5 Ways to Make 2009 The Year Of The Blog

Broadcast your blog

History will decide the fate of 2009.  Happy New Year!  A new year means a new start and new opportunities.  I am looking forward to a great year both personally and professionally.

Take advantage of the new year by updating your blog.  Make a new years resolution to blog more often.

I tried blogging several times but never got the hang of it.  2008 was the year for me after trying 3 or 4 times at blogging.

You can make 2009 the year for you.  Blogging can be time consuming.  If you failed at blogging in 2008 it’s ok because it’s 2009.  After failing at it several times I have realized several things the new blogger should think about.  So here are 5 pointers for the “new blogger” or the “try again blogger.”

  1. Personal Look and Feel. – Your blog is yours and yours alone.  Choose a theme, layout, and look that suits your taste.  Change it as often you like.  Do not listen to anyone telling you what it should look like.  Do not listen to those that preach a consistent look.  That really is not important.  Look and Feel is personal and should be what you want.  I totally recommend WordPress as a blogging platform.  A multitude of themes are available.  I just updated this blog to a theme called WP-Bats that I custom modified to suit me.  Its suits me today.  If one day it doesn’t then I will change.  WordPress is great because most themes do not require modification they just work.
  2. Realistic Goals. Set realistic goals for your blog.  Look most of have full-time jobs, families, activities, and many other things to take our time.  If you want to blog its ok to be realistic.  Set a goal to post once a month.  If it works out then maybe twice a month.  Pace yourself.  The web is not going anywhere and your blog will probably still be there.  If you want an audience just know things take time.  Content is important but just do your best.  It is your blog.
  3. No pressure. – Blog because you want to.  Blog for any reason.  Blog because you feel like it.  Blog when you want to record something or broadcast something.  If you fail at a goal it is ok.  It really does not matter.  Do not read, listen, or hear, the naysayers about how to blog or what to do.  Do not feel pressured that there is a right way to blog.  You blog in your own way.
  4. Fun. First and foremost have fun with it.  You should enjoy what you are writing or posting about.  Your enjoyment means the blog will probably get more attention, more content, and most all more time in your busy schedule.  Second, audiences (readers) generally like to have fun also.  Blogging is about enjoyment through words, pictures, audio, or video and it is a 2 way street.  So if you are having fun the audience probably is too.
  5. No Rules Just You. I believe this more than anything else about blogging.  Forget the rules, forget the blogging formulas, forget the rhetoric pushed out out by the large blogs telling everyone what to do.  You see they are laughing all the way to the bank.  They are making money by telling lots of eyeballs how, when, where, why, and what they should blog about.  Write what you want when you want.

2009 can be the year of the blog.  If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.

Bloggers Will You Proofread For Links?

ProofRead Errors

I am a horrible speller.  Yes, I said horrible, and I mean horrific.  I am uncertain the reasons why but spell check is my friend.  When I write a blog post I spell check and proofread every time.

As I have said on this blog before quality of content is important to me.  I will post when and what I want but I want to produce some level of quality content.  I have a sense as I write a post that a certain value of content should be reached.

I have established that I strive for a level of excellence but more often than not I fall short.  I always find typographical errors in the form of misspelled words and left out words.

I seem to always leave out words.  Always!  I can read a post 10 times but the moment I have released it to the wild I find a left out word.

I published a post titled “Down with FriendFeed Etiquette.”  I had worked on this post for quite sometime.  I wrote the bulk of the writing last week and had done the research weeks before that.  Despite the effort in crafting a post I still have numerous errors in it.  I found links that do not work, words that were missing, and sentences that simply made no sense.  The spelling was correct in this case.  Well, maybe I did not find any spelling errors.

Trusted Editors

The best candidates for proofreading my blog posts would be trusted individuals.

Friends and family make great although unsuspecting proofreaders and potential editors.  But, in this case I am looking for some expertise in the subject matter of the post.

Friends and Family can do a great job at simple editing.  They can find missing words and assist with general editing.

Proofreaders for Hire

Here is my proposal.  If you are a blogger and would be willing to proofread a blog post I will give you link credit as a proofreader.

Interested?  Sign up as a proofreader and when I get ready to post I will email you several hours in advance.  As a proofreader you promise confidentiality of the post content until released.

Then your job as the proofreader would be to look for spelling, grammar, and general nonsense in the post.  I am looking for the following questions to be answered:

  1. Are there any spelling and grammar issues?
  2. Do the post links work?
  3. Do the sentences make sense?
  4. Can you understand what I am talking about is it clear?

As for style and general sentence structure my style is obviously my style.  I am looking for help proofreading not rewriting or critique.

After proofreading you the reader would email me what you found.  If you were helpful I will include a line at the bottom of the post stating:

Proofread by: Joe of Joe’s Blog, John of John’s Deer, David of TechBlog, & Mary of TechStuff

Each name will be linked to each blogger’s blog.  Would you like to join my proofreading squad?

I will choose arbitrarily a squad of 5 people or so.  If you would like to try leave a comment on this post.

Forget the Blogging Formulas

Write what you want to because the rest is bologna” was a post I wrote about breaking the blogging formulas.  This is a followup post to make a different point.

