something, post questions.
  5. If you ever disagree with something, post a rebuttal. Debate is good.
  6. Name calling is not good. Try to focus on the topic, not the blogger.
  7. The blogosphere is not real life. Don't treat it as such.
  8. Anonymous posts should never carry the same weight as those who use their name.

If you're a writer, and don't have a blog, I suggest starting one. Sure, it takes up a lot of time, but there are few self-promotional efforts that can have such a targeted and direct impact.

Here are some tips for those considering starting a blog:

  1. Trade links with as many other bloggers as you can.
  2. Pick a topic for your blog, and stick to it.
  3. Add content at least once a week, and make sure your entries have a specific focus.
  4. Don't blog several times a day, every day--this won't give readers a chance to comment.
  5. Don't abuse your blogging power.
  6. Invite a little controversy--it makes things more exciting.
  7. Respond to all questions.
  8. Learn about RSS feeds.
  9. Blogs don't have to be perfect, but the same rules apply to blogs as to manuscript formatting. Proofread, spell check, avoid long paragraphs, pay attention to how your words look on the screen, edit.

See you in the blogosphere!