Friday, November 17, 2006

9 Simple Ways to be an Effective Blogger
Krista Goon

Plan to start blogging? Here are 9 tips to ensure you are on the right blogging track.
1. Focus your expertise
Always begin your blog with a theme or a focus. Although you can start one blog for all topics - both business and personal issues - it’s also best to separate your business from your personal blog particularly if the target audience is different. This helps you focus on the theme of your blog and enable you to blog easily without running off tangent!
2. Blog regularly
Commit time to blogging. Blogs are a little different from websites because blogs are expected to be updated more regularly than websites. Be sure to update your blog regularly. For example, I blog twice a week but I do blog extra if I have the time. However, if you worry you cannot blog regularly, try this time-saver tip of mine – set aside a day to draft 4 or 5 blog entries all at one go. Use them on days when you’re pressed for time or have writer’s block and cannot think of anything to blog about.
3. Show your personality
Don’t be afraid to show your personality when you blog. In fact, a blog is the best place to show the best bits of yourself – share as much as you can about how you feel and why you say the things you do. Don’t be afraid to use humour or honesty. Your readers will love you for being frank. Having said that, do set some personal rules as a blogger. My personal mantra is that I don’t cuss or have four-letter words in my blog.
4. Encourage feedback
Your blog exists because you want to start ‘conversations’ with your readers. You have an opinion to share and you want others to share theirs too. Some bloggers prevent their readers from leaving comments by turning off the Comments feature on their blog. I say enable your readers to provide you feedback but moderate comments – remove those which are rude. If you worry about spamming, plug in extra security by getting readers to register before they can leave comments and get the comments sent to you for approval prior to being posted to your blog.
5. Use photos to sell
Photographs always capture attention and convey emotions. They also help break the monotony of large sections of text. Remember to re-size them before you upload them to your blog. This keeps photograph sizes standard and consistent. I use photos which are re-sized to 400 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall. Don’t have gorgeous photos? Get them free from free stock photo sites such as freefoto.com or sxc.hu
6. Include links to other blogs
Include links to other blogs or websites. The mistake most people make is that they don’t want to link out because they’re worried their readers will leave. Don’t worry about them leaving - focus on writing quality engaging content. Your mission is to get them hooked enough that they will bookmark your blog and return often!
7. Use proper grammar and spellcheck
I can’t stress enough the importance of using proper grammatical language when blogging. You don’t have to be an expert in a language to use it well. Just remember that what you blog should be easy to understand without spelling or grammatical errors.
8. Ensure readability
When you blog, keep in mind that you need to ensure that your readers will be able to read easily. Follow newspaper conventions: use subheads to break up long paragraphs, keep one idea to one paragraph and use bulleted lists if the information is too unwieldy. Don’t torture your readers by having white text on a dark or black background. It hurts the eyes! Black text on white or light background always works best.
9. Be personal
The easiest way is to constantly use ‘you’ and ‘I’ liberally throughout your blog. This keeps it casual, friendly and easygoing. You definitely don’t want to blog in the third person because that would defeat the purpose of your blogging. Imagine you are having a conversation with your best friend. Use this mental image when you are blogging and you’ll never be stuck for ideas or words!
Krista Goon has been blogging since 2003 (she writes for 3 different blogs - all on different topics) and has given talks about blogging. Find out what else she is raving (or ranting about) in her blog over at
http://www.MayaKirana.com
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