Good Advise for Bloggers In Clear Blogging by Bob Walsh

We are currently reading from Clear Blogging by Bob Walsh (Apress 2007) in my Web 2.0 class. I’m learning a TON from this book. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to be a serious blogger. Here’s a few ideas from the book (and a few from our class) that I thought might be useful to all who blog:

  • Own Your Words. Keep a cool head and don’t get carried away. I can’t find the exact quote, but Walsh says something like: Never publish anything you wouldn’t want your grandma or boss to read, because odds are they will read it.
  • Keep an idea list. In an un-published draft page or elsewhere, keep a running list of post ideas. Sometimes we have more good ideas than we can possibly write about at the moment, and sometimes we sit at the keyboard with nothing to say. An idea list will help even things out.
  • Keep a “my bad” list as well. Notice words that you tend to misspell or mistype. Paying attention to these words will help you correct problems.
  • Use tabs, labels, or categories. Help your readers find more of what they love. Add tabs, labels, and/or categories to each post to organize your site. Your readers will appreciate being able to find things efficiently.
  • Show your favorites or “best of.” In your sidebar or somewhere else, display a list of links to your “favorites” or “best of” posts. Your audience will appreciate seeing the work you are most proud of.

If you want to increase traffic to your blog, here’s some good ideas:

  • Consider a focus. Blogs are a great for keeping a journal or log about your activities and interests. But if you want to attract an audience, choose a specific focus. People who are also interested in whatever you are focusing on will be more likely to re-visit your blog.

  • Consider your audience. Place yourself in the shoes of those who you’re writing for. What do they want to hear about?
  • Stick to a schedule. Your readers will appreciate knowing when to expect your content to change.
  • Spend some time on your post titles. The title is the first thing your readers see. They often make the decision to read or not based on the title of the post. The title should be interesting and describe what the post is about.
  • Be thoughtful about your tagline. (the subtitle of your blog) Use words that people search for. Your tagline, the titles of your posts, and the first few words of your posts are what search engines will crawl. If you have the words people search for in those areas, you will be placed higher in search result lists.
  • Include your biography and a picture of yourself. People interested in your words will want to know about you. If you’re willing to disclose part of yourself it lends credibility to your words.

BE CAREFUL!!
Blogs can feel so personal. It’s just you and your computer, right? WRONG! Remember, unless you take specific steps, blogs are a public space.

  • Keep your safety in mind. Little details can lead to identity theft, kidnapping, and other problems.
  • Know your rights. Occasionally lawsuits are filed over the content of a blog. The EFF have posted a very readable legal guide for bloggers on their site. It’s worth checking out.
  • Consider adding a disclosure policy. If you don’t want to be held responsible for any ignorant comments people make, apparently our sue happy society requires that this be spelled out somewhere. If you endorse products or advertise for anything on your blog, you might visit disclosurepolicy.org for a sample disclosure policy spelling out the intent of your endorsement.
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4 responses to this post.

  1. Since I’m new to blogging, I found this most helpful. Thanks!
    Any thoughts on what people generally do not want to see on a blog?

    Take care,

    Nora Weston
    noraweston.wordpress.com

    Reply

    • Thanks for stopping by. Noracast looks great. I can’t wait to read more! That cracks me up that you had lasagna at your Thanksgiving. We ended up serving some p.b. & j. at ours. To each his own, eh?

      As for blog content, anything goes. But if you are trying to attract a loyal audience I would suggest maintaining predictability. I haven’t been writing this blog very long, but there are only two things that seam to negatively affect the number of readers of my other blog: when my life gets busy so I post less-frequently and when I venture onto subject matter that’s atypical for that blog. I guess readers just want to know what to expect from the blogs they frequent.

      Reply

  2. Lyn:

    Thanks for the great advice and for visiting the Noracast! 🙂

    PB&J is always good and it can save the day if a guest does not like what’s on the menu. We all ended up liking the turkey and gravey, but loving the lasagna. Oh, boy…what have I done? The kids want a side of lasagna with the turkey from now on!

    Take care,
    Nora

    Reply

  3. My goodness…you may have to delete me. I need new eyes for sure! Typo: “gravy”

    Reply

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