What I’ve now been told about blogging

What no one ever tells you about bloggingOne of the gifts I received for Christmas was a book written by an acquaintance of mine, Ted Demopoulos. The book is called What no one ever tells you about Blogging and Podcasting, and it is made up of a collection of 101 short interviews and essays on various aspects of blogging.

It’s a great read. Ted’s style is very conversational, as befits a good blogger. The chapters are short and focussed enough that you can just “dip in” to it from time to time. I’ve been reading a few at a time, and so far I’m a little over halfway through. The book seems directed towards business a little more than it is towards personal blogs, but I think there’s a lot to be learned for bloggers of all “flavours”.

As you will see from the picture, I’ve been making some notes and jotting down some of the more pertinent points (in a Moleskine, no less!). Some of the tips are apparently obvious, and yet easy to disregard – things like “avoid bright colours in a business blog” are so simple to get wrong when your blogging platform offers 30 different and exciting design templates. I won’t steal Ted’s thunder by listing out every detail that I’ve found to be of interest, but be assured that I’ve learned a great deal.

One of the things that I’m struggling with a little bit is whether or not this blog – which is basically personal – has enough of a focus. I know that I blog on a number of topics: photography, my work at IBM, satellite navigation, technology in general, and anything else that catches my fancy. Several of the commentators that Ted interviews recommend a much more narrow approach. I know that Richard has tried this, and it doesn’t seem to have been that successful, although I suspect that it was largely a case of time and discipline in splitting the posts up. I appear to be building an audience, but I do need to do more analysis to ensure that I keep delivering interesting content (hint – talk to me – tell me what you like or dislike!).

You may well see a few changes around here as I start to take on some of the things I’ve learned. I hope you will, anyway!

Incidentally, Ted has a blog which he runs as a companion to the book, at http://bloggingforbusinessbook.com/ – also worth a visit. I notice that he’s just marked one year as a blogger there (although he’s been blogging for longer than that). Well done Ted, and happy anniversary!

If that little piece wasn’t a good enough recommendation, two of my fellow IBM bloggers, Luis Suarez and Philip Hartman, make guest appearances as interviewees. Now, how famous do I have to get before I get invited to talk about the impact of blogging and social networks on my life…? Kelly’s doing it already

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6 thoughts on “What I’ve now been told about blogging”

  1. I am struggling with how to blog, too. I want to contribute ideas (change the world, ha) on several topics. I am thinking of using BlueHost because they load WordPress onto their server and I could then change my templates and even use ads if I deluded myself that fulltime blogging would provide an income (I am retired). They also allow six domains to be used for the same monthly fee.
    I think having multiple domains is smart if you you want more traffic. Each of your sites could link to your others (Googlejuice) and a more memorable name (brand) could be used. If you a focussed you probably will get linked to more, also. If you are not after the money though I think one site could be OK. Community and quality is what is important.
    If readers don’t want to be bothered by your other topics, they can subscibe to the RSS feed on just the category of their interest. If you are on the cutting edge of a topic you will be found. I was posting about cutting edge OPML, and was surprized to get comments from one of the community leaders.
    If you use the free WordPress service you could have a dozen nitch sites for free but then I would have to click all over to keep up with your contributions.

  2. Thanks Andy

    Focus is difficult for a blog — more focused usually leads to more traffic, but many of us want to write on several things. A personal AND a more focused blog are a great solution — but who has time for two blogs ? (I try!).

    Since I know you, it’s hard for me to comment as obviously I’m much more interested in more personal posts from people I’ve met and know.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Art: I’ve suggested that readers subscribe to one of my category feeds in the past, if their interest is somewhere on that narrow band of focus. Unfortunately I’ve no way of knowing how many have done that.

    Ted: I guess I already contribute to various other blogs (SOA Tips’n’Tricks, for instance), so that should help me to be more specific about my topics, I just need to be more disciplined about it. That’s just one of the bunch of things I need to do with this blog to strengthen it, based on my reading.

    Andrew: I’m pretty sure that Ted mentions ProBlogger in the book. Most of the chapters link to specific blogs or blogging help sites, and there’s a handy appendix with all the links… but, I hadn’t got around to checking them all yet, so thanks for the link 🙂

  4. “I know that Richard has tried this, and it doesn’t seem to have been that successful,”

    Indeed. It was just too much effort. There are times when you’re too busy to blog but if you don’t post even a bare minimum you will hameorrhage readers. In such situations, posting three lots of minimal posts becomes too much.

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