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More Thoughts on Blogging

April 5, 2011

Following on from my post the other day on Blogging, here are one or two other thoughts, the first of which arose from a reader’s comment.

Choosing a name for your blog

I chose 59steps because it’s a blank canvas. I had a good idea where I was going with the blog, but I didn’t want to tie myself down to a specific subject with the site name. Also there are about half a million bloggers on WordPress, so it wasn’t easy to find a suitable name that was available.

Some people, especially if they’re running their blog as a commercial proposition, will consider it critically important to choose a name that relates to the focus. If you’re writing about football and only football, for example, it makes sense to go for a name that contains the word football. But if you want to write about football, life, the universe and everything else (to paraphrase the late lamented Charles Addams), then you risk losing people who come to your site for the first time hoping for your insight on Christiano Ronaldo, and the first post they stumble upon is your thoughts about the meaning of the cosmos – though you might pick up a few New York Cosmos fans if you use that word as a tag….

So it seems like common sense to avoid any name that is too focused – and potentially excludes traffic from some of the things you’re writing about.

Editing your posts

I write quite quickly, and when I’ve finished a piece, I want it on the site, now! I guess that instant gratification is one of the allures of blogging. But sometimes it helps to write the piece, wait a few hours, and then come back to it. Maybe even sleep on it.

No matter how many times you run through the piece immediately after writing it, there’s always a chance you’ll miss a typo or a piece of awkward language. It happens all the time to me. I find myself updating the piece after posting. I’ll come back to it a few hours later and think s**t – I missed that! But by that time a number of your regular readers will have read the post, and can have a laugh at your bad spelling or maladroit prose. At least you can correct the error, and try and kid yourself that it was never there in the first place, which you can’t do when your howler appears in the next day’s newspaper.

The other advantage of stepping back is that you might come up with new insights. I’ve often completely restructured a piece after I’ve let it lie for a while.

This is really about writing in general rather than blogging. But if you’re writing in public for the first time through a blog, waiting for a bit before posting can pay dividends.

Contacting people you link to

I think it’s good practice, and common courtesy, to contact bloggers and others when you link to their websites. I don’t always do it, especially if I’m linking to a major newspaper article – the newspaper is likely to be sublimely disinterested unless they think you’re plagiarising their content and thereby denying them sales. But sometimes I contact the author of the piece, and strike up a relationship with them. If you let a fellow blogger know that you’ve linked to their site, they are more likely to reciprocate if they find your stuff interesting. But I never ask outright for any link. Giving is better than receiving!

Further suggestions welcome.

From → Media, Social

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