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Next month, I have a couple of talks on blogging scheduled (one's for a writing group in
Palmer, PA (Sat, 27th), the other's a library-sponsored talk in East Brunswick, NJ (Mon, 29th)), so I've been busy working on my presentation.

I thought I'd share another of the tip-sheets I'll be giving out. It's called 10 Decisions to Make When Starting A Blog.

These are geared towards folks who want to develop a broad readership and, as always, are just my opinions, other folks might feel differently.

1. Decide you’re going to enjoy blogging.
Blogging takes time and effort. Whether or not you have fun with it makes a big difference. If you see your blog as a chore, so will your readers.

2. Decide you want your readers to enjoy your blog.
This might sound daft – of course you want your readers to enjoy your blog - but if you’re looking to develop a broad readership, then I recommend you always keep that in mind. What you blog about is important, but the way you go about it will have a huge impact on the number of readers you get.

3. Decide how much time you want to spend on your blog and stick to it.
The internet can become a drain on your free time if you let it. It helps if you decide just how much time you’re prepared to spend blogging per day/week/month. You can always adjust it later, if needed.

4. Decide you’re in it for the long haul.
Developing a readership takes time. If that’s your goal, don’t expect it to happen overnight.

5. Decide what you want from your blog.
If you know what you want to achieve from the outset, it’ll help you plan your blogging strategy (including what username you decide to go by,which blog host is the best for your purposes etc.), and keep you going when things don’t seem to be happening the way you would like.

6. Decide on your blog’s main theme.
On the face of it, having a specific theme for a blog would seem counter-productive. You might think it’s better to post about anything and everything, thereby casting a wider online net – if you’ll pardon the pun. Trouble is, there are so many blogs now (as of October 22nd 2010, Live Journal alone had 31.6 million journals and communities making over 150 thousand blog posts every day), unless you have a main theme, you’re just a lone voice in a very large crowd.

7. Decide whether you want to social network or social broadcast.
Social networking ie: interacting with people through comments on their (and your) journals has its benefits, not least of which are loyal readers and great online friendships, but it can take up a lot of time. Social broadcasting ie: talking at people rather than to them, is a perfectly acceptable use of your blog, but be aware that you’re unlikely to gain many new readers this way, unless they’ve already heard of you from somewhere else, and even then, without interaction, they probably won’t listen for long. 

8. Decide how often you’re going to post.
How often you post is up to you (I try to post 4-6 times a week), but whatever you choose, I recommend you develop a regular posting routine and try to keep to it.

9. Decide to keep Mr. Cranky-pants and his cousin, Miss Bait-the-Natives, offline.
Quite aside from the hurt or offence you might cause someone else, one ill-considered blog post or spiteful comment can and will damage your online reputation. We all have our off days. We all say or do things we instantly regret. Don’t let a lack of self-control undo all your hard work.

10. _________________________

I left #10 blank, what would you put on a ‘Blogging tactics – Decisions to Make When Starting A Blog  ’ list?

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
#10: If someone else's Mr. Cranky-pants or Ms. Bait-the-natives comes nosing around YOUR blog, be polite, tell them to have a nice day, and otherwise ignore their efforts to drag you into their flame-war web.
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Good one, Terri. Do you think that approach would work on Peadar (aka Mr O'Cranky-pants) or is it too late? :)
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
That's "Mr. Ó Crancaí-Pants" to you.
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Hehehehehehe My bad :)
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, Jon, Jon, Joh--you must know by now that there is no hope where Peadar is concerned. He's been too long with the Nork. The damage is permanent, I'm afraid. Unless he has a lobotomy.
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
#10 Include lots of photos of tasty desserts.
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Lol, I was just thinking about you :)
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Yes. Most people were.
Oct. 25th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
I am all about photos for tastey desserts!
Oct. 25th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Decide early how much personal information you're going to make available.

I don't give out:
My Address or phone #
Names of family members

Oct. 25th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
Good point. Once it's out there, it's hard to take back.

Thanks for sharing :)
Oct. 25th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
yeah..security is important...
Oct. 25th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Research. Look at other blogs, consider what you like and don't like and act accordingly. (DO NOT copy. Be original, let you come through.)
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Good advice, Tracy :)

After I made my first blog post, I spent the next three months getting to know other folks and trying to figure out why different people with similar sized friends lists would post on similar topics, but seemed to get widely different results.
Oct. 25th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
# 10
I think the first thing you must decide is what is the purpose of your blog, business or pleasure? A new or aspiring author may want to establish a platform and a fan base for her work. This is a business venture, even though it may be fun, and must be treated as such. You may want to blog about your favorite hobby. Two very different goals, requiring different approaches.

