Blogging · University

Blogging Basics.

During this past week, I’ve been tearing my hair out.  Doing an assignment on a blog proposal may sound like fun, yet there were times when I felt like I was going around in circles.  If nothing else, it has certainly helped me to look at my own blog all over again.

As well as the Three Golden Rules of Blogging, here are some of the basics you need to consider (or indeed, remember) when writing a blog:-

  • Do you have a catchy title?  Does it reveal to the reader what your blog’s content will be about?
  • What are your objectives for writing your blog?  Is it to provide information, persuade action or promote discussion?
  • What is your chosen angle, brand or voice?  How will your blog be distinguished from others within a similar genre?  Will your tone be formal or informal?
  • Why is it needed?  Why would your blog be of interest?
  • How will your blog be structured?  This will include interactive elements, images, etc., as well as your written content.  Remember to use tags, which are very important if you want people to find you on the internet.
  • How much research will you need to help support your written content, such as links, etc.?

It’s so easy to start a blog and it can be difficult not to just jump in with both feet.  With the vast amount of blogs out there, you want yours to stand out.  This can take a great deal of time, thought and planning.

Are you using your blog to its full potential? Do you now look at other blogs and wish yours were as good?

Free image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com

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Blogging

Three Golden Rules of Blogging.

Recently, due to my studies, I have been getting a bit behind in reading blog posts from blogs that I subscribe to.  Let’s face it, it’s a bit of a worry reading about Valentines Day in April!

As I slowly worked my way down into the single digits, I noticed a couple of important  factors regarding blogging.  These factors not only decided on whether to continue subscribing to some of these blogs, but also gave me a wake up call with my own.

  1. Content.  We like to visit blogs for their content, which needs to be informative, engaging and can sometimes give us a bit of an insight into the bloggers’ personality.  This is what keeps us coming back to these particular blogs and maybe even subscribe.  Keeping content fresh can sometimes become a bit of a challenge for the blogger, but it’s always great to see something a bit different.  Try not to write what other people are blogging about, and if you do, put your own perspective on the topic.
  2. Community.  Reading blogs that place a heavy emphasis on the ‘me, me, it’s all about me’, factor is very off-putting.  I used to subscribe to some blogs that were like this, but not anymore.  Try not to bog down readers where the emphasis is all about you.  Sure they like to know more about you, but stick to the old saying of ‘less is more’.  Involve your readers in the conversation.  As Christina Katz says – ‘think we; think community’.
  3. Regularity.  While I was going through the blog posts, I noticed a few posts from blogs I had not heard anything from in months, leaving me a bit bemused.  This can become a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, and as a result, I unsubscribed to these blogs.  You don’t want this to happen, so make sure you post regularly.  If you post on certain days, place this somewhere on your blog where your readers can see it so that they know what days to expect your posts.  I was absent from my blog for a couple of weeks, and in my last post, I informed my readers and even told them when I would return to blogging.  Remember to act professional and consider your readers.  They are your audience and you are providing a customer service.

Are there certain things that concern you with regards to blogging?

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Writing

Regarding Blogging & an Award.

There has been a fair amount of discussion lately regarding blogging.  I’ve been reading some of Kristen Lamb’s posts, including this one and through that post, I bought her book.  She believes that for fiction writers, our blogs should be based ‘on topic’ in order to gather our readers.  I understand this reasoning and it does make sense, yet I’m not too sure what to make of this.  I wonder if you write too much ‘on topic’ that it would eventually alienate readers, when after all, readers these days like to find out more about their favourite authors as a person.

Maybe because I am a writer, I like to learn how other authors deal with the writing process, rejections, etc.  Making friends with other writers would be in my own best interests, not only helping out in the writing process, but they would be my first port of call as readers.  If they thought my writing was good enough, this may then help spread the word about my books/work and therefore encourage my future (non-writing) readers.  I know I’d do the same for them.  As luck would have it, I read this post by fellow blogger, Molly Green, and was relieved to find that I was not the only one feeling this way lately.

Adding further to my blogging dilemmas, I had been reading this post by Meghan Ward regarding the expectations some agents have on the number of hits an author’s site should receive.  It is from reading such numbers as these, that one begins to feel a bit like Linda Blair in her head-spinning scene in the Exorcist!  Her post, along with this one from Jami Gold helps put blogging into perspective.  As someone pointed out in the comments, marketing should not be confused with platform.  In the end, I went back to a good old reliable source book, something tried and true – Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.  This quote was the one that brought it all home for me:-

My opinion is that you should put the lion’s share of your energy into the work you do that earns you money and keep your blog growing slowly and steadily on the side.

So now, I’m not going to stress too much about blogging anymore.  I believe the best way to go is to find some sort of balance between being ‘on topic’ and what is happening with my writing.  I have seen published authors blog this way and it doesn’t seem to be doing them any harm.  I’ve been blogging for a little while now and I think it’s a case of blog whatever you feel comfortable with.  And by the way, if you don’t already have a copy of Christina’s book, I heartily recommend it.

Still on topic, but on a more happier note, many thanks this week to Jen at Jen’s Bookshelf for giving me the 7×7 Link Award.  Yes, my blog has been given another award! 🙂

Now for this award I need to list what I regard as some of my best within these categories:-

Most Beautiful:  This Spring I started putting up some photos for my Photo Friday posts, and this one Photo Friday – Rainforests seemed to have become the most popular, judging by the comments.
Most Helpful: Once again, judging by the comments, Conquer Your Fears seemed to create a healthy discussion.  It’s good to know that as writers we’re not alone.
Most Popular:  My first entry in the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign, My Sweet Imago – 2nd Campaigner Challenge not only generated some votes, but some wonderful comments.  To know that I had captivated my readers, and that they found it ‘entrancing’, ‘evil’, ‘vindictive’, ‘creepy’ and ‘disturbing’ makes me one happy camper!
Most Controversial: Well, I have to admit that this one Controversial Issues in YA Novels is the closest thing to a controversial post that I’ve written (at least that I know of).
Most Successful:  I would have to say that my post on the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign I regard as my most successful, only because by participating in this campaign, I have had more people visit my blog, comment and subscribe than ever before.  I have also met and made friends with some wonderful people I would never had done so otherwise.
Most Underrated: My post on The Business Side of Writing was created out of sheer frustration by a local business taking many months to fix our washing machine.  I decided to apply simple strategies on how to provide a top quality customer service when it comes to writing.
Most Prideworthy: To know that people do actually read my blog and appreciate what I have to say earned me My Very First Writing Award not once, but three times.  Thank you so much Elizabeth Anne, Lesann and Kerri – your kind thoughts, along with Jen for this award, has given me the incentive to stay within the blogosphere.
So now I hand over the 7×7 Link award baton to my fellow bloggers:- Lynda R. Young at W.I.P. It, Christy Farmer, Molly Green: Worth Becoming, Rebekah Loper, and of-course this goes without saying – Elizabeth Anne Stilborn, Lesann Berry and Kerri Cuevas!