Have you heard other people talking on and on about their “blogs” while all you could do was smile and nod?
Yes, “blog” is a peculiar word, conjuring visions of mosquito-infested swamps, and you can’t imagine why people would be eager to get more visitors to theirs.
But eager they are. In spite of the rather unfortunate name, blogs are the hottest things in communication since cell phones. Blogs are websites on which almost anybody can post information on almost any topic as often as they like.
Blogs can be devoted to a single factual topic, or they can be the equivalent of personal diaries in which people record their private thoughts and observations about the world. The contents of a blog are limited only by the imagination of the blog’s creator, or “author”.
If you find the thought of your own blog appealing, and have an Internet-connected computer, here are some suggestions to help you both get a blog going and build an audience with whom you can share it:
First, choose a topic for your blog on which you will enjoy communicating, and prepare your material. Your opinions on a subject are fine, as long as they are based on some underlying. There are always going to be those who know as much, about a topic as you, and if you want a credible blog, you need to be able to back up your statements.
Add some humor and personal experiences to your topic if you can. Writing a travel blog about places you have actually been, and about colorful locals whom you actually encountered, will make much better reading than just posting facts and figures picked up from travel sites and TV shows.
Offer material which will appeal to both novice travelers--like how to avoid pickpockets--and more seasoned ones--like the best undiscovered attractions in a specific destination.
Don’t limit your blog to your own experiences. Keep it updated with news that might affect those interested in your subject. While your experiences can give people valuable insight, recognize that your opinions about what happened to you or about a specific product are, after all, just opinions. Give people factual information which they can weigh for themselves.
Keep you blog current. On the Internet, news can become old in a matter of hours, and what happened a month ago is ancient history. Telling people considering a trip to Thailand that Thailand experienced a coup last September will do nothing to help them decide about a trip next month. Updating them on the peaceful state of affairs in Thailand today, however, will.
Updating your blog will require a commitment from you. You’ll need to establish a regular time to search for and write about fresh news, and get it posted. There’ll be times when not much has happened, and there’ll be times when you can’t type fast enough. But two or three times a week are not too many to post something new.
Even if it’s only to tell your readers that not much has been going on, share a few thoughts, and tell your readers when to next check in for your next entry, make an appearance. Your audience will keep coming back as long as they know you are.
Keep you blog as simple as you can, without sounding like you don’t have a complete grasp of your subject. You want to appeal to as many people as possible, and nothing will drive those newly interested in a subject away faster than lots of technical jargon and statistics. You can provide complex information, as long as you make the effort to put it in user-friendly terms.
Find a memorable name for your blog, and use your blog editing feature to post it in large, bold-face type. “My Hiking Blog” will probably sound interesting only to Mom and Dad and only because you never write or call them while you’re out adventuring. “Climbing through the Clouds” will appeal to those who either tackle the high places of the Earth, or want to.
Every so often, say, at the end of each month, archive your existing blog posts. Your blog editor will let you do this in a less than a minute. The entries will still be available for new blog readers who want to catch up, or those who want to reference your earlier writings. And list keywords for your archived work so that new traffic will be able to find its way to you.
Finally, make sure your blog is professionally presented. You have a spell checker, so use it.
Proof-read your copy and correct any grammar or punctuation errors before you post your work. If you’re not sure whether you are using a word properly, get help from an online dictionary. Respect your readers as intelligent, well-informed people who could just as easily spend their time elsewhere.
These suggestions may make your entry into the world of blogging more successful, but it’s up to you to commit to building and keeping an audience.