Forget the blogging formulas.  Blogging is not an exact science.  That is why we are all different.  As human beings there are no 2 bloggers who write exactly the same. Writing / Blogging is an expression of one’s thoughts and ideas.  Some bloggers are good at it and some are not.

I read a post today from CopyBlogger titled “3 Things to Consider When Deciding How Long Your Blog Posts Should Be.”  There are no three things to consider when determining the length of your blog post.  The CopyBlogger post listed “TONE, POSTING FREQUENCY, and POSTING SCHEDULE” as the three things to consider.

I could not disagree more with the Copyblogger post.

Formulaic Consistency

The three things suggested seem to center around creating a consistency for your blog.  Consistency in posting, in style and topic, and in posting schedule.

If I read 100 feeds in my feed reader I do not expect consistency from all posts of the blogs I read. I like the fact that when I open Google Reader I will get a new post with a different take.  I do not expect consistency and really do not desire it.  I like variety, new, and different content from the same sources.

Consistency is one of the formulaic things that can limit content.   I want fresh content.  I want fresh ideas.  I want bloggers that I read to write when and what they want to.

Blogging Motivation

Another problem I have with the CopyBlogger post is there are not 3 things to consider when determining post length.  Blogging with a blogging formula seems to me to be a misplacement of motivation for writing.

Why do you blog?  Who is your blogging for?  Do you blog only for SEO?

I do not think content should be geared solely around SEO.  What will my readers like? What will be popular?  What is relevant for post success?  Those are questions that are not valid to me.

Forget the blogging formulas.  Are you blogging because you like to write or is there some other purpose?

The only thing I consider when writing a blog post is did I get my point across.  Do I need more words to express the point of the post?  If the answer is “Yes” then I continue to write and if the answer is “No” I am finished.

Mythical Blogging Rules

The CopyBlogger post stated:

“Many bloggers are afraid of breaking the “rules” because they want to succeed so bad. Conformism is a social more many are afraid to break across many spectrums; not just in business. But, sometimes success comes when you break all the rules.”

I agree in part.  You will be successful when you come to the realization that there are no rules.  The “rules” are a myth.

Forget the Blogging Formulas.  Write what you want when you want because the rest is just bologna.

Write When and What You Want To: The Rest Is Bologna

Write what you want and when you want to because the rest is just bologna. I read posts all the time with hints, tips, and these grand thoughts about blogging. They instruct you on how to grow your readership, encourage visitors, and some even give pointers for monetizing your blog.

You are either adept at writing interesting content or you are not. Some people are good at writing and some are not. I read blogs that are absolute CRAP everyday. I love FriendFeed and enjoy the noise to a certain extent but let’s get real. The river of noise is full of poorly written bad content. That is fact. Crap existing in the stream of the blogosphere. But it is ok, this is what can distinguish your blog from the noise.

Blogging is more about luck than anything. These hints from the blogosphere are just pointers to increase your chances to be successful. It really is all about luck. Don’t believe all the problogger & copyblogger stuff. Did you read the words let me type them again: It really is all about luck!

I read several blogs not in the tech field that are very well written but not very interesting to most. They have a consistent readership under 20.

Does it matter what they write about? Not really they write because they want to. They are not in the obsessed tech blogger mode of checking stats 10 times per day. They could care less about publishing breaking news or timely posts.

They write to record their thoughts. What they post is thoughtful and interesting to their small audience. But even with readers under 20 because the content is well written all 20 readers hang on that bloggers every posted word.

So how does that apply to tech blogging. Write what you want to when you want to. If you write content that is well thought out and well written you will grow a following. But it will take time and luck as well.

Another thing I read about is posting timely. This really does not matter.

I posted today right after a product enhancement roll out and announcement. I posted literally 1 minute after the launch time. But I am a small blog. My exposure is limited.

I feel like I posted a well thought out solidly written post but it did not really matter. The posts later in the day by more well known bloggers got the majority of the page views. Post when you want. Even if it is old news if your insight or take is different and interesting a well written post can do well.

I was first today but it didn’t matter. Perhaps I should have posted tomorrow. Do page views matter? What is your goal as a blogger? Ultimately to grow your blog. I was happy with the post and the traffic was ok.

However last week I wrote a quick post about a Firefox extension and the post ended up on Scoble’s Google Reader shared items feed. That was the single best traffic day ever for this blog.

This is just a perfect example of the luck involved in being a new blogger. A post that you spend the most time on may not be the highest in page views while a quick post may go viral. You just never know.

But what you can control is quality. If you have the God given ability to write well then write well. Produce quality content.

Now another thing I read about being a successful blogger is to post more posts. Post daily or even more often. Well look unless you are blogging full-time this is not very realistic. Post when you can what you can. I have a day job. Blogging can become a hobby but as a hobby daily posting is nearly impossible for me. Do what you can when you can.

To be successful you need a lot of luck. But what you can control is quality, interesting, well written content. But don’t worry about readership your audience will arrive just be patient.

Always write what you want and when you want to because the rest is just bologna.

Linked June 1-3 2008

Steven Hodson of WinExtra posts what he calls the “From the Pipeline” of the best links of the day. That is a nice concept. It will be great to look back on a year from now as a history of what took place. These are my links for June 1-3. Not all brand new content but on my radar. Heard from the noise.