Yes, you still have to meet all the other criteria.
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Re: # 10
Hi Bart,

I think that's more or less covered by #5. Mind you, whether it's business or pleasure, if you don't have fun writing it, I think you'll find it a lot harder to build a readership. There are just too many other blogs out there for people to go to.

Thanks for sharing :)
Oct. 25th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
LOL. When #9 fails, you can always chuckle and remember that blogging is just blogging.
Oct. 25th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
If only.

Sad to say, I've seen a few folks' reputations go down in flames over the last couple of years (Elizabeth Moon springs to mind). Rightly or wrongly, how we blog affects our career in some way - even if we don't blog at all, if that makes sense.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 26th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
That's a great list, Jenn :)
Oct. 26th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Decide how easy you want it to be. Geeky people love WordPress; I know because they keep saying so. Non-geeky people like me find Blogger, LJ and MySpace much easier because they do all the hard work for you. Also you can use facebook for blogging, in the Notes section.

Social networks are good because you're bound to get readers, and you make new friends. The same happens 'out there', but it does take longer. On the other hand, theoretically the potential readership is wider. But in all cases, it takes time to build.
Oct. 26th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Rosemary :)

Of all the networks, I think LJ's the easiest to use when it comes to comment threads and the way the friends page is presented.

I use Facebook a little, It feels more like asomeone crossed a conveyor belt with a bulletin board. That's not to say it doesn't have its uses, but blogwise, it's not somewhere I'd recommend as a center of operations.
Oct. 26th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
I have found facebook great for reconnecting with old cronies. I don't use it for blogging as such, but some do. I have posted the occasional note there. You then need to tag the people whom you particularly wish to read the entry, which is a nuisance.

It took me a while to get used to LJ after MySpace, my first love. I still prefer MySpace for group sites such as Haiku on Friday (Friday Haiku here) because there is one long thread of comments, which allows for a group conversation in haiku rather than a whole lot of separate conversations as the LJ format dictates. However, this is getting into pretty specialised blogging, rather beside the point of your post.

Oct. 26th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC)
Journal evolves into Blog
It's so strange how blogging and places like live journal have changed. I don't remember how old I was when Live Journal came out, but I was definitely in my teens. Back then, it seems more like a game or a personal journal. Myspace, facebook and things like this, they all seemed like simple fun things to do. But perhaps I just remember it being a game because when I and other kids joined that's what we used it for and why we connected. It seems like they've evolved. Everything is used for social networking these days. They're important tools that cannot only make you, but they can instantly ruin one's reputation as well. It's so strange in some ways. It's really hard to get use to making serious journal entries.

I guess it's something like the Youtube stars who just started for shits-and-giggles and ended up with large followings.
Oct. 26th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
Ah, I guess I got too excited and didn't actually make a reply to your post. I was going to say thanks for posting the tips. I have a hard time treating my journals and blogs anywhere seriously, so it's nice to get tips from a blogging pro.

As far as #10, I have no idea. Haha~

Popular galleries and avatar sites and such places offer some kind of friend stamp/link. I don't know if something like that would be helpful, kind of like being part of web-ring.
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Also
Even YouTube is used by folks wanting to get their message out or keep themselves and/or their brand name in the public eye. Hence all those excellent Muppett videos, like this one :)

Oct. 26th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Also
Well, yeah, youtube it totally cooperate these days. Even politicians use it.
Oct. 26th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
Mine actually started as a networking blog. I was intrigued by the character of Severus Snape from Harry Potter who, aside from crankiness, did not seem all that evil, despite Mister Potter's opinion of him. Did end up friending quite a few people who confused Mister Snape with Mister Rickman, but overall, I don't regret a thing.

Of course, I also find it amusing, as well.
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Having a laugh makes everything more fun :)
Oct. 26th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, actually, it does. I've also run across some fanfic in the community which, if they changed a few of the names, would work well as original fiction (which just happened to be inspired by Ms. Rowling's tales).

That's along with the cringe-worthy stuff, of course.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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