Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

Be a blog star, or at least link to one December 19, 2008

Filed under: social media,Uncategorized — contentninja @ 2:01 pm
Tags: ,
A broad metal chain.
Image via Wikipedia

Friend and former cohort in news Tracy Pratt asked me this week for some tips and best practices on blogging to share with a blogger from the community that she’s recruiting. I pounded out a bullet list in no time. It also got me thinking about all the blog newbies I know. So I’m pushing out the list here for all to enjoy.

Like my earlier post on social media tools, advice on building a successful blog abounds. Fellow bloggers with experience, please share your tips for best practices, too.

Note: These tips are more about building brand and audience development for a blog than how to write one. A wealth of advice exists in the writing category and can be easily accessed at your nearest bookstore or Google search bar.

  • Blog 2-3 times a week to build and maintain an audience. You can certainly blog more than that, but 2-3 times a week would be the minimum goal for maintaining your audience’s attention.
  • Find bloggers who speak to the same or similar topic as yours, comment on their blogs and link back to your blog. This helps build your audience.
  • Allow comments on your blog and — most importantly — respond and engage with folks there. If you don’t engage with your audience, you’ll lose them.
  • It’s OK to set rules for commenters about civility and niceness. It’s also OK to delete comments that break the rules, but you should be clear about what the rules are.
  • Give credit where it’s due. Attribute information you get from elsewhere. Even better, link to original source. Research shows that links out of your site can help build traffic. (It also helps search engines find you.)
  • Speaking of search engines, keep headlines short (5-7 words) and avoid abbreviations to make it easier for search engines to find you. A Web user is more likely to search for “Iowa City accident” than “IC accident,” for example.

Image by Toni Lozano

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5 Responses to “Be a blog star, or at least link to one”

  1. B.J. Smith Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Annette. I don’t pretend to have much blogging expertise, but I suspect a couple of other important considerations might be to have a clear purpose or focus for your blog and to have some sort of objective in mind. (I confess to straying off topic, but my objective is clear to me if not to others). Your thoughts on focus and objectives?

  2. contentninja Says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Bernie. You’re absolutely right. As with any good writing, focus and objective are key. Hand in hand with these are desire. If a blogger isn’t passionate about the subject she’s writing on, it’s difficult to stick with it. And, I suspect, the audience will pick up quickly on the lack of enthusiasm for the subject.

    Paul Bradshaw has an interesting theory on why some people stop blogging — because they haven’t built a thriving, engaged community around the blog. See his post at http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2008/12/15/i-have-a-theory-about-why-people-stop-blogging/

  3. marcmwm Says:

    Thanks for the tip on headlines.

  4. marcmwm Says:

    Also, pingbacks. What are they? I’ve been approving them lately. Is that dumb?

  5. contentninja Says:

    Nope, not dumb at all. Pingback is a type of link back/forth between blogs. WordPress does it automatically. See Wikipedia explainer at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingback It’s a great way to track who’s talking about your blog.


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