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6 Bits about Blogging
by Jenifer Nipps

Courtesy of the modern era, we as writers have some tools available to us that our predecessors didn’t. One such tool is an online presence, specifically, a blog. For us, blogs serve multiple purposes. The main ones are establishing a platform, connecting with readers, and potentially serving as an online source for examples of our writing.

One source online claims there were over 179,000,000 blogs as of February 11, 2008. It isn’t possible to know how many of those are dormant, but here are some tips you can use to keep yours from going into perpetual hibernation. However, these are by no means all-inclusive. There is a list of web sites and blogs offering additional tips below.

1. Blog often.

Blogs have an advantage over regular websites. The people who maintain them update them more often, so they keep the topic and the blogger’s name higher up in the search engine rankings, particularly Google. If you have a blog or are considering starting one, aim to post at least twice a week. Many sources, including Dorothy Thompson, owner of Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion, advocate posting a minimum of three times a week.

2. Promote.

Just as we have to promote our work, we have to promote our blogs. There are several ways to do this. Go to Technorati and sign up to “claim” your blog. Registration is free. Once your blog is claimed, Technorati will “ping” it frequently to see if it has been updated. When you update it, you can also go to the site and manually ping it so it will appear higher in the Technorati rankings. Some platforms, such as WordPress, automatically sign your blog up on Technorati, but it helps if you do it yourself as well. There are other sites similar to Technorati, such as Blog Catalog, where you can also list and ping your blog. Include a link in your personal e-mail signature. Set it up where your signature is automatically added so you don’t have to enter it manually every time.

3. Comment.

Visit other blogs similar to the same topic as yours. Comment on their posts and reply to comments visitors leave on yours. Similarly, don’t ignore comments left on your blog. Reply to them on your blog. Many visitors who leave comments come back to see if you have replied. If you don’t, they might not leave another comment. If you interact with your readers, word about you and your blog will spread, resulting in more visits.

4. Respect other bloggers.

As in everything, there will be people you disagree with. Resist the temptation to argue with them and bring the argument to your blog. You want to create a good impression with readers, whether they be long-time or passers-by. Engaging in such arguments and bashing, known as flame wars, will only serve to drive traffic away from your blog, which goes against your purpose for having one.

5. Be interesting.

No one says you have to be knowledgeable about everything you post. However, you should have some information that is interesting or benefits your readers in some way. Suppose you have a health blog and have recently heard that scientists have finally discovered a cure for the common cold. Including that information on your blog and possibly your opinion on it would be interesting to your readers. It would also draw in additional readers who are tired of having to suffer with a cold and are looking for information on a cure.

6. Be original.

We’re all writers. We know not to plagiarize outright. However, did you realize that posting a story, complete with source information and linking back to where it originally appeared also falls under that particular umbrella? Unless you have a guest blogger/post agreement with the original site and author, don’t use it. Instead, opt to use a brief summary and link to the original site where your readers can go to get additional information.

Blogging, despite its popularity, is a relatively new phenomenon. It elevates static web sites to a more interactive medium and fosters a community atmosphere between you as the blog author and your readers. On the surface, it appears to be an easy undertaking, but maintaining a blog takes work and dedication. If you’re not ready to make the commitment to one yet, consider being a regular contributor/commenter on other blogs with similar topics.

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Helpful Websites

The above-mentioned tips barely scratch the surface. There is a lot to be known about blog etiquette. These sites have additional tips and information:

© Copyright 2008, Jenifer Nipps

Jen Nipps is a freelance writer in south-central Oklahoma, where she splits her time between reading, writing, beading, and with family. She welcomes visitors to her blog at http://jensorganizedwriter.wordpress.com or to her website at www.jenifernipps.com.

Other articles by Jenifer Nipps :

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