Blogger Warning!

  1. Avoid posting anything on your blog that might be personal to other people if just anyone can read your blog (example: Your uncle might object that it’s published on the Internet that he is an alcoholic). If something is personal, avoid using last names at the very least, or make up a name for that person. Be wary of unwarranted attention. Blogs are for the world to read. If you want a private blog just for friends, use Xanga or any other password-protected blogging site.
  2. Xanga and MySpace are good for beginners, but for more public blogs, sites like Typepad and Blogger are much more “respected”.
  3. Be wary of unwarranted attention. Blog stalking is possible; don’t give out too much personal information such as name, location, school, etc.
  4. Read the small print. If you don’t, your blog’s content may be “owned” by the company that puts it on the web for you.
  5. Don’t make your blogs like MySpace bulletins (adding random posts to suck in friends) and don’t include your friend’s name or websites in them either.


Blogger Tips

  1. If you update your blog frequently, more people will return on a regular basis to read it. Establishing a reader base will motivate you to write more and in turn more people will read your posts.
  2. Get into a routine of blogging. Make it part of your day. Soon, you will notice things during your day and think, “Hey, I’ll blog this.”
  3. Personalize your blog. A pretty blog always catches the eye. Visit blogger.com for ideas; they have a list of their 10 most recently updated blogs.
  4. You could Google for “blog California” or “blog Shakespeareans” (or anything else), depending on location, interests, etc. For instance, if you have a blog on lawns, you may want visit allaboutlawns.com’s forum and other similar type blogs. Circles of interest are the essence of blogging, and it can start to develop you as an authority in the “blog-o-sphere” on lawns or whatever area of interest you choose.
  5. Keep the posts interesting. Try to avoid focusing on things that most readers won’t find worthwhile (such as “I went to the mall today and saw Kelly.”) Write about things you noticed, thoughts you had, and feelings or ideas. Blog about a recent trip to Spain. Write about the chemical explosion during class.
  6. Spell check your writing before posting.
  7. Some sites allow you to make money off your blog by using an Amazon Associates ID or by placing Google AdSense advertisements. If popular enough, your blog could start to pay your bills.
  8. Don’t feel bogged down if no one visits your site for the first few months. As with communities this large, it will take some time for your blog to get noticed.
  9. If you want a broad (international) readership, do not use too many abbreviations or slang terms that might not be easily understood by people who are not from your country/area.
  10. Get interesting news from Yahoo Oddly Enough…, other Yahoo! stories, Crayon.net and other websites that you frequently read.
  11. Blog on a specific subject. You can’t please everyone, so target a specific audience and go with it.
  12. See also How to Write a Famous Blog.
  13. Pictures are also a great idea.

From time to time I have people ask me how to start a blog. So, I decided to write it up here so I could just point to a reference rather than making it up fresh each time.

  1. The are several choices in blog software. Normally, I recommend Typepad as the easiest way to create a professional blog. Its a service, so its easy to get set up and going. If you are technically inclined, I’m partial to Movable Type, but you’ll need someplace to host it. You can sign up for an account at Blogger for free.
  2. I recommend that you register your own domain and point it at your blog. That way if you ever decide you want to use different blog software or move to another service, you at least stand a chance of keeping things intact. For this to work, your domain has to show up in the permalinks for your blog entries.
  3. I recommend that you not tie your blog too closely to the corporate infrastructure of where you’re presently employed since you may go somewhere else and your blog ought to go with you.
  4. Once you’ve got a blog up and going, I recommend that you pick a topic and kind of stick to it. Decide what it is you’re going to say. Themes can be pretty broad (mine’s Enterprise Computing, for example which gives me broad leeway but doesn’t just include everything). I go outside those boundaries from time to time, but pretty much I stick to the topic.
  5. A good way to get started is by referencing and quoting material from other blogs and Web sites you read and then commenting on them as you see fit. Eventually you will start to mix in longer essays that express a thought that you want to develop.
  6. Write about what interests you, not what you think your readers want. If you just try to guess what people want and write about that, you’ll get bored with writing and it will become drudgery.
  7. The way to get people to read your blog is to link to their blog and say interesting things. People notice when you link to their blogs (either through their referer logs or through Technorati) and will follow the link back and read what you have to say. If its interesting enough they might link to you, comment on what you say and, in so doing, drive traffic to you. Read your own blog and follow the links (at first) to prime the pump.
  8. In a similar vein, when you write something interesting that you think someone would enjoy reading, feel free to point it out in an email. I’m not recommending SPAM, just an email to a few people you know that asks them to read what you’ve written and provide feedback.
  9. At a minimum, make sure that your email address or a comment form is available on your blog for people to send feedback. You may want to experiment with comments on blog entries and see whether you like them. Some people do and some people don’t.
  10. If you’re using blogging software, it will undoubtedly offer a way to create an RSS (or ATOM) feed. Make sure its enabled and link to it prominantly on your site. You should also make sure your feed is autodiscoerable. To do this ensure that your page template lists your feed in the header as an alternate version of the page.
  11. I favor creating an “About…” page to list biographical data and let people know who the blog’s author is. I hate going to blogs and not being able to find out something about the person writing. Being able to know the person, at least a little, is part of the blog experience for me.
  12. If you blog about your work, be sure to read Robert Scobles corporate blogger manifesto (PDF).

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