Blog Archives

A bit of writers block……..

I once wrote an article about writers block and I fear that at the moment I – myself – may be suffering a little from this phenomenon.  It seems that my trip to Europe has inspired me to do other things and it looks as if I am keener to explore those further. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to write. In fact I have some very exciting ideas however maybe not so much about blogging itself. There is even an idea for a book but that is future talk.

A bit of self-analysis

In my post about writers block I suggested various solutions and one of them is to take a ‘blogging break’. Well I had my break so that can’t be it. Another thing was that blogging could have become a chore. Not really either as I still like to write and am eager to start every day.

Is it the content or the topic? Does it still inspire me? As a matter of fact it does and I am looking forward to listen to another webinar of Darren Rowse of Problogger that was presented last week. I do feel that there is heaps more to learn about blogging and more importantly ‘to be successful’ at blogging. And whatever I learn I can pass on to other bloggers.

Recap may be the answer!

My last suggestion was to recap and maybe that is what I need to do. I have written 65 articles and it could be that I have lost overview of my topics and content. I feel a bit of an outsider of my own blog. I suppose it is all part of the experience. I keep on forgetting that the purpose of my blog is to explore ‘the road to professional blogging’. That counts just as much for me as for my audience.

Okay then, my next task is to ‘evaluate’ blogexercise, to look at what I have covered and what is left to explore. How can I get more readers and followers? As a matter of fact that is what Rowse’ webinar is about. That is surely the most difficult task for any blogger and website – to achieve visibility. You need visitor to your sites otherwise nothing happens – neither comments nor sales.

I have covered a fair bit on that subject but I am certainly no expert. I wonder who is in the end. On occasions when people with a web page around me hear about my blog, one of the questions that always come up is ‘how to increase your traffic’.

To finalise this train of thoughts I have just come across an interesting way of looking at evaluating my blog. I figure that I have to create a ‘mind map’ of all my posts, a schedule that shows me what I have covered so far. Rowse suggests ‘Blog granularity’ – breaking down your blog niche into grains (Problogger, Darren Rowse & Chris Garrett, 2nd edition) with the aim to keep your blog simple, easier to analyse and consequently more effective.

I may have a go at that and hopefully it will have some benefits – one of them being that blogexercise can be easier read and scanned for both me and my readers.

I feel some inspiration coming my way……………..

Time for a summary

If you like to become a blogebrity, a problogger or a blogstar and aspire to be on the A-list of bloggers you will have to enter the blogosphere and start blogging yourself.

Before you start…

You start with creating a blog. You need to choose a hosting service and decide whether you like to get a hosted platform or use a multi-user platform and self-host. Beginners usually start with a hosted service such as WordPress, Blogger and TypePadall examples of hosted platforms. Just go into any of them, create an account and follow their instructions.

If you like to self-host, you need to register a domain and buy a hosting service. The next step is to point your registered domain name to your blog, a process called domain mapping. Unless you are a bit of a computer whizz you may need help with this!

Start blogging…

A blog usually has a main column where you write your story and sidebar(s) where you can put links and ads, also called blog verts or blogvertising. Apart from the page where your blog will appear there is usually a profile page that tells something about yourself and your reasons for blogging. Your readers like to know who you are so don’t under-estimate this.

Once you have decided on your topic you can post content on your site. Most bloggers publish posts on a regular base, ideally 3 times per week or more. Many bloggers are niche bloggers and they focus on a specialised topic. When giving your blog a name, keep it simple and broad enough to expand your topic!

When blogging you have to make sure you abide by copyright rules and give credit to other blogger or websites when you refer to them. Someone who plagiarises the content of another blogger is sometimes called a doppelblogger. If you like to uses pictures in your blog you can subscribe to sites such as Flickr where you can find countless pictures that are free to use. Alternatively you can take them yourself if you want to stay clear of copyright.

Posts are added in chronological order and stored in archives on the side bar of your blog. You can allocate categories and tags to your blog. This makes it easier for your readers to find posts written on specific topics. As a blogger you have access to the dash board or admin side of your blog. This is where you find all the controls and functions to manage your blog.

Your readers..

People who read your blog are your audience. They can leave comments on what you have posted. Unfortunately they can also leave comment spam but there are ways to minimise this evil. You can add filtering software and verification images such as CAPTCHA that pick up spamming comments and stop them from being published. Hosted services do this for you but when you choose to self host, you will have to install this yourself.

Your readers can follow or subscribe to your blog. By clicking on the RSS feed link, usually on the side bar, they can get automated notification from additional posts. You can create reciprocal links to other bloggers and ways to get notification are link backs such as refbacks, trackbacks and pingbacks all with their own specific functions. Don’t worry too much about this as you can blog without knowing what they are. They can be helpful once you get more serious and you’ll learn to use them when you are ready!

How to find you…

A search engine allows people to find information on the web. Popular search engines are Google and Yahoo and you may find web pages, blogs, images and other types of files on there. If you like people to find your blog you have to make sure that you optimise it with SEO or Search Engine optimisation. Your content ideally contains keywords that are relevant to search engines and the HTML code of your site should be optimised for that purpose as well. Savvy IT friends or in general young people seem to understand this innately!

A blog can consist of text but also of a mixture of pictures, videos, music, pod casts and many other things. Such media files are accessible through web feeds and can make you blog more interesting and interactive.

If you manage to read through the above and I haven’t lost you, you will have all the ingredients to successfully start up a blog.

Have fun blogging! 

What is good ‘content’ for your blog?

4 simple techniques to make your blog post stand out!

2012, there we are. First blog post of the year, full good intentions and maybe even some resolutions.

Although I have postponed the commitment to the final structure of my ‘future’ blog, I have already started to write posts for it. Exciting stuff as I get to go places. The idea is to review places in Brisbane and immediate surroundings. Places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, galleries, shops and what else I can think off. To start off locally but I may expand to other areas.

Okay, back to blogging about blogging. In a previous post I was talking about content and I realised I had more to say than I could in one post. I wrote about simplifying information in an easy format for people to find and to read. I suppose writing a good blog post is a bit like writing a good essay. It has a heading, possibly a sub heading, an introduction, explanation, discussion and a conclusion. It requires logical thinking and creating a natural flow. Anybody who thinks that it is easier than that is wrong!

So what contributes to ‘good content’?

  • Keep it simple and easy to understand
  • Keep it fresh
  • Keep it unique
  • Keep it useful
  • Make it look nice

Simple! A good way to ‘keep it simple’ is not trying to be everything to all people. This is a trap and it easy for an enthusiastic blogger to fall into. The majority of successful bloggers have created a ‘niche blog’ and concentrate on a narrow topic. If you have inspiration for a wider point of view, splinter this into a number of more specific topics.

Fresh and nice’ is an important one for me. I am not keen on busy web pages with so many ads that you can’t distinguish ads from blog content. It is confusing and it tires the eye too much. When I find such a blog/ website and when  I realise it is successful, I feel a little cheated. I feel that potential advertising income has replaced the originality of the blog. There must be something in between. Give your topic an ‘attractive jacket’ and it will be a pleasure to look at!

Unique! That is a big one. How difficult is it to be ‘unique’ with millions of blogs already out there. As a blog is an opportunity to show your ‘voice’, it should be exactly that. Don’t copy someone else’s stuff. If you want to use information from others, reference properly and acknowledge that it is not yours!

Useful! A good way to find out what is ‘useful’ for other people is to have a good look at comments. The issues people raise in comments can give you as a blogger countless ideas for future posts. After all if you want readers you must find out what people want, so you can give it to them!

I found it hard to come up with a ‘good title’ for this post, so I suppose that is what my next post will be